BURN AFTER TYPING

Burning

BURN AFTER TYPING

 

1 The unexamined life is well worth living. The happiest people I know never look inside themselves. Or at the lives of others.

 

2 They just rock to the rhythm of creation. Like a 300 pound woman in Popsicle orange spandex, laughing uproariously.

 

3 I really saw that once.

 

4 I called this BURN AFTER TYPING. It’s a better title than “Do you want me to do some things to make your battery last longer?”

 

5 This from my wife Georgia. She was talking about my #iPhone. Not about sex positions that increase longevity. Sadly.

 

6 I’m having way more luck as a humor writer than I ever did as a novelist. Novels took forever and never made any money.

 

7 These are quick and dirty and never make any money.

 

8 That’s a big step up.

 

9 I really do type these things out on my 1941 Royal before dumping them into cyberspace. Check it out. 

T20Ts

10 I left a couple pages at a friend’s place. They stowed away behind some sheet music, a song for an amazingly gifted student.

 

11 Named Kristyn! You should hear her sing. In fact . . . you can’t. The file is corrupted. :< 

 

12 Anyway I forgot my typed pages that stowed away with my music.

 

13 As I got home I realized they were missing. And I panicked. I turned and raced back to get them, amid a growing terror.

 

14 I was horrified that they would be read. They were awful, see. Most things I pound out on my Royal are.

 

15 It’s not about being good. First drafts of anything. It’s about adding to the substance of the universe. Producing something to work with.

 

16 My heart was racing by the time I got there. One thought kept running through my addled brain. “Why didn’t I burn those damn pages?”

 

17 My friend (and mom to a pop star in the making) kindly handed them over, as I muttered about how bad they were.

 

18 “I’m sure that’s not true,” she said. And I sighed with relief. Clearly she hadn’t read them.

 

19 Come to think of it my draft ones are like that 300 pound woman in Popsicle orange spandex, laughing hysterically.

 

20 Then it’s a matter of examining those pages, to see what’s worth burning.
————————————-
Snow Globe

My Christmas Fantasy THE MOUNTAIN KING is a free audiobook. Total running time is 2.5 hours. Hear it here:

http://www.24novels.com/2014/01/01/the-mountain-king-3/


ALL THAT TWITTERS 2

twitterbird

This week’s Tale in 20 #Tweets is a sequel to this rant here: http://www.24novels.com/2014/03/21/all-that-twitters-a-tale-in-20-tweets/

ALL THAT TWITTERS 2

1 It is the great mystery of twitter. Why don’t our best tweets get retweeted? More importantly, why don’t mine?

 

2 Like this one: ‘Rapunzel, Rapunzel, get on the giraffe.’

Giraffe 

3 Not one retweet. Didn’t get favorited either. I decided to blame the obscurity of the Rapunzel legend. What other reason could there be?

 

4 But there’s no end of Stephen Harper fans. Not to mention Star Wars. So why didn’t this get blasted through the twitterverse –

 

5 #Canadian PM Harper has the #Force. Note how he makes his #hockey stick levitate behind him. #StarWars #PMO

Harper

6 Just look at that tweet. There’s a gazillion hashtags betraying my silent shriek of desperation. Still no one cared.

7 It all leaves me inside myself, contemplating my own irrelevance. Want to know what that looks like?

Scream

8 Well okay. It looks like that, but without the two white gloved fans.

 

9 Actually I’m much sexier than The Scream. As my no make up selfie proves:

Don

10 Note how I needed a shave, but posted anyway.

 

11 I’ve tried everything. Including bantering via twitter with chess commentators.

Chess Banter

12 And still I languish in my own personal kryptonite – obscurity: http://www.24novels.com/2014/02/07/obscurity-a-tale-in-20-tweets/

 

13 I’m not alone. This was Macbeth’s problem. Not enough followers.

 

14 That occurred to me when I saw a poster for a Kenneth Branagh production of the Scottish Play. Which I tweeted about: 

 

15 ‘Words pour out of him’?? I’m a big #Branagh fan but what choice does he have? It’s #MACBETH! #Shakespeare

Macbeth

16 Again no retweets. Not even from Kenneth Branagh. Words may pour out of my fellow Brit(t), but not Rts.

 

17 I never had an encounter with Macbeth’s 3 witches. But I did have a chat with the devil: http://www.24novels.com/2013/12/13/black-friday-tale-in-20-tweets/

18 So that’s one option. Gain the whole world and lose your soul. I wonder what Jesus would do?

 

19 He would tell me to consider the lilies. And to take no thought of tomorrow. ‘Sufficient to the day is the evil thereof.’

 

20 Hmm. Maybe that means I should shut the @#*! up and write.
———————————
Snow Globe

My Christmas Fantasy THE MOUNTAIN KING is a free audiobook. Total running time is 2.5 hours. Hear it here:

http://www.24novels.com/2014/01/01/the-mountain-king-3/


Come Back Roger

SISKEL  EBERT

New Tales in 20 Tweets are posted every Friday, first live on Twitter at 1230 pm Eastern, then here on my site. Enjoy!

COME BACK ROGER

1 Had a funny moment online this week. I posted a comment on http://www.rogerebert.com in response to a powerful article by Matt Zoller Seitz.

 

2 In fact I should let Mister Seitz speak for himself. You can read his article here: http://www.rogerebert.com/mzs/please-critics-write-about-the-filmmaking#comment-1303753532

 

3 The funny moment came when I posted my comment, and learned that it was ‘waiting to be approved by Roger Ebert.’ 

Comment

 

4 This made me laugh. “Glad you’re keeping your hand in Roger,” I said.

 

5 But he isn’t. Not really. We lost the great critic, writer and humanitarian one year ago.

 

6 After I laughed I got sad for a while. Hell, I still am this morning. I miss Roger, more than I miss some friends who have died.

 

7 We reached, to borrow lingo from the Age of Aquarius. Every review had me nodding, line by line, and muttering in agreement.

 

8 What he once said of Shakespeare is true of Roger as well. He was incapable of caricature. He always saw the human. And always saw the heart.

 

9 I dropped in at Rogerebert.com hoping to find an early review of Noah, which I’ll be taking in this weekend. 

Noah

10 I’m a preacher as well as a music teacher. Yesterday our church was packed as we bid farewell to a pillar of our church.

 

11 It was a postmodern moment. Our tiny congregation has averaged about 7 souls per service in recent months.

 

12 Now I looked out on a sea of mourners, most a few generations removed from church goers.

 

13 I mentioned something about the Bible (damn preacher types!) and saw the bleary looks of incomprehension.

 

14 So, inspired by Roger, I went to the movies. “Noah opens tonight,” I said. “You know the first thing he does after the flood?

 

15 “He gets drunk!” Someone gasped. “That’s right. Doesn’t fit the puritanical view of the book does it? Sounds pretty damn human to me.”

 

16 More gasps. I talked about King David. How he saw Bathsheba bathing (naked!), and wiped out half the Commandments to get her.

 

17 I talked about the dregs of humanity Jesus hung out with. Fishermen for Pete’s sake. Tax collectors too.

 

18 And his response to the charges of guilt by association. “Does a healthy person need a doctor?”

 

19 I held up that all time best seller. “These people aren’t statues who excrete marble. They’re human. They hurt. They bleed. Like us.”

 

20 A truth that Shakespeare got. And dear Roger Ebert too.

——————————
Snow Globe

My Christmas Fantasy THE MOUNTAIN KING is a free audiobook. Total running time is 2.5 hours. Hear it here:

http://www.24novels.com/2014/01/01/the-mountain-king-3/


ALL THAT TWITTERS – A Tale in 20 #Tweets

twitterbird

1 There’s a great new feature on Twitter that lets you find your first tweet Here’s mine: ‘My favorite writer is Betty Smith. A TREE GROWS IN BROOKLYN. When I die I would like to go to heaven and write like her.’

 

2 I was surprised to see that it’s been 3 years since I joined. Oh so innocently. And without a clue that Twitter would change me forever.

 

3 I was an addict from the start. Suddenly I looked at the world with new and voracious eyes. Everything was potential Twitter fodder.

 

4 There I’d be, waiting quietly in my car outside a strip mall. Then I’d take a pic and tweet like mad:

 

5 ‘Hmm. I can go get a tan. Or I can go get blown away.’ 

Choices

6 Or I’d freeze on my way into a Chinese restaurant, making an elderly woman walk into me and almost fall. But I had a good reason:

 

7 ‘If there’s a line through the NO MSG sign, does that mean there is MSG?’ 

MSG

8 I can’t stop myself from Tweeting the most embarrassing truths. Such as evidence that my youthful lusts are cooling:

 

9 I must be getting on. I saw this cover art and all I thought was ‘That is so impractical.’  

red

10 But it’s not all fun and games, like that crack about my fading libido. Sometimes Twitter makes me stare into the abyss.

 

11 There I was at Tim Hortons, that defining piece of Canadiana, tweeting innocently enough about my roll up the rim cups:

 

12 ‘An aching pile of loss. Okay. The ache is in me.’

 

Tim's

13 Then I realized there really was an ache in me. I looked around at the store where I had lived so much of my life, all across Canada.

 

14 I’ve spent years writing at Tim Hortons. Literally. In blatant defiance of the 20 minute time limit signs.

 

15 Twice in my life I walked away from everything and wrote until I had nothing left. I used up savings, cashed in pensions, maxed out cards.

 

16 All in search of a break that, to date at least, has never found me.

 

17 All of this coursed through my mind as I stared down at that ‘aching pile of loss’. Which really was inside of me.

 

18 I realized in that moment that I play the piano like a guy who spent too much time writing. Most Sundays I preach like that too.

 

19 I picked up a piece of a Tim Hortons cup, and looked at words that had never meant anything to me before. 

PLAYAGAIN

20 “Play,” I heard myself say. “They say that’s the thing.” I grabbed my pen and notepad and started scribbling like mad.

—————————————–

BVI

My audio book, the detective story AN EXERCISE IN WISHFUL THINKING, is my gift to you. Click the link to find it:

http://www.24novels.com/2014/03/17/an-excersize-in-wishful-thinking-audio/


An Exercise in Wishful Thinking – Audio

BVIHere’s another free audio book, yours for the cost of a click.

This tale, a detective story set in the British Virgin Islands, was written in the days immediately following the tsunami strike on Japan. At first I just tried to soldier on, but finally I decided to let current events invade my story. The result is the tale before you. THE TOTAL PERFORMANCE TIME IS 2 HOURS, 11 MINUTES. I very much hope you enjoy it:

Part 1:  http://www.24novels.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/Exercise1.mp3

Part 2:  http://www.24novels.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/Exercise2.mp3

Part 3:  http://www.24novels.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/Exercise3.mp3

Part 4:  http://www.24novels.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/Exercise4.mp3


MUSIC IS HARD

Music Swirl

This week’s tale in 20 #tweets is respectfully dedicated to music educators everywhere.

—————————

MUSIC IS HARD

 

1 It’s music festival time again. That’s the closest the universal language comes to a contact sport.

 

2 Festival season is proof of an adage I have tweeted countless times, without ever getting so much as a single retweet –

 

3 It may be true that all the world’s a stage, but stages are even more so.

 

4 I’m proud of that line. But no one else has ever given a damn. Note to writers everywhere – Kill your darlings.

 

5 Music festival proves the first noble truth of the Buddha every year. Music, much like life, is hard.

 

6 This is the time when I get calls from Moms with their kids crying in the background. “She just can’t get the B section,” a Mom will say.

 

7 My paramedic wife Georgia (and my only wife incidentally) always smiles at this. “Another 911 call?” She says.

 

8 I’d love to buy an ambulance and deck it out with music notes. Then I could pick kids up for these emergency lessons in style.

 

9 The first noble truth of the Buddha also applies to us you know. Music teaching is hard. And private music teaching is brutal.

 

10 Not just because it’s life without a net. A world removed from the sane and rational realm where workers and their kids have dental plans.

 

11 I almost needed my wife in a professional capacity several times this week, as my kids performed in that world we call the stage.

 

12 And I almost went into palpitations when a 6 year old student got up there for the first performance of her life.

 

13 At first I thought she froze. But no. She just couldn’t find middle C for the eternal life of her.

 

14 Finally she tried her piece, called Sailing, in F position. Then she turned and smiled, God bless her, and hopped up a couple octaves.

 

15 That’s when the ship she was Sailing toppled over the world and into the abyss.

 

16 Literally. Because from there she decided to try her luck on the bottom few notes of the keyboard. Where there be dragons.

 

17 Somehow it helped. For at that point her vessel was rechristened The Flying Dutchman.

 

18 Out of the depths she arose, landed on a still calm C, and sailed on home.

 

19 Afterwards the adjudicator asked what she thought of it all. The little angel just beamed up at the lady.

 

20 “I sorta went all over the place. But one of the places was the right place. So it’s all good.”

——————————

Tianna

Here’s the riveting Tianna Martin, in rehearsal for an award winning performance:

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=10153907079780594

EDITS ARE INSULTS

Barenreiter

 

My latest Tale in 20 #Tweets may not have been brought to you by the ultimate pencil in the universe, the Barenreiter Urtext. But Lord did it help.

EDITS ARE INSULTS by dj britt

1 A dear friend spoiled me rotten this past Christmas by giving me some pencils from Germany. Barenreiter Urtext.

 

2 They’re not available in North America. My wife Georgia checked. Out of love she ordered a 10 pack of them online for twenty five bucks.

 

3 This led to my first security check call from the good folk at MasterCard. I assured them I really did pay that much for a pack of pencils.

 

4 “I’m the insanity writer,” I said.

 

5 I don’t want to overstate things, but if God were a pencil He’d be a Barenreiter Urtext. In 3 months I have yet to sharpen one.

 

6 If the Titanic struck that pencil instead of an iceberg the lead wouldn’t break. And the Titanic would still be where it is today.

 

7 I was visiting that dear friend, Karen, this week. I’ve been teaching music to 2 of her 3 ridiculously talented kids for years.

 

8 Their home is an inspiration. Not just because I adore the family that’s in it, farm folk of burning intellect, so passionate for the arts.

 

9 I stole their house and used it in my novel HOMECOMING. It’s GUESS WHO’S COMING TO DINNER but with lesbians and Born Again Christians.

 

10 When my heroine first glimpses the place from the road she thinks of King David’s cedar palace, moved to a hill above a sea of Iowa corn.

 

11 Then she sees that her lover, Iowan artist Claire Hendricks, is regarding her with a sly expression from the passenger seat.

 

12 “Not bad for corn children, huh?” Claire says, her green eyes twinkling.

 

13 Karen and I strolled to the concert grand in the real world version of that home, with its cathedral ceiling and rich dark woods.

 

14 There she made a request. Her son John needed an editor for an English assignment. I was happy to oblige. “It’s my first love,” I said.

 

15 The next day John dropped it off, a resume and cover letter requesting a lifeguard position.

 

16 I started reading and began to panic. It was clear. Cogent. And I was anxious to use my Barenreiter Urtext to justify this aspect of me.

 

17 Finally I saw ‘lifeguard’ used as a verb, and sighed with relief. When John returned I showed him the modest suggestions.

 

18 I could feel him bristling at them. John hummed and hawed, and sighed through his nose. When he left I was forced to concede something.

 

19 “He might be the genuine article,” I said. “A real writer.” “Why do you say that?” asked Georgia.

 

20 “Because he understands the first noble truth of the writer. All edits are insults.”
————————————————-
Snow GlobeMy Christmas Fantasy THE MOUNTAIN KING is a free audiobook. Total running time is 2.5 hours. Hear it here:

http://www.24novels.com/2014/01/01/the-mountain-king-3/


The Land of What

Tutu

 

THE LAND OF WHAT – A Tale in 20 Tweets by DJ Britt

 

1 Last night saw me in rehearsal. I’m playing the piano for a musical production of ALICE IN WONDERLAND.

 

2 I came home with those iconic images swirling in my head. A time obsessed rabbit, that oh so mad hatter. And dear Alice of course.

 

3 It turned out to be a restless night thanks to the newest member of our family. A Great Pyrenees rescue, a gentle white giant we call Ben.

 

4 My wife and I agreed that it’s only temporary, til we find Ben a new home. Which will likely be in the ground after he dies.

 

5 He’s oh so needy, our Ben. He whines through the night, nudges my arm for attention, and whines some more.

 

6 Finally I got up and let him out. Which doesn’t help, but whatayado. I went to the kitchen and stopped at a peculiar sight.

 

7 A white tutu stood on the counter, bathed in the green glow of our fish tank. It’s the latest creation in my wife’s Bella Baby business.

 

8 I let Ben back in. He fell in step beside me as we headed back down the hall, and threw me a forlorn look with world weary eyes.

 

9 I stopped at the bedroom door, which happens to be the second one down on the left. I heard myself mutter, “The Queen of What.”

 

10 At one point Alice interrupts a frog who is speaking of the queen. “The queen of what?” says Alice.

 

11 “The Queen of Hearts,” says the frog. “The Queen of What is the second door down on the left.”

 

12 Now there I stood. Outside that very door. The second one down on the left.

 

13 In my mind’s eye I looked down and saw a green light shining out from beneath the door.

 

14 My mind’s eye couldn’t stop there. Neither could my mind’s body for that matter. It reached out and opened that second door down.

 

15 My bedroom was gone. Replaced by a dead forest at night, a world of bare branches at odd sharp angles.

 

16 All was in that fish tank green glow, including the white tutus that swirled and spun among the trees. Just tutus. Dancing on their own.

 

17 “What the . . .” I heard myself say. Ben let out an apprehensive whine. As though to say “What the, indeed.”

 

18 Then it struck me, as the tutus danced on through a green lit night. “Ben, I think we’ve found the Land of What.”

 

19 Suddenly and all at once it was all around us. This Land of What. No door. No hall. Just that odd angled woods. The tutus grew still.

 

20 Ben pressed against my leg and let out another whine. “You said it pal,” I whispered. “What the indeed.”

——————————-

Snow Globe

My Christmas Fantasy THE MOUNTAIN KING is a free audiobook. Total running time is 2.5 hours. Hear it here:

http://www.24novels.com/2014/01/01/the-mountain-king-3/


THE SEARCH

Nessie

THE SEARCH – A Tale in 20 Tweets by DJ Britt

1 Before she was Book Girl http://www.24novels.com/2013/11/22/book-girl-a-tale-in-20-tweets/ my daughter Caley was an 8 year old staring in terror at our table in a Chinese restaurant.

 

2 “What’s wrong Caley?” She didn’t respond. She just kept staring down in wide eyed horror, as she had since we got in our booth.

 

3 “Caley?” She threw me a quick glance. “Nothing,” she said in a high pitched whisper. Her gaze returned to the table.

 

4 I followed that gaze. There was the table, the place mats, the cutlery. Nothing else. “Come on Caley. Give!”

 

5 She looked at me, her upper lift quivering. “Dog? Pig? MONKEY?!” I looked at the Chinese Zodiac on my place mat. “Ah.”

 

6 Once we established that was not the menu we discussed what we would choose if it was. “I’d go with pig,” Caley said. “Because we eat pig.

 

7 “But it’s really gross when ya say it like that.” I chuckled, and disagreed. “Dragon. How could you pass up mythological meat?”

 

8 Then there was the time Caley came home with a vexing question. “Daddy? Do you believe in Terry Fox?” I blinked a few times. “What’s that?”

 

9 It was Terry Fox day. The kids did laps on the school track as part of the fundraiser. This question began to circulate as they made their rounds.

 

10 When Caley said she did believe in Terry Fox a worldly 3rd grader snorted at her naivete. “He’s just another Santa Claus,” he said.

 

11 Others objected. So the budding 8 year old lawyer laid out his case. “Terry Fox has a day. Santa has a day. But Santa isn’t real.”

 

12 Caley shook her head. “Grown ups believe in Terry Fox.” “They say they do,” the boy replied. “They also say they believe in Santa Claus.”

 

13 “There are pictures of Terry Fox,” said Caley. “There are pictures of Santa,” said the boy.

 

14 So Caley came home with her belief system shaken. Along with her trust in adults, who make kids walk through all sorts of crazy rituals.

 

15 My atheist friend Cory http://www.24novels.com/2013/12/20/sanctuary-t20t-2/ was philosophical when I told him. “Guess kids are way less gullible these days.” 

 

16 “Right,” I said. “So less gullible that they refuse to believe the truth.” “Can’t be too careful,” Cory said. “Yes Cor. You can.”

 

17 Another time Caley researched the Loch Ness monster online. She’d look at one site and say “There is! There is a Loch Ness monster!”

 

18 The next site destroyed her faith. And back and forth, from site to site. Cory called, and my torn daughter put the question to him.

 

19 “Do you believe in the Loch Ness monster?” My friend, who believes in nothing but childhood wonder, thought for a bit.

 

20 “I believe in the search,” he said at last. “Dive in deep, and see what’s there.”

_____________________
Here’s a 4 minute audio excerpt from my novel CAMBRIAN. You can read the whole novel for free by clicking the link on the right.

http://www.24novels.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/Cam-Ridge.mp3


Blondes Have More Fedoras

Blond in Fedora

BLONDES HAVE MORE FEDORAS – A Tale in 20 Tweets by DJ Britt

1 I opened the box from my stepdaughter Crystal, here in my study with my 1941 Royal typewriter.

 

2 And there I found the perfect compliment to my Royal, a swanky new black fedora.

 

3 Grinning I put it on (a perfect fit) loaded a page and started clickety click clacking away, feeling like a 1940s gumshoe.

 

4 My wife Georgia came in to get a coffee from our Tassimo. “Don’t you look nifty,” she said.

 

5 “It’s my new non thinking cap,” I said, as I clickety clacked away. “Huh?” she said. The Tassimo started whirring.

 

6 “I wear a hat to remind me not to think when I’m writing.” “That doesn’t make sense,” said Georgia.

 

7 I spun my chair to behold my raven haired beauty. “Don’t get me wrong. I approve of brains and their general use.”

 

8 My paramedic wife nodded. “All brains end up oxygen deprived eventually. I try to use mine while I can.”

 

9 “Commendable. Doesn’t change the fact that I’m sitting here writing without a single thought in my head.”

 

10 Georgia looked at me, deadpan. “So . . . you’re a blond when you write.”

 

11 I chuckled. “That’s good Babe. Can’t tweet that though. Someone will spank me.”

 

12 Georgia took her latte and headed off. “Only in your dreams. Why don’t you tell them I said it?”

 

13 “Good idea.” I spun back around and addressed my typewriter. “Besides I’m only a blond on draft one.”

 

14 My typewriter made no comment. I started in again, but couldn’t get my mojo going. Soon I slumped back in my chair.

 

15 “I think I need a break from writing,” I said. “The way sharks need to sink to the bottom and stop breathing every once in a while.”

 

16 My eyes lit up. “A CIGARETTE! That would complete the . . .” “NO!” Georgia said, from the bedroom.

 

17 With a sigh I looked back to my typewriter, and to the hashtag sign there. (#) “How did they know about Twitter in the 40s?” I wondered.

 

18 “One way to find out.” I looked outside. Our sleepy Prairie town had been replaced by a busy city street corner from the Forties.

 

19 Black cars streamed past, and scores of people in period attire. There was even an EXTRA EXTRA kid waving a paper.

 

20 “Going out for a bit Babe.” “Okay,” she said, “lunch in thirty.” I adjusted my fedora and started typing like mad.
_____________________
Here’s a 4 minute audio excerpt from my novel CAMBRIAN. You can read the whole novel for free by clicking the link on the right.

http://www.24novels.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/Cam-Ridge.mp3


Support my Insanity

Don's the madman who wrote 24 3-Day novels in one year, all live online. His madness continues with free audio books (in the audio menu) and the all new TALES IN TWENTY #TWEETS (#T20T). If you enjoy the content please consider a donation, to help the insanity continue unabated!

AUDIO SAMPLE

An excerpt from my story THE REDEMPTION OF WILBUR BLAKE was read on the CBC national radio program AS IT HAPPENS, which is also heard across the States on NPR. Part One follows. The rest of the story, and other audio books, can be found by clicking on the audio menu above my blogs. Enjoy:

SAMPLE

CAMBRIAN now on SCRIBD

You can read my horror novel Cambrian absolutely free on Scribd, the Netflix of books. But you don't need a Scribd subscription to read it. Click on the cover for a direct link to Cambrian.