This Saturday is International Skeptics Day.
Don’t believe me?
That’s the spirit!
So go ahead and check the calendar…
Still skeptical aren’t you?
That’s because you’re the sort of person who needs solid evidence to support a claim before you accept it as fact. And that out-of-focus scribble in the date space of that pasted-in calendar isn’t enough to convince you it’s 100% true. You see where I’m going with this. Around in circles.
This day celebrates the people who keep in mind that things may be different from the way they appear. These are folk who help keep our feet on the ground while we reach for the stars. Afterall, if it weren’t for the skeptics we’d still be believing the Earth was flat. (It’s not, right? Right?!) They are one of the greatest resources a dreamer can have. Most scientists would claim to be empirical skeptics, who admit the possibility of knowledge based on evidence, but hold that new evidence may always overturn these findings.
With that out of the way it’s time to tell you about a monthly writing contest run by a U.S publishing company called PRESS 53. Entrants have exactly 53 words (no more – no less) to sculpt a short story to a given theme. This months theme is DOUBT. Entry is free and there are prizes. Submissions are accepted until October 31st and are to be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org If you’re interested check out the full biz HERE
So wanna read my 53 word little doubt-themed fandango?
Thought you’d never ask!
Professor McNutt smiled in a superior way and then released a full-throated, terrible laugh. There was little doubt he had gone insane. How else to explain his contention that Netflix’s reimagining of LOST IN SPACE was superior to the 1960’s original. Jeremy slowly backed out of his office, shutting the door behind him.
Using the last name ‘McNutt’ in a written piece has been a long-held dream of mine. I’m so glad to have finally ticked that one-off. And at the risk of self-congratulation I must share with you what the New York Times literary critic Thurston Howell III had to say about my little ditty –
“In one of the great feats of voice, Donaldson has delivered a micro-fiction wonder that not only showcases a head-spinning plot twist not seen since Charlton Heston uttered those impassioned words on the beach back in ’68 – “You maniacs! You blew it up!” to end PLANET OF THE APES (by virtue of the brown-leather-elbow-patch-wearing Professor aligning himself with the newer version of LOST IN SPACE when we could bet the house someone of his age and countenance would naturally favor the older version – duh!) but in an effortless display of pop-culture consciousness brought to life, he evokes a seething generational tension amidst world-building so tight and atmospheric it comes with its own weather system.
A timeless tale with in-built ballast and fascination.”
Ok, so Thurston’s review was longer than the piece itself but no matter. Praise like that doesn’t come along every day… so I’ll take it.
(I’ll do more than take it! I’ll immortalize it and laminate it).
I understand it may be a little intimidating to follow something of that calibre (the story not the review… ok then, both!) but why not chance your hand anyway.
It could be a lot of fun.
Ps. From micro-fiction to short stories…
Brisbane author David Cohen who I interviewed HERE on SCENIC WRITER’S SHACK last year has just released a new collection of short stories entitled THE HUNTER. Check out this array of quirk-
- A property developer fears that a burgeoning ibis population will prevent the construction of a high rise apartment complex
- a fake bus stop in Düsseldorf, designed to help dementia patients, suffers its own identity crisis
- a young man’s new job requires him to pose as a woodcutter and wave to a trainload of tourists
- an aging, reclusive archivist becomes locked in a strange battle of wills with a courier
Pss. By way of follow-up to last week’s post regarding the movie THE SHINING, how about this cover of the latest issue of MAD MAGAZINE. Not that I read MAD or anything…
Ps. LOST IN SPACE FIRESIDE launches next Friday!
Are you ready?
Are you awake?
Are you even still reading this?