Friday, November 1, 2013


This is it — the start of 2013’s most creative month!

A couple of weeks ago, I posted an intro to NaNoWriMo. If you missed it, you can find it here.

If you’re considering the novel-writing challenge and want to make it “official,” you can sign in at the NaNoWriMo website. There you can log your daily word totals, graph your progress, and participate in forums for support.

But what if a novel sounds too, well, wordy? Maybe the bunny eat bunny world of picture books is more your bag. Check out author Tara Lazar’s PiBoIdMo (Picture Book Idea Month). She calls it a 30-picture-book-ideas-in-30-days challenge, and it sounds like delicious fun!

And if you find that words, any words, just get in your way, then make it a kick-butt Kevan Atteberry month à la Monster-a-Day.

Face it, there’s no end to the ways you can make it a November to remember—

30 poems

30 sculptures

30 raps

30 recipes

30 sock puppets

30 lost homework excuse letters

Pick one and say YES!

Look, the weather is lousy anyway, so you might as well do something!

And it’s only 30 days.

Thirty days that could change your life.

So stand with me, Elbow Benders —

and help take the NO out of November.

YESvember, here we come!

PROMPT: it’s time to get out there and get all Nike  JUST DO IT!

Thursday, October 31, 2013


For a good part of my childhood, I lived in a haunted house.

At least, that’s what some people might say (and yes, I’m aware that this explains a LOT about me).

But really, there wasn't any sort of showy paranormal activity there — like plates flying across the room or spinning heads or green barf — the kind of stuff that makes great made-for-TV movies. There were just a few, shall we say, oddities about the place…

Like the fact that my parents would occasionally hear someone in the house calling for “Kyle.”

And that every so often the only neighbor in sight of our home would telephone to ask the identity of the guy sitting on the front porch step.

Um, Kyle would be a good guess.

As children, all my brother, sister, and I knew was that if you slept in the “little room” you were guaranteed to have a nightmare. So, we usually piled into one great big bedroom that my mom had decorated with friendly-looking circus prints.

I really wasn’t all too keen on those pictures — particularly the ones with the clown-faced children.

You see, whenever I awoke in the middle of the night, it always looked to me like their lips were moving. And I swear I could hear a bunch of incoherent whispering, too. So I would clamp my hands over my ears, squeeze my eyes tightly shut, think happy thoughts, and go back to sleep…

But I never told a soul about those pictures.

I mean, come on — even at the age of eight, I knew that blabbing about talking pictures in my bedroom would brand me as a complete nutcase. And I was a highly imaginative child, so I chalked it all up to my own overactive brain.

Then, when I was 9 years old, my family moved to a brand-new house with the bonus features of no “little rooms” and super-groovy shag carpeting.

On the day of the big move, my mom helped my sister and me set up our new bedroom. And as we were arranging the beds and unpacking the boxes, Mom pulled out those pictures of the clown-faced children.

“NOOOOOOO!” my sister and I said in unison.

“Whoa,” said Mom. “What’s wrong with these?”

And that’s when my kid sister piped up —

“They TALK!

PROMPT: What’s your creepy story? Everybody’s either got one, or knows someone who does. Put it on the page for a fun and frightful Halloween treat, then delight your friends with the result... Because one out of every two pumpkins knows that good stories are way better than candy!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Shine On!

Recently, I read about a restaurant patron who left a struggling single mom a lovely note and paid for her family’s dinner.

And a couple of weeks ago, the national news reported that a waitress picked up the lunch tab for some National Guard soldiers.

Oh, and let’s not forget the Iowa student who lost his wallet, and a mama of four returned it with an extra 10-spot as well as a sweet motherly note.


What if YOU made someone’s day today?

And here’s an added bonus—

You’d be making a great story, too.

PROMPT: Do it. Write it. Be it… Wonderful, that is — and create a wonderful day!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Login Shmogin

On this date 44 years ago, some dude in a UCLA basement lab transmitted the first-ever email to another dude waiting patiently in another lab at Stanford.

The message — “LOGIN”

But let’s not talk about the fact that the system crashed after “LO.”

A “LO” is something after all, and so in 2005 somebody came up with the brilliant idea of naming October 29th International Internet Day.

But here’s the thing…

In the same year, someone else decided to name October 29th as National Cat Day.


I think not.

Consider the fact that cats dominate the internet.

Think Maru—

Nobody rocks a box quite the way he does.

Then there’s Grumpy Cat, of course, who takes surly to a whole new level.

Both felines have gone on to be published authors, by the way.


Let that one sink in a tick.

So here’s my theory—

I’m thinking that the first email transmission crashed for a reason.

And it wasn't “LOGIN” making its way through cyberspace to that lab in Stanford.

It was the first cat hack (and I am NOT referring to hairballs).

The actual message—


PROMPT: The internet takeover is just the first step in their plan for world domination. Imagine a world where cats rule, and humans must… 
  • Lavish them with gifts and fancy food to the tune of 23 BILLION dollars a year nationally.
  • Post Facebook statuses for their “masters.”
  • Awaken at 5:00AM EVERY day (yep, weekends and holidays, too) just to serve breakfast…

Hey, wait a minute.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Scary Things

With Halloween just a few days away, it’s a good time to talk about scary things…
In particular — scary words.
And let me warn you right now that if you have a heart condition, you might want to read this with a friend who is CPR-certified.

Just sayin’…

Because the following are some of the most frightening phrases ever uttered by human beings.

Are you ready?

Okay, brace yourselves. Here goes —

“I can’t.” (Shudder)

“That’s impossible.” (Gulp)

“I’m not good enough.” (Gasp!)

“I’ll never succeed.” (Ack!)

“I give up.” (NOOOOOOOooooooooooooo!)

Okay, okay, I’ll stop. I'm too creeped out to go any further anyway, and I want us all to be able to sleep tonight.

So, I’ll leave you with this —

“When you are going through hell, keep on going.

Never never never give up.”

~Winston Churchill

PROMPT: Set your writing/art goals this week. And for goodness sake, they do not need to be HUGE, LIFE-CHANGING GOALS in ALL CAPS and an extra-BIG G! Even just 5 minutes of work, one sentence of writing, or one dab of color is progress in the right direction. And trust me, any direction is the right direction for getting out of “The Hot Place.”