Rummaging through my cubic meter or so of unpublishable manuscripts, decades after the fact, I am struck by a couple of things: how stupid some of my writing was...and how good some of it was. Unfortunately these rare pearls of prose were like morsels of caviar buried in huge quivering gobs of spam. From time to time I've been able to exhume some of these buried gems and re-apply them to more recent literary efforts, so the occupied closet space hasn't been a complete waste.
Now, during this entire time, I was part of a very brutal writer's group, called Camprobbers, which still semi-sporadically meets. These precious people not only were quick to tell me when my writing sucked, but were able to tell me precisely HOW it sucked, and how to unsuck it. Perhaps their marginal commentary is the real reason I keep this stuff. Other than the fact that it may be worth a fortune some day.
At any rate, I have decided against all sane judgement, to present some of these quivering gobs of literary spam, not because I have a masochistic need to embarrass myself, but rather to provide a lower benchmark by which to calibrate your own prose. Comments naturally welcome. Some of these may still be redeemable!
From "Eons in an Envelope" (unpublished (naturally)):
....Alice-Margrethe Leander could change a tire on a 1956 Buick Roadmaster without the benefit of a jack or a lug wrench. Thirty years of chewing muktuk and raw walrus meat in Jakobshavn, Greenland had given her the jaws of a pit bull...and breath to match....
.....Webb had always wondered what Singh Bunjee kept under his turban. In fact, he was obsessed over the mystery. Other than a few Chinese people at the lab, Bunjee was the first real foreigner Webb had ever known. This was surprising, in light of the fact that Webb had traveled all over the world in the Merchant Marines. But it wasn't too surprising, actually, because Webb's job as an engine mechanic pretty much kept him in the bilge. One wasn't likely to find too many foreigners in the bilge of a Merchant Marine vessel.....
.....You'd think A.M. Leander would have invented the chastity belt herself, the way she chided Zoot about his numerous conquests. In reality, A.M. wouldn't have needed a chastity belt, her personality pretty well did the trick......
....Tell St. John's head was like a giant cue ball with eyes. A.M. had never encountered a bald man in Greenland....something about the cold must have had a preservative effect. She asked Tell if she could feel his head. Tell had noticed that she had just been gnawing on a greasy hunk of Oogruk, which had the fragrance of rotten rubber mixed with kerosene, with just a trace of puke. This was not the sort of smell that Tell would want lingering on his scalp. At the very least, it would have made his wife question just where he had been that day. Had Tell's wife ever met A.M., she would have realized she had nothing to worry about....
.....Zoot Zaragoza liked his ladies large....shock-absorber busting large. Webb was convinced that this was how the low-rider car was invented...but he never suggested it to Zoot directly.
Just a sampling.
Up next: Some of my true gems that never saw the light of day.
Causes Eric Nichols Supports
Free Burma Rangers, Partners Ministries (Thailand), Literacy council of Alaska, Access Alaska.