Friday, June 13, 2008


SERIAL, n. A literary work, usually a story that is not true, creeping through several issues of a newspaper or magazine. Frequently appended to each installment is a "synopsis of preceding chapters" for those who have not read them, but a direr need is a synopsis of succeeding chapters for those who do not intend to read them. A synopsis of the entire work would be still better.

The late James F. Bowman was writing a serial tale for a weekly paper in collaboration with a genius whose name has not come down to us. They wrote, not jointly but alternately, Bowman supplying the installment for one week, his friend for the next, and so on, world without end, they hoped. Unfortunately they quarreled, and one Monday morning when Bowman read the paper to prepare himself for his task, he found his work cut out for him in a way to surprise and pain him. His collaborator had embarked every character of the narrative on a ship and sunk them all in the deepest part of the Atlantic.

2008 Update:  A short story divided into digestible portions, e.g. The Unionville Chronicles, justice.


mireille said...

Writers of crime shows so often are unwitting serial murderers of words. xoxo

quilly said...

SERIAL n. the series number manufacturers always conveniently put on the side of small objects, and the very bottom of huge/awkward/heavy objects.

Ariel the Thief said...

Mireille, I'm glad that you changed your mind and commented today. :-P

Jamie Dawn said...

Serial: a type of murderer who is not content with just one - kind of like me with chocolate truffles.

I got a kick reading the rest of the comments from yesterday. You were getting a needling from Mireille and TLP, and it was fun to read.

Also, when I think of "serial," I think of daytime soap operas. I loved how my MIL & FIL always sat together each evening to watch "our stories" that were recorded that day. Now, sadly, she watches then alone since my dear FIL passed away.

On that melancholy note, I bid you farewell.

Omnipotent Poobah said...

serial: An alphabetic arrangement of cereal. See Jerry Seinfeld biography.

Jim said...

serial: Two of my favorite authors, Mark Twain and Charles Dickens, would first publish their works in serial form and sell each portion on the street for their personal finances.

serial: Charles Dickens' Bleak House took me over a year to read (reading on and off). No wonder, it was sold originally in twenty monthly installments.

serial: My favorite cereal is Cheerios. I like them in a bowl with bananas and skim milk or right out of the box as a snack.

serial: I do not care for my cereal fried, especially my Cheerios.

TLP said...

Serial : a syndicated comic strip, such as Mary Worth. That stupid serial was started in 1940!

You're not going to put The Unionville Chronicles characters on a slow boat to China and finally sink them, are you?

Logophile said...

A few years ago Thing One called me to come see something important. He had taken the largest sharpest knife out of the kitchen drawer and was stabbing his Cheerios, "Look, mom, I'm a cereal killer!"
I blame his father.

sauerkraut said...

I am a serial drinker of coffee. What else is there?

Cooper said...

I'd read it even if it wasn't a serial.

cooper said...

Serial: I usually have to use serial clicks to get my comments posted here.

Doug said...

Mireille, language has an enemy and a home wherever man liveth.

Quilly, I never noticed that but I will certainly be annoyed the next time. Good eye, as always.

Ariel, her lips say no no but her tongue says yes yes.

JD, I remember my grandparents with "my show" (grampa) and "his show" (grammy.)

Poobah, I'm a little scared to see Jerry Seinfeld's biography.

Jim, isn't that something about Twain and Dickens. Especially Dickens. Those are some long novels to publish piece-by-piece.

TLP, beyond next week I have no idea what I'll do with them but rest assured: A ship won't sink in Unionville.

Logo, I think you're wise (if wrong) to do so.

Sauerkraut, sauerkraut.

Cooper, that's very kind. I'm just trying to return the kindness. Sorry about the verifier.

TLP said...

LOL. Won't sink and won't sail either.

weirsdo said...

It goes against the grain for me to comment on this word after "wheat."

tsduff said...

The Unionville Chronicles - a series of stories I could listen to over and over again with great pleasure. (I'm a groupie of the author ;))