Very Slight Stories | Like short stories, only shorter.

'Darcy and O'Mara' is a novel by Arthur Cronin.
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Tuesday, December 04, 2007


Unseen Films

   A group of Irish film-makers have recently started working on films that can't be seen. Nothing will be filmed and nothing will be performed. This is a difficult task for the actors. Their names will be known, but not their faces. They'll be defined by a series of letters rather than their features. Vague impressions of films will be suggested. Actors will project the faintest impressions of themselves. Directors, actors, producers, soundtrack composers and editors will collaborate to create the impression of a film out their somewhere, but you'll never see it. The vague impressions will become more substantial over time through reviews of the films and the reactions of audiences. So far, reviewers have been very enthusiastic about these films.
   Some directors have been experimenting with a variation on the unseen films. They were inspired by a film-maker in Leitrim whose films consisted of a single still image. He claimed that if you looked at it very closely you'd see the image moving. Some audience members had to look at it for days until they started hallucinating from the lack of sleep. These short films inspired a variation on the unseen films: unseen paintings. The directors say that not making a painting is much cheaper than not making a film.
   A group of contemporary artists in Tipperary have been inspired by the unseen painting-films. They bought an old warehouse in which to make their own films. They're using people who spent so long on trains they forgot where they were going to, where they came from and who they are. These people used to be kept in a room at the train station, until the artists took them to their warehouse and trained them as actors. The artists wrote scripts for the train people. These scripts were designed to help assimilate the train people back into day-to-day life. The stories featured unscrupulous gallery owners and some interesting discussions on the philosophy of art. Some of these train people have been arranged into collections by editors and guest editors. These collections have been compiled using a wide variety of means. Some editors will look for a common theme through all of the train people, such as a common view on the use of metaphor in unseen films. Other editors seek disparate views, or views that challenge accepted beliefs. These collections are always treated humanely, and charges of cruelty are always fully investigated.
   Many makers of unseen films have constructed sets of glasses through which to see their films, or not see them. Some glasses are designed to obscure the work, and some will magnify it. Some glasses have coloured lenses, and some lenses would distort the images on the screen, if there were any images on the screen. Some contain plain glass, and in these the frames are normally more important. Frames have been built that are so heavy, they rest on the shoulders of the wearer, and some have to be held in place by assistants.
   Some unseen directors claim to have been deeply influenced by religious films. They can't say what films these are because they've never seen them. They've been inspired to not make films about people striving for a deeper truth. Script writers have been devoting their time to not writing films with devotional themes. Some have focussed on religious-like beliefs in the secular world, and they've been doing their best to limit their thinking in this area to an absolute minimum.
   A panel has been implemented to examine the cultural impact of unseen films. 'Implemented' is the word they chose to represent the often painful process of their 'implementation'. The process of choosing this word was also a painful process. 'Nailed to the wall' was a phrase they considered, before settling on 'implemented'. 'Fired out of a canon' is a phrase they considered to represent the process of choosing the word 'implemented'. One member of the panel was in labour for over twenty hours during this process. She refused to leave their meeting room and she refused to back down from her position. She gave birth to a boy, who was declared a member of the panel, having been born into it, thereby automatically gaining membership according to the panel's constitution, which was drawn up by a committee. This committee has never been seen, and this is why they were chosen to construct the panel's constitution. A director from Cork has started work on a film about his attempt to find the committee. This film is intended to be seen. In it, he will be represented by a secret agent whose wife has been kidnapped by international terrorists and the committee will be represented by the terrorists.

The Tree and the Horse
Henry Seaward-Shannon
A Walk in the Rain
The East Cork Patents Office
Words are my favourite noises




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very slight stories

They Met a Bear
  They stopped in a small seaside town and they went for a walk. They met a bear.
  This is one version of the story. In another version, they met a sailor, and in this one they ended up being held at gunpoint on a speedboat and becoming unwilling participants in a diamond robbery while disguised as a cow, and sharing in the proceeds of that crime.
  So when they tell the story they just say, "We met a bear. He waved at us."

The Story of the Fortune Teller and the Alarm Clock
  A fortune teller threw an alarm clock at me. This story is deliberately lacking in details to mock the predictions of the fortune teller. Although she was right when she said she'd throw an alarm clock at me.

  One. Two. Three, the study. Four, a candle stick. Five. Six...
  Seven is missing, presumed dead. One has taken up the case, and two is helping him in his investigations. They both suspect six. Seven was last seen next to six in the garden.
  But seven isn't really dead. He's consumed half a bottle of whiskey and he's currently in the orchard, talking to a rabbit. "One of us is as boring as a gate post," he says, "and it's not..." He stops to count on his fingers. "No, actually it is me."
  Eight nine ten.

Debbie and his dog
  Debbie was sick of people mistaking her for a man.
  "Is your dog my parole officer?"
  She was sick of people asking her that too.

Very Slight Stories: like short stories, only shorter

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