Short Story (flash fiction) of the day, Ghost Collecting by Sheila Massie

Yes, there are people who collect ghosts. I happen to be one of them.

—-Sheila Massie, Ghost Collecting

Nasher Sculpture Center, Dallas, Texas

Now that I’ve completed my goal of writing 100 pieces of fiction in 100 days I’ll post some other types of blog entries. I’m still writing fiction most days, but I’ll revise and edit some and send them out into the big, wide world.

Really there is no better inspiration for a piece of flash fiction than reading or thinking about Craigslist ads. I once went to a performance at an art gallery that was mostly naked women reading Craigslist personal ads.

In this crackerjack story, the author imagines Craigslist selling a haunted item.

Ghost Collecting by Sheila Massie

from Flash Fiction Online

Sheila Massie

Sheila Massie Twitter

Colors Of the Water And Sky

“All afternoon in the deck chair, I try to describe to my notebook the colors of the water and sky. How to translate sunlight into words?”

― Frances Mayes, A Year in the World: Journeys of a Passionate Traveller


Carnival Valor, Caribbean Sea

A Month of Short Stories 2017, Day 7 – Why Don’t You Dance?, by Raymond Carver

The bartender pouring the absinthe, note the clear green color.
Pirate’s Alley Cafe, New Orleans

Over several years, for the month of June, I wrote about a short story that was available online each day of the month…. It seemed like a good idea at the time. My blog readership fell precipitously and nobody seemed to give a damn about what I was doing – which was a surprising amount of work.

Because of this result, I’m going to do it again this year – In September this time… because it is September.

Today’s story, for day 7 – Why Don’t You Dance?, by Raymond Carver

Read it online here:
Why Don’t You Dance?, by Raymond Carver

He considered this as he sipped the whiskey.

—-Raymond Carver, Why Don’t You Dance?

If I could write like anyone, I would want to write like Raymond Chandler.

His stories are a revelation to me. His characters real, with flaws and good points, – with the flaws winning out in the balance by quite a bit.

What I like the best is the way he leaves stuff out. He doesn’t tell us everything, only what’s important. In today’s story, he doesn’t tell us how or why everything has come to the state it is, because that isn’t important. He doesn’t even tell us what happened… because that isn’t important.

He does tell us that they drank, and that they drank too much, and that they danced, and that the records were crappy.

Because that is what is important.

Interview with Raymond Carver:

But what made you want to write?
The only explanation I can give you is that my dad told me lots of stories about himself when he was a kid, and about his dad and his grandfather. His grandfather had fought in the Civil War. He fought for both sides! He was a turncoat. When the South began losing the war, he crossed over to the North and began fighting for the Union forces. My dad laughed when he told this story. He didn’t see anything wrong with it, and I guess I didn’t either. Anyway, my dad would tell me stories, anecdotes really, no moral to them, about tramping around in the woods, or else riding the rails and having to look out for railroad bulls. I loved his company and loved to listen to him tell me these stories.
—-Raymond Carver, from the Paris Review

A cute couple.

Listen to the Silence Inside the Illusion of the World

“I have lots of things to teach you now, in case we ever meet, concerning the message that was transmitted to me under a pine tree in North Carolina on a cold winter moonlit night. It said that Nothing Ever Happened, so don’t worry. It’s all like a dream. Everything is ecstasy, inside. We just don’t know it because of our thinking-minds. But in our true blissful essence of mind is known that everything is alright forever and forever and forever. Close your eyes, let your hands and nerve-ends drop, stop breathing for 3 seconds, listen to the silence inside the illusion of the world, and you will remember the lesson you forgot, which was taught in immense milky way soft cloud innumerable worlds long ago and not even at all. It is all one vast awakened thing. I call it the golden eternity. It is perfect. We were never really born, we will never really die. It has nothing to do with the imaginary idea of a personal self, other selves, many selves everywhere: Self is only an idea, a mortal idea. That which passes into everything is one thing. It’s a dream already ended. There’s nothing to be afraid of and nothing to be glad about. I know this from staring at mountains months on end. They never show any expression, they are like empty space. Do you think the emptiness of space will ever crumble away? Mountains will crumble, but the emptiness of space, which is the one universal essence of mind, the vast awakenerhood, empty and awake, will never crumble away because it was never born.”
― Jack Kerouac, The Portable Jack Kerouac

Klyde Warren Park Dallas, Texas

Klyde Warren Park
Dallas, Texas

Study in the Sculpture Garden

Woman studying on a nice day in the Besthoff Sculpture Garden, New Orleans

Besthoff Sculpture Garden, New Orleans

(Click for a larger and more detailed version on Flickr)

A sculpture garden is a wonderful place… a well-done sculpture garden on a nice day is the best of all possible places – one where the blue sky, crystal humming air, and moving spectators become part of the exhibit and integral to the pure joy of hanging out in such a spot.

A woman sits barefoot, shoes and drink nearby with her backpack not far away, and quietly studies her notebooks in the sun. How is she not as exquisite a work of art as the famous bronzes? The curve of her back, the spherical bun of hair on top of her head, and the sun gleaming from her ankles and toes – these are the simple pleasures the great artists strive for lifetimes to come close to duplicating and have to settle for a second-rate imitation, the best they can do.

The granite chair behind her is Settee, by Scott Burton. His works blur the distinction between furniture and sculpture. I’ve always enjoyed his piece at the Nasher, here in Dallas, Schist Furniture Group (Settee with Two Chairs). I’m never really comfortable sitting on his work – it seems wrong to wear the art like that, even though that’s exactly what he intended.

What sculpture is to a block of marble, education is to the soul.
—-Joseph Addison

When a finished work of 20th century sculpture is placed in an 18th century garden, it is absorbed by the ideal representation of the past, thus reinforcing political and social values that are no longer with us.
—-Robert Smithson

Sculpture is the art of the hole and the lump.
—-Auguste Rodin

Sculpture occupies real space like we do… you walk around it and relate to it almost as another person or another object.
—-Chuck Close

There is no substitute for feeling the stone, the metal, the plaster, or the wood in the hand; to feel its weight; to feel its texture; to struggle with it in the world rather than in the mind alone.
—-William M. Dupree