Latest Big Idea
I heard Stevie Nicks’ Edge of Seventeen for the hundred-thousandth time on the radio this week, and hated it a little more. There’s a Classic Rock station that is played in the warehouse near my workstation, and that despised tune intrudes on my thoughts an average of three times a week. Once upon a time actual human beings designed playlists, now they are done by programs. These programs are flat out poorly constructed for they only select material already heard to the saturation point. Same old same old. Never any happy surprise memories.
The situation got me thinking about why we hate certain songs by people we otherwise approve of. I like Stevie and Fleetwood Mac just fine, but I cannot stand Edge of Seventeen. There is no story behind that, I didn’t like it when it first came out in the 80’s and constant repetition has transformed that mild disdain to a fully realized hate. Something about the noise it makes, I guess.
My job requires very little brain power, which allows me to satisfactorily complete tasks and ponder other subjects at the same time. I expanded the notion further. I began to think of books I did not like by authors I do; objectionable films that star actors I normally enjoy and, of course, more songs. Naturally, a list was born which will close this post. And as always, audience participation is encouraged.
Moving On From the Latest Big Idea
This week, if you will, is the “eve” week of our eighth anniversary. We invite one and all to attend the festivities at this place and time next week. Along with regular business there will be some special features that are becoming anniversary traditions because when something gets to be eight, it usually has acquired traditions along the way. So, bring the kids, show up drunk, or dress as your favorite member of the Village People. There will be something for everyone.
Three site debuts happened this week, plus the quick first return of another and a man who will be hitting the unheard of 200 mark next month. (To put that in perspective, 200 LS posts laid end to end, at five per week, would cover ten months.)
Kristen A. Schmitt began the week in an unlikely fashion. The Memoir is a type of thing we see a lot of yet rarely accept. This proves that you can get anything over if it is well written enough. This piece certainly is that. Thoughtful and fresh, it is well worth the read.
We welcomed J. Bradley Minnick to the site on Tuesday. There is a great deal of scholarship evident in Generative/Iterative/Evaluative. It is to the author’s great credit that he communicates this fairly complicated piece with style and elan. It challenges the reader, which is needed more than ever, for such is a fading thing in the cyber-byte age. Plus it has a Pygmy Hedgehog–what’s not to like?
The great Tom Sheehan stands in the middle of the week like a great mountain. The Young Man Who Said He’d Never Eat Chocolates Again is one of the many that will lead Tom to the 200 summit next month. He also shattered the site record with 51 acceptances for this calendar year. And in honor of Remembrance Day (Veterans Day, US) on 11 November, we have an extra by Korean War vet Tom at the end of this post
Pete O’Connor just made his site debut and he is already back with his second, Seeds. As you all know, when you put out the literary submission shingle you attract a diverse group of artists. Mainly you listen for voices that have a singular quality to them. Such is the case here. And there are already two more in the line for this performer in the near future. Here, a tremendous, harrowing POV that keeps you off balance drives Pete’s follow up work.
It’s a great pleasure to welcome Midori P. Young to Literally Stories. Although it took considerable give and take to get her Fat Pussy on board, it is a fine story whose title should not be misconstrued by the dirtier minds out there. Midori has been a pro all the way and we look forward to working again with her in the future.
Ah, we have now reached the part of the weekly wrap I haven’t improved at one bit in over a year. I am just sort of standing here like a public speaker suddenly self conscious about what to do with her hands. So admitting that is as close to a closing segue I can come this week.
Return of the Big Idea: Leila’s List of Hated Creations Either Created by or Participated in by Otherwise Acceptable Persons
The Dark Half -Stephen King
Answered Prayers (or what there is of it) Truman Capote
Set a Watchman-Harper Lee
Bram Stoker’s Dracula– Anthony Hopkins
1941-Spielberg and the entire cast except that goddam dummy on the Ferris Wheel
Mannequin-Kim “Lassie” Cattrell
Do Ya Think I’m Sexy -Rod Stewart (still living that one down)
Miss You-Rolling Stones
Within Without You (such a dozy sitar song)-Beatles
P.S. The only reason for this week’s image is from the waste not want not school of thinking.
P.S.S. R.I.P. Gallagher, though watermelons of the world are now safer. Also, Rab Noakes of Stealer’s Wheel and that fabulous S.O.B. Dan McCafferty of Nazareth.
And Now Here’s to Veterans Everywhere
Postscript to Veterans’ Day
I saw them one day earlier in the year at Riverside Cemetery, almost invisible in their khaki colors atop grave site stones at the various Veterans Sections, war remnants atop war remnants; a hundred or more small plastic or metal soldiers not much more than two inches tall,decorating many sites, small enough that the eye has to search them out in the midst of fallen leaves, brown grass, natural detritus gathering up the days, small enough to catch at my heart,most likely glued in the spot for none of them had fallen or been blown down, and small enough to say a great big thank you for what had here transpired, and transpires daily. Some hand, some soul, and an inner music, all at work at one energy, as if they had been orchestrated by a keen musician.
Yet these salutes of a special kind were small enough and big enough to catch up memories clinging to other elements, as though they stood at attention in the ranks, row on row to the keen eye.
I like to think it’s some youngster, perhaps nine or ten years old, who accompanies his father or mother or a grandparent, locked up by memories, into the Veterans’ Section of our Riverside Cemetery and who has grasped a most remarkable sense of where he’s at and what this flag-waving is all about that surrounds him, where each gravesite is also decorated with a small Star-Spangled Banner. I like to think it’s that youngster who, in his own way and of his own choice, has decided to add his specific decoration to each grave site, a youngster who has apprehended a sense of devotion and duty that calls for obligation and thanks, and who, with a special grace, has donated his collection of metal or plastic toy soldiers to a greater cause.
I picture him at recess in one of our schoolyards, or in one of his classes, or thinking of people he has never met but knows all about. I picture him growing strong and brave and never having to know the weight of a rifle on his shoulder, a trigger at his finger, a deadly craft in his hands, but someday ready if he is called.
As the veterans’ names were being read at the memorial in front of the old high school site on Veterans’ Day, I thought of him as comrades and teammates and classmates by the dozens were announced to those who had come to pay their respects. I projected this youngster onto Stackpole Field, World Series Park, the Kasabuski Brothers Memorial Rink in a few years time,getting stronger, becoming proficient in his efforts, being ever a part of this town, and still remembering what had impelled him to graveside decoration.
Again, today, I thought of him, and then, in a still moment, wondered if it was some old man, older than me, who in his special way was saying hello again to old friends, old teammates, old comrades.
Either way, he’s a winner.