~ Marvin the Martian (in Bugs Bunny’s Bustin’ Out All Over)
Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus.
~ John Gray
I could really use a Mars bar right now.
We can’t let this week go by without reporting the fact that the Mars rover, Curiosity, has landed (sadly, on the Red Planet’s only cat).
This one-ton rambling research machine is something right out of a sci-fi thriller – it runs on a chunk of plutonium and comes equipped with a … wait for it… wait for it…
It is piloted by drivers in electronic 3-D goggles who sit in a darkened room full of computer screens. They push buttons to maneuver the machine throughout its mission.
Yes, Gamers, all that Wii practice will eventually pay off – there are real jobs out in the real world waiting just for you.
Now word has it that rover drivers tend to get a bit attached to their machine. In fact, they are rumored to anthropomorphize it a bit. Who can blame them? They spend A LOT of hours keeping it safe from wheel-sucking soil, cliffs, and Martians.
And here’s the thing – Curiosity’s drivers are already feeling that rover love. In fact, they’ve nicknamed “him” George…
as in, Curious George from the children’sbook by Hans Augusto and Margret Rey.
How cool is that?
Out of this world cool, I’m telling you.
PROMPT: Ever since 1897’s publication of The War of the Worlds by H.G. Wells, Martians have been great fuel for fiction writers. So, be out of this world cool today and get your sci-fi game on for the Red Planet. Guys, you shouldn’t have any trouble with this one.
However, there’s been a small hiccup in the lighthouse festivities.
Apparently, after tolerating centuries of those bothersome beacons making sleep next to impossible, a collection of creatures have raised a pretty big stink about this special day.
I wasn’t there, but I imagine that it was a pretty ugly sight. They probably carried signs bearing slogans like…
Weaken the Beacon!
Blink off! (complete with rude fin gestures)
Arrest those Flashers! and
Sure we get the guts, but we want some glory, too!
And so our nation’s leaders – in a gesture of fairness, equality, and shameless political correctness – have given August 7th a double billing.
Yes, it is Sea Serpent Day, as well.
Obviously, it’s time for the Lighthouse vs. Sea Serpent Showdown…
Lighthouses: Save ships
Sea Serpents: Eat them
Lighthouses: Tend to be stationary – both kinds
Sea Serpents: They’re here, they’re there, they’re everywhere, and most folks don’t use their likeness in love letters
Lighthouses: Have worked for centuries to build a brand known for dedication, integrity, and safety
Sea Serpents: Could give a flying flatfish about their brand appeal
Lighthouses: If you report a lighthouse sighting, most people will consider you to be sane and sober
Sea Serpents: Not so much
But folks, we are writers and artists!And so when it comes right down to it, the only measure that really matters is this…
Lighthouses: Blink… Blink…. YAWN – no plot potential whatsoever.
Sea Serpents:Bolt from the blue! Ship crushing chaos! Gore, guts, and glory! Sea serpents give stories a BIG splash – fins down!
PROMPT: Don’t take my word for it. A quick book search will provide you with Cyrus the Unsinkable Sea Serpent by Bill Peet, The Sea Serpent and Me by Dashka Slater and Catia Chien, as well as Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters by Jane Austen and Ben H. Winters.
Meanwhile, the beacon Google gives you this – The Lighthouse Encyclopedia: The Definitive Reference by Ray Jones. Wow. Don’t even start that one if you plan on sleeping tonight.
But wait – maybe we don’t have to choose! What about a lighthouse with a sea serpent keeper, or a sea serpent with an unfortunate lighthouse birth defect? Go for something bold and new today – add a tail to your tale in a bright new way!
On Friday night, Olympian Katie Ledecky won the 800-meter freestyle. Yeah, that’s pretty awesome. And here’s the thing –
She’s only 15 years old. In fact, she’s the youngest member of the U.S. team.
But that’s not the really amazing part.
What made her race catapult into AWESOME² territory was the way she won it.
At the start, Ledecky dove into the water and went out fast. She grabbed the lead right away – like that gold medal had her name on it.
Now, the 800 meters is a looooong way to swim – eight laps in the pool. And it takes over 8 minutes… I don’t know about you, but I get tired just thinking about it.
Anyway, back to Ledecky’s fast start – it sure looked like she went out way toofast for such a long race. Even the announcers were spouting doubt. They said she was showing her youth. They said she was demonstrating her lack of experience. They said she just didn’t know better.
Well, guess who didn’t know better.
By lap seven, the announcers’ doubts were changing to shouts.
Because Katie Ledecky didn’t fall apart. She didn’t lose her head and lapse into a doggie paddle. She did not even slow down. She just kept cranking those arms and kicking those feet.
She gave it her ALL – full out – and kept that lead the whole way.
What did she have to lose?
Absolutely nothing -- so, what the hot place!
She didn’t hold anything back.
She laid it all on the line.
She left it all in the pool.
I’m pretty sure she finished that race with nothing left in the tank.
Which got me thinking…
What if you took an athlete’s approach to art?
What if, at the end of the day, you left it ALL on the page?
What if, for just one “race” this week, you wrote so many words so fast that the only thing left in the tank was…
...and you had to hose down your laptop and plunge your burning fingers into ice water –
‘Cause, man, you were smokin’!
Okay, I’m obviously moving into gibberish territory.
But hey, I’m just saying –
What have you got to lose?
PROMPT: Set your own word count PR (Personal Record) this week. Leave it all on the page. Gibberish is optional.