Where have I been, you say?

OK, I have been away for a bit. It may seem like I have been lazy, but really I haven’t. Stop laughing. No seriously this is getting uncomfortable.

So I have been doing a lot of things while I was out. Losing jobs, finding jobs, losing them again and finding new ones. Getting sick. Getting sort of better (well enough to write this blog anyway). Losing cats, finding cats (don’t ask). Losing dogs (that one left a mark). Finishing my thesis… no really I finished my thesis while I was away from the blog… What do mean? YES, I am serious. My thesis is complete. It has shuffled off its mortal coil and join the choir invisible. It has ceased to be! This is an EX Thesis!

Well, maybe that last part is an overstatement, but my thesis is as complete as it is likely to get with respect to my Master’s program. I’ve got proof! I will share the Epilogue of my thesis with you here. For those of you who don’t know, the epilogue comes at the end. I am showing this to you as proof that I got there. Anyone interested in reading the Thesis in its entirety should seek medical help help immediately. If the penicillin doesn’t eliminate your burning itch please send me a SASE with about twenty dollars worth of postage on it and I’ll mail it to you.

I think a Winnie the Pooh fan fiction as epilogue is technically more than a little out of the ordinary for a thesis, but my graduate work has always been a little out of the ordinary anyway. So here it is-

Epilogue

The steady tattoo of the typewriter filled the room, already cramped with shelves of books and boyish toys that the author had been unable or unwilling to part with. The desk, built for a boy of middle-school age, looked more than a little ridiculous with the hunched over man, fully grown, pecking away at a typewriter that no longer fit his overgrown hands as manic chuckles echoed over his shoulder in rhythm with the typewriter. Christopher Robin sat at his desk, papers and books piled so precariously as to worry poor Piglet who sat on a very high shelf for such a small and fearful little creature.

Over the past years the desk must have shrunk thought Pooh. He pondered whether Christopher Robin would ever return to the Hundred Acre Wood to count stars or chase lost donkey tails again. Pooh was certain that the young boy, who seemed much taller and wider now, must be working on some critically important treatise. Pooh did not know what a treatise was but he had heard Owl refer to the term once. Based on the number of typewritten pages that lay dog-eared on Christopher Robin’s desk Pooh assumed that it must mean a very important book that a simple bear would not understand.

Pooh missed his friend desperately, but he would not disturb Christopher Robin at his work for fear of making their time apart even longer. Once, many moons before, Christopher Robin had lashed out at the entire Hundred Acre Wood gang. Their voices calling to him out of sincere concern for his health. He had not eaten for days while he sat at his too-small desk and he now had facial hair that might make any bear proud. Christopher Robin didn’t care about their concerns. He shouted something about a La Kahn that was making him crazy as he sneezed, made a sound like ‘Zizek’ and then banged his head on the desk.

There was still a coffee stain on the rug where Christopher Robin’s mug had crashed in the storm of very bad words that followed. Pooh didn’t actually know any bad words but he assumed these were very bad because they made the veins in Christopher Robin’s head and neck stick out. After a long time sobbing at his typewriter Christopher Robin begged the Hundred Acre Wood gang to leave him alone for just a little while longer and he would again be able to walk in the woods and play with them.

“But for chrissake leave me alone for a spell so I can finish this Fah King Thesis!” These were the last words Pooh had heard him say that long ago day. Pooh felt a little better about the whole affair now that he learned that Christopher Robin was writing something in Chinese.

Rabbit, looking over Christopher Robin’s shoulder because he shared none of Pooh’s concerns about interrupting, says, “Yes, Yes! This is exactly the kick in the pants that the acadeemix establishment needs.”

Christopher Robin, for his part slightly exasperated at the interruption, set his glasses on the desk avoiding the tea cup rings and crumbs of old sandwiches. “Rabbit, I don’t think…”

“Of course not,” says Rabbit. “And why would you? But mark my words Christopher Robin, these acadeemix need a paring down. Someone needs to put a stop to them. They’re eating all my carrots!”

I know this post is late, but I have been shoveling…

A few years back, a friend sent me a Facebook post about a friendly elf named Clyde. We had a little fun writing back and forth about the foul-mouthed little bastard. I had kind of forgotten about the exchange for a little while. Then back in November Buffalo got hit with a literal wall of frozen death. I got stuck in the house for a bit and wrote a little piece about a rescue mission for Clyde… I don’t know exactly why I didn’t post this back in November but it might have been the virtual life and death struggle against eightish feet of snow that we were dealing with at the time. There other reason is probably that I have a genetic disposition towards the avoidance deadlines, so here it is seven months later…

 

 

Tsnownami, If you squint just right you can see my house just off to the left under approximately six feet of snow.
Photo by Mark Branden

So, I was out shoveling off the back porch… seriously, that’s a thing in Western New York.

Anyway, I am shovelling off the seven feet of snow (ed note: not an exaggeration) and I found an explorer’s pack buried in a mound. The wind was blowing snow so hard it caused my eyes to freeze… also a thing now, hipsters. Curious, I decided it might be a good time to bring the pack into the house and check it out. There wasn’t a ton of stuff in it, some old, pitted miner’s pick and a few crumbs. Whoever it belonged to was obviously down on his luck. Looking through  the frozen pockets I noticed a small journal with an inscription on the inside cover that said Y Cornelius. The handwriting in it is shaky but legible with a little bit of effort and time. Honestly, I have six feet of snow in the driveway with more coming. What the hell else do I have but time?

Here are the entries I have been able to parse out so far…

Day One- Why is it that every time someone decides to go south for the winter I get the suicidal task of attempting to retrieve them? Seriously, I am starting to get a complex – it’s like the jolly old man wants to get rid of me. Anywho, the old man said it’s important – he really wants this elf back, in one piece this time. Something about making an example for the rest of the little pricks.

Day Two- Supplies are running low. The bumble is being an asshole. Dude, try using a toothbrush once in a while, it is not my fault you have narwhal breath.

Day Three-  We are running out of long underwear… things are getting grim. On the way out the door the big guy said “Be careful, Buffalo gets a little more snow than  we do.” But how was I supposed to take that seriously?? Total white out conditions, I lost the bumble a while back but it’s senseless to go back for him. In this wind the dogs will never pick up his scent.

Day Four- This is getting ridiculous. Lost the dogs… lost the bumble, although I still can’t get rid of the smell of his wet fur… what is that all about? Look, I know this nasty little Clyde did some ugly things but how far do I have to go risking my ass to get this prick? I found his last known location but I ain’t going back in that place… ever. Its like ‘Lord of the Flies’ meets some kind of demonic concoction of Cats the musical and the Walking Dead in that House. Those people are pissed, and hungry… and more than a little punch drunk I think… but there are more than a few empty whiskey bottles so they may be just plain old drunk. I don’t know. Maybe I’m hallucinating at this point. The big guy definitely said that little bastard elf would be at these coordinates, but how can you be sure with this much friggin snow? It comes down in buckets here.

Day Five- Not sure how much longer I can hold on out here… supplies are gone… bumble is gone… hiding out on the back porch but the friggin dog keeps coming out here. The damn thing must have a bladder the size of Dick Cheney’s heart. The dog comes out here at all hours of the day and night, I can never get any rest around here… y’know what, forget the elf, forget the big guy… eff all o’ y’all – I’m headed somewhere safe and warm, Cleveland maybe…

Who reads this stuff anyway?

Apparently, you do!

So its submission season in the Morrisey household, or as we call it over here… depressing taco thursday. Its more of a depression gordita actually, you have a form rejection wrapped around a nicely worded complimentary letdown wrapped in well nothing actually (which I like to think of as the Nacho cheese of rejection – entirely empty calories of plastic ‘cheese-like’ foodstuff). Seriously folks, I spent an hour the other night on a lit mag site I had submitted to refreshing the page every two minutes because they were updating the site with the initials of accepted authors… pathetic? Perhaps… but I still haven’t even received a rejection from them. Oh well, back to the salt mines… time to make the dog-nutz… Hi Ho its back to work I go.

One of the toughest parts of pursuing the writing gig is keeping the funnel full of material while you are trying to keep track of what has been sent out for submission and hoping a reply comes one way or another. Because of this challenge I try to avoid simultaneous submissions, but inevitably I find the ‘perfect’ venue for a particular piece two weeks after I have already submitted it somewhere else. The typical lead time for a response from a lit mag tends to be somewhere between three months and the average age of a solar system (I googled it and got mixed results, lets call it 10 Billion years)… so I will never get a rejection from one mag in time to submit a particular piece to the other perfect place I found for it – it’s Joyce’s Law.

For those of you who didn’t know, James Joyce had Hemingway beat the crap out of Murphy in Paris back in the 1920’s… James didn’t much care for the rough stuff himself. It wasn’t that he abhorred the violence, he just preferred to watch it from outside of arm’s reach. Anyway, since that time, anything that can go wrong in the world of the literati will go wrong – Joyce’s Law!