by Amanda Bergloff

I sighed… hoping it would attract some sort of attention, but he was fixated on eating. I thought that dining al fresco tonight would spark interesting conversation, yet we ate our meal in silence.

I remembered how I used to be insatiable for our intoxicating exchanges. However, tonight I didn’t have much of an appetite.

He looked up and burped. “You ready?” he asked.

I nodded. I wondered if he realized I hadn’t even said one word during the entire meal.

During the walk home, I came to the conclusion that all relationships must have a life cycle. The beginning part was very exciting, but the end part was actually quite annoying.

Do not speak unless you can improve on silence.

Lucy Marti via Creative Commons

It was finally time to go to sleep. He lifted the lid for me.

“Good morning,” he said as he helped me climb in.

“You have some flesh in your teeth, dear,” I said, folding my hands across my chest.

He closed my lid with one hand as the other picked his teeth.

I listened to the sound of him opening and closing his own lid.

Before I drifted off to sleep, I thought, “I must talk to Wrenfeeld about moving my coffin to a different part of the abbey.”


Amanda BergloffAmanda Bergloff is a science fiction/fantasy writer who has had stories published by Darkhouse Books (Stories from the World of Tomorrow) and World Weaver Press (Frozen Fairy Tales.) She is also a surrealist artist who loves all things pop-culture, and the interior of her mind looks like 1950s sci fi pulp art. 

Writer’s Website: http://abergloff2.wix.com/abergloffwriter
Artist Website: http://abergloff2.wix.com/artistgallery

or, The Inability to Communicate in an Ironic World

by Soren James

Irony

EyeMindSoul via Creative Commons

I’m campaigning against irony.”

I never know when you actors are being serious.”

That’s why I’m against irony. I want to be taken at face value—be seen for what I am.”

And this is not an ironic stance you’ve taken?”

Are you winding me up?”

I’m just being thorough—it’s my job.”

You’re not filming one of those spoof comedy programs?”

No, I’m a serious journalist. I’m genuinely interested.”

In a satirical way?”

In the normal, reportage way.”

You’re not just playing the character of a journalist?”

Are you winding me up?”

Are you winding me up?”

Was that sarcastic?”

Are you out to trick me? To make a fool of me?”

Is there a level of meaning I’m not getting here?”

That T-shirt you’re wearing—what does it mean?”

Exactly what it says: ‘An ironic crisis is worthless; a crisis in irony is ignorable.’ It’s self explanatory, isn’t it?”

What do the two faces represent?”

A communication paradox. But we should get off the subject of irony. I understand you have a new film out—a satirical comedy. Was it difficult playing a delusional actor who has to feign artificial-intelligence in a virtual-reality environment based on an imagined world of an insane entertainer?”

I feel empty and confused sometimes.”


Soren James is a writer and visual artist who recreates himself on a daily basis from the materials at his disposal, continuing to do so in an upbeat manner until one day he will sumptuously throw his drained materials aside and resume stillness without asking why. More of his work can be seen here: http://sorenjames.moonfruit.com/.

Suitcase

Eric Smith via Creative Commons

Eight years with Jamie began to feel like a relationship with a child’s talking doll, just a series of catchphrases repeated regardless of context or appropriateness. Priscilla thought she might have a clean getaway, but she couldn’t find her cat or her keys and the latch on her suitcase refused to snap. Jamie came home early, saw the pile of belongings.

“You’re leaving.” Jamie made it into a half question.

“Yeah.”

“Do I get to ask why?” Catchphrase. “Did I miss something?” Catchphrase.

Priscilla picked at a fingernail. “I don’t want to hurt you.”

“Little late for that.” Those green eyes looked flat, painted on.

“You weren’t supposed to see.”

“I think I’d have figured it out.” Jamie stood. “I don’t get it. Didn’t I give you everything? Everything you wanted?” Catchphrase. The catchphrase. An arm reached for Priscilla, “Cil—“

“No!” she withdrew. “Not everything! Of all the times you asked me that, did you ever bother to find out from me what I wanted? You gave me everything you thought I wanted.” Tears fell.

There was a pause. “That’s not the same thing, is it?” Jamie asked.

“No.”

Jamie said, at last, the phrase Priscilla had waited to hear.

This week I’m welcoming the wonderfully thoughtful Lea Grover to the Aspiring Voices hot seat. Lea is a prolific blogger over at Becoming SuperMommy and writes fiction on the side. Lea and I had a chat about historical fiction as a connection point to your past and present, the paradox of wanting your children to understand suffering without having to suffer, the social aspect of writing, and why you can’t believe anything anyone says over the phone.

Vintage Series -- Adams Lake c. 1950, My mother

Mark Kortum via Creative Commons

Paul: You’re a blog writer and have done work on a number of sites, many in the so-called mommy blogger realm. What is it about fiction that attracts you? Does it scratch a particular itch that slice-of-life or journal-style non-fiction doesn’t? If you had to choose only one, which would you pick?

Lea: Fiction has always attracted me. Making up stories, inventing characters… it gives you control over not only some version of the physical world, but over your own emotions as well. It definitely allows for a creative expression that non-fiction doesn’t. If I had to pick only one, I would probably pick fiction, but that’s only because I’ve had the opportunity to write about my life—which has had its fill of extraordinary events. I feel like my non-fiction is something that I write because it can be used to help people, and my fiction is what I write because I quite simply can’t not write.

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Inside a neighbor’s house: a bug, recording,
always hearing others’ conversation.
Two next door in this apartment complex
and one below never know I’m list’ning;
the one above, though, I think may suspect.
The extent of it, only mine to know.

They’d think me invasive with what I know,
the algorithm churning, recording.
I must confirm my fears, which I suspect
contain me in all their conversation.
And so my lovely digital list’ning
ears make simple what can be so complex.

To hack the social world is not complex.
The power is information; to know
others’ minds when they think you’re not list’ning;
to find the pattern in the recording,
dissects people like no conversation.
As long as they never, ever suspect.

Others do this naturally, I suspect.
For me those waters are far too complex,
I drown, thrash in failed conversation.
But now that I can truly, surely know,
charm oozes from me; playback recording.
I say good-bye, I go back to list’ning.

Someone out there is forever list’ning,
this is something I will always suspect:
Another spook, another recording
military-industrial complex.
People paid to listen, to hear, to know,
to break us down by our conversation.

The lie they know of all conversation
is we presume the only one list’ning
is the one we want to hear and to know.
Behind closed doors we can only suspect
the whole truth, so bitten off and complex,
unsure what the other is recording.

We make conversation and we suspect
the other isn’t list’ning, too complex
our minds to know. I can’t stop recording.

2009-01-10-FFeed100-10 Headphone

Michael May via Creative Commons