The Weird Week in Writing: Lunar man-bats, a 6-year-old with a book deal, and Danny Glover as Captain Ahab

Freaky Friday—the latest from the weird and wonderful world of
writing this week (followed, as always, by a prompt). Happy weekend!

“You can’t go wrong with a good lunar man-bat”: 175 years ago, a newspaper revealed that life had been discovered on the moon. The findings? Unicorns, biped beavers, and even lunar man-bats—“four-foot-tall creatures that talked, flew, built temples, and fornicated in public.”

The Atlas can’t shrug some things off: After 10 days and 12,328 miles traversing the country with a GPS, an Ayn Rand superfan drove the words “Read Ayn Rand” into the planet—and into Google Earth, as seen from space.

The career early bird: Gets the 23-book deal. Put another way, the 6-year-old gets the 23-book deal. (Via HuffPo.)

“Call me Ishmael. Or, for that matter, Detective Murtaugh”: A new cinematic spin on Moby-Dick replaces the title whale with a white dragon, and casts Lethal Weapon’s Danny Glover as Captain Ahab.

Anti-Bucket List: In 101 Places Not to See Before You Die, Catherine Price riffs on everything from Beijing’s Museum of Tap Water to the Blarney Stone. (Who knew you could request a cleaning of the rock before you place your lips on it?)

A Gertrude Stein stein:
And a dollhouse miniature volume of Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood. And Albert Camus earrings. Jacket Copy whips up a hilariously great list of their 12 favorite non-book literary oddities currently for sale.

* * *

WRITING PROMPT: Last-Ditch Confessions
(Thanks to WD’s Brian A. Klems)
Feel free to take the following prompt home or post a
response (500 words or fewer, funny, sad or stirring) in the Comments section below.
By posting, you’ll be automatically entered in our
occasional around-the-office swag drawings.
you’re having trouble with the
captcha code sticking, e-mail your piece and the prompt to me at, with “Promptly” in the subject line, and I’ll
make sure it gets up.

The love of your life is getting married to someone else. In a
last-ditch attempt to win this person back, you bust into the wedding
and profess your love mid-ceremony. Start your story with the line,
“Don’t say yes!”

Want more writing prompts and exercises? Brian Kiteley has packed more than 200 wildly original ones into his 3 A.M. Epiphany. Check it out here.


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    Nathan . . . awesome story.

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    Ellie gritted her teeth, looked into Mr. Right’s eyes and said, “With this ring – – ”

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    I saw the corners of her mouth tremble. Ever since first grade, Ellie couldn’t resist my alien jokes. There I’d sit beside her, drawing the teacher with little horns, and she’d be laughing, and I’d laugh too, mostly because I liked seeing her smile.

    She glared at me, stamped her foot, just like she used. It made her veil slip to one side. “Stop it,” she whispered, like we weren’t standing at the front of St. Patrick’s. Place was so big, all you had to do was think, and your thoughts would echo.

    Her professor almost-husband was staring through me, like I was some equation he could erase off his white board. “Ellen, who is this?”

    I tugged my t-shirt down, thought maybe I should have worn black instead. The white made the skull tattoo on my right bicep stand out, even in the candlelight. “I’m the guy she’s been going to marry since first grade. Who are you, pencil top?”

    “Darryk, you know I won’t.” Ellie’s voice sounded the same as when I used to sneak up to her room after I got her grounded, and she’d tell me she wouldn’t sneak out to the movies. She came with me every time. And I got her back safe.

    The minister, his white robes almost as fluffy as Ellie’s dress, cleared his throat. “Love is inspirational,” he said. “Perhaps you would care to express your hopes to the bride and groom when the ceremony is complete.”

    Ellie’s face was so beautiful under all that white, and she was so tiny in that big dress, I wanted to scoop her up and take her home. “He’s a professor, Ellie.” I scribbled numbers in the air. “Since when do you like math? You hated fractions.”

    Behind me, I heard the audience getting restless. I turned to them, pointed at pencil head. “He’s an alien. I’m telling you.” I put two fingers to my own head. “Horns.”

    A little girl in the front row covered her mouth, but her giggles escaped through her fingers. Her mother turned red. Across the aisle Debbie, the only woman I knew who could get away with wearing a dress that plunged past her navel, whispered, “If Ellie doesn’t want you, you can me take me home, lover.”

    “Do you take it back?” Ellie said from behind me.

    I whipped around. “You know I didn’t mean it. Your burgers are good. I was just saying they were charbroiled. I like them black like that.”

    The professor’s face was so red, I thought his horns would spring out. “Ellen May Hamilton, you turn to me this moment and give me your hand.”

    Ellie grabbed hold of her dress, bunched it up and kicked his shins, good and hard. It was sweet.

    I scooped her into my arms, and we kissed until . . . well. . . until the applause faded, and we were lost in our own world.

    We don’t have any wedding pictures, but Ellie kept the dress. These days when she makes burgers, I lay on the ketchup.

  25. Nathan Honore

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    Fuck, that would sound lame. Not only that, but the only way to time such a cheesy line would be to put my ear up to the door of the church and hope that my hearing penetrates the unnecessarily thick oak doors. Do people make doors out of oak? Anyway, the only line that would be cheesier is “I object.” Thanks Shrek for outing that one.

    “Fuck that dude!” No, too casual.

    “I love you!” No, that’s stating that obvious if I’m interrupting a wedding. Plus, those who don’t know me may think I’m talking to the groom.

    “I’m pregnant!” No. I lack a uterus, but the shock factor would be through the steeple-topped roof.

    I need to think of something good. The wedding starts in ten minutes and I’m twenty minutes away, the story of my life. Even passing the elderly and incompetent at an alarming pace, I wouldn’t be able to make it in time. So, I’m left with no other option than to disrupt the wedding and go balls to the walls. This line will make or break my attempt at our happiness. It either ends or starts here. What if the priest is a huge body-builder and decks me in the face screaming “THE POWER OF CHRIST COMPELLS ME!” I would be screwed. Or the best man? Do I need to pick up some sort of phallic shaped beating stick? No, I’ll be thrown out regardless, best not go to jail for an unprovoked thrashing of a blind uncle. Back to my plea/outburst.

    “Get out of my tux!” No. People might think he simply borrowed my tux and I desperately need it for some sort of award ceremony.

    “God sent me to stop this!” No. However, that may win the potentially powerful priest over. One has to make allies when doing something this rash.

    Time is running out. The ceremony would have started by now. She must look so beautiful. Radiant as always. Those piercing eyes would cause even the most casual stranger to fall in love with her. She must look great in white. Hopefully the veil isn’t too veiling, or the train too long. This is right, right? Yes, no turning back now.

    “There’s only you!” Isn’t that a song title? No, too cliché. And again, unfocused on who I would be talking to.

    Oh shit, here’s the parking lot. Their ride awaits with cans and streamers aplenty. Is that statue of Jesus judging me? If I love her, should I just let her be happy? No, we belong together. Come on! Think of something! You’re almost there, one more door to crash through! THINK!

    Oh God, everyone is starring at me. She looks like she’s about to destroy me with her eyes. The men are all striking defensive poses like the X-Men. Here it goes as I raise my hand to her…

    “I’m not afraid. Come with me.”

    She lets a tear drip down her face.