150 Words Plus A Sentence

Listen, there are some really good writers out there, and a group of them have a weekly challenge they call “Master Class.” Please click on the image below, or visit my “Master Class 2013” tab above, to learn more.


I’ve never had the nerve to join in the fun before, but I felt I should give ‘er a go for the upcoming Spring semester. Just to see if I can do with literary prompts what I feel I’ve become pretty proficient at with musical ones.

Although there’s no limitation on the word count with this challenge, as you can see from my post title, I will attempt to keep my entries down to 150 words past the prompt sentence. I feel the brevity of the exercise will help me to become a better writer, while at the same time guarantee that you’ll not have to suffer through my usual 1,000 + words.

So, without further ado, here’s this week’s Master Class 2013 entry.

And, in a partial ode to my constant fear that I’m writing something that someone else already did, here’s the tune I chose to kick this venture off with…

Just One (more book review) Fix

Hey, are you there?

Pfft, no.

Why? Why not?

Because I’m here, of course. On the mollyfocking bus. Where I’ve always been, where I’ve never been before. As always. Come on, click the link. Take a lookie. Tell me what you think.

A book review?

Yeah. A book review, about junkies, and drugs, and the movie. THE MOVIE. Just one of 1,001 to read before you die.


Well, will you ever come back here?

I suppose. Why?

Just wondering.

Hey, when?

When the bus stops, of course.

Oh. Ok then. See you then.

You might rabbit, you might.

Hey, what’s with the post title anyway? You gonna do something expected, like end this with a blatantly anti-drug anti-song?

Duh rabbit, duh.

t’s Top Tensies, Part Two(sies?)

So. Assuming that you’ve ALL read Monday’s post (and I KNOW that you all did!), I’ve no need to explain why with this post, we’re starting smack dab past the middle, at number six…

6 – “A Clockwork Orange,” by Anthony Burgess

Of the ten, this is the only one I don’t currently own, and I don’t currently own it for a couple of reasons. First off, I’ve read this book so many times, I feel as if I know it by heart. Secondly, it’s a damned tough read. As you can see by clicking through to the more in-depth review above, Burgess created for his near-future adventure, a near-future language to go along with it. And this in turn, required that a near-future dictionary of sorts, be included with the story itself. Residing at the back of the book, so that you can keep flipping forward and back sporadically, as you try to keep up. Read it at least once, and make damned sure you get the 21-chapter version when you do. It makes all the difference in the world.

7 – “Stranger In A Strange Land,” by Robert A. Heinlen

This book was actually a present for C from her brother. She never read it, and I’ll be forever glad that I did. It turns what we normally think of when we hear “space alien” on its ear in that, in this story, the man from Mars literally is a man. One of us, but not. Like so many of the other books on my list, this one uses science fiction as it’s base, but it’s the interweaving of the personalities that makes it so good. That, and the exploration of possibilities normally thought of as absurd (everyone gets to go to the heaven of their making, to worship the God that they personally believe in? Insane! Especially given the time in which it was first published). Oh, there’s also a bit of sex in there as well. And hey, as any reader of Heavy Metal Magazine knows, science fictional lovemaking is always the best.

8 – “The Book Of Lost Things,” by John Connolly

Every cute fairy tale you’ve heard as a child gets turned upside down and queasy-like in this little gem. This little, very disturbing gem. I was going to provide you with a quote to help solidify my argument, but this book has become a bit of a lost thing itself, as it has been on an overly extended loan to my sister-in-law. Note to self – do NOT loan out books that are liable to be ranked amongst your top ten at some point in time, and then needed to help provide a solidifying quote. At any rate, it’s a tale a young boy dealing with not only the death of his mother, but a shady character known only as “The Crooked Man” as well. I liked the story, as it was written with relish, and though some of the scenes are quite disturbing, you can almost “see” them through Connolly’s word choice. Creepy, but good.

9 – “Fahrenheit 451” by Ray Bradbury

Of course he had to make the list. And this one is my favorite. A scary tale about the day (soon coming), when all books will be illegal, all independent thought, frowned upon. Sadly, if this ever comes to be, all of us in Blogsville will be looking for a new hobby. In the case of the story – as I’m sure you all know – “firemen” don’t stop fires, but rather, set them. Burning every book that’s found, scrounged upon or being hidden away. The main character is one such servant of the law, but he also has an addiction to the very thing he’s been charged with the destruction of. His journey provides hope in an otherwise blasé world, and the story works well for me, because it helps to prove that there will always be those who are “outside,” who don’t fit in, but who all the better for it.

10 – “Death Of A Salesman,” by Arthur Miller

This is only coming in at number ten, because it’s actually a play. And again, it’s MY list. Anywho, I am Willy Loman. Just as my dad before me was. Or at least that’s how I’ve always felt. Possibly one of the bleakest stories I’ve ever read, it truly did speak to me about how you need to pay special attention to what you work towards, for your liable to obtain it in the end. Sad for those who are working for no reason whatsoever, sadder still for those who think that their path is true, when in fact it’s not. This is one of the few books that brings me to tears. Every single time I read it. I haven’t done so since dad died. Honestly, I’m not sure that I’ll ever be able to again.


Well, that was pretty easy. My literary top ten, all wrapped up in two posts! Now, and because I’ve no idea how to truly do a Top Ten that is actually just ten in it’s count, here’s one more submission to the list that is absolutely VITAL to anyone’s reading list:

Honorable Mention – “Harold And His Purple Crayon” by Crockett Johnson

I used to work with a self-serving douche (trust me, he was) that at one point asked me what my favorite book was when I was growing up. My immediate response was the above title, and I followed that up with a “why?” “Well you see,” he said, “I believe that our favorite book from that time dictates the person we’ll eventually become. My favorite was ‘The Giving Tree,’ and that’s why I’m so generous to everyone and always giving of myself.” See? I told ya he was a douche. He did have a point though, I later realized. And while I don’t have my own purple crayon, I do feel as if I’ve spent my life trying to create a life (versus simply riding along with it), and while some of the things that I’ve created along the way have scared me, I do feel as if eventually I’ll get there. Wherever the “there” is, I suppose. Harold taught me that with imagination and belief, you can’t do just anything you want, but you can get close enough – and in the end, arrive safely home.


PS: click here if you want to see my Top Ten books on Poetry.

t’s Top Tensies

OK, so as some-to-many of you know, I’ve done a couple of book reviews for the kids over at 1001 Books To Read Before You Die, and I’ve a couple more due to them as well (I swear Ms. Oh Waily, I’m working on one right NOW – promise!!!!).

When I first started to write my latest review, it dawned on me – who in the hell has ever read enough books to know which 1,001 should be on your “must read” list, before you expire? And how many more books have had to have been read overall, to whittle down the list to a paltry 1,001? Shortly thereafter it dawned on me further that of the 1,001, only five would ever make it to my list, if they made it all. And then it dawned on me thirdly, what in the hell, exactly, is on my list?

After all that dawning, my brain started to ache. So I took a little break before I jumped out of bed, grabbed a piece of paper, and scribbled down what I thought would be my top ten. Several days later, I was finally able to translate just what in the hell I had written, and here they are, as follows:

1 – “Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy,” by Douglas Adams

Obvious choice. AND, since it’s my list, I’m talking about the single-book version containing the entire five-book trilogy. Above every other writer, Adam’s is the man who inspired me to first beat the crap out of my keyboard, in the attempt of making words pretty. Reading him is like going on a mental roller coaster. If you ever dropped me off on an island, all I would need to survive would be this book. And sunscreen. And a pocketknife, I suppose. Oh, and definitely a towel. Why a towel, you ask? Read this book, and you’ll find out.

2 – “Inferno,” by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle

This one has a special place in my heart, as it was originally my dad’s book. Along with “Lucifer’s Hammer,” this was one of the first “adult novels” I remember reading as a kid. And as it was until just recently out of print, about a year before his passing, dad gave me his copy. As “hard” science fiction writers, these two do an awesome job of placing their main character right into the bowels of hell. Which, as it turns out, actually is exactly as Dante described it. A fun read, full of adventure, demons, and a main character who – as a result of his overly staunch atheism – refuses to believe he is where he is.

3 – “The Great Divorce,” by CS Lewis

OK, to be clear, Lewis could have a “Top 10” list all to himself, but for the purpose of this task, I chose this story to be his representative. And yes, I chose it over the “Screwtape Letters.” It’s very similar to “Inferno,” in that a man goes to hell, but this one knows it; and just for a spell. The majority of this story however, doesn’t take place in hell or heaven, but rather, in That Place that lies in between. And That Place in between is where residents from both lands meet. Those from hell, in the hopes of getting into heaven – and those from heaven, hoping to help the damned to achieve just that. There’s a wealth of different personalities, and if you pay close attention, you can find a little bit of yourself in almost each and every character. Well, I did at any rate.

4 – “The Gargoyle,” by Andrew Davidson

I cannot express how real this book was to me. It honestly left me winded. A love story like none I ever read before, about a former porn star and a woman who is insane – or not. I’m going to move on to the next entry now, but only because I’m sitting here still, dumbfounded, as to what words I can use to describe what an achingly terrifying, sensual, hopefully hopeless and delightful read this was.

5 – “The Prophet,” by Khalil Gibran

I’m sure that this one is on most everyone’s list, and as well it should be. For some reason, I feel that Mr. Gibran would be delighted as well, to find it sitting in the exact middle of my top ten. There are two books in existence that serve as my guiding light in the realm of parenting. This is the second. If you read it only on the surface, you could be done with this book by day’s end. If you read deeper however, this one will take you at least a month to drain all the wisdom from it. Well balanced, and true, this book should be required reading in our schools. I feel as if our future would be much brighter, if it were.


OK, so seeing as I’m up to somewhere around word 761 already, I suppose that I should save numbers six through ten for another post. I know I don’t usually do this sort of thing, so I apologize if I bored you. But hopefully within this list, you may be able to find a new author, style or tale that you can enjoy. Please let me know if you do! And if you don’t, then at least you get to start your week of with a little Limahl…

“I don’t go to mythical places with strange men.”

Or better yet, “nobody got murdered before lunch. But nobody. People weren’t up to it. You needed a good lunch to get both the blood-sugar and blood-lust levels up.”

Or maybe even a bit of “it can hardly be a coincidence that no language on earth has ever produced the expression, ‘As pretty as an airport’.”

Listen, what all this nonsense is leading up to is merely that I’m taking the day off. Not because k~ told me too, but rather because I didn’t take the day off a week or two ago, when I drummed up my next review for 1,001 Books To Read Before You Die. Give us a click, and read on!

Yes, it’s another book from Douglas Adams. AND, there’s even one more review of his stuff to come after this.

What? I told you I had a man-crush on him, after all…