Testing, Part #2 (Fragment #015)

It was like talking to a brick wall. I elevated my voice slightly.

“Hey, four-eyes!”

Yuck. Not only is he blind, he’s deaf too… I was considering poking him with a ruler when I heard a semi-cough right above me. Again.

Any questions, young lady?”

“No, Sir.”

Question 2a: Define a metrical foot used in the following poem.

He had forty-two boxes, all carefully packed,
With his name painted clearly on each:
But, since he omitted to mention the fact,
They were all left behind on the beach.

The loss of his clothes hardly mattered, because
He had seven coats on when he came,
With three pair of boots—but the worst of it was,
He had wholly forgotten his name.

He would answer to “Hi!” or to any loud cry,
Such as “Fry me!” or “Fritter my wig!”
To “What-you-may-call-um!” or “What-was-his-name!”
But especially “Thing-um-a-jig!”

1) Trochee
2) Iamb
3) Anapaest
4) Dactyl

Question 3a: What isn’t a forme fixe?

1) Qasida
2) Glosa
3) Sequence
4) Tanaga

I looked around helplessly. No help was within reach. Well… if plan A doesn’t work out then I have to use plan B. So, I gave a shit about that, and began to select answers at random.

The blank space below question 1a was very much in evidence, and my inner perfectionist demanded satisfaction. I knew it was better not to argue as this thought would be like a pebble in my shoe—it would hinder and annoy. I wrote something like, “Prompt at five o’clock, I busted a snaplock, and walked around town in a candy-striped nightgown.”

Then I hesitated over where an adverb of time should be placed in an English sentence. Damn. At the start? At the end? Without philosophizing, I repeated the first line at the end. If need be, I could say that I was nervous and forgot to cross out the wrong line.

With a feeling of satisfaction at a job well done, I turned in my paper and left the amphitheater. I felt a roaring hunger.

 

by TETIANA ALEKSINA
© All rights reserved 2017

Enormous, Disgusting, A-Hundred-Maws and Barking

Dear Patrons (current, future, and not-on-your-life), we’ve been hard at work behind the scenes on our next big project. Sure, we like pretending we’re two wags who couldn’t give a hoot about our responsibilities, but that simply isn’t true. In fact, we’ve been sweating over a few things, and are determined to please you with at least three new books this year!

(Yes, we’re hopeless optimists who cannot accurately count the number of hours in a day. Sometimes it’s twenty-six, and sometimes it’s only nineteen. Anyway, we won’t give up. Tick tock tick tock…)

Today, we want to show you a cover idea that we had for our first project which will be a new poetry collection. We were all fired up over this idea, but when Tony put it together, we quickly realised that it wouldn’t be a good fit and discarded it unanimously.

However, you needn’t think that the image itself was pure crap. (Of course, we wouldn’t be offended if you did.) Take a look over at our Patreon page. Form your own opinion. And don’t worry, entry is free and the exit is too. If you’re curious to see what the cover for our new poetry collection WON’T be, then scratch that itch!

(Yup, this is another pathetic attempt to lure you to our Patreon page and panhandle for more pelf.)

PS: Please feel free to blame the title on Tati. She tried to explain to Tony about Чудище обло, озорно, огромно, стозевно и лаяй but he was way too busy to listen to her. (Actually, he was just being a little dense, but let’s not tell anyone about that!)

 

by TETIANA ALEKSINA & TONY SINGLE
© All rights reserved 2018

Fuck-ups, Dreams & Harsh Reality

Is it the end of 2017 already? Damn!

In 2016, we published two books. In 2017, none.

In 2016, we met one time. In 2017, none.

In 2017, Tony didn’t become a heavy metal star, and Tati didn’t get her Noble Prize in literature.

But, hey, this doesn’t make us losers. After all, we have done other things! Let’s list them, shall we?

We’ve begun preparations to publish a Crumble Cult collection. Yes. In print. In three languages. Wow!

We’ve launched our very own Patreon page, and now have the financial support of some very generous benefactors. We could not do any of this without you guys!

We’ve also started some new books, with plans for more. One about cavemen. Another featuring a marshmallow tree. Yet another covering the ABCs of life. And Tati’s novel continues apace.

Tati even achieved some personal career growth. She got herself a new office, huge table and colleagues. And she got a bigger salary. But she would also be happy to kick all of this to hell and spend life as a writer of renown in some exotic, far-off clime!

Oh, and Tati began learning to draw. (Watch out, Tony, she’s going to take your job!) Tati even proved herself as a translator, and continued her education in English. So many strings to her bow!

Speaking of Tony, he got a new mop, cleaning agent and rubber gloves in 2017. He even played some exciting video games and continued dreaming of being Tati’s dogsbody in some exotic, far-off clime. He dreams big, you know!

Tony also continued to sweat over the editing of Tati’s writings, and tried to be impeccably polite about the quality of her drawings and pronunciation.

Anyway, 2017 has made us very sure that we’re on the right path. You see, Unbolt Me is no mere whim. We do crave to change our lives, and in so many respects. Just watch us!

Dear Reader, we want to thank you for walking with us every step of the way these last few years. It’s a long journey we’ve embarked upon, and we are grateful for your company. Seriously, your support means a lot to us!

Ultimately, the measure of our success will be the people who sniff the new print smell of one of our books. It’s a thought that warms us. It motivates us. And it’s you, Dear Reader, who will make that possible.

 

by TETIANA ALEKSINA & TONY SINGLE
© All rights reserved 2017

Authentica (Fragment #023)

Here you are!”

Maybe I’d plopped my notebook down a little too cocksurely, but I was feeling pretty confident. Hell, I’d been sweating over this essay for two whole nights, rummaging through the dullest monographs and sneezing up billows of agelong library dust.

The professor picked up my notebook with two fingers, kind of like it was a filthy toad. Well… actually, I consider toads pretty cool. Take, for example, Hypnotoad or Kermit. Or, even, Jin Chan. I remember, once…

“… plague!”

His harsh voice made me jump. Damn! It looked like I’d lost the plot again. I needed to concentrate. What the hell was he saying? Yes, toads were  The Second Plague’, but had I said something about toads out loud?

I raised my eyes and stole a look at his reflection in the dim windowpane. Then our eyes met. For a fleeting second it seemed as though his glance was flaring a bright orange, but when he turned to me, his eyes were yellow as always. This angry look was a storm warning.

“Too vague! Up in the air! It’s a mere dalliance with the topic, not an exploration!”

Why was he always on my case? But there was no sense in arguing… at least not now. This morning, I’d heard how Uranus had said something about the Moon being in Aries and that one should avoid open conflicts. (If someone had said to me some months ago that I would make decisions with an eye to this cosmographic crap, I’d have given them a Screw Loose sign. But this University can make anyone superstitious like the last pea goose in existence.)

I took my unfortunate essay and went to the door. I had almost stepped into the corridor when his acrid voice struck my ears.

“And don’t forget that using translations in research is  ‘mauvais ton’. If you want to get a decent result, you must work with authentic texts only!”

Huh? Ball and Tzara? In the original? I fucking like it!

 

by TETIANA ALEKSINA
© All rights reserved 2017

Tati & Tony: Rock ‘n’ Roll Creatives!

Любий читаче, ти розумієш це речення?* If so, you’re in luck!

Intrigued? Details a smidge later, but first things first…

For the past five years, Tony has been faithfully writing and drawing the webcomic Crumble Cult, the existential adventures of Ernest Crumb, a professional fucker-upper of life. No one fucks up quite like he does! Tati joined this creative project about two years ago, and sincerely hopes that she hasn’t spoiled things.

Recently, Tony has gone back into the archive to give earlier strips in the series a bit of spit and polish. No longer satisfied with the original text’s aesthetic, he’s painstakingly updated it to be more reader friendly. Yes, that means you, dear reader! Your comfort matters!

By the way, do you know how many strips Tony has produced so far? Button would say, “One, two… twenty-gazillion!” But let’s be realistic—it’s substantially less than twenty-gazillion, but way more than one or two. Let’s just say it’s enough to fill two or three volumes of a book series which is exactly what Tati and Tony are currently working on behind the scenes!

But even that isn’t enough for this crazy international duo! Tati has also been working her trilingual ass off to bring you a Ukrainian version of the strip. Yes, that’s right! Soon you’ll be able to read a whole book of comics that have been translated into Ukrainian, so please do look forward to that!

И конечно, мы не забыли о великом и могучем’.** The Russian version won’t be long in coming.

And, if that isn’t enough, there’s also Tati’s and Tony’s Patreon page to check out! That’s where they cover their creative process in more detail. You can thrill to their behind-the-scenes misadventures until your eyes bleed in protest. What fun! (Oops. It seems they’ve been caught red handed! It’s another brazen attempt to lure you to their Patreon page and divest you, dear reader, of your hard earned cash. How naughty!)

Anyhow, it’s best not to overthink all of this. Suffice it to say that Tati and Tony can play the fools all they want… but facts remain facts. They’re preparing a comic collection. It will be in three languages. It will rock. And they’re deadly serious about fulfilling all of their plans. Just you watch!

*Dear reader, do you understand this sentence?
**And of course, we did not forget about the ‘great and mighty [Russian language]’.

 

by TETIANA ALEKSINA & TONY SINGLE
© All rights reserved 2017