Posts Tagged ‘Stories’


Character Studies; Man #1

February 3, 2011

I have been wanting to write about people. I decided in order to do so, I should write about ACTUAL people, ones that I see with my physical eyes. So today I started doing this. I sat down at Starbucks, picked a man at random, opened my notebook and wrote the following. Ok, so I edited it a little bit when I typed it up… sue me.

Man #1

He was clothed completely in black, like a stocky shadow pooling in the overstuffed leather armchair. Button-down with sleeves rolled to the elbows, strap-shouldered vest, denim pants, with pewter studded boots jutting from tattered hems. The little hair he had left was grown long, pulled back from his temples in a tail, one last-ditch effort to stave off the aging process. His five-o-clock shadow melted into a tight, salt and pepper goatee, clinging to his chin like moss. White headphones sprouted from his ears, chords a stark contrast to his somber attire. His black laptop was perched on one crossed knee, and his expression crackled with a peculiar intensity. His watery blue eyes were fixed on the screen with a concentration bordering on anger.


Wilson Dougan, Renaissance Man

January 27, 2011

Wilson Dougan, Renaissance Man

By Seth Greenwald

Wilson was a man of ambition. He knew it was so because of the fire in his gut. He felt heat every time he saw a great painting. He would be a painter. He burned at reading each great book. He would be a writer. He smoldered upon entering a great building. He would be an architect. He would do great things, he was sure of it.

Wilson went to the art store. His heart leaped at the sight of the raw material for his masterpieces. His hands itched to touch it all, buy it all. He leafed through sketchbooks, his sketches already inhabiting the pages. He strolled among the paints, feeling the smoothness of each brushstroke as it flowed from his hand. He stood before the canvases, already framed and hung.

Wilson stepped into the museum. A retrospective, the sign read. ‘The Paintings and Drawings of Wilson Dougan’. The first room held sketches. On the wall were row after row of pages, framed, yet empty. He walked up to the plaque.

Wilson Dougan never produced anything of quality, so in order to not offend your eyes, we framed these blank pieces of paper. The texture of each page is infinitely more interesting than anything Dougan actually drew. Notice the consistency and purity of each page. Dougan’s actual sketches, both of them, didn’t add anything to enhance the page. So we left them in archive.

Wilson jumped back, stung. “Well that’s… that’s… they can’t mean…”, he sputtered. He quickly moved off to the next gallery, housing the paintings. There was only one. He didn’t recognize it. It was a two-dimensional representation of a house, door centered, with windows flanking. A chimney jutted from the left slope of the roof, a curl of smoke from the chimney. To the right of the house was a family of stick figures; a daddy, a mommy, and a little girl. She was holding a flower, while a doggy sat next to her. The painting was finished by a tree, complete with hole and bee, and a grinning sun.

Wilson Dougan was an even worse painter than he was a sketch artist. We decided that it would be better to grab this finger painting, by the curator’s five year old granddaughter, off of his refrigerator and hang that.

Wilson gave a start. He looked around. He was still in the art store, holding a blank canvas, stretched and triple primed. He stared at it for a long moment. He put it back, turned, and strode out of the store.

Wilson sat down with his latte, opened his laptop, and cracked his fingers. He took a sip as the word processor loaded. The blank page and blinking cursor gave him a shiver of anticipation. He could see the words of his novel filling the screen, characters so real that they leapt from the page. He smiled and placed his hands on the keys.

Wilson stood in the New Release section of Barnes and Noble. On the shelf was a row of books. He picked one up. The cover read:


A Novel

By Wilson Dougan


He grinned to himself as he flipped the book over in his hands, relishing the feel of it, the smell of it.

There is no way to describe what Wilson Dougan has done to the world of American fiction.

— The New York Times

One of the worst crimes against literature to be perpetrated in the last 500 years.

— The Washington Post

Anyone want to roast some marshmallows? I’ve got kindling.

–Dave Barry

Mystified, he flipped to the first chapter.


Dear reader,

During the editing process we realized that there wasn’t anything salvageable in Dougan’s manuscript. In order to fulfill contractual agreements, and to limit loss of money and reputation, we decided it would be in our best interest to print a blank book. We apologize for any incontinence that this may have caused, and we hope that you will still consider purchasing other books that we publish in the future.


Acme Publishing

P.S. Yes, we meant incontinence.

With trembling hands, Wilson looked up from the blinking cursor, and out the window. He took a deep breath, let it out slowly, and gently closed the lid on his laptop. Staring into the distance, he finished his latte, gathered his things, and left.

The smooth white surface of his drafting table soothed Wilson as he contemplated his next move. He would not be deterred so easily. He still felt that fire. Looking over the tools of the trade, he selected a pencil and let his hand hover over the tracing paper affixed to the table.

Wilson picked up the newspaper from his front step, pulling his bathrobe tight against the early morning chill. The steam off of his coffee curled and writhed, fragrant. He sat down on the front porch couch, ready to see what was new in the world.

Collapse Catastrophe

Architect incompetence sited in the deaths of 142 people when a building suddenly imploded.

“ENOUGH!!!” He roared, slamming his hand down on the drafting table, snapping the pencil in two. Shards of wood and graphite flew in all directions. Wilson stomped out of his studio and headed back to the house, shaking the sting out of his hand. “Time to do something that I know I will succeed at.” he muttered as he rounded into the kitchen.

Wilson poured a beer and picked up the remote.