December 26, 2003

Stories: Beginning, Middle, End

Category: Literature :: Permalink

Yesterday afternoon, between our Christmas service and supper at my deacon’s house, I picked up my copy of The Avram Davidson Treasury and read the introductory material and the first story (intriguingly titled “My Boy Friend’s Name is Jello” and based, in some odd way, on the rhymes that little girls sing, for instance, when skipping rope).

Davidson, I gather, was a rather odd man with a love of words who wrote science fiction, fantasy, and mysteries, all characterized by his sense of humor and love of fun. Here’s some characteristically written advice about story-writing from the Foreword (I recommend reading it out loud to get the full effect):

A million schoolmams, male and female, have taught us as if teaching geometry or other holy writ, that a story must have a beginning, a middle, and an end. And, of course, a story has. The beginning of a story is where it begins, the middle of a story is where it middens, and the end of a story is where it ends. This is exemplified by the one book found even in homes where the mom and the dad have provided no Bible, namely the telephone book. It begins at A and it ends at Z and it middens at or about L. It is the story or song of the Tenth Sister, Elemenope, the Muse of the Alphabet. Characters? Look at all those characters! Plots? Plots? As many as you like. From Abbott Plott to Zygmunt Plotz.

Posted by John Barach @ 12:14 pm | Discuss (0)

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