Friday, February 15, 2013

Why be SAD?

"You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes.
You can steer yourself in any direction you choose.
You're on your own. And you know what you know.
You are the guy who'll decide where to go."
~ Dr. Seuss

Three Dog Night was wrong.

One is not the loneliest number…

Thanks to Dustin Banks, a Mississippi State University student who didn't have a date for the Valentine’s Day Dance.

He didn't get mad about his Facebook relationship status –

He got creative!

Mr. Banks declared that the world needed a new holiday – one for folks just like him.

And so began Singles Awareness Day.

In case you are unaware, it’s a day to celebrate –

  • Serving Lucky Charms for dinner without somebody griping about it
  • Ditto for that pile of workout clothes behind the bathroom door
  • A life free of in-laws and toilet seat issues

So if you’re single, let me be the first to wish you a super-fabulous day!

But SAD?

You guys are in serious need of a better acronym.

PROMPT: What new holiday would you create? How would it be celebrated? And while your creative wheels are turning – please rescue those singles from their miserable abbreviation.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Love is in the…

Actually, essere amato amando was in the window.
Those words were etched into the glass of Penrhyn Castle in North Wales.
They had been there for over 130 years, but no one knew why.
Heck, nobody even knew what they meant.
For decades tourists marveled over them…
Castle guides shrugged….
And experts dismissed them as a bunch of Latin gibberish.
End of story, right?
Most thought so until October of 2012.
That’s when Resi Tomat joined the castle staff.
Resi, who just so happened to be a native Italian speaker, took one look at those etched words and sighed (in that romantic way that can only be described as…. well, Italian).
"To be loved while loving," she said.
Well, that got the experts’ attention.

They actually got off their rears and did a bit of research…

and found a story.

Apparently, back in 1880 the window’s room had been occupied by Lady Alice Douglas-Pennant, an upper crust teen who had fallen madly in love…

with the gardener.

And when her lordly father learned of this amorous abomination, he banished her to the castle tower.


I’ll bet you thought that sort of stuff only happened in fairy tales.

Ah, love… 

what a pane.

PROMPT:  They say that Lady Alice eventually ran off to London and became an artist. She died there at the age of 76… a spinster, they say. What do you say?

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

I Spy

Does your current project need some authenticity?

Do you need to know exactly what a faraway place looks like?

Do you get story ideas from watching people go about their daily dos?

Well, you’re in luck!

Thanks to strategically placed cameras all over the world, all of the above is just a click away.

One that I find particularly delightful is the Oxford Webcam.

Tune in to see lorries, brollies, dustmen, and prams.

If you’re lucky, you might even spy my favorite taxi…

But if England is not your thing, then EarthCam is sure to please.

It lets you enjoy street scenes from Sidney, Tokyo, Bangkok, and more.

Oh, and as a super bonus feature –

Today you can check out (in real time!) exactly how all the folks in New Orleans are handling their hangovers.

PROMPT: Channel your inner snoop (or inner Big Brother, if you will). Enjoy a webcam of your choice and create a story about the watched… or the watcher.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

FAT Tuesday

Welcome to the day of EXCESS!

Traditionally, Mardi Gras was the date to use up all of your pantry’s fats and sweets before Lent.

As a result, you were left with just an old bag of lentils to chew on for 40 days.

Trust me, there is no faster way to holiness.

And believe it or not, writing the Lenten way is also the fastest road to heavenly prose…

Because good writing has no extra fat.

Sure a few adverbs and adjectives can be tasty, but too many and your readers are going to get queasy.

And here’s a newsflash, freelancers –

Nobody’s going to pay you (per word) to write “He walked excruciatingly slowly” when “He shuffled” will do.

But hey, it’s Mardi Gras!

So, let’s get all of those lard-icious and sacchariferous words out of your prose pantry –

It’s a great day to write FAT!

PROMPT: Today’s inspiration comes straight from the pen of Edward George Bulwer-Lytton (1830)…

“It was a dark and stormy night; the rain fell in torrents —
except at occasional intervals, when it was checked by a violent gust of wind which swept up the streets (for it is in London that our scene lies), rattling along the housetops, and fiercely agitating the scanty flame of the lamps that struggled against the darkness.”

Oh yeah. Bring on the butter… and write on!

Monday, February 11, 2013

The Year of the …

Happy New Year all over again!

Yes, Elbow Benders, we've just entered the Year of the Snake…

And according to the experts in Chinese zodiac predictions, it promises to be a year full of interesting plot twists.

Obviously, that means it will be 12 months of writerly bliss for all of us!

So celebrate by adding a few snaky activities to your personal repertoire…

  • Shed some old skin! Get rid of stuff you no longer need, especially those time wasters that interfere with creative endeavors.

  • Expand! Snakes never stop growing, so neither should you. Commit to learning something new or taking on a fresh challenge.

  • Eat stuff bigger than your head…

Okay, maybe not all snake behaviors should be emulated.

PROMPT: Whatever plot you’re plotting today, throw in a twist just for fun. Ah, it’s a shame The Crying Game has been done… a guy in a feather boa would be so dang snake year appropriate.