CuiousPages - fiction and nonfiction
CuriousPages - fiction and nonfiction
“I’m a dance teacher,” she said. And it was then that he recalled his dream.
The previous night he dreamt he was a ballet dancer. He was stood in the wings awaiting his cue. He could see the stage extending before him, the colour of its wooden boards reminding him of The Yellow Brick Road. He had just finishing stretching and could feel the blood pulsing through his powerful leg muscles and then his cue sounded and his body took flight, or so it seemed to him. He was a passenger aboard some awe-inspiring plane that lifted him and propelled him into the air across those boards. And there he seemed to hang for an eternity, as though time itself had stopped specially to allow him to look around from that great height, to take in the auditorium, the amazed, frozen faces of his audience, the sight of those boards, way down there below him, as if gravity no longer applied to him, and as he looked down, he could see his own muscular legs, frozen in time, the vehicle that had propelled him to that height; he seemed to have the time to examine every powerful bulge, to follow the lines of the muscles along his legs and down to the tips of his toes. He felt as though the purpose of his life was achieved—all his lifelong goals, his crazy dreams, his tormented longings, had, in that one moment, been miraculously delivered—and there he hung, suspended in space and time, his heart glowing with a joy he never imagined possible. And then the passage of time resumed and he was in contact with those boards, his whole body being spun effortlessly and transported as a feather is blown on the wind, this way and that, being carried by the whim of the wind with no thought for the weight of a human body. And throughout his dance, his whole being seemed to reside within the powerful muscles of his legs as they transported him.
“Funny you should say that,” he told Melanie, “Last night, I dreamt I was a ballet dancer.”
“Really—?”
“Yes,” he told her. He had seldom, in his whole life, been so open and straightforward; but he could not keep this memory to himself; he did not even notice he was sharing it; it was as though the words themselves possessed a power that could not be resisted, and no sooner had he recalled the dream than he had to share it. “It was amazing. I felt like I was flying. I can still recall every detail.”
“That’s amazing,” agreed Melanie. “Do tell me more.”
“It was as though time had stopped. And I could clearly see my legs, and then feel them carrying me around.”
“Do you know what steps you were dancing”
“No.”
“Or what the ballet was?”
“Eh?”
“What the music was?”
“No. I couldn’t hear any music.”
“Oh, that’s strange.”
“Or perhaps I could. I didn’t notice it, anyway.”
“I’ve heard of many people dreaming of being a ballet dancer—believe me—but not anyone who’s actually dreamt of it.”
Peter Softly, the Member of Parliament for Perception, was speeding along Misconception Boulevard, possessed by anger. He swerved onto the driveway of Number 17 and stamped on the brake pedal as if it were the face of the man he met earlier. He swivelled his foot while pressing it down, as if forcing the man’s nose into his face.
Earlier, he was walking to his car when he saw this man standing on the pavement, holding a clipboard. Peter crossed to the other side of the pavement but the man blocked his way and said, “I work for Opinion‑for‑hire Polls. We’re conducting a survey into people’s personality disorders. I wonder if you’d mind answering a few questions?”
Peter shook his head and tried to pass.
The man said, “Can you spare a minute?”
Peter shook his head, looked down to the pavement and tried to pass again.
The man stood in front of him, blocking his way, said, “I’m sure you can spare half a minute—” and watched him accusingly.
Peter stepped across the pavement again, trying to pass, but the man blocked his way, looked at his form and said, “Now. Are you self‑centred?”
Peter looked up and said, “What?”
The man said, “—Uncooperative?”
“What—?”
“Answer the question!”
Peter said nothing, so the man explained, “Do you often refuse to cooperate with perfectly polite people who are just trying to help you?”
Peter shouted, “What is this?”
“Just answer—I’ve got to put something on my form.”
Peter’s face trembled with rage.
The man looked at his form, smirked and said, “—Frequently angry at trivial things?”
“What?”
He ticked a box, looked down his form, nodded and said, “—Incapable of understanding simple questions?”
“What!”
He ticked another box, sighed contentedly and said, “Now. Do any of the above sound like yourself? Most, some,” and the man looked at him and slowly shook his head while saying the next option, “none, or,” and now he vigorously nodded his head, “—all of them?”

Links

Some links to other sites of literary interest.

Project Gutenberg. The first internet archive of free electronic books. There are now over 25,000 books available free at this site.

eBooks@Adelaide. The University of Adelaide Library’s collection of Web books. The collection includes classic works of Literature, Philosophy, Science, and History.

ReadPrint. Online books, free to read. From all the classic authors, though with some authors, only the most well known of their books are yet added. The books are nicely laid out easy to read.

Complete Works of William Shakespeare. The Web's first edition of the complete works of William Shakespeare. The texts are clearly and simply laid out, making them a joy to read. Navigation within each play is also straightforward.

The Literature Network is a vast store of online texts: books, short stories, poems. The full texts are included but the more popular works are peppered with advertising. If you don't mind that, happy reading.

Gaslight is an archive of classic short stories which were originally published as an internet discussion list. Genres include: mystery, adventure and The Weird.

East of the web. A growing collection of classic and newly-written short stories made available on the Web. Stories are organized by theme: fiction, romance, crime, sci-fi & fantasy, humour, horror, hyperfiction, children's, and nonfiction. Includes works by many famous authors.

George Boeree. This site contains many fascinating nonfiction etexts introducing every aspect of psychology. George's writing is clear and straightforward.

The Internet Classics Archive. An archive of works of classical literature in English translations. The works are mostly Greek and Roman, with some Chinese and Persian works.

Online Magazines

TheAtlantic.com. Current affairs magazine with short stories, essays and poetry. See the archive of short stories.

Narrative Magazine. Fiction, poetry, short short stories, nonfiction, features. Good quality writing. You can subscribe to the site free of charge, which will allow you to read the full text of the stories.

The Oldie. This magazine was created by a previous editor of Private Eye, as: an antidote to youth culture but, more importantly, a magazine with emphasis on good writing, humour and quality illustration.

Zoetrope All-Story. A short story magazine. You can read samples from many of the stories online, but will need to purchase a subscription to read the full text.

3:AM Magazine. Containing fiction, nonfiction, interviews, poetry, opinions.

Resources

How to Write a Story is a blog consisting of articles on how to write.

Refdesk.com. Today's news stories from around the world. And other similar reference material.