THE OUTSIDER AND THE MEURSAULT INVESTIGATION

A recent posting from Jennifer’s website:

littlesmackerel

CAMUS 1

In Camus’s The Outsider, a nameless Arab is killed on a beach in Algeria. He is killed by Meursault, a man who seems to be totally lacking emotion. The first words of the novel, narrated by Meursault are: ‘Mother (or Maman – translated from French) died today.’ Stark and devoid of grief. Much later in the book, Meursault happens to be walking on a hot beach, holding a gun.

CAMUS 8

He sees the Arab man and kills him. My sense was that it was just because the man happened to be there and Meursault happened to be holding a gun – some say it was because the sun was in his eyes. There is no apparent motive. Callous indifference to Arab life? It was 1942, a time of resistance to the French rule that would continue until 1962.

CAMUS 4

Algerian money, 1942

It seemed to me that the killing was utterly…

View original post 477 more words

Advertisements

THE FINDING

Here’s some very short fiction from Barry Lee’s website:

BARRY LEE THOMPSON

… closed his eyes, slipped into a place. Into an easy unfettered place where a meadow slopes gradually down to a river. A narrow stretch of river through a town, old town, a university town. It’s summer, it’s evening. The air pale and yellow, viscous, an end of day light, settling. Trees, old buildings around. Medieval? He’s no expert. There’s a chapel. Means nothing, beyond its architectural beauty, compelling lines against the sky. The whole is more a sensation, a relief, but sometimes these call to be described and this is how it could be described. There’s not much more to say. An elusive episode. Something else. A word came to mind: infused. The yellow, perhaps, suggested the word. As if the air were infused with a gentle dye. Suffused might be more accurate, he’s not sure, but that wasn’t the word that came. What else? That’s it, really. Nothing…

View original post 66 more words

Paco Rabanne, take 2

A recently posted piece of short fiction from Barry’s blog:

BARRY LEE THOMPSON

A one page ad in a glossy magazine: image of a man sitting in a brightly lit theatre, looking towards an empty stage that’s framed by deep red curtains. There’s no one else around. His feet are up on the back of one of the seats in front. The man’s in casual daytime clothes. He’s wearing the fragrance that’s being advertised, thinking over the events of the afternoon. He’s been rehearsing the actors in his new play. This is Sweden, perhaps, and the theatre is in the middle of a small Swedish town. But the actors, they’re not very good. Or they’re not quite right, although they were the best from the auditions. He feels differently to yesterday. Not one of the actors has given any indication of really understanding the material, and he’s worried that its message might be getting lost. If only he’d stayed in the city where…

View original post 198 more words

LOVELESS

“Loveless”, from Jennifer’s blog:

littlesmackerel

Apparently the title of this Russian film comes closer to ‘Non Love’ than ‘Loveless’. There is absolutely not one speck of love. The beginning is arrestingly bleak: slow shots of a snow-covered river bank with piercingly clashing splinters of music. When will we see some life? I wondered.

LOVELESS 5

After quite some time we see a brief shot of some ducks on the river with their young, then the camera dwells on an unwelcoming concrete building with a flag over the door. We wait – and at last, people – it is a school and the children burst out of the doors at the end of a school day. One of these children is 12 year-old Alyosha.

Loveless 1

This portentous opening immediately reminded me of another Russian movie I saw in 2012: Elena. At the time I described the opening: ‘slow-paced and tense, with wonderful use of sounds – to start…

View original post 656 more words

Plumbline

“I was half way through my MA thesis, or so I thought …”
In this new post from her own blog, Elwood Writer Margaret recounts the first sighting of her plumbline.

WRITINGS AND MUSINGS OF MARGARET MCCAFFREY

I was half way through my MA thesis, or so I thought, when my teacher asked: “Margaret, what is your plumbline?” I had no idea – a) what my plumbline was, or b) what a plumbline was.

I knew I wanted to write about my torn relationship with my veteran father who’d died in 1976. But what was my narrative arc, apart from a chronological journey to recover our failed relationship?

What was my plumbline?

One weekend I attended a workshop on ‘Plot’. The teacher explained that plot is different to story. Plot is why something happens. To paraphrase E.M. Forster: story is, “The king died. The queen died.” But plot is, ‘The King died. The queen died of a broken heart.” This happened because that happened.

How did plotting help my story?

I had written about seeingJack’s Daughters”, a play in 1983 about five children and…

View original post 106 more words

Playful Arrangements | from Roomers #59

From Barry’s website, Playful Arrangements, a short piece of fiction that originally appeared in issue #59 of Roomers magazine:

BARRY LEE THOMPSON

He’s up with the birds, usually. Before them, even. Reeling at the shock of cold water splashes on pasty skin. This is always where the day starts: staring out into the sky, into the depths of dark yard silence. Waiting for light to peel over the edges. In this way, he considers the things done the day before, and how these activities might easily become those for the day ahead. He could visit once again the strangers who live by the bridge. He could stare along the river’s reach, towards the lumbering shipyards, and at the fishermen dotting the rocks. Or instead he could sit home, thinking. All alone. Thinking forwards and backwards. Circling around all the things that have to be done, and then all the things that could be done, but in the end not doing any of them.

It was the Sunday of the long weekend. The…

View original post 699 more words

The Good Mentor

Margaret talks about writing mentorship in The Good Mentor, the latest blog post on her website. “That person, who for one part of our journey at least, is right for us.”

WRITINGS AND MUSINGS OF MARGARET MCCAFFREY

It’s said that writing can’t be taught. But why not? Tobias Wolff taught George Saunders at Syracuse University, and look where that got George. All the way to the Man Booker Prize for Fiction in 2017.

Saunders speaks admiringly of Tobias, who once warned him not to lose “the magic.” Early in his career, George’s fiction did wander off track. But Wolff and other mentors brought him back.

People study law, accountancy or medicine. So why not writing? We all need at least one mentor in our lives. My friend Barry found his mentor as he sought to submit his manuscript for publication. It was just right for him.

In 201I, I applied for a memoir-writing workshop at the Norman Mailer Center, Provincetown, PA. It happened that my teacher was the daughter of an ex-serviceman, as was I. Unlike my father, hers was a well-known war novelist who tutored his…

View original post 99 more words