Let me say this: Sometimes blogging can be a lonely process. Sometimes I feel as if I'm writing just for me, when I want to be writing for you, too. I keep asking myself, What is in it for these people? How can I get them involved so this blog not only feels like mine, but also theirs? I did some contemplating in my favorite coffee shop and at my desk at work and in my car until a good idea finally surfaced and I carried it back to shore.
The writings that appear on this site demonstrate my appreciation for poetry, fiction, flash fiction and, well, the art of writing in general. As a recent college graduate, I've done my best to keep that appreciation in check by continuing to write outside my day job. Sometimes, however, the works come slowly and I desperately miss my professors and classmates. No longer am I challenged to meet deadlines and make suggested edits. No longer do I sit in workshops full of writing majors who enthusiastically offer a sufficient mix of constructive criticism and praise.
Here is where you enter the picture.
Before I go throwing this idea at you at approximately 15 miles per hour, I want to make clear that I'm not out to steal your ideas. Rather, I'm challenging you to challenge me, to keep a writer on her tippy toes (and fingertips, if we want to get technical here).
So here's what's up:
You make a comment on this specific blog entry or contact me via my link above and you tell me what to write. Perhaps you'll give me a few ideas in the way of nouns, verbs, and adjectives. Or maybe you won't. Either way, here are two examples:
"Hi Kayla! I want you to write about a giraffe that needs a kidney transplant."
Or . . .
"I totally think you should write a poem about a clock that keeps ticking, even though the world has ended."
You can decide if you want this idea brought to life in the form of a poem, piece of fiction, song lyrics, whatever. Once I receive your idea, I'll get started on it right away. Writings will be written (hehe) in the order they are placed and will be completed as soon as possible. While there may not be a method to my madness, there certainly is a limit; I refuse to write about anything having to do with horror or hate. Otherwise, feel free to come up with something silly, something sentimental, something sad. Try to stump me, if you want. I'm up for anything. Bring. It. On.
P.S. Since you submit the skeleton of the idea, you will be credited in the post. Hey, that's only fair, right? :)
INSPIRED BY: CRISTY MECK
Have you ever been attacked by a butterfly? I have.
Butterflies, I tell you, are dangerous. Don't be fooled by their colors or fluttery-flutters.
I was an innocent seventh grader, playing a game of "throw" in my front yard with my best friend Cristy. I say "throw," by the way, because I was the one holding the softball glove and there was absolutely no catching involved. Maybe ducking, but no catching.
Then again, I wasn't really trying. I didn't want to be outside. I thought that spending time outside was no way to spend my time. I wanted to go inside and bake chocolate chip cookies or watch MTV. Cristy, however, was convinced that it was a beautiful day.
Yeah. A beautiful day for a butterfly attack.
Let me tell you something. Butterflies are dangerous. Yes, I know I told you that four paragraphs ago, but I'm not lying. This is what happened.
Fifteen minutes into our game of "throw," Cristy threw the softball so hard and so far that it made me upset enough to rip off my glove and march toward my house. I had almost reached the front door when a butterfly came a-flyin' near my face, causing me to dance an ugly dance that helped shoo the invasive insect away.
Cristy ran toward me and asked what was wrong.
"That butterfly . . . that damn butterfly tried to land on me!" I said, trying to catch my breath.
"You mean to tell me that you were running from a butterfly?" Cristy asked.
"Yes, because when butterflies land on you, they screech!”
Cristy laughed and laughed and laughed and laughed and laughed. To this very day, she still laughs. And to this very day, I am still afraid of butterflies.
Screw those signs that say "Beware of Dog." I will gladly initiate the production of the alliteration-friendly alternative: "Beware of Butterflies." And whether Cristy likes it or not, I'll place that sign in my future old-lady garden and write "This safety message is endorsed by Cristy Meck" in permanent marker.
Remember, innocent children: The only way to prevent a butterfly attack is to stay indoors. Now go make some chocolate chip cookies.
Cristy's original writing prompt: "Okay, so this idea might be classified as horror to you. But, I think it would be interesting/funny if you wrote something about the screeching butterflies of our youth. Or, should I say your youth, because I still insist that no such
INSPIRED BY VITALY POTSELUEV
1. You know how it goes: someone will randomly ask what you would do if you won a million dollars and you give a basic answer. Well, here's my exact answer!
$500,000 - pay off all my debts, purchase a car, travel the world and purchase a house complete with a Michael Jackson room that contains tiles that light up, Billie Jean-style! The rest? Invest, invest, invest!
$150,000 - to my parents, for whatever they'd like to purchase
$100,000 - to my sister, for whatever she'd like to purchase
$100,000 - to be split between all my family members and some very good friends
$100,000 - to be split between all the Humane Societies and animal rescue shelters in my neighborhood, as well as the ASPCA and Clearwater Marine Aquarium in Florida
$25,000 - Michael Jackson memorabilia
$7,000 - Dermalogica skin care products
$5,000 - a lifetime supply of Snapple
$5,000 - a lifetime supply of lollipops and candy
$5,000 - to be spent on gift cards for restaurants, gas, recreation, etc.
$2,000 - open a tea shoppe
$1,000 - a beautiful, custom-made jukebox
*TOTAL = $1,000,000! :)
*Subject to change, of course . . .
2. If I traveled to a country wherein nobody spoke English, I would try to point and make gestures that would help people understand what I'm trying to say. I would also go to a bookstore and purchase a translation guide, then go to the nearest coffee shop to see if I could make a friend who knows how to speak some English. Just because I'm in a country full of people who do not share my native tongue does not mean I should leave as soon as possible. Rather, I would try to learn the language, learn how to appreciate the culture, and do my best to make friends. I might get a little discouraged at times because communication is so important, but I would keep telling myself to make it a worthwhile experience so that upon my departure, I could say that I learned a lot not only about the country, but also about myself.
Vitaly's original writing prompt: "1. What would you do with 1 million of USD? 2. What would you do, if you have appeared in country, where nobody speaks English?"
Shew Chewer Sadie
INSPIRED BY MARYANN PONGRAC
Mie pink shew gon' on and disappyeared on may. I don' kno where it could bee. I thank the cullprat was my dawg Sadie. Brittany spaniel with pretty pretty eyes, like a beaut.
Sadie gon' like to chew on thangs and loves to chew my shews. Thank she thanks its a chew toy or somethang. But my shews don't squeak like a squeak toy so I don' kno why she keeps chewin' like thait.
I wanna tell Sadie she cain't be doggone chewin' my shew 'cause I pay biggers monay for them shews. You kno why she keeps doin' thait and gettin' 'way with ait? 'Cause she's jus' so dargonnit cute. So cute. Like them orangutangers at them there zoos.
Sometimes I want to buy those 'tangs. Go to them zoos and pick one up for meself. But gyess what? I own Sadie and I don' thank she'd very wale get along with them 'tangers. She is too hypercrazie. Sometimes even too hyper for may.
Oh, dere's my pank shew! Right dere on my bathroom sank. I knew I must have hid that shew from Sadie this mornin'. Glad it didn't fall into ma toilet. Phew.
Maryann's original writing prompt: "Oh where, oh where can my pink shoe be?" (in reference to Sadie, a dog with an unusual affection for shoes)
Photo courtesy of Dan DiPaolo
INSPIRED BY DAN DiPAOLO
Jimmy is bloody heavy.
He's almost done. He's almost done.
Stupid spraypainter. Stupid stupid me, stupid money-hungry me.
The heels of his shoes dig dig dig into my shoulders. And keep digging.
He's taking his time and wasting my time. His outfit is horrible, too.
Chicks dig Jimmy.
Digging, digging, digging. Stupid cartoon feet.
One-hundred degrees in Boston and I'm on my tippy-toes. If he spelled the restaurant's name wrong, I'm not coming back.
Dan's original writing prompt: "You should write a story about this (photo) for your blog. And you should add the photo."
INSPIRED BY: KRYSTA PONGRAC
Fly on ma pancake and it won't go away
Fly on ma pancake and what do I say?
Hey, hey, hey! Get away, get away, get away!
Before I swat you with ma favorite toupe
The hair on ma head ain't real, it's fake
And I'll swat that fly with ma favorite toupe
Fly on ma pancake and it won't go away
Fly on ma pancake and what do I say?
Hey, hey, hey! Fly away, fly away, fly away!
Before you drown in all my syrup-ayyyyyyy
This syrup on my plate is sticky, okay?
It'll tear off your legs and send you on your way
(Outro, spoken: Now Iet me eat my damn pancake.)
Krysta's original writing prompt: "Do you remember when we were at Capris and wrote a song about Fried Ham? Well i challenge you to write about fried ham part 2 or any other food song....make it rhyme and be funny! Good Luck! ;)"
INSPIRED BY: TRISH MINCEK
I'm not really prepared to swerve as soon as I notice the dead animal in the middle of the
road, but I do anyway. I am pretty sure it is a giant groundhog . . .
. . . no, wait . . . ummm, a giant bear? A teddy bear? Okay, son of a bitch. There is a baby blue teddy bear in the middle of the road, and I almost caused an accident in an attempt to avoid hitting it.
Only in Ohio!
As I look in my rearview mirror, I can't help but laugh as the giant stuffed animal rolls from its belly to its back, being tossed around by the wind from all the passing cars.
Now that I think about it, I wonder whose teddy bear got tossed out the window. Could it have been a toddler's favorite toy? Or was it a stupid prank by a high schooler who wanted to see how many people symphathized for roadkill in the form of a stuffed animal? Either way, I'm glad I didn't run it over after all. I don't need stuffing all up in my tires, if you know what I mean.
Trish's original writing prompt: "You should write about how in ohio you can get into
accidents with a giant stuffed animal chilling in the middle of the road...it
was a baby blue teddy bear by the way."
INSPIRED BY: VITALY POTSELUEV
If my last post was a little too self-helpy and serious, this post is for you. I'm callin' it Round II.
If you want to become successful and well-known and you're from a super small town, here are ten things you should do:
1. Learn how to create animal balloons. People in small towns love animal balloons. Plus, if you learn how to make a dolphin animal balloon, you'll be golden.
2. Purchase a case of chalk and spend a full day writing your name on the sidewalks outside area businesses. Proceed to ignore all angry phone calls from business owners.
3. Offer to teach little kids how to whistle. Soon you'll become known as the Town Whistler (or something like that), and then you can start charging tuition.
4. Be sure to order milk every single time you eat at a restaurant. And then order soda. Make sure everyone sees you pour the soda into your glass of milk. Drink it and be proud. Yes, keep drinking it. Pretend it's a watered-down rootbeer float. Yum!
5. Open an ice cream stand and don't sell ice cream.
6. Contact your local art gallery and ask if they are interested in exhibiting your second grade artwork. Stick figure family members rule.
7. Light a candle, let it burn (Usher-style), dip your fingers into the wax and walk around like a totally new version of Edward Scissorhands.
8. Call your local newspaper and ask them to write a story about your new ice cream stand, which happens to serve Milk Soda.
9. Don't yodel. Whatever you do, don't yodel.
10. Do not listen to a word I say. In fact, don't read this blog. What are you doing here, anyway?
Holy crapoly! Can I add a number 11 to a Top 10 list? I just want to say that I was kidding about number 10. I think you should continue to read this blog during your lunch break, in between television commercials, or on your mobile device that is suffering from low battery life as a result of playing Angry Birds.
I like the black and yellow Angry Birds, just in case you care. But you probably don't, unless you're a Steelers fan.
INSPIRED BY: VITALY POTSELUEV
So you live in a small town, where everybody knows everybody and nobody gets away with nothin' (hey, you gotta love that small town talk!). You work at a small town job, drive a small town car, shop and eat in the same small town places. Problem? You want to go Billy Joel on everyone and become an "Uptown Girl" (apologies to all you handsome men out there).
But how do you become successful in a town full of people who just go about their small town business? Good question. And a good challenge indeed.
Your first step should be to ask yourself what you're good at and how that talent makes you marketable. If your fashion sense is on fi-yaaaaaaaaa (that's "fire," for those small town folk, hehe), consider starting a local business in which you help high schoolers pick out outfits for the first day of school, dances, and other special events. If you have an 80gb iPod full of music, consider reaching out to people who need music recommendations and become a human version of Pandora. If you are a pro at creating encaustic artwork, try to sell your pieces to people in the newspaper who just got married or celebrated an anniversary. Nothing says "Congratulations!" like encaustic paint, which is one of the longest-lasting mediums in the history of art. If you cleverly make the connection between encaustic paint and love "standing the test of time," people are going to bite that bait and swallow hard.
My advice: As long as you know what you're doing, do it. Just don't make up a talent or try to make your living by becoming an impersonator, okay? I'm sorry, but there will never be another Michael Jackson.
Your small town essentially matches a rather cliche phrase: "Start small." Use that to your advantage. Learn how to work on a small scale so that when you begin to make a name for yourself, the big scale doesn't seem intimidating. If need be, find a piece of notebook paper and make a list of everything you want to achieve, and give yourself a reasonable deadline so that you are that much more inclined to make things happen.
The more you begin to accomplish, the more confident you'll become. That confidence is just what you need to help conquer the fear that may be lingering in the back of your mind. If it makes you feel any better, I have that fear, too; I wonder if a small town girl like me can become a well-known writer who gets recognized in a big city.
The answer, by the way, is yes. And do you want to know why? Because we're all from small towns. Some small towns are just smaller than others, really. We're all born and raised in communities wherein many people know our names, but an hour outside that community, you can bet that you're just another person walking alongside the street.
Join me in changing that.
Oh, and make sure that you never trash talk that small town of yours if things end up working out for you. That town will always be the place you called home before you became well-known. ;)
Vitaly's original writing prompt: "I want you to express your mind about how to become
sucessfully and widely know being a simple person from small town. It doesn't matter who you are and where do you live."
I take requests!
Let's get jiggy with it. Na na na na na na na, na na na na na na!