(Roughly) Daily

Short– very short– stories…

Lou Beach is renown as an illustrator…

“Brand City,” Time

… and as a designer of album covers…

Blink 182, MCA

… but not so well-know as a writer.  At least, not yet.

Beach has just finished a collection of stories that he calls 420 Characters, explaining in his preface:

The stories you are about to encounter were written as “status updates” on a large social networking site. These updates are limited to 420 characters, which include letters, spaces, and punctuation. They provided a daily exercise in fiction writing for the author, who hopes you enjoy them and return to read more. They will be regularly updated.

For example:

‘Whatcha wanna go on a game show for?’ She was disinclined to answer, thought it obvious, but said: ‘To win money and prizes and shit.’ She ran a wet finger around the rim of her glass, couldn’t make it sing. He continued ironing the napkins. ‘You gonna wear a costume?’ She turned slowly, found his eyes hovering in the iron’s steam, stared until he looked away. ‘I do not intend to make a fool of myself.’

The book is due out from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt on December 6, but readers can find it online here.  More of Beach’s artwork is on display on his site, from which the examples above were selected.


As we distill, distill, distill, we might recall that it was on this date in 1948 that Edwin Land’s Polaroid Land Camera Model 95– the first “instant” camera, producing finished prints in about a minute– went on sale for the first time.  It was priced at a then-lofty $95 (to wit, the model number).

Polaroid originally manufactured sixty units of the camera. Fifty-seven were offered at Boston’s Jordan Marsh department store for the Christmas holiday.  Polaroid’s marketing department reckoned that the camera and film would remain in stock long enough to manufacture a second run based on customer demand.  In the event, all fifty-seven cameras and all of the film were sold on the first day.  Over 1.5 million units were sold over the next few years, before the company introduced new models.



Written by (Roughly) Daily

November 28, 2011 at 1:01 am

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