There’s a fun diversity of narrative forms on display in Paul Tremblay’s Growing Things and Other Stories. Notes from the Dog Walkers gives us a story told exactly how the name indicates. Nineteen Snapshots of Dennisport is a yarn unwound by descriptions of old photographs. A Haunted House Is a Wheel Upon Which Some Are Broken is a choose your own adventure. Tremblay also gives the reader stories that defy easy subgenre categorization and transcend typical tropes by being more nuanced and layered than expected. My favorite stories in this collection all have a Weird/Lovecraftian vibe, which is fitting since I just saw Tremblay at NecronomiCon in August. Notes for “The Barn in the Wild,” Where we All Will Be, and Our Town’s Monster are three that I loved, but my absolute favorite was Something About Birds. This is a story about a story with references to other stories, and I just marveled at how well crafted, entertaining, and unique it was. I haven’t stopped thinking about it since I consumed it. It’s a must-read. So, to end this nutshell review, I must ask, “would you prefer talons or beak?”
I’d like you to write an ending for the flash fiction below in three sentences or less. Drop your conclusion in the comments. Feel free to do anything you can imagine in those three sentences.
I was inspired to create this post because I recently finished Paul Tremblay’s Growing Things and Other Stories. In that collection, he has a choose your own adventure narrative called A Haunted House is a Wheel Upon Which Some Are Broken. I’ve also been itching to try writing a tale in the second person, and this seemed like a good opportunity to give it a go.
The Story So Far…
Work was hell. Heaven is returning to an empty apartment to dwell in solitude for the evening. You shower to remove the filth of the day. There were too many mistakes to count. You shower to enjoy the heat and steam. A little pleasure makes the day’s missteps easier to accept. You shower to forget. Not that anyone else will. The water pressure doubles as a massage. It’s one of the few good things about your apartment complex. As you close your eyes and lather up your face with liquid soap, you hear the squeak of the bathroom door opening. No one else has a key to the apartment. A footstep echoes off the tile floor outside the shower. Your heart pounds so hard you worry it might burst from your chest. Leaning forward, you let the stream of water rinse your eyes of soap. You open them to see your black shower curtain blocking your view of the potential intruder. There’s only one option left. You…
Here are two awesome responses I got on Twitter.
…you see the familiar rotund shadow, the silhouette of his famous bald head. You laugh as you pull aside the curtain, “Very funny, Alfred.” A woman in a Hitchcock costume plunges her knife into you.
— Michael Arnzen (@MikeArnzen) October 14, 2019
…take hold of the removable shower head with a trembling hand. The curtain tears away from the hooks with a swift stroke of your arm, and you deliver a jet of scalding water into an empty room. Are you losing it?
— Ronald J. Murray (@RonaldJMurray) October 14, 2019
And Her Smile Will Untether the Universe has the honor of being the first book I read completely digitally. That is a testament to its readability. I loved having it in my pocket to page through whenever I had downtime over the past month. This is a fantastic collection of short stories. Each one has its charms. The Man in the Ambry was a particularly spooky standout that had me glancing a little longer at the closet by my bed, while The Five-Day Summer Camp and The Tower Princesses provided Twilight Zone-esque social commentary. Kiste’s prose is often beautiful as she mixes tragic romance, nature, and societal flaws into a delicious cocktail. Perhaps the most impressive aspect of And Her Smile Will Untether the Universe is how well the tales fit together on a thematic level. While I pick up a copy of Kiste’s novel, The Rust Maidens, I highly recommend you pick up a copy of this collection.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book about “Papa Poirot.” Agatha Christie’s prose style is simple and easy to read while her plot is fascinatingly complicated. No wonder she’s remained popular for just about a hundred years (her first novel was published in 1920). This tale starts with a murder on a golf course (links as it’s called in the title). Poirot and his friend Hastings, the narrator, quickly line up a row of suspects, all of whom have secrets to be revealed. While the mystery at the heart of the novel is compelling, I might’ve enjoyed two of the subplots a little more. The first was Poirot’s rivalry with a fellow investigator, Giraurd, who spends his time comically scouring the ground looking for clues. The second was Hastings romance with a girl he terms “Cinderella.” Based on Hastings romantic sections, I’d wager that Christie could’ve been just as famous a romance writer as a mystery writer if she’d chosen to do so. I started this book because I wanted to read an Agatha Christie novel, and I am very happy I did. While I have no plans to read more mystery novels anytime soon, I will probably pick up another Poirot tale in the future.
From 2011 to 2015, I wrote a blog for just about every Giants game on Bigbluebullfrog.com. After several losing seasons it started to feel pointless as every game looked about the same. This year is interesting though, and I thought I’d try to restart the NY Giants blog here.
Over the offseason, I thought the Giants improved their offense by trading Beckham, whose distractions had outweighed his contributions for two seasons, and by picking up additional offensive pieces such as guard Kevin Zeitler and wide receiver Golden Tate. Unfortunately, the Giants did little to address their defense. So, going into this season, I thought the G-men would have a good offense and a bad a defense. It’s only been one game, but so far, my assumption looks dead on.
The Giants should win more games than last year, but they continue to struggle against division rivals, so the gates to the playoffs will remain closed to them. I do worry that the Shurmur Giants rarely seem to surprise me. His G-Men usually perform exactly as expected, and I miss the days of the Coughlin Giants.
His teams would often pull off stunning upsets, which made the losses easier to swallow. I think the biggest mistake Big Blue made since their last Super Bowl was firing Coughlin before Reese. Coughlin gave the Giants their attitude and their underdog mentality. Since he left the Giants, I haven’t seen any true character to the team, except blustering diva wide receivers and rookie coaches who couldn’t control their locker rooms.
Unfortunately, nothing can be done to fix the mistakes of the past. I do like the things Gettleman has done with the team, and I think we are heading in the right direction, but another losing season will probably result in defense coordinator James Bettcher being shown the door along with Eli Manning. Unlike many fans, I don’t think Eli has ever been a major reason why the Giants have lost so many games since the last Super Bowl. Jerry Reese badly mismanaged the team, and I think the organization is still trying to undo the damage he did. Sadly, the Giants won’t be able to fix things fast enough to send Eli off into the sunset like he deserves. It will be a depressing end for a franchise icon.