The more I think about what it might mean to be long-lived (and not a vampire), the more I feel I need to get back to writing on "The Methuselah Project."
Thus, back to writing!
Darci is a great inspiration. Beyond the bio on the class page, she has been a Literary Death Match competitor, brewers her own beer, and has helped me edit most of my published works. Spending time with Darci is an excellent use of your summer and an excellent way to keep writing, despite the nice weather!
A letter from the Darci Schummer:
I hope everyone is doing well and having a great summer. I am writing
today to let you know about a class I'm scheduled to teach at the Loft
this summer and to ask for your help in spreading the word about it.
Here is a description of the The Weary Traveler:
"According to Siddhartha Mukherjee in his book The Emperor of All
Maladies: A Biography of Cancer, "A patient, long before he becomes
the subject of medical scrutiny, is, at first, simply a storyteller, a
narrator of suffering…To relieve an illness, one must begin then, by
unburdening its story." Narrative and illness, as Mukherjee insists,
are inseparable. This class will unwind the stories of weary travelers
who have coped with illness themselves or through loved ones. It will
focus on reading and writing fiction and creative nonfiction that deal
with pivotal moments in the journey of illness. Readings will include
work by such writers as Richard Bausch, Siddhartha Mukherjee, Susan
Sontag, and Anatole Broyard. The writers in this class will have the
opportunity to give voice to meaningful experiences that unrest them
from their day-to-day lives and demand their immediate attention. They
will have the opportunity to generate and discover new possibilities
in their writing and gather inspiration to foster future writings."
Here is a link to the class on the Loft's website:
https://www.loft.org/class-detail?class.id=a1EG00000003xye. The class
is an multi-genre, intermediate level course that will include
discussion, in-class writing activities, and two large group
So, if you know anyone who is interested, will you please send this
email on to them
Thanks so much.
Today, I jogged down and sprinted up the hill outside of my building while Nora cheered me on to victory.
I did two sets of 25 determined to be more useful to Bolitas Azules, my soccer team, after my terrible showing yesterday.
The Methuselah Project
To live forever. Is it a gift or a curse? A new designer drug is on the market for parents that allows them to choose how long their child will live. No one can live forever, but a new pill can push the human expiration date out by a hundred and fifty years. Of course their are cheaper options.
The final story in the collection is one of my best and most experimental. This story is told in fragments. It the story of a group of people that can not die, expect on their expiration date. What would you do with a longer than average life? What would you do if you knew the date on which you would die? These are questions that I wanted to tackle. However, the story had something else to say.
Of all my stories, this is one that I keep revisiting. I have about seventy more pages than what make up this short story. Someday, it will become a novel. I don't know how other writers write longer works, but this story wants to be longer. I need to listen. Perhaps, I will get back to work on it soon.
Today, I played soccer - on a team - for the first time since high school. Here is what I learned:
1) Make sure your cleats are the right size. Mine are too small, and I will likely lose my big toe nail.
2) I'm out of shape, out if practice, and old. Every bone in my body hurts. Hello! Charlie Horse while sleeping tonight.
3) I love playing goalie! I already knew, but I wanted something positive.
4) When playing goalie, make sure not to score on yourself, which almost happened.
5) Walking a mile to the game is a good warm up, but walking home (in 90 degrees) is foolishness.
Nora, dad wants to be active, so you will be active (or at least exposed to an active lifestyle). So, he is going to keep trying. Sorry, I'm a comedy show right now. I will do better.
Here are a few pictures of my team, Bolitas Azules (the ones in the blue):
A famous tattoo artist get his artistic inspiration from maddening dreams. While dreaming, he paint-walks the white walls of his studio and every morning he has his assistant paint them white again. However, his assistant has also been taking pictures of the walls before painting them, and those pictures are of an impossible landscape.
I don't write much in the first person; however, most of what H.P. Lovecraft wrote was in a strange version of the first person, a narrative of witness. This narrative style is where the narrator takes a backseat to a secondary character. The primary character undergoes some horrific physical transformation that causes the narrator-witness to have a psychological break.
In this story, I've taken a Lovecraft character and made him a famous tattoo artist. The mad prophet that wrote the Necronomicon used words and simple drawings to convey what the Old Ones wanted and how to communicate with them. What if the prophet was a graphic artist instead, and his canvas for prophecy human skin?
In the Garden of Eden, Adam plays a naming game. It seems that only Adam is gifted with the ability to name what he sees, and Eve is just plain tired of the playing.
The Sirens of the Chipped Plate
The self-professed fairy-princess is missing and the girl-friend entourage needs a new leader. How to decide? Should she be about looks, style, or something else?
I'm not sure that I'm done with this world and perhaps, someday, I will return to it again. I think that there are some good stories lurking in the darkness.
I'm not out of the house for even a minute today, and I'm being told that I'm doing it wrong.
A woman walking her dog said, "Your baby is so small, I think you should be wearing her in front." Then she waits to make sure that I don't take off on a walk with Nora on my back.
The Birthday Party
The United States had a spy who could have stopped the construction of the Berlin Wall. So, why didn't he?
In Moscow, 10 August 1961, Oleg Vladimirovich Penkovsky attended Sergei Varentsov's 62nd birthday party. At the party, it was announced that the Berlin Wall would be constructed. See, Penkovsky was an American Spy, a double agent. He could have alerted the Western Allies, but he chose sit on the information believing that his cover was more important.
The Man Who Ejaculated Ovum
What we put into nature has a way of coming back to haunt us in unexpected ways. An herbicide that is banned in every country expect The United States is suspected of altering the sex of male fish. So, what happens if human males eat to many of these contaminated fish? Biomagnification!.
So, the title of this story is fun - right? Anyway, If you have not heard of an herbicide that is being studied because male fish and amphibians in contaminated water are changing sex, becoming female, that you need to read up on atrazine.
Biomagnification is a process that Rachel Carson made popular in her book Silent Spring. DDT was making its way up the food chain. Thus, I think that if fish - we eat fish - are swapping sex due to atrazine runoff in lakes in streams from our industrialized agricultural system, we need to watchful. Don't you?