Saturday, 11 August 2012

Brevities 1

I have been writing very brief stories on Twitter (which I do take seriously as a form). They are all set in a Germany of the imagination, and generally in the uncertain past. There are 120 of them now and these were the first ten:

When Frau Spitzer realised she was hearing the radio after she'd switched it off she knew it was a voice in her head & turned that off too.

When Herr Spitzer's trousers kept falling down he realised his legs were missing. He imagined a new pair and got on with life.

When Meister Klaus saw how the demons in his predella were misbehaving he threatened to eat them and did so - then stopped painting demons.

When young Wolfgang noticed he was growing pointed ears he decided to stop listening and cultivated his teeth instead.

When Frau Huber was caught in a storm she stuck her umbrella in the ground and sure enough lightning struck it - twice.

When Herr Schwartzkopf woke with his right hand having turned to clay he invented a new form of glaze and fired it. It glowed for days.

When one man begins an inconsequential story and another finishes it that is not without consequence - sayings of Frau Godber.

When Herr Stumpf lost his wallet he set fire to his jacket. On leaving the house he found a burning wallet on his doorstep.

When Meister Hans included a small ape in his painting of the Annunciation he felt a twinge of guilt and bit off his ring finger in remorse.

It has been a fascinating and somewhat joyful exercise. Not all are good and no doubt I could shave off twenty and have a hundred. I suspect a hundred will be enough.

Enough for what? For a small and relatively complete world. There was no particular programme behind the series, and my only constant strategy was to invent German-sounding names.

Why German? My first thought was Freud's case studies. The second was the Absurd. The third was the Gothic. The fourth was Queneau. The fifth was Isaac Bashevis Singer. The sixth was Kafka. The seventh was Brothers Grimm. The eighth was The Far Side. The ninth was Edward Gorey. The tenth was the Python crew.

And so on. Ideally a suggestion of them all and cumulation by sheer volume.

But what are they? Do they make a book? With pictures? I want them a little more serious than they first appear. A little darker, the hall in which they all appear a little more sinister. The hall should be pitching in the darkness so they list and vanish.

Some more thoughts on them tomorrow - and some more stories too.


theazureshadow said...

It puts me in mind of The Mysteries of Harris Burdick.

havantaclu said...

I've enjoyed these so much, George - have retweeted some! Theatre of the Absurd, with, as you say, all kinds of literary and psychological nuances. An illustrated book would seem the ideal way forward - because the darkness would slowly become more visible with the accumulation of absurdities.


Gwil W said...


Living and moving in Austria, Switzerland, Germany, I often hear many a strange but true story. This one is based on one. Please enjoy.

In the late afternoon the mid-summer under rolled though the Alpine pastures. Herr Bauer's cows huddled together. The lightning bolt struck the dozen cows dead. The cow bells rang no more. The milk was off.

Gwil W said...

oops again - 'under' is 'thunder'

typing in pitch dark - looking out for meteorites