Saturday, 9 November 2019

SERIAL PUBLICATION: The Recalcitrant P.I. ~ Chapter 24

THE RECALCITRANT P.I.


a Mac Armstrong mystery


by


T.F. Pruden


Copyright © 2018 by T.F. Pruden

All rights reserved. No part of this manuscript may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, including photocopying, recording, or other electronic or mechanical methods, without prior written permission of the author


Twenty-Four

Dana raised the shirt to her face, inhaling deeply.
She wrinkled her nose as she pulled it away.  To her well-trained olfactory sense, the scent was unfamiliar.  As foretold by Wanda at yesterday's lunch date, after another late night, Jack's clothing reeked with the odor of conquest.
She tossed the offending garment into the machine where a pile of Jack's underwear, sorted with usual care, lay waiting.  Clearly labeled dry-clean only, the expensive shirt with reasonable certainty could expect to be ruined by such treatment.
Dana grinned as she pressed the button for the heavy-load cycle, making sure to set the water temperature to hot before hitting start.
As she climbed the wooden steps leading out of the unfinished basement, Dana smiled while picturing Jack's face when he discovered the shirt.  It should certainly be wrecked.  If they were home alone, he would likely be aggressive in expressing displeasure at the error made in care of his precious wardrobe.
Dana nodded as she closed the basement door.  A moment later she poured a cup of coffee from the carafe waiting in the kitchen.  With her darling Jack working a day shift, she would not have time to confront him until midday tomorrow, due to an evening shift that waited for her attention.
She would make sure it was easy for Jack to find the shirt, thus allowing plenty of time for him to get hot.
It was even more fun breaking him when he started out filled with some righteous, if most often wrong-headed, anger.
Dana sipped from the coffee mug, staring for a moment at the fish tanks surrounding the living room.  Like her roommate-turned gal-pal Toni, she bore no love for the creepy predator fish Jack kept there.  Nor did she appreciate the joy both husbands took from feeding them.
She shook her head in resignation; as the only pets in the house, their removal would likely be deemed too severe a punishment.
At least, it might be after she finished the first punishment she planned for Jack.
Dana smiled, thinking of the handcuffs waiting in the bedroom dresser.  Tomorrow, she would need them.  The polished leather riding crop from the closet should also be useful.
After the Armstrong's left for work in the morning, she would be home alone with her husband all day.
Jack could then be reminded of what happened when he broke the rules of either his enslavement, or his marriage.  Through a long afternoon, he should be forced to savor the marinated flavor of Dana's cooled revenge.
A shiver of pleasure passed through her, as she recalled an earlier episode of her husband's punishment.
Jack was Dana's most prized possession.
Tomorrow, she could again remind him of it.  She would also make clear, he ever remained the exclusive property of his wife.  The agony Dana planned to inflict upon him, came as result of his breaking established rules.  It would be as exquisitely satisfying for Dana, as it was deeply reassuring to Jack, of that she was also sure.
Dana reminded herself to leave no visible marks upon her husband.  Previous treatments on occasion left embarrassing bruises, with Jack forced to make up a variety of excuses to explain them.  Dana enjoying listening as he struggled for reasons appropriate to the evidence, when asked about it by friends.
Jack at such times could be relied upon for humorous creativity, though by now he carried an undeserved reputation for clumsiness as result.
Much like her husband, Dana preferred knowledge of their preferences remained unknown to those outside the bedroom.
One promise, above all others made between them, must first be kept if the marriage were to remain whole.  Those secrets revealed in the marriage bed were considered by each of them absolute, with their protection a required service of it.
In this unspoken task, the happy couple lived betrothed.
For to one another was held singular emotional fidelity, no matter who from time to time might be fortunate to share either of their beds.  Upon this each of them counted, with both secure in mutual trust.
Dana loved Jack as a prized possession, sole recipient of her most tender aggression.
Jack loved Dana as a worshipped deity, prescient source of his secret identity.
To either husband or wife, the marriage remained a blessed union.


Monday, 27 May 2019

The Twelve Rules For Writing Literature


The Twelve Rules For Writing Literature

By

T.F. Pruden
1. Literature must provide questions, not answers.

The writer's job is sharing experiences, not telling readers what to think about them.  As the fundamental responsibility of art, music and literature is illuminating the condition of society, neither personal opinions nor rhetorical positions are acceptable for inclusion within literary work.  Specifically, the writer must share a story, while keeping both opinions and answers out of it.

2. Literature must be known by experience, not reported as bystander.

A writer may factually document only that which individual temporal experience personally reveals.  Specifically, third-party information must be identified in first-person narratives, with omniscient narration based on science, observed, or related behavior employed only when or if judged necessary to best serve the story.

3. Literature must respect the rules of grammar, not serve them.

The writer must demonstrate mastery of the craft.  As such, basic guidelines of mid-twentieth century English grammar are to be observed, aside from within dialogue.  While splitting the infinitive for reasons of style is approved meanwhile, use of the vernacular must always be limited to either first-person narratives or dialogue.  Specifically, this rule prohibits sentences from ending with prepositions, while those begun with prepositional phrases require use of a comma. 


4. Literature must rely on facts, not beliefs.

As science is fact while history but opinion, so genre fiction is entertainment and not to be confused with literature.  For a work to be literary, the facts of temporal reality must compose and provide the entirety of theme, plot and characterization.  Specifically, this rule identifies that while opinions are certainly as common as assholes, they have no place in literature.

5. Literature must be written individually, not by committee.

A writer must work alone, from a project's start to its completion. The writer's work is not finished when either draft or manuscript is completed. While editorial feedback is encouraged prior to engaging the revision process, neither line editing nor collaboration of any kind is allowed at any time. Specifically, this rule approves the use of word processing and editing software but limits third-party assistance to feedback, proofreading and copy editing.

6. Literature must provide historical perspective, not timely reportage.

Experience while most often the best teacher, must be allowed the benefit of time's perspective to be appreciated. The writer must not allow emotions or desire for timeliness to limit the perspective achieved only by distance and time. Specifically, this rule prevents the damning of a work to either period or emotional influence by requiring writing driven by fashions, fads or favorites be avoided.

7. Literature must be grammatically constrained, not mutilated.

While appropriate for the writer to incorporate specific language constraints to demonstrate literary mastery, such constraints must always be near invisible to the reader and incorporated throughout a work.  Specifically, this rule identifies either loss of grammatical consistency or stylistic readability in support of constraint as not acceptable.

8. Literature must be thematically defined, not limited.

While multiple thematic elements are acceptable within a single work, each must be effectively represented within its context.  Specifically, this rule recognizes broad implementation of either symbolism or metaphor as suitable but requires single-sentence thematic statements provided in explanation for a work be suggested within the text.

9. Literature must respect tradition, not deny it.

Defending traditional literary forms requires an understanding of the difference between influence and respect.  Those either hidebound by conformity or blindly devoted to innovation miss the point of not only literature, but also music and art.  The timeless secrets of form and function valuable to writers from all ages meanwhile, are most reliably discovered within classical works.  Specifically, this rule confirms those who don't read good books suffer a far greater loss than they who can't and requires the writer to read and implement the lessons found there.

10. Literature must be stylistically consistent, not obtrusive.

No matter what is written, literature must incorporate a narrative voice appropriate to the writer's taste, not that of either desired audience or treasured results. Consistency of literary style builds trust between reader and writer, and from that rises verisimilitude. Specifically, this rule identifies the intellectual and emotional bond created by consistent and unobtrusive style as necessary to a believable and lasting literary experience.

11. Literature must serve the story, not its writer.

The point of writing novels is neither enriching nor ennobling writers but documenting the ever-evolving conditions of life on earth.  As talking about and promoting the work might damage or affect its process, a writer must avoid intrusions related to fame, fortune and notoriety.  Specifically, to achieve success a writer must choose to write, not speak.

12. The writer must write, not make excuses for it.

As a wise man said long ago, to be, one must do.  Thus, to earn the authentic title of writer requires the act of writing be an undeniable and lifelong habit bordering on obsessive compulsion.  To those who must, the work produced should then and ever be allowed to speak for itself.  Specifically, this rule prohibits the writer from either written response to critics and criticism or seeking of awards and plaudits.

 

T.F. Pruden

Thorsby, Alberta, Canada

2014

 

“Do not seek perfection, which is death.  Let it seek you.” ~ William Saroyan, 1908-1981

 

Thursday, 21 March 2019

Cards on the table.


Because it needs doing, this writer does it.

A fellow somewhat renowned for lack of ambition, were someone else tending to it, you may rest assured a man would not persist with effort both thankless and difficult.

For to this writer, the well of whatever from which the words spring has ever been both mystery and necessity.  A man was also forced, long ago, to accept that a life-long struggle learning to master and control what ~ from the outside ~ amounts to little more than angst-ridden neuroses propped up by emotional immaturity, could lead to neither popularity nor riches.

Despite this knowledge and with serious intent, the writer kept the business to himself through what was a lengthy and often public life.  Not because he wanted to, but as result of knowing it should not be managed by any other means.

For to know, there is but a single way.  One must be.  This according to a man reckoned wise by minds brighter than this, who is claimed to have once said ~ paraphrased here ~ that to be, one must do.

Long ago, in a land far away, this writer drank of that beverage.

Everything since was as result.

To make sense of it, one must first accept that playing a part, like an actor, is not a substitute for living life.  Nor is reporting of its events, from any perspective, be it live or from a historical viewpoint, considered here a realistic documentation of facts suitable for fictional history.  For by now, we should all know most of the stuff that fills our textbooks, web searches and news sources was written by peons at work on behalf of history’s winners.

The paradox and failure of most writer’s work, after all, is a need to report third-hand information as first-hand knowledge.

So it is, and so it shall remain.

For this writer, even second-hand information is much like moral authority, a necessary evil considered best practiced by others.  In these parts, the job is telling the facts of how it was for a participant, not telling you what to think, believe or feel about it.

Like it or not, life remains short, brutal and dumb.  The long-term danger of whitewashing both history and diversity, though often convenient, has rarely been more apparent in western democracy than it is just now.  A society spoon-fed single-viewpoints in search of homogeneity without acknowledging the sometimes-bitter facts regarding alternative lifestyles or differing perspectives, eventually leads to repressive and stunted political regimes marked by divisive populism and tyranny of the masses.

These are facts of early twenty-first century life.

The challenge to writers and artists in all disciplines, everywhere but here in the west particularly, is responding to the times in which we live and create history together.

As the next man, this writer leaves the crumbs he can produce to mark a trail for those who might seek to find them.

That’s part of what it means to be a responsible individual around here.

As required by such a philosophy, the writer works to record what happened, not as observer, but as participant.  In each case, with a first goal of telling how it was.  That means including the hard stuff, and not dressing up or rationalizing any of it.

How it went, is all that’s been told.

The characters you meet in this writer’s work may not be beautiful or famous, but they reflect a shared time and common experiences lived not so long ago.  A man is also comfortable saying that like many of us, most of them do the best they can to get by, and that’s about all that can be asked of anyone.  Thus, though like a mirror easily distorted, literature provides a lingering reminder of the endlessly confounding and multi-dimensional nature of our shared temporal existence.  Able only to reflect that which might pass before it, the looking-glass yet reveals secrets we find near impossible to either resist or deny.

In that way, this writer’s work seeks to provide a reflection of the singular experience of a markedly small and decidedly underrepresented group of people from within the cultural and historical mosaic that composes life in modern Canada.  The goal is to create a recording of a rarely-told individual history, written neither from a need for apology nor desire for reconciliation, but rather as an unvarnished and uniquely Canadian history that reveals the facts of life in post-colonial society.

For here, just as people do everywhere, we recreate each other using images distorted by perspective, for better and for worse.  This writer’s sole purpose and art’s real societal value ~ the raison d’etre for each ~ is achieved only by revealing that fact.

To this writer, there can be nothing more.

As the reader, everything else is up to you.

Thanks for being here and thanks for sharing the blog.

 

  • TFP
    March 21, 2019
     

Monday, 11 February 2019

RIP Mr. Koko Pruden, December 5, 2002 - February 11, 2019

After a brief illness, with great sadness I must report the passing of my adorable, Mr. Koko Pruden.
The resolute dog has left the building.
A little man in a hair suit made completely of love, Mr. Koko was my best friend, ever and always. The last of the actual road dogs, Mr. Koko stood guard for Harwill at over 1500 show stops and traveled more than a million kilometers from coast-to-coast and throughout North America. We spent the best days of our lives together and my baby boy gave love to the end before passing away in the arms of his papa.
Beloved by all before circumstance brought him to live with me at age two, throughout his life Mr. Koko also found great joy loving and caring for his original and extended families. For the life we shared and all I learned from him, there can be no recompense other than to report he taught me how to live. The subject of 2015 #1 hit song 'I love my dog (the ballad of Mr. Koko)' on the US Americana charts, there never was, nor could there ever be, another like him.
Though our tears must fall, the love and wisdom of his teachings lives in our hearts forever.
So long pard, it's been good to know you.


- TFP
   Feb 11, 2019