SST Presents A. E. Coppard

Hello, readers!

This is the first official post in the “SST Presents” series, so named because that’s the tittle of the weekly Short Story Thursdays dispatch. If you want to know about SST or how this series came to be, check out the introductory post I wrote last week.

Broadsheet Ballad

by A. E. Coppard

This week’s story revolves around two men who go into a tavern for dinner, but it starts raining while they eat and they decide to wait it out with beer. As the room dims and cools they get to talking about this guy who’s about to get hanged. Did he do it? Did he not? One of them pipes up with a story about murder and pregnancy and general thrills in a small town. And I can’t help, but think of small towns here, of gossip in general.

That characteristic “did you hear what happened to….?”. The small gasp, the sudden lighting of the eyes, the do tell and please, go on as people gather tidbits of other’s lives. And sometimes it doesn’t even matter whether you know the person or not, you trust it to be true because it happened to someone in their family or to a friend or perhaps a friend’s family member. Even through the degrees of separation there’s still that small bit of titillation at being privy to someone else’s secrets.

Reading this story is a bit like that. The surprise at finding out what he did, the shocked gasp when you realize what she did. And in the end you lean back and think, “man, people do some crazy shit”.

Have a good one, readers.

If you’re interested in subscribing to Short Story Thursdays, send an email to Jacob Tomsky at shutyourlazymouthandread@shortstorythursdays.com

Alphabet Soup: W is for Wife

This segment titled Alphabet Soup: The alphabet according to someone with very little shame and a lot of time on her hands was inspired by blogger Mandy Wallace and the Writers of Kern A to Z challenge. Enjoy!

Happy Friday, readers!

I hope you’re all doing well and getting ready for the weekend! My version of that is to stay at home studying all day because tomorrow I have my grad school admission test. Wuuuuuut?! Terrifying stuff, man. I haven’t taken a math class since high school. So, I’m hoping the cram session will do me some good. And what am I going to do afterwards, you ask? I’m taking my wife to Disneyland! Nah, I’m too broke for that. I’ll probably take her out for a beer though, or something.

W is for Wife

People always react weirdly when I say I have a wife. First they assume I’m legally married to someone and also a lesbian, then when I clarify it’s neither they dismiss the whole thing as a trend. And it definitely is a trend, girls saying they’re married to their best friends. It’s usually just another term for best friend though, which doesn’t make it less just different.

When I say she’s my wife, I mean I’d probably actually marry her. The closest I can come to describing it is being in an asexual relationship. She’s the one person I love doing nothing with. The one person I can picture spending the rest of my life with. Commitment with her, in any of its iterations doesn’t seem daunting. It seems normal, almost obvious.

I see her and I think she sees me, which is really all we’re looking for in life, isn’t it? We all want that person who is always there for us. Who gets our jokes, who listens, who is actively interested in what we have to say. That one person who is excited when good things happen for us, whose words are never empty.

So no, it’s not just a trend. I don’t just mean she’s my best friend, although she is that too. The fact that you don’t quite understand it, doesn’t mean it’s something to be dismissed. It’s real and kind of electrifying when you think about it. To have stumbled upon something so solid, so there. She makes me happy, ya know?

She’ll read this at some point. We’ll both be mildly embarrassed because neither one of us has any idea how to deal with feelings. It’s nice.

(By the way hwife, we’re going for a beer date tomorrow after my test. Yes? Yes. Kloveyoubai!)

Until next time, readers!

Photo Post: Spain & Boston

Hello, hello readers!

I write to you from the comfort of my bed where I’m recovering from last night. I was working at an event and, as always, the next day I wake up like I tried to fight a bulldozer. Alright, that was dramatic, but you get the point! At one point a spoon fell from my tray and, as I was bending to pick it up, two boys ran at me to pick it up for me. Not gonna lie, it was a pretty sweet moment. And that’s what this post is about, little moments from my trip.

Spain

I had such a good time in Spain! I was even warm for most of it, which was pretty exciting in and of itself. Both the mountains and the coast were beautiful, the food was delicious, and we had a really nice time at the house. It’s up in the mountains, so it draws power from a solar powered battery. Since it was foggy as hell, we were actually sans electricity for most of our stay, which sounds bad but wasn’t. Come night time the candles would go on, the fire would be lit, and the house would glow softly separating us from the world. It was a little bit magical.

Boston

My cousin has lived in MA for decades and I’d never been up there to visit him. I figured, no time like the present and stopped there on my way home. It was awesome because I got to see where he grew up, where he went to school, where he hung out. I think it’s the longest time we’ve spent together, ever, so I’m really glad I did it. Plus, not gonna lie, I’m pretty excited about Dance at the Bougival!

After Boston I spent a night in New York, but I realized I took literally no pictures in New York. So, pictures of 6’7? Nonexistent. I have no idea why I carry a camera around with me. Anyway, I’m happy to have the pictures I did manage to take. It’s been nice reliving the memories they carry.

I’ll be posting Day 3 of the Literary Advent Calendar, so don’t miss it.

Have a good one, readers!

Alphabet Soup: I is for Intoxicated

This segment titled Alphabet Soup: The alphabet according to someone with very little shame and a lot of time on her hands was inspired by blogger Mandy Wallace and the Writers of Kern A to Z challenge. Enjoy!

Hello everybody!

I’m still relaxing in Port Logan, listening to the waves and missing my best friend. (My name is Flagrant Codependece, at your service) The weather has been forgiving, even if the cold hasn’t. All part of leaving the tropics as Winter approaches, I suppose.  Halloween is tomorrow and I’m fairly excited. My Halloween plans in Scotland fell through, but I still have hopes of things working out tomorrow. There is still talk of pumpkin carving and possibly a Star Wars marathon. We’ll see! I predict high levels of intoxication, either way.

I is for Intoxication

It’s no secret that I drink a lot. I’ve often said here I have a very strong relationship with alcohol, which is true. A good beer shared with people you enjoy can turn your whole day around. But my love affair with beer and alcohol goes beyond just wanting to get intoxicated. There’s a sweet spot when you’re drinking, at least for me, where your body feels good and you feel relaxed and for a little bit the whole world seems better than it did a few minutes ago.

Being there means anything can happen, some of my best adventures and memories have started out in that happy place. Like the time we all decided to take an impromptu road trip, just because we could. Like that time we were drinking at the beach one night and decided to jump into the water in our underwear, mostly because it was right there. Like that time I ran into high school friends and the sweet spot turned into drunkenness, but we had a hilarious time getting there. 

I know I’m romanticizing alcohol and intoxication. I know alcohol has terrible long term effects on your body and that when people get intoxicated they have a tendency to do astronomically stupid things. However, that’s true of so many things. This week I read somewhere that eating too much bacon and red meat can cause cancer. Too much sugar means Diabetes and blindness. Smoking means murdering your lungs. Too much of anything is bad for you, guys. We all do things that are bad for us, but make us happy. Drinking is that bad thing for me.

Honestly, there is nothing that makes me happier than getting a drink with friends. Having a beer with someone I’m getting to know. Sitting down for dinner with a glass of wine and having great conversation. Just like smoking, drinking can be a highly social experience. For me it’s meant meeting new people, feeling new things, and finding myself in the position to do things that weren’t possible hours before.

Plus, you know, it’s delicious.

Go out and have a drink tonight. Or two. Meet someone new, get in touch with old friends. It’ll (probably) be fine, I promise.

Until next time, readers!

Port Logan or Port Peace

Greetings, readers!

After getting evicted from our little abode, we spent a couple of nights in Edinburgh. Surrounded by bagpipes, new accents, and beautiful architecture, we spent two days exploring the city. We went up to Edinburgh Castle with intentions of going in, but bailed when confronted with the almost £20 entrance fee. What’s up with that Scotland? We took full advantage of the view and got some nice pictures of the castle, which is good enough for me.

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We also spent some time visiting a few of the many museums the city has to offer, as well as visiting a few its many fine bars. I highly recommend The National Museum of Edinburgh and The Hanging Bat. Spend some time knocking down a foam wall with a tiny catapult in the museum. It doesn’t sound quite as thrilling as it is, but trust me IT WAS AWESOME.

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Then unwind with Otto, an excellent Dopplebock served by the lovely people at The Hanging Bat. Which, by the way, has one of the greatest bathrooms, I’ve ever seen. Not only were the sinks and faucets made from kegs, they had a jar of free tampons and a little cup with bobby pins. When was the last time you went into a bathroom like that?! The answer, for me, is never.

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We only had two nights in Edinburgh though and on our way to Port Logan, where I’m currently at, we decided to do some ferry hopping. Guys. Let me tell you a thing. I’m that person who gets sea sick at the drop of a hat. That gentle swaying is a bitch. Ask me when I remembered this. When I was already on the boat, that’s when. So, murderous ferry (at one point it might have been 45 degrees from the water), followed by the curly fries of roads, and on to what? Yes. Another ferry. A SECOND FERRY. It’s a wonder I didn’t throw up all over anything. I’m quite proud of myself. My smoothness knows no bounds.

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Once we made it back onto non moving land (Thank Zeus) we still had about two hours of driving, which we broke up with food. Because, you know, that’s how you rest by stuffing your face. Which brings me to: Mushy Peas. Guys. What is happening? I don’t know, but it’s a thing. They taste good, but visually, you know, it’s like abstract art. You’re never quite sure what’s happening, but you pretend you do so no one thinks you’re a peasant. Do you know that feeling?

Anyway, we made it safely down to Port Logan, under the rain, in the cold. But, in front of the beach, surrounded by calm and silence. Sometimes being far away from everything has its advantages, it’s nice to be able to unwind even when you didn’t know you needed it.

I’m here for a few more days. I might go to Ireland or I might couch potato it Scotland style. What does that mean? I have no idea. My guess is it involves beer. Lots of it. Because…. Fuck it. I have no excuse. Because in any country, my relationship with alcohol remains strong.

And Scotland has quite a few delectable beers on offer. Seriously. You come. You buy one of each Scottish beer you can find (maybe not one of each if you’re just the one, there’s a lot of them). You hole up somewhere. And you drink. I promise you’ll have a great time. Provided you leave your hole at some point, you caveman. Either way, Scotland has delivered. But it’s not yet over so you’ll have to wait and see what else is in store. After all, Halloween is coming up!

Amidst my drinking and drinking, I’ve been reading Calvino’s stories and they’ve been more fun than I expected. I won’t go into detail now because this post is long enough, but stay tuned for what will probably be me rambling about short stories, Calvino, and space. It sounds thrilling, I know. Try to stay calm.

I’m off to potentially eat leek and potato soup, which is apparently a thing. Who knew? Stay warm, readers.

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Until next time!

Alphabet Soup: H is for Human

This segment titled Alphabet Soup: The alphabet according to someone with very little shame and a lot of time on her hands was inspired by blogger Mandy Wallace and the Writers of Kern A to Z challenge. Enjoy!

Hello beautiful readers!

My first week in Scotland has come and gone and I’m sorry I haven’t posted anything! This whole no internet thing has been more problematic than I expected, but I’ve been thinking of you as the days go by. I know I said I’d close up shop in Colorado this week and I will try to post my Final Thoughts later, but I make no promises. Something very human, I think.

H is for Human

I’ve decided to take advantage of this post to give you a little update on what I’ve been up to since arriving in Scotland. We’ve gone from town to town exploring all that this fair country has to offer – beautiful lakes, peaceful woods, castles and palaces full of history.
I’ve seen a whole host of animals I’d never seen before, like magpies, pheasants, wood pigeons, black sheep, swans. I’ve been fed Millionaire Shortbread, Jaffa Cakes, and Scotch Pie. Delicious. IMG_0281And, of course, I’ve been sampling Scottish beers like there’s no tomorrow. Which there might not be, so there is really no need to pace oneself. Right? Right.

I also watched my first game of Rugby. On TV, but you know, still. We went to a little pub and drank beer as Scotland battled it out with Australia. Even though most of the time I had no idea what was going on, it was hard not to be carried away by the infectious energy in the room. Men cursing, shouting at a TV that paid no heed to them, little jokes here and there, an air of instant camaraderie as everyone cheered for the same team. It was a nice feeling, being there, taking part in this thing that felt almost private even though it was no such thing. My days have been interesting, that’s for sure.

HowIMG_1914ever, this week, while full of natural wonder and droves of excitement, has also served to remind me what this whole human condition is all about. Happiness, sadness, loss, anger, jealousy. Being human is full of so many things we take for granted. So many things we’d love to do without. Especially because, when it comes down to it, so many of these emotions often stem from irrational places. Feelings of inadequacy. Fear of losing someone you care for. Anger at being kept in the dark about things you feel you have a right to know even though you don’t. Humanity, at it’s core, is often defined by that very irrationality. Having hope when you know there is nothing more to be done, holding on to things that are no longer yours even if they are within reach.

In the end, we must live through it all whether we like it or not. Live through the pain and the tears that come against your will sometimes. Most of all, sometimes, the biggest part of being human is recognizing that irrationality. Recognizing that giving voice to all these things would mean creating unnecessary turbulence. Rocking the boat for things that make noise only inside your head. At the end of the day, when your heart sounds loudest, you have to ask yourself, “Is it worth it?”

What a Debbie Downer, guys. I’ve had a week of adventuring and perhaps a bit too much thinking. Bear with me, I promise it’ll all pep up soon! Stay beautiful, readers.

Until next time, here’s a picture of a swan looking right at you!

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Destination: Colorado

Hello, Hello readers!

It’s Wednesday. First week of October. And my excitement is mounting! Once October arrives awesome things just start to happen – Halloween, my birthday, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Three King’s Day. This year, the months of awesomeness are being kicked off by my trip! It’s crazy to me that I’m leaving in like a week. Crazy! You’ll notice (or maybe not) that I’ve switched to posting at night, rather than at noon. I’m trying something out. For science. We’ll see how it pans out!

In the mean time, we’re still reading which brings me to….

Destination Colorado

We’re somewhere new, you guys, and I couldn’t be more excited. It’s always fun arriving at a new reading destination and we’ve just made our way to Colorado! Looking into this state was an experience in falling in love, or as close as you can without ever having been there! Here are five reasons why Colorado is a state after my own heart.

1) South Park

Of course, South park is something (recently) dear to my heart. I’d never seen a full episode, up until last June when I started binge watching the show from the beginning. I’m currently halfway through the sixteenth season Not to shabby if I say so myself. Which I do. Because, why not?

2) Sex Change Capital of the World

There’s a place in Colorado called Trinidad which is known as the “Sex Change Capital of the World”, at one point they were performing approximately 65% of the sex changes that took place in the world. There’s even a documentary about it!

3) First Same Sex Marriages

Apparently Colorado was the first state to perform same sex marriages. Back in 1975, a clerk in Boulder, Colorado changed the gendered words in the marriage contract to “persons” and married about six same sex couples. Some of these marriages haven’t held up in court, but some haven’t been challenged which means they’ve remained legal. It’s pretty badass.

4) Weed

Of course, we all know that Colorado legalized Weed. While I don’t smoke regularly, I think legalizing weed is the right move. Also, I was reading that Colorado has the best medical grade weed available, which is definitely something to write home about.

And finally, although these things make Colorado a fine state, what really stopped me in my tracks was…

5) Breweries galore!

Colorado has over 200 breweries. Now, I’m not saying that breweries have more of an impact or are more important than anything mentioned up to now. I’m saying that I have a deeply committed relationship with alcohol and this is like discovering new dimensions to my life partner.

Ideally, I’d have taken a tour of a whole bunch of breweries, but since I’m broke as fuck I can’t afford a plane ticket to Colorado. What I WILL do is take a tour of my local bar this weekend and see how many Colorado brewed beers I can find. More on this as it develops….

There you have it, folks. Colorado seems like a pretty amazing place in paper. Do any of you live in CO? Tell me what you like most about Colorado in the comments below! And, if you have any beer recommendations don’t hesitate to share!

Keep it cool, readers. Until next time!