Paradoxically Prompted

red and wolfI might be paradoxically ironical [ ;-) ], or vice versa, but I feel like “occupying” my own Occupy Daily Prompt blog prompt. Today I posted Sundry Sunday; a list of various prompts I found a couple of years ago. I thought my fellow Occupiers might enjoy them, but when I sat down to reply to them, with only one exception, I found I had some issues…

Write a  title for a book (or books) you’d like to write. I haven’t thought of a book I’d write. Just stories. I like coming up with titles for my blog posts, but a book is entirely different. But, it should be easy, right? Think of an actual thing or place, or come up with a metaphor. Problem is, if you haven’t got an idea for the content, writing a title is an abstract exercise. But, here are a few ideas:

  • North by East and West, but Heading South (The story of someone not only looking everywhere to find meaning in life, but the horrible fate of someone with absolutely no sense of direction during the dark days before GPS).
  • Cracker Jack and Little Debbie (The Bonnie and Clyde of the processed food-stuff world. Nobody with a compulsion to eat the crap they shouldn’t will ever be safe again).
  • A Very Short Story [In One Hundred Thousand Words. Or Less] (Some people can get to the point in a few words. Others apparently cannot. Anyway, it’s only one book, not a volume of five, so…)
  • If It’s Not One Thing, It’s Your Mother  (A tale of trial and error only to find out that no matter how hard you try, fail, and try again, your mother will always have that look of sad disappointment whenever you see her).
  • The Sessantaquattro Carmel Macchiato Half-Caf Non-Fat Extra Hot No Whip Shot of Chai Tea Pumpkin Spice Mocha Killer (No, that’s not the killer. The killer is the irritated guy stuck behind the person who made that order. Starbucks made him do it).

Create a character with personality traits of someone you love, but the physical characteristics of someone you don’t care for. This is exactly the kind of prompt that gets people in trouble on the home front. You’re in a no-win situation no matter which two people you choose. The personality traits you highlight will become an issue and the person you “don’t care for” obviously will take offense (even if it’s someone you don’t know, because these things find their way around, especially in our social media culture), and, more importantly, your loved one will most likely take issue with the not-so-loved one whom you chose to fuse them with. You’ll be back-peddling for months. Yeah….I’m gonna pass on this one.

Write a setting based on the most beautiful place you’ve ever seen. From the top of the hill, before you could see the ocean, you could hear the surf and smell the salt air. The sun broke through the tall trees creating scattered spotlights of radiant gold underneath the dusky canopy of the ancient evergreens. I made my way down the familiar path from the hilltop through the trees, and as I drew closer to the bluff, the forest gave way like a  giant stage curtain drawing aside, revealing a brilliant blue sky and full noon-day sun. The endless horizon of deep blue water, a meandering coastline, and frothy white crashing waves stretched as far in front of me and to each side as the eye could see. As I stood there quietly taking it all in, a gentle on-shore breeze that felt like the tender lingering embrace of a long-lost lover enveloped me. God, it was good to be home.

Write a letter to a publishing agent telling them how wonderful you are. No. I write for fun, so I haven’t spent any time learning how the world of “being published” is all about. But from the context of this question, apparently you have to sell yourself to an agent in order to get an edge…? Makes absolutely no sense. Are agents looking for personalities or a publishable/sellable manuscript?  And, let’s say  I was an absolutely insufferable human being, how will a clever letter written to laud my positive personality attributes fool an experienced agent?

Write a  poem about a memorable moment in your life. Wish I could, but I’m not a poet. I suppose I could come up with a silly rhyme or limerick if I really put my brain into it, but then I’d be breaking one of my blog rules, which is not to reveal too much personal information (which is an issue I have with most blog prompts).

Rewrite a fairy tale from the bad guy’s point of view. I get it. I do: This is an exercise in developing a character byline; a backstory that informs a character’s behavior. Any actor will tell you it’s impossible to play a role without knowing a character’s motivation, so I get it. OK, so…The Wolf in Red Riding Hood. Let’s take a moment to look away from the fable told to unwitting little girls about the perils of talking to strangers.  Basically, The Wolf was hungry. Hadn’t eaten in days and prefers raw meat to baked goodies in a picnic basket (because this is The Wolf we’re talking about, not Yogi Bear). But for whatever reason he didn’t feel he could simply follow his natural, genetically hard-wired instinct to simply stalk and pounce on the little girl. No, he felt he had to chat her up, elaborately bait and switch, and trap. He wanted to play with his food, so to speak. That makes him more cat-like than a wolf. So, either he was raised by a (herd? flock? school? bevy?) of cats, like Mowgli in The Jungle Book was (ironically) raised by a pack of wolves, and therefore doesn’t know how to behave like a proper wolf, or The Wolf wasn’t actually hungry insomuch as he was an anti-social homicidal psychopath, which brings us right back to the original moral to be wary of strangers. Seems there’s no way to separate The Wolf’s point of view from the fairy tale’s POV in this case.

AACK! (oh, God. Is that all I’ve got to say?)

bill oh billIck, AACK, barf…Pfffthththttt…

My head’s a gray mass, and I don’t mean 50 shades of dynamic, creative, vibrating electric ooo-la-la. I’m talking flat, slate gray. One dimension. Shallow, plain, un-ness.

What’s a writer keen on keeping up a blog to do if she has no intention of writing much of anything personal? How many opinion pieces about my cat or neighborhood grocer can one readership take? Must everything become 500-word flash fiction pieces?

I have a rule: It’s a minimum of 300 words or it’s not a post. And,don’t go over 600-ish. So far, I’ve got (she stops typing to look down at the word count in the bottom right hand corner—which, btw, added about 20 more words just to type) 125 words.

AAAACK!

I…you…we….no,wait…the show on TV? Yeah,no. The weather? Please. It’s raining, it’s cloudy, the sun’s out, it’s foggy. Whatever.  My family is always my family and my job is always my job. Who cares (and they’d rather you not know about them in the first place). The cat barfs a lot, but nothing more to tell there (do you want a 500-word story about Barfy Cat? Yeah, I thought not).

193 words. No thoughts…. (wait…

…why is there a pulp-fiction/torrid romance cover girl in a teeny-tiny bikini on a beach in the south pacific riding a white horse who talks to her selling satellite TV broadcasting services?)

228 words. That’s gonna have to do it.

Strange, but I got nuthin

strangerLots of lovely posts about strangers. But, I got nuthin.

Of course I’ve had my share of strange encounters with people I don’t know. A couple of them were even not-so strange. But, I got nuthin.

Nothing about any of those encounters has ever stood out enough that I tucked it away in my “future file” mind, in the event I should need an anecdote during a conversation. Or for a writing prompt.

WordPress Daily Prompt has asked about the Stranger Encounter a few times over the past three years, and I replied to two with fictional stories: Apartment #404 Error and Spite and Malice. Another fictional story I wrote in response to a prompt (Rain’s Respite) was also about strangers, though that’s not precisely what was prompted. (more…)

Blog-aliciousness

catinjarbyrstein

Cat having worked real very hard to get somewhere, now wondering where it is she really got
by artist Richard Stine

I started blogging because I like blogging. Writing’s a kind of lonely thing to do, and I liked the idea of demystifying the process…
~Neil Gaiman

I agree. But, good God, what have I gotten myself into?

About ten years ago, I had a humorous blog about suffering the humiliating slings and arrows of being back out in the dating world. The blog had all of 5 followers. I kept up with it for just a few months, but discovered after I shut it down that it had a pretty wide readership. Several people emailed asking me to keep going with it.  I was certainly flattered, and glad I was giving a few kindred spirits a good laugh, but I didn’t feel I had anything more to say on the matter. Plus, I thought it was a bit unfair to the chumps I’d been out with. I didn’t use my name or theirs, but I worried someone would eventually find the blog and get their feelings hurt. So, I pulled the plug.

Fast forward seven years to the fall 2012. All things Social Media had completely overtaken just about everything in society. I embraced all of it: web sites, social media…all of it. Over time at work, I became known as the person who knew a few things about social media and was willing to learn more, so I ended up managing various social media platforms for work. It became part of my job description.

I was introduced to WordPress through our company’s web designer. Finding it pretty easy to use, and recalling that I had liked having a blog at one time, I launched this blog, by LRose. I published one post, and started drafts for several others, but between my demanding job and life suddenly falling down on my head, I quickly forgot I had launched by LRose.

A year later, I was no longer employed, thanks to the recession, but at least my other situation had stopped bashing me around.  Looking for something to entertain in-between efforts to find a new job, I remembered I had started a blog. I published little bits of this and that, most of which I have since deleted, and went from 1 follower to 14.

Then I posted a long opinion piece about a TV show, and BAM! I had almost 200 hits in one day. Shortly thereafter I discovered WordPress Daily Prompts and even more followers started signing up…and that was that. I was hooked.

Almost three years later, I have 4 more blogs I manage, the most recent being the Occupy Daily Prompt, created with blogger Mr. Atheist. There are my two other personal blogs: Photography by LRose and by L.D. Rose (see my Blog Roll for links), and lastly, a blog I manage for work, again, because I know more than others at the office about these things. (more…)

Lying Down on the Job

SOME CITY, USA

March 20, 2015

a little lie downAn interesting twist in the Some City School District labor dispute between the teacher’s union and district officials occurred today in the lobby of Some City High School cafeteria where contract negotiations are being held this week.

At 9:25 a.m., 55 of the district’s Nursery School and Kindergarten teachers walked into the building and stood in front of the doors to the cafeteria. At 9:31 a.m. Elizabeth Adams, a Kindergarten teacher at Some City Elementary School, announced over a mega phone, “Nap time.” The teachers, in unison, lay down on the floor. (more…)