Homage to Catatonia

A Loving Catalog of Orphaned Ideas.

Month: August, 2012

Descriptions & Dialogue

“I understand you don’t like me very much.”
“Good, I’m glad you understand.”
*     *     *
The entire time he was in my living room I felt like I was watching a wild animal pacing its cage.
*     *     *
He was the kind of person who was funnier from a distance.
*     *     *
A collection of records regarding my recollections of my record collection.
*     *     *
What pleased her most about the apartment was the fact that it was above a small restaurant and she could hear the clinking of dishes whenever she liked.
*     *     *
Stale fingernail clippings on a wooden table. (A pyre of stale fingernail clippings?)
*     *     *
I remember love. (opening line? ending line?)

Short Story Idea

Here’s an idea I came up with circa 1997-1998 that never went anywhere . . .

A short story about a couple who break up but continue to live together for two or three weeks because the lease is nearly up and neither of them can afford to break it or pay the other person’s half of the rent.
First sentence: “Love had ended early.”
Possible titles: “Apartment,” “Together,” or “Alone Together”

An Opening Scene?

A man visits an acquaintance’s home for the first time.  Maybe he is just dropping by to pick something up from a co-worker or maybe it would be more interesting if he is waiting while his date gets ready in the next room. Whatever the circumstances, he looks around the room for awhile . . . curious but trying not to be nosy. Maybe he sits on the couch for awhile and leafs through a magazine. Or maybe he fusses with a house plant. Inevitably, he begins browsing through the collection of books that are stuffed into an old, particle board bookcase in the corner of the room. At first, he is impressed by the titles. He has many of the same books in his own collection. He is surprised to find that one of the books (by a recently deceased author) is autographed — just like his own copy. He looks more closely at the books and realizes that he has all of the same titles in his collection at home and that they are arranged in the same order. Even the editions of each book are identical to his own. The same Penguin Classics, the same Norton Critical editions, the same hardbacks, the same paperbacks. He opens a copy of one of his favorite books and finds that the same passages are underlined in the same way — lightly, with a soft pencil.

Descriptions, Images, Phrases (2)

She stayed up late hours talking, fueled by the power of ideas.

*     *     *

When she was young she had been lauded by teachers and parents as a prodigy, a genius in the making. She found the burden of all those attached hopes so overwhelming that she spent the rest of her life trying to prove them wrong. Her life so far had been an attempt to erase herself.

*     *     *

She always traveled with a book. Actually, two books. Two dramatically different books since, during long journeys, she frequently found that her shifting moods did not allow her to sustain interest in any one book or type of book.

Digression – Idea for a Movie

Movie about a detective working a homicide investigation who becomes increasingly distracted by a series of fascinating conversations with a hot dog vendor in front of the police station. Gradually the investigation becomes peripheral, squeezed into the margins by the detective’s sprawling chats with the vendor. Think Se7en or the first half of a Law & Order episode meets My Dinner With Andre.

Backstory for a Sci-Fi Novel/Film

The future. It has been decades since the human race solved its waste problem by transporting sewage, garbage, etc to a parallel universe (or another dimension). The authorities always claimed that this universe/dimension was far larger than our own and completely empty. In fact, this other universe/dimension is densely populated by beings we can only dimly understand — beings who have finally figured out how to strike back.

A Scene

“Why are you drinking your latte so slowly?” She asked. “Usually you just gulp them down.”

He pushed the cup across the table. It was almost empty and quivering near the dregs was an especially delicate leaf pattern, almost sepia in color, that the barrista had fashioned from the foam of the latte. By drinking carefully he had preserved the pattern even as he sipped the espresso and milk out from under it.

“We should all do what we can to preserve beauty in the world,” he said.

An Opening (2) – Voice Test

Let’s start small. Who am I? Life is summary. The writing books tell us to show, not tell. But where does showing begin? When does telling become showing? It is a question of what we leave out, how much we leave out. Even the most detailed scene is summary. Even Proust is summarizing.

So let me summarize my life. Which is to say: let me leave out huge parts of who I have been for the last 83 years so that you can pretend to know me. And for my part I’ll pretend to know myself well enough to know what I should include and omit. Let’s start there.

Idea For A Science Fiction Story/Book/Movie

Set in a future where private education lenders are able to “repossess” a person’s education if they default on paying their student loans. If a long-form piece the A-plot would center on a scientist or a doctor who, through no fault of her own, has fallen behind on her loan payments and must try to continue performing her job while her technical knowledge is slowly erased. B-plot could be a comical spin on same premise: protagonist’s spouse or sibling, a former English major, defaults on loans and feels no ill effects when his education is repossessed since he has already forgotten much of what he learned and never uses the rest.

Titles & Names

Periscope Liberty

Eljin Morrow