Tag Archives: paffooney

Truthfully…

Truthfully… for a fiction writer, a humorist, a former school teacher of junior-high-aged kids, telling the truth is hard.  But in this post I intend to try it, and I will see if I can stand the castor-oil flavor of it on my tongue.

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  • The simple truth is, I rarely tell the unvarnished truth.  And I firmly believe I am not alone in this.
  • Yesterday I battled pirates.  (While this is not literally true, it is metaphorically true.)  They were the scurvy scum o’ the Bank-o’-Merricka Pirates who are suing me for over ten thousand dollars despite my efforts of the last two years to settle 40 thousand dollars worth of credit card debt.
  • I hired a lawyer, but in spite of what he told me, I expect to lose the lawsuit and be wiped out financially.  I also believe Donald Trump will win as President.
  • I am a pessimist.  And it helps me through life.  I am always prepared for the worst, and I can only be surprised by happy and pleasant surprises.
  • My son in the Marines has developed an interest in survivalist gear and chaos-contingency plans.  We are now apparently preparing for the coming zombie apocalypse.
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  • I like to draw nudes.  I have drawn them from real-life models who were paid for their participation.  But no bad things happened.  It was all done with professional integrity even though I am an amateur artist.  Chaperones were a part of every session.
  • In high school I identified as a Republican like my father.  In college I became a Democrat (Thanks, Richard Nixon) and voted for Jimmy Carter.  I argued with my father for eight years of Ronald Reagan and four years of George H.W. Bush.
  • My father has now voted for Barack Obama twice and will vote for Hillary this fall if he is still able.  We spent most of our conversations this summer exchanging “Can you believe its?” about Donald Trump.
  • Blue Dawn
  • I have been collecting pictures of sunrises for three years now.  I stole the idea from my childhood friend who now lives in Florida and takes beautiful ocean sunrise pictures over the Atlantic.  But I do it because I know I don’t have many more sunrises to go.  I have six incurable diseases, including diabetes, hypertension, and COPD.  I could go “BOOM! …dead” at any given moment.  I believe in savoring it while I have it.
  • I was sexually assaulted when I was ten years old.  I can only tell you this particular truth because the man who assaulted me and inflicted physical and emotional pain on me is now dead.  It is liberating to be able to say that.  But I regret forty years’ worth of treating it is a terrible secret that I could never tell anyone.
  • Telling that last truth made me cry.  Now you know why telling the truth is not easy.
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  • I really do love and admire all things having to do with Disney.  And when I was young, I really did want to find a picture of Annette naked.  There was no internet back then.  That quest helped me learn to draw the human form.  I know how bad that sounds… but, hey, I was a normal boy in many ways.  And I don’t draw her naked any more.
  • Finally, I have to say… in all honesty… I don’t know for sure that everything I have told you today is absolutely true.  Truth is a perception, even an opinion.  And I may be wrong about the facts as I know them.  The human mind works in mysterious ways.  I sometimes think I may simply be bedbug crazy.
  • (P.S.) Bedbugs are insects with very limited intelligence.  They cannot, in fact, be crazy or insane.  Their little brains are not complicated enough for that.  But it is a metaphor, and metaphors can be more truthful than literal statements.

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Mangled Metaphors and Purple Paisley Prose

Color boy

I have rather regularly been revising and editing old writing.  One thing I have discovered is that I am capable of the most gawd-awful convoluted sentences filled with mangled metaphors and ideas that can only be followed while doing mental back-flips or managing miracles of interpretation.    That last sentence is a perfect example of purple paisley prose.  Paisley, in case you didn’t know this, is a printed pattern on clothing or other cloth that makes an intricate design out of the basic twisted teardrop shape borrowed from Persian art.   The basic motif, the teardrop shape, is a leaf or vegetable design often referred to as the Persian pickle.  I write like that.  You can pick out the Persian pickles in this very paragraph.  Alliterations, mangled metaphors, rhyming words, sound patterns, the occasional literary allusion, personification, bungles, jungles, and junk.  “How can you actually write like that?” you ask.  Easy.  I think like that.

To make a point about mangled metaphors, let me visit a couple of recent scenes in novels I have been working on;

From The Bicycle Wheel Genius; page 189

Mike Murphy and Frosty Anderson sat at the kitchen table eating a batch of Orben’s pancakes, the twentieth try at pancakes, and nearly edible.  Mike could eat anything with maple syrup on it… well, maybe not dog poop, but these were slightly better than dog poop.

From The Magical Miss Morgan; page 7

Blue looked at Mike and grinned.  It was an impish and fully disarming grin.  It made Mike do whatever Blue said, even being willing to eat a lump of dog poop if she asked him to, though she would never ask him to.

So, here’s the thing.  Why is there a repetition of the dog-poop-eating metaphor?  In one case it is Mike Murphy expressing in metaphorical terms his love of maple syrup.  In the other, it is Mike Murphy expressing his love of Blueberry Bates’ dimpled grin.  He is a somewhat unique character, but why would anybody associate love with eating dog poop?  I don’t know.  I just wrote the dang things.

I like to take a convoluted plot and complicate it with complex sentences and numerous running gags, with a seasoned-sauce of mangled metaphors poured on top like gravy.  I will use sentences like this either to make you laugh, or give you a headache.  I’m almost sure it is one of those.  So if you have gotten this far in this post without a headache, then I guess it must be funny.

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Islands of Identity

Island Girl2z

Who am I?

Why do I do the things that I do?

No man is an island.  John Donne the English poet stated that.  And Ernest Hemingway quoted it… and wove it into his stories as a major theme… and proceeded to try to disprove it.  We need other people.  I married an island girl from the island of Luzon in the Philippines.  She may have actually needed me too, though she will never admit it.

Gilligans Island

When I was a young junior high school teacher in the early eighties, they called me Mr. Gilligan.  My classroom was known as Gilligan’s Island.  This came about because a goofball student in the very first class on the very first day said, “You look like Gilligan’s Island!”  By which he meant I reminded him of Bob Denver, the actor that played Gilligan.  But as he said it, he was actually accusing me of being an island.  And no man is an island.  Thank you, Fabian, you were sorta dumb, but I loved you for it.

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You see, being Gilligan on Gilligan’s Island was not a bad thing to be.  It was who I was as a teacher.  Nerdy, awkward, telling stories about when I was young, and my doofy friends like Skinny Mulligan.  Being a teacher gave me an identity.  And Gilligan was stranded on the Island with two beautiful single women, Mary Ann and Ginger.  Not a bad thing to be.  And I loved teaching and telling stories to kids who would later be the doofy students in new stories.

But we go through life searching for who we are and why we are here.  Now that I am retired, and no longer a teacher… who am I now?  We never really find the answer.  Answers change over time.  And so do I.

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The Hidden Kingdom (scanned anew)

I have finally found a way to create clean, bright copies of my pages of the graphic novel Hidden Kingdom.  I managed to scan it in portions and then piece it together with a photoshopping program.

Now I will post my re-scanned and puzzled-together masterwork.  It will become my regular Saturday feature.

Here now is my first installment;

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And so I will continue to work on and add pages of artwork each week.

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Stardusters… Canto 47

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Canto Forty-Seven – In the Flower Garden

“Don’t get too near that old plant again, Brekka,” warned George Jetson.  He shuddered with the memory of it scooping her up in the mouth-like blossom and nearly munching her to pieces as it had done to the scabby.

“Silly boy, the man-eating plant is now my friend.  He… or she… or it… is calling to me, telling me it will never harm me again.  In fact, it wants to help me and protect me.”

As the emerald-green girl tadpole walked closer to the huge blossom, the plant seemed to be smiling with flower-petal lips.  George looked at Menolly.  Menolly looked back and shrugged her bare shoulders.  She appeared to be creeped out by the carnivorous flower as much as George was.

Brekka stopped, naked and defenseless, directly under the giant blossom that was grinning at her.  She reached up with her left hand.

The blossom lowered to her.

“Oh, no!” gasped George and Menolly together.

But the blossom stopped an inch above her hand and let her stroke it… her… or him… under what could’ve been a chin, but definitely had the look of sepals.

“That’s a good boy, Lester… er, good girl… er, well… that’s good anyway.  You aren’t going to hurt anyone ever again, are you?”

The plant pursed its “lips”.

“Well, yes, I suppose you can eat all of those scabby thingies that you want.  That wouldn’t bother me a bit.”

The plant rubbed leaves together to get an actual chirping sort of sound.

“Oh, really?”

“What did he say?” Menolly asked Brekka.

“He says he… or… she can provide cuttings and runners to make baby plants that we can eat.  She says she… or… it can process carbon out of the air with photosynthesis and make plenty of food for us…  It says it… or he… um, can feed the whole Bio-dome if we want it to.”

“That’s good…” said George, “but if the plant is our friend now, wouldn’t that be eating our friend?”

“Lester says the plants on his… er… her world do it all the time… eat each other, I mean.”

“That will help with some of the food shortage problem, won’t it?” asked Menolly.

“Sure,” said Brekka.

“Maybe we should go talk it over with Sizzahl?” suggested George.  He really wanted to get himself and the girls away from the creepy plant-monster.

“You and Menolly go,” Brekka said.  “I want to stay here and play with Lester.”

“Are you sure that’s safe?”

“Lester can’t eat Tellerons without getting really, really sick.  So he will never again try to eat one of us… er, she won’t.  As long as we keep Sizzahl and the Morrells away from it… er, him.  Geez, the boy-girl thing is really confusing.”

So, George seized the opportunity to get away.  He dragged Menolly with him.  Brekka seemed happier with Lester anyway, and George was thinking… well, maybe he and Menolly could try some more… kissing.

*****

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Pen and Ink in Progress

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This drawing is not done.  I have plans.  But this pen and ink Paffooney is a good example of a doodle-point I probably need to make.  The plan does not occur before the ink hits the drawing pad.  No, this one started with a circle.  And for no good reason, I had to draw the girl’s face in the circle.  But what was the face doing inside a circle like that?  I next drew the bird.  But if she’s so surprised to see a bird inside a birdhouse…  Well, you get the idea.  The story comes after the scribbling.

And here comes the controversial conclusion.  This is exactly how life happens.  Stuff becomes… and the reason why only becomes clear later.  Curse me for a doodling philosopher!

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Stardusters… Canto 23

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Canto Twenty-Three – On the Terrible Surface Amidst the Ruined Palaces

The tadpoles had been totally on edge for half an Earther hour by the time they reached the bio-dome that Sizzahl had guided them towards.  Only Tanith and Davalon had been trusted enough to carry skortch rays, and Tanith had nearly disintegrated the grav-cart by which they were moving the precious plants merely because she heard a loud, un-explained sound from the near distance.

But the door to the bio-dome was in sight.  It appeared that they were going to make it without seeing, hearing, smelling, or even suspecting the presence of those nasty, horrible scabbies that Sizzahl had warned them about.

“What is that sound that sounds like claws clicking on concrete?” said Brekka through her helmet.  “It sounds real close!”

Tanith whirled around and skortched a stone gargoyle drain-spout.

“Not there!” cried George Jetson, “It is behind us and coming fast!”

The dinosaur-like creature the scabby was riding disappeared in a fog of disintegrating atoms as Tanith whirled and fired.  The scabby landed on Tanith and drove her down into the rubble at their feet.  Davalon immediately launched himself onto the crazed lizard-man’s back, grabbed him around the throat and rolled him headfirst to the ground.  As it was momentarily stunned, Davalon lifted Tanith and carried her towards the rest of the group.

“Look out!” cried Brekka.  “There’s another one!”

The second was not a lizard-man, scabby or otherwise.  It was some kind of mechanical man made of corroded and discolored metal.  It had blades instead of hands, and it leaped on the prostrate lizard man, cutting, filleting, and murdering the scabby.

“It’s rescuing us!” cried Menolly in surprise.

“It’s going to kill you as soon as it is done with that scabby!” said Sizzahl from the shadowy doorway.  “Come inside as quickly as you can and strip off every stitch of your clothes!”

Davalon was surprised, but never-the-less took action.  He pushed Tanith to lead the way to the voice in the shadows.  Then he forced Brekka, Menolly, and George into the shadows after her.

“Please, Dav, come with us,” said Gracie Morrell pulling on Davalon’s sleeve.  Alden took hold of the other sleeve.

“Mother, I need to make sure that thing doesn’t catch up to you.”

“You may not sacrifice yourself to save us,” said Grace.  “You may not!”

“You do not have permission,” said Alden.

“If you don’t come with us now,” said Gracie, “then we all stay and die together.”

“Um, Gracie…” said Alden nervously.

Davalon looked at the monster as its metal claws finished ripping the heart out of the lizard man’s lifeless corpse.  Its metal visual sensors focused on the three of them.  “Okay… let’s go fast!”

*****

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What Mickey is Really Up to Now

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I have not been well.   Six incurable diseases combined with colder, wetter weather will do that.

But Mickey has been busy.  Yes, my goofy writer alter ego has been pecking away at a novel that pushes the boundaries of “strange” into a purple dimension where having a president that looks like a racist sour-lemon-flavored cookie dipped repeatedly in Orange Fanta with fingers covering the eye holes almost makes sense.

The novel is called Rezepte für Lebkuchen-Kinder which translates to Recipes for Gingerbread Children.  The more I let Mickey work on it, the stranger it gets.  It currently is about an old German lady who lives in a little Iowa town where she likes to bake gingerbread for children.  But it is also a fairy tale where the fairies of Tellosia are still fighting their never-ending war against darkness.  And in this story with a magical fairy war in it, there are gingerbread men who magically come to life.  There are also teenage nudists, evil Nazis from the past, fairy tales that can solve life’s problems, and a lurking possibility of werewolves.  (This is a companion novel to The Baby Werewolf and happens simultaneously to that story.)  It has hit the 20,000 word mark.  And you know how novel writing works.  Too many words all put together into the same thing will magically merge and metastasize into book form.  I know this is true, because I’ve seen Mickey do it before.

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Grandma Gretel Stein talking with fairy General Tuffaney Swift.

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Man-Eaters

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I finally finished this illustration for the novel Stardusters and Space Lizards.   So I know that many of you are now thinking, “What the @#$%&! is that?”  But I must confess that one of the characters in that science-fictiony humor thingy about planetary environmental Armageddon is actually a man-eating plant with three heads.  But it needs to be pointed out, that though he/she/it seems to be menacing Brekka, Telleron girl space explorer, and at one point in the novel actually eats her, he/she/it does not like the taste of Tellerons, and befriends them later in the story.  So, he/she/it eats earth humans and lizard people, but not frog-like Tellerons.  This is probably only an important distinction to nutty sci-fi nerds like me, and you should feel completely free to ignore it.

It is important, though, for me to finish this humorous but didactic tale in a more timely fashion.  If I don’t finish it soon, we are going to have a man-eating carrot-man-thing that likes to eat girls as our next president who will deregulate all polluting industries and cause the heat-death of the planet Earth.  And then my novel will not only be unfinished, but also completely irrelevant.  These are the worries that keep me up late at night.

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Sick and Sad…

the-sucker

Ant bites can cause an allergic reaction.  So can the ragweed pollen that floats in massive quantities through the Texas air right now.  So can reports that Donald Trump won the recent debate, despite the evidence presented before my very eyes that he was destroyed like a movie monster in the 1960’s at the end of the late night horror flick.  Whatever the cause, I am feeling poorly.  Another day of inaction and illness and sore throats and headaches.  My daughter, the Princess, is also home from school today ill.  She’s in slightly better shape than I am.  But we will recover.  The country, if it is truly as filled with ignorant racist people as the Trump presidential campaign has made it seem, will not.  Soon we will be forced to shout, “Seig heil!” at the cinnamon Hitler we have apparently chosen to put in charge.  How is he not polling negative percentages after that debate?  He should have to give back three quarters of those votes he got in the Republican primaries.

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