[ExI] a clean well-lighted challenge

spike spike66 at att.net
Tue Sep 22 22:11:04 UTC 2015



I know we have a number of talented writers in the ExI readership here, so I
had an idea which came about because of that Hemmingway short story and the
discussion which followed.


A Clean Well-Lighted Place is a story which had nothing in it other than
visual imagery.  After I read it, I never forgot the insomniac guy drinking
at the café and shambling off into the night as the old bartender and young
bartender had a short discussion about him and life in general, the nada
moment, etc.  That story reached into my soul.


So now I have a challenge for you.  Write a Hemmingway-esque story (or a
you-esque story if you are better than Papa) which will teach me something,
anything.  The Hemmingway story has memorable qualities, but taught me nada.
I am looking for a short story that is memorable and instructive, on any
subject that interests you.  Since there is so much to learn in this
tragically short life, the shorter the story the better, but it should
create memorable images like Hemmingway’s Clean, it must teach me something,
anything.  Below is my example.



Kiss My


As the physics students struggled to learn details for the next day’s
astronomy exam, they came across the classifications for the different types
of stars, listed in order of temperature from hottest to coolest.
Recognizing that some kind of mnemonic would help, they tried to think of a


“OK, our classes of stars from the hottest to the coolest, what are they?”


“O, B, A, F, G, K, M.  Give me a sentence.”


“Oh be a fine girl, kiss my


“Kiss your what?”


“Nothing.  There isn’t anything cooler than M class which is a true star.
Didn’t you see that explanation of substellar mass?  No fusion, no star.”


“But ‘Oh be a fine girl, kiss my
’ is suggestive.  It isn’t, um, proper.
It’s a sentence fragment besides being too embarrasing.  We need another
word out there after ‘my.’ ”


“Well, the next dimmer object is
 says here: a mass of hydrogen and other
gas, too small to sustain nuclear fusion.”


“Oh, like a big hot Jupiter?”


“OK so you think the other is improper, and you prefer ‘Oh be a fine girl,
kiss my big hot Jupiter.’ ”


“We are soooo going to fail this test.”





There you go, that’s my entry into the informative short story contest,
titled ‘Kiss My.’  In a week I will have you recite the seven star
classifications by spectral type, and I expect you to know which is the
hottest and why that naming scheme ends at the letter M, and what is below
that.  If you succeed in reciting those seven classifications in a week, I
have succeeded in teaching you a bit of astronomy trivia.


Now, write a short story and teach me something.






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