Posts Tagged ‘writing’

Whoa! Breaking radio silence for a drabble! Celebrate the end of a hiatus by penning your own 100 word story!  Link to it in the comments and/or on Twitter with the hashtag #fridaydrabble. Happy Drabbling!


 

He scribbled into the volume on his lap, ignoring the cacophony of traffic rushing past his bench toward the freeway.

A shadow loomed over him momentarily.

“Whazzat? A story?” The bum, rancid and bloated inside layers of ratty clothing, settled beside him.

The man ignored his questioner, his hand a blur.

“Hey! What are you, deaf?” The bum poked the man, streaking graphite across the clean page.

The man raised his head. He regarded his tormentor and flipped through the book, located the desired spot, and gently erased a line of text.

The man, alone once more, resumed his chronicle.

Do you remember the days when you used to get things in the mail other than bills? When was the last time you wrote someone a REAL letter (outside of Christmas card season?)

A Month of Letters Participant BadgeLauowolf pointed me to Mary Robinette Kowal’s post on A Month of Letters challenge.

The idea is simple – in the month of February, commit to mailing one piece of correspondence for every day of the month that the postal service runs in your country.  You can mail postcards, letters, packages.  You can hand-write them, you can type them, you can make a ransom note out of words cut out of the newspaper, if you want.  You can send one out each day of the month, or mail them in a big batch once a week.  But send out REAL MAIL, and brighten someone’s day.  (Challenge part 2 is writing back to everyone who writes to you – I’ll leave this as an extra mission for you, should you choose to accept it.  This message will NOT self-destruct in 5 seconds.)

I’m going to participate, but so far I’m short on addresses of people to write to.  If you’d like to receive some REAL MAIL from me, send me an note with your address to rossruns@gmail.com – I promise not to share it or sell it, just like I promise that if you send me your address, you’ll get something from me in the mail!

And hey, if you want to participate too, awesome! Lauowolf is gathering peoples’ names together to get a circle of ex-Voxers and others in on the fun – if you want to participate, head over here and send Lauowolf your address (the email address is buried in the post on that link), and you’ll get some addresses in return to help you on your way.  And don’t be dissuaded by a whole Month of Letters – if you can only get out 1, or 2, or 5 letters, those are that many more that will go help put a smile on someone’s face.

As you can probably tell by the history/calendar links on the right hand side of this blog, I’ve been on a blogging hiatus for quite some time now. I’ve had all the best of intentions for getting some new posts on here about Life, The Universe, and Everything, but I’ve ended up putting other items as a higher priority, and this site just fell into the cracks between other things I’ve been working on. I’ve been posting some stuff on Tumblr, but that’s more of a stream-of-consciousness and quips-as-I-think-of-them activity, not the longer, more in-depth posts that I’ve been meaning to write. So, after listening to Merlin Mann and his Back to Work podcast, where he talks about why resolutions suck and why most people set themselves up to fail, I’ve decided to take a tip from him and start fresh and just try making some modest changes to my behavior to get over the inertia of not writing for such a long period of time.

Therefore, I am NOT making a resolution to blog more. I’m not decreeing that I’ll get X posts up a week, or that I’ll write Y book reviews a month, or Z posts that aren’t about my family or running (which is what the majority of my posts recently seem to be about). Instead, I’m considering this an official “Fresh Start” with modest goals – I’m going to get my butt in the chair daily, for at least a half hour of dedicated clacking away at the keyboard. Not surfing the internet, but actual typing. Nothing may come of my day’s activity, and in fact I might not even come up with more than a few hundred words in that half-hour, but I’ll make the effort that will get me rolling. And I expect, more often than not, I’ll come up with something I’m content to edit into something I’ll eventually be proud to post (heck, this post is the first of such efforts).

To aid me in this activity, I’m starting up again on 750words.com – it’s a great, private site intended for people who write “morning pages” but can’t write longhand to save their lives. The goal of the site is to simply type 750 words, or approximately 3 pages of typewritten, double-spaced text, daily. If you write more than this, good for you. If you write less? You won’t get “credit” for the day, and you break your “streak” of days writing 750 words or more. By extending your streak you can earn cute “badges”, but the real beauty of the site is its clean, distraction-free layout, built-in word counter, and ease of use.

If you make the word count, it lets you know, right then and there. If not, you can get a reminder email sent to you at a pre-set time to bug you to get back on the horse and try again for that day. I’ve always enjoyed using it as a private, personal place to type out and thereby work out what’s on my mind, but now I’m also using it to “prime the pump”, so to speak, as I get back to the keyboard. 750 words takes me about 10-12 minutes, on average, so after I wrap up whatever I was typing about that got me to the goal that day, I plan to just switch over to something else and maybe, possibly, get some blog material out of it. We’ll see how it goes. As of right now, I’m pretty psyched with this plan. It seems achievable. It’s not something that I am going to feel is hanging over my head – all it takes is 30 minutes of my time. So that’s 1 less TV show or a half-hour of my lunch break, and I’m good to go for the day.


 

This past November, I ran my very first half-marathon, ever. At 32, I don’t recover as quickly as I used to, from ANY sort of mental or physical activity, but that run really knocked me on my ass. I spent the majority of the rest of the day on the couch or in bed, trying to recuperate. Part of it was me pushing myself in the race, but part of it was just what my body is telling me but my brain has yet to fully accept: I’m not the spring chicken I used to be.

Yes, I’m still relatively young, don’t get me wrong. And I’m in better shape now than I was 5 or even 6 years ago. But that doesn’t mean I’m still 22, able to stay out all night partying with friends, or even stay up all night at home watching movies and playing video games. If I don’t get a solid 7 hours of sleep, my body rebels – often by refusing to wake up to the alarm clock (which can be quite embarrassing when I only manage to wake up my wife and/or kids when the alarm goes off). And if I spend the morning running around with the kids, or, as I did this past fall, coaching soccer, I better plan on a nap/recharge period in the afternoon or else I’m toast by the kids’ bedtime. Sad, but true. I think increasing my fitness activities is helping me regain some of my previous going-about-my-day stamina, but my pep is still a step slower than it used to be.

Don’t get me wrong – I’m not necessarily a full-on couch potato (or at least, I can pretty authoritatively pretend to NOT be one). But the aches and pains I get slightly more often than I did 10 years ago, combined with their unwillingness to leave me quite as quickly, have me eyeing that couch on more than a few occasions. Time’s catching up with me. I’m still ahead, but I need to pick up the pace if I want to outrun it for a while longer.

Tylenol PM
(Secret to 9 hours of
“dead to the world” sleep)

Today is day 4 of “that damned cold” and it finally feels like immune system’s got it on the run. I’ve been taking care to get some extra rest these last few nights (see haiku above) which means I’m usually doped up and reading around 8-8:30, and asleep by 9-9:30.  I missed everything after halftime of the Steeler’s game last night because of this, but my body is thanking me this morning (and seeing how the Jets played the first half, I’m not sure I would have cared to stay up for it, even if I was healthy!)

In other news, I’m starting The Artist’s Way program this week. So far I am a little bit skeptical, but even if I’m not on the same page with the thought processes and beliefs of the program, the activities included within seem helpful and are definitely helping me feel like I’m getting more out of my writing/introspection time.  Time will tell, and I’m not sure that I’ll be trying to complete it all in a 12-week period of time (some “weeks” may take 2-3 weeks as required based on time constraints) but I’m feeling pretty good that this is going to be a kick in the pants to get back into writing regularly again.

How about you?  Trying anything new in 2011? Or still just trying to get a handle on the same old same old?

Substitute Cuteness

Posted: 2010-11-12 in kids
Tags: , ,

Sorry, no time this week to write a drabble, so you’ll have to settle for some more cuteness from my budding artist.  The CP decided to make an “I Love You Book” of all of my favorite things.  She sat down and interviewed me about my favorite sport, animal, foods, and activities, and then drew a “book” of my favorite things.  It’s currently hanging on my wall here in the office so I can be reminded every day of what exactly it is that I enjoy.

For translation/archival purposes, the items are, from top to bottom:

  • Playing soccer with the CP
  • Listening to music
  • Pizza
  • Cats
  • Apple trees

She’s really getting into writing, and actually earlier this week wrote a REAL book (albeit 4 pages long).  I’m going to have to scan it and “publish” it online – it’s really a hoot.  I’m thinking we’re going to start a writing project together – she narrates, I transcribe, and she illustrates.  I love how much enthusiasm she has towards books, writing, and various other creative outlets, and want to encourage her any way I can.

Fridays are the days I post one or two “drabble“, the 100-word stories that test your ability to convey an entire story idea in an extremely brief format.  Feel free to join in and write your own 100 word stories on Fridays, and tag them with “friday drabble”.  Link to them in the comments and/or on Twitter with the hashtag #fridaydrabble.


Funny Business

When Jeremy was 7, his grandfather told him “laughter is the best medicine.” Jeremy, being seven, believed him. When his sister got the chicken pox, he tickled her mercilessly. He only succeeded in catching it himself, but he wasn’t dissuaded.

When Jeremy was 17, he made an old widow laugh until tears streamed from her eyes. She thanked Jeremy for helping her come to terms with her husband’s death.

When Jeremy was 47, he successfully distilled the giggles into liquid form. Ten years later, his concentrated chuckles proved successful in curing AIDS.

Jeremy laughed all the way to the bank.

Fridays are the days I post one or two “drabble“, the 100-word stories that test your ability to convey an entire story idea in an extremely brief format.  Feel free to join in and write your own 100 word stories on Fridays, and tag them with “friday drabble”.  Link to them in the comments and/or on Twitter with the hashtag #fridaydrabble.

ALSO! Some of the drabble I am writing are part of the 100 Word Stories Podcast Weekly Challenge! Because of this, I will also post an audio recording of my reading of any challenge submissions.  Hope you enjoy!


My Summer Vacation

My Summer Vacation
by Billy Jenkins

My summer vacation was neat. All 20 of my aunts and uncles came to stay with us. They were mad because they couldn’t live in their houses nomore. Uncle Steve said “Those goshdarn aliens should be shot back into space where they came from”. Momma told him “Hush”. Aunt Verna wanted to stay with us when everyone else caught the shuttle to New Montana, but she ended up going anyway. Mom and Dad and Janey went too, so now it’s just me and Xyzzybrax*CK living at my house. That’s ok with me.

The End