Fast Fiction: A Clear-Eyed Expert on Anxiety

Hello again everyone,

Here’s another example of fast fiction from my monthly writers group’s warming up exercises. For anyone interested in a full explanation, here’s a link.

A quick rundown of the rules:

Rule #1: These pieces of fast fiction were generated from a prompt chosen at random during one of my monthly writers group meetings. I will label that prompt at the top and where I use it in the prose.

Rule #2: WordPress allows me a ‘click here to read the rest of the story’ break, and that will be used before the fast fiction begins in earnest so people browsing through this blog are not overwhelmed.

Rule #3: The prose of the fast fiction shall be transcribed from my handwriting accurately: Line breaks, grammar, punctuation, spelling, what-have-you. The point of showing a 10- or 15-minute first draft is saying what you tried to do in that time, so what does editing really get me? The very rare changes I really do deem necessary shall be noted with an asterisk and an apologetic explanation at the end.

Rule #4: After the fast fiction I will include a few sentences about my first thoughts of the prompt. These entries are less about the actual prose and more about the exercise as a whole. Post-gaming that exercise will be a big part of the end result.

And that’s it. Here we go.

Prompt:

Anxiety is the most subjective state that we can achieve  —It doesn’t require a reason for its coming.

Continue reading “Fast Fiction: A Clear-Eyed Expert on Anxiety”

Fast Fiction: A Winning Strategy for Digging Your Own Grave

Hello again everyone,

I made my first blog post in four months yesterday, and only my third blog post in two and a half years yesterday. It felt good to put up some fresh content. With the COVID-19 pandemic forcing everyone to self-isolate, I really do not have the excuse that I’m too busy to put things up on this blog. A quick flip through my notebooks says I have 40 or 50 things that I could share here if I would just bother to type them up, to say nothing of actually creating new content.

They say if you do something regularly for two weeks it becomes habit-forming. It seems I will be living in my home for the next two weeks. Why don’t I try posting onto this blog twice a day for two weeks, and see if it becomes something I do regularly?

So let’s begin with more fast fiction from my monthly writers group’s warming up exercises. For anyone interested in a full explanation, here’s a link.

A quick rundown of the (now slightly modified) rules:

Rule #1: These pieces of fast fiction were generated from a prompt chosen at random during one of my monthly writers group meetings. I will label that prompt at the top and where I use it in the prose.

Rule #2: WordPress allows me a ‘click here to read the rest of the story’ break, and that will be used before the fast fiction begins in earnest so people browsing through this blog are not overwhelmed.

Rule #3: The prose of the fast fiction shall be transcribed from my handwriting accurately: Line breaks, grammar, punctuation, spelling, what-have-you. The point of showing a 10- or 15-minute first draft is saying what you tried to do in that time, so what does editing really get me? The very rare changes I really do deem necessary shall be noted with an asterisk and an apologetic explanation at the end.

Rule #4: After the fast fiction I will include a few sentences about my first thoughts of the prompt. These entries are less about the actual prose and more about the exercise as a whole. Post-gaming that exercise will be a big part of the end result.

And that’s it. Here we go.

Prompt:

“Would you like to wish for something?” The stranger asked me all at once.

Continue reading “Fast Fiction: A Winning Strategy for Digging Your Own Grave”

A Dream I Had That I’m Now Writing Up as an Idea for a Movie, Because Why Not?

The pitch:

It’s the Time Machine meets Passengers meets Meets Logan’s Run without a time machine or a spaceship or a society that kills anyone over 30.

Intriguing, right?

In the not too distant future, a man and a woman with movie star good looks but average joe jobs live their lives in a way that would be recognizable and sympathetic to a general audience. We establish this during the opening credits of quick cuts set to frenetic music. They start their mornings together eating cereal at the breakfast bar of a small but comfortable looking condo. They kiss each other goodbye at the subway station. She works as the executive assistant of an obviously important person where she sits behind an imposing desk next to a big door looking bored most of the time. He works in a cubicle farm where he spends a lot of time on the phone fielding calls that obviously frustrate him. Each day ends with them having dinner together on the couch watching television. This cycle happens three times in the first three minutes without dialogue. We establish in this fast montage their lives are routine, mundane, and the details don’t matter, but their happiness is in being together.

The first sound we hear from the two of them after the opening credit music ends is the sound of running water. He’s in the kitchen washing the dishes after dinner. She’s still on the couch. The news is on. A familiar television anchor’s voice is saying something we cannot quite make out over the sound of the water. The tap is turned off abruptly. “What did he just say?” She asks.

“Turn it up,” he says, returning to join her on the couch.

The anchor continues that the president will be addressing the nation in the coming hours, but that a breaking story confirmed by many sources suggests an asteroid is on a collision course with Earth and will make impact within the week; that the government has known for years and kept the information under wraps to avoid a panic because there is no realistic way to divert or destroy the asteroid. More information will be coming soon. The anchor cuts to a talking head asking, “Professor, what does this mean?” Outside there is the sound of squealing tires as drivers panic behind the wheel. There are car horns and sounds of collisions. A cutaway to the condo tower shows the lights coming on one by one in every suite, something we can see from buildings in the background is being repeated throughout the city.

Continue reading “A Dream I Had That I’m Now Writing Up as an Idea for a Movie, Because Why Not?”

My Favourite 19 Tweets of 2019

Hello again everyone,

I begin with a surprised confession: This is apparently the only thing I’ve posted on this blog all year? Sorry about that. I encourage you to check out my Facebook page and my Twitter account for regular updates relating to my writing, as this blog is very clearly on the back burner in terms of my priorities.

With that said, since the earliest days of my blog, I’ve made a tradition of collating what I consider to be my top tweets of the year. It’s time again to do that. For anyone interested in the previous collections, here are the lists from 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013 & 2014, 2015 & 2016, 2017, and 2018. I do think they have stood the test of time.

I mentioned in last year’s post that I now use Twitter differently than I did when my Tweets were also automatically my Facebook status updates. That automatic cross-posting functionality has been lost, and I notice a lot of what I tweet about after the break-up is not what I believe all of my friends and family would enjoy. I talk about politics more. I am snarkier. I comment on and retweet stuff that I wouldn’t necessarily share on Facebook. Still, in my ‘Top List’ I want tweets that say a little about myself as a person, not the Twitter exchanges I chose to engage in. As such, I will not be taking comments from conversation threads out of context and putting it on one of these lists, nor any retweet with comments where the original comment is needed to explain what I am saying. I also don’t think it’s fair to highlight tweets that went along with a picture I’ve taken where the picture is the point. My use of Twitter was –and I believe remains– primarily a writing exercise. Maybe I’ll change my opinion on that for 2020, but for this year, no tweets with pictures were considered.

Anyway, this is a longer preamble than I usually manage. Without further adieu, here are the tweets I want to highlight and look back upon from the past year:

My Favourite 19 Tweets of 2019

Jan 3, 2019

My coworkers were admiring a story on CP24. “Good for her!” One exclaims.

My desk doesn’t face the television. I turn around. “What happened?” I ask.

“She’s old, and she’s going to a Leafs game.”

Even with 24 hours of airtime to fill, how slow is today’s news day?

(For context for all the non-Torontonians out there, CP24 is a 24-hour news channel with the screen divided into four quarters: Traffic, weather, an all-text headline newsfeed, and video footage recorded within the past few hours. Some of the things CP24 does to fill that video footage quarter gets pretty ridiculous. One sixth of all Canadians live within an hour’s drive of Toronto, and you have to think some of those people are doing something. How did this old woman going to an NHL game make it on the air? NOTHING else was happening?

Also, upon reviewing past lists, this is the third time I’m highlighting a negative comment about CP24. I didn’t realize how often I chirp that channel…)

Feb 7, 2019

While standing six feet back from the curb, I got hit full in the face by a blast of icy, muddy water. There’s a new pothole on my street. A van hit it at speed and the water pooled within leapt up and out a good twenty feet.

That’s one way to start your day…

Feb 7, 2019

Scarves make excellent towels, but afterwards they no longer make excellent scarves.

(This tweet was written about five minutes after the previous one when I realized using my scarf to get the freezing, muddy, salty water out of my eyes and off my face was the right thing to do, but putting the scarf back around my neck afterwards was not.)

Continue reading “My Favourite 19 Tweets of 2019”

My Favourite 18 Tweets of 2018

TwitterGraphic

Hello everyone,

Well, it’s been another great year. Time for my annual round-up of things I’ve said on Twitter that I think are worthy of remembering. For anyone interested in taking a trip down memory lane, here are the lists from 2010201120122013 & 20142015 & 2016, and 2017 as well.

A fun thing that I said in 2017 that panned out? Upping the character count from 140 characters to 280 characters did indeed give me a lot more room to craft a fun tweet. With that said, Twitter and Facebook are no longer on speaking terms, so my Tweets no longer double as Facebook updates as of some time last summer. While putting this list together, I noticed I have started using Twitter very differently since the change. I wonder what my 2019 list will look like..?

Anyway, here are the 18 tweets I am happiest with for 2018. Enjoy!

My Favourite 18 Tweets of 2018

Jan 15, 2018

Reading J.P. Mallory’s The Origins of the Irish. He begins with the supernova(e) creating the heavy elements in our solar system. Two years ago I read an Irish history written by a 19th C nun who began with God creating the Earth then drowning all the poor sinners except Noah.

Feb 8, 2018

It snowed yesterday.

It’s snowing today.

There is snow in the forecast for the next three days.

February? If something is bothering you, use your words. Acting out like this is unhealthy for you and for the people around you.

Mar 20, 2018

‘Probity’ is a word with a positive meaning that you only ever see used in bad connotations: Someone either lacks it enough that people bemoan its absence, or the abundance of it has rendered a straight-laced person so boring that praising their probity is the go-to compliment.

Apr 5, 2018

My Dad is home alone. I asked what he was going to have for dinner.

“Well, I’d order a pizza, but your mother threw away the Yellow Pages.”

I explained his computer or phone could get him the phone number. It was a brand new idea to him. He said it sounded like a lot of work.

Continue reading “My Favourite 18 Tweets of 2018”

Fast Fiction: The Confessional Booth is Not a Happy Place for Father Marco

Hello again everyone,

Here’s another of those pre-scheduled blog posts of fast fiction from my monthly writers group’s warming up exercises. The premise is explained more fully here. Here’s a quick rundown of the rules:

Rule #1: These pieces of fast fiction were generated from a prompt chosen at random during one of my monthly writers’ group meetings. I will label that prompt at the top and where I use it in the prose.

Rule #2: WordPress allows me a ‘click here to read the rest of the story’ break, and that will be used before the fast fiction begins in earnest so people browsing through this blog are not overwhelmed.

Rule #3: The prose of the fast fiction shall be transcribed from my handwriting accurately: Line breaks, grammar, punctuation, spelling, what-have-you. The point of showing a 10- or 15-minute first draft is saying what you tried to do in that time, so what does editing really get me? The very rare changes I really do deem necessary shall be noted with an asterisk and an apologetic explanation at the end.

Rule #4: After the fast fiction I will include a few sentences about my first thoughts of the prompt. These entries are less about the actual prose and more about the exercise as a whole. Post-gaming that exercise will be a big part of the end result.

Rule #5: I have all these posts set up to go out through Twitter. If I’m going to queue up twenty or so of them into the distant future, I will schedule them to go out at 3 am on a Sunday. I reserve the right to reschedule these posts based on other things that should take priority on this blog.

And that’s it. Here we go.

Prompt:

“This is what it means to be fallen creatures,” Marco said. “In the Biblical sense.”

Continue reading “Fast Fiction: The Confessional Booth is Not a Happy Place for Father Marco”

Fast Fiction: Japanese Baseball and Midnight Day Trading

Hello everyone,

It’s time again for another pre-scheduled blog post of fast fiction from my monthly writers group’s warming up exercises. For more on the whole premise, check out this post. In the meantime, here’s a quick recap of what this is all about:

Rule #1: These pieces of fast fiction were generated from a prompt chosen at random during one of my monthly writers’ group meetings. I will label that prompt at the top and where I use it in the prose.

Rule #2: WordPress allows me a ‘click here to read the rest of the story’ break, and that will be used before the fast fiction begins in earnest so people browsing through this blog are not overwhelmed.

Rule #3: The prose of the fast fiction shall be transcribed from my handwriting accurately: Line breaks, grammar, punctuation, spelling, what-have-you. The point of showing a 10- or 15-minute first draft is saying what you tried to do in that time, so what does editing really get me? The very rare changes I really do deem necessary shall be noted with an asterisk and an apologetic explanation at the end.

Rule #4: After the fast fiction I will include a few sentences about my first thoughts of the prompt. These entries are less about the actual prose and more about the exercise as a whole. Post-gaming that exercise will be a big part of the end result.

Rule #5: I have all these posts set up to go out through Twitter. If I’m going to queue up twenty or so of them into the distant future, I will schedule them to go out at 3 am on a Sunday. I reserve the right to reschedule these posts based on other things that should take priority on this blog.

And that’s it. Here we go.

Prompt:

Did it bother him that I was indifferent to his nighttime activities, even repelled by them?

Continue reading “Fast Fiction: Japanese Baseball and Midnight Day Trading”