My latest series for the flash fiction weekly Wednesday Briefs, Disassembly Required, is back with part two! You can read the first part here at the link. Previously, our anxious protagonist Beatriz and her assistant Allen had come across a diner in the fog while on their way to take home the machine without a name. I’m sure nothing weird will happen in this odd looking diner, right?
Disassembly Required, part 2/?. Prompt used: fish.
The interior of Frank’s Dining was faintly lit by the morning sun. Streams of orange light dappled across red tabletops and white linoleum, as though the fog had cleared the moment they’d stepped inside.
Beatriz stood in the doorway, unwilling to move. The door had been open when they arrived. Allen had already walked through and was sitting at the main counter, a plastic menu in her hand. The stool almost disappeared beneath the length of her skirt. She appeared listless, or perhaps restless. Maybe even like she hadn’t taken her medication that morning.
Still, Beatriz did not move. They were the only ones in Frank’s Dining. The only lights were the emergency lights. The jukebox sat in the corner, unplugged. The only sign of life was the clean countertops, and the faint odor of old cooking oil that came from the back.
I’ve been slowly working my way through a collection of personal correspondences centered around Richard Feynman, and I just can’t forget his final, heartbreaking love letter to his first, departed wife Arline. You can read the full text online at Letters of Note; an excerpt is below. It was written several years after Arline Feynman passed away after a long battle with TB.
I adore you, sweetheart.
I know how much you like to hear that — but I don’t only write it because you like it — I write it because it makes me warm all over inside to write it to you.
It is such a terribly long time since I last wrote to you — almost two years but I know you’ll excuse me because you understand how I am, stubborn and realistic; and I thought there was no sense to writing.
But now I know my darling wife that it is right to do what I have delayed in doing, and that I have done so much in the past. I want to tell you I love you. I want to love you. I always will love you.
For an even bigger punch to the heart, you can also watch Oscar Isaac read this letter live on stage. It seems to be part of a series of videos of actors reading famous and well-know correspondences live.
My last blog post was about communication as well, but this is the kind of communication that just knocks me out.every time. What a privilege to read these words and what a tragedy that they had to be written at all.
I just love Big Think’s YouTube channel, and I especially love when they talk to actor/writer Alan Alda, who is a personal favorite of mine. So I was especially pleased to watch his brief video on good communication and jargon, which you can find below.
Other than the fact that Alan is just a wonderful storyteller, I found a lot to think about from his discussion of the importance and also the drawbacks of jargon, especially for people in very niche and specialized fields.
Alda knows that jargon can be both a tool of precision and a weapon of confusion, and it’s definitely something worth talking about in certain circles, like academia and the professional world. He uses the world of cinema as his touchstone example, and I would probably use library science, as that is my specific personal field. It’s a very easily adaptable scenario.
Cover image for Hannah Moskowitz’s novel, Teeth.
Rudy’s life is flipped upside-down when his family moves to a remote island in a last attempt to save his sick younger brother…Then he meets Diana, who makes him wonder what he even knows about love, and Teeth, who makes him question what he knows about anything…He soon learns that Teeth has terrible secrets. Violent secrets. Secrets that will force Rudy to choose between his own happiness and his brother’s life. (Source: Goodreads)
TEETH is the second book by Hannah Moskowitz I have read this year, the first being the utterly superb NOT OTHERWISE SPECIFIED, and in a way, they have similar narratives of a main protagonist who feels isolated and alone who connects to another person through their shared struggles; with NOW, it’s Etta and Bianca’s eating disorders and drive to be successful in theater, while in TEETH, it is Teeth and Rudy’s loneliness and identity crises. Rudy struggles with living in a family with a sick brother and no longer having a life outside of taking care of him; Teeth struggles with his very sense of who he is, a scarred and patchy fish boy with a horrifying origin.
TEETH also reminds me a lot of Aaron Stormer’s SPONTANEOUS, which I’ve reviewed here, as a text that it took me a good chunk of time to get into, but once I got into it, man, I got into it, and nothing else mattered. The more time you spend with Rudy and Teeth and the other island inhabitants, you more you get to care about what they are going through. Everyone on this island is unwell, but not everyone is actively dying from it.