Monday, January 5, 2015

Create52: #1 -- The Fool

Happy 2015!

I hope this new year will be a wonderful one for you, filled with much joy and many blessings!

For me, it will also be a year of a new blogging theme -- something I'm calling Create52: Every Monday in 2015, I will share with you something new that I've created. Writing and music, for the most part, but who knows what else might show up?  The year is young and filled with possibilities!

I'll just keep it within these three simple guidelines:
  • It must be something original that I've created within the previous 30 days. No retreads or dredging up of old material.  The goal is to highlight new work I've made -- which also urges me to actually create new work.  This is really my primary goal.
  • It should be substantial enough to be worthy of sharing. This is kind of a judgement call, but I won't try to pass off a ten-word piece of writing as an acceptable amount of new material.
  • I have to share at least a representative segment of the piece.  I might not share the whole piece I've created -- for instance, if I've written a short story and submitted it for consideration of publication somewhere, I won't share it all here.  I might just talk about it and offer an excerpt, but that at least shows that I'm creating. 
As I said above, my goal is not really to create work specifically for my blog. The goal is to write and submit (and hopefully get published), and to use the Create52 posts to share how this is going.  At least for my writing -- my music is a little different. I'm not "submitting" that anywhere other than my blog, so you're the primary audience there, but I want to create more music in 2015 also.

Other than sticking to these guideline, I will try to be as entertaining and creative as possible in how I put these Create52 posts together. I'm sure things will probably evolve over the course of this year.

But let's get on with the first one for 2015 -- it's a fool's offering in three parts:

The Fool -- Part 1

As I put this together, I have to be upfront and admit that the whole Create52 concept might be a foolish endeavor.  After all, I've had many goals for writing and creating come and go over the years, most of them unmet and unrealized. This thing could just be me setting myself for more failure.

But you know what? I'll do it anyway.

I'll be a fool...

In the Tarot deck, The Fool is the first card of the Major Arcana -- the card of beginnings, of a protagonist embarking on a journey.  On the card, the image appears to be of someone who is blindly taking a path that could lead to ruin.

But the Fool is perhaps not really so foolish -- to quote wikipedia: "He represents the mystical cleverness bereft of reason within us, the childlike ability to tune into the inner workings of the world." Other phrases used are "holy madness" and "crazy wisdom."

In Christianity, this theme of  'divine madness' is echoed in the "Fool for Christ" traditions -- those people who appear foolish to society, but do so only because they've completely surrendered themselves to a higher purpose.

I take all of that as a good sign.

This Create52 might be a fool's journey, but its one I'll gladly start. My intentions are nowhere near as lofty as a deeper all-encompassing pursuit of God, but He is still part of it. I think it would be truly foolish to not recognize that God is ultimately the source of ALL creativity, and whatever meager offerings I muster up here are only because of His grace.

But enough preamble -- let's get this fool's journey started...

The Fool -- Part 2

To kick off Create52, allow me to offer this 50-Word story I recently wrote, appropriately called "The Fool:"


The Fool

The diner regulars probably consider him a fool.

Every Tuesday, Stuart arrives in shabby clothes, sits in Doreen's section, orders meatloaf, and asks her out.

Doreen smiles, but always says no.

Stuart perseveres. 

Every Tuesday night, home in his mansion, he tells his butler, "Next week she will say yes."  


You may think a single 50-word story is not quite 'substantial' enough to pass the second of my guidelines above, and I would agree with you.  It's not.

But "The Fool" above is actually one of three 50-word stories I recently wrote -- the other two have been submitted to the 50-Word Stories website for consideration of publication.

The site is run by Tim Sevenhuysen and his rules for submissions say no more than two in a 30-day period.  So this third one gets offered to my blog readers instead, and I think it meets the guideline of a "representative segment" of all the stories together.

And a side note about the 50-Word Stories site: I've not had a lot of my writing published to date, but I have had some put up there. In fact, my story from last April -- "The Sound of Forgetting" -- is currently the highest-rated story on the site. I'm both pleased and amazed.  But also motivated.

So while it's not much, in week one, Create52 has already inspired me to write and submit.

The Fool -- Part 3

Since I'm featuring some writing, I'm not offering any music I've created for this initial Create52 entry. But I still think a soundtrack of some sort is in order.

So how about an old favorite song of mine? It's perhaps one of the greatest pieces to emerge from psychedelic San Francisco in the 1960's.  This song is from the 1968 debut album of Quicksilver Messenger Service, and is a track also entitled -- appropriately once again -- "The Fool".

Take a listen:

I really enjoy this song and I hope you do, too. The wild wah-wah and slinky vibrato of guitarist John Cipollina grabs me every time I listen to it, and the part that starts at 4:55 is particularity cool. The song itself is long (over 12 minutes) with a ton of changes, but I encourage you to at least stick with it until the vocals at the 7-minute mark.

So there you go -- My beginning effort of Create52, with foolishness in three parts: Introduction, background music, and some new writing generated as the result of a desire to create more in 2015.

I may be fooling myself, but I think this Create52 journey is off to a good start.

Thank you for stopping by -- I really appreciate it, and I hope to welcome you back each Monday this year for more foolishness!


  1. I thought it was a pretty concise presentation of a story that conveys quite a lot in 50 words. Clearly, Stuart could show up in a limousine, well-dressed and looking fine and wow Doreen with money. He chooses not to. Obviously Doreen has not seen anything in "shabby Stuart" yet to attract her, but she does smile and she's never rude. And Stuart has faith in her -- that she will see him for who he is -- tomorrow, or the tomorrow after that. Either he IS a fool, or he's right. :)

    1. Thank you very much, Dianne!

      I'm very glad you enjoyed my 50-word story. I intentionally left it a bit ambiguous -- maybe Stuart's a fool, maybe he's not; Maybe Doreen's the fool, or maybe she's very wise in saying no; Maybe Stuart's only imagining that he has a mansion and a butler -- he could be a fool, you know; Maybe the mansion and the butler are real, but perhaps Stuart's interest in Doreen is not quite so warm and gentle -- serial killers can be rich, too. ;)

      I enjoy how a short piece like this can require the reader to fill in the gaps, and I love seeing the different ways people do that. :)

      Thank you so much for stopping by!

  2. If Stuart does succeed, he needs to pick her up in a limo.
    Off to a good start, Chris!

    1. Thanks, Alex! I appreciate that!

      And maybe Stuart will -- if he even has a limo. ;)

  3. Getting a story down in 50 words is darned hard, so congrats to you for doing it!

    If it weren't for fools what would kings do? They'd have no one to trust. Play on, Fool.

    1. Thank you very much, Lee! This fool shall, indeed!

  4. Stuart needs to tell Doreen that he has a mansion and a butler.

    Who cares if she says yes only because of the money? A yes is still a yes.

    I liked your story 'The Sound Of Forgetting' and voted it up.

    Also, I agree that the Quicksilver Messenger Service song got interesting at the 4:55 mark. Prior to that though it was a bit too "Jangly" for my tastes. I used to own an LP by them but it wasn't this one.

    Good beginning for Create 52, Chris.

    ~ D-FensDogg
    'Loyal American Underground'

    1. I don't know, Stephen-apparently when Bidderman lets Stuart out of the limo in front of the diner, that's not enough to impress Doreen. Not sure the mansion and butler will make a difference.

      Stuart needs to learn that persevering only works in the movies. Or maybe in sixty word stories.

      Good start to the year, Chris!


    2. Ha!-Ha!
      Right you are.

      My doctor has advised me that I must drink 10 of these Martinis an hour.

      ~ D-FensDogg
      'Loyal American Underground'

    3. Thanks StMc and Larry! I appreciate it!

      I had to Google "Bidderman" to get the reference -- and then found "Bitterman" as the butler from "Arthur". LOL! I hadn't even considered that movie, but it could fit. Although...

      Consider my response to Dianne above. I enjoy seeing how everyone brings their own interpretation and references to short pieces like this where I try to leave some ambiguity. Which is the "real" Stuart? The guy in shabby clothes, or someone who really does have a mansion and a butler? Truthfully, I was kind of picturing Stuart in a run-down place and pretending he has a butler. Or maybe he DOES have a mansion and a butler -- but who says his intentions for Doreen are good? Perhaps this is not a happy-ending story.

      And StMc -- glad you stuck through the jangliness and ended up liking the tune. Next week, I'll give you some more home-made music. :)

      Thanks again for stopping and commenting -- it really means a lot to me!

  5. I'm impre3ssed with your 50 word story. It says so much in so few words (I suppose that's the idea, right?), that's no easy thing to do. I like it. I liked Stuart (in only 50 words). Good job. I've got a new Christmas present CD playing (Kenny Loggins - Celebrate Me Home, so I haven't listened to Quicksilver yet, but I'll be back.

    Great start to your 2015 project. Keep it up.

    1. Thank you very much, FAE!

      I'm finding it interesting how people are reacting to my story. It could definitely be the happy-ending piece, but I tried to insert some room for interpretation. Maybe I wasn't up-front enough with any hints that suggest Stuart might not really have a mansion, even though that was what I was thinking. But that's ok -- I love happy endings, too. :)

      Thank you so much for visiting and for your support!

  6. I love your idea of Create52, and even if you don't make every single Monday, some is always better than none! If it gets you to write more then it is a success! I'm looking forward to reading more. Loved the short 50 about Stuart.

    1. Thank you Kathryn! I appreciate that.

      And writing more is the goal, and I'm really hoping I CAN make every Monday. :)

      But maybe I'm fooling myself. :)

  7. I do believe you've shared some other 50 word stories here. I've enjoyed them all. This one is no exception. I think I should start writing in this format. Perhaps it will "unstick" me AND make me a better writer. A person must be selective when you only get 50 words.

    I think she'll say yes eventually. At least, I hope so.

    1. Thank you, Robin! Yes -- I find it a very fun format. I like the ambiguity a few snippets can offer -- it makes the reader bring something to the story, and I enjoy seeing how the different interpretations come out, as you can see by my replies to some of the comments above).

      But another part of why I like 50-word stories is also an impatient need for immediate gratification. I can write whole "story" in one setting. :)

      My novel-in-progress moves at a glacial pace in comparison.

  8. This is a very cool concept. I'll look forward to see what you have to share each week. Love the 50 word story.

  9. You really captured me with QMS--one of my favorite groups of the psychedelic persuasion.

    You've set out on a big challenge, but I'm sure you are capable of this one. Nice start with the story.

    Tossing It Out

  10. Huh... For some reason, Blogger isn't allowing me to "reply" to comments -- I click but no comment window opens. I'll try this:

    @LD -- Thanks! I'm glad you liked the story and look forward to seeing you each week. I hope I can keep your interest for the next 51. Heck, I hope I can keep MY interest, lol!

    @Lee -- Thank you! And glad you liked the Quicksilver. They're one of my favorites of that persuasion also. "The Fool" is right up there with the Dead's "Dark Star" for favorite pieces from that era for me.

  11. Chris, I really admire you for doing this and I have to say, I really enjoyed your 50-word stories (both the published one and this one). That's got to be a real challenge, and you rose to the occasion.

    1. Thank you so very much, Joanne! I'm very pleased you enjoyed them!


Don't be shy -- feel free to comment. I really appreciate your thoughts.