And this blog is the result of a plea bargain of sorts with the powers that be in the afterlife. You see I couldn’t stand it another minute in the beatific glow and hum of the Great Beyond. There were more spirits swirling around than you could shake a stick at. Believe me I tried. I tried to chase off the angelic revelers to find some solitude to contemplate just a little inner gloom but it was to no avail. Heaven knows how I made it to heaven but apparently they’re letting almost everyone in these days. It’s like Woodstock but instead of mud there are angel feathers littering up the joint and everyone takes the rainbow acid which you get by opening your mouth in the presence of God himself and it never produces a bad trip. La-de-duh.

  I hated it.

  So I found an escape route. Through a complicated corporate web which I can’t get into here there are deals that link heaven with certain corporate bodies on earth. (Yes, accountants have supplanted writers as the creative forces of the 21st century.)  Within this network of tax-sheltering schemes, there is a link between the Pearly Gates and Penguin Books. Basically, I get a couple hours of solitude everyday to write whatever I want. I can attempt to dig into the depths of the rock bottom of my soul and break shovel-blade after shovel-blade, day after day. For my part I also have to produce something everyday on this blog. Penguin gets exclusive rights to everything that I produce and this blog is intended to promote that first book which is coming out next spring. The book, a collection of fragments of stories that fail miserably, is entitled, “Burn this Book.”  Some of the stories on this blog are featured on it.

   It’s one way to make an afterlife living.

   Enjoy…

 

 

Setting the Record Straight: a Correspondence between an Uncle and a Nephew on the Topic of a Kafka Submission for Mcsweeney’s Internet Tendency

 

Email #1:  Rejection 

 

From: Web Submissions <websubmissions@mcsweeneys.net>

Date: June 5, 2008 4:16:06 AM PDT (CA)

To: Kevin SPENST <k.spenst@shaw.ca>

Subject: Re: If Kafka Wrote Stock Market Reports

 

Hi, Kevin –

 

While I think this is how Kafka would indeed write stock reports, I’m going to pass. We ran a Kafka-themed piece a short while ago and are not ready to return to him just yet.

 

Best,

Chris 

 

 

 

 Email #2: Uncle to Nephew 

 

Josh,

 

  They are so coy in their rejection letters.

 

Uncle Kevin

 

 

Begin forwarded message:

From: Web Submissions <websubmissions@mcsweeneys.net>

Date: June 5, 2008 4:16:06 AM PDT (CA)

To: Kevin SPENST <k.spenst@shaw.ca>

Subject: Re: If Kafka Wrote Stock Market Reports

 

Hi, Kevin –

 

While I think this is how Kafka would indeed write stock reports, I’m going to pass. We ran a Kafka-themed piece a short while ago and are not ready to return to him just yet.

 

Best,

Chris 

 

Email #3: Nephew to Uncle

 

 

Well he does have a point.  It’s not called “McKafka’s”.

 

 

~J

 

Email #3: Uncle to Nephew

 

kakfa suffered his entire 41 years of life on this miserable earth and mcsweeny’s can’t celebrate that by having two kafka pieces in one season?

 

Email #4: Nephew to Uncle

 

Kafka was a crybaby…

 

Email #5: Uncle to Nephew

correction, Kafka is a thinking man’s crybaby

Advertisements


   When I was a boy, I had a teacher named Mr. Zuckermann whose calling in life was to correct the wrong-headed ambitions of his students. At the age of eight or nine I had one hankering for the future: I wanted to write. Mr. Zuckermann took it upon himself to help me amend my dreams. He listed a litany of miserable vices that accompanied the lives of most writers and he emphasized how they were the lucky ones. He slammed his large hand on the black board and asked me if that’s really what I wanted. 

    “I want to write,” I said in an epicenter of silence that had to be the most defining moment of my life. Mr. Zuckermann, stunned by my tenacity, gave up on me and turned back to the topic of the American Revolution. I don’t remember what got us so far off topic but that was the pedagogy practiced by Mr. Zuckerman. From 1776 to the current dreams in the hearts of his students. Who knows what dreams he himself had given up to grow into such a proselytizer of pessimism.

    I’ve carried this ambition throughout my life but as I have had it in various forms and at various ages I’ve necessarily developed a superfluity of writing goals. I have inside me the eight-year or nine-year old writer who wants to doodle simple playground stories into existence along with a host of other previous selves who want to tell their story. 

   It’s no surprise then that I’ve taken on a coterie of identities.  I’ve written some genre fiction under the name of August Van Zorn http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_Chabon and more recently over the past five months I’ve been writing a short-short story everyday on this blog under a revolved door of different guises. 

   Because inside I still hear that voice, standing up to everyday: I want to write.

   Here’s today’s play on fiction….

 


 

If Kafka Wrote Stock Market Blurbs

 

    Dell lifts up stocks from pitch-black abyss of toothless grimace

NEW YORK – US stocks are holding up after stronger-than-expected earnings from Dell, but gains are limited as weaker consumer spending weighs like an obese but smiling corpse of a neglected Father upon shares. Dell holds the heavy body of this Father, asking whose? 

 

      Tadpole staggers like a drunken horse trampling people in a bar to second-half pretax loss

BRUSSELS – Software product developer Tadpole Technology staggers like a drunken horse trampling people in a bar to a second-half pretax loss from a profit last year due to increased investment in training. Investors are hiding under the table trying to drink the dividends per share from previous years, pretending the horse is of no relation to them. Market opportunities remain strong.

 

                  Efes Breweries Q2 pretax empty heart incapable of receiving love UPDATE

PARIS- Efes Breweries International lamented a wider first-quarter pretax loss due to increased expenses which piled up higher and higher like a pile of sullied laundry destined not for the wash but the flames and said it expects the cost pressures to be apparent in the gross profit line throughout 2008, a line that – with the help of rusty clothes-pins – will receive the brittle and charred remains of the burnt cloths and the wind is forecast to blow them apart. Investors, however, remain confident. 

 

Mixed day for chemicals firms like sun followed by rain followed by drenched child being stabbed in the arm

LONDON – Shares in chemical firms plummeted after manufacturers jointly announced they expect financial performance for the full year to be below market expectations. Like a children’s game of tag played with knives the groups’ gross margins also decreased in number. Dramatically and clumsily. The first two months of the financial year have begun well with record revenues in March.