Checking In, Family

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Hey there. Did you like Just Ask, Doofus? I hope you enjoyed it. It’s been awhile since I wrote a good fiction short, so that one last night was a joy to watch take shape. I say take shape because a lot of times, that’s just how my writing progresses. I’ve heard of folks jotting down notes, typing outlines, or crafting organized ideas to write a single short story. Meh. My brain doesn’t work that way. Most times, it’s a simple idea that jumpstarts the story within. Before I know it, I’m just going along for the ride. Most times, I’m just as surprised as some of my readers at what comes out through the process. Don’t get me wrong, family. Writing is a process. Writing well is a practiced process.

That’s actually why I’m checking in tonight. Nineteen days ago, I challenged you all to step up your writing game; not so much as an all out competition among one another, rather for the sake of us all growing stronger as Wordsmiths. We can’t grow in our craft if we aren’t writing, right? So this is just a little pep-cheer to stoke that fire, baby!

Maybe this year you’re new to blogging. Well, let me welcome you and say, “Congratulations”! You made the big step in sharing your work! Now, let me further challenge you. There are twelve months in a year. I propose that you make a diligent effort to write and share four posts a month. But that’s not all. I also challenge you to subscribe to or follow at least one new blog every month in 2016. Nothing encourages a writer like support from peers. I plan to follow the blogs of every person who reads and likes this check-in post. I can’t grow in my craft, if I’m not reading and supporting fellow writers. So let’s get moving people! 2016 is in full swing! Expect greater things to happen with your writing this year!

I’m working on another short that I’m planning to share tomorrow. If you liked the last one, I encourage you to check back with me, either late Wednesday or early Thursday. Until then, get those fingers tapping. I need some good stuff to read!

Proverbs 10:4 (NKJV) – “He who has a slack hand becomes poor, but the hand of the diligent makes rich.”

Hey! No Take-Backs!

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We all know that one person (somewhere in our circle) constantly obsessing over, “Man, if I could go back and do it over again,” or “If I could go back in time and make better decisions”. Well guess what? You can’t! Hey, there are no take-backs in life!

Last night, my wife and I watched a movie and I heard a particularly clever anecdote. The main protagonist’s boss said to her, “You know, my grandfather had a saying: ‘Life is like a coin. You can spend it on anything you want, but you can only spend it once.'” That was good, and gave me pause to consider how much time we spend dwelling in the past when things don’t go our way.

What’s the point of brooding over setbacks? Time travel is not a reality, so we need to keep on pushing forward despite our obstacles. Can you imagine where we’d be today if both Steve Jobs and Bill Gates stopped forward movement because they couldn’t reach beyond past failures? Yikes! I might be pecking away on a manual typewriter right now.

So, on this 2nd day of the New Year of 2016, I challenge you to leave your past behind. I don’t care if you tried something and bombed spectacularly. Remember the lesson learned, but leave the failure behind. Go forth my child, and conquer!

That is all. Happy Saturday, friends.

The Rollercoaster & Hairbrush

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Brushing my thinning hair at the end of the night, is actually my relaxation time. The only concentrated activity on my mind is the constant stroking of the brush against my scalp. As the bristles massage my head, I recap the highlights–and sometimes the lows–of the day. Most times, I think about what was accomplished versus wasted time. In retrospect, my end of the day ritual is a mental coaster ride of hills and valleys.

Got some good Word time in today. John 5 and Genesis 13 were good reads.

A subtle nod confirms that thought.

I looked a little too long at that girl’s butt today.

Scrunched nose chastises my manly weakness.

Cut the boy’s hair; paid the rent; social media rounds: check.

Slight smirk of the lips. Just gave myself a mental high-five.

Skipped out on querying agents today.

Shoulders slump as I loath my fear of failure.

Opened up that email from a random reader, praising my last blog post.

My chest puffs pridefully.

I can’t believe I looked away from that homeless guy, knowing I had spare change in my pocket.

And my chest deflates again…

Jedi mind tricked the boy into studying his books of the bible in a fun activity.

Slight nod of praise.

Gotta get up and spend another day doing a job I don’t enjoy.

The dreaded head bob and sigh.

Throughout this display of mental duality, the brush never skips a beat. Man, the struggle between the spirit and the flesh is real and plays out in subtle ways daily. Oh wretched man that I am.

 

Hey You

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Hey you. That’s right; I’m talkin’ to you…lookin’ at the screen. Let me ask you something. If I throw out a random word, will you think about the first thing that comes to mind? I mean, honestly, we’ve got nothing better to do at this hour so humor me. Ready?

Blank Stare Emoji

Man, this is harder than I thought. I’m seriously staring at the screen, trying to think up a doozy. Uhh…okay, here we go:

CANTALOUPES!

Ha! That’s awesome! One can go in so many different directions with that one! I’d like to hear (or read, if you will) what the first thought was that came to mind, when you saw the word.

The first time I consciously stared at a cantaloupe as a kid, I didn’t know what I was looking at. It looked like a giant nut. Maybe it was some sort of miniature, soft bowling ball. Some funny lookin’ scrubby, for my dad’s ’68 Charger, maybe? It wasn’t until later on in life, that I discovered its sweet taste; yummy, goodness.

What are your thoughts?

Poptarts

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You ever find yourself staving off sleep, only to have some random object, word or phrase jolt your conscious mind back into coherence (c’mon, don’t act like it’s just me over here)?

Poptarts

I remember a time when it was cool to stick ’em in the toaster and cook ’em until the breaded edges were slightly burnt. That’s when you knew the filling was runny and the frosting was melted. Mmmmm delicious.

My grandma had a knack for smoking ’em. I’m serious! She must’ve burned every Poptart she ever cooked for me, when I was 12. But, it got to the point where I wouldn’t eat a Poptart unless grandma Amanda toasted it in her special-translation dilapidated-toaster.

Today, my kids eat ’em straight out of the box; no toaster necessary. I can’t help but pity them for they know not the exquisite joy of the patented burnt Poptart of my youth. These kids are all about quick and now. Young punks. No respect for patience and perfection. You’ve gotta respect the classics.

Think I’ll hit the pantry and plug in my toaster before I go to bed; pay homage to my late G-ma with a strawberry filling late night snack.

*Always*

Thoughts in 24 Minutes

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I have an itch to jot down the ramblings inside. I have 24 minutes to do so, because my Thursday-night show starts at 9:00PM. So walk with me for a few minutes.

The situation in Iraq has me concerned. It seems the hostile army advancing on the city has our government temporarily stumped. I don’t say that in any form of disrespect to our elected leadership. It just seems to be an obvious observation. What will this fast paced escalation do to gas prices in Michigan tomorrow? What will the state of relations be like, between the U.S. and Iraq in 24 hours? Does the generation of today understand the significance of what’s going on, or are the youth too busy watching TMZ and wondering what Justin Bieber’s gonna do next?

Today marked the start of the 2014 FIFA World Cup. On a day when Brazil should be celebrating and wooing world wide visitors, they actually had to deal with protesters and violence mere blocks away from the games. Who was the guy that said, “Okay, let’s get out there in the streets today”? It seems kind of sad (to me) that the evening was marred by that display, considering the region was already under scrutiny. There were serious doubts on whether or not Brazil would even be ready to host the games. One would think, the locals would like nothing but positive press today.

So Twinkies are back in stores. Yay! But…wait just a darn minute. Didn’t those things used to be bigger? Now that I’m thinking about it, didn’t Big Mac sandwiches used to be larger and cost less? York Peppermint Patties used to be huge. Now I see a bag of York Minis on the isles at grocery stores. They just so happen to be in the same isle as the bag of Reeses Peanut Butter Cup Minis and Kit Kat Minis bags. What the heck man?! We’re serious going smaller and more expensive? Please don’t get me started on Fiat 500s and Smart Cars!

How ’bout them Tigers, today, huh?

So…in retrospect, the world is becoming increasingly more violent; we’re dolling out smaller portions, while charging more money; and my Tigers aren’t doing so well. Aside from the Detroit Tigers, I’m pretty sure the bible said things were going to eventually progress exactly the way we’re seeing them today. Hmmm. It would have been nice if the bible predicted a future for my Tigers. I’m just saying.