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Saturday, June 28, 2014

The Cartoon Revolt. By John von Daler

                   The silence was overwhelming. The idea of going deaf had always terrified me, but this was worse: being able to hear, but without having the slightest sound to hear. The world had evidently been sound-proofed. At any rate no one could detect the slightest reverberation: not the scruff of a shoe, nor a stifled burp, nor a window closing, nor water boiling. The sounds had been replaced with small signs on which the relevant phonetic depictions had been printed. We might as well have been locked inside four solid walls lined with acoustic tiles.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Dead-end. By John von Daler

                          Some call it the dangling carrot that draws you on. Others, the tragic end. Some are happy when it happens; others can hardly get over it. Some find it a topic of extreme interest. Others find it unmentionable.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Breaking News. By John von Daler

                       Ping, Ping, Ping! The little, insistent, synthetic sound from the dishwasher bleats out its warning signal.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

#Shrimp and Self. By John von Daler

                          The plump, old lady bends down and pulls out her shopping bag from beneath the sink.
                "We'll get 'em from Jens Fisherman," she says. As she straightens up, she feels a sudden jab of pain.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

The Man Who was #Slow. By John von Daler

                            "That must be the slowest man on God's earth," said the woman at the wheel of the car. With her son who sat on the seat beside her she was looking through the windshield at her husband snailing his way toward them.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Slapstick. By John von Daler

                With the exquisite and inevitable timing of a situation comedy, the characters in her stories betray each other often and fully. Her world is evil; it thirsts for salvation and that thirst is quenched in the blood of the lamb. A shard of glass has lodged itself in the heart of her mankind that only can be removed by the hand of God.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Innuendo. By John von Daler

                 A gaudy place it was. I guess it was because of the gaudiness that I wanted so badly to get in. I stood in line for years in silence with the others, mute, perhaps slightly embarrassed at being there. What if someone I knew came by and saw me waiting?

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

A Trial Run. By John von Daler

                          The room was as pure and as light and as empty as a good conscience. The height of the ceiling and the identical length and breadth of the walls formed a kind of over-sized cube that diminished the people within it and rendered them insignificant. The white, wooden panels pointed up and away in the direction of god, but the ceiling above the room probably prevented Him from getting any kind of view of what went on there.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Before the Storm. By John von Daler

                         The Eton suit: brown with short pants, a jacket with three buttons, collarless, single-breasted. Underneath, a white shirt with a rounded collar. On my feet sturdy brown shoes into which the salesman, unaware of the dangers of leukemia, had peered through the x-rays to see that my toes did not touch the rounded leather tip. In my hand my half-size violin. I was a prodigy.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

The Hitman. By John von Daler

                 I shot him at the worst - and most propitious - moment: just as he was putting the last touches on their home-to-be. With the genial touch of the master builder that he was, he had just put in place the final piece of the east side of the round wall and was admiring his own work, when I let go a ruthless round from the sub-machine gun.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

A Chagall Epiphany. By John von Daler


                 You realize when you open it that the window has not been moved since last October. As you push the glass out and up, the rubber insulation ring gives off a soft schyttt! and part of the gray strip lingers for a moment, stuck against the frame. Then it gives way and the lightly warm air rushes in. As you sit back in your arm chair, the breeze brings with it the budding sounds of spring.

                 Women in the courtyard exchange pleasantries you hear as atonal music, fluttering their eyes shut as they turn their faces toward the sun. Of course there is the noise of the magpies and of the great crane building the subway nearby. The new balconies come alive with the dragging of potted plants and scraping of chairs.  Men on these promontories test the timing and direction of the sun: When can we sit here? When will we go inside? They clatter quietly.
                As you go back to your work at the computer the sound of a piano playing, lonely as a lost dog dragging its leash, tinkles through the unplanned noises, repeating itself in small, tight circles. "A" minor. With rhythmic fourths and thirds in the left hand, a sustained bass note, and then the little striving melody that works its way towards a dainty trill that this pianist cannot play as yet. You hear the myriad attempts, want to break in and help, but then give up, letting the notes wander into your subconscious, back to the days when you stood for hours together with Mendelssohn, trying to honor the music even as you assuaged the pain of puberty.
                You remember that there are the beaten paths that many want to take, wandering in the footsteps of other lovers of life, seeking beautiful views, art as it was meant to be, and the woven pattern that tells the tale you came to hear. But there are also new explorations, the forays into untrodden underbrush breaking suddenly into clearings, finding light out of immense darkness, and making patterns out of chance.
                You lean back in your chair and just for a moment love the world, because it gives you these prospects unhindered. Then you hear the pianist approach that inevitable trill once again and you wish for this player a sudden spreading of the wings, an unexpected flight into spring: as if someone had flung a Chagall picture like a flag out the window, spreading quandaries among the solutions and a few questions among all the answers.

If you like the prose in the blog, you might fancy my book. Have a look HERE.



Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Tell, Don't Show. By John von Daler

                        In “1599: A Year in the Life of William Shakespeare” by James Shapiro the author makes the point that Shakespeare’s audience knew the theater exceptionally well, so well in fact that they made his great works possible through their sophisticated response.

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Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Harry Potter, #4)