I haven’t written much other than this blog recently. Personal and professional issues keep getting in the way. And an election is coming up. I was grateful when a writing buddy emailed me a link to a short story writing contest. No, I don’t think I’ll win.
Editor’s Note: Ugh, he’s feigning modesty again. This egotistical dummy is 100% certain he’ll win. You can be sure when he loses and the contest judges burn his entry in disgust, he’ll feign shock and surprise.
Anyhoo, I do have an idea for a short story. And the contest is 5 bucks to enter. Cheap, like me!
It involves writing to an artistic prompt, specifically this painting.
If you throw a message in a bottle into the ocean, but it is never read, did you really drink the beverage that was in the bottle?
With an unseasonably warm winter that may be threatening to quickly become spring, I’ve been thinking how nice it would be to go on a getaway weekend in the great outdoors with a couple of buddies where we could enjoy nature and guy stuff like this.
If we do go for a weekend in the wilderness, I think I will want to take the role of the bear.
Just wondering, is that a cross tattoo on the punching guys back, or is his back hair shaved into the shape of a cross?
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.
I got sort of comfortable not blogging regularly last week as I dealt with some loss. I’m sure some of you (alright, most of you) got comfortable with not having to read my nonsense multiple times in a week. You may have noticed that for the first week in literally years, I did not publish a Mite Be Funny cartoon.
It was to be Mite Be Funny #300, and although I had an idea for a cartoon, it was not a great one. I guess I could say that about most of my Mite Be Funny cartoons. It has kind of run its course. But as I have explained before, I’m an OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) guy, so there was some comfort in the routine of cranking out a Mite Be Funny cartoon each week with regularity, quality be damned.
But I’ve also really become obsessed with this very zen saying attributed to Confucious.
I recently submitted a serious free verse poem and a hilarious mini story to support a local art exhibit organized by the publisher who published my first short story. However, another one of the paintings caught my eye and imagination. It was this one.
Nobody had chosen this painting to write about. I had an idea, but it was risky for me. I’ll explain why.
I already blogged about a free verse poem I wrote to support an art exhibit at the Skokie Public Library starting next month. Well, you can slap my ass and call me a patron of the arts, because I contributed another written piece. This time, it is a very silly micro story about this still life painting of peaches.
Much to my surprise, these still life paintings apparently are not just about fruit but about very serious themes in life. Listen to the artist here …
For any aspiring writers reading this, I can’t emphasize enough that you need to practice writing constantly. Stop reading my nonsense and start writing some of your own. Each one of these blog posts is writing practice for me. But sometimes I get my writing solicited by others rather than just inflicting it upon you readers. One such recent request came from scenic Skokie, Illinois for an exhibit at their public library.
The challenge was to choose a painting which will be displayed in the library and write a short story or poem about it. I chose this picture.
I’ve been busy recently supporting local Democrat candidates by hitting the campaign trail while also working at my business and writing this biting humor blog.
Editor’s Note: This idiot once heard someone say that his blog bites, so that’s where he got the idea that this blog contains “biting humor.”
As the elected Democratic Precinct Committee Person for the area, my job is to deliver candidate literature, signs, and general encouragement to vote. That’s all well and good, and I am happy to do so. However, I was less than thrilled to be called this name as I arrived at a house …
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.
I was going to warn you that you may not find this blog post humorous, but I am sure that regular readers are used to that by now. I had planned to enter a poetry contest, but decided against it. Great story, right? The contest was sponsored by Rattle.com, and while I didn’t enter their contest, I did submit my poem to them for publication consideration. Pretty smart, huh? I can still be rejected while saving money in the process.
So that you, the reader, can feel like you’re part of the rejection process, I will share with you my poem below. It’s titled “I Did Not Win The Masters.” Now you can read it and pass judgement on it, too.
I had excitedly blogged about a short story writing contest that I was entering. It sounded fun. They gave us the first line, last line, and a plot twist to incorporate into the story. I settled on a science fiction story idea that I had, although I had never written in that genre before. That was my first big mistake. My second was that it turns out that it wasn’t a contest. I went to submit my story only to find it was not a contest but a “challenge.” That second mistake probably negated my first mistake, because in a real life plot twist, my story sucked.
First, my apologies to anyone who took my advice and spent the time to write a story in order to win the contest that didn’t exist and a Pulitzer Prize. Can I get a show of hands as to how many of you that was?
Thank God there’s always one as dumb as me.
Anyway, my wife, my editor/cousin/godmother, and I all hated it. It’s a story that just lies there like a dead fish waiting to be fileted. What’s the logical thing to do with such story? I guess share it with you as a cautionary tale of how not to write a short story. So, here it is in all its mediocrity.
The judges’ results are in, and I definitely participated in a 100 word micro fiction short story contest. If you are too lazy to click that link, I don’t blame you, but you’ll miss out on rereading the thrilling story I wrote, rejected, and did NOT submit to the contest. Here’s the 100 word micro fiction short story that I deemed contest-worthy and entered in the contest.
Attention writers who can’t get motivated to write. What better way to get writing than with the hope of winning a major award? Maybe that will get you off your lazy ass and writing something. I’ve blogged about some FREE writing contests in the past, and I’ve got another one for you. Here’s the link below to click.
It sounds fun. They provide the opening line, a plot twist, and the final line. You supply the rest. And everyone who registers is entered in the prize drawing for what are described as “awesome prizes.”
The real prize is getting some writing practice. Sign up and write something. Maybe it will turn into an award-winning book of short stories like I wrote that I am practically giving away by selling it for only $0.99. Clicking my book link will be a prize for me for telling you about prizes for you. Does that make any sense? That’s why we need writing practice. Click, write, and maybe even win something.
If you use blogging to practice writing like I do, then this may interest you. I stumbled across this writing contest and entered on a whim. Correction, I entered on my laptop. It costs nothing. Just to be crystal clear, here is the link below.
Your story must be submitted by the 22nd of May, so I know time is short, but what else do you have to do? You already missed the deadline for filing your taxes, so what’s another couple weeks?
I have decided to enter a story that I penned for my next collection of short stories to go along with my collection of award-winning stories you can purchase on Amazon. My story is called Mount Driveway and has a real neighborhood feel to it, so I think it meets the theme of community. Oh, and it’s hilarious. Maybe you have some half-written story that also fits the community theme. Just finish it. Hey, how about that story you were writing about a small town mayor who is actually an alien and smites her political opponents during debates using lasers that shoot from her eyes? Yeah, that story. You know the one I’m talking about.
Just to be clear, you have nothing to lose, except I guess this contest. Good luck and write on!
I continue writing this slog of a blog to hone my writing skills. No, seriously, stop laughing. It’s true! Okay, maybe that’s not the case with the weekly, award-shunning Mite Be Funny cartoon every Sunday. But this forum keeps my writing skills sharp as an eraser.
For an added test of my writing skills, I entered a contest for a 100 word micro fiction short story at www.nycmidnight.com. I learned of that website from the person who plagiarized my Elvis story for one of their other writing challenges. I thought the 100 word limit with a 24 hour time limit and writing to prompts would be interesting.
The prompts I received were that it had to be of the horror genre (Yes!), include the word “tell,” and involve riding a skateboard. Easy peasy. I got not one, but two stories written. My wife and I rejected the first story, because I had misread the directions and thought I needed to include the phrase “riding a skateboard” in the story. I had incorporated that phrase, but in sort of a stilted, clunky way. Why do I have to read and follow instructions anyway? Isn’t this the US of A, land of the free? Don’t take my freedom away to write whatever the hell I want to write. Must be a writing contest run by Socialist Democrats.
Anyhoo, I liked the second story better as it seemed more horrific to me and the ending was more clever (cleverer?). So, what do I do with the first story after I tightened it up a bit? Give it to you, I guess. I mean, if you read the normal drivel in this blog, you’ll read anything, and this will be a definite upgrade. So, click the “Continue reading” link to get to the unused story.
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.
I don’t make enough (translation: any) money from writing and blogging (translation: self-publishing word salads) because of my frugal readers & followers (translation: deadbeats), so I actually have a day job running my own business as I have for 14 years (translation: too long) now. I have a close (translation: ethically suspect) relationship with a number of customers and vendors (translation: potential criminal co-conspirators) that often leads me to agree to handle some challenging (translation: stupid) tasks. One such task is to curate and mange (translation: mostly ignore) the YouTube channel of one vendor. I was surprised to get a notification of this comment in regard to a video for a therapeutic massage machine.
I wasn’t sure if Lhtutuutfirh was covfefe level gibberish (translation: most of what Trump says), or if this was a customer asking to place a million dollar order. To the Google Translate machine!