BONE FOLDER

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Writing contests.  Maddening. Challenging. Frustrating.

I haven’t had much luck with standing out in the crowd: of the handful I’ve entered, I only won one in college, and then later in life I made the second cut of a sci-fi contest but didn’t rate the final stage.

Sometimes after the contest was over I’d read the winning entry and not be overly impressed. Sour grapes much? Well, no, ’cause it wasn’t ALL the stories. Sometimes I was impressed, surprised, enthralled.

But other times it seemed like a judge’s niece or husband or BFF from high school had entered, and that judge had blackmailed the other judges with photos of marital indiscretions, copies of embezzled workplace funds, and knowledge of a history of questionable internet searches.

48-Spies-rule-the-roost

This was the winner of a contest I entered in Ginosko several years ago, and I’m happy to announce I don’t think any blackmail involving underground cockfighting was involved. Not one iota of punctuation. Very short. But I kinda loved it.

 

BONE FOLDER

He was sad and angry because his friend had died in a way that made it suicide in everything but name and he sat in a place where they used to drink and talk about Japanese literature and bullshit about work in progress and he thought that his friend might be forgotten which would be unjust because he was part of the resistance whereas the living collaborated and his anger at himself coalesced into action of a sort and he went out and bought tiles and a foam brush and a sheet of acetate and gloves and a mask and fingernail polish remover and a bone folder and he made color copies of a photograph of his dead friend with the right type of ink and he pushed the mirror image button so that the image would not be reversed on transfer and he heated the tiles in the microwave and placed each copy of the photo onto each warm tile face down and coated them with the fingernail polish remover and smoothed them with the bone folder under the acetate and applied the tile sealer to fix the image forever and when he was done he took off the gloves and the mask and left the tiles to dry and he was crying but he did not notice or if he did he thought it was the fumes of the solvent in his eyes and then one night later that week he mixed up a batch of cement and went out and fixed the tiles with the picture of his dead friend to the facades of buildings all across the indifferent city and for the rest of the year he smiled seeing the tiles in secret places or being denounced as vandalism by the authorities.

– Jason Price Everett

<> on September 6, 2013 in Detroit, Michigan.

27 thoughts on “BONE FOLDER

  1. Yeah. Hey, Jason. It’s called a comma. Look it up sometime, lol !!
    So who would win in Battle of the Bands? The loudest one?

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  2. “Jason Price Everett”
    That your nom de plume, Stacey? I must say that, yes, I, too, found that one sentence thing kinda gimmicky. It’s a technique I’d only use in action scenes to symbolize the breathless urgency of a situation. Here it ripped me out of the story itself and wasn’t warranted by the actions of our hero. Quite the contrary; he took his due time to elaborately come up with some artistic handiwork, in all dilligence. But instead of following the surely intereresting printing process I spent my time oogling the sentence structure and how creatively you avoided to finish the sentence. 😉

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    • Yeah, there is a goodly amount of sentence oggling. I kinda thought that it was warranted by his actions because it seemed to me like he was in a kind of fugue state, maybe from shock, and the run-on sentence was his stream of consciousness. But the very form could be distracting to some, undoubtedly. I can see how it would have worked, too, in a breathless action scene, like you said…..

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  3. Well, I didn’t not like it. 🙂 … but like Orca the structure took my attention away from what was a fascinating story.
    For me, when storytelling is done with the written word, and this is separate from poetry, the storyteller has to disappear, otherwise I lose the story and become focused on the storyteller … actually, now that I’m pondering here, I think that goes for all forms of storytelling. It’s why the first storytellers, the Shamans, wore masks, costumes, painted their skin, so the story becomes the sole focus and the storyteller is left behind … On the other hand, is the Shaman’s mask, etc, akin the format used in the short you posted? … that is, the means of delivering the story … hmmm … layers within layers. 😀 … that’s why we’re storytellers, I suspect. These kinds of conundrums attract us. 🙂

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  4. I understand the mental battle here, lol !! I’m enjoying you guys’ observations. Is this writer wearing a Shaman’s mask or is it just a carnival trick? Hmm……………. I guess in the end the long sentence can be distracting because one IS focused only on that. I was amazed that I understood it and didn’t get lost. And it still paints a melancholy picture and sets a tone of almost angry determination. But did it win because of form or content……….? Hmm…. 🙂

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  5. “blackmailed the other judges with photos of marital indiscretions, copies of embezzled workplace funds, and knowledge of a history of questionable internet searches.”
    Yeah you know it, that made me really laugh.

    Maybe that short story should be called snort story. With added instructions to snort a line of speed up each nostril before commencing. Then it would all make sense as you fire through the story in 20 seconds without breathing.

    Keep positive, keep writing and above all… have fun.

    PS I’m sure the bastards will pick you one day :-/

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  6. Ms. Jade, thanks for asking. I don’t enter contests anymore, but I do submit short stories now and again. If I ever was able to actually take part in the Nov. write thingy, I’d consider that a MAJOR accomplishment. I’m the worst writer ever. I don’t have time and I don’t do everything in my power to make the time ’cause by that time I’m usually too tired. So…I’ve made my own bed, and now I’m lying in it !! 🙂

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  7. “it seemed to me like he was in a kind of fugue state, maybe from shock, and the run-on sentence was his stream of consciousness.”
    Two remarks about that, Stacey: For true action scenes I often use a cheap trick and jump into present tense for as long as the immediate action occurs. And like you, yes, I kinda forego traditional sentence structure but rip the action apart with … dots. Works remarkably well with test readers. Peope are so easily manipulated. LOL.
    Secondly I’m trying to write from the POV of my protagonist … without falling into first person narrative. It’s possible. And gets you closer to the figure.
    She reads her comment a second time … can’t find any typoes … checks for logical fallacies … is kinda satisfied with what she said in that weird foreign language … nods and blinks out of her self-infliceted trance … clicks the Post Comment button. After a brief cough she went on with her daily routine and prepared some sandwiches.
    😉

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  8. As a writer who over errs on the side of over punctuation (not to mention the flat out grammatical mistakes) I cannot relate or even get through a non-punctuated, continuous-sentence-paragraph. (See what I mean.) It reminds me of being forced to read Faulkner in school. Not my jam. I’d much rather read your entry.

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  9. LMAO! I don’t remember Faulkner writing like that! Holy crap, it HAS been a long time. Better break out a few of his novels and reacquaint myself with him, lol !!!
    Thanks for your honesty–I totally understand. I appreciate your statement, too, but I’ve given up on that story. It was published once, but I think that was an anomaly. It seems like everyone else hates it, so I’ve stuffed it into the symbolic back of the drawer……. 😦

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