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That Time My Dad Stole All My Money

Since today is April Fool’s Day, here’s a little tale from the vault of dad stories. You remember my dad, right? He’s the one who gave me free butt soap as a gift one time!

This is my dad.

dad

Note* He is not a real pirate. 

Well, several years ago, NOT on April Fool’s Day, my dad went to the bank and needed a check made for something. I don’t remember the exact details, but the bank was going to charge him money to get this check from his own account. Being the hardworking, farm-raised, former Navy man he was, my dad was not about to pay extra for this check from his bank account.

After going back and forth with the bank teller, my dad grew so angry he decided to CLOSE his account and take his banking business elsewhere.

Dad: “Close my accounts!”

Bank Teller: “All of them?”

Dad: “ALL OF THEM!”

Meanwhile, a week or so later, I went to the same bank at a branch in my town and asked to do a fund transfer from my savings to my checking account.

The bank teller stared at the screen. She tells me she needs a manager to look something over.

You know where this is going, don’t you? 

So, the manager comes over and looks at the computer screen.

Manager: “It appears your account has been closed.”

Me: “CLOSED?”

This is the part of the story where the manager escorts me to a tiny desk in a corner, AWAY FROM THE PUBLIC so when they tell me my account has been hacked or something, I DON’T SCARE AWAY ALL THE PEOPLE.

I worked in retail for six years; I know EXACTLY what that tiny desk in the corner is for. 

So now, I’ve been passed onto Man With a Mustache to sleuth out what happened to my entire savings account.

Mustache Man: “It appears your account has been closed.”

Me: “CLOSED? Who closed it? I didn’t close it. All my money was in there! Where is MY MONEY?”

Mustache Man: *scrolling through my account information* “Do you know a…Jerry Witkins?”

Me: *speaking between clenched teeth* “I need to call my father.”

I ring up dear old dad who greets me like he’s Mrs. Doubtfire.

Dad: “Hellooooooo!”

Me: “Did you recently come into a large sum of money, Pops?”

Dad, in all sincerity: “Say, now that you mention it, I did actually find some extra cash.”

Me: “BECAUSE YOU STOLE IT FROM MY ACCOUNT!!!”

Dad explains to me about his trip to the same bank in his town and how he demanded to close his accounts. What he didn’t realize, and the bank teller didn’t explain to him, is that as co-signer for my savings account which my parents started for me as a child, he closed out MY account along with his.

And here’s the kicker, while he had no recollection of the sum of money in this “extra mystery account,” he figured it was one he’d started a long time ago and told the teller, “Yep, close it!”

Me: “You put that money back!”

Dad: “I’ll think about it.”

Me: “You march back into that back, tell the teller what you did, and put my money back!”

Dad did return my savings, and we had a good little laugh about it…much later. But because the bank had closed my account, I had to get a new account and new number. I wasn’t too upset though. This time, there would be NO co-signer.

Happy April Fool’s Day, everybody!
Tell me your best prank story, planned or otherwise!  

 

 

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Scams: A Guest Post by David N. Walker

It’s another round of the Life List Club blog hop!  Here with me today is David N. Walker, Texan Extraordinaire!  He’s here today to teach us all a lesson about scams.  And you can find me over at Jenny Hansen’s blog, More Cowbell, talking about why wearing pajamas might be the best thing you do for your career!  Sort of…

You can also visit the other Life List Club crew by clicking on any of the names in the sidebars of our blogs and we’ll all be around in the comments section!  See you there!

Scams by David N. Walker

WANA: We may not have it all together, but together we have it all.

Not too long ago, everyone in my Yahoo contact list received an email purporting to be from me and stating that I was stranded in Madrid penniless and without ID because I’d been mugged. More recently I received this email.

Dear Sir/Madam,

My name is Barrister Manuel Francisco Suarez Calafell, an Attorney at Law, in Madrid-Espana.

I am writing to notify you of the unclaimed inheritance deposit (US$37.3Million) of our late client, Mr. MROTZEK GERD who passed on to the Great beyond on August 21st, 2008 in the Spanair Flight JK-502 2 Crash in Madrid.

I got your name and email address through a web search engine in my quest to get a reliable individual who shall work with me in claiming this inheritance deposit since all efforts to get the biological relative has proved abortive.

Conclusively, I await your urgent response to include the following:(1).Your full Names & Address. (2).Your Telephone and Fax numbers. (3).Your business name if any: for more information on how to release the inheritance deposit, procedure and legality of this claim via email: manuelfrancisccalafell.suarez@aim.com

Regards,
Manuel Francisco Suarez Calafell (Esq)
Attorney At Law

Has Spain become the new Nigeria? I haven’t received anything lately from any Nigerian bankers asking me for a processing fee so they could send me several million dollars. Maybe someone from Spain stole all their computers.

Have you been spammed with any junk like this letter? Had your email account commandeered or your identity stolen? This seems to be growing in seriousness.

David N. Walker is a Christian father and grandfather, a grounded pilot and a near-scratch golfer who had to give up the game because of shoulder problems. A graduate of Duke University, he spent 42 years as a health insurance agent. Most of that career was spent in Texas, but for a few years he traveled many other states. He started writing about 20 years ago, and has six unpublished novels to use as primers on how NOT to write fiction. Since his retirement from insurance a few years ago, he has devoted his time to helping Kristen Lamb start Warrior Writers’ Boot Camp and trying to learn to write a successful novel himself.

A Most Memorable Thanksgiving: Guest Post by David Walker

Welcome to the great Thanksgiving Blog Swap!  Basically, today you will find me at David’s place, and David is here with me today.  We’re both talking about Thanksgiving.  I encourage you to hop over to David’s and learn about a very meaningful ancestor in my family tree, and here, David’s providing your humorous travel guide to celebrating the holidays in a chill new way!  Enjoy!

A Most Memorable Thanksgiving

When I was growing up, my family joined with two other families in owning a cabin in Ute Park, New Mexico, which is 54 mi southwest of Raton and 43 mi northeast of Taos and about 600 miles from our home in Fort Worth:

We enjoyed spending a week or so there every summer so much that Dad decided one year to go there for what ended up being probably my most memorable Thanksgiving. Before we get into details of the trip, however, I need to tell you a bit about Ute Park and our cabin.

Ute Park sits at an elevation of a bit over 7400 feet above sea level. This makes for wonderful summer temperatures with no airconditioning required. In fact, since the cabin was built as a summer getaway place, we intentionally left a space of several inches open between the walls and the roof, and, of course, there were no interior ceilings in a rustic cabin like that.

Okay, now to Thanksgiving. We were excited as we loaded our 1955 Pontiac Station Wagon for the trip up there. Even with four bickering kids in the car—well, three since I was always perfectly behaved—it was a reasonably enjoyable trip since the wagon allowed us to spread out a bit.

Although I don’t specifically remember, I suspect it was dark when we arrived, since it was nearing winter solstice, and the speed limit was 60 without a single mile of interstate highway. It was a long trip even with summer hours.

What I do specifically remember is that the low temperature the first morning we were there was six degrees Fahrenheit, followed by lows of four and five the other two mornings we were there. Anybody think about that year-round airconditioning built between the walls and roof when we planned this trip? I don’t think so.

Of course, a summer cabin doesn’t have any kind of heating built into it. The only source of heat we had was the range and oven. You should have seen us huddling around that! Or trying to ignore morning and staying under the covers in bed.

The daytime temperatures didn’t really bother us all that much. I guess after such extreme morning lows, even us Texans could handle the rest of the day. We had about as good a time as any family which included one daughter who could never get along with anyone.

The highlight of the trip was Dad’s decision to cut down our own Christmas tree and haul it back home. Why pay $25 or $30 (I think that was about what they cost back then) when you could cut your own for free? After all, we had acres and acres of pine trees around the place.

                                                        

My dad was a brilliant man. High school valedictorian, pretty much all A’s in college, high standing in medical school. Except when he had a brain freeze, which he did at this time.

Once we picked out a tree and cut it down and hauled it back to the cabin, he tied the base of it to the back of the car and the top to the front bumper. Visualize that, although he didn’t. Pine tree limbs grow reaching upward, which means that once we had it tied in that position they were reaching forward.

Anyone see a problem with aerodynamics here? The whole time we were driving down the road, the wind was trying to spread the limbs open—and lift the tree off the car, which it did several times. I don’t know how many times we had to stop and retie it to the car, but we continued to tie it with the limbs facing forward.

The trip home didn’t really take a month. It just seemed like it. Funny, we never heard another suggestion from my dad that we go to Ute Park in the winter—or that we haul a Christmas tree 600 miles across the country to save a few dollars.

David N. Walker is a Christian father and grandfather, a grounded pilot and a near-scratch golfer who had to give up the game because of shoulder problems. A graduate of Duke University, he spent 42 years as a health insurance agent. Most of that career was spent in Texas, but for a few years he traveled many other states. He started writing about 20 years ago, and has six unpublished novels to use as primers on how NOT to write fiction. Since his retirement from insurance a few years ago, he has devoted his time to helping Kristen Lamb start Warrior Writers’ Boot Camp and trying to learn to write a successful novel himself.

Life Lessons from a True Pilot

It’s Life List Friday again!  I hope you all enjoyed the Milestone Party and took time to celebrate your own milestones on your life lists too.  I’m happy to welcome back David Walker, Texas Ranger (sorry, David, I couldn’t resist).  I can be found over at Jennie Bennett’s blog today talking about indulgences, and why you need them.  See you all soon!

David N. Walker is a Christian father and grandfather and a grounded pilot. He cofounded Warrior Writers Boot Camp with Kristen Lamb. You can read more of his posts at http://davwalk.wordpress.com or tweet him at @davidnwalkertx. Today’s blog is not about life goals, but rather about a life lesson learned.

The Arapahoe Airport

My private pilot’s license was less than thirty days old as I pushed the throttle on the Cherokee 140 to the firewall. The 150 horsepower engine came to life, and we began to roll down the runway.

The long runway at Arapahoe Airport—now called Centennial Airport—runs north and south. It had larger planes than mine stacked up for takeoff, so I was directed to the shorter east-west runway. Not to worry. I was used to flying the 140, and in all of my experience I’d never come close to using all the space we had available for takeoff.

Did I mention I had three adults and two small kids piled into this four-place airplane? Did I mention my little sister had brought a suitcase full of used cannonballs? No sweat, though, we still weren’t overloaded since my daughter and nephew were both preschool age.

As we rolled down the runway something seemed amiss. We weren’t gaining speed as fast as we should. Hmmm . . . About two-thirds of the way down the runway I pulled back on the yoke to lift us into the air, and the red stall light came on.

My first thought was thank God the 140 didn’t have a stall horn like Cessnas did. My sister would have gone into a panic, and there’s no telling what might have happened.

Second thought was did I have time to brake to a stop before I ran out of real estate? Someone had thoughtfully put a barbed-wire fence at the end of the runway to separate it from a deep valley just beyond, so overshooting was not an option.

Maintaining a calm exterior somehow or other, I waited until the last second to get all the speed I could and then jerked hard on the yoke to try to lift us into the air. At this point, you’ll just have to take my word for what happened. God sent a couple of angels to toss the plane into the air and over the fence. After figuring out what the problem was, I realized there was no way the plane could have become airborne on its own.

That deep valley I mentioned became very important at this point. I was soon several hundred feet above the ground and could point the nose down slightly to gain airspeed. After a gradual climb to a safe altitude, I relaxed a little and began to ponder what had gone wrong.

Wait a minute . . . density altitude! I’d read about that in my training. I knew that as the ambient temperature rises the effective altitude rises also, but in my flying around Oklahoma City I gave it little thought. So what if the density altitude was 2000 or 2500 feet instead of the actual 1300 feet. No real effect on performance.

But this airport in the suburbs south of Denver sat just under 6000 feet. With the 95 degree heat, the density altitude probably approached the service ceiling of the little 140. How stupid was I?

People had told me that a private pilot’s license is just a license to begin learning to fly. I’d thought of it as a bullet-proof shield. That arrogance and inattention had almost got my daughter, my mother, my sister and my nephew killed.

Unfortunately, I can’t say that was the last mistake I made in flying, but it was the last time I made that particular one. Never again would I just blithely plan a flight without considering the effects of the loaded weight, the altitude of the airport and the heat of the day. Like the Missouri mule, I could learn if you whacked me in the head with a two-by-four to get my attention.

     A graduate of Duke University, I spent 42 years as a health insurance agent. Most of my career was spent in Texas, but for a few years I traveled many other states. I started writing about 20 years ago, and have six unpublished novels to use as primers on how NOT to write fiction. Since my retirement from insurance a few years ago, I have devoted my time to helping Kristen Lamb start Warrior Writers’ Boot Camp and trying to learn to write a successful novel myself.

Breaking a Taboo

Hello friends!  It’s another round of blog-hopping bliss with the Life List Club!  I’m blogging at the marvelous Marcia Richard’s blog and I’m talking about Boot Camp-the Life List kind.  And I’m pleased to welcome a brand new contributor to the Life List Club, guest posting here FIRST on the Happiness Project.  Give it up for David N. Walker, live in Wisconsin from the Texas range!  Ok, maybe not live, but he’s HERE!  Be sure to say hello to the other Life Listers by visiting their blogs using the Life List Club sidebar, or join the twitter party at #LifeListClub.

David N. Walker

David N. Walker is a Christian father and grandfather and a grounded pilot. He cofounded Warrior Writers Boot Camp with Kristen Lamb. You can read more of his posts at http://davwalk.wordpress.com or tweet him at @davidnwalkertx.

Breaking a Taboo

Women can do anything they want. Men have to be more careful. They must be macho at all times. There are certain things we men just don’t do.

For instance, women carry purses, but men can’t do that. Well, okay. I guess some men do. Maybe that wasn’t a good example.

Well, women wear skirts. Men certainly can’t do that. Oops. Guess I’d better not tell anyone in Scotland. They might think I was belittling their traditions.

All right, women wear heels. That’s something men absolutely don’t do. Well, except for Western boots. Or lifts. Or . . .

Hmmm . . .

Okay, women wear makeup. No man would ever do that. What? They do? Are you sure? Oh, well, yeah, of course actors do. Even John Wayne and Sylvester Stallone wore makeup to look right under the lights and cameras. I’m talking about normal men. Really? Are you sure some men do?

Well, maybe my dirty little secret isn’t so earth-shaking after all. I wasn’t going to admit it to anyone, but maybe it’s okay.

You see, last spring my wife and I spent several days with two other couples in a condominium on South Padre Island. One morning the girls left us to go get pedicures. I mean, how ridiculous is that? Spending money just so you don’t have to clip your own toenails.

When they came back they couldn’t quit talking about how good it felt. You’d have thought they’d been to visit male prostitutes or something the way they carried on.

We left to return home the next day, and I thought about all the things they’d said about their pedicures. And I had plenty of time to think on the trip back to Fort Worth. How many of you can take a 618 mile drive, one way, without even leaving your state?

By the time I got home I’d made up my mind I was going to try it. I not only thought about the pleasure the ladies said they got from their pedicures—I thought it might solve a problem I’ve been having in recent years. My arms have been shrinking. I used to be able to sit in a chair and reach my toes with ease. Nowadays I can barely see them.

Oops. Shouldn’t have said that. Now your going to think it has something to do with something growing around my middle instead of my shrinking arms. Well, whatever. Point is, if some pedicurist took over the chore of taking care of my toenails, I wouldn’t have to struggle with that.

When I mentioned it to my wife, I didn’t know whether she’d laugh or file for a divorce or what. Actually, she just said she thought it was a good idea and that I should go for it.

The following morning I stole my way into Wal-Mart. Well, I guess I sorta sidled. Had to keep an eye out to be sure no one I knew was watching when I ducked into the salon. Whew! Made it.

The young lady kept a straight face when I told her I wanted a pedicure. Maybe I wasn’t the first guy in history to do this.

She led me over to this nice, comfortable chair, had me put my feet into this miniature hot tub, and began filling it with warm water. Then she pressed a button that started something in the chair back massaging my back.

Wow. Maybe the girls were right. Maybe there really was something to this.

She spent the next 30 or 40 minutes trimming my toenails, filing them, buffing them, scraping my perennially cracked heels, rubbing unfathomably strange lotions on my feet and lower legs. Did she really have to stop sometime? Couldn’t we just spend the day doing this?

That first time hooked me. I’ve been back four times since then. The first girl did it better than the other two I’ve tried, so I now have her name and a phone number to call for an appointment when I’m ready for my monthly pedicure.

Okay. You macho guys laugh. You don’t have to try this if you don’t want to learn. Just don’t get in my way when I head over there for mine.

What do you think?  Have you ever tried something that’s taboo and found you liked it?  What are the benefits of breaking taboos?  Do you see any disadvantages?  

City Slickers and Social Media

Hello and welcome to the World of Writers in what will now be referred to as the Wild Wild West of Publishing.  Let me introduce to you our panelists who will cover the vast opinions circling social media today:

Patrick McGilligan, Film biographer and Social Media Nay Sayer. If you'd like to know what he thinks about something, please just email.

Josie Brown, Fiction Women's Lit Author and Social Media Champion. Click the image to link to her blog, facebook, or twitter account.

Judy Molland, Non-fiction Writer, Parenting and Social Media Advocate. For answers about teaching, parenting, writing and social media, Judy is your lady, and it comes with a genuine British accent!

Jim DeRogatis, Music Critic and Rock N'Roll Know-It-All, If you want the whole truth, and nothing but the truth so help you God, Jim's your man. User of social media, pays someone else to do it, but it's definitely NOT his agent!

Wrapping up Saturday at the Writers Institute in Madison, Wisconsin, was a panel on Social Media.  Like old time wanted posters, these four pioneers of authorship sat in the front of the room, sharing their opinions and travels through the Wild Wild West that is today’s publishing process.  Patrick was kindly allowed to speak first, fully knowing the rest of the discussion would come back to charge him like the bull he was.  Patrick, luckily, is a man with a specific area of expertise.  He is a film biographer.  His agent and his publishing house let him submit a list of ideas to write about, they circle one, he does it.  Patrick sees no need for the extra work that goes into maintaining a website, blogging, facebook and twitter, and to him it’s all just that, WORK.  I should tell you that Patrick was pretty honest about not desiring to have it all either.  He makes a decent living for himself and he’s comfortable with that.  He doesn’t actively promote the sales of his books because in his mind it only accounts for about 10% more anyway.  Are you thoroughly depressed or angered yet?

For those of you that are, Josie’s got your back!  Full of biting quips and interjections, she personally forges the way for writers of today to get involved with their audience by allowing the audience to get to know them.  She blogs about things that inspire her and will hopefully inspire her readers.  She tweets, she uses facebook.  If you saw Josie riding through the rough terrain of the open range, her horse would have her newest book branded into its butt (assuming it didn’t harm the horse to do so, she strikes me as an animal lover).  The words ‘author’ and ‘platform’ are common terms in her vocabulary.

Judy is a teacher through and through.  Her opinion may lean strongly to one side more than the other, but she still wants you to play nice with the other kids.  Her experience led her to be in the middle of social media without fully realizing it.  She began in journalism, she was writing articles for parenting magazines, and then blogging, and now it’s just what she does.  The use of social media allowed her to work on her passion, the site www.care2.com, an activist site that helps people find ways to get involved, donate, and stay educated about causes.

Finally, you get to Jim.  Patiently smirking throughout all the banter of this rodeo, he’ll tell you, Yes, you need to be involved with social media, but don’t ask him how to do any of it.  He voices his opinion on his radio show, Sound Opinions, with Greg Kot.  He says writers do need to market themselves because most agents, including his, aren’t going to do it for you.  He has no idea what his agent actually does, and yet he earns 15% of the sales.  I actually got to chat with Jim for awhile before the day started one morning and he was very affable, happy to sign the book of his I’d purchased, and chatted with me about authors to check out and his band, Vortis, a delightful three piece band of “agitainment.”  Jim may not know the ins and out of html code (which for some of us is comforting, raises hand), but he knows the people to get him there and makes himself very available to the public.  (He told me to email him!)

This post may not have answered all your questions about social media, but it shows there’s a broad spectrum of opinions about it, hence the Wild Wild West of Publishing…and Platforms…and Print on Demand…and oh hell, gang, grab a pair of chaps and a lasso, we’re going writing!  I’ll be your host, Jess Witkins (picture Jack Palance with red hair), Perseverance Expert and Social Media Pony Show Captain.  Come along, subscribe.

For more in depth information on using social media check out the Social Media Expert, Kristen Lamb and her book We Are Not Alone.

What questions do you have about social media?  How are you using it or not using it?  What do you wish it was doing that isn’t yet?

The Happiness Project Case Files, pt. 1

“I’ve been journaling since I was 15.  It’s a wonder that I’ve managed to be a successful human being considering how pathetic I appeared in many of my daily musings.”  –Oprah, in Oprah Magazine April 2011

I caved.  I was standing in line at the grocery store waiting to check out and glancing over the magazines they strategically place right near the counter when I read the cover for Oprah’s newest issue.  In the magazine, she shows you pages of her journals from 1970-1985.  I had to read it.  And wouldn’t you know, most every page had to do with some boy.  She’s been keeping a journal since she was 15, and I’ve been journaling since I was 13.  I’m sure a fair amount of my “daily musings” were about boys, in fact I’m positive they were.  But, I also changed the purpose of my journaling just like Oprah did.  At some point in her life, she began to use her journal as a place for gratitude and blessings in her life rather than recounting all the bad stuff.  By allowing herself that positive space she allowed good things to enter her life.  I’m not going to tell you it’s easy.  It isn’t.  Despite all the advice I get from Oprah, or from Gretchen Rubin’s The Happiness Project, which I read last year and which prompted the beginning of this wayward blog, I by no means have it all figured out.  But, I’m getting there.

I’ve also been reading the book Mockingbird by Kathryn Erskine.  It’s a young adult novel about a 10 year old girl with Asperger’s Syndrome, a disorder that makes it difficult to understand and express emotion.  Despite her disorder, I find Caitlin extremely delightful as she practices naming emotions on the playground, making friends, and celebrating the things she’s good at like finesse.  Here’s an excerpt that made me laugh, because I know exactly how she feels.  The scene is Caitlin is in the school office talking to her counselor on the phone.

She says I have to be patient and keep trying.  Sometimes things don’t work the first time but then eventually they do.

Like finesse?

Exactly.

And making friends?

Yes.

Even for me?

Absolutely.  I have confidence in you.  You just have to keep trying.

Josh is walking into the principal’s office when I get off the phone.

He turns his head to me and whispers, Loser.

I know, I tell him, but I’m going to keep trying.

To put it in Caitlin’s terms.  “I Get It.”  I know how she feels.  Because I feel that way too.  What does Oprah and a 10 year old with Asperger’s have to do with your blog, Jess, you ask?  I guess they represent where my head is at in this writing journey of mine.  I know I’ve come a long way, but I have to keep trying.

Case in point, an excerpt from my April 1, 2000 journal ( I was in 8th grade):

In the future I want…

  • to be a famous, or at least published authoress
  • to travel all over the world
  • to happily marry a wonderful, handsome, God-loving man
  • to some distant day have a baby girl and a baby boy
  • to maybe direct or write or act in a good movie
  • to meet my penpal, Andrea
  • to be rid of this dreadful retainer!

Lylas (love you like a sister),

Jess

What do you think?  What parts of your writing journey do you have to keep working at?  What about your happiness journey?  Do you have goals from childhood you’re still working on?  Ever pull out your old journals and try to name the emotions in them?  lol.

Hello Chip, we need to talk.

If you’re familiar with my blog, you know I am making this year a year of writing.  And each week, I take on a new assignment or resolution to see how it will impact my writing.  Many posts I’ve recently read have talked about living a healthy lifestyle to be able to have more focus and energy while we writers combat day jobs and novel writing, household upkeep, and family.  You can read two very interesting blogs about that process by Kristen Lamb and Joy E. Held.

This week, I accept that challenge.  I am boldly going where I’ve not gone before, and leaving the bag of potato chips untouched, for at least one more hour, meal, day.  I vow for one week to make healthy living choices, and   substitute chips for fruits and veggies at least once a day.  And meals in general.  I have been running on “fly by the seat of my pants” meals to be packed for work: String cheese, lean cuisine, a bag of chips, applesauce – I may or may not eat.  Time to make time for cooking again.  I know I’ll have fun making the grocery list!  So many tasty words like garlic, chicken, pesto, and provolone.  Mmmmm.  Ok, definitely cooking again!  Better not get too crazy with the list, add more green things.

But it’s not enough to change my diet and wallow over savory smells in the household again. I must also write.  And what better way to keep me on track with my dietary discipline than to blog about my meals.  So, sit back and relax, grab a bag of chips and transition with me for one week while I change the way I eat and see what it does to my writing for the next 3 posts.

*Writer’s Note*  If any of you notice me pulling a Jane Eyre and describing something totally delicious on a plate right in front of me, using like 500 words to tell you about that delectable dish, and I don’t eat it, feel free to break said dish over my head.  I cannot abide by oppressive dietary rules, nor make my readers deal with it either.

Happy writing!  See you in the produce aisle!

Things My Dad Has Done to Freak Me Out

Resolution Friday:  So another week of changing the ordinary has come and gone.  I’ve read for pleasure every day, which was by far the easiest of my resolutions.  I also read more Susan Shapiro Only as Good as Your Word and am still laughing out loud.  Lastly, I wrote another wacky family memoir.  You can read it here.

So, it’s a new week, and I’ve been given much to think about.  Thanks to Kristen Lamb’s blog and a few others I’ll be adding as a mash up, I’ve been challenging myself to think about how I blog and how I write.  It’s natural to go with what you know, and most of what I’ve known has been write-your-ass-off-and-pray.  Ooooooooooooom.  But Kristen says I can’t do it that way, and I believe her.  So, that means hunker down and get ready for a bumpy (best new year) of your life.

So if you’re like me, beginning to write again after a hiatus in sales, may I recommend Preparation.  Preparation is that thing you do before you actually have to do it.  It’s meant to help you, seriously.  It’s where you can lay all of your pretty little ideas out like paper dolls and mix and match their clothes to see what works and what doesn’t.  Hey, lay off my metaphors, I told you I’m in sales, and yah it’s retail!  But, Preparation offers you several options, ones you can see in advance, and it gives you time to craft the end result.  For example, do I want to wear the sequin top with the plaid wool skirt and capri leggings?  Repeat after me, NO!  But that sequin top looks great next to those dark wash denim jeans and metallic flats.  What’s that?  You’re adding hoop earrings in a brushed bronze metal?  I LOVE IT!!!  Metaphor aside, take time to write down ideas for both blogging and writing.  Plan ahead for both when you will write and what you will write.  Otherwise, you’ll start blogging some remake version of “The Night Before Christmas,” oh wait, I already did that.

If you’re having trouble figuring out how to start a story, try making a list of things you like, or character traits about a friend or family member.  Does anything on that list remind you of a good story you would tell someone in conversation?  Now how would you tell it if you were writing it for someone?  Take all the ideas that come to you and write them down.  What pieces seem to fit together in a fresh and exciting way?

If you’re still struggling with idea starters, here is a list of ideas I came up with for future memoirs, or even an essay collection, if you titled it, Things My Dad Has Done to Freak Me Out.

  1. Incessantly sneak up on me from behind and scream “What are ya doin’?!”
  2. Innocently spell my name wrong on my birthday cake, for the last 20 years
  3. Pushed me into a man dressed like a Troll, and cried “Take her!”
  4. Left me in a haunted house by myself
  5. Left me in a corn maze by myself
  6. Left me buried in the snow by myself
  7. Forced me to learn to ride a bike without training wheels
  8. Forced me to learn to swim without swimming lessons
  9. Hid a creepy plastic nativity scene donkey in my bedroom
  10. Got me to eat gravy that had giblets in it

What are you waiting for?  Get writing!

 

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