Daily Archives: October 3, 2011

Don’t tell anyone about this.


Have you read Roald Dahl’s short stories? How about “The Great Automatic Grammatizator”? It’s a fabulous I’VE HEARD TRUE story about a very smart tall ugly young man with bad teeth who figures out how to make a machine that can produce stories.  All you have to do is push a few buttons and in a minute or less you get a story that is perfectly magazine ready.

He tells his boss all about it and at first he’s skeptical. Can it work? How can a machine pump out literature and even if it did work, would the stories sell?

The young man’s response is this:

“Nowadays, . . . the handmade article hasn’t a hope. It can’t possibly compete with mass production, especially in this country–you know that. Carpets . . . chairs . . . shoes . . . bricks . . . crockery . . . anything you like to mention–they’re all made by machinery now.  The quality may be inferior, but that doesn’t matter. It’s the cost of production that counts. and stories–well–they’re just another product, like carpets and chairs, and no one cares how you produce them so long as you deliver the goods. We’ll sell them wholesale . . . We’ll undercut every writer in the country! We’ll corner the market!”

His boss is thrilled and so they build the machine and like magic, it works! They sell stories! They get rich! Then they decide to move onto novels and this is wildly successful too. Finally, the young man has the ultimate idea. He’s going to absorb all the famous writers.

His boss doesn’t understand. how can you do that?

He says:

“‘I’ve got a list here sir, of fifty of the most successful writers in the country, and what I intend to do is offer each one of them a lifetime contract with pay. All they have to do is undertake to never write another word; and, of course, to let us use their names on our own stuff. How about that?’

‘They’ll never agree.’

‘You dont know writers, Mr. Bohlen. You watch and see.’

‘What about the creative urge, Knipe?’

‘It’ bunk! All they’re really interested in is the money–just like everybody else.'”

So they go out and try to convince all the big shot writers to join up with them.  In fact, the first full year of the machine’s production “it was estimated that at least one half of all the novels and stories published in the English language were produced by Adolph Knipe upon the Great Automatic Grammatizator.”

The narrator of the tale is tempted to join up because the pressure is so great. And the “screw turns tighter for those who hesitate to sign their names.”

What is the last line of this story?

“Give us strength, Oh Lord, to let our children starve.”

would you sign up? Could you resist? should you resist?

P.S. Project Writeway to start next week. It’s on!


Filed under Ann Dee

Getting Ready For EVERYTHING

You know–like Project YouBetterWriteGoodWay

Think think think about what looks best on me.
Imagine how it’d look on the workshop dummy, cut cut cut
trim trim trim
write write write
(I already have a ‘dress’ sketched out. What? I can’t participate? I can’t WIN? I’m gonna have to think about this.)
New Name-Burt Rite

Hmmmm–think think think about WritNoPieMo
I like pie. And turtles.
How do we get caught up?
How do we do it all?
If the health department comes over maybe they won’t let me garage sale anymore.
Maybe HOARDERS wants to get in the front door.

I just finished one book.
Now I MUST finish the DD. I’m so close.
But I’m dreaming weird things because I can’t catch up
and it’s scary
It’s scary

think think think
one month on a brand new project.
Because I got three rejections in the last few weeks and I can’t write a book that sells well and I don’t understand.
I don’t get it
Will I feel pressure on the EatMoPieNow month?
Just thinking of it makes my shoulders tense up.

“I’m making you do it,” Cheri tells me.
Ha! Like she thinks she can make me read that one locally published romance.
(She read 80 + pages. I quit after page one).

The truth is, there’s too much pressure
(I can’t go there)
the bathroom smells of mold
the garage is still packed
I want to kill the dogs (or should I save them to eat later in case I can’t buy groceries).

I never, ever thought I’d not want to write.
But I’m there.
And I’ve been there for months.
I just need to get a job down at the 7/Eleven.
I know I can’t count change.

Sewing would be easier.
Once I sewed a dress for Home Ec. Actually, I used Elmer’s Glue.
Then my Nana sewed all my other dresses for me.
Once I made a dress for when I went to meet the governor.
The whole back was open when I went up to get my award.
No, that wasn’t part of the detailing.

Look, you all are my friends.
And I’ve spilled my guts, but plugged the hole so you don’t have to hear it all.
I’ll feel better when I write Three Things Thursday.
But at this moment
at this moment


Filed under CLW