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It Fills the Bucket.


Guest Brandon T.

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Guest Brandon T.

So. I wrote it this afternoon. Uhm... five minutes ago? Something like that. Thought I'd try the Flash Fiction thing. It was... interesting. But fun. It's 1189 words. =( Please don't hate me. I didn't even realize it until just now when I did a word count. MS Works Size 10 Times New Roman isn't my usual default so it caught me by surprise. Hm. SO! here it is. A guy. His porch. The rain. And the thing none of us seems to be able to shake; a combative relationship with time.

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He woke to clouds and drizzle in the gradual way that someone acquired a taste for bitter flavors. His waking was cautious: bones against bones and against muscles all slinking and tentative; stirring at the fingertips upon the lap in their lazy sprawl over the knees and slipping up to the elbows in coltish, jolting spasms beneath the cloth. There was flirtatious tickle at the tip of his nose doing its part along with the rest, not to be forgotten. But the flight of slumber from his limbs had never been a quick flight, and was instead a reluctant retreat to some other place, falling into hiding only to rise again with the moon or idle seconds left to drift through his schedule. Yet still he came awake, rocking gently in his old rocking chair, moaning and groaning as if trying to coax his drowsy consciousness into wakefulness, bashful little thing that it was.

And then all at once, in a single shuddering breath, he came awake; the world rushed in to great him in corpulent, robust shapes and colors and smells. The sound of stray raindrops plunking into the bucket over in the corner of the porch, the smeared, streaked light that fell through the screen in awkward gray shafts and broke themselves on the peeling blue paint, breaking apart into little, bent rainbows, the hectic patchwork of craziness in the sky that he could spy through the crawling canopy of black tree limbs from beneath stiff eyelids, and the rhythmic hiss of air entering and leaving his body. Confusion mottled his expression and colored his dim blue eyes in some shade of vivid befuddlement; he was reminded what messy business waking could be.

For several long moments, he sat gathering quiet and himself, staring out over the slick green grass, watching the swaying pine trees in the distance, listening to the dirge sung by their somber voices rise up into the gray clouds and die there, no echo given back for the trouble of their journey. It was a disorienting path to full wakefulness and to be honest, he was reluctant to travel all the way and instead settled for the pleasant laziness of the drooped chin and slanted gray eye brows, borrowing from the melancholy day something slow and lethargic. His shoulders were slumped and his bottom lip jutted fat and pink from his mouth, trembling as he dragged in air over his teeth and down his throat. The sour smell of the paper mill choked him when he tried to swallow back the air, but years of living down wind of it had taught him tolerance and patience when breathing on rainy days.

He could not remember how long he had been sitting there and how much of that time had been spent sleeping, but he did remember the stack of bills on the table waiting to be paid which dampened his mood more than the rain ever could. Another few moments, he whispered quietly to himself. Another few moments, and then he?d get up, pay those bills, and make a sandwich. With roast beef and provolone on rye. Come back and sit a spell on the porch, watch the rain fall. Waste the day doing nothing. He?d earned the right to do nothing.

Time drifted by, the seconds spilling through his mind like sand through a sieve. Getting up was much harder than he had ever imagined, but he could do it. Or would do it, once it stopped raining. It would stop soon. Just a drizzle. He could tell by the slow plunking in the bucket, that bucket, there, in the corner. Had he forgotten to get the roof fixed again? Another fat drop landed dead center and kicked some water up over the side, spattering against the floor, sky sweat breaking on the Earth?s brow. He felt the gathering, accumulating seconds in his bones just like he watched the thickening clouds in the sky. Time was no longer his friend. When that relationship had gone bad, he couldn?t have begun to say. But there were many things he couldn?t say or couldn?t remember, so one more wouldn?t hurt any.

He scratched at oval patch of bald skin atop his head, searching for the thin gray hairs that he could have sworn had been there the day before, but found none. Gone! All gone. For all of his vanity, he had become this, a fat old man out in the woods watching the rain. All those bars, all those men. Everything, snatched from him by time. That?s right, that?s why he hated the bitch. Always taking from him what he?d worked to get. He and time were no longer on speaking terms. Which meant, the more she knocked, the more he ignored her, drowned her out with naps beside the pond and when the pond grew fat and heavy from the rain, inside, on his front porch, counting up the casulaties of his losing battle with time. Three gray hairs. Three more gray hairs. Which should not have been a terrible thing considering how offensive he found each one. Signs of age were vulgar mementos of what had slipped so easily through his fingers. Gray hair. Goodbye and so long!

He gave a snorting heave of a breath, shoulders shaking, throat catching and snagging on the wrinkled air. One cough, two coughs, three coughs. Spoken to the tapping rain. He loved the rain. Sweet rain, feeding the flowers and filling the pond; dripping in the bucket, splash, splash. It was perhaps the one reminder of his youth that did not dredge up envy and discontent. Years underneath the Alabama sunshine, running with the sunbeams and glutting himself on the fresh air. But the rain, the rain had been what he had truly lived for. Those days he?d spent on his front porch with Johnny Blue, slapping cards on the wood and squealing whenever his King beat a Jack or a Queen snatched him a ten. Countless wars had been waged with little pieces of cardboard and bubbling laughter just over there, near the bucket, maybe a little further to the right. Those had been the days. When his skin didn?t sag and wasn?t so soft. Supple, brown skin stretched over bones like a brand new drum skin. Play him like an instrument, tap, tap, tap. The smell of it. Fresh. Clean. Stained by the mill, but even the sour scent of progress hadn?t been enough to scare him off of the rain.

Rainy days. They managed to slow time, stretch out a minute until it touched forever, pulling on the seconds like rubber bands. He settled himself back into the chair, forgetting the missing gray hairs, and listened to the lullaby of water on tin.

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This isn't narrative, matter of fact this isn't even fiction. In no way would I label this as anything but prose in it's purest and most beautiful form.

Images and thoughts slowly float inside your consciousness, piece by piece building the idea of the ravages of time til like the man sitting on the porch, you too are brought to the very end of existence. By the end of this piece I was exhausted, my brain overloaded by the constant barrage of description, and I felt out of breath.

Pieces like this aren't for the casual reader, the ideas are too subtle and the words to powerful. I found it took a few reads to get each piece of nugget Brandon included, like finding something new each time.

I couldn't read an entire story written in this manner, prose does not make good fiction stories. And yet prose is the hardest pieces to write. I am genuinely surprised by the author's talent in this area.

Jason (doffing his hat)

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This isn't narrative, matter of fact this isn't even fiction. In no way would I label this as anything but prose in it's purest and most beautiful form.

In fact, Jason, evoking a comment on another 'Brandon' thread, it is a prosaic form of one of Debussy's Tone Poem musical pieces. A truly remarkable and evocative prose poem.

Thanks Brandon!

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In fact, Jason, evoking a comment on another 'Brandon' thread, it is a prosaic form of one of Debussy's Tone Poem musical pieces. A truly remarkable and evocative prose poem.

Thanks Brandon!

Just for clarity of meaning,'prosaic' is generally thought to mean dull, ordinary and lacking wit. Long ago it was used as the adjectival form of prose, but at that time, 'prose' itself was thought to mean the pedestrian form of writing, as opposed to poetry, which was considered the fanciful and imaginative form of written expression.

While I suppose "it is a prosaic form of one of Debussy's Tone Poem musical pieces..." is actually the anachronistically correct way to say this, it comes across as opposite in meaning to what is wanted. I think substituting the word 'prose' for 'prosaic' would be closer to what I assume your intended meaning was.

Or I should probably just butt out.

C

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Just for clarity of meaning,'prosaic' is generally thought to mean dull, ordinary and lacking wit. Long ago it was used as the adjectival form of prose, but at that time, 'prose' itself was thought to mean the pedestrian form of writing, as opposed to poetry, which was considered the fanciful and imaginative form of written expression.

While I suppose "it is a prosaic form of one of Debussy's Tone Poem musical pieces..." is actually the anachronistically correct way to say this, it comes across as opposite in meaning to what is wanted. I think substituting the word 'prose' for 'prosaic' would be closer to what I assume your intended meaning was.

Or I should probably just butt out.

C

Cole, you are absolutely correct! No reason to ever butt out. Though my head said "prose", my olden self chose the word meaning the way it was originally used oh so long ago.

In the end, I feel that the piece is a prose poem which is what I finally said after lapsing into olden speak. :wav:

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One of the major reasons I so like AD is we have the best people here!!!!

C

Oh I agree. Where else would you find the ability to accept diverse opinion to the point of adopting it or at least admitting its worth for discussion.

I would like to add to the discussion that I think Brandon's work is descriptive. At the same time it is an evocation of shared images that we otherwise might overlook, or even, have forgotten, perhaps deliberately, and now encouraging further deliberation.

Which I can best explain by saying I can't help thinking in terms of pentimenti images that come from a prose that is almost portamento.

Well Brandon's words do that for me, anyway.

I also agree with Jason that an entire story in this form would be difficult to maintain, but who knows, Brandon might just be able to make it work for us.

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Which I can best explain by saying I can't help thinking in terms of pentimenti images that come from a prose that is almost portamento.

Well put, Des!

I also agree with Jason that an entire story in this form would be difficult to maintain, but who knows, Brandon might just be able to make it work for us.

I think it would be difficult to maintain as well but I'd sure love to see Brandon try and make it work!

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Guest Brandon T.

So many words I didn't know and had to look up! Wikipedia and I have grown closer thanks to you, Des. Haha. But, no, that's one of the reasons I wanted to join AD. To expose myself to new ideas and new words and new things period.

And, I'd love to see me try too. Ha. Story writing is always hard for me. I have three or four two-page intros to stories I really want to start or get going on, but I just can't break through that wall at the start of writing. It's hard for me to exercise the discipline it takes to write stories. BUT. I'm working on it. As soon as I find a topic or something that I want to explore on that level, over the course of an entire story, I'll be sure to let you guys know. Also, if you have ideas you'd like to float my way, feel free. =)

I dunno. Story writing is something I've always wanted to do but has also always intimidated me. So much I'd like to do, but can't overcome that initial fear of flopping and bombing and not really knowing how to go about writing the story. That's big problem I have.

Ahem, but, that's a ramble for another day, I think. Thank you for your thoughts. I'm feeding on them, learning, so if you wake up in the middle of the night with a Brandon attached to your head, don't be alarmed. =D

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I'm feeding on them, learning, so if you wake up in the middle of the night with a Brandon attached to your head, don't be alarmed. =D

Brandon, I get the image that you're new to this game too, writing. Well, you are NOT alone. Well, I too am new to this game. And like you, I feel the insecurity, the feeling that I'm not good enough. I read authors like Cole Parker here and keep wondering if I'll ever be as good.

Well, I will, someday. And you will too! Hell, you're much better at painting a picture than I am, but I'm better at dialog, So there!

You're good man, you really are. I love falling into the pictures that you paint with words.

Yeah, Brandon will interrupt my dreams, and that's a good thing.

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Brandon, as Pecman noted in the thread Lem:

Read Orson Scott Card's Elements of Writing Fiction - Characters & Viewpoint" (Writers Digest Press), or Alicia Rasley's The Power Of Point Of View: Make Your Story Come To Life.

While I too abhor Card's religious homophobia, he does write fiction well and these books will give you insights on how to do it/improve it.

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