The Literary Bum


Long term groupies of the Realm (all two of you), will know that I quit my longtime job about two years ago to make time for unemployment, starvation and the pursuit of other ambitions.  One of my ambitions was to live the life of a beach bum.

I am happy to report that I am halfway there …………. I am now definitely a bum.  Unfortunately, apart from a short week in Bali, this bum is beachless.  Hmmm, have to work on getting that beach!

Another of my “other ambitions” was to take up writing and to become a rich and famous novelist.  Now I admit that I was motivated to do so after seeing how some rather poor quality story telling and writing had become best sellers, been made into movies and was raking in the big bucks. ( I don’t want to mention any names but one of them involves pale guys that sparkle in the sun and often topless but buff Native Americans who smell like wet dog after running in the rain – you know who I mean).

I thought to myself, ” I can write as bad as that too ……..let the fame and fortune start rolling in!”  But lo, fame and fortune has not rolled in.  Instead, I find myself doing countless re-writes because I am having trouble getting the first line right.

I think my problem is that perhaps the literary geniuses that have been a big influence to my art may not have been the best choices.  Although I can say that I am greatly influenced by the works of Maxim Gorky, most of my writing lean more heavily on the works of Snoopy and his “it was a dark and stormy night…..” approach.

darkstormy6

Here are some more opening lines which I may have wrongly used as my inspirations (most of them are winners of the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest)  What do you think?

  • Adventure:-When the dead moose floated into view the famished crew cheered – this had to mean land! – but Captain Walgrove, flinty-eyed and clear headed thanks to the starvation cleanse in progress, gave fateful orders to remain on the original course and await the appearance of a second and confirming moose. — Elizabeth (Betsy) Dorfman, Bainbridge Island, WA

As the sun dropped below the horizon, the safari guide confirmed the approaching cape buffaloes were herbivores, which calmed everyone in the group, except for Herb, of course. — Ron D Smith, Louisville, KY

“Die, commie pigs!” grunted Sergeant “Rocky” Steele through his cigar stub as he machine-gunned the North korean farm animals. – Dave Ranson, Calgary, Alberta

  • Romance:-

For the first month of Ricardo and Felicity’s affair, they greeted one another at every stolen rendezvous with a kiss — a lengthy, ravenous kiss, Ricardo lapping and sucking at Felicity’s mouth as if she were a giant cage-mounted water bottle and he were the world’s thirstiest gerbil. – Molly Ringle

As an ornithologist, George was fascinated by the fact that urine and feces mix in birds’ rectums to form a unified, homogeneous slurry that is expelled through defecation, although eying Greta’s face, and sensing the reaction of the congregation, he immediately realized he should have used a different analogy to describe their relationship in his wedding vows. – David Pepper

Sex with Rachel after she turned fifty was like driving the last-place team on the last day of the Iditarod Dog Sled Race, the point no longer the ride but the finish, the difficulty not the speed but keeping all the parts moving in the right direction, not to mention all that irritating barking. – Dan Winters

The Cunard “Carinthia” glided through the starry waters of the Bering Sea, 843 passengers aboard, including Harriet Dobbs, resignedly single for over a decade, while a nautical mile due west slunk the K-18 submarine, under the command of lonely Ukrainian Captain First Rank Nikolai Shevchenko: ships that passed in the night (although the second technically a boat). — Dr. Sarah Cockram, Edinburgh, U.K.

  • Crime:-

As I stood among the ransacked ruin that had been my home, surveying the aftermath of the senseless horrors and atrocities that had been perpetrated on my family and everything I hold dear, I swore to myself that no matter where I had to go, no matter what I had to do or endure, I would find the man who did this … and when I did, when I did, oh, there would be words. — Rodney Reed, Ooltewah, TN

Chief Inspector Blancharde knew that this murder would be easy to solve – despite the fact that the clever killer had apparently dismembered his victim, run the corpse through a chipper-shredder with some Columbian beans to throw off the police dogs, and had run the mix through the industrial-sized coffee maker in the diner owned by Joseph Tilby (the apparent murder victim) – if only he could figure out who would want a hot cup of Joe. — Matthew Chambers, Hambleton, WV

maybenot

Inspired by the great Spike Milligan, I offer two more possible first lines;

  • Our hero was sitting on the park bench feeding the pigeons when suddenly………..nothing happened.  But it happened quite suddenly.
  • When I interrogated the murder suspect, Joe Smith, the suspect told me that no one had called him “Joe” in years but instead they all used his nickname ……”Nick”.
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19 thoughts on “The Literary Bum”

  1. Beach bums are a sandy lot. Grit Arenaceous, never liked the term “bum”; not wanting to be perceived a beggar he preferred to be a beach rustler.

  2. When J.K. Rowling wrote Harry Potter, she was on welfare. So you’re on the right track not having a steady source of income! And that sparkly vampire author is a Mormon. So maybe all you need to do now is convert and success will be yours!

  3. Good God, what gems !

    Why not stay with the classics ?
    Arma virumque cano ..
    En arche en ho logos.
    Menin aiede thea …
    It was a bright cold day in April …
    He was an old man who fished alone in a skiff …

    I have to work through the entries of the BLFC – thank you for this !

  4. mmm not my kind of opening lines but the last two are quite funny
    Just be your own squirrel being and it is going to be a best seller

  5. I quite like your contributions! It’s surprisingly difficult to write prose that is SO bad, although Stephanie Meyer seems to have no trouble.

  6. Riot Kitty,
    I thought of a story with a cat protagonist. The first line would read; “There was a cat who lived and then died and to find out what he did with the other 8 lives, you will have to buy my next 8 sequels”. What do you think? It should encourage the repeat customer, don’tcha think?

  7. Marilyn,
    It’s a strange world getting stranger. One of the Vice-Chancellor’s of a local university claimed that the poor rating the university got was because the rate of employment of graduates from the university was rather low and he claimed that this it was unfair to rate the university that way as “we all know, getting a job has little to do with what you know as opposed to who you know”.

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