Drabblecast 060 - Dysfunction

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Mr. Tweedy
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Drabblecast 060 - Dysfunction

Post by Mr. Tweedy » Wed Apr 16, 2008 4:34 pm

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Dysfunction by Rob Haines

"I'd taken a box of drawing pins and stabbed them into a papier-mâché creation that could only be described as a cross between a large arachnid and a squid... I had hidden it away in a cupboard as soon as the papier-mâché had set, in part because of a strange sense of depression and in part out of a sick fascination to see whether its rigid form would keep it from joining the shuffling dance macabre that kept me awake each night."

Bbardle- “Juzt Mizundrstood” for Mike Dunn

Art by Bo Kaier

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Post by strawman » Wed Apr 16, 2008 11:53 pm

The Bbardle was lots of fun and a real bargain. I'm sure if Norm didn't enjoy this so much he'd charge more. But I want to say thanks to the guy who sprung for the song. Now I'll get such a kick out of watching My Sweet 16 on cable and pretending they're all zombies. It explains so much. Napoleon Dynamite? Teen Zombie.
There were some lyrics I couldn't make out, however, so I'd ask the Normster to post same.

The story seemed like it was intended to be scary, but what can paper mache monsters do? They're very flammable, after all. The only scary thing was the obsession/compulsion of the sculptor.

Lots of "on the one hand...on the other hand"s here.

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Post by Mr. Tweedy » Thu Apr 17, 2008 2:29 am

Bbardle = Awesome

Story = Eh?

Guy who my or may not be crazy makes and obsesses over sculptures that may or may not be alive. Guy's friend, concerned for Guy's health, burns sculptures. The end. The end?

However, the story is quite fun if taken as non-fiction about the real Norm Sherman and Steve Eley. :D
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Post by bolddeceiver » Thu Apr 17, 2008 2:44 am

Yeah, the narration was much more exciting than the actual story. Endings are nice in a story, and that wasn't one. It resolved the conflict, but it didn't earn resolution. Not sure if it should have been a little longer or a little shorter. Also, I had the same problem I did with Crimson: The story didn't make me care in the slightest about the narrator, and that doesn't work when the entire content of the story is "Man, the narrator sure has it bad."
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Post by adam » Thu Apr 17, 2008 7:28 pm

I don’t know, I sort of liked this one. I feel like I always say that- maybe I’m just easy to please.
I liked the lack of 'ending' ending, because I thought it was set up to have a pretty predictable 'they get back late, they're drunk, skeptical nay-saying friend talking about destroying the sculptures is obviously going to be killed by them when they come alive' conclusion. But then rather than that happen, nothing really happens, which pleased me off in an at-least-i-didnt-see-it-coming way.
And also it makes you realize- but not till the very end- that the story wasn’t about creepy sculpture monsters coming to life, it was about the trauma of him overcoming his neurosis/obsession- which was actually pretty poignant for me. He realizes his life is slipping away and makes a solid, healthy decision to listen to his friend’s advice and get rid of the things he’s most attached to for his own sanity’s sake.
This story does a really good job of framing that struggle of feeling like you need something, but realizing you should probably burn it if you’re too attached. I felt like this a couple of times in life- first when I canceled my World of Warcraft subscription. I was just as obsessive with it as this guy was with his art- so it had to go. Also when I was getting out of an unhealthy relationship. If you’re too attached to a person but they’re driving you insane and you know you shouldn’t be with them, you may just have to burn the bridge completely. Not literally, though setting her on fire like a paper machete arachnid would have been pretty satisfying.

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Post by Goldenrat » Thu Apr 17, 2008 7:43 pm

I thought the story was cool but the end was too abrupt and felt tacked on. I was bummed over the fate of the cool creations that may or may not have been alive. I would rather have heard that the guy woke up one day and the creations were gone but left a note saying that they had run away to live in a Wal-Mart warehouse or something.

Cool song! It makes me want to scrounge up the bucks to have Norm write a ditty about one of my mutts or something.

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From an artist's perspective...

Post by Krista » Fri Apr 18, 2008 4:57 am

I really enjoyed this one. I know there was a general upset about how it ended, but I felt like it was just about perfect. I didn't really see this one as a story, but more of a chance to take a look into an artist's mind and life.

You've got the main artist's conflict about making their art and not making money, or doing work for money which may or may not be what you enjoy or feel is art. And then the general obsession an artist feels about what they're creating.. which made him seem "insane". I loved that night time was when the art came alive, and not that it was monsters. Because I know for me night time is when I get most of my ideas and they hang around and keep me awake until I can work them out on paper. I mean, for you science types, it's called alpha brain waves.. the ones that happen when you're about to fall asleep.

As for the ending, I felt that it worked because of the "normal" character. Once someone like that enters an artist's life and gives them a new perspective that can be all it takes to just cut that obsession off. Just like how the story ended.. Especially if they are a person that the artist respects and has more of a grip on normal people reality. It's really easy to loose the idea once you have a different perspective on what you're creating.

I could continue babbling but that's pretty much what I got out of it.

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Re: From an artist's perspective...

Post by strawman » Fri Apr 18, 2008 1:19 pm

Krista wrote:
As for the ending, I felt that it worked because of the "normal" character. Once someone like that enters an artist's life and gives them a new perspective that can be all it takes to just cut that obsession off. Just like how the story ended.. Especially if they are a person that the artist respects and has more of a grip on normal people reality. It's really easy to loose the idea once you have a different perspective on what you're creating.
Good observation, but I wonder. The creatures may represent flash fiction podcasts, and Steve Eley and Norm may be playing themselves.
Which is the normal one?

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Re: From an artist's perspective...

Post by Krista » Fri Apr 18, 2008 5:01 pm

strawman wrote: Good observation, but I wonder. The creatures may represent flash fiction podcasts, and Steve Eley and Norm may be playing themselves.
Which is the normal one?
ha well, with that twist I'm pretty sure you could go with neither. Coming to the conclusion of burning all the podcasts is pretty crazy.
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Re: From an artist's perspective...

Post by normsherman » Fri Apr 18, 2008 11:16 pm

Krista wrote: You've got the main artist's conflict about making their art and not making money, or doing work for money which may or may not be what you enjoy or feel is art. And then the general obsession an artist feels about what they're creating.. which made him seem "insane". I loved that night time was when the art came alive, and not that it was monsters.

As for the ending, I felt that it worked because of the "normal" character. Once someone like that enters an artist's life and gives them a new perspective that can be all it takes to just cut that obsession off. Just like how the story ended.. Especially if they are a person that the artist respects and has more of a grip on normal people reality. It's really easy to loose the idea once you have a different perspective on what you're creating.
All really good points- thanks for posting!
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Post by tbaker2500 » Sat Apr 19, 2008 3:56 pm

Mr. Tweedy wrote:Bbardle = Awesome

Story = Eh?

Guy who my or may not be crazy makes and obsesses over sculptures that may or may not be alive. Guy's friend, concerned for Guy's health, burns sculptures. The end. The end?

However, the story is quite fun if taken as non-fiction about the real Norm Sherman and Steve Eley. :D
I agree on the first points.

If this were really a story about Norm and Steve, "Norm" would've been happy to see his creations come to life, teach them tricks, and sell them as pets.
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Post by cammoblammo » Sun Apr 20, 2008 9:06 pm

Mr. Tweedy wrote:Bbardle = Awesome

Story = Eh?
Yep. I've been wracking my brain for a few days now trying to think of something insightful to say. And as usual Mr Tweedy summed up my thinking in two lines at the beginning of the thread.

Grr.

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Post by G. E. Lee » Mon Apr 21, 2008 7:01 pm

I thought the story got off to a good start, but stopped just when I thought something was going to happen. I was convinced that Steve was about to be eaten by the paper-maiche arachna-squid. Instead, the sculptures burn meekly and the story is over.

:shock: ???

The Bardle, by the way, was excellent.
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Post by normsherman » Mon Apr 21, 2008 10:42 pm

G. E. Lee wrote:I thought the story got off to a good start, but stopped just when I thought something was going to happen. I was convinced that Steve was about to be eaten by the paper-maiche arachna-squid. Instead, the sculptures burn meekly and the story is over.

:shock: ???

The Bardle, by the way, was excellent.
Me too. In retrospect though I think that would have trashed everything he was trying to set up (Krista's points) about what art is to an artist and how "normal" people fit into that equation.

Glad you liked the Bbardle though!
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Post by Mr. Tweedy » Mon Apr 21, 2008 11:05 pm

I see Krista's point too. My wife certainly does not relate to my obsessing over stuff I make up and has more than once expressed concern that it may be unhealthy. Matilda isn't controlling the killer robots by remote. Rather, her consciousness is present in them via the vials of entangled mercury wired into her skull. It's like they're unconnected limbs. So when one of the robots does something, it's really her doing it in the most literal sense. My brother {Dr. Sax) relates, being a musician.

But even if the story was trying to make that point, if the living(?) sculptures were intended to symbolize the relationship of an artist to his work, then I still say "eh?" to the end, because we are not told how the destruction of the art effected the artist. Does he miss his creations? Is he glad to be free of them? Will he feel compelled to make more? Lots of questions that need answering for the story to effectively tackle that angle, but none of them are.
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Post by normsherman » Tue Apr 22, 2008 7:47 am

True. I think a bit of aftermath would have helped. Maybe he kept making them- that seems likely. Maybe he could never sculpt anything again. I normally love these hanging questions but here they seem to require resolution.

I can definitely see a strong parallel with Crimson here- although I think the resolution wasn't as neccesary in that story (IMO)
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Post by cammoblammo » Tue Apr 22, 2008 2:04 pm

normsherman wrote:True. I think a bit of aftermath would have helped.
I wasn't even sure they were destroyed --- we heard the crash, which in retrospect could have been anything. What was that sound, exactly?

Personally, I'm thinking the creatures went all replicator on Steve and Norm, but it could have been zombies. Mmm, zombies....

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Post by strawman » Wed Apr 23, 2008 12:14 pm

That was actually the sound of papier mache screaming.

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Post by normsherman » Wed Apr 23, 2008 3:21 pm

It was actually supposed to be fire catching. :(
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Post by bolddeceiver » Wed Apr 23, 2008 6:02 pm

normsherman wrote:It was actually supposed to be fire catching. :(
That's exactly what it sounded like to me...

</teacherspet>
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