Making sense

Qarrtsiluni, the online literary magazine I help curate, is now soliciting for submissions to a new theme, Making Sense. “We challenge you to build up a world in scent, taste, touch, sound, or any combination of these. … To have a full and concrete awareness of space, physical detail, and emotion, you do not need sight,” the editors write.

basswood leaves

Last weekend, I ate both eyes of a fish. They were slightly sour, and full of a salty juice that couldn’t be tears. Later, somebody told me: You’ll never cry again!


If you saw your nose all by itself, would you recognize it? What would it smell like?


A. sat on the floor and sketched our feet as we listened to Bach’s partitas for solo violin. You can tell from the sketches: those feet had completely forgotten that they were feet.


Conversing with someone who is undergoing a massage is a bit like consulting a Ouija board. The words hold extra weight for passing through the hands, but it’s hard to tell where they’re coming from.


I’ve been single for so long, I like to go out in the rain just for the contact.

14 Replies to “Making sense”

  1. Actually, if you enjoy reading Via Negativa, Smorgasblog and Qarrtsiluni, you might be best advised not to do anything about it. I doubt I’d be able to do nearly as much online if I had a girlfriend.

  2. I was really touched by the vignette about the fish eyes. “You’ll never cry again!” seems to hold within it so many complications, both benediction and malediction. Consumption of fish eyes, sour and salt, the anonymity (at least for us readers) of the person who laid this phrase on you. It is sense and it is also nonsense.

  3. These seem held together as much by body parts as by the senses. The way the senses flow around the body parts is fascinating enough in each piece, but how it all teases aound is such fun. The last one is the contact glue that helps them all fall apart.

    You’re the finest vignettist I know. Absolutely first chair.

  4. Thanks, you guys. I’m glad you liked this post, because it was the fruit of a day’s procrastination and a bottle of strong homebrew. I usually write sober and first thing in the morning, but i guess it’s good to vary one’s patterns once in a while. With that first vignette, I was simply too tired to figure out how to elaborate on the benediction vs. malediction thing that Brett mentions, so I let it remain implicit. So the formula here is laziness + tiredness + beer = brief mind-farts.

  5. I found a caterpillar yesterday. I was walking home from the mailbox and it was walking across the road. I picked it up on one of the envelopes I had just retrieved, brought it up close and took a good long at it. The caterpillar had fake eyes. They were bright yellow with deep blue centers. They seemed to have more depth than most sensing eyes. I was captivated by them, so I took the caterpillar home to photograph it. I talked to it the whole way and it listened with invisible ears.

  6. marly – You’re right, that would make a good opener for a short story, wouldn’t it?

    robin andrea – Thanks for sharing that. I agree with Peter.

    David – Yup, wrens are cute, no doubt about it.

  7. Dave, I want to report to you that I am enjoying your blog harvest in its very accessible format at Smorgasblog via Dave (fun name!) on Google reader, to which I have subscribed aping your example.

  8. That’s cool. I think one or two other people might be using it, too. I’ve been pretty conservative about adding new blogs to it – it seems just barely manageable in length now.

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