More Inspirational Quotes

This is for the benefit of any of my humor-writing classmates who might be visiting:  Guys, you HAVE to pay attention to the quotes that appear every day on the login page!  They are so . . . INSPIRATIONAL.  Did any of you notice yesterday’s quote?  Too good to ignore.  Here was yesterday’s gem:

“It doesn’t matter how slow you go, so long as you don’t stop.

-Confucius 

Confucius was one sexy, sexy man.  

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Point of View/Voice

This nifty little piece of writing comes courtesy of our last homework assignment, the subject of which was “Point of View/Voice.” We were to write a humorous story or scene (God, it ALWAYS has to be funny!  It’s like our humor-writing teacher is OBSESSED with it or something! The dude doesn’t even realize that the whole humor-manufacturing industry has been outsourced to Bangalore. They can get it done so muchcheaper there.) 

Anyway, the story had to be written from the POV of someone or something that wouldn’t normally tell a story.Imagine how it/they would feel, think, or act in a given situation. Use your imagination. (Well, duh.)

Here goes: 

Open Letter From My Jeans 

Dear L.,

It has come to my attention, or more precisely Zipper has informed me, that you need to shed a pound or ten. That he found it necessary to alert me to this situation is testimony to the fact that this problem has reached an urgent stage. Zipper says the added poundage, coupled with your propensity for sitting at your computer for untold hours during the day writing stories for your “humor-writing” class, will likely signal the parting of our ways, if these habits continue unabated.

I know you have had several unsuccessful relationships with fad diets in the past.  Your brief fling with The South Beach Diet sounded doable. Remember? Lots of eggs, lots of cheese. You thought, great, “I’m a big fan of eggs and cheese,” and you had the cholesterol levels to back that up. 

But I wouldn’t have described this diet as “a piece of cake” because they’re pretty clear on that one. That misunderstanding signaled the tipping point in our relationship and you’ve got to take responsibility for its failure.

Then there was the terrifying and damaging relationship you had with Weight Watchers. I recall how at first, they couldn’t stop caring about you! They wooed you and then sucked you in with all their empty promises: one month free, results in 30 days, blah, blah, blah. All lies. That was the beginning of your trust issues. 

And then they turned stalker on you! They began a cruel and relentless campaign of harassment which forced you to change your e-mail address and stop payment on your credit card. I know that was a frightening time in your life, which you swore never to repeat, but it’s time you put yourself back out there again. 

I only mention this out of concern for your health and well-being. Please reconsider diet and exercise–especially exercise–again, and quit this stupid humor-writing phase. You cannot learn this shit! You either have it or you don’t. I won’t comment on your prospects in this area, but let’s just say having glanced at the drivel you regularly churn out, your time might be better spent at the gym. 

And then there’s our relationship. We have had a long and happy association these past few years. I had a long talk with your former friend, Size 8, the other day.She is beginning to suspect the truth, that she will never again see the light of day, relegated as she is to the bottom of your third drawer on the left. Is this what is in store for me, then, to be folded neatly and put aside with only the slimmest of hopes of ever caressing your ass again? Say it’s not so!

Please consider my words and take action, if only to allow us to continue our long and comfortable association.

Your friend (for who knows how much longer),

Size 10

P.S.  I ran into Size 12 the other day. She had an evil gleam in her eye as she inquired as to when she could expect to hook up with you. I told her to back the eff off, and then I said the same to her sloppy sister, Sweatpants.

No-Shave November

Did anyone else know about this?  Evidently, there are other things you can quit doing for the month of November besides smoking.  Ladies?  Care to give it a try? 

I just found out about it yesterday.  Where?  On Andrew Sullivan’s blog, “The Daily Dish,” of all places.  Love or hate his politics, when it comes to beards, Andrew is pretty bearish on this subject.  Anyway, as soon as I heard it was No-Shave November, I quickly fired off an e-mail to my son, who is a college freshman.  I asked him if he knew about this and if he was participating.

Here was his reply:

I have been aware of No-Shave November since last year.   I am not participating in it now, but there is always Decembeard, Manuary, Februhairy, and March Mustachness to look forward to.

I, myself, am especially excited about Februhairy.

Then he dropped in this link:

http://www.buzzfeed.com/reddit/the-trustworthiness-of-beards-img   (Click on the chart to enlarge it.)

This kid is a wise-ass.  And he gets it from his DAD.

Inspirational Quotes

The log-in page for my online writing class posts an inspirational quote about—what else?—writing—every damn day.  I wish I had been saving these quotes since day one, because some of them are insightful and true.  And some of them are hilarious.  Here is today’s sage comment, meant to inspire and ignite the flame of creativity:

“The worst thing you write is better than the best thing you didn’t write.”                                                 –Unknown

I’m not so sure this is true.

In the last post I showed you the story I actually submitted, in which we had to write something funny using a rock as the main character—I’m kind of relieved I came up with that idea.  Because my first idea . . . well.

Here’s my original idea:  at first I couldn’t get the idea of writing a story about a stoning out of my head.  I know, gruesome.  (It probably says something about me that this is the first thing I thought of.  I am not sure what it says about me, though.  And I do not wish to speculate about it.)  I was thinking along the lines of that famous short story, “The Lottery,” only told from the POV of the rocks to be used in the stoning.  I was thinking about having the rocks discussing amongst themselves whether they thought the person sentenced to be stoned deserved it or not.  But then I realized a story like that might be misinterpreted.  So I’m glad I didn’t write it, because I definitely didn’t want people to think I am a fan of stoning!  Which I’m not!  Just want to be clear on that.  I definitely take an anti-stoning position almost all the time, with few exceptions.  Unless we are talking about Christine O’Donnell or Sarah Palin.  Then there just aren’t enough rocks. 

But getting back to that quote—it haunts me that this could have been the best thing I didn’t write.  I guess we’ll never know.

I really do appreciate these crazy inspirational quotes the writing workshop sees fit to bestow on us every single day–they are COMEDY GOLD!  Thank you Gotham Writers’ Workshop!

Structure

Our assignment this week was a little different. The instructor wanted to get us out of our comfort zonesin this assignment we had to conform to an imposed structure. We had to write an anecdotal story that had a beginning, a climax, and an end. Here’s the catch: the plot had to center around something funny that happens with a rock.

I gave it my best shot.  Please don’t throw stones at me.

My Pet Rock  

My pet rock and I used to be inseparable. We’d have long conversations about simple things like: what the best mix for concrete was, or what type of asphalt was superior, or which flavor of ice cream was best (rocky road, of course), or what he should be for Halloween (he was always the same thing– “Rocky”–but the original Rocky, not that weird caricature Stallone had evolved into by “Rocky VI”). Simple stuff. Then my rock started getting interested in deeper things, like politics.

My rock made me stop watching all my favorite television shows like Jersey Shore, American Idol, and all Fox News programs, even my favorite one with the pudgy, crying clown who liked to draw pictures for the kids on his blackboard. The clown was always trying to scare people, but he was too pathetic to be really scary. When we used to watch Fox News together, my rock started saying things like, “They say I’m dense, but can you believe some of these Tea Party candidates? They’re all for cutting spending, but you don’t see any of them advocating cutting defense, do you? No, just slash education, Medicare, and Social Security! But God forbid you ask them to consider dropping the Bush tax credits for the wealthy! Their heads explode! And when you ask them to give just one concrete example of where they would cut spending, all they do is look at you blankly . . . like . . . like . . .” He seemed at a loss for a good metaphor with which to make his point. He groped about for a more apt example. “They are all as dumb as a box of teabags!” he finally declared.

Besides making me stop watching my favorite TV shows, my pet rock insisted we start watching Charlie Rose (my rock says Charlie Rose is the most underrated interviewer on TV), The Daily Show, The Colbert Report, and The Jim Lehrer News Hour on PBS. We listened to nothing but NPR when we were in the car. In time, I grew to like Leonard Lopate. I think it was his soothing voice; I never really listened to anything he said. We read newspapers together—not the glossy ones with pictures of Justin Bieber on them—the ones my rock selected for us had lots of words and hardly any pictures. My rock learned a lot.                

I did not.

He kept trying to get me to improve myself, though. One time he caught me watching the sad clown’s show again and he said, “What the shale are you doing sitting here watching that crap? Keep watching, if you want to remain igneous for the rest of your life! As it is, you’ve been leading a completely sedimentary lifestyle. It’s not good for your heart. Go out, get some exercise, and don’t let me see you watching Hannity, either. That guy is an idiot of metamorphic proportions!”

I had to admit after awhile that my rock’s mental prowess in all things, particularly politics, had certainly surpassed mine. I was still content staying at home, watching reality TV shows, and rejoicing in the news that McRibs are back! So excited for this! So I wasn’t too surprised when my former pet just went off and got himself elected to the Senate in this past mid-term election. I did watch him on TV as he debated his formidable opponent, who was backed by big politicos and big money. All of my rock’s rough edges were gone and it was obvious that he was an extremely polished candidate now. He pretty much trounced his opponent in the debate when she asked my rock, “Where, exactly, in the Constitution does it say: ‘separation of church and state’?” Knowing him as well as I do, I’m sure it took all the rock-control he had not to hurl himself directly at her forehead.

My pet rock is now the senator-elect of Delaware, also known as the “First State.” Its other state nickname is “The Diamond State”–which is appropriate, isn’t it? I always thought of my rock as a diamond in the rough. 

So now I’m in the market for a new pet. I’ve learned that rocks are too challenging, intellectually, for me. I may go out and get myself a Christine O’ Donnell pet. As she famously stated in her campaign ad: “I am not a witch.” She is also not something else: she is not a senator.

So she’s available for adopting, one assumes. We could sit on the couch together, slack-jawed, eating McRibs, watching Bristol Palin on Dancing With the Stars. That would be fun.  

Dialogue

Our Dialogue assignment was to write a short scene using—what else?—dialogue.  This is not my strong suit, as I tend to be more of an interior monologue sort of person.  In all my stories, I like my main character to be ME.  This was my best effort:

Optimist

       Last Sunday morning I lay in bed next to my husband.

       “I’m lying here in a pool of my own sweat!”  I complained, by way of a morning greeting.

       “Well, it could be worse,” he said, cheerily.

       “What do you mean?”

       “Sweat’s not so bad.  You could be lying in a pool of something worse.”

       “Like what?”

      “Well,” he paused for effect, “you could be lying in a pool of your own blood.”

       I thought about this for a minute.

       “How much blood are we talking about?”

       “Using your own words, enough to form a pool.”

       “Hmmm.  That could be quite a lot of blood.”

       “Or you could be lying in a pool of something else,” he offered.

       The possibilities ran through my mind: vomit, urine…or worse:  My God!  I could be lying in a pool of white zinfandel!  Vile stuff.  I was sickened immediately at the thought.

       I rolled over and kissed him lightly.

       “Thanks,” I said.

       “For what?”

       “For being such an optimist.”

       Then I leapt out of bed, forgetting my previous discomfort—which seemed so trivial now, considering all the terrifying alternatives—to prepare the morning mimosas.