There’s this moment before you stall out an engine, a stutter of sorts where everything is salvageable if you make the correct choice. If you don’t the life of the engine sputters out and you are forced to start over from the beginning.

For the past few days I’ve felt on the edge of that stall out. If I do something I could course correct. If not everything could crumble down. But I have no idea what’s causing me to feel this way.

I blame the rock shows for making me restless. And the impending approach of NaNoWriMo. And the fact that I’ve gotten so much of what I wanted in the last two years, but there is still this itch.

But mostly I think I’m suffering from jealousy. I read this really great story yesterday. Over 100,000 words of perfection and it made me yearn.

Melancholy. Empty ambitions. The strong desire to take a shower at almost 4 am. I’m sure I’ll feel better if I do that.

This post is way too confessional.

Red Velvet Cupcakes

I received a strange request from my boss a couple of weeks ago. An odd way to sort of showcase my encyclopedic random knowledge that I spout off whenever it seems relevant. She asked that I send out a “Fact of the Day” email to the rest of the leadership staff. My old supervisor used to send out thought for the day emails that were usually inspiring tidbits about working hard and accomplishing goals. The torch was passed to me. My boss has recently started saying, “I learn something new every time I talk to you.”

I’ve always collected bizarre pieces of knowledge and stored them away for later when they may become relevant. The particular moment in question had something to do with Red Velvet Cupcakes. I changed everyone’s world when I said that RV Cupcakes are really just red chocolate (which may be an oversimplification… oh well).

The thing is, my knowledge is referential. I absorb new knowledge quickly (unless it’s mathematical) and then quickly spit it right back out when an opportunity arises. I’m not always correct. I, too, bought into the idea that lovebugs were genetically engineered by scientists at UF. But that’s not true.

This new responsibility has me a little flustered. I started with facts that I already knew from prior reading or research. But I’m having trouble developing themes for facts that I find interesting to share with my co-workers. Do you think it’s cheating if I decided on themes and then look up things about that theme to share with everyone? I’m inclined to say no, because otherwise it appears that I’m saying I already know everything there is to know in the world and that IS NOT what I am about. This will be an interesting new thing to add to my weekly duties. But I’m up for the challenge. #thelifeofaknowitall

6 word short story

Disclaimer: I thought I might have written about this before. But I guess not. I can’t seem to find it if so. Either way, I’m taking a crack at it again. 

When I started at USF as a Freshmen I took this Creative Writing course in Cooper Hall just behind the Subway. It smelled like baking bread all day long (which was pleasant). The professor was this truly salacious man. He would read to us the types of work that he felt were worthy pieces. We would write our small tributes to style and form and he would mark them up with red pens and encourage us to try again. He seemed to be about a million years old and his lectures were hardly ever about the practice of writing and more often devolved into strange stories of his personal history. I don’t remember his name. And I don’t consider him to be greatly influential in my writing style or voice. But I do often think of him when thinking of new projects. I met Hemingway’s six word short story in that class. I also met Hills Like White Elephants”. It seems fitting to force a bunch of fledgling writers to learn the form of those two stories. If you’re not familiar “Hills Like White Elephants” is purely dialogue driven. There is absolutely no exposition. It’s a challenge. The six word short story grew out of Hemingway’s boast that he could tell a story in as little as six words. Those six words were:

For sale: baby shoes, never used.

I’ve tried. I cannot do this. I cannot tell a story in six words. I cannot complete a thought in six words. But, lo, the internet is filled with places where people attempt just that. Some are leagues beyond the others. Most do not seem to me to be complete stories. Many strike the melancholy that Hemingway tapped into for that short story. Rare are the ones filled with something other than sadness. But it’s not just about telling a sad story. Is it possible to tell six word stories that are romantic? happy? suspenseful? nihilistic? optimistic? See some attempts on tumblr and Reddit or just see what google throws your way.

To me the #thestruggle comes in because I’m never quite sure that I know the end of the stories I’m working on. Only one has ever been absolutely clear to me from the start. I think one would need to know the entirety of the story to be able to sum it up in just six words.

What if you had just a few more words and you had to explain an entire ideology with it?

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