Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Writing in different styles

A writing assignment insisted I read pieces of 8 famous books and mimic their writing style. Here goes:

Motherless Brooklyn

The incessant jogging that tatters my mind keeps the ideas rolling. I guess that’s how I get creative. My feet shuffle along the boardwalk, glancing seawards every six seconds to affirm its existence. You never know when the sea might disappear. Still I walk, mind walking faster, and think to myself about the pretty blonde 10 feet ahead. How did she get her socks to match just so? Where did she come from, where was her first kiss? The sea is still there. I catch a whiff of some white castle and keep the engine of my head greased for some fresh ideas. Six burgers, six sets of 2, that’s 12, but a perfect multiple of six. Nonetheless I walk by, still dragging my left heel ever so slightly. It’s a complex of mine, I wear out the back side of each shoe long before a new pair is overdue. The blonde is gone and so is that tense smell of overproduced hamburgers. I feel at east if only for a second. The seagulls have gone amiss and the dim outline of my shadow has faded into streetlight puppetry. I feel the breeze and the squawk of a lonely seagull, I know its still there. I look anyway.

Fight Club

The waxy black table of the Barnes and Noble makes my elbows feel at ease. Their robust shape and color attract only the most humble of readers, those who have no business at a bookstore. Tables start out as a block of wood growing with its family in the safe ecosystem of an anonymous forest. Then an overweight, stained shirt-wearing lumberjack wages a war of man and machine against its trunk. Gasoline, cigarettes and somebody with a fat wallet who has a need for tables is all it takes to bring down a dream. Shipped off to a lumberyard, then to Sweden where Ikea makes it into a beautiful little piece of bullshit we all want and need to make our souls sing. I look at this table and smile. At least my life stood a chance. This one never had that luxury, now it’s my nothingness, a piece of furniture free to be forgotten. If only I were so free.


The lush rolling hills of greenery informed my senses that spring had indeed arrived. The light wind of the open car window brushed through her coarse hair and I knew then and there that I needed her. Her soft, pinkish lips and strong cheekbones carved out a treasure map to her love. I watched if only for a second too long, when she caught me in a daze of romance and lust. She smirked and acknowledged the chink in my Armour of indifference. I wasn’t indifferent at all. My heart collapsed in the bed of my chest as she blinked her deep brown eyes back to her rearview. She had a way of letting you believe, even if only for a second, she felt similar. I felt the blood from my feet sprint up my spine and fill my arms with a tingle unimaginable joy. My mind raced with boyish dreams and mature realities. She was older than I was, but somehow lacked the fear that experienced hearts know and live by. Her destiny was hers and hers alone and she wouldn’t let her mothers teachings deter her from pursing that which felt right. I longed to see her legs wrapped in the coils of sheets still tired from a sleepless night. My eyes ahead, I noticed her arm sweep towards mine. Her soft hand gripped hard on the gear stick. She released pressure from the clutch and gave me one more reassuring glance, before letting full-blown smile swallow her face.


Oi ye cunt! Jaysn screms as he wooks steady toowars me. Av a smoke wit ja ol friend? He ass in a stoopid tounge. I indoolge in a puff an umor tha bloake. He pools owt a cig n lites it wit tha crack of a mach. He brefs deep and rools back his foucked up eyes until he looks like hes asleep. He goes awn n awn boot is fockin bird whose gawn n left im for some cunt from Liverpool. I swar the shite makes me sick. Ere I am habin a smoke wit an ol friend who I ain’t seen in ears n aowl he can taulk boot is a fukin bird. Ow bout a fouckin’ how aw ye mate? Or a wats new in ye life? No instead I git some mownin n grownin boot some bird I ain’t eva erd of beef-or. Is grumbling makes me sick n I dside tha ell wit it. I put out me cigarette and clok jaysn in his jaw. Me bowns feel fit as I wawtch his beck it tha grownd. A fouckin bird.


He walked quickly down three flights of stairs only to be met by a man clad in denim complete with a barking hound. They exchanged the briefest of glances before he proceeded to his car. Something was strange about that unleashed beast, he thought as he started his red SUV. Pulling out quickly and with purpose, he left the entrance of his building and sent blazing down Piedmont Boulevard. He dodged pedestrians and traffic police with the utmost care but still managed to reach the hospital in ample time. Jumping from his chariot, he left the car running and began to sprint into the emergency room. Florescent lights hummed overhead as he grabbed the first woman in scrubs he found. “Where is my wife? Where is Annabelle Jones!?” The nurse reviewed her clipboard and pointed him down the hall. He could hear screams of pain as he neared the door. He burst into a room filled with doctors and caught a glimpse of his laboring love. She was 9 months pregnant and had finally started to pop. Angry with how coarse the doctors tone was, he pushed them aside demanded respect be paid to his woman. Knowing he had overstepped his bounds as a concerned lover, he released his grip on the doctor’s arm and indicated his was sorry. The doctor nodded and returned to the swelling tubes of Annabelle. Three screams later a soaking baby boy now echoed the cries of his mother. She fell silent, as the baby grew louder. She had died, but the baby lived on.


I have this memory from my carefree days of summer when the shadows were long and the grass even longer. My dog, Max had fur as golden as the evening sun and a smile that screamed “I love you.” We were both young, and the advancing feeling of night was still an exciting prospect. We walked through a gigantic field ripe with grass and full of the symphony of insects. Max was too tired to chase the families’ deer feasting on the crust of the forest and he ignored their presence. It was around this time, every walk, that his erratic and excited sprint had dwindled to a content trot that seemed to brush one of my legs, almost to assure him I was still by his side. His tongue hung low and pink, and he drew deep breaths confirming my suspicion that he needed a drink. He had already walked triple what I had and took pity on him. We always rested on swing bench that sat beneath a mature oak perched up on a hill. Its steady wooden arms wrapped us in the cool dim silhouettes of its foliage. A calm and steady boulder balanced its roots and offered a table for the tree’s fallen fruits. Distant stonewalls outlined with ribbons of a fading daytime glow set the stage for the crickets that had already started tuning their legs. Max struggled with the persistent buzz of mosquitoes feasting on his defenseless backside. His breathing remained heavy. That relentless pant and the fresh breeze of night always reminded me of tomorrow. Soon the proud moon would rest overhead and we would be late for dinner. I could feel Max’s restless eyes on me when it was time to go. We rose together and I unhooked his leash. He knew he was free for the last mile home.

Less Than Zero

Fuck its hot. I roll into an ice cream shop complete with AC and Casey just sighs in disbelief. “Get a grip dude, its only like 80 degrees out.” I think about what she says for a second but convince myself that she’s an idiot who has no idea what she’s talking about. The guy behind the counter eyes us with suspicion and I just look back knowing I have to buy something if I want to remain in his oasis of refined air. I thumb my pockets for half a second before producing the smashed up dollar I got in change from convenience store 6 blocks ago. $13.50 for a pack of cigarettes, what’s the world coming to? I throw it on top of the display case and ask for the smallest scoop of chocolate he can muster. He looks at me and plainly says “$2.25.” The price of relaxation in an otherwise unforgiving city. I oblige and surrender a crisp 5 from my wallet. The pitiful dollar goes back into my pocket. Casey face is illuminated with the screen of her iPhone and I can tell buy her expression she isn’t doing anything meaningful. She’s probably still fucked up. I snatch my ice cream and let the guy know I’m not happy about having to pay for this bullshit. He doesn’t care, it isn’t his store. I can feel my blood pressure pushing at my veins and I take a deep breath. It doesn’t help. I’m still stuck with my shitty ice cream and a girl I am growing less and less fond of. I wish I had some sort of skill so I could escape this malignant maze of crap. Instead I look outward and watch the homeless man across the street suffer 3 rejections in less than 30 seconds. It takes balls to swallow your pride with such reckless abandon. I guess we all have our limits. Casey still sports a bluish glow, and I can feel my ice cream melting in the wax cup, and I push it aside. I can see the heat coming off the asphalt. Little waves of misery escaping the man made boulevard. “80 degrees my ass.”

Old Man and the Sea

The dim cloud of smoke climbed from his heart and I could see in his eyes he was dead. The short breath and the small trickle of blood from his mouth dripped slowly onto the floor. So many questions I had, so many thoughts. Why had his life ended with guns when he had lived with his heart? Where will his wife get the warmth of a lover without his body? When will his children learn the rest of the Spanish baseball song? The shadows awoke and I felt more at ease. His soul had left us and traveled to the hearts of his family. The short but strong walk of his spirit now lived in his son’s memories. It was a comfortable thought. No man ever dies, just his body. I climbed back into my truck and put the keys in the ignition but did not turn. I let the desert breeze wrap my cheeks with the distant sun and inhaled its heat. I closed the window and chewed on my tongue. I was lost yet I knew the way home. I twisted my wrist ignoring its pain and felt the hum of the engine under my seat. I stared into the empty eyes of the corpse and remembered his face. Sand now filled his pockets.

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