A Bimonthly Collection of Creations
Presented by The Sophisticates Society
"Faire le mal pour le plaisir de la faire"
Online Edition September 13, 2011
Volume II: Issue Five features incredible work from staff authors Joe Corneli and Marilee Stang, plus a Belle-Lettre I wrote regarding my upcoming Novella's publication.
To celebrate The Uncertainty Principle Petit-Soirée number 2 as the issue's official release party! Special VIPs were invited and treated to the stylings of DJ Hegemony
A reading from yours truly.
And, an acoustic set from Josh.
Below are a couple more party people shots, thanks to everyone who came and to those who did not, be sure to join us next time!
Charles Jeffrey Danoff
THE SAUSAGE SHOP
As the Watts riots boiled on, East 81st Street was ablaze with its own mayhem, the Hough Avenue Riots. That forgotten, the era of Urban Renewal and the first black mayor the city ever had, suggest a sparkle of hope. That firecracker blows out even before the fourth of July smoke clears. If you draw a circle around a map of the city, chances are this spot would be the one that hit right in the crack of the fold in the paper. The streets are difficult to find and easier to avoid. Landlords and Housing Inspectors do their best to ignore these streets. It’s the place where poor African Americans and White Trailer Trash live.
Residents endure living in the inner city with all its ugliness, the sausage factory is tops on the list. Neighbors long complained about the bad smells emanating from the factory on East 81st Street. Summer, when most folks seek refuge from the heat on dilapidated front porches or inside rooms darkened with thick blinds, it creeps into nostrils of folks in beat-up lawn chairs, and under the cracks in the doors and windows.
Anthony Sowell, a small man, who walks around with his shoulders up to his ears like Richard Nixon, who wears black horn rimmed glasses, and a perpetual hangdog demeanor, has lived here a long time. Although, nobody knows exactly how long. He blends in with the street. He exchanges stories with neighbors he meets along the sidewalks; buys cigarettes for the lady across the street from his house. Doesn’t even complain about the smell, as if he doesn’t mind at all.
He does fancy the ladies, especially those who share his cocaine habit. He meets them at seedy bars that grow out of the grime of the inner city; the kind with no windows at all, as if to hide those inside. The floors bear the marks of too many shoes, and filthy restrooms never have any paper towels. Nobody minds what kinds of transactions are made here. Fingerprints on glasses destined to hold Bud Light and Millers, tell stories even before the beer is poured.
Late one night a woman scrambles up to the station house of the local police station, breathing heavily and in a state of anxiety. Someone attempted to rape and strangle her. She manages to get away by jumping out the window.
Do you remember who it was? What does he look like? Where does he live?
We been doing some rocks. Met him in a bar somewhere. Maybe East 80th. What time is it? He invites me back to his house. All hell breaks sure breaks loose. Tried to strangle me, damn piece of shit.
Can you remember anything else?
I been clean for almost six months. I just smoked a little bit; ya know what I’m saying. Clean for six months.
We’ll take you over to St. Luke’s. Have them check you over. If you think of anything else, call Detective Wilson.
I got to call my kids. What time is it anyway? Tell me what time it is. Say, I think his name is Tony. That’s right, Tony. I got to call my sister, Letticia. She come an get me.
After the rape kit is sent over to Cleveland Heights Police for analysis, it is put on the back shelf with other forgotten things.
A year goes past, then another, and another. People on crack still frequent the bars. Some manage to break free of it, only to fall back. Women who try to make a home for their children. Women who struggle with poverty, lack of education, lack of anything, but a cocaine habit. The smell of the sausage factory hovers over them all.
December is bitingly cold this one year. Freezing rain leaves the streets with patches of ice and slush. People find any reason to get wasted at the local bars. Men look for women, and women get foolish.
Hey baby you are lookin’ fine. Umm, umm, you are my kind of woman. Let me buy you another drink. Want somethin’ to smoke on jes a little bit? Get you warm on this cold night. Surely cold out there. Sure enough. You got to stay warm now momma. Let yo daddy give yo somethin’ keep you warm all night.
Lordy man, you been buyin’ me stuff all night long. I got to git my ass on home. Ya know what I’m sayin?
Baby why don-cha let yo daddy walk ya home. Keep ya warm all night long. Say ya just gotta stay at my place tonight. Jus up the street. Ya know ya don’t wanna say no.
Wha-cha name anyway?
My name Tony. Like I tol you before, Tony.
Ya officer, thas right. Sonna bitch tried pullin’ me down his house, pullin’ on my hair, punch ma face, then the sonna bitch tried stranglin’ me. I’m not lettin’ this bastard drag me in his house. No sir, not Yolanda, not me. Not now, not never.
Do you remember what he looked like? Do you remember his name?
Yolanda not goin’ let him beat on me. Tony, his name is Tony.
Where does he live?
You take me an I show you right where. I know right where.
Tony is found passed out on his bedroom floor. Police start to piece together a picture of just who Tony really is, and tie him to other mysterious disappearances on East 81st Street. The long forgotten rape kit from Cleveland Heights bears the DNA of Anthony Sowell. Jurors who visit the murder scene wear masks to allay the smell. In all 11 women’s bodies are found buried around his house.
The sausage factory is still in business. Only this time, the smell seems to have faded away – almost.
“The Sausage Shop” Copyright © 2011 Marilee Stang.
THE 7 COMMANDMENTS OF NONSTARTER.ORG (draft)
non·start·er/ˈnänˈstärtər/ 1. A person or animal that fails to take part in a race. 2. A person, plan, or idea that has no chance of succeeding or being effective.1. kickstarter.com is famous, but for profit??
2. projects like diaspora got famous and funded through kickstarter.com
3. we can make a not-for-profit site that does what kickstarter.com does but that is more fun and better
4. idea: people will upload project descriptions in the same way as on kickstarter.com, but instead of funding specific projects, people will just donate money and let the crowd decide what to do with it!
Use StackExchange/OSQA-like software to let people vote projects up and down (one vote per day will keep it addictive). Whatever is voted up AND has sufficient funds available to fund it will be funded automatically.
5. Is there a way to get status "as a philanthropist" simply for giving money away?
Sure, why not. We could have profile pages that show (a) how much money the person has donated (optionally), and (b) what they have voted for as well (another option), and (c) their track record as a project proposer and implementor.
6. Additional votes can be purchased or earned (e.g. for a one-year membership of $50, get up to 5 votes per day, any time your idea gets funded, you get an additional vote).
7. Should I start a kickstarter.com project and see whether I can exploit kickstarter.com to create nonstarter.org?
This would certainly be good for publicity. But it might be better to use nonstarter.org to fund itself. In other words, create a basic infrastructure and seed it with a proposal to "fund this site for a year". I wonder how much money I would ask for and what I would use it? I guess I could ask for the money needed to incorporate Nonstarter as a not-for-profit.
“The 7 Commandments OF Nonstarter.org (draft)” Copyright © 2011 Joe Corneli.
Dear Mr. Rezvan:
If writing fiction is lying, as Nabokov wrote,
then am I doing bad, or faire-ing le mal pour le plaisir de la faire by writing it? I mean, Revelations 21:8 of states
N.B. for the sake of this belle-lettre lets decide to trust the Bible's equation of lying with badness, despite what intellectual shortcomings it may or may not have.
Thus, by the transitive property, if writing fiction is lying, and lying is bad, I do bad. Question then is, do I do it for the pleasure of doing it? Art for Art's sake? Or, Art for ______'s sake? I like to think its the latter, but I currently believe that if billions of people do not get to read my fiction, then its not really worth much.
I believe Art able to endure like that has to be made in an honest way, i.e. Art for Art's sake. It cannot be contrived, speaking to something of the moment, rather it has to be “pure” (quotations, because that's impossible) and speaking to an eternal aspect of the human experience we all share, like the Bible does. Despite being over 2,000 years old, people in the 21st century read it and feel it relevant to their own lives.
Lets be clear here, I am not anti-Bible, nor am I trying to start any religion. Viewed as a text, the Bible is the most successful in history, in terms of sales and readers. Logically, any writer taking themselves seriously would have eclipsing the all-time #1 bestseller as their goal, no? Though it may not of been my goal when I stated writing, that is certainly my aim now.
I have been sidestepping my earlier query about why I write, and am going to continue with some background on my schooling in Literature, then hopefully I will give an answer. It may appear it all started in Professor Lewis's course on creative writing. Without him I likely would not have finished the novella you have graciously edited, but his role was that of pushing me off the building. The harder work getting me to the top floor and scared, but considering a jump into the lake burning with fire for sinners, aka writing fiction, was done earlier.
Up through Freshman year at New Trier, I had a thorough grounding in writing and reading English prose. Multiple teachers took it seriously with me, giving me the basic tools of a 21st century intellectual. Sophomore year under Mr. Z I started to evolve. He was a master storyteller, regularly engaging the class with tales about his life. More importantly, he cared if we improved as writers and could take interested students further into the abyss. I went.
If Mr. Z was the appetizer, Ms. D was the main course.
To mix metaphors, she was also the red pill. After her class there was no turning back, reading critically engaging with texts and writing lucidly, efficiently and persuasively were be my only options. That sounds nice, but, as you know, it means spending countless hours every year “sweating” through the mental-manual-labor of accessing difficult books and trying to perfect what comes when I scribble my pen across paper. It all started with the Nabokov piece mentioned above, thanks to her I finally learned how to read and write.
Finally then, JP was dessert.
She shepherded me to the home of the English language, and whilst there exposed me to the mystical work of the Bloomsbury group, leading classes 5 minutes from their former HQ. She pushed my analysis and prose to new levels. Similar to Ms. D, JP was a devotee of Ginny, who'd be the third “mother” of me as a writer. We read “Modern Fiction” for class, and its been the chief influence on my steam of consciousness when I sit down at the desk to do the actual work of writing fiction,
Anyway, thanks again for agreeing to edit my forthcoming novel, Ke-Yi its Zhongwen for Sucsexy, to be published on Halloween, 2011.
p.s. And do I write for the pleasure of doing it? I have lied to myself saying that's why.
Un-shortened Links (in order of appearance)
“A Belle-Lettre” Copyright © 2011 Charles Jeffrey Danoff.
Photos with people in them are Copyright © 2011 the Uncertainty Principle. All Rights Reserved Worldwide. The UP would like to thank Mike Joyce and Jake Drury for their assistance with the shots.
Photos without peple are Copyright © 2011. Ownership Rights abandoned by author.
All staff contributions Copyright © 2011 the original author as noted.
Everything else Copyright © 2011 the Uncertainty Principle. All Rights Reserved Worldwide. Unauthorized duplication is a violation of applicable laws.