dennis scharnberg

listen to me

“Post facto statements about intentions are not reliable, Amelia.  We are not made that way.”

Will Hewes,  Little To Do.


hat in hand

1 plus 1 equals 3 (for large values of 1).

Godfrey Tooke,  Collected Aphorisms.

free verse slang

“The indeterminate future beckons, my dear Lydia.  You must needs approach it, and look it close in the eye.”

Samuel Wedder,  Beatrice and Jane.      (1763)

scraping the bottom

“…and that’s where I stumbled upon the dead man.”

“Dead man?”


“And only one?”

“Just one.  Yes.”

Allison Cowling,  Night of the Detective.

light in window

Yes, it appears to be a labyrinth.  But since it is only a text, it is not a labyrinth.  We cannot be truly lost in mere words.  No monster—no Minotaur— awaits us in words.  Nevertheless, thank you Jacques Derrida!

Octavius Kinder,  A Sustainable Unhappiness.


watching the fire

Sondra was convinced that irony could work only one way—to mock anything traditional.  No one (she was sure of it) would even think of mocking modernity.

Mark Anthony,  The Tale of the Mirror.

doing the laundry

Pursuing excellence was the subject, and Barnaby found himself wondering if it would be possible to engage in that with only middling results.

Lane Vivian,  A Knob of Old Cheese and Ten Short Tales.

fun fun fun

“…all we have to do is explain why we have no evidence for it and why we cannot replicate it in experiments.”

Kiefer Sythe,  The Detective Club.

the vanishing cigar

“Apparently Cordelia has convinced him that honesty is overrated.”

Thaddeus Crewes,  The Seven Long Years.

up the chimney

Beverly let the adjectives repeat and multiply and fly through the air.  It was all “vivid” and “iconic” and “striking” and “gorgeous.”  And it was inescapable.

Jason Starling, ed.,  Adventures in Narrative Parsimony.