In a recent blog post, I clarified that I make no attempt to promote this blog, and in fact, discourage followers. Think of it this way … if no one follows this blog, there will mercifully be no more Mite Be Funny cartoons.
I’ve written stuff that people have paid money to purchase and read. Does that make me a professional writer? Hardly. But semi-pro? Perhaps. Would I like to consider myself a professional writer? Yes, but I have a long way to go. Why do I keep asking myself questions to which I already know the answers? Uh, I don’t know the answer to that question, which I think refutes the question.
I wish I could report great sales of my award-winning collection of short stories. Sure, there have been sales of that book and a few other stories. But not enough for me to claim I am a professional writer, and it hasn’t generated enough income to keep a housefly in filth for a year. So, with 3 other books in progress, what do I do? Do I finish them with the hope to become a professional writer, or do I write them to enjoy the process of writing them? And for me, there is joy in writing and creating my weird stories.
After spending my professional career in sales & marketing, that should be the easy part for me once a book is written. But that part takes as much time as writing, and it is a lot less fun and interesting for me. It just seems like more sales & marketing work that I’ve done for decades. So, I’ve come to a crossroads in 2023 regarding my writing. Whither goest I?
Do you remember when I wrote 3 short complementary pieces for an art exhibition? There was a free verse poem, asad mini story, and a funny mini story about peaches. Oh, what’s that you say? You were trying to forget? Well, not so fast as I have another peach story with which to regale you. But don’t worry. It’s not from me but from a sixth grader.
Last night, artists and authors gathered at an area public library to reflect on the art exhibited and read some of the writings. It’s one thing to see a small digital version of the painting on my screen. It’s a completely different experience to see these large oil paintings up close. I should probably visit the Art Institute in Chicago more often.
Wait, was I supposed to lead the finger snapping while at the mic? Seems presumptuous of me to snap at my own creation.
Anyway, enough about me. You are here to read a sixth grader’s story about peaches that is written better than this blog most days, although admittedly that is a low bar. I should warn you that this youth’s peaches story is a bit disturbing, so exercise caution (and maybe do a few sit-ups while you’re at it) before clicking through.
Being old, I like old sayings. I especially like the old Scottish proverb from the 1600s, “If wishes were horses, beggars would ride.” No, I didn’t actually use it myself in the 1600s, but I think it clearly conveys that you need to make things happen and not just wish for them to happen. However, I’m not sure the term beggars is politically correct these days. I think financially-disadvantaged is now the proper term. “If wishes were horses, the financially-disadvantaged would ride” just doesn’t seem to have the same cachet. And who wants to go ride a horse? Raise your hand if you do.
Put your hand down. Nothing good can come of that.
But there is an alternate version of the saying that I prefer.
If you are a regular reader of this blog, that’s likely the million dollar question you want answered. And if you are an irregular reader, try adding more bran fiber to your diet. There are some posts I create that are just plain and simple unpopular. For example, this one about an obscure Abra Moore song. It was met with a collective yawn, despite being about a peppy pop tune. Ah, but something did come of it.
When I do stumble across an old song that I hear and enjoy again, I tend to listen to it numerous times before moving on. That particular song was not on my music streaming platform, so I had to cue it up on YouTube to listen to it and also see the music video. Well, Ms. Moore is cute as can be in that video from twenty-five years ago. I got to wondering if someone (not me, honey, if you’re reading this) might crush on a person as they were in the past. And so, a short story about unrequited love coalesced and congealed in my mind. It will go in my collection of short stories about friendship as a follow-up to my award-winning book of short stories about the afterlife.
My point is that if you want to be a writer, then write something, anything. My middle daughter and I just had a conversation about creating. She’s a dancer who just resigned from her dance company in Chicago, but she still has some dance projects she would like to create. We discussed how the hardest part of the creative process is just finding that moment in time to begin. So, my advice is … start writing. Even if it is just an inconsequential blog post. You never know where it may lead.
The list of all that I accomplished over the holidays is too long to write about, so that’s a bit of luck for you readers. But I can still waste your time giving you some selected highlights. I already wrote about spending some quality time with our dogs. But wait, there’s more!
First thing I did was try not to be such a dick when I was out shopping and running errands. I was inspired by this older pic of Alice Cooper serving others that resurfaced and made the rounds on Twitter recently.
I wasn’t as ambitious as Mr. Cooper, but I tried to hold doors for others and keep a smile on my face. When cars cut me off, I made sure to wave at the drivers with all the fingers on my hand and not just the middle one. I always wonder what the world would be like if each person in the world did those little things every day for a whole year.
I also stayed healthy. I told you about my COVID test. We heard of a friend of the family who got very sick with COVID but is recovering. We also heard of some folks who are friends of friends who have passed away. They predict the omicron variant infection rate in Chicagoland will peak by the end of January. Looks like no indoor public activities for a while still. See you outside in spring!
Professionally, the news I received just before the holidays was bad, and I took some time over the holidays to process it and feel comfortable about my future.
If you recall, I came in 4th in the April elections, but still won a seat on my local township board. Well, here we go again, but this time I did even worse and still won. I entered my book of short stories in a competition, mainly to get a “professional” review. Well, I’m not sure how professional the review is, but I can’t argue with its accuracy. See what you think. Here’s the review.
I normally like to wait a day or two after the end of the month to announce my weight loss for the month. I check my weight for several days in a row before and after the last day of the month to verify that I actually did lose weight that month. But here we are a week into May, and I’m still not sure. My weight bounced around like a ping pong ball at a college fraternity beer pong tournament. Up several pounds one day and down a pound the next. A week into May, and about the only statement I am comfortable making is that I didn’t lose any weight. I’m still staring at losing 10 pounds by the end of warm weather in the fall.
My weight loss plan was at a serious disadvantage in April with Easter coming early in the month. My plan to deal with all the chocolate in the house at Easter was to eat it all as quickly as possible. Success!
Easter was quickly followed two days later by the local election that I lost but still won. Yes, third runner-up was enough to be elected. I felt like a kid at a rec league soccer tournament where everyone gets a trophy. But I think it’s official now that this came in the mail …
After working in sales & marketing for 3 decades, I knew I had to follow my instincts. The $0.99 price was wrong. I just knew it. I could smell it. Sure, I had been making money at that price. Royalties for my book of short stories had been rolling in for 3 months in a row. Take a look at the royalty notifications in my email.
It’s been nice, but not enough to support the cost of my habit of taking soothing foot baths in baby’s tears, especially with COVID driving up the costs.
I knew I had to run a sale. My nostrils flared at the thought of a sale, and I could feel my heart pounding and working harder. Maybe that was from my high cholesterol, but regardless, I just knew it was the right time for a sale. And so, I dropped the price over last weekend … down to $0.00. Okay, maybe that was a bit extreme, but take a look at the results.
Pssst, down here. Wanna buy Jim’s book? Well, you can’t through Monday. He’s giving downloads away for FREE at www.bit.ly/beyondtales. Through Monday only! Get yours now. Then read, enjoy, and leave a rating and/or review on Amazon.
I had planned to shamelessly and incessantly plug my book of humorous and contemplative short stories about the afterlife from the beginning of the year until now. However, I got derailed with this local election race which I surprisingly won. To get back on the promotional track, I’ve decided to make my book available to you, the loyal followers of this blog, for FREE through Monday. Just link to www.bit.ly/beyondtales to download my book for FREE for your reading enjoyment on your Kindle or Kindle app.
There really are no strings attached. Just download. I hope you enjoy it, and I would be most appreciative if you leave a rating or review on Amazon. Read on!
Isn’t the featured image on this blog post a beautiful picture? It spoke to me. It spoke to me and said that it had to be my cover pic for my book of short stories called Beyond: Tales of the Afterlife. However, it also told me that I was too fat, so I didn’t speak to it for a while. But we finally sorted out our differences, and I just knew that it had to be the cover for my book. The biggest hurdle was that I was not the artist and didn’t really know the artist and live nowhere close to the artist and well, you get the idea. It was a longshot. The lesson learned is that sometimes asking is the hardest part. The artist said, “Yes.” She also was cool with me stretching the aspect ratio of her painting to fit better as the cover pic I finally used.
The artist’s name is Linda and here’s her online studio … riverjazz.studio. My personal favorites are her abstracts and florals. Here’s an example of one of them she created just the other night …
Well, it took a while, but my book of short stories is finally finished. You can actually read it. It comes complete with real words, full sentences, paragraphs, grammar, quotation marks, hyphens, and mostly coherent stories. And not just a handful of stories, but SIXTEEN of them. You are guaranteed to enjoy some of them. I’ll detail each of the stories in future posts, but suffice to say that they are written to elicit some laughter and contemplative thought concerning our ultimate destination.
How much? How about under a buck at $0.99. That’s less than 7 cents a story, or under 6 cents per story if I include the preface. Why would I include the preface? Well, it’s pretty funny, but I also class it up by quoting Shakespeare. That’s right, THE Bill Shakespeare. Not Jack Shakespeare, my neighbor down the block. Here’s how it starts …
“William Shakespeare wrote in Hamlet, “To die, to sleep. To sleep, perchance to dream—ay, there’s the rub, for in that sleep of death what dreams may come when we have shuffled off this mortal coil, must give us pause.” That’s just one of hundreds of Shakespeare’s quotes that I don’t understand. I’m not sure I even have a mortal coil. I think the surgeon removed my mortal coil during my emergency appendectomy.”
I’m sure the first 2 paragraphs of the preface have convinced you to buy this book. Click this Published Works link to purchase. Go ahead, do it. Not later. Now. Go on. I’ll wait. There, doesn’t that feel better. Now you have hours of chuckle-filled reading entertainment ahead.
And so ends the first of endless posts shamelessly promoting this book. Get ready for more.
You’ve all enjoyed suckling at the teat of this blog for free for 5 years now. But let’s be honest … most of this is crap. Free was the right price. Almost 200 weekly Mite Be Funny cartoons? Cartoons about mulch? What’s going to happen to this blog when I won’t have Trump to complain about anymore? You’ll be presented with seemingly endless angry screeds about pointless minutiae in my life like too much lint in my pants pocket. Oh, that galls me. I hate it when it makes little lint balls. See? See where this blog may be headed? And don’t even get me started about socks that don’t stay up and slide down and bunch up in your shoes. That’s the worst.
Or, we could make it interesting. It’s time to put your money where my mouth is and make a tasty deposit. I’m having new business cards made: Jim Flanigan – Word Whore. That’s right, I plan to sell myself. Well, not myself as in my body. That ship has sailed. But I will sell my writings. Check out the Published Works page on this blog. There you can buy my published short story without buying the book, my political potboiler novella from earlier this year, and my new book of short stories about the afterlife (Coming Soon!).
So, take a look at the Published Works page and pony up some of your loose change from between your couch seat cushions to make me a successful Word Whore, Paragraph Prostitute, Story Strumpet, Chronicle Courtesan, or whatever you want to call me. But please do check me out. My words are now available for a cheap roll in the literary hay.
There are some changes coming to this website, including ways to spend your money. So, we will use this specific post to test this blog’s new ecommerce ability while offering you a useful product that I myself heartily endorse and just so happen to sell.
With talk of a COVID-19 vaccine coming soon, the USA has thrown all caution out the window and COVID cases continue to reach all-time highs almost daily. We’re #1? My family and I are still taking precautions. One of those precautions includes disinfecting our daily mail and groceries. I know, the odds are unlikely of catching COVID from a postcard or a banana. But I like keeping the odds low, so we continue to wipe down our groceries. But we can’t wipe down our mail or each individual grape. So, we use this thingamajig called the Purify O3 that is actually a CPAP sanitizer.
It generates ozone. Ozone is a marvelous disinfectant. I call it an ozonerator, which is not a word. I explain that is disinfects through ozonification, also not a word. The important thing to remember is that ozone is very effective in killing coronaviruses. So, this is what I do with the mail …
I finished my book of 18 short stories after just a bit over a year and a half of writing work. But I didn’t view it as work, because I enjoyed it immensely. I did hit a snag 2 weeks ago when I finished the last story. Then the daunting tasks of compiling the stories into one document, creating a table of contents with links, doing a final edit, and choosing a title stared me in the face. Ugh! I love the creative process and hate the tedious details. But I hunkered down and finished the work this weekend.
The tentative working title (subject to change based on my whims) is “Beyond Life: Tales of the Afterlife.” Here’s a brief tease about what each of the 18 stories is about.
The title of this post could apply to this blog from the very first post, but it is especially applicable now. It used to be that readers could count on a post full of drivel from me almost every single day. You may have noticed (and rejoiced) that my posts have become more sporadic and less Trumpy. As for the latter, I am just sick of that saggy skin sack of lies and monkey feces. Sorry, that’s not fair to monkeys.
Wow, touchy. I said I was sorry. Anyway, I just want Trump impeached and voted out in 2020. I find nothing funny about him any longer.
As for the sporadicity (not a word, but a potential album title) of my posts, that’s another story.