Friday, September 7, 2012

Who Gets the Last Word?

Dear Author:
“It’s too different from other juveniles on the market to warrant selling.”
And to Think I Saw it on Mulberry Street by Dr, Seuss

“It is impossible to sell animal stories in the USA.”
Animal Farm by George Orwell
“You’d have a decent book if you’d get rid of that Gatsby character.”
The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald’s
“It’s too nicey-nice.”
“Nobody wants to read a book of short little stories.”
Chicken Soup for the Soul by Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen

“A dreary record of typical family bickering, petty annoyances and adolescent emotions.”
The Diary of Anne Frank
“An absurd and uninteresting fantasy which was rubbish and dull.”
Lord of the Flies by William Golding
“An irresponsible holiday story.”
The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame

“We don’t think we could distribute enough copies to satisfy you or ourselves.”
The Clan of the Cave Bear by Jean M. Auel
“Not interested in science fiction which deals with negative utopias. They do not sell.”
Carrie by Stephen King

 “There is no market for this kind of tiring writing.”
Kathryn Stockett’s 40th rejection for The Help

Never, never, never give up.
Winston Churchill



Thursday, September 6, 2012

Green Gone Mad

I know we’re all supposed to go green…
But sometimes green goes a little too far.

Take this viny thingy…

Uh, sorry Dad, I know I grew up on a nursery where you were always spouting out the Latin names for every bush and tree, but

Back to the viny thingy – Last year, I planted it next to the front porch as part of my “porch beautification” project. It was supposed to climb up the post in some kind of lovely manner. Instead, it looked more like a green version of the McDonaldland Grimace.
So this year, I hacked it back.

And this wasn’t just a little hack –

This was a “hack ‘til there’s nothing but dirt” kind of hack.

Well, the Grimace returned.
Then in one week’s time, it went from tickling the legs of a chair…
to swallowing it whole.

I’m starting to think it’s holding a grudge.

I’m starting to worry about the safety of neighborhood pets…
And the ‘slow children’ those yellow signs are always warning about.

There’s one creeping creepy story in there somewhere, I just know it.

PROMPT:  Good greenery gone bad is today’s hot house topic. Check out The Dead Boys by Royce Buckingham for inspiration. Nothing says “Leave on the night-light and cuddle up with your machete” like this one – it features a nuclear waste-mutilated sycamore that feeds on the life energy of boys. Gnarly fun!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Back to School

Can you hear it?
That bumble bee bus rumble…

The grumble of kids in a jumble…
Yes, it’s that time of year again!

And I think it’s about time that I come out of the cubbie and confess –
I loved school.

Actually, it was more of an all caps kind of LOVE.
In fact, School and I had a very serious long-term relationship. And if it had been up to me, it would have been a TRUE LOVE FOREVER kind of relationship. But when I was 28, School said, “Here’s your doctorate – there’s the door.” And that was that.

Anyway, when I was a kid, I thought everybody felt the way I did. Then a neighbor boy told me that he hated school – and it sounded like an all caps kind of HATE, too.

I just couldn’t get my head around that one.

I mean, where else were you going to learn cool stuff, paint cool stuff, AND get a ditto hit all in the same day?
Let me pause here to bring those of you belonging to Generation Y, Z, or Zombie up to speed – before copies went digital, they were ditto. And I’m pretty sure that the process of making dittos involved solvents that are now considered to be leading causes of brain cell death.

But oh – the smell of dittos damp from the copier!
Forty years later, I can still remember it exactly. Because, you know, the first thing you did when you had one of those fresh worksheets in your hot little hands was jam it up to your nose and inhale deeply.

Well, at least that’s what I did.

I guess that explains a lot.

PROMPT: School days are always great subjects for children’s books – particularly those first day of school days. Get some inspiration from This School Year Will Be the Best! by Kay Winters and Renee Andriani, Back to School, Splat! by Rob Scotton, or Mary Ann Rodman and Beth Spiegel’s First Grade Stinks! (obviously, somebody didn’t like the dittos).
On which side of the school fence did you fall – LOVEr or HATEr?

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Out of the Blue

Sometimes great stories drop right out the sky…

Folks in our little Northwest community were all abuzz on Friday afternoon when a Cessna made an emergency landing on the interstate.
I was listening to a local radio station when people began calling in with the news –

“Holy carp! A plane just landed on I-5!”
“I heard some sputtering over my head and the next thing I knew, there was a Cessna in the northbound lane!”

“I saw it taxi right up an off-ramp and park at the AM-PM!”
With all the excitement and whoop-de-doo, it was like New Year’s Eve, 4th of July, and a doughnut jar all rolled into one.

The next day, it was front page news. And, for me, that’s when the story got really interesting.
Apparently the pilot was flying in from Spokane (250 miles away as the crow… er…Cessna flies) for the plane’s annual maintenance checkup. My guess is that it needed some maintenance – it bailed 4 miles from its destination.

In another juicy ironic twist, it was the first time the pilot had taken his girlfriend for a ride.
Did I mention she’s got a wicked flying phobia?

I can just hear Mr. Pilot now – “Oh Honey, it will be fun. And trust me, everything will be fine. I mean, what could possibly go wrong?”

An iced carburetor from flying high over Mt. Baker, that’s what.
And while, mercifully, no one was hurt – the plane did clip a sedan from behind and shatter the rear window.

Can you imagine the “What the...” shock of that poor driver? And I’m wondering how he explained the damage to Dad… “I swear I wasn’t texting! A plane came down right out of the blue and…”

Yeah, right.

PROMPT: What is the strangest thing that ever happened in your neck of the woods?
Sometimes the best place to find a great tale is right in your own back yard. So grab a local paper today – stories are sure to be flying from your fingers in no time.


Monday, September 3, 2012

Labor Day

Yeah, I’ve been in labor…

Trust me, it was no picnic.

So, I’m making up for it by having one today.

PROMPT: It’s labor that brings you into this world, and labor that gets you through it. I’m thinking you deserve a picnic, too. So whip up your best seven bean salad, deviled eggs, or Butterfinger pie and get to it.
Have a great one!