The Business Plan

August 17th, 2010 § 0 comments § permalink

Here it is: the first novel ever written as a business plan. My first consulting job. I was told to write a business plan. I had no idea what a business plan was. This is my novel in the form of a business plan. At age 39, I entered the business world late and ultimately without much success. I was thrilled that the business world held sacred a form of prose based on imagination, bluff and conjecture if not downright fantasy. Ahhh…I thought: this is right down my alley.

So form follows function. Sit back and enjoy.

From The Business Plan Handbook:
The business plan process involves the creating, researching, developing and implementing of an enterprise. It will assist you in uncovering the issues that must be faced in the entrepreneur-employment process.

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The Business Plan: A Novel

Chapter One

The Friday morning meeting.

I have heard Kelvar Scott talk out as many sides of his mouth as there are languages in the world. He is our boss and I don’t know where his confidence comes from. My guess is that he understands human motivation better than most. He builds his staff up from interns and young college graduates who don’t know the wider world and who think that public relations is some kind of proving ground in the world of business. Business has its own groupies you know. We – The Kelvar Group – exist in a twilight land between public relations and consulting. County governments can get us cheap. Ditto frozen food manufacturers and city governments as well as giant corporations who must produce public service ads to get tax breaks. Kelvar never takes responsibility for anything or he takes all the responsibility for everything. He’ll scream on Friday afternoon, “Get me a 10 page summary by Monday!” The interns scramble to their desks to cancel weekend assignations and shed tears. Kelvar’s one talent is an uncanny ability to extemporize. Words come to him like water to the eyes. If nothing else, this is a man who has missed his calling in life: he cries out to be a politician. His board meetings are like trips to an isolation tank. They make no sense to us, his demoralized staff, and our individual minds drift downstream on quiet, ebbing quietude, wafting slowly, and just as slowly that mind is sifted of its intelligence. Drive, initiative, boldness and daring vanish to the size of protons and we are left fighting sleep.

In my case I take meeting times to meditate on the breasts of my colleague Julie Trevor. I shared an office with Julie for a month and I was fascinated that she would often weep in frustration. She would put her hands over her eyes and heave until the tears squeezed through her fingers. I wanted to comfort her with a neck massage but I didn’t want to get sued for sexual harassment. To learn piano etudes I had to be taught and apply rigorous concentration to the task. Tit on the other hand, I didn’t have any schooling in tit at all and I am passionate and expert about tit. Tits are usually one or two sizes bigger in the flesh than they are hidden. Appearance vs. Reality might have got its start here. So I actually look forward to meetings; I look forward to zoning out and meditating mightily on Julie Trevor’s tits. You see, Julie’s tits are never bundled or packaged or even sheathed – that would be to cede to the forces of modesty and restraint. No Julie’s tits are always outlined. Today they are outlined in a dark navy blue turtleneck. Her nipples are beefy and bellicose, their global roundness and Euclidean volume could easily quell an international conflict or settle scores between major world powers. So at this point I’ve cut the motor of my mind and decided to let it float. In my drifting imagination Julie’s tits have extended a good six feet in front of her. She has really thrown modesty out the window by exposing the dark décolletage line with an open-top type cocktail dress. We assume the dress has an underbracing that would carry some of the stress from the weight of the six foot long breasts but we don’t give it that much thought. The main thought in everyone’s mind is avoiding any contact with Julie’s serious frontage. We, the male staffers of the Kelvar Group, don’t want to get sued for sexual harassment. When Julie turns to address you or smile or nod in your direction you pray she doesn’t swivel her torso; any torsion will bring the full weight of her chest on you like a set of oars. She rules the world from these loadstones. Even Kelvar stutters and his usual fluency is gone. For good measure Julie swings both right and left to offer morning greetings. “Good morning Julie, good morning Julie, morning Julie,” the men cry, arching backwards, dodging the boom of a jib, desperate to avoid the slightest adhesion in the sweep of Julie’s jugs. Oddly the girls around the table do not seem to be concerned about contact with Julie’s tits. Then Kelvar asks Julie if she has any messages for him. Everyone turns to look at Julie and the men specifically concentrate on the rock crystal of her Nordic aqua eyes. Julie says yes and then drops a ping pong ball between her breasts and the ball follows the glorious dark line of her cleavage down and down and faster down as she tilts slightly towards Kelvar. On and on, rolls the ping pong ball. Finally Kelvar reaches for the ball but he stops himself. He does not want to get sued for sexual harassment. He waits for the ball to tumble off Julie’s chest and bounce on the walnut conference table. Once twice thrice on the walnut surface. Kelvar picks up the ball and, twisting it roundly, reads:

Call Bert Balsdon
Ditto Elner Frank
Ditto Coy Records

The meeting is adjourned.

Thoughts on English

December 4th, 2009 § 0 comments § permalink


Why is English so hospitable to nonsense syllables and words?

Hickory Dickory Dock,
the mouse ran up the clock

or

Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall
Humpty Dumpty had a great fall

I think English was first a dance-hall, drinking language of peasants. Or maybe it was the language that peasant and working parents spoke to their children in the crib. Think of all the nonsense words: dither dather, scribble scrabble, hither and thither; there is a bubbly, fizzy, unharnessed (un-nailed down) quality to English that welcomes new words and babble. Speaking of nonsense, closer to our own day, I recall, as kids, my brother and I running around the house singing with Roger Miller,

And you had a do-wacka-do,
Wacka do, wacka-do, wacka-do

What is black jazz scat-singing after all but elaborate nonsense lyrics? An early English poem by John Skelton (1460-1520), Phillip Sparrow, is full of delightful nonsense rhyme. By contrast when Dante’s (1265-1321) wanderer confronts demons howling bizarre syllables in the The Inferno it startles dramatically because the rest of Dante’s Italian is so structurally poised.

Pape Satàn, pape Satàn aleppe!»,
cominciò Pluto con la voce chioccia;
e quel savio gentil, che tutto seppe,

disse per confortarmi: «Non ti noccia
la tua paura; ché, poder ch’elli abbia,
non ci torrà lo scender questa roccia.
(Inferno, VII, vv. 1-6)

Does it make any sense to appeal to our highly developed infantile qualities? No, but there is something going on–a language does not easily shake off its beginnings. Perhaps this ‘baby talk’ understructure explains why it is so hard to do English well. Our complex verb forms are very complex even for native speakers:

“If that had happened, I would have had to…”

Contrast Spanish, a romance language, wherein workers, peasants and Indians can, usually, gracefully handle the horrendously complex subjunctive. Our grammar is so unsettled, our punctuation seems improvised. The only thing vaguely settled about English is the sentence order and that is a distinct disadvantage. Subjec–Verb–Object. It is too rigid. Unlike romance languages English must adhere to its sentence structure. We lose sight of the subject so easily in English. We do not have masculine and feminine designations for nouns or clause markers. Romance languages can devise elaborate sentences with numberless clauses because the clause denominator–which, that, whom, whose–is clearly marked as masculine or feminine–you can always trace back and identify the subject noun.

The poetry reading (I may not be good but I am not this bad)

December 31st, 2008 § 0 comments § permalink

– The cute self regard
– The idle description
– Cliché, of course: dropping on us like leaves
– The why was this written poem
– The I am in love with my own pen hand poem
– Anthropomorphic dreck: the kitten loved me, etc
– Weird nonsensical flights that could be good in a wholly different context
– Illogic covered in sloppy word paint
– Unwarranted shifts in point of view
– Abuse of authorial point of view and authorial privilege
– Torturing-teasing the reader with non-meaning
– The loved one dying of cancer poem (overwhelm your reader)
– The overwrought undeserved epiphany
– The mismanaged metaphor: …the mood hanging over us like a gavel falls…is the mood hanging or banging? A gavel doesn’t really hang does it?
– The disregard for the sovereignty of the line: the usual chopped prose (who lets students get away with that?)
– Overuse of abstract nouns: Death, our..seas…loss
– Overly evanescent description – you don’t know what they are talking about – perhaps to mask a dull or pointless theme
– God Bless my psychedelicasies
– X 2 poems about the French language: wretch
– The usual references to Europe, painting, critical theory…The trite the inane wagon hitched to the sublime