Thurber. Elevator Essay. Flash Contest. Katie Couric. Brautigan.

One of my colleagues (I love that word–way pretentious), a fellow English prof (and administrator [often a prof’s duty]), bought a couch. This particular store, as a sort of gimmick, actually brought over a professional designer when the couch was delivered, to show the buyer the optimal spot to place the couch. (I know–regurg now. If you need someone to tell you where to place your own couch, you should retire from waking.) Anyway, this woman was asking the professor the usual break-the-ice-sum-up-your-life question: What do you do? And he said, “I teach English at Ball State.” And her eyes lit up and she said, “Wow! I would love to get paid to read books all day!”

Groan…

If you don’t understand how big a groan, I beg you to ask a professor what they do all day…

Somebody get me a revolver and a keg of quality hemlock.

**

James Thurber’s brother shot out his eye while they were playing William Tell. Yes, he shot an arrow INTO his eye. Later in Thurber’s life, at parties, he would take out his glass eye and slip in a special one he had made with an American flag painted in the center.

William S Burroughs killed his wife playing William Tell. Only he was drunk, using a gun, and a drinking glass as target.

I suggest you not play William Tell.

What I mean is we all know The New Yorker has been sketchy for years. They have focused on money more than the art. They sold their soul to the grocery store checkout line. The glory days are over, Mr. and Mrs. E.B. White. These days, 8 out 10 essays suck. 3 out of 10 stories suck. Even the cartoons are no longer impossible to understand (and that was cool).

But hey, it’s still worth a read. Know why? Because you might just catch a star-bolt in a green bottle. Sometimes the stories glitter. Sometimes the essays kick dino-ass.

Example…

Do you have a moment? Good, go bet a beer. Now watch this first:

Then read this.

I consider this the finest essay the NYorker has had in maybe five years. It reminds me of the good old days before double ad revenue issues and silly cartoon contests and 10/1 adverts to content. It used to be a serious magazine, folks. This one essay made me re-up. It’s engaging, smart, structurally beautiful, and left me a-thinking in a glow…

If you disagree, you are wrong.

**

The deadline for poet laureate of Kentucky is September 30, folks! Don’t blame me if you forget to apply!

Cezanne’s Carrot has a way groovy Magical Realism contest flash fiction oxygen bomb don’t you even metaphor anymore with Houdini or friends CONTEST.

If you do not support Flash Fiction, I do not support your altitude, latitude, or general z-buffer. I think you are floor. Are mouse-grease. Are large frog overhang.

In the always bad-ass pif, Paul Casey says Katie Couric is a bitch. Is she really?

**

Speaking of shooting yourself in the head, here’s a little Brautigan to cross the yard and paint your name on the car door of your morning:

I FEEL HORRIBLE. SHE DOESN’T

I feel horrible. She doesn’t
Love me and I wander around
The house like a sewing machine
That’s just finished sewing
A turd to a garbage can lid.

**

My kind of high jumper. Vodka and international competition in track and field–never a good thing. Dude, alcohol makes you jump, buy not high.

*

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3 responses to “Thurber. Elevator Essay. Flash Contest. Katie Couric. Brautigan.

  1. in your next post, may i request tips for people who flunked in speech class and have now been invited to talk about their writing in front of english class students?

    nine fins of grading has replaced my copy of sun tzu’s art of war. my favorite is #8.

    a.

  2. while reading this i picture your awful sounding sick voice…hard to talk to man.
    c. johnson

  3. I have the COLD FROM HELL. My students are going to love today in class. I sound like a walrus.

    S

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