“Wicked Dead, Right” – terribleminds Flash Fiction Challenge: 22 Feb 2013

Well, Chuck Wendig over at his blog, terribleminds, piqued my imagination again this week with his Flash Fiction Challenge, Game of Aspects.

Basically, you roll a 10-sided die on three tables to figure out what you’re going to be writing about. If you want a more in depth breakdown of the rules, you can (and should) go to his blog by clicking the link above.

I happened to roll a 7 for Zombie Apocalypse, a 5 for Shopping Mall, and a 3 for a Puzzle Box, I almost cheated and rerolled, but I got an idea and shat out this goofy thing. 320 words, or there abouts.

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“Wicked Dead, Right?” by Brian C Hall

“I got a crazy fuckin’ story for you, dude. So, me and my buddy, ‘Compact’ Carl… We call him that ‘cause he’s small. I know! Clever shit, right? Well, him and me was in the Spencer’s in the mall, right? Yeah, that place with all the genius fart jokes in it! Well, he was fuckin’ with that nerd box. You know, the colorful one where you’se takes the stickers off to solve it? Yeah, that’s the one! The Ruby’s Cube! Well, he puts back the last sticker and solves the puzzle, right? Yeah, I don’t know what the big deal is either. Those things are fuckin’ easy. Well, he does that shit and then BANG! There’s this flash and a loud ass noise and somethin’ that smelled like straight dick buttah! I look around and notice everything’s gone fuckin’ gonzo. Wicked fuckin’ crazy! I look around… Everyone’s a fuckin’ zombie! Yeah, fuckin’ crazy, right? You know that fat fuck, Tony? Yeah, Tony ‘Bologna Macaroni and Cheese.’ Yeah, the guy always hangin’ around Sbarro starin’ at the honies. That creep… Well, he’s a fuckin’ zombie now! That douche nozzle mall cop, Rick ‘The Dick’? Yeah, the quarterback from our high school. Fuckin’ zombie, now. Oh, and, you know that skank from the Hot Topics that won’t put out even though she looks like half a ho bag to begin with, but I totally banged ‘cause I’m wicked fuckin’ good with the bitches? You guessed it, she’s a fuckin’ zombie! So I go over to Carl and I’m like, ‘Yo, motherfucker. Everyone’s a fuckin’ zombie,’ and he’s like, ‘Dude! So are you,’ and I’m like, ‘Whaaaat?’ So I grab the mirror out of my back pocket and lo and motherfuckin’ behold, I’m a god damned zombie! So I ate Carl’s brains. What you been up to this weekend?”

“Ah, you know. Played Madden, became a zombie, got high. Not much to tell.”

I’m An Arteeeest -or- Can’t You See The Beret?!

Photo by Jeanne Claire Maarbes via freedigitalphotos.net

Photo by Jeanne Claire Maarbes via freedigitalphotos.net

A question that most creators deal with is, in regards to our creations, do we actually own them or is it owned by the person experiencing the creation? And, as with anything worth discussing, I feel that it’s a complicated question deserving of a complicated answer.

Personally, I’m a dreamer, so I believe in that whole beauty-in-a-beholder-eye thing. I believe that art is owned by anyone currently experiencing it.

But that’s not what I really want to talk about in this particular post. I want to discuss the word, “artist.”

Now, this is going to be an argument about syntax, so nothing is concrete here. Just my take on things. But to me, syntax is very important and I don’t like how vague and useless so many words are. I like rules. I like structure. I like my language to be very math-ish.

“But art is about feelings and emotions, not structure and limitations!”

Bullshit + eat one. Tell that to Escher and Bach. It can be both or either. There is room.

But, whatever, syntax is a discussion for another time. I want to talk about whether or not we own the right to call ourselves, “artists.”

I know a lot of people, from painters and writers to actors and musicians, that call themselves, “artists.” It could be argued that, since we create art we are then artists. But who says if what we create is art? Personally, I don’t think it’s our place to decide that. And that’s where the beholder eyes come into play.

It’s the responsibility of anyone experiencing your creation to determine whether or not it’s art and, in every case, it can only be considered art or not to that person. Whether something is or is not art is an opinion, not a fact. It’s subjective. Some people read Hemingway and see mastery of the English language demonstrated by a an extraordinary storyteller while others just see the drivel of a drunken prick. But neither person is wrong.

The problem stems from when we, as creators, call ourselves, “artists,” and what we create, “art.” It’s like a college student calling themselves a genius or a child strumming on a guitar calling themselves a prodigy. Whether or not they are doesn’t matter, it’s just a super-damned (that’s when someone or something is sent to super-hell) pretentious thing to say. Not to mention douchey.

The terms, “artist,” and, “art,” should be considered honorifics given to someone by other people not something that someone calls themselves when they slap a synth loop onto a 4/4 beat or when they sepia tone a picture of a leaf. Doing something that resembles art is fine, I have no problem with that, and I encourage people to do it because you never know when someone will see it and deem it, “art.” But until someone else calls it art, it ain’t. It’s just that, something that resembles art. A creation by a creative person. But that’s ok. It’s not an insult.

So that’s the gist of my opinion. I’ll never call myself an, “artist,” or anything that I write, “art.” If you use those words to describe yourself or what you create, whatever. That’s your prerogative, Bobby Brown.

But I won’t be caught dead placing those labels on myself. It’s not my place.

terribleminds Flash Fiction Challenge: 8 Feb 2013

My first post of my second blog… What to write, what to write… How about I jump in the deep end by participating in a Flash Fiction challenge alongside a lot of authors who are far more talented than me? Sounds good.

So here I am.

Last Friday, Chuck Wendig put out a challenge to write a bit of flash fiction inspired by one of these pictures. I chose #11, ran with it and at 963 words I’m really pushing the 1000 word limit, but hey… look at how awesomely mathy that number is! 963… Sweeeeet.

Anywoozles, here’s Glow. I hope you don’t hate it. 🙂

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Glow

by Brian C Hall

The rain had stopped, but droplets still clung to the plastic park bench I sat on, like dew on a leaf. It was soaking through my jeans and I was sure that I’d look ridiculous whenever I stood up, but for now it was nice just to sit here. This was an important bench in my life. It gave me good things and sitting on it reminded me of those things.

I’m probably far too nostalgic for my own good, but… I miss those things.

The city park is a curious thing. Like a petting zoo for plant life, where nature has been tamed and cultivated for the whims of urbanites. A place, conveniently located at the heart of the city, where they can go and say they’ve experienced fresh air today. A soup of falsified beauty in a bowl of skyscrapers and commerce. A city park is a cosmetic surgery scar on the face of a metropolis. Still, the lake is pretty and the drive into the mountains is much too far.

She approached me, cautiously, like I was a lost dog that had a collar, but still might have rabies.

“Hi, are you Tom?”

Her words broke me from my day dreams.

“What? Oh, yeah, no, I’m… uh, Liam.”

She looked around the park, nodding to herself, satisfied with an expectedly disappointing outcome.

“Of course…”

I looked around the park with her.

“I’m sorry for being Liam.”

“Oh, no, I’m sorry. I was just expecting someone.”

“Who, Tom? You’re better off. I know Tom. Tom’s a dick.”

She glowed when she laughed. I could spend a lifetime in that glow.

“Well, in that case, thank you for being Liam. I’m Beth.”

She offered her hand and I shook it.

“It’s good to meet you, I’m… yeah, never mind, we’ve already been over that, huh?”

She glowed again.

“You’re a little awkward aren’t you?”

I rubbed the back of my neck.

“Yeah, sorry.”

“Don’t be, really… Well, I, uh… I guess I should get going.”

“Oh, wait… Would you… Well, I mean… You know, since Tom is a no show, I figured, maybe—”

“Yeah. Yeah, I’d like that.”

We walked around the park for hours, just talking, until the street lights turned on. They shined in all colors and their reflections and refractions on the windows of the buildings and the surface of the lake fluttered, out of focus, like glitter in a snow globe. The traffic lights that sat on each corner of the park were especially noticeable. Their glow, all green and red like electric mistletoes, urged me to kiss her. I couldn’t. It was too big a risk and too early to take it.

We stopped under by a tree and sat on the grass, looking at the lake. A fountain in the center danced as multicolored lights painted it.

She slipped her fingers between mine and rested her head on my shoulder.

“Do you know what that fountain reminds me of?”

“What?”

“The end of Sleeping Beauty. When the two fairies are changing Aurora’s dress back and forth between red and blue. Only with a larger palate of course.”

“I don’t think I’ve seen that one.”

She glowed again.

“Well, then it looks like I’ve got some work to do.”

Everything in that sentence meant that there’d be more of that glow in my future.

From out of nowhere men and women, painted white and dressed in robes, emerged and began dancing all around us. They didn’t make a sound but their emotions were palpable. Their faces seemed to blend between joy and sorrow and anger. Some danced wild with energy and some with soft grace.

I laughed.

“What the hell…?”

She jumped on top of me and we laughed and exchanged inside jokes in between each kiss. I was confused but she didn’t seem to be.

She raised herself up on her arms, with elbows locked and peered down at me, her hair cascading past her face.

“They’re ghosts.”

“What?”

“The dancers. They’re ghosts.”

I scoffed.

“What, like dead people?”

“No. Memories… The past. Don’t any of them look familiar?”

I looked around, but couldn’t make out any of the faces and I realized that their faces weren’t blending between emotions. They were just blended emotions. Featureless, but with feelings.

She lowered her face towards mine until her nose rested on my cheek and through the veil of her hair I could see them. They weren’t dancing anymore. They were just standing there, looking at us.

“They do look familiar. Some of them at least. The rest I don’t know.”

“Because the rest are mine.”

“Yours?”

I looked back up at her. Our noses rested beside each other and as we spoke our lips brushed.

She closed her eyes.

“We don’t like to think about it, but we’re haunted by our past love no matter how insignificant that love might have seemed. It’s like a poison, tainting the future.”

“But… But I don’t want it to.”

She leaned in and we kissed one more time. I closed my eyes and drank deep.

When I opened my eyes she was standing above me, painted white and dressed in robes, a smile drowning in sorrow on her face. She was still glowing.

“Too late.”

The rain had stopped, but droplets still clung to the plastic park bench I sat on, like dew on a leaf. It was soaking through my jeans and I was sure that I’d look ridiculous whenever I stood up, but for now it was nice just to sit here. This was an important bench in my life. It gave me good things and sitting on it reminded me of those things.

I’m probably far too nostalgic for my own good, but… I miss those things.