A Call For Challenges…And For Rut-Breaking


Ruts suck.  They suck in life, and they suck more in writing.

I need to break out of one.

No, really — I need to break out of one!

One of the new(ish) things I have adopted to break bad momentum is micro-fiction.  For those of you who don’t know, micro-fiction is defined as very short stories.  In my little corner of the universe, they are stories of roughly 100-300 words or so.

Heck, I’ve even posted a couple of them: here and here.

The micro-fiction that I’ve written to-date — err, well, that which I have admitted to, anyway — has all been the result of “flash fiction” contests…which is just a writer-nerd way of saying that I had only a day or two to actually write and submit the damned things.

Honestly, as scary as it is, I enjoy that.  I like the dynamic, and I like the challenge.  Shit, I need the dynamic and the challenge, if only as a change from my normal writing.

I don’t have any contests on my radar at the moment…but I need a change nonetheless.  Today isn’t a post so much as it is a call: give me a challenge.

7a5bd3060b9401733137efc9e9117070Your mission, should you decide to accept it, is this: send me a topic and a word-count (100-300 words).  I honestly don’t care if your subject is a lyric or stanza from a song/poem, an image, or a general thought/emotion…just find something that has some emotion to it, and challenge me to write the story.

Put your suggestions in the comments, put them in an email, put them on my Facebook page…I also don’t particularly care about the source. I will accept & consider everything I receive by the end of Sunday night.

From your end, that’s pretty much it.

From my end?  That’s where the work — and the fun — begins.  I will tackle as many of the submissions as I can, and then let all of you judge the results.

Judge the results…that’s the joker in the deck!

I will post everything I manage to finish (and be happy with) next Friday, March 30th.  After that, it is up to you folks to give me feedback on the various pieces.

Honestly, it is up to you to pick the best.  Just like the submissions, I don’t care if the results come via comment or email or Facebook, just let me know what you think!!


Tea Was A Mistake This Morning…

…I require COFFEE!!1ow6xw

I thought about touching on investigations and memos and brinkmanship and the breakdown of anything resembling a sane political process…

…then I got better.

What’s the old saying?  You lay down with dogs and you get fleas.

A trip into that particular swamp will do nothing but make me grumpy, and undoubtedly create problems and anger among others.  While I like a certain amount of creative friction, it’s the first word in that phrase that really matters: creative friction.  Debate and discussion and disagreement for the purpose of making something better.  The current state of things is friction for the sake of, well, friction.  It’s friction not to hone and improve, but to heat and ignite.

When in doubt, by the way, you can always trust Twain to have something appropriate to say:

All Democrats are insane, but not one of them knows it; none but the Republicans and Mugwumps know it. All the Republicans are insane, but only the Democrats and Mugwumps can perceive it. The rule is perfect: in all matters of opinion our adversaries are insane.

So, instead of irritating myself and you, let’s go a different way!

A nun walks into a bar…

Erm…never mind.

This is, by the way, why I usually don’t write these posts sitting at home — I get too distracted to focus, and my thoughts can’t come together on anything.  I know it pretty much makes me a freak in the writing world, but quiet isolation is the last thing I need when I write.

Oh, I’m still one of the most introverted, misanthropic humans you’ll find, but I feed off the life and energy of people around me…even when those people irritate me.  I don’t write in the brewery taproom because I’m there to get drunk, I write there because of the crowd…

Picture the scene: a taproom beginning to grow busy, a random guy sitting in the corner, furiously typing away.  A few pets for the great danes as they wander by, the occasional sip of a beer, and and the isolation of overly-loud music in his earbuds while he makes up a world of streetkids and criminals and bitter hopelessness…

Nope, not weird at all.

Doin’ The Things You Hate

You know what’s the hardest thing about life as a reformed sales & marketing monkey? You can never get completely away from that particular swamp. It is, in fact, a lot like prison: once you’re in, the odds say you’re gonna return from time to time…

That being said, if I’m gonna get sucked back into that part of life on even the most temporary and limited of ways, at least I can do it for something I like and believe in.

So, I just spent the day driving around the mountains where I live delivering information and samples to various, err, local establishments. Okay, there’s just no mincing words: I was out pushing beer into bars…beers from “my” brewery.

If I’m gonna live in a rural area, dammit, at least I can make sure the bars and restaurants near me carry the good stuff! Plus, my “samples case” doesn’t suck: several cases of beer to share with the managers…err, to educate the managers. Yeah, that’s it: education. It ain’t drinkin’, no sir.

Hey, I could be sellin’ shower curtain rings, instead!

Now, one of the hard things for me is that I don’t WANT to be involved in sales and marketing. I left that shit behind for a reason. I certainly didn’t want, when I began writing seriously, to have to think about how to market and sell my work…

…but that is exactly what you have to do nowadays (not to mention, what you are expected to do).

Strangely enough, I can kinda see the reasons why: who is gonna be better or more effective at communicating a story than the writer? But then again, just exactly how many of us are not strange, socially-awkward nerds who would rather live inside our own heads than get anywhere near the real world?

Never mind — don’t answer that.

People tell me again and again that I should have a Facebook page…I should live on Twitter…I should be pimping myself on Goodreads…even LinkedIn, for the love of God.

No. Just…no.

This blog, to be blunt, is the closest I come to social media.

No, really: this is hard enough. If folks expect me to put more of myself out there? Yeah, things ain’t gonna go well…for anyone. I want to write, not troll for re-tweets. I have family and friends who pretty much live on the various outlets (and who laugh at me as a neo-Luddite railing against reality) and I did once have a, err, professional role using social media…but, crap, I ran away to the mountains and trees to get away from that shit!

Then, reality returns…

I love to write…but, holy shit, is it nice to actually, you know, make a few bucks every once in a while.

Writer-pimp-life, here I come!


Lazy Post Of The Month

Late, again…  It’s harder than I’d like to get these up on time.  Some of it is time and distractions, some is my sheer laziness…and some really is the crappy internet connection I get!

I wasn’t going to do a picture post for a while, but I went down to the Tetons the other day.  Just to gorgeous not to run with…

First, though, a look at how variable it is here in Yellowstone.  The first picture is where I was hiking:


Then, just a couple hundred yards and one stream later:

Yes, those are steam vents and boiling mud pots.  And, yes, I really did that close something that stinking hot.  I am not, however, going to talk about the mama grizzly and two cubs I ran into on the trail that day!

Now for the real reason for this post…a trip down to thermal features that run into Lake Yellowstone itself, then a run through Grand Teton National Park:


And, finally…with all the international visitors we get in this area, the most important sign in the entire place: