As a long term side project, I’ve started writing a book called The Ten Thousand. My goal for this project is to write ten thousand picture stories that I’ll share regularly on social media. So far I’ve written more than five hundred stories. I predict that it’ll take me between five and ten years to complete this project. The photographs I use are found wherever I can get them. All of the stories are 140 characters or less.
I chose to write ten thousand stories because “the ten thousand things” is an ancient Buddhist expression which means “everything that exists in this world.” I also figure that if I do something thousands of times, I’ll get really good at it.
In this blog post I’ve picked some of my favorite stories from the book. I like them a lot and I hope you enjoy them too. If you do, please take a moment to follow me on:
(11) Zo draped her house in blankets and played silent air guitar in the living room for weeks like someone screaming on the moon.
(25) Bobby and Loraine jumped off a bridge in 1962. Being a ghost seemed like more fun than being a kid.
(27) Henry Zapo wept continually for this passing unrepeatable world, taking 400 pictures a day, tears blurring the lens.
(36) Molly Vollo owned 400 wigs, one for each day, to hide the naked skull that kept her troubled mind.
(40) When Cecelia Pinn turned 17 she recorded 900 punk songs in a year, gave all the cassettes to Goodwill, and cut her throat.
(55) The Bruja sisters found a decapitated head in the woods who told them of the outer gates where all the fires sing.
(57) Jimbo held his cigarette aloft and watched it burn like a sun, the only bright spot in his galaxy of nothing.
(59) Jeb and Deb were tanning bed freaks. They liked to eat dinner naked, muscle juice dripping from their exhausted golden skin.
(63) Katy Kinkong was the deadliest girl in Houston. Men desperately threw themselves at her like jumpers embracing cement.
(71) Every year, the spirit of the season filled Kenny Christmas so completely that he swelled up three times bigger.
(87) Men’s eyes stuck to her like slime on a slug, but when approached she only burped and said: My heart belongs to Jesus.
(95) Roy Orbison planted his mind behind impenetrable sunglasses, kissed cigarettes all night, and smirked at every singer.
(105) Cherry was the wild unwanted one: slurring, drunk, and screaming, with an ever wounded heart and a trail of bad reviews.
(123) Sissy woke up like something dredged from the deep sea bottom. She snorted a pill and a heavy wave pushed over her, sending her back.
(134) As her husband yakked, she turned her head to stare at the disgusting mutants who filled the convention hall, gulping down air like pigs.
(137) Squid could suck his own dick. He huffed paint and punched himself in the head and howled at night. He died at 23 and that’s how he’ll always be.
(169) As she got older, she slimmed down to bones and wrinkles. That’s what living does to you, not death. Death makes you bloom again.
(178) Once a week she washed her clothes in a public bathroom, whispering ceaseless praises to God for this beautiful, broken, unrelenting world.
(181) Try as they might, no man could make her fall in love. Her heart was like a howling pack of wolves. Nobody was moon enough.
(197) He was friendly enough when the bottle was still half full, but past that he only got meaner. By the last swallow he was Satan.
(199) How does the night speak? With a tongue as quick as a serpent’s and poison under its lips. It says: Soon you will all be with me again.
(218) They don’t have dicks, pussies, lips, eyes, hearts, soft hair. They stick unfeeling bones into empty sockets. Skeleton love.
(234) No More Romance 2017
(246) Give the devil a big wet kiss on the lips.
after walking every empty street
until the night was done
he washed up at the ocean’s feet
and got drunk with the sun
(256) Jill sat behind her sunglasses, silently dripping. “These bodies are temporary,” she thought. She bit her arm as hard as she could.
(268) The writer loved the idea that some incorporeal form of him could sit in the lap of countless strangers. Intimate for hours, for evenings.
(271) Beyond the edge of the yard was the forest, filled with gaping darkness like an open mouth. He could smell its breath from his bedroom.
(288) They sang ‘Erotic City’ twice, the only song they’d bothered to learn. Then they peed themselves on stage. That’s what it takes to be great.
(293) They stole her parents’ electronics, sold them on ebay, and bought enough bath salts to trip for months. Get your priorities straight.
(298) ‘Wild In the Streets’ blasted through the boombox, winding through six greasy pill-strung brains. All their hairdos nodded in agreement.
(313) Mark rolled 6 feet of pizza dough and stuck it in his pants. “I GOT THE BIGGEST DICK ALIVE! USA! USA!” So they elected him CEO of Dominoes.
(324) The moon shot through the evening like a bullet hole. The moon that had watched our species rise and fall. Yeah yeah yeah. Fuck you too.
(359) rEbA kIllEd hErsElf bY crUshIng hEr skUll In wIth hEr bArE hAnds. tHe UnIvErsE InsIdE hEr mInd wAs hOrrIblE. sO shE obIitErAtEd It.
(362) Above a snow wasteland, the florescent used car lot sign shone like a nativity angel. It said unto the world: Hark! Money and garbage forever.
(372) Look through the walls. Do you see the distance all around us? It’s the truth under every beautiful dream.
(379) With luck, one day your name might also become a part of the culture. The culture, the same thing that sells Taco Bell “meat.” Congrats.
(396) The best thing about being 100% dreamy is everyone loves your eyes. The worst thing about being 100% dreamy is nobody stays real for long.
(423) Speeding through the summer like a howl in a cave.
(430) The fourth drink told her to relax. The fifth drink muttered jokes in her ear. The sixth drink said nothing matters.
(435) The incomparable joy of occasionally meeting someone else who gets it.
(460) He liked to walk shirtless through the pristinely decorated house his wife had made and spoil its delicacy with cigarette smoke and back hair.
(473) Doing meth is like knowing how happy fires must feel while they burn.
p.s. Hey. The local portion of your weekend is ultra-set thanks to Chris Dankland’s generosity in sharing pieces of his in-progress ‘The Ten Thousand’ project. A lot of people who hang out around this blog already know what a knock-down, drag-out fantastic writer Chris is, and here’s even more, surprising and very entertaining proof. So, yeah, enjoy and please do say something responsive to Mr. Dankland, won’t you? Thanks, and gratitude heavily to you, Chris. The only other thing I want to say is that we here in France have a Presidential election tomorrow, and any positive thoughts for France-cum-negative thoughts for Marine Le Pen that you feel like holding could only help. Thank you re: that. ** Dynomoose, Hey, big A! I’m certain that Terry, if he’s peeking in from wherever he does his thing these days, is very happy to help. Have a swell weekend! ** David Ehrenstein, Hi. Seconded on ‘Dillinger is Dead’ and ‘Daisies’. That Flaubert book looks very, very interesting to me. Thank you a lot for the alert! ** Steevee, Hi. Wow, that’s an interesting and weirdly fruitful way to think about ‘Dillinger …’. Huh, cool. Yes, yes, very interested to read your Beatty-related thoughts and investigation. How did the 7:30 med start time work out? Well, I typed that before seeing your later comment, obviously. Sorry. Huh, I did write something about sleep being fascist, yeah, now that you mention it. I still stand by whatever I wrote, I think. I hope your weekend has a ton of zzz’s and REM in store for you. ** 366 Weird Movies, Hey! How awesome of you to be here! I’m a big fan of your site, as is obviously the post’s maker Terry. I’m sorry about the attribution problem. I’ve corrected everything and added the appropriate credits in the post now. Thank you again for the comment and the really valuable work you do on your site. Have an excellent weekend! ** Kyler, Howdy. Good, sounds like things worked out well enough so far. I hope the avant-garde proved to be a helpful escape when needed. May everything on your end go like clockwork until I get to see you next. ** _Black_Acrylic, Hi, Ben. I haven’t watched ‘The Iron Rose’ in its entirety, only clips, which looked pretty damned good. Whoo-hoo on your 5th driving lesson’s success. Yeah, I saw that about the local elections. Really mixed bag results and kind of ominous, I guess, ugh. I sincerely hope I will be able to speak to you on Monday from a relief-filled post-election Paris. ** Jeff J, Hi, J. Happy to have helped Mr. Ratchett provide again. Yes, I am a fan of Peter Fischli and David Weiss. Weiss’s death in 2012 was a great loss. Their retrospective here in Paris about six years ago was a revelation. Their work in general is consistently wonderful, and, if you haven’t seen their classic and amazing video work ‘The Way Things Go’, be sure to. I often find myself asking myself and others why Herzog’s fiction film work went almost completely to shit whereas as his documentaries remain really good and often great. It’s a very, very good question. I mean, his early-to-mid fiction films are as good as fiction films ever get pretty much consistently. I don’t have a clue why. I’ve scoured interviews with him looking for an answer there, and they haven’t provided one either. Very strange. ** Misanthrope, Hi. Interesting. Thank you for sharing the results of your research. Word and phrase genealogy is very interesting stuff to me. I love it when words or terms have their content but are subterraneous puzzles at the same time. One of the earliest SPDs was a bookshelf one. Way, way back. Yeah, I don’t know. I think about reviving the SPD, but there’s something in me that doesn’t want to go there again. Not entirely sure why. ** Okay. Have a great weekend both in the company of Chris Dankland’s wonderful work and elsewhere too. See you on Monday.