Six Sentence Sunday: Full Metal Librarian XXVII (Boswell’s Nose)

Six Sentence Sunday is open to all writers. Just pick a six sentence passage from anything you’ve written—published, unpublished, whatever—and post it on your blog on Sunday.

Registration for the upcoming Sunday list opens the previous Tuesday evening at 5pm CST. More information is here.

Check out all the talent!


No, not the guy from Charlie’s Angels.  That was Bosley.


The Pressman was allowed to accompany me to the police station, the Exclusive contract making him my own personal biographer under the Basic Freedoms Act—the Code of the Press Corps, no ethics required. 

I gritted my teeth as he slid onto the other side of the rear seat.  He smelled of ozone and leather. 

Had Samuel Johnson ever wanted to give Boswell a bloody nose?  No one knew—Boswell had the final word and he never mentioned whether Johnson had given in to temptation or not.

But in my case, a little personal violence would make great copy.


Previous Installments:
First ♦ Second ♦ Third ♦ Fourth ♦ Fifth ♦ Sixth
Seventh ♦ Eighth ♦ Ninth ♦ Tenth ♦ Eleventh ♦ Twelfth  ♦ Thirteenth
Fourteenth ♦ Fifteenth ♦ Sixteenth ♦ Seventeenth
Eighteenth ♦ Nineteenth ♦ Twentieth ♦ Twenty-first ♦ Twenty-second
Twenty-third ♦ Twenty-fourth ♦ Twenty-fifth ♦ Twenty-sixth

Something Reassuring

I received a rejection yesterday—it was a long shot, and I’d told myself not to pin any hopes or dreams on it, though of course I did anyway.

But it would have hurt much worse if I hadn’t listened to the words of a wise man earlier this week. The full text is available, if you would prefer to read them.

Thank you, Mr. Gaiman.  I’m not quite ready to see this as a step forward, yet, but maybe tomorrow . . . And I think I might have made a little good art today.

The most reassuring thing about this, though, is that it was sent to me by a good friend with uncanny timing.

Thanks, Lyra.

Random Thursday: Time after Time after Time after . . .

Random Thursday (ˈrandəm ˈTHərzdā):  the day on which Sarah plunks down all the odd bits and pieces she’s acquired during the week in an effort to avoid writing a real post, the assembly of which usually ends up taking twice as much time as actually sitting down and creating real content.

You know how when you’re on a diet and no longer have a supply of chocolate/doughnuts/pie/Pop Tarts around,* that’s pretty much all you can think about?

This is one of those posts, but without the sugar rush flashbacks.


epic win photos - Humble Request WIN
Technically, we’re all time travelers, but someone’s removed the reverse gear—though, oddly, not neutral or park . . .


I’ll have my WIP done in three treesloth days . . . 


The Captured Manifestation of My Road Rage

epic win photos - Construction Sign WIN

We have a bumper crop of orange cones blooming this year, because of the elderly sewer-pipe-related sinkholes that have been opening up to swallow whole Volkswagens along my commute.*

Gonna be a long, slow, teeth-gritting, profane, aneurism-inducing summer . . .  But at least I’ll get some blog rants out of it.


I want a Time-Lapse Camera for Writing

And a Zamboni.


May I leave him a message?

funny science news experiments memes - Fringe Science: Time Travel
Do you think Mr. von Hogflume does children’s parties?

Because I’d like to go back to the one where Julius Whathisname told me I was too fat to eat a piece of my own birthday cake and tell myself to tell him exactly what he could do with his piece—and then punch him in the nose.

Which is exactly why someone removed my reverse gear . . .


Idealism vs. Honesty


A Subtle Reminder

I have four poem entries now
Please write yours right away
‘Cause contests about purple cows
Don’t come along every day!


* Because you consumed every single icing crumb a quarter to Midnight the day before the launching of your new Lifestyle . . .

*I’m exaggerating, slightly. It was a Hyundai and the Heimlich wasn’t necessary.

Poetry Wednesday: How Now, Purple Cow?

In 1895, humorist Gelett Burgess wrote a little four line poem for the premiere issue of The Lark, his literary magazine out of San Francisco:

The Purple Cow: Reflections on a Mythic Beast Who’s Quite Remarkable, at Least
(Gelett Burgess)

I never saw a purple cow
I never hope to see one;
But I can tell you, anyhow,
I’d rather see than be one!

For some reason—the meter, the rhyme, the purple—this bit of nonsense caught fire.

Over the years, it has been memorized, recited, chanted over skipping ropes, analyzed to the point of <headdesk>,* and provided the inspiration behind everything from dubious ice cream treats to sports teams to writing groups.

It’s also proved irresistible to other writers, some of whom remain anonymous for good reason:

I’ve never seen a purple cow.
My eyes with tears are full.
I’ve never seen a purple cow,
And I’m a purple bull.

There are even several parodies, most of which were  written in the 1920s by Carolyn Wells in the style of other authors—including William Wordsworth,** though I personally think she was channeling a bit of Robert Frost:

She dwelt among the untrodden ways
Beside the springs of Dee;
A Cow whom there were few to praise
And very few to see.

A violet by a mossy stone
Greeting the smiling East
Is not so purple, I must own,
As that erratic beast.

She lived unknown, that Cow, and so
I never chanced to see;
But if I had to be one, oh,
The difference to me!

Or maybe not Frost . . . but you have to admit “The Cow Not Taken,” is an excellent title.

The original verse was imitated so often that Mr. Burgess eventually failed to see the flattery and wrote a follow-up in The Lark several years later:

Confession: and a Portrait Too, Upon a Background that I Rue
(Gelett Burgess)

Ah, yes, I wrote the “Purple Cow”—
I’m sorry, now, I wrote it;
But I can tell you anyhow
I’ll kill you if you quote it!

As you might imagine, this didn’t stop anyone.  In fact, as you also might imagine, it just seemed to egg ’em on:

Cow’s Meow
(Täs Zinck)

I’ve never heard a cat meow.
I’d never want to feed one.
But I can tell you anyhow,
It’s some trouble to de-flea one.

I don’t believe Mr. Burgess ever made good on his threats or instructed his descendants to do so, so we’re gonna run with it.

You envy poets, so you say?
The language and the freedom?
Well, if Sarah gets her way
You’ll take the chance to be one.

Yep, it’s contest time!

Write a four-line poem about something you’ve never seen, sticking as close to the original meter (in syllables, 8-7-8-7) and rhyme scheme (a-b-a-b) as you can—but don’t sweat it.  I didn’t.


Do a purple cow parody in the style of a poet I would recognize (check the archive)*** and share it in the comments here or send it to the e-mail address in the upper left corner.   Your name will go in twice for trying Chaucer in Middle English, and will be thrown away for Thomas Hardy, because it’s continuing to be a heck of week and I can’t even deal with him right now.

If you decide to accept this mission—and you know you want to—your name will be placed in the Pink Cowgirl Hat of Win^ for a chance to score a regular-sized mug of your choice from CafePress, or an online gift card in an equivalent amount, should you not wish to give me your mailing address which won’t hurt my feelings at all, promise.

And since I wouldn’t challenge any of you to do something I wouldn’t—at least on Wednesdays—and to illustrate how little time these take out of your busy life:

I’ve never seen an orange crow
I’d pay good cash to see one
Or more, all lined up in a row
Against all sense and reason.^^

I’ve rarely seen a clean playroom
(and neither has their father)
Instead I play on my bassoon
‘Cause housework’s such a bother.

Three of the five minutes each of these took was spent counting on my fingers to see if I had the syllables right—and it was fun!

Give it a try—I double cow dare you.

You have until this Sunday at midnight, Chicago time.   Go.


*Why can’t people just let a funny little poem about a purple cow be a funny little poem about a purple cow?  Isn’t that enough?

**From “Diversions of the Re-Echo Club, The Book of Humorous Verses,  Doubleday & Company, Inc., 1920.

***If you are a poet (looking at you, John S.,  lilygriff, Hansen, and the other poetical lurkers I suspect I’ve got), please pick someone else.  Kev, the moratorium on limericks still holds.

^Or possibly the Blue Cubs Hat of Maybe Next Year if the owner of the Pink Cowgirl Hat doesn’t clean her room so I can find it.

^^Or, “‘Cause ginger’s in this season.”  Tough choice . . .

Buying Time Giveaway

“My Life is a freakin three-ring circus and I’m locked in the trunk of the clown car.”
— Aspen Moore

I have my vacation time approved, my registration in, and my hotel room booked—I’m going to Bouchercon!

Part of why I’m so pleased about this is the sheer number of friendly people I met there last year.*   Like Kelly Cochran.

We met in the audience of a panel and ended up having lunch together and discussing our respective books, premises, problems,  characters, hopes and dreams—it was a nice, long lunch—and I had a great time.

And her book sounded fascinating:  A personal concierge—sort of a freelance Woman Friday/time management coach/gofer/acquisitions agent/etcetera—witnesses something that could mean a client’s apparent suicide was murder.  But she has very interesting reasons for not going to the police . . .

Buying Time, the first in the Aspen Moore series, is now out and she’s asked me if I could spread the word.

Consider it done.  She didn’t even have to bribe me with a copy, though it was much appreciated.**

I can’t say too much more about the story without spoiling it, but I can tell you that I enjoyed the characters, especially Peter, who is a sexy sweetie-P.I. who brings out the ham in Aspen and provides half of the best banter in the book—I have certain hopes for these two, supposing that one overly attentive police officer would get out of the way.

The rest of the characters were done well, too—I’m looking forward to seeing more of Mirella, who has that contained, enigmatic vibe I like so much.  The only one of the bunch I actively disliked, murderer excepted, was Isabella—but I’m pretty sure that’s the right reaction—she’s there to raise Aspen’s frustration levels, not win a popularity contest, and she does the job almost too well.

To further spread the word, Kelly is offering a copy to the first ten people from here to request one.  All she asks in return is that  you  review it on Amazon or GoodReads or even write it up in your own blogs, if you prefer.

So drop her a note at kelly at, telling her if you prefer paperback or Kindle—she’s earmarked five of each.***  Be sure to mention I sent you, so she can keep count.

Kelly says she’s planning to return to Bouchercon, too—I’m hoping we can do lunch again.


* Seriously, my residual awkward-yet-charmingly brave little social anxiety thing didn’t stand a chance.

**The perfect bribe would have been my own Aspen for a month starting today . . .

***No, not literally.  Would I do this for someone who would do that?