“The Man Who Discovered the Use of a Chair”

The man who discovered the use of a chair,
_Odds–bobs–
What a wonderful man!_
He used to sit down on it, tearing his hair,
Till he thought of a highly original plan.
For years he had sat on his chair, like you,
_Quite–still!
But his looks were grim_
For he wished to be famous (as great men do)
And nobody ever would listen to him.

Now he went one night to a dinner of state
_Hear! hear!
In the proud Guildhall!_
And he sat on his chair, and he ate from a plate;
But nobody heard his opinions at all;

There were ten fat aldermen down for a speech
(_Grouse! Grouse!
What a dreary bird!_)
With five fair minutes allotted to each,
But never a moment for him to be heard.

But, each being ready to talk, I suppose,
_Order! Order!_
They cried, _for the Chair!_
And, much to their wonder, our friend arose
And fastened his eye on the eye of the Mayor.

‘We have come,’ he said, ‘to the fourteenth course!
‘_High–time,
for the Chair_,’ he said.
Then, with both of his hands, and with all of his force,
He hurled his chair at the Lord Mayor’s head.

It missed that head by the width of a hair.
_Gee–whizz!
What a horrible squeak!_
But it crashed through the big bay-window there
And smashed a bus into Wednesday week.

And the very next day, in the decorous Times
(_Great–Guns–
How the headlines ran!_)
In spite of the kings and the wars and the crimes,
There were five full columns about that man.

 

ENVOI

Oh, if you get dizzy when authors write
(_My stars!
And you very well may!_)
That white is black and that black is white,
You should sit, quite still, in your chair and say:

It is easy enough to be famous now,
(_Puff–Puff!
How the trumpets blare!_)
Provided, of course, that you don’t care how,
Like the man who discovered the use of a chair.

~Alfred Noyes

A Good Scene Needs a Monkey

“10. Stories are made of scenes.  A good scene needs a monkey.  Which is to say, two characters talking while standing (or sitting) in a room, or walking down the beach, or riding in a car, aren’t usually enough to make an interesting scene.  No matter how funny or interesting or important the dialogue is, the scene will still be boring if that’s all that’s going on.  But if your characters are driving down the freeway and trying to talk about something important and there’s a monkey leaping around the car’s interior, flipping the headlights on and off, honking the horn and pooping in the ash-tray—then you’ve got a scene.  Of course, not every scene can have a literal monkey in it, so you have to find the particular “monkey” that’s right for your particular scene—something for your readers to look at while the characters talk. ”

– From “Eleven Things I Know About Fiction Writing,” a blog post by Jon Loomis,  author of the Frank Coffin mystery series and more.

***

A wave to El Guapo. See, I really do have a method to my monkey madness. The more fitting truth is I am just mad about monkeys. Though the first sounds more more professional. (And yes, I am linking to Guap’s toy page on purpose. Monkeys make great toys!)

and so do chickens:

From Savage Chickens by Doug
From Savage Chickens by Doug Savage (to see more monkeys and chickens)