The Weird Week in Writing (plus prompt): Fitzgerald, one-hit wonder? Ghostbusters save libraries. The last typewriter.

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

Literary Macarenas: One-hit wonders? A new way of looking at F. Scott Fitzgerald, J.D. Salinger, and others.

Who you gonna call? With the New York Public Library system staring down drastic budget cuts, the answer is simple: The Ghostbusters (as documented on film here).

Bobbi Brown, Kathie Lee Gifford, Tony Hawk and headliner Barbara Streisand: Yes, this is the Book Expo.

Bad Habits: “It would mean that everybody else who wanted to work in that room would flee.” A writer is banned from New York’s Writers Room for using his typewriter.

“Bilbo ultimately plans to hand Frodo over to a motley band of people-traffickers, led by Gandalf, a stage hypnotist who convinces the unwary he’s a wizard”: The Guardian suggests new sci-fi and fantasy mash-ups to break the horror adaptation mold. 

Weapon of Mass Instruction:
Using a tank covered in books to bring peace through literature.

(Image: via)

* * *


free to take the following prompt home or post your
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.
If you’re having trouble with the
captcha code sticking, e-mail it to me at, with “Promptly” in the subject line, and I’ll
make sure it gets up.

Your character gets his dream job—at least for four hours.


Top 101 Websites for Writers. An entire feature package on genres, from
romance to YA to blended forms. An interview with Bird by Bird scribe
Anne Lamott. How to write from anywhere. Click

here to check the May/June 2010 issue of WD out!

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3 thoughts on “The Weird Week in Writing (plus prompt): Fitzgerald, one-hit wonder? Ghostbusters save libraries. The last typewriter.

  1. Zac

    Mark, it’s all due to an unhealthy and nerdly addiction to RSS writing feeds. Thanks for joining me on the recurring journey into the strange.

    (And hey: Moreover, thanks for the awesomely intriguing piece.)

  2. Mark James

    Zac, your Weird Week in Writing is great. . where do you find this stuff?

    “Michael, you cannot take an acting job,” Raphael said.

    “Why? He said I was a natural.”

    “And what will you do when they can’t photograph you? When all they see in your frames are your statues?”

    “That won’t happen till I leave,” Michael said.

    Raphael, archangel of healing, spoke words that, in a thousand eternities, he never thought he would hear himself speak, “You have a war to fight.”

    Michael, whose many names included archangel of war, drew his sword from its sheath across his back, sliced through the face of Big Ben. Of course, the clock was unharmed. The archangel could only destroy living things. “It doesn’t start till tomorrow.”

    From his perch on a rock ledge of Big Ben’s tower, Raphael consulted the clock. “You have four hours,” he said.

    “Come with me?” Michael said.


    On a Hollywood back lot, Michael stood on the set of the newest Intergalactic Demon Wars movie set. To mortal eyes he wore black jeans that clung to his muscled legs. His sculpted chest was bare. A woman was carefully spraying water onto his thick arms, his chest, his back, to make him look as if sweat dripped from him.

    “Okay Michael,” the director said. “You won’t be fighting anyone. We’re shooting action shots for the animation. Just act like someone’s there and you’re hacking away at them, all right?”

    “Would you give me a second?” Michael said.

    The director shot a look at his watch. “Couple minutes.”

    Raphael, who looked like a production assistant with blonde hair, blue eyes and a smile that would charm a hungry tiger, looked up from his job filling a cooler with bottled water when his brother came over to him. “What is it?” he said.

    “They can’t see Lucifer if I call him, right?”

    “Hollywood is one of his feeding grounds,” Raphael said. “He may become distracted.”

    But Michael was gone, back on the set. The director, who’d never seen anyone handle a sword like he’d been born to do it, said, “Take One.”

    Under his breath, Michael said, “Lucifer.”

    His brother was there in an instant, his wings curled in, a bloody battle axe in his hands. “Round two,” he said. “Let’s see who gets whose wings this time.”

    The archangels fought, the clang of metal on metal heard only by immortal ears. Michael fought with the grace of a warrior with a thousand, ten thousand, a hundred thousand battles behind him. The sheer savagery on his face was a strangely haunting mask over his beauty.

    In a place that has been called Heaven, Nirvana, Valhalla, a great clock struck midnight.

    The sword Michael had been using clattered to the ground. His wings unfurled; his mortal clothes fell away to reveal his armor and his great flaming sword across his back. Although his mind was immortal, his thoughts were rarely introspective, but now he turned to his brother. “You fought really good. Did you let me win when I threw you out?”

    Fire flamed in Lucifer’s red eyes like a confession. “It’s better for me to reign where I am than it was to serve Him where He is.”

    Raphael hovered behind them. “Michael. It’s time.”


    While his wife and two children slept safely in their beds, a man stood before cameras and microphones that would broadcast his words around the world. “My fellow Americans,” he said, “we will not let this brutal act of terrorism go unanswered.”


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