Archive for the ‘short stories’ Category

The story of the Oxford English Dictionary is a fascinating one – a tribute to the power and fascination of language. And now its life as a print edition is over.

In honor of the OED, I offer readers my best dictionary story, one of the many delightfully bizarre incidents that occurred during my time as a bookseller for Barnes & Noble.

I liked working customer service because the best interaction with customers happened there – cash register was never as interesting. One particular winter day, a couple walked into the store and directly to the customer service desk where I greeted them brightly. They were somewhat atypical customers. By that I mean the gentleman was wearing overalls over a well-worn undershirt, and his lady-friend was less-memorable but clothed in complimentary fashion to him. They had the home-made looking haircuts of those who might have traveled into town for a special evening of Denny’s and a quick foray into an exotic book store. I’m beating around the bush here: they looked like red necks. And they talked like red necks. (more…)


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(Reposted from The Improvised Life)

Joaquin Baldwin‘s beautiful little animated film is a reminder of how the creative process often works – in completely unexpected ways. We also love Baldwin’s story about how the film came to be:

This film was inspired while driving back from a trip to Palm Springs, when my partner said that it must take them forever to plant and grow so many windmills. I wrote down the title The Windmill Farmer for an idea to explore later, and about a year later I started developing it into a character and story. This film took 4 months to complete from the first boards until the final mix.”

You never know where a simple idea might lead…

(Watching with the sound off is a completely different experience, which we recommend.)

Via The Improvised Life, Via BoingBoing

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Click here to read Part One.

I had to purchase a new Kindle book, for a couple of reasons. First, we have lots of very short breaks in our day on jury duty. Usually between one attorney and the next, or while the next attorney waits for or prepares a witness. The history of food book was hard to just pick up and get right into, so I bought the third book in Stieg Larsson’s series. The other reason was I needed something interesting enough to keep me from having to interact with Betty. (more…)

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I am a grand juror.

Pour a glass of wine, this is a long post. Names have not been changed, because there are no innocent to protect.

Betty took a near-instant dislike to me, which made sense I guess, because I took an even nearer-instant dislike to her. It was not a race thing – I’m not like that. It was personality all the way.

When I entered the courtroom filled with other prospective grand jurors, all with reading material in one hand and their summons in the other, Betty – or as I knew her then “That Loud Lady in the White Denim Suit Up Front Sharing Her Business with the Whole Room” – was preening her white denim suit in the front row and loudly sharing her business with the whole room. Her conversation was aimed at one prospective juror, one clearly more inclined to enjoy it than I was, but her voice filled the courtroom from its acoustically dampened ceiling to its stain-resistant mauve carpet. From my spot in the back row, I actively tuned her out while chatting with those around me, and halfheartedly reading something in my Kindle about the history of food. (more…)

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Copied with permission from Tastee Pudding.

A few days ago, Amanda posted this photo, followed by the tantalizing prompt “How, exactly, do you find a parakeet? Explain the story behind this flyer in 250 words or less.”

Seen in a NYC window.

Here, from the comments section of Amanda’s post, is my reply:

I wake with a start. The dream again. The one where I am caged, and something tips my cage. A glint of metal, a scrape, the door is open and without another thought I fly.

I know that’s how it must have happened. And the chances that the window would be raised – however it happened, I’m out now, aren’t I?

And oh, this ecstasy, this pure unfettered flight, rough branches under my tender claws swaying in a breeze I never knew existed before now. No more mirror mocking me. No more tepid water growing stale while I sit alone in an empty room waiting for any sign of life besides my own. I eat bugs.

I have found myself.

But it’s cold. Bugs don’t fill me like millet did. I found this cell phone. Please call if you lost a parakeet.

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