Friday, July 20, 2012

Calling All Lunatics

If we can put a man on the moon, we can make pantyhose comfortable.
~ Sara Blakely (Spanx Founder)

Happy Moon Day!
Yep, on this date back in 1969, Boilermaker Neil Armstrong took a small step and did NOT sink up to his knees in Gouda.
Purdue grads were over the moon about this. Trust me, it was WAY bigger than Woodstock. Yeah, we put the MOON in Moonshine, Baby – and we’re still proud. Of course, this might explain why our school mascot is a party drink.
Anyway, if you’re flexing your mind’s elbow today, go ahead and shoot for the moon. After all, when it comes to the writing universe, you could say that the moon is something of a good luck charm...

Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown has been in print since 1947! And as we all know, it’s now a fabulous musical. Then there’s the 2011 Newbery medal winner Moon over Manifest by Clare Vanderpool, 2010 Newbery Honor book Where the Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin, and 1995 Newbery Medal winner Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech. Of course, for those who like to walk on the dark side of werewolf and vampire lust, I must not fail to mention The Twilight Saga: New Moon by Stephanie Meyer.
So get moonstruck today and ask for the moon, promise the moon, howl at the moon, or moon over someone (but please do not confuse this last suggestion with actually mooning them).

And while I’m on the subject, does anyone know if Keith Moon and the Man in the Moon are related?

PROMPT: So many loony ways to begin your writing today –
Once in a blue moon…
Many moons ago…
Yeah, I once thought he hung the moon, but…

And this weekend you can even extend your moony fun by planning a different kind of plot. Plant every white flower you can find just because moon gardens rock – especially if you root for Team Jacob.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Sweet Revenge

If you prick us do we not bleed? If you tickle us do we not laugh? If you poison us do we not die? And if you wrong us shall we not revenge?
~ William Shakespeare (Merchant of Venice)

Yesterday I mentioned detective novels, and you can’t mention detective novels without mentioning revenge. In fact, I believe it’s against the law.
Many a detective plot has “revolvered” around revenge.
But guess what! Revenge is not just for cop thrillers (or breakfast) anymore – thanks to a guy in a one-piece kilt.

Well, his name’s Maurice, and I’m here to say
If you wanna get revenge he’s got an easy way…

Yeah, I’m talking Revenge Rap.
I heard about Maurice on CBC’s WireTap. The story goes that a friend of his was really bummed out after being dumped by a girlfriend. So, “Rap Master Maurice” wrote a rhyme about the ways this girl had done the guy wrong, then called her up and rapped it to her. He recorded the whole thing, including her reaction, and gave it to his friend as a gift. His friend thought it was awesome! In fact, his friend started feeling a whole lot better and…
Maurice had himself one hip hoppin’ creative business.
Now for a fee, you can email Maurice your tale of woe along with the phone number of the person who has wronged you. He will do the dirty work.
Check him out here.  May I recommend “A Degree in Jerk.”

Now, that’s thinking outside the boom box.

You can rap about your Gramma
Down in Selma, Alabama
Or mean ol’ cousin Steven
If you’re needin’ to get even…
I know there’s stuff inside you been wantin’ to say,
So bust it all out with a rap today.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Well, Look Who Just Showed Up

Is your writing a little lackluster? In a pinch, could it be used as an Ambien substitute?
Well, here’s a bit of advice from Raymond Chandler, American novelist and screenwriter –

When things get dull, bring in a guy with a gun.

Obviously, good old Mr. Chandler wrote A LOT of detective fiction. And if you write detective fiction, well then, there’s your tip for the day. Take it and run!
However, if you happen to write for children, the firearm is probably not a good idea. But, hey, you can still use the tip by adding a little unexpected cayenne to the milk toast.
So, if your story is not a fan of the NRA, you might want to try one of the following instead:
A ninja nun
A crop circle
A robot pirate
A punk unicorn
An accordion (always shocking, to be sure)
Alien treasure
A Greek god or two
A kazoo band
A miniature dragon
An off-key singing telegram
Hippy zombies (peace, love, and brains, Man!)
A hot air balloon
A crazy aunt or ant
A silver egg
A time traveler
Caffeinated lemurs
The Grim Reaper (always good for a laugh)
Mutant avocados
Piranha confetti
An underwear drawer
White horse – no knight
A black hole
Bagpipe rappers
An ex-con circus

PROMPT: You know what to do.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Wilder Dreams

I’m dreaming big this week! Yep, I’m really going for it.
I will be shelling out some cash for my first herd of livestock.
Very soon, my friends, I will be managing a…
worm bin.
I know, I know, it doesn’t sound like much – but hey, I figure that if I can keep a few pounds of worms alive, come next spring I’ll be the Chief Egg Officer for a flock of chickens. I hear they’re only a slight notch higher on the farm animal intelligence scale.
Yeah, I’ve talked about my love of all things Ingalls before, but truth be told, it’s really the Wilder place in Farmer Boy that sets my prairie heart afire.
That was one sweet farm – chickens, turkeys, cows, sheep, horses, and a DOUGHNUT JAR in the kitchen.
Yep, the whole kit and caboodle is just one worm bin away for me.
However, I do realize that there are a few minor obstacles between me and the DOUGHNUT JAR. First, I have to face the fact that I don’t have a whole posse of children to help with the chores. I have teens, and teens, well, they usually have OTHER PLANS – and helping mom go a little barn crazy is typically not one of them.  Second, I have a husband who already works about 12 hours a day corralling a different sort of stock.
Then it occurred to me that if I could just combine Farmer Boy with another favorite children’s book – Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone – YeeHAW, I could really get something going on!
Just imagine – the DONUT JAR could fill itself! And in a pinch, I could round up the sheep with a broom. Sure, there would be THINGS THAT MUST NOT BE NAMED like prairie fires and fever ‘n’ ague, but seriously, with Harry as my best farmhand what’s a grasshopper plague or two really gonna do?

PROMPT: Create a wilder combination by putting together two of your favorite books today. Pair A Wrinkle in Time with Winnie the Pooh, think Pollyanna meets Hatchet, or merge that match made in children’s book heaven – The Very Hungry Caterpillar and Holes. YeeHAW!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Teller Tale

I saw these signs over many a beam and doorway in England.  
They are there to remind you not to include a concussive event while partying in a 500-year-old pub or rushing off to class in a building as old as, say, Jesus. Obviously people were a lot shorter before Power Bars and Red Bull.
I like the message.
In fact, I think these signs should be hung EVERYWHERE to serve as friendly reminders to care for those creative thinker thingies in our craniums.
Sadly, many folks do not mind their heads.
I ran smack into this bit of reality at my bank a couple months ago.
I was making a deposit when I noticed a stack of coins on the shelf between me and the teller. And because I am curious, and quite possibly nosey, I asked him why they were there.
“Somebody threw those at me,” said Mr. Teller.
“Somebody threw those at you?” I was horrified. “That’s terrible!”
Mr. Teller shrugged.
I was still in shock. “I am so sorry that happened to you,” I said and then looked at my watch. “Good GOD, it’s only 10:00 AM!” I felt HORRIBLE for this guy. “Well, I guess the good news is that your day can only get better from here.”
“Oh, it didn’t happen today,” said Mr. Teller.
“Excuse me?”
“It happened weeks ago,” said Mr. Teller.
Let me interject here that the older I get, the less inclined I am to keep my opinions to myself. Yeah, I’m pretty much a gravity-fed gumball machine of thought. And yeah, I probably need a Mind Your Mouth sign. Anyway…
“Wait a minute,” I said – no longer feeling HORRIBLE. In fact, I was on the express train to ANNOYED. “You’re saying that someone threw these coins at you WEEKS ago…
He nodded.
“and when you start your shift, you actually take the time to stack them up here?”
His nodding slowed.
WELL, you MUST be doing that because of all the… uh, POSITIVE feelings it generates for you!” I smiled.
Mr. Teller shrugged.
“Good luck with THAT.”

I mean, I know life doesn’t come with a little instruction book, but really?

PROMPT: Mind Your Head this week. Grey and white matter matters, so spend a little time exploring what keeps you at your creative best. Then eliminate the stuff that doesn’t work.
But hey, if you’ve ever experienced a really bad customer, client, or job then you’ve got some good material for a really great story. Don’t just stew – create something new!
Scott Adams took a bad job and turned it into a fortune by creating the comic strip Dilbert. By the way, Scott went into management after being held at gunpoint twice in four months while working as a TELLER. Hmmm….