Freshest posts at the top.

CROSS-POSTED by Gautam, August 26 AT:
Broken Projector

Cinema 299, Episode 1: Redondance ou Rappeler?

Cinema 299 is inspired by David B Dale’s Very Short Novels. David writes novels that are precisely 299 words in length. Anything more is waste. Today, I’d like to recommend David’s ‘Art Garde

Why do we watch films over and over again? Perhaps we found something in them that we want to see again, or maybe there’s nothing else to watch. Some films haunt us, make an appearance in our dreams or maybe even inspire us to become something that we wanted to be. As the 24 frames are pulled across our eyes every second, our brains create an illusion of motion. Motion picture it is called. They provide the picture and our brains make up the motion; yet we end up paying the money.

Shift yourself into the p.o.v. of the silver screen, what do you see? You see a gathering of human beings all seated in a similar posture with their undivided attention at a projection of light. They are all just seated there and they are all feeling. What is this magic? How did this come about? How can a human be seated in a dark public room and feel things that move him so intimately?

Cinema is teleportation: you’re travelling worlds that you’ve never even dreamed of as you are seated. Cinema is telepathy: the filmmaker is communicating with you even though you don’t even exist on his physical plane. Cinema is telekinesis: you are moved in space and time, and with a bad film you’re just moved in time. Cinema is remembrance: do you remember the first time you were kissed? How about the time you won that race? What was it like? Remember and re-feel through those actors on screen- they have a path, just like you. Cinema is your cigarette break from the real world: it is your 90 minutes with yourself- you are not just staring at light on a screen, you are remembering yourself, even when you’re watching it for the 59th time.

CROSS-POSTED by walksfarwoman, August 26 AT:
Kissing the Dogwood

Hitting the Right Note

A story inspired by one of my favourite writers David B Dale who specialises in ‘very short novels’ exactly 299 words in length. I really admire his technique and could never master it so skilfully yet just for my amusement I decided to have a go and here is the result.


Ella lightly traced her fingers over the ebony and ivory of the keys and decided there and then never to play again. Her music had become like a dirge, slow, melancholy tunes that made her weep and revisit worn old memories. The sound of the letter hitting the floor coupled with the annoying clang of the heavy chrome lid brought her back to reality, at last it was here. She couldn’t open it, she started to tremble… Once or twice she inserted her thumb under a corner then drew back – but she had to get herself under control. Finally, she reached into the desk drawer for the paperknife, carefully slit the envelope in slow sharp movements and stared at the contents. It was better than she had hoped yet worse than she had envisaged. What to do now? She perched her petite bottom on the side of the lumpy armchair and gazed through the half open slats of the dusty blinds, the view was just like her life, pretty dull with little vision. The letter dropped to the floor once again where it lay for days until the landlord let himself in with the master key. She was gone, flown the coop, the dank room was empty except for the old armchair, the piano and stool in the corner, a well worn rug and a letter by the window. He picked it up and read it:

Dear Ms Parker,

We refer to your telephone call and we are delighted to confirm that your lottery ticket has been verified and the sum of £700,759 has now been deposited into your bank account…

“Well I’ll be!” uttered the manager, momentarily agitated that he’s lost his ticket, “But thank God we don’t have to listen to that darned piano any more!”

© WalksFarWoman 2007

The 6M Profit Method

The Tagging Game

I was visited by Andrew Murphy earlier today and I took a look at his blog Murphs On (Great header image, Andrew). I’ve not met Andrew before but I love the idea of The Tagging Game.


1. Post these rules before you give you the facts.
2. List eight (8) random facts about yourself.
3. At the end of your post, choose (tag) eight people and list their names (linking to them).
4. Leave them a comment on their blog letting them know they’ve been tagged!

8 Random Facts about Mark aka Wizzer – The Tagging Game

1. My all time favourite band is Free – Paul Kossoff, Paul Rodgers, Andy Fraser & Simon Kirke

2. The name “Wizzer” came from a guy I worked with who called me “Wislon” instead of “Wilson” – someone else shortened it!

3. I love TVR cars – quirky, fast, unreliable but undeniably individual British (originally before take over) sportscars

4. Wherever I go I have a habit of always choosing the most expensive items – even before I know the price!

5. Football (soccer to most of you guys!) is something I am passionate about

6. My golf handicap is 19 but it should be a lot better!

7. The smell of freshly mown grass reminds me of my school days

8. I read every one of DavidBDale’s 299 word stories.

I’m tagging:
Tray Gamble
Jes Dawn
Suzie Cheel
Ed Dale
Yaro Starak
Christine O’Kelly
Andy Beard

Life Magazine

Just Schmoozing

I was overwhelmed with joy when I opened my mailbox this morning to the realisation that I have an award waiting for me at The Painted Veil. This is quite an honour I must tell you, a surprise, I think it’s a great way to spur deserving bloggers on. Thanks Shinade for this award, you’re indeed a gem.

Now my own 5
I have to do the rounds of blogs to do this and I must confess that there are a lot of good writers out there, believe me you will be confuse trying to pick out your five if you were in my position.

My first hit is Davidbdale of Very Short Novels; he is an innovative writer who has an intriguing way of portraying his characters, I love his concept of 299 words, it keeps you at it knowing you will soon get to know the end of the story. Get to know him and you will see his great schmoozer

But I have another hit here, do I need to give an inside scoop on her for those non-gardeners…….. Nope you can get to know her through this award. She is Philomena Ojikutu of the Telenovela Love Garden,the eloquence with which she summarizes and reviews telenovela make her a great schmoozer.

Oh RefinedOne, what do I say about you, I think I will use tags for you, you know they tell more of you than any other description I could use, and I really want people to know why you deserve this award, here is:

Orphaned children
Hope in crisis
Need I go on?

And now it’s your turn Trina Roach of Creating Tomorrow ….I guess you’re as surprise as I was. Trina is a leadership consultant and a coaching expert, for those wondering what that means, just go get a glimpse of creating tomorrow and you’ll see.

Here I draw the curtain with Yolanda of she is a loving mom blogging about her Efamily.She is one of my prize schmoozer.

Do I hear drums……..
Yes, I think so
Congratulations bloggers
Don’t forget to “PASS IT ON”


Sending Out More Linky-Love

One day, while glancing over my blog and admiring my work, as us egotistical weirdos are wont to do, I noticed a thinker. I love “The Thinker” so I followed the avatar, and found Silly Signs. Well, as you know, anything that makes me laugh is way sexy in my book! I read the blog – then read it again! I’m hooked. 🙂

The owner of Silly Signs also has Graham’s Random Ramblings. The first thing I saw was a picture of a man taking out the garbage. Scrolling down and laughing at a few of his entries, I saw another pic. A man offering to go shoe shopping! OhMyHigherBeing!! PORN FOR FEMALES! Lovin’ it! 🙂 Go give Graham some love.

While I’m sending out the love, I also want to mention jungl of Photos from Northern Norway. I just can’t stop looking at his macropic of a dragonfly’s eyes. AWESOME! And creepy. And awesome. And creepy. And awesome! 🙂 My favourite has got to be the marsh filled with mist. Makes me feel wistful and comforted at the same time. Yeah.. I know. Weird. But if a picture can evoke such strong emotions, you know it’s done well. 🙂 Show jungl some love for his talent. Or for his cool beard. You know. Whatever works for you. 🙂

Another bit of love goes to Very Short Novels
. Now THIS is a cool idea. Every story exactly 299 words. I love his moustache pieces, but they’re all very interesting! 🙂 When you can’t spend more than a few minutes on a site, go see davidbdale’s work.

And last, but certainly not least.. I’m going to send out more love to Mark/poetx at Big Scary Unknown. Man-trouble can suck, and a few e-hugs in his direction certainly couldn’t hurt! BIG HUGS, Mark!


Choosing to Schmooze, nothing to lose
Published by franscud July 2nd, 2007

A few months back I learned about a social networking service for bloggers called MyBlogLog. It’s a place for folks with blogs to join together and create communities. Sometimes the communities organize around shared experience and like minds, but they can also be places of unity in diversity, where we learn and grow by exposing ourselves to varied perspectives.

The connections made through MyBlogLog are for the most part virtual, but the bonds can still be very strong. In my short time with the service, I’ve formed some friendships that I know will last, and I hope to enter into others. Jeane, nom de plume the poetress, from Binding Ink is one of the special people I’ve met online, and she’s graciously bestowed upon my little website a Power of Schmooze award, which as far as I can tell originated from Mike’s Ordinary Folk blog.

In a sense, Schmoozing is one of the most critical skills in the Web 2.0 world of social networking. All good networkers need to go on the charm offensive to build wider groupings of contacts and more powerfully connected communities. That can mean something as simple as thanking chance visitors for taking the time to read your posts, or it can be a more complex and rewarding conversation with your fellow writers.

Here are my list of bloggers, who have represented the best aspects of Schmoozing. As far as I can tell they have yet to be tagged, but even if they were it’ll just mean an additional link of recognition for them, and another good piece of Schmoozing on my part.

* Alex of A Blog That Lies was one of my earliest contacts at MyBlogLog and we’re regular commenters on each other’s sites. He is quick to thank and seek feedback from visitors, and his site has a very interesting concept: fictionalizing news stories.

* Jennifer, aka truthdancer, of Goodness Graciousness just got an award from me, but I’m tagging her again. She is one of the most positive people you’ll ever come to know and her site will definitely give you a new more uplifting outlook.

* SpacedGirlHero of Stuperhero Extraordinaire is one of my newer contacts, but she has been very generous in leaving complimentary comments on my blog. She is equally open and welcoming on her own site, and I hope you’ll check it out.

* David of Very Short Novels is very quick to notice and acknowledge visits to his wonderful short-fiction site. He limits himself to 299 words in crafting his posts, but you’ll be surprised at how much he can express in that small space.

* Amy of Wamylove music video blog is also someone I’ve traded comments with from early on in this networking experiment. Her site is great if you like music, as she provides wonderful background and video clips of some interesting bands.

Blogs We Luv

Very Short Novels — A blog we luv
Published by Tish July 2nd, 2007 in Reviews.

Very Short Novels

If you enjoy fiction but just don’t have much time to read, you will love Very Short Novels. David Hodges, writing as David B Dale, describes his blog as “Character, conflict, emotional impact. And sentences! Everything you want in a novel, without one extra syllable.” David has done something truly unique with this blog. He boasts that he is “the inventor and only known practitioner of the 299-word Very Short Novel”. The skeptic in me copied the first story and pasted it into Word. I did a word count. Exactly 299 words! The second story was also 299 words! In fact, I tested several stories, and none of them contained one extra or one missing word.Technique aside, I decided to read a few of the stories. Though brief, each conveyed a powerful tale – a quick snapshot of a much larger story. I was impressed. In particular, I enjoyed the Mustache trilogy. My Mustache is the story of a man who decides to shave the mustache he has always sported. His Mustache is the same story told from the wife’s perspective. And My Son’s Mustache is the story yet again – this time expressed in the voice of the man’s mother. One story being told three different times by three different people illustrates a simple truth – very few things in life are matter-of-fact.

David has done a fantastic job of keeping the blog up to date. He has been posting several stories per week since September 2006. If you like the first story you choose to read, be sure to peruse the archives for more Very Short Novels.

AnceStories: The Stories of My Ancestors

Thinking Blogger Award

No doubt you’re well aware of the Thinking Blogger Award meme that’s been sweeping through the genea-blogger world. The footnoteMaven very kindly nominated me for the award, calling me a “Blogger par excellence, who directs our thoughts in chronicling our own lives.” I’m very deeply honored, Maven! Folks, the footnoteMaven is on my “must read” list, and she deserves to be on yours, as well!

Here are the rules for the meme:
1. If, and only if, you get tagged, write a post with links to 5 blogs that make you think. Tag blogs with real merits, i.e. relative content, and above all – blogs that really get you thinking!
2. The origin of the meme is “Too Many Blogs, Not Enough Thoughts!” at The Thinking Blog.
3. Display the Thinking Blogger Award with a link to the post that you wrote.

This wasn’t an easy task. First off, I wanted to stay true to the principle behind this award, and list blogs that really made me think. Secondly, many of the thoughtful genealogy bloggers that immediately came to mind had been tagged before I could write this post (of course!). So with some more pondering (I am a thinker, after all!) and a little creative “thinking outside the box,” I now give you my list:

1. One of the most thoughtful bloggers I read is no longer with us. Ken Aitken posted his helpful tips on being an effective genealogy researcher, speaker, writer, and educator at Genealogy Education. I considered him one of my mentors and am so sad that there will no longer be any new wise thoughts he can share with us. His son has graciously kept his blog up on the Internet, and I still revisit to relearn or get new ideas. Yes, I realize that Steve Danko has also posthumously given this award to Ken; in my humble opinion, Ken deserves it many times over!

2. Before I had the pleasure of meeting Michael John Neill last fall at my local genealogical society’s October Workshop, I had already been a huge fan of his blog, Rootdig, and the articles he writes for various genealogical publications. Michael’s posts on his blog generally run short, and thus the lessons he shares are very effective. They do make me stop and ponder the point he’s making. His “Can You Read It?” posts really make me think…many are true head-scratchers! Another reason I like his blog: he often references his research on his Frisian ancestors; his come from Germany, while mine hail from the Netherlands.

3. Speaking of the Netherlands, Hank van Kampen has a very good blog, fittingly titled Trace Your Dutch Roots. Hank’s blog has made me understand that no matter how much I learn about research in a certain location or culture, there’s always more to discover! It’s also very helpful to know there is someone I could turn to if I got stuck on a certain Dutch genealogical research challenge! In addition to his genealogy interests, Henk also has two other blogs, Masterpieces–highlighting masterpieces of art, literature, and architechture–and Haagse Prenten (Images of the Hague), featuring images of the capital city of his country. Take a look at his reading list at Masterpieces, and you’ll agree with me that Henk is a thinker!

4. Very Short Novels by David Hodges, a.k.a. David B. Dale, make me think, and think, and think some more. In fact, a visit to VSN usually leaves me feeling like my brain has been turned upside down or inside out, or both. Never before have I seen someone take 299 (or less) words and write a complete, compact, conflicting, emotional and thought-provoking novel! One of the David’s great abilities is to re-write his novel from another character’s point of view. Ah, the twists (and hence, the brain flip-flops)! So what does this have to do with genealogy? On the surface, nothing; and yet I believe the mind exercises involved in reading and comprehending these novels are great for strengthening the outside-the-box processes that good genealogists need.

5. I just discovered that my fifth nomination for the Thinking Blogger Award had already received it (not surprising); and as I am too exhausted to hunt though my long list of the many blogs I read to find another (!), I’ll leave you with this: Peter Haslam’s Necessary Skills is chock-full of insightful, inspirational posts that educate his readers on thinking about what they are thinking, changing and improving their thinking, and utilizing their thinking for personal growth and fulfillment. Again, the relationship to genealogy is obvious to me: when faced with a brick wall, we often need to critique our thought process. Is the problem our ancestor’s lack of records or our own incorrect or undeveloped thinking about the situation?

Jack Stevison

Link Love, two Market Blogs and One Not

Also starting this week I’m going to show the love to fellow bloggers with the hopes of getting some attention in return. How’s that for full disclosure of my intentions?

Stockalicious – New to me, this site is a fantastic way for some basic tracking of your trades if you’re a non-blogger or don’t want to log into your brokerage account that often to see how you’re doing. Plus, as I found out, they send a weekly update of your “account” showing its performance for the week compared to the major averages. I’m all cash so I won this round. Remove the word “blog” from the url to get to the tracking site. Good stuff.

Ticker Sense – This blog has been around for a long time but I’m just now linking to it because I get to play in their blogger sentiment poll for the first time next week. This is the poll that asks investment bloggers their sentiment about the market for the next month. Tune in Monday for my choice. The sentiment poll isn’t all they do though, the site is hosted by Birinyi Associates, and they provide some unique technical perspectives on a regular basis.

Very Short Novels – Quickly becoming one of my favorite blogs, the author provides exactly what the title says, very short novels. So short in fact, that if it can’t be said in less than 299 words, it isn’t said. “Anything more is a waste.”

Have a stellar week, and to any and all cat-friendly readers out there, please wish the boy well as he goes in this week to have the kidney problems taken care of.

homegrown skinny

the beauty of ‘next’…

Saturday, June 23rd, 2007 in Generality

it’s just after 11 am, jude is perched in front of the television (god, i hate wow wow wubbzy), and i’ve not collapsed on the kitchen floor in tears, retired to my bed to lay where juan had once before, or googled his name in search of some sort of appropriate news article on his death. it’s a good better day. in an effort to fight the urge to post something, anything, here about my friend i’ve turned to the ‘next’ button up there, the one that will direct you, dear reader, to random blogs by random people not talking about the time juan and i went to the river and we both agreed it was the best day of our lives or that joke he made about mexicans hating oranges as african americans hate cotton, quite possibly the funniest thing i’ve ever heard, or the weird urge i’m having to hop on plane to texas and head to the cemetary to ask him personally for my 6,007 cd’s back.

let it occupy you, as it has occupied me…

* NRA History @ Hasty Ruminations – it’s title lies, and that shit is hilarious…
* Hitting the Nail on the Head @ ::friction – summarized? barack obama says “i’m not opposed to all wars. i’m opposed to dumb ones”. right on…
* Something to Offend Everyone @ The Mouse House – how odd is it that i stumble upon a joke i cracked with juan on a regular basis?!
* Panama Poets – mmm, poetry. helps much more than all the damn jesus blogs i keep stumbling on…
* Real Men Love Jesus @ Confessions of a TreeHouse Monastic – not really about jesus, per say, otherwise i’d curse it. and that book there, about growing up without a dad? looks interesting (i have a daddy, jude does not)…
* Very Short Novels – go there, it’s righteous…
* Chad Hartigan – i am inexplicably and madly in love with this man. apparently, grief instills in me a need for affection i rarely feel. too bad he totally loves someone else…

things shall be back to normal here soon, with proper punctuation and all. thanks for sticking around and thanks for the well wishes, my lady friends of the blogosphere…

Mariuca: Wishing on a Falling Star

Thinking Blogger Award
Mariuca’s First Award!

I’m all smiles today because I’ve been awarded The Thinking Blogger Award by 2 talented Mariucans who have been my strongest supporters since day one – Bobby Revell and Mike. It’s such an honour to receive this award from both of you and it gives me absolute pleasure to pass on The Thinking Blogger Award to these 5 wonderful bloggers:

Emila deserves this award simply because she’s too modest to realise just how great she truly is. I admire her drive to constantly improve herself, searching for bigger better ways to succeed. From a modest beginning, she now has her own Emila’s Illustrated Blog and recently opened a Greeting Card Store, where she sells her designs on-line. Her unique arts and crafts are inspiring! There’s always a story behind them and this is what makes her blog extra special and cosy!

Nick Phillips is the author of Anything Goes. We’re both “stuck” in the same industry so we experience similar pains and joys in the mad world of advertising. I enjoy visiting Nick’s blog as I sometimes see “me” in his rambles on life, work, nasty neighbours and anything under the sun. I’m also very fond of his sense of humour; generally depicted in his posts, making them entertaining and pleasant to read.

My next award goes to Jean, the sweet author of A Great Pleasure, who’s also turning out to be one of my good friends here. Jean’s blog is very well designed with an excellent layout. Everything is in place which makes viewing her blog delightful indeed. Jean’s genuine love for fine cuisine flows passionately in her posts, as she informs readers on great places to dine, interesting recipes along with a dash of life-related posts. Combined, Jean has all the right ingredients to cook up a delicious blog for us to feast upon!

Zubli Zainordin. Who is Zubli Zainordin? He doesn’t give away much and always keeps me guessing on his next move. Besides being an established author, public speaker, thinker, poet, and philosopher, he is also a very good friend. He might intimidate initially, with his endless list of achievements, but once you really get to know him, you’ll be truly inspired by his enthusiasm and devotion – I know I was.

My final award goes to David Hodges, the talented author of Very Short Novels. I admire David’s style of writing and his diligence in churning out interesting short stories every few days leaves me in awe. David is my source of inspiration to one day make it as a well-known author so for that, I pick him to receive this prestigious award!

Congratulations to all 5 bloggers! Here are the rules to participate in this award-giving ceremony, should you choose to accept it.

If, and only if, you get tagged, write a post with links to 5 blogs that make you think.

Link to this post so that people can easily find the exact origin of the meme.

Optional: Proudly display the ‘Thinking Blogger Award’ with a link to the post that you wrote (here is an alternative gold version if silver doesn’t fit your blog).

Somerset Bob’s Place

Thinking Blogger Award
Published June 16th, 2007 in Web Publishing

Adria (in cinq) has honoured Somerset Bob’s Place with Thinking Blogger Award (created by Ilker Yoldas of The Thinking Blog).

In turn, I present the award to these five thought-provoking blogs:


English Blogger – My Back Garden


The Alien Next Door

Very Short Novels

Congratulations! You won a Thinking Blogger Award

Should you choose to participate, please make sure you pass this list of rules to the blogs you are tagging. The participation rules are simple:

1. If, and only if, you get tagged, write a post with links to 5 blogs that make you think.
2. Link to this post so that people can easily find the exact origin of the meme.
3. Optional: Proudly display the ‘Thinking Blogger Award’ with a link to the post that you wrote (here is an alternative gold version if silver doesn’t fit your blog).

Hiding Out in the Blogosphere

This Is Your Brain On Blog: Any Questions?

A fellow blogger has listed my blog as a thinking blog in a post here
and I am glad to be nice and return the favor in this post. The Blogs that people like say something about them. The five blogs I have listed below say something about me. Here are some things I like. I like nice people, creative people, photography and art, ranting constructively, humor, interesting variety and cultural tidbits. The blogs I am listing have those things and more.

Goodness Graciousness Speaking of nice, this blog is over flowing with nice, a very underrated quality in my opinion. I hate the expression “nice guys finish last” and I don’t think it is true. Jennifer is very smart and widely read so her posts are interesting as well as uplifting. Her cosmic Aura can only do good things for your well being. Please visit her blog and if you want to light a candle and get into the lotus position first, that would be good 🙂

Very Short Novels I guess a lot of people are drawn to blogging because they like to write, me included. When I found David Dales web site which consists of 299 word short stories, my first reaction was, I want to try that. I asked him if he actually counts all those words and he told me M.S. Word counts the words. He saw where I was going and let me know that his site was for his stories only. Maybe some day I will put out a short story and ask the master to give it a read just for fun. David has a deep well spring of creativity because he cranks out a lot of quality stories. Each one is loaded with imagery and interesting situations. It was a dark and stormy night when David Dale was born.

Innings How does Norman Roberts do it? Where does he get all those fascinating, funny, strange, art-full pictures? I would put his website up against any other website on the planet as the most universally enjoyable destination for all people everywhere. I won’t say anymore because his pictures do all the talking.

Twisted Sisters I have some ranting going on in my brain and on my blog so when I found “Totally pissed off” I felt like I was right at home. It’s refreshing to see someone pissed off about something because there are a lot of things we SHOULD be mad about. Those people need to stop that and why hasn’t somebody done something about that other thing, dammit! Their post listing me as a thinking blogger is why I am doing this post to spread the love. The sisters also have a great sense of humor which helps us get through being pissed off.

Webwunderkammer This next site is fun because Zep is sitting over there in Germany and has a bug eye on all of us and finds interesting things to highlight. I think he has an artists eye because he includes a lot of visual stuff that creative people enjoy. We all see a lot of the same stuff but don’t give it a thought. Some people have an antenna for things to put back up in our face to remind us we should be laughing or scratching our heads. Some websites are focused but it’s nice to have a place to go where you just don’t know what you will find next.

Celebrate Life—Daily!

“Blogs I Like” Thursdays
“Very Short Novels”

I’ve decided to make Thursday my “Blogs I Like” day, and will post a new favorite each week, until I get bored and decide to do something different.

Nope! This is not “reviews for pay”, nor am I doing this for reciprocal links, so don’t write to ask me to check out your blog; it ain’t gonna happen! Now that’s been said, on with the show…

The first blog, in this series, I’d like to share is a recent favorite:

Very Short Novels, by David B Dale

David is a really cool guy (imo), and has literally mastered the art of the “short novel”. He describes his blog as:

“299-word novels: Character, conflict, emotional impact. And sentences! Everything you want in a novel, without one extra syllable.”

I recently commented to David that I may not read his blog as often as I’d like, BUT! I’m never disappointed when I do.

You won’t be either.


“Future Perfect « Very Short Novels”

Do yourselves an immense favour and click through to this blog! If the catch phrase: “299 words each. Anything more is a waste” doesn’t grab you – this specific ‘Very Short Novel’ most definitely will.

Crofty’s Blog

Thinking Blogger Award from Crofty
“All that Dutch Philosophy Must Have Paid Off”

I was flattered and delighted when Thomas Hamburger Jnr nominated me for a Thinking Blogger Award. The time spent in the Hotel de Filosoof must have paid off. My only regret is that I cannot put the award on our mantelpiece for all to see; still if it was on the mantelpiece it would need dusting, so it’s not all bad. This evening I think we shall have our little award ceremony, the sort where I get drunk and everyone else fawns after me.

As part of the acceptance process it is my solemn duty to select five people that I think also deserve the nomination. It is quite timely for me to think about other bloggers I like, having just tidied up my blogroll. Let’s see…Nurse Myra? She certainly gets me thinking, I’m just not sure it’s about the right sort of thing though; and I can’t usually think too deeply for laughing in any case. I’m sort of reluctant to go straight for the obvious bloggers that spring to mind because they are so good, in my view, that they don’t need the extra readership that might come their way if I choose them. Yet others I might have chosen have already been nominated. Hmmm, I think I might just have to be straightforward and go for the obvious anyway.

First, I choose David B Dale and his Very Short Novels. David is a fabulous writer who, in each post, creates a perfectly formed miniature novel from 299 words. Each one has the essence of a much larger piece of literature distilled with finesse and skill into this tiny word count. He makes me think about word economy and each one has a theme that is often deep and frequently disturbing.

Next I choose Ruby Soho; Aaryan, who writes this blog in San Diego USA, is another stunning writer; she should be, she actually gets money for writing too – can you imaging that? I love her posts about being a mum to her adopted daughter together with a refreshingly anti – republican political stance. She makes me think that, just maybe, there is a future for politics in the US and its adopted island state, the UK.

Third is Bill Blunt, I’m sure someone must have done him already but I haven’t seen it. Bill is a journalistic legend with a scything wit and an astute eye for a story. He is a blogger who deals with issues in an almost frivolous manner whilst ensuring you are tapped in to the more serious underlying story, a true professional.

The trick of writing engagingly, in my view, is to do what the great artists do: simply apply paint to canvas using the palette of superficial colours and washes then produce something that, when you stand back, is much more than the sum of the contents. My fourth choice is someone who does just that. Urban Cowgirl moved to New Zealand from the UK some time ago and writes about the joys of discovering her new country whilst regretting the loss of the old. Her posts regularly raise thoughts about what home means and make me question values in the UK that I take for granted.

Finally, I choose Life and Times written by Jonathan. This was one of the first blogs I read and Jonathan’s wide ranging posts cover everything from IT and computer games to adoption and society’s ills. The beauty of his writing is in constantly being fresh, thus keeping interest and generating thought.

Wordsmith Extraordinaire

Thinking Blogger Award from Jill Terry of Wordsmith

Walter Burek of Inklings has bestowed this honorable award upon me, naming Wordsmith one of the winners of the “Thinking Blogger Award.” How cool is that! Perhaps there’s more to my ramblings and rants than I give myself credit for. The award entitles me to proudly post the banner and gives me the privilege of in turn, choosing 5 blogs that make me think.

Drum roll please…

1. Very Short Novels. David Hodges never ceases to give my mental wheels a good spin. On occasion he’s caused my gray matter to fluctuate out of control, but I always find the man and his work inspiring!
2. Lost & Found. My friend from Delhi, who is always quick with kind words of praise. I love reading the snippets of his life, and often wonder where he was in his mind and in his heart, when he was inspired to write the things he does. He makes me realize that no matter where on planet Earth you call home, inside we’re all pretty much the same!
3. Anonymous Assclown. I saw hatred…I saw beauty…I saw rage…I saw wonder…I saw lust…I saw evil…I saw grace…I saw wrath…I saw charity…I saw greed…as I passed by the hall mirror. Enough said!
4. From the Shattered Drum. Keith Strohm is a passionate, dedicated Catholic Christian, interested in what it means to live out Christ’s call, who also happens to be an amazing writer. You gotta love this guy!
5. Beaman’s World. A collection of poetry, short stories and political/philosophical discussions by a 26-year-old European who is wise beyond his years. I think this makes the 4th time he’s received this award.

Thank you, Walter!

Oops… I forgot to post the rules for the winners I crowned. And I hate that I only got to pick 5, as there are so many wonderful sites that I read on a regular basis.

The rules are simple:
A. Write a post with links to 5 blogs that make you think.
B. Link to this post so that people can easily find the origin of the meme.
C. Proudly display the ‘Thinking Blogger Award’ (choose either the gold or silver version) with a link to the post that you wrote.

Creme de la Blog

Very Short Novels

“When she brought me eggs and didn’t make me dress, when she didn’t make me ask about the toast, when she took the rest of the whole young day for granted, I knew what a terrible hurry she’d been in to be in love.”

This is an excerpt from David Hodges’ (a.k.a. David B Dale) Politics of Beauty, one of the dozens of literary gems featured in Very Short Novels, an outstanding blog collection.

The other day, I commented in my review of In Cinq, “It’s astonishing, what the authors manage to convey with a mere 9 words.” I’m equally impressed with the provocative writing in Very Short Novels. Each miniature novel is comprised of 299 words (I’ll admit, I was skeptical, so confirmed this with word count in Word).

Amazingly, the stories don’t feel rushed or manipulated. The author is a master with the literary zoom lens. In the breadth of a single typed page, he manages to do something extraordinary: he satisfies the discriminating reader.

Very Short Novels is proof that great things can come in tiny packages.

Read for yourself at

Pretty Good On Paper

If I have an over-riding goal in life, one which shapes my actions more than any other, it is to get people to think of me as smart. I know that’s kinda sad, but I’m trying to be honest here. And those of you who know me well will realize how often I fall short of that goal, um, the smartitude thing. (See how gracefully I wiggled out of that vague reference error?) So I was happy to discover yesterday that the kind and thoughtful strugglingwriter has nominated me for a Thinking Blogger Award . . . .

[Many entertaining paragraphs omitted. Do click back to Pretty Good on Paper to read them.]

So to my five nominees, below, I say, keep this meme going. Make somebody else feel smart. To everyone else I say loop people in with hyperlinked comments–it’s even better. Also to those who I am not nominating, but who are on my blogroll: you make me think, or you wouldn’t be there.

I nominate the following five blogs for the Thinking Blogger Award:

* Stiletto Girl, who (together with the sizeable group of people who comment on her blog) always makes me think about personal relationships in new ways.
* Litlove, who gave me the idea for the linguistic experiment that I’ve been running on this blog for a couple of months now. She adds things to my reading list that you wouldn’t even believe.
* DavidBDale, who can pack more truth into 299 words of fiction than most could cram into a dissertation.
* Anxious MoFo, who is apparently one of those rare souls who can engage in meaningful, polite, intelligent conversation about anything.
* Kuipercliff, one of a small but growing group of bloggers out there who are talking about technology stuff while running along the knife-edge between opaque and patronizing.

Those of you I have “tagged” above, here are the rules of participation:

If, and only if, you get tagged, write a post with links to 5 blogs that make you think. Link to this post so that people can easily find the exact origin of the meme. Optional: Proudly display the ‘Thinking Blogger Award’ with a link to the post that you wrote (here is an alternative silver version if gold doesn’t fit your blog).

chasing shadows again

Killing time between here and Neverland you might check out—

* Gumball Poetry which has such things to offer as Nude Badminton by Matt Sandbank!
* Modern Ruins photographic essays by Shaun O’Boyle – hauntingly lyric photography
* Poetry Thursday offers links to poems Thursdays, prompts on Fridays, and various other resources and articles
* Very Short Novels David B Dale offers 299 word snapshots of fiction rich with crisp images and a sense of character and humanity – proof that more words do not equal more intensity

Harry McFry Investigates

Very Short Novels

I found Very Short Novels after David B Dale, the blog’s author, dropped by to view Harry McFry, and was kind enough to leave a positive comment about it.

David has brought together a collection of writings that all come in at exactly 299 words. It’s a great idea, and lets you sample lots of different styles and genres in a short space of time.

I can only commend it to you.

–Thomas Hamburger Jnr

A Curious Girl’s Guide to Life

My favourite blogs

“Millions of blogs out there, some of them must be good” is a quote I’ve seen somewhere. I’ve been reading my way through the world’s blogs, within reason, having become a member of various blogging communities like fuelmyblog , and the excellent mybloglog.

I imagine what we like in a blog is very subjective. I tend to only read blogs from the UK and USA, although I would love to find a well written blog about life in Japan for example. I like blogs which are well designed, where you don’t have to click on links to view the content. Pretty photos are good – I should do more of this myself. I like blogs where the writer’s voice and spirit comes through, OR blogs that tell you things you didn’t already know. Quirky blogs.

So in no particular order, here are some of the blogs I’ve discovered, and the reasons why I like them:

Very Short Novels. This is fun. David B Dale writes novels in 299 words. Character, conflict, emotional impact. And sentences! Everything you want in a novel, without one extra syllable.

Anthony’s Books

“Very Short Novels”
March 25th, 2007

This review is different. Instead of reviewing a book, I’m reviewing a website that is all about brilliantly written short stories. Very Short Novels is a site that claims a novel with more than 299 words is a waste. What I like about these stories, is that they are so concentrated, that there is no detail that is not needed, and you have to pay attention to every word or you’ll miss the whole point. How’s that for a “very short” review? Check it out!

Tales from the Reading Room

Blogs That Make Me Think

I was thrilled to discover that the lovely Dorothy W. had been kind enough to nominate me for a Thinking Blogger Award. (There’s a cute little button that goes with this, but unfortunately no one in their right mind is going to nominate me for the Technically Accomplished Bloggers Awards.) And now it’s my turn. I get to nominate five blogs that really make me think, and the following bloggers continually challenge my ideas, give me extraordinary new concepts to consider and generally make me sit up and pay attention:

Very Short Novels

This Space

The Reading Experience

No Dependencies/No Logo


There are many others I could mention too – just have a look at the blogroll on the right. And people say there’s nothing but drivel on the internet! They haven’t got a clue.

A Curious Singularity

The little phrase “as if” appears four times in the first two paragraphs of In Dreams Begin Responsibilities. Other qualifiers, “I think”, “I feel”, “The actors seem”, undercut the authority of the narrator. If that weren’t enough to make us distrust the historical accuracy of what we’re reading, we’re told it’s a movie we’re watching, a bad print of a silent picture at that, a remote period drama with ridiculous costumes, badly lit. And before the second paragraph finishes setting the scene, our narrator further allows that he feels anonymous, amnesiac, half-asleep, and drugged.

That’s a lot of trouble to distance himself from the story of how Dad proposed to Mom. But even that distance isn’t safe enough to tell this tale. By the time the usher drags the narrator from the theater at the end of the story, it’s not just the theater he ejects him from but the dream this whole long story has been.

Through all these filters, we should be able to look straight at the sun. And that’s why, I think, it’s no coincidence that exactly halfway through the narrative, toward the end of section III, of VI, the narrator’s “parents gaze absentmindedly at the ocean, scarcely interested in its harshness. The sun overhead does not disturb them. But I stare at the terrible sun which breaks up sight, and the fatal, merciless, passionate ocean.” Shocked by their indifference, he bursts out weeping again.

The first occasion for weeping comes suddenly, when the father is described as “disappointed by actualities” which somehow always fall short. That the narrator takes this personally cannot be doubted, and the humiliation he feels is uncomfortably explicit. He dries his face and licks the drop which has fallen near his lips.

There’s a lot of brilliant scene-setting here, and many perfectly chosen, telling details. But the technique I’m concentrating on here begins in the darkness of the movie theater, arcs through a blazing midday which is lost on the parents but internalized by the son, then proceeds to other dark places, the photo booth, the fortune-teller’s booth, back to the darkened theater, and finally back into the cold light of a 21st birthday.

Before he casts him out into that bleak winter morning, the usher tries to shift responsibility to the narrator to control his own actions and behave like a good young citizen with a future, but it’s painfully obvious the “responsibility” that consumes the narrator’s imagination is not his own, but his parents’, and that they’ve thoughtlessly, absentmindedly dismissed it, creating monsters in the process.

He’s the one who sees things clearly, who dares to see the light and rants against indifference and blindness. And that would make a pretty good story. But the fact that his confidence is mostly bluster, that to tell his parents anything they have to be in a movie inside a dream, the fact, in short, that he hasn’t learned his lesson at all, is what makes the story great.

Found this reference to Very Short Novels at Honest Chaos

Sunday Spotlight 4: Very Short Novels

It’s Sunday again, and you know what that means. It’s time for an addition to my collection of Sunday Spotlights; this time it is a blog run by David B Dale [pen name] called Very Short Novels. For those of you new to the blog who don’t know what Sunday Spotlights are, they are simply my spotlight on an excellent blog that has similar content to what you can find here. Anyway, here is some more about Very Short Novels.

David’s blog takes an interesting look at fiction pieces: less is more. Each entry is a short fictional piece. You can look here for an example of his latest work. His short (no surprise) about says this about the blog:

299 Word Novels

Character, conflict, emotional impact. And sentences! Everything you want in a novel, without one extra syllable.

I strongly encourage you check out Very Short Novels, because its unique content and unusual style sticks out among a sea of boring blogs.

Found this reference to Very Short Novels at My Errant Mind

Featured Writer’s Site:
Very Short Novels — Author David B Dale (pen name for David Hodges) owns the word concise. Dictionaries should just list his name next to the word. It would be in the spirit of what he does, which is simply amazing.

David turns out novels of 299 words in length. No, your eyes aren’t misleading you. I said 299 words.

On his site, he describes them thus:

“Character, conflict, emotional impact. And sentences! Everything you want in a novel, without one extra syllable.”

(Source: Very Short Novels)

And he isn’t kidding.

Some writers struggle when it comes to self-editing. I’m one of them. I don’t know whether David does or not, but I suspect he must be channeling every spirit of every dead editor since the dawn of time when he does it.

There’s something nice about short novels. There’s something incredible, however, about novels you can read on your coffee break at work—before your coffee even begins to get cold! His work covers a wide range and after reading several I’ve not been disappointed once.

My personal favorites were Kingdom Come and Daddy Loves Darfur. David also has a Readers’ Choice page where you can voice your own personal favorite.

You can subscribe to the Very Short Novels RSS feed and have novels sent to you that you can read in less time than it would take to read a typical news article. This site is a testament to inspiration, hard work, and also serves as a good example of niche marketing.

It’s well put together, looks sharp, and the writing is great. Oh, and he’s got a bunch of really cool sites listed in his blogroll. Go check his site out and start reading.


Found this reference to Very Short Novels at Early To Success.

I’ve a place that you might find it interesting, 299 words novels (anything more is waste).

I’ve read few of David’s writings which I found inspiring. David is a genius in getting your mind to spin faster, a little exercise for the brain to run away from the routine.

Hop to his site and get your brain to start thinking.

Found this reference to Very Short Novels at Lori’s Book Nook

Here, and at my more general, more absurd blog, I’m updating my links to include David B Dale’s Very Short Novels, Azahar’s Casa Az, and Archies’ Archive.

It’s about time, since I visit rather regularly, and they seem to visit me.

Enjoy their sites, if you haven’t gone already.

Found this reference to Very Short Novels at Raincoaster


There are an infinite to the power of ten number of games, tricks, memes, generators, and other gizmos to give writers the well-deserved smack on the bottom or the top that they need to be really creative, including Flash Fiction. One of the best Flash Fiction sites is David B Dale’s, and fortunately the standard there is high enough to give some feeble hope to us skeptics. Not enough, though, to override my belief that in very few cases do these artificially confining pretences lead to actually great writing. I can think of Ramsay Campbell’s short story, “Heading Home,” which literally could not have been done in any art form other than writing. It is the least-filmable piece ever committed to mass market paperback. There is also the great Dorothy Parker’s perfect poem “Two-Volume Novel,”

The sun’s gone dim, and
The moon’s turned black;
For I loved him, and
He didn’t love back.

But this, six-word flash fiction, and perhaps the most restrictive of those challenges, takes inspiration from this great work of Ernest Hemingway’s

For Sale: Baby shoes, never worn.

Found this reference to Very Short Novels at
Archie’s Archive


David B Dale has again delighted with his 299 word novel “Daddy Loves Darfur”. So much lies between, not his lines, but his words. Each. Individual. Word!

Cross Posted at
A Curious Singularity

on Ernest Hemingway’s Hills Like White Elephants

You’re all so good at critical reading, I’ve had to work hard to find new ground to cover in this story. I’d like to begin with the title.

I guess it’s fair to say Hemingway’s writing is known to eschew metaphor in favor of more direct language, so it seems important that the story’s title is a simile, and that the girl’s comparing the hills to white elephants should prompt their first testiness. They don’t argue about the aptness of the comparison, exactly, but whether he might or might not know something about which he has no first-hand knowledge. White elephants, in this case.

Of course, the big white elephant nobody actually talks about in this story is the exact nature of the “operation” Stephanie first identified for us as the abortion. Elephants aren’t the only thing the American tries to convince the girl he knows something about.

The details of their conversation have been well discussed by others, but not the geography of the scene. The station sits between two parallel tracks in a valley. The couple sit on the “dry” side in the shade of the building, looking at white hills. They each move once during the story to a place where they can see the other side, the mountain side, dare I call it the fertile side, where the Ebro flows and nourishes its trees and fields of grain.

The station, but more pointedly a beaded curtain, separates the dry and fertile sides, a membrane that moves in the breeze, and “lets the air in,” an insubstantial boundary that the waitress and man cross easily, but the girl does not. I think I can pinpoint the moment when the girl decides not to have the operation.

We could talk for quite a while about why the story is set in a train station, and maybe someone else will. Or whether strings of beads are like stops along a train line, or moments in time, or even more far-fetched analogies. The only point I want to make is that Hemingway didn’t abandon metaphor, he just broadened it and partially buried it. His valley, the luggage with its tags (what we’d refer to as their “baggage”), that train station so squarely placed on the razor’s edge between sun and shade, fertile and barren, they’re all big metaphors that resonate beneath the dialogue.

I would like to know from someone else what the Spanish Revolution might have to do with the mysterious exchange about what we can have, and what we can’t, and how “once they take it away, you never get it back.” That conversation’s only partly about the couple’s relationship and probably had a layer of meaning in the Spain of the 1940s that I’m not quite getting now.

Found this reference to Very Short Novels at


This will more than likely be my last post before the Holidays begin (We’re hosting an open house on the 23rd, and I’m still working on some book illustration projects, though thankfully, one of the big projects is finally finished! Hooray!)

So in the spirit of the Season, I want to pass on to you some links that I hope you will enjoy – think of it as my Christmas gift to you! (Yeah, I know, boy that gal is cheap).

Here are a few blogs that I highly recommend, if you don’t already know of them:

Very Short Novels
Just what the blog title says. Snippets of stellar writing, by a really, really talented guy who is also a cartoonist, copywriter, illustrator and graphic designer. Give me one good reason why I shouldn’t hate this dude.

Seen Reading
Once again, just what the blog title says, ok? She sees you reading on the subway in Toronto, tries to estimate where you are in your book, goes and gets book, writes down section from book she thinks you’re reading, as well as a lovely description of you, and what you’re all about. Why the hell didn’t I think of this brilliant idea, dammit?

I’m particularly thrilled about this blog, ‘cuz I feel that I had a part to play in its creation. Ok, not really, but did I nag this lady close to death to try and get her to get off her fanny and start writing a blog ‘cuz I knew she would love blogging, and in turn, that others would love her blog. This gal can write, and she has an amazing sense of humour.
. . .

So there ya go! Don’t say I never gave ya nuthin’! And of course…Merry Christmas!

Follow the linkback to see what else you’ll get in your blogstocking from the very wise Patricia Storms.

Found this reference to Very Short Novels at
Schmutzie’s Milk Money


David B. Dale’s “Holes In The Sand”:
The brain has a fuse. After years of threat and terror, the fuse blows, leaving a scar behind, a charred little plug of matter, once animated tissue. It can make a person mean.

Follow the linkback to discover the other five THINGS YOU SHOULD READ according to Schmutzie!

Cross Posted at
A Curious Singularity

On Franz Kafka’s A Hunger Artist

More than anything else, Kafka is a humorist, and A Hunger Artist is one of his finest gags. We approach him now as a beacon of black light, and that’s not our fault at all, his jokes are bleak, but if we read the first long paragraph of A Hunger Artist while smiling, the pain beneath the outrageous, frankly ridiculous setup is hard to plumb, and every detail seems funnier than the one before.

If ever I think about Kafka the man, I like to picture him reading his tales of torment to his small circle of friends and crying with laughter at the lengths his narratives go to, to frustrate and thwart his heroes and their small dreams. The land-surveyor looking for a contract survives hundreds of exasperating pages without advancing a single step toward the Castle. “What will you do to him next?” Kafka’s friends ask him at these readings, in my imagination.

If I’m wrong, it’s not the first time his art’s been misunderstood, as Kafka appears to be telling us time and again in A Hunger Artist. There must be half a dozen examples of misunderstanding, misreading, misplaced suspicion, and misinterpretation in this one short story, beginning with the night watchers’ willing complicity in keeping only the most casual of watches. My favorite moment in the story is another such example, when, long after the message board counting the days of fasting has fallen into disuse, passersby distrust the number there displayed, as well they should, but for exactly the wrong reason.

For me, the whole narrative is an essay on “not getting it.” In the end, if the hunger artist is noble, it’s because he accepts it all: his compulsion to pursue his art, his inability to find sustenance in anything else, the irrelevance of public reaction which, after all, is always a matter of fashion, whereas his dedication to the performance never wavers.

posted by David Hodges at 2:26 PM 3 comments