July 31

14 Day Challenge – Update

So my friend and I completed our 14-day creative challenge.

I think it went well. Our biggest complaint was the time constraint…having to come up with something in such a short period of time. Full-time jobs, chores, family obligations all get in the way. But we pushed ourselves and did a little something every day.

One of the nice things for me was that I wrote a handful of poems. I started writing poetry when I was a kid and all through high school. Although, the poems I wrote during my teen years were more like lyrics to imaginary songs, but aren’t song lyrics just poems set to music? But yeah I wrote a variety of poetry, explored using new forms, new rhyme schemes. It was nice to get back to my roots.

Did I create anything worthwhile? Good question. I felt like I did okay. My friend felt like I did really well. Of course, I have a hard time taking positive feedback. Constructive criticism is great. Telling me I knocked it out of the park, well, I tend to get uncomfortable. Not sure why.

I really liked her output, as well. It was interesting to see that we went down similar paths on a couple of our projects. Three, to be precise. They weren’t exactly the same. That would be weird No, we simply had similar thoughts, which is kinda cool. Two very different people working in different mediums (artist/writer), yet we were still able to connect in a way. We also discussed, briefly, whether or not to post our work. We’ll see.

As for the challenge, we both felt it had a positive influence on our output and creative process, so we’re going to do it again. This time, however, we’re not going to push ourselves quite so hard. The next one will be an eight-week challenge and we’re going to only work off of one work or phrase per week Pull the prompt on a Monday and have until the following Sunday to create something. That’ll give us more time to think, to create, to produce something of substance.

And after that, maybe we’ll get really crazy and do another challenge where we’ll use each other’s work as our prompts. I think that’ll produce some interesting results.


July 27

New Page

I’ve added a new page to the site – Reading List. I’ll post the books I read over the course of the year. I’ll also note the books I’ve read the past few years. The ones I like you’ll see that I’ve reread. I’ll star the ones I haven’t gotten around to rereading…yet!


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July 15

14 Day Challenge

An artist friend of mine recently convinced me to participate in a 14-day creative challenge. The basic premise is that she will pick a random word from a jar each day, and she and I each have to create something based on that word.

Seeing how she is an artist and I’m a writer, the results should be interesting. We’re curious is any of our output matches up, or if we go down completely different paths. Working in different mediums will make it more difficult for our visions to meet up, but we’ll see what happens. I think there’s a chance we’ll hit a similar wavelength at least a few times.

And to make things even more interesting, we’ll work in whatever format avails itself. For example, I might write a poem, or flash fiction, or a short story. She may sketch something, or paint it, or mold something out of clay. Who knows? It all comes down to the word of the day and what it triggers in our imaginations.

We’re going to wait until the end before we compare our output. I’ll see what I can share when once we’ve finished.

Should be interesting, to say the least.


July 6

Old School

I was in a store yesterday and while browsing the shelves I came upon an electric typewriter. No, it wasn’t used or vintage. It was brand new, still in the sealed box, for $99.00. I stopped to admire it for a few minutes and chuckle over the fact that on the same day, in two different stores, I saw both a Polaroid Instamatic Camera and an electric typewriter. It was like going back in time to my childhood.

But while laying in bed last night my mind wandered back to the typewriter. I had to admit that something about it appealed to me. It was a throwback to my youth, triggering all sorts of fond memories. For example, I signed up for a typing class my sophomore year of high school. I was the only guy in the class and caught grief from the other guys, until I pointed out that I was the only guy in a classroom filled with young women. The next year a lot more guys signed up for the class.

Also, I used a typewriter at home. My dad gave me an old Smith/Corona typewriter that he’d had since the 1950s. It wasn’t electric, the keyboard was stacked like a staircase, and I believe it was made from old battleship steel. It weighed about twenty pounds, but I used that thing every night. The sticking E key drove me nuts – even WD40 wouldn’t loosen that damn thing, but I didn’t give up. I wrote poems, story ideas, even school reports on the beast, and it never let me down.

My alternative was pen and paper. The majority of my writing was done on yellow legal pads, extras that my dad had stacked up in his home office. I can’t guess how many of those things I went through over the course of a decade. In fact, I still have a stack up them in my current home office, stuffed into an old milk crate, each page reflecting my teenage angst.

While at the store I called my wife over to show her the electric typewriter, and she had the same reaction I did. We were both surprised to see one for sale, and both questioned who would buy and use something so antiquated. I mean, even if I were to use it to write a short story or blog entry, I’d still have to retype it on my laptop in order to do anything with it. Besides, I have a writing program that simulates the sounds of typewriter keys. Not quite the same thing, but close enough.

I guess it must appeal to some segment of the writing population. Or maybe just to folks who want to have an interesting conversation piece in their home.

It was nostalgic to see that machine and to remember how much I wrote on similar contraptions when I was younger. But I could never go back. I’m much too comfortable writing on a flat keyboard, on a computer, with spellcheck and access to a printer. Yes, I’m spoiled. For what it’s worth, though, I do still use pen and paper on occasion, mostly for journal writing, but also to work out story ideas.

I guess some old-school ways are hard to shake. At least the pen and paper are cheap.