I’m a professor of literature at Keele University and I have to confess that I’m also the author behind all the short-short stories on this blog. This site is where I’ve been teasing out contemporary narratives from sentences in Dorothy Richardson’s first work Pointed Roof, which, in 1915, was the very first instance of stream-of-consciousness in an English novel. My technique is simple: I take a sentence from the story and then rearrange the words and find my own stream-of-consciousness connection between them. As I wanted to filter this through a modernist perspective, I also took on various authorial identities. A sort of Waste Land for the web in which I “do the police in different voices.” 

 

This Jerk Neighbor of Mine

 

    Yesterday was the topper of all toppers. I came home from work and I work hard and I just wanted to sit on my humble deck and relax. The sun was out. It had been raining all week and finally it was Friday and I wanted to enjoy a beer on my deck. So my wacko neighbor across the back alley decides to wash his deck which is fine. I mean it is Friday and it’s time to relax but if he wants to slave away in the heat that’s his funeral. But this guy is not just any wacko, he’s a professional wacko. He’s an artist. I see his face on t.v. or in the papers and I think to myself, “Hey, that’s my jerk neighbor,’ and I read about how he’s swallowed a crucifix and a Buddha and Mickey Mouse toy and the x-ray that the doctor’s took is now mounted on some gallery wall (last month) or how he’s got a bubble gum bust of Britney Spears’ head which he’s slowly chewing on. (last year) So I’m on my deck, thinking to myself, What’s he really up to and am I going to be able to enjoy my beer?  He shouts something about Spring cleaning, takes off his shirt and starts cleaning his deck with it. His wife/agent/whatever is tracking him with a video camera which I wave to every time it’s vaguely pointed in my direction but I’m sure I’m not going to get into the video because I’m just enjoying a beer. There’s no artistry to that. I mean if he was drinking a beer that would be art, but not an everyday shlub like me. So he’s cleaning the deck with his shirt and then when he’s finished he takes his pants off and he starts wiping the railing down and I think what the hell and sure enough off with the gaunch and he’s wiping down the siding and I’m a little pissed off because I didn’t spend all day thinking “Oh I can’t wait to get home and stare at my neighbor’s scrawny ass while I enjoy a cold one.” So I swear a little and that’s when the camera turns to me and that’s probably what they wanted so now I’m inside enjoying another beer with the curtains drawn. There’s a nice cool breeze blowing in.

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