Archives for December 2013

I wouldn’t do this dirty nasty job for pay, but I do it for art.


IMAG1004I’m stripping logs of their bark, sanding them down to  make . . . I’m not sure, but that’s what I love about my method of creating things. I never know what I’m going to get until I get it.IMAG1005 IMAG1006

Jaded Ibis is an interesting publisher

The second edition of “A Penis Manologue” is now available for Kindle.

A Penis Manologue.

My painting today and my wood carving.

Both are work on projects, but I’ll leave them as is for a while because it’s getting too cold to work outside.IMAG0989 IMAG0990 IMAG0991

Two books I never heard of before today and a picture of the first Walkman!

Codex seraphinianus Hardcover – January 1, 1983

by Luigi Serafini  (Author)

An extraordinary and surreal art book, this edition has been redesigned by the author and includes new illustrations. Ever since the Codex Seraphinianus was first published in 1981, the book has been recognized as one of the strangest and most beautiful art books ever made. This visual encyclopedia of an unknown world written in an unknown language has fueled much debate over its meaning. Written for the information age and addressing the import of coding and decoding in genetics, literary criticism, and computer science, the Codex confused, fascinated, and enchanted a generation.


And here’s a picture of the first Walkman!

radio hat

How Green Were the Nazis?: Nature, Environment, and Nation in the Third Reich (Ecology & History)

The Nazis created nature preserves, contemplated sustainable forestry, curbed air pollution, and designed the autobahn highway network as a way of bringing Germans closer to nature. How Green Were the Nazis? is the first book to examine the ideology and practice of environmental protection in Nazi Germany. Environmentalists and conservationists in Germany welcomed the rise of the Nazi regime with open arms, for the most part, and hoped that it would bring about legal and institutional changes. However, environmentalists soon realized that the rhetorical attention that they received from the regime did not always translate into action. By the late 1930s, nature and the environment became less pressing concerns as Nazi Germany prepared and executed its extensive war. Based on prodigious archival research, and written by some of the most important scholars in the field of twentieth-century German history, How Green Were the Nazis? illuminates the ideological overlap between Nazi ideas and conservationist agendas. Moreover, this landmark book underscores that the “green” policies of the Nazis were more than a mere episode or aberration in environmental history.

My painting today


Last week

Last week


Gay Degani expresses my sentiments about flash fiction.

Why I Write Flash Fiction

Posted: 16 Dec 2013 01:00 AM PST

by Gay Degani


Jim Harrington, who is doing a bang-up job here at FFC,  invited me to answer his question, “Why do you write flash fiction?”  Here are three big reasons.

1. Malcolm Gladwell

Not him, but his 10,000 hours.  Maybe not his 10,000 hours (according to Wikipedia they belong to Dr. K. Anders Ericsson); however, it was from Gladwell’s book Outliers that I first heard about the idea that it takes about 10,000 hours of practice to become an expert at complicated skills such as playing the piano or programming a computer or—what I’m interested in—writing something good.

Of course, 10,000 hours is 10,000 hours whether you spend time on a novel, novella, short story, or flash, but by definition, practice is repetition.  So if someone’s goal is to “write something good,” which of the above formats allows a writer to draft a story, rewrite it, workshop it, revise it, let it simmer, rework it, revise it again, ask three friends for more comments, edit it one more time, proof-read it, and send it off to ten of your most desired publishers, all in the course of one or two weeks?  Flash fiction.

2. It’s Trite, but Writers Write

Only through practice can a writer understand that beautiful words must, in the end, mean something.

If a writer practices over and over again by putting together 300, 700, 1000 and 1500-word stories, he will repeat the writing process over and over in short amounts of time.  The day-to-day act of creating allows writers to become immersed in the work and immersion brings a kind of “muscle memory” to the act.

A writer of flash must constantly craft new characters, set scenes, find precise, evocative language, and nudge out meaning.  A writer of flash comes quickly to the need for originality and surprise in story-telling, that characters must be individuals with different problems, different fears, different coping mechanisms, and that incorporating lines or phrases about time and place will anchor a piece, yet must be deftly done. And these are the obvious elements.

Only through practice can a writer understand that beautiful words must, in the end, mean something. Not necessarily a big something, but a spark of insight into another person, a moment of self-awareness, the reinforcement of a universal truth.  Good stories contain meaning because style, diction, imagery, symbolism, allusions, and tone are seamlessly woven into the text.

Flash fiction not only allows a writer to practice literary elements, but it demands that she use them, and the stories demand it because they are short. Every word counts in flash and every word that brings more than one meaning to a sentence, a paragraph, or a whole work, is a word that must be sought after and found.  Writing flash engenders an appreciate of the power and nuance of language, and prepares the writer to take on a variety of challenges that stretch skills and deepen the work.

 3. Perfect Diamonds

Which is more beautiful, a solitary diamond flashing in the sun or a diamond necklace designed so that each stone sparkles in harmony with the others?  There is no real answer.  It all depends on the quality of the carbon, the cut of the stone, the presentation.  And it’s about preference too.  One person might choose a solitaire over a necklace, a stickpin over a brooch, or decide to snatch the whole treasure. Another might desire only one, and then crave and seek the other. It’s up to the individual.

When it came to writing–and I’ve been writing a long time–I couldn’t always see my way through the different rules, guidelines, trends, nuances, techniques, and hazy mythological clouds that surrounded what I called the “glass mountain.”  I could see inside, what others managed to achieve.  I could climb all around it,  but I could never suss out exactly how to get inside.  I realize now it’s like walking into Tiffany’s and having someone tell you can look at the diamonds, but you can’t touch and you certainly can’t buy.

In diamonds and in writing, it’s about figuring out what works. I’m sure I’ve spent 10,000 + hours writing all kinds of stories, long and short, with a good amount of flailing in the dark, and though I make no claim to expertise, it is through flash fiction, I have finally gained enough confidence and skill to push on.  Everyone is a beginner, but how long a writer stays a beginner is up to the writer. Pick a strategy. My strategy was flash fiction.

In an article that touts how practice brings expertise, I am a little embarrassed about this analogy.  I could use “flowers,” I suppose, how a single amaryllis in afternoon light can speed the heart and how sometimes walking in a desert of poppies, thousands of them dusty green and orange, can do the same thing. But I like the reference I chose because good writing is as beautiful and precious as diamonds.


Gay Degani has published on-line and in print including a chapbook, Pomegranate Stories. Every Day Publishing is releasing her novel, What Came Before this winter, serialized on-line and in print. She is an editor at Smokelong Quarterly and founder and editor emeritus at Flash Fiction Chronicles.  She blogs at Words in Placewhere a list of her stories can be found.

Exercise vs Drugs

I’ve always believed that exercise is the best healer for many afflictions, including mental.

3-D painting

If you have Chromadepth glasses you can see the colors come off the screen.IMAG0972

Cancer cure is denied by the FDA