Sisson’s Synonyms, Setting it Right, Sad Face 2015

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One of my long time customers at my bar suggested this book to me a few weeks ago (I hate waiting for regular delivery!). Looking it over it seems the byline for the book is the real indicator for it and reads as follows (you can see above the author’s name): An Unabridged Synonym and Related Term Locator.

The related term locator is the real useful part; general entries start with common synonyms of the common usage of the entry term, but switch to other related uses as you go through the entry. It is not a general use synonym finder or thesaurus (especially since it was published in 1969 and we have only gone downhill since roughly that time), you have to have a decent command of English usage to navigate through a lot of entries. Thesauruses, usually the online types, give a lot of their synonyms through use in expressions – Sisson’s only gives related words.

For instance, if you are investigating alternative ways to express the concept of ‘focus’, you may come across the concept ‘cynosure’. Is cynosure another way to say ‘focus’? Or is it a related word? There is nothing wrong not knowing (there is in not being curious enough to look it up) so look up the term! There are probably hundreds if not thousands of words here I don’t know.

Some words just die out. I am of the opinion that if there is a thing as endangered species, the first on our list should be the richness of our language. Example: one of the entries under Fog is Brumous. I’ve never come across the word before. Maybe if I didn’t read so much lightweight space operas my vocabulary would be larger!

But we are all required to save the Space Princess!

Anyway, it now proudly takes a spot with my linguistic collection: Compact Edition of the Oxford English Dictionary, Fowler’s Dictionary of Modern Usage, Dorland’s Medical dictionary, Foyle’s Philavery, two picture dictionaries (sometimes you need a visual cue – what the hell is that knobby thing at the top and bottom of a stair rail called? or if you need the names of the parts of a sail ship), C.S. Lewis’ A Study in Words, and (because I still love the thing) The Chicago Manual of Style.

Setting it Right

I have decided, although it causes me some trepidation, to disengage myself from this pursuit of medical coding. Even if I did land the job, I don’t know what else I would have time for – especially writing.

And even though I said I was getting back to the writing (or else abandon, out of honesty, the subtitle of my blog) I would not be able to do it with the medical coding. It was a bigger line of work than I had anticipated. So I am going to ditch it –

It drives me a little insane… scared even that I wasted more than two whole years on something like that only to walk away. I’ve never felt like that over the decades of (two of them anyway) drinking and getting ZERO done. I achieved a certification and blew through roughly five thousand dollars, but I am can’t think of myself also sacrificing even more time (because getting into this line of work is a nightmare) and perhaps never getting back to writing.

I’m sorry, I’d rather be a fry cook at McDonald’s (or a greeter at Walmart). Don’t laugh, those bastards will be making $15 an hour in Seattle soon. YOU BETTER NOT FUCK UP MY BURGER IN THE DRIVE-THRU!!!!!! OTOH, I don’t know where they are going to live because rent is going to do nothing but go up, up, up!

“Yeah, I’m a fry cook at McDonald’s. I’m make $15 an hour. I commute 2 hours into work and back home every day. The liberals that run the city may say they love the little man and minorities, but only if they are of a certain class. You can feed us and clean up our poop, but you can’t live with us!”

No matter. I’ll be moving to North Carolina next year anyway.

Sad Face 2015

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In January of 2015 I wrote my last piece of writing before school. It was a vignette of a much larger idea being tossed around. Basically it was an end of time/universe story but based on a cyclical universe cosmology. No one knows they live in a cyclical universe while the world is ending.

I later introduced the idea of the last remnants of mankind being mercilessly hunted down by hordes of supernatural clowns while the heavens are descending in apocalypse. Then I came up with idea of  humans not knowing they live in a cyclical universe, but the clowns do. And basically the last man standing at the very end of the old universe and the beginning of the new one is the winner.

The whole project started to get away from me a little then so I decided to take the various ideas and do shorter pieces of them. I call it slap-dash writing. It goes a little like this: “Alright I have this idea for these evil clowns at the end of time – what are their motives, who are they? Go!”

This resulted in the piece below. Some have seen it before, but I repost it because it is my re-entry point and – just how much acid and glue-sniffing did I do growing up? No, soberly, anyone know?

While I work on slapping this piece into cohesion, I am wondering how I would execute my other vignette idea for the clowns. I had this wicked little alt-ending for the story called “Clown and Eve” where the clowns win. And the world is remade. There is a beautiful woman, alone in a garden of paradise. She is picking a fruit from a tree and –

over her shoulder rises a clown holding a knife high over his head (cue Psycho track ee! ee! ee!). Thought our current iteration started in tragedy? You ain’t seen nothin’ yet!

Anyway, I post the first draft of this again below. I’m going to work on it starting tomorrow.

Sad Face stood in the middle of the small room surrounded by his peers. The pasty white of his face was smeared with red and his frown was twice turned down. Sad Face stroked a large orange cat that he held to his protruding stomach. His inquisitors made a circle around him at tables too low and chairs too small. It was a classroom, a colorful classroom of rainbows and alphabets and numbers and construction paper cut-outs of various smiling animals.

Grimrole the Peeker, Curly the Cue, Puss in Boots, Laughing Lady, and Ralph formed the opposition to Sad Face on his right. They too were of pasty reflection and sour prism. But theirs was an arrow, an angry bow, and their frowns were for Sad Face.

Rascal, Galoshes, Hubris, and Candor the Gondor, formed Sad Face’s opposition to the left. They too were of pasty reflection and sour prism, but also of envious spectrum and malice aforethought. They were the strongest of any of the multitudinous factions that made up the group of 9. At last count there were no less than 36 factions among the group of nine, each in a war with the other. And many more factions with you let a faction consist of a single member.

The cat that sat aplomb on Sad Face’s belly was Nelly. She had lives for the each of them.

And she may need them this night.

“What have you to say for yourself, Face?” sneered Puss in Boots.

“Nothing,” said Sad Face. He petted Nelly absentmindedly and Nelly let him absentmindedly.

Hubris stood up and pointed a preposterously white and large finger in Face’s direction, “This clown is too old to be one of us! Look at the silly things he plays at! I say we dispose of him!”

There was a swell of snarling, conjecture, objection, bellowing and posing from both sides of the table. Sad Face stared at the floor. It was hard to tell if there was fear in the pancake or whether there was syrup to hit the floor. He just stood there stroking Nelly’s fur. And while Nelly may have enjoyed that absentmindedly, she did not enjoy the sudden gash of scarlet cacophony that splintered across the room and she raised her cackles and hissed at the rioters.

“Quiet!” roared Candor the Gondor. He rose as he said this and the bellow of his voice masked the breaking of both chair and table and the spilling onto the floor of his allies, Galoshes and Hubris. These two, their feet being of absurd size, struggled to get up; and their giant heads of frizzy, discolored hair bobbed up and down in their fight.

“Do we forget?” said Curly the Cue as he twirled one length of his long, green mustache, “Do we forget who Sad Face is?”

“What does that matter?” hissed Grimole the Peeker peering coyly from behind his woman’s scepter, a cream colored fan, and batted his exquisite lashes at Puss in Boots who turned away in mortal disgust (as did anyone). Peeker giggled. “We eat our young. Why not throw away the old?”

“Or eat them too!” Cried Laughing Lady and she broke into mad shrieks of laughter causing the others to cover their ears in anguish.

Ralph sprang up atop his desk and sang basso, “And just who is this Sad Face we speak of?” It was a serious question because Ralph could not remember anything that was not sung from day to day.

Ignoring Ralph except to answer his question, spoke Hubris. “He is the first of us. The first to put out a light because it lit. To dirty a puddle because it was clear.”

“But I, I was the first to stick a knife in a baby’s eye because it enjoyed its sight!” This was Rascal whose full name was Rascal Animus.

“That is all well and fine, Rascal. And surely we would not have come as far as we have unless you had brought us to such ghastly refinement. But Hubris is saying you did it because of Sad Face. He was our father.”

“Bah!” Lashed out Rascal and pulled a long knife out of his drooping drawers and plunged it into Sad Face’s belly – and through Nelly in the process.

“My Nelly!” cried Puss in Boots.

Sad Face looked up at Rascal through shaggy red eye brows, “That was uncalled for, don’t you think?” Nelly’s body sagged against the long shaft of the blade. Sad Face grabbed the handle of the knife, pulled it out of himself and tossed it ringing onto the floor. Nelly fell to the floor and Puss in Boots rushed to her side sobbing.

“Are you not going to die?” asked Rascal.

“No, I think not. I haven’t dirtied my last puddle, nor shed my last mocked tear.”

“I’ll hold a seance, a rite, a ritual, or find some patch of earth for you to spring from, my sweet.” Puss carried her off to her seat, sat down, stroked her bloodied fur and glared at Rascal with enough venom to make a coven run for cover.

“It is so odd she cares for something. Goes against our most basic objectives, does it not?” asked Rascal abstractly to no one in particular.

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3 responses to “Sisson’s Synonyms, Setting it Right, Sad Face 2015

  • taichiwawa

    I like the writing; there’s a lot of poetry in it.

    Random thoughts:
    Worldview / theme – tragic farce
    Clown – false face/persona, intentionally exaggerated for humorous effect.

    Sad Face = despair
    Grimrole = magic; from Grimoire (maybe); book of magic spells
    Curly = deviance; serpentine
    Rascal = mischief
    Laughing Lady = ridicule
    Ralph = wolf counsel (cunning; aggression)
    Hubris = pride (especially in defying the gods)
    Candor = !!! frankness; honesty ???
    Galoshes = ???
    Puss =
    _ _ _ _

    Grammar Nazi:
    The cat that sat with aplomb…
    cackles –> hackles
    eyebrows

    • bensira587

      Thanks. [And I promise to be a much better host this time, if ya want to post some more.] I have the printed copy sitting next to me right now. I have to start editing the thing and deciding where it was supposed to go. It was really shot from the hip, and over two years ago. But, as they say, fresh eyes and all…

      I just decided over the weekend not to pursue a job in the field I went to school for. I’m going to take the achievement of having finished something I started for once and call it a victory. I am going to live out my life in undemanding work and pursue writing no matter how little the pay. It is not as bad a life as Bukowski made it out to be!

      As soon as I get over the shock of that realization, I’ll tackle this. And not to pile on excuses, but Lafferty is taking up a lot of my time! I’m not sure I am going to be able to keep enough of the pieces in my head to follow to any sort of real final understanding.

      Then again, I do not know that he did either!

  • taichiwawa

    Alia Errata:

    And many more factions ̶w̶i̶t̶h̶ if you let a faction consist of a single member.

    Spell out the numbers 9 and 36. Try to use numerals only where they are typically represented as numerals, like in a street address or alien zone sector identification coordinates.

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