Wednesday, June 25, 2008

I Don't Wanna! -- Writer's Poke #102

For Writers:

Any hack will tell you that writing is hard work, and maybe it is. But for those of us that call ourselves "writers," you'd think that we'd enjoy stringing the sentences together. Most of the time, we probably do.

For whatever reason, though, there are days, weeks, even years, when we'd rather be watching Infomercials on TV, cleaning out the kitty litter, or counting the popcorn sparkles on the ceiling. In other words, there are times when we'd rather be doing anything and everything other than sitting down to write. Sitting down, for some reason, is always the hardest part.

Generally speaking, I find it more difficult to write when I actually have the time. When I don't have the time to write, that's when my motivation is highest. If only I had the time, I have often thought to myself, I would be writing. Then when I have the time, the motivation isn't there. I just don't wanna.

If you want to be a writer, you have to learn how to write when you don't feel like it. It's a lesson some people will never learn, and those people will never be writers.

Why don't you want to write? Today, write about it for at least fifteen minutes.

"It took me fifteen years to discover that I had no talent for writing, but I couldn't give it up because by that time I was too famous." -- Robert Benchley

Innocent Coed Naked Fun -- Writer's Poke #101


For Writers:

Do you remember Coed Naked T-shirts? They made them from 1990 through 2005, and they were quite popular my senior year in high school.

The basic premise behind Coed Naked t-shirts was the "innocent" slogan that related to the sport or activity depicted on the shirt. No one, such as a parent or school official, could get mad at you for wearing the shirt, because if they thought the shirt's message was lewd, well, then it was just them reading their own deviance into the shirt's perfectly upbeat and positive message.

I personally wore the Coed Naked Volleyball t-shirt, and the slogan was: "You score on the floor." My all-time personal favorite was probably the Coed Naked Pool t-shirt. The slogan for that one was: "Get felt on the table."

Why did the manufacturer discontinue making the shirts in 2005? Maybe it was just the end of an era.

In honor of the t-shirt that was a part of my formative years, I'm thinking of coming out with a commemorative Coed Naked t-shirt, well, t-shirt. The design on the shirt would be a Coed Naked t-shirt, of course, and the slogan would be: "Get inside one." It would surely sell millions. You'd buy one, right?

Think about a cultural trend or fad that was popular at some point in your life. Did you buy into it like everyone else? Why or why not?

"People had a habit of looking at me as if I were some kind of mirror instead of a person. They didn't see me, they saw their own lewd thoughts, then they white-masked themselves by calling me the lewd one." -- Marilyn Monroe

Monday, June 23, 2008

Sex or Chocolate? -- Writer's Poke #100

For Writers:

According to http://www.livescience.com/, on the list of the "Top 10 Bad Things That Are Good for You," chocolate came in at #2 and sex was #1: http://www.livescience.com/health/top_10_badthings_good-1.html

This sparked the thought: would it be easier to live without chocolate, or to live without sex? I don't know that I have a ready-made answer for that, but as I reviewed the other items on the list, I don't think it would be too difficult to live without most of the rest.

Beer? Yep, I could do that.

Anger? I wish I could do that.

Coffee? Sure.

LSD? Never tried it, never will.

Sunlight? Have you seen how pale I am? I mean, come on!

Maggots? Not a Bret favorite.

Marijuana? I don't inhale.

Red wine? Not my scene.

But giving up chocolate or sex? That would be tough!

If you had to give up chocolate or sex for the rest of your life, would it be a difficult choice? Explain. Is there anything else on the list that you simply could not imagine living without?

"There is good sex and there is bad sex but chocolate is always chocolate.” -- Author unknown




Best Friends Forever -- Writer's Poke #99

For Writers:

Call me naive, but I was 35 before I realized that friendships aren't naturally supposed to last forever.

The first time it happened, I thought that I then knew what a divorce felt like, and I chalked it up to "irreconcilable differences." We were 14 and I still liked Hulk Hogan; Greg, however, had moved on to the pursuit of tail. Maybe he made the right choice, and it must have seemed to him that me dropping the elbow on him in the hallway was a public liability to the new image he was working.

To this day, I still think about other friendships that have ended, wondering what, if anything, went wrong. There had to be more to it than physical distance, for example. So what if I moved 1000 miles away? So what if my friend joined the Navy? Aren't long distance relationships possible? Sure, there are the friends that you call up after a six month period of "radio silence," and you go on like no time had passed. Other friends from the past, though, might agree to have pizza with you while you're in town, but you can't help but notice that they're looking at their watch the whole time, waiting for a tactful way to wish you a good rest of your life. At least some of them still have the decency to pick up the tab.

Explore the differences between a relationship that lasts and one that comes to an end.

"The only way to have a friend is to be one." -- Ralph Waldo Emerson

The Snob Ladder -- Writer's Poke #98

For Writers:

Benny had fewer friends than a hermit, but he liked to play basketball. Most of the guys played baseball during recess, but I wasn't interested in that. So that's how Benny and I started playing basketball together.

We couldn't be friends. I was still the new kid at school, and I didn't want to kill my chances at popularity by befriending an outcast. Looking back at it now, there really wasn't anything wrong with Benny. He was simply a bit small and perhaps a bit immature for his age. Economically, he certainly dressed as though he was poor, and while on the court I would learn that his home life wasn't the best. His father was an alcoholic and didn't spend much time around the house.

Benny decided it would be cool to invite himself over to stay the night. I say that, but the truth is, I probably invited him. Whatever the case, I immediately tried my best renege on the invitation, fearing that others would learn that Benny was staying over at my house. As it turned out, nobody really cared, but it seemed like such a big deal at the time, as though inviting Benny to sleep over was my public declaration that I would no longer fantasize about hanging out with the beautiful people.

What have you done for status? For popularity? Do you regret any of the choices you've made? Why or why not?

"It is easy to be popular. It is not easy to be just." -- Rose Elizabeth Bird

George Carlin: RIP



Everything dies, but at least the comedy lives on.

I had the chance to see Carlin in Las Vegas a couple of years ago. Some might have argued that the older Carlin had lost a step or two, but even if he had, he was still far ahead of the pack.

The man was brilliant. Yes, he was a tad bit political, and he didn't care what "comfort zone" you had -- religion or politics or whatever. He stepped into the zone and made you uncomfortable.

More importantly, he made you think. What an amazing thing for a comedian to do, but actually, that's what all the great ones do.

Humor with purpose.

From Invitation to Poke

You might not have noticed, but I decided to change the name of my writing prompts from "Invitation to Write" to "Poke."

I figured that people like pokes better than they like invitations. Invitations are just to easy to ignore, too. When you're poked, you naturally respond. :)