In A Perfect World (intro)

I’ve often used the expression “in a perfect world” to describe how something should work.  In my professional life, “in a perfect world” is a great way to soften the blow of something not working the way it should, or to deflect attention away from deficiencies in the software we’re using.

“Yeah, in a perfect world, the system wouldn’t crash whenever Larry in Accounting uses his electronic calculator, but here we are.”

But for as often as I’ve said that phrase, I’ve never really considered what that “perfect world” looks like – outside from software not being buggy.  Is it a place with world peace?  A land where little kids don’t die, money grows on trees, and cream cheese frosting helps you lose weight?  Sure, that would be swell, but maybe the Perfect World is different from some storybook utopia.

What if a perfect world were actually obtainable?

That’s my mission for the next 30 days:  define what A Perfect World looks like.*  How does it function?  How do the people in it act and react?  What special things – rare, if not foreign in our modern world – would help shape perfection?

*Through the relatively narrow worldview of a 40 year old Midwestern white guy.  Hey – my idea, my rules.

Longtime readers may recall* that I participated in the Blogging A-Z Challenge last April.  The challenge states that one must post a blog entry six days a week for the month of April, with each day’s post corresponding to a different letter of the alphabet.  The organizers encourage a central theme to help tie the posts together.  After kicking around some ideas (and being pessimistic about my chances for doing them justice – let alone completing them) I’m going with A Perfect World.

*If you don’t recall the 2014 A – Z collection, feel free to read through the archives here.  

So with that long-winded intro out of the way, let’s dive in.

Reflections of the Freshly Pressed

In May of 2014, I achieved one of my blogging goals:  I became Freshly Pressed.  It was a pretty cool moment for me, and one that many other bloggers would like to achieve.  But as amazing as it was, it didn’t play out like I had pictured in my mind.

So what was my experience like?

  • First off, it’s tough to explain to those outside the WordPress community why being Freshly Pressed is a big deal.  My mom told me congratulations of being “newly ironed”.

    Freshly Pressed / Newly Ironed.  Potato / Tomato

    Freshly Pressed / Newly Ironed. Potato / Tomato

  • I didn’t see the statistical explosion that I expected in terms of views.  I was expecting thousands and thousands of views of the Freshly Pressed post and a notable spike for other content.  That didn’t happen.  Granted, a lot of it has to do with the piece that was chosen:  2,500 words on the trap falls of paying NCAA student athletes doesn’t convey “this is going to be a fun read” like some of the other Pressed posts.
  • My traffic on the day I was Pressed was far, far below my personal best, and has been topped by several other posts before and since.  I don’t get a ton of traffic, but even with all of the exposure that being Pressed provided, that post will only be the fourth most read thing on this site for the year
  • That said, I received far more likes on that post that anything I’ve ever published.
  • Ditto for followers.  In the first two weeks, I gained over 200 followers, which almost doubled my count to that point.  Most of these were actual people and not the foreign language spam accounts that seem to be attracted to my blog of late.
  • Most of my posts do not get comments, but the Pressed post had over 50.  I had some excellent, well thought comments on that piece.

What advice do I have for those who aspire to be Freshly Pressed?

  1. Be patient.  I was at it for almost three years and 350 posts before I got picked.  And I’ll be honest – the piece that got me pressed is not my best work.  I like it, but I probably could find a dozen or so that I feel are better.
  2. Visit other blogs and comment.  I have no way of proving it, but the email notifying me of my Freshly Pressed selection came a day after I commented on a Daily Post blog post.  Would I have been selected if I hadn’t commented?  Maybe.  But I doubt it.  And almost definitely not that particular post.
  3. Don’t be afraid to break the rules.  In WordPress’s “So You Want To Be Freshly Pressed” guide, they list several recommendations.  You may notice that my Pressed post does not have any accompanying images.  They say “Readers are overwhelmed by huge chunks of text”, yet I have several lengthy paragraphs with not a lot of white space.  My headline (“NCAA Pay for Play (P)”) is not catchy, and the random letter in parentheses (part of an A-Z challenge I was in at the time) is odd.  And there are probably more of their recommendations that I didn’t follow.  Bottom line:  be yourself.

1,000 Reasons for Thanks

On Tuesday, this little ol’ blog hit a pretty big milestone:


One thousand followers.  Damn.

Now, as has been previously discussed, a notable chunk of these are likely spam accounts.  Why do I say that?  Here is the short version:

If a new follower has their own WordPress blog, the New Follower email notification I receive lists three of their most popular posts.  The idea is that if you follow me, I should take the time to read your work and possibly follow you back.  Through this method, I have found multiple blogs that I enjoy and now follow.

But over this past year, I’ve noticed that I have gained a large international audience.  The posts listed on the notification emails are often in a foreign language (including, but not limited to:  Spanish, French, Russian, Arabic, Portuguese, and one or more Asian languages).  I’m going to go out on a limb and say these folks are not following me because of my work, but because they think I’m going to blindly click on any link I receive in my email.

How bad has the spam follower phenomenon become?  A year ago, I had a little over 150 followers.  Certainly, I’ve had a good year on this site (including being Freshly Pressed in May), but when my little site is adding four followers a day (and my page views are increasing at the same rate) I call BS.

All of this said, I know that I am still adding human, English-speaking followers who arguably read some of what I post.  Follower 998 was my friend and former co-worker Nick Maestas.  Nick has a beautifully written blog that covers several topics that I’m too chicken___ to write about.  I’d much rather be followed by somebody like Nick than somebody like, say, Jenia568.  While I’m sure Jenia568’s post entitled “Трудный день”* would stick with me (and my virus scan) for years to come, I don’t trust that Jenia568 is a real person, and is definitely not a regular reader of my site.

*Yes, that is one of my “followers” and one of their top posts.  See why I think many of my 1,000 followers are spam?

There is a part of me that wishes my follower numbers were a little more indicative of the number of people who actually read my work on a regular basis instead of the number of spam bots who want me to click on their site.  But for those of you who do follow me, know that I am very thankful for you.  The number of true readers may be less than 1,000, but in my heart it feels like a million.


Spam Comment of the Day

For whatever reason, this blog has been receiving a lot of spam comments of late.  WordPress has a pretty decent filter that deflects a lot of junk into a Spam folder, but more have been sneaking through lately.

For the most part, the spam comments I get are generic, poorly worded statements telling me that they love my blog (duh, who doesn’t?) and complementing the layout of the site (which is a stock WordPress template).  Oddly, very few seem to be trying to sell me anything*, which is probably why they make it past the filter.  I skim them to make sure they’re not legitimate, then I punt them to the trash.

*Seriously, has anybody ever purchased something advertised in a spam email, blog comment, or pop-up ad?  How many people see emails for ED meds, website comments offering designer purses, or a pop-up offering discount insurance if you “know this one little trick” and think “I really need these things.  Instead of finding a reputable vendor, I’m going to click on this random link”?  

Do companies have media buyers who are telling their bosses “TV is too expensive, print is dead, and it is impossible to have a good radio ad.  Therefore, I propose that we spend our entire Q4 advertising budget on spam emails and flashing webpage ads.  The click rate is going to be ridiculous!”  

Spamming people seems like a ton of work (and a lot of legal risk) for very little return.

Yet, today’s comment is worth sharing.  It is such a garbled mess of broken English, bizarrely off-topic messages, and weirdness that I absolutely love it.



I’m not sure who “Charlie” is, but he sounds like a dude I’d like to have a beer with – so he can enlighten me about contractors, Democratic lawmakers and UV rays ending at my kids.

Happy Third Blogiversary to Me

I realized this morning that I missed the 3rd birthday of Feit Can Write.  Way back on August 17, 2011, I launched Feit Can Write with this post*.

*Technically, my blog was originally called “Feit for your Write” (hence the Beastie Boys reference in that initial post), and was launched on another blogging platform.  I upgraded the name and moved it over to WordPress about a week later.

Looking back at my very humble beginnings, I’m impressed by what I’ve built here.  In the last three years, I’ve posted 375 things, hopefully cementing my status as the web’s go to source for posts on Nebraska football, adoption, and silly lists.  A guilty pleasure is to go back and re-read some of my old pieces.  While there are some things I’d change (a phrasing choice here and there as well as the typos and dropped words that my editor doesn’t always catch), I’m almost always pleased with what I’ve written.  I like that.

In the early days, the readership was limited to immediate family members and a handful of Facebook friends who didn’t have anything better to do.  Now, WordPress shows me with almost 700 followers.  As I’ve mentioned previously, I think a good chunk of these are spam accounts, but I’m thrilled and honored to have a couple of hundred people who legitimately follow what I write.

And the readership…I distinctly remember repeatedly hitting refresh on my stats page on December 31, 2011, hoping that I would get my 2,000th all time view before the year ended (I did).  I was super pumped to hit 2,000 views in four months.  Earlier this month, I had over 2,000 views in a single day (a perfect storm of Nebraska Football, new uniforms, and a click-bait title).  Also this month, Feit Can Write surpassed 50,000 views all time.  I’m humbled and honored that people are coming here (even by mistake or bad Google search) and I hope people like what they read.

What’s next?  Well, football season is about to start so I expect to be busier with that.  The Feit Can Write world headquarters is moving in a few weeks, which means free time is going to be cut down.  I’m behind pace on the number of posts I want for this year, so hopefully I can pick up the volume while balancing work, home, and family.  I do take requests, so if there anything you’d like to see me write on, let me know.

As always, I appreciate the contributions for every one of you – your readership, compliments, shares, likes, comments, and continued support for this little endeavor.


Why I Write (Y)

There is a question I’ve heard a handful of times over the last three years:

Why do you write your blog?

Obviously, it’s not for the money.  To date, I’ve made around zero dollars from and my writing for  I do get a little bit from, but it’s best if I think about how I’ve spent my earnings (a nice meal for my wife and a new DSLR camera for me) as opposed to what I make per hour.

So no, I don’t write for the money.  It’s not that I’m opposed to being paid (and if you need any freelance writing done, drop me a line), but with three kids, a mortgage, and car payments, it will probably be a while before I quit my day job.

It’s not about the fame/notoriety/attention either.  Don’t get me wrong:  I am an avid checker of my site statistics to see the number of pages views and followers I have.  I like it when you guys “Like” a post (either here or on Facebook).  I love it when you comment or share something I’ve written.  Those interactions mean a lot to me.  Although they are not a primary motivation, I love knowing that people connect with, enjoy, or even disagree/hate what I’ve written.

But I’m realistic enough to know that there is a ceiling.  I’m not going to be stopped in the middle of Target by somebody saying “are you the guy who writes that blog?”.  While I’m currently adding about five new followers a week, I suspect that many of them are spam accounts*.

*Unless, like David Hasselhoff, I am wildly popular in countries that do not speak English.  That is certainly possible as the song “Feit” is obviously a huge hit overseas.

I think it would be really cool to have something go viral and be shared thousands of times across the country, generating tens of thousands of hits.  But that is something that just happens – not something you set out to do.

So why do I write?

I write because:

I enjoy it.  This is the closest thing to a hobby I have.  Besides, other pursuits (golf, hunting, woodworking, building ships in glass bottles, etc.) don’t interest me.

I sometimes need it to clear out my head.  I’ve talked before about the little guy in my head who feeds me all of my good lines.  There are days when that dude has a lot to say.  Left unchecked, he fills up my brain with thoughts and ideas and snarky bullet point lists.  Eventually, these things take up so much of my internal processing that I struggle to focus on other tasks.  If I don’t get them jotted down in a post or in my virtual notebook, they go spilling out of my ears and are lost forever.

I like to share my opinion, and possibly shape how something/someone is viewed.  I don’t go political very often, because I believe political opinions are too ingrained.  (I could do 5,000 words telling you Party X is wrong and Party Y is right, but it won’t have any impact on how you view the situation).  But on other topics – specifically, Nebraska Football – I love having a platform to help shape how something is viewed.  I enjoy the opportunity to call out fans for overreacting, praise players for small things that might go unnoticed, or provide a voice of reason among the talk radio and message board extremists.  I like that a lot.  I’ve also been an advocate for adoption on this site, and I cherish being able to share our experiences and my opinions.

It is a good outlet for my creativity.  I don’t paint, sketch, or doing anything related to arts and crafts.  Writing allows me to stretch my brain, look at the world from (hopefully) a unique perspective, and have some fun.  I enjoy the creative challenge of writing a post with exactly 1,000 words or starting each sentence with a different letter of the alphabet, or coming up with silly things like rejected tributes to Tom Osborne.  Those things are great for my brain and they get the creative juices flowing.

I’m good at it.  There, I said it.  I try to be pretty humble about my writing, but let’s be honest here:  there are some horrible blogs cluttering up the internet.  I like to think that I am one worth following and reading.  I wrote my first Husker piece because I was unsatisfied by the other offerings on the web (a polite way of saying that I thought they all sucked).  I knew I could do something better, so I did.  I realize that I’m not going to win very many awards (aside from the virtual blogging awards that remind me of chain letters), but I’m okay with having an ego about the things I write.  I make a conscientious effort to only publish things that I’m happy with – and willing to put my name/reputation on.  The rest lives in my Drafts folder awaiting revisions or a trip to the trash can.

And there you have it.  I doubt there are too many surprises in there.  There may other reasons why I write tucked way down in my subconscious thoughts, but unless my loyal readers are going to chip in for a psychiatrist, that is where they will stay.

As always, I thank you for reading, commenting, and sharing.

*   *   *

(Author’s note:  Wondering why there is a random letter in parentheses in the title of this post?  Not sure how this post corresponds to the daily letter in the April A to Z Challenge?  Like clicking on links?  These questions are all answered here.)

Incomplete – VOTE (I)

One of the big challenges of undertaking this monthly A to Z Challenge is finding content that is (remotely) relevant to the letter of the day.  Before I decided to take on the challenge, I did some planning and put together a rough calendar of topics.

For that list, I relied very heavily on my backlog of drafts.  Over the last couple of years, I’ve amassed a sizable collection of drafts.  Some of them are things that I keep tinkering with until I get it just right, or things where my best intentions have fallen by the wayside (a.k.a. my Husker countdown series).  But usually, these drafts are snippets. A few sentences  or paragraphs that I’ll type mainly to prevent the idea from being lost forever.

And yet, most of these drafts do just that – sit there lost, unable to find their way out of the bowels of this blog.  At the end of 2013, I put about 25 drafts out of their misery.  I lost interest in some, a few had no promise, and some where hopelessly out of date – such as a partial post about Kansas City Royals fans mercilessly booing Robinson Cano at the 2012 Home Run Derby.  There was some decent stuff there, but the moment has long since passed.

*   *   *

That preface leads us into today’s entry.  Letter I.  My original plan was to grab one of my random drafts, work it up a little bit, and purposefully leave it incomplete, chopped off right in the middle of a sentence, or maybe even mid-word.  At the time, I thought that was pretty clever.  I could slyly play to the “Incomplete” theme while getting some draft (preferably one that had a good beginning, but was lacking a good conclusion) out the door.

But the more I’ve thought about that, the less I like that approach.  I’m afraid folks would think the truncated post was due to technical difficulties, and not get the joke.  My clever idea isn’t so neat if I have to explain it a dozen times.  Therefore, I’m putting that idea back on the shelf.

Instead, I’m going to share snippets from a handful of long-lost drafts.  A few sentences that I like and that (hopefully) show there is some potential for a readable post.  Then, you, faithful reader will get to choose which one I complete by voting* in the poll at the bottom.

*Plus, I can then claim both “Incomplete” and “Interactive” as my theme for “I”, which hopefully offsets the contortionist-caliber stretching I did for “E“.

At the end of the month, I’ll take the draft with the most votes and complete/publish it.

Let’s me our contenders:

Contestant #1 is the adoption story of our oldest daughter, tentatively titled “The Good Kind of Gotcha”.  Your sample sentences:

We spent the next few days discussing and deciding.  Since this little girl (Jamie, we learned) was 6 months old, there were lots of medical records and other documents for us to review, which we poured over.

During this same time, a disk in my lower back became herniated, requiring immediate surgery.  With me fresh out of the hospital, we decided to go forward and have our profile shown.  We were chosen the next day.

We were parents.

Contestant #2 uses Mrs. Feit Can Write’s favorite Mexican place as a vehicle to explore gender roles assigned by society.  A taste from “I Always Get The Spicy Salsa”:

Like every other Mexican restaurant, they bring out chips and salsa when you sit down.  This joint has two salsas – a mild and a spicy.  Even though the salsas are served in identical bowls, there are two unmistakable ways to tell them apart:

1)  The spicy has red pepper flake in it.

2)  The spicy bowl is always the one placed in front of me.

Why is that?

Next up is my personal love letter to a processed pork sandwich.  Contestant #3:  “McMinistry of the McRib”

Today, my goal is to preach to the True Believers as well as convert some of you non-practicers of the pig to the gospel of goodness, the parish of pork, the ministry of mouth-watering.

We are in the middle of the McRib Holy Month.  Every year, McDonald’s opens the McRib vault for “a limited time only”.  Why?  When the water turned into wine, did you ask questions or did you enjoy a sip?  Skeptics will say it is because the pent-up demand creates a rush of sales (and free press) that would not occur if the sandwich was offered year-round.  I say the skeptics will be on the outside looking in when the day of judgment comes.

Contestant #4 was inspired in part by little braille stickers identifying each of the 100 cubicles in my former office building.  From “Appreciation for the Blind”:

Think about many of the other things we consider “disabilities”:  being deaf, paralyzed, missing a limb, or having some other debilitating disease.  Without getting in to deep, philosophical questions (Would you rather see or hear something truly amazing*?) they would all suck, and I honestly would not want to experience any of those long term.  Yet, given the choice, I’d gladly take any of those disabilities (and possibly even two of them) over the prospect of being blind.

*Don’t get me wrong, given the choice of listening to, say, Susan Boyle’s “I Dreamed A Dream” or watching it without sound, I’m choosing audio every single time.  But even if I were deaf, there are enough visual clues to know that something magical is happening.

Think about all of the beautiful things you have seen in your life:  a young child’s toothy grin,  the brilliant blue and white of a Caribean beach, the reds and yellows of autumn leaves, a gravity-defying Michael Jordan dunk, that one YouTube video with the cat – I cannot help but think my life is better for having seen all of these with my own two eyes.

Contestant #5 takes me to unchartered territory – writing extensively about my dad.  From the roughly named “Adoption and my Dad”:

This is where it gets tricky for me.  Because I want to talk about what those milestone moments would have been like if he were alive for them – the announcement that we were adopting, the phone call after we were matched, our homecoming with our beautiful daughter – but I find it tough to be objective.  The tendency I have is to romanticize my dad; to accentuate the positive and ignore any of the negative.

Of course he would have been 100% on board with our decision and supported us every step of the way, in any way that he could.  Researching, networking, offering us financial support, watching our dog when we were out of state doing placement, whatever was necessary, I know he would have done it in a heartbeat.

I truly believe that.  Period.

But if I’m going to take the time to explore this topic, I owe it to myself (and to my kiddos for when they read this many years from now) to not type a bunch of fluff with my rose-colored glasses on.

Finally, for you lovers of the bullet point list, I offer for your voting consideration, contestant #6, “Parential Rights of Passage”.  To do a large snippet would steal from some of the impact, but the post seeks to fill in the blank of

“You know you’re a real parent when you’ve had to deal with  _____”.

 *   *   *

Using the poll below, vote for your favorite.  Also, I encourage you to use the comments to a) explain your rationale and b) encourage others to support your candidate.

The polls close May 15, 2014.


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(Author’s note:  Wondering why there is a random letter in parentheses in the title of this post?  Not sure how this post corresponds to the daily letter in the April A to Z Challenge?  Like clicking on links?  These questions are all answered here.)

Working around the Block (B)

As I mentioned yesterday, I’ve been in a writing slump.  A rut.  A one way street leading to a dead end.

I know this.  I don’t like it, but I know it.

But I haven’t really been able to put my finger on the “why”.

After 300+ posts (and another 100 partial drafts) have I been afflicted with the dreaded “writer’s block”?

Or, is it more of a motivation block?

Let me expand, and we’ll try to get to the bottom of this.

*   *   *

On one hand, I have felt a very real lack of things to write about.  Sure, right now I have about 50 different ideas jotted down in a “blog ideas” notebook, and another 75 drafts ranging from basic outline to almost ready to publish.  But few of those have inspired me enough to create/complete something and share it with the world.

When my writing is flowing and coming easily, it’s like there is this whole other guy inside my head.  He’s the one doing the talking, saying all these (hopefully) witty and intelligent things in a style that is (hopefully) easy and enjoyable to read.  We banter and have a grand old time conjuring up silly lists, sharing our passion for adoption, and talking about our Huskers.  When that guy is rolling, all I have to do is type whatever he says into WordPress and take the credit.

But lately, that dude hasn’t had much to say.  And from what little he has to say, much of it isn’t that interesting – or would require a lot of editing and massaging on my part.  I’ll be honest:  this writing thing is much easier when that guy in my head is feeding me all of the good lines.

*   *   *

But on the other hand, I find myself struggling to carve out writing time.

Time out.  Let’s be honest here – it’s not like I’m go-go-go busy 20 hours a day.  Yes, my workload at the office is higher than it was a year ago, and the addition of baby number three in August has not done wonders for my free time, but truth be told I do have a couple of good windows available almost every day.  I usually am able to take a true lunch hour, so I could pretty easily carve out 30 minutes of time to work on something.  Even with those three kids (and the messes they create), I’m almost always sitting down for the night by 9:00; 9:30 at the latest.  I’m a night owl, which means I typically three (or more) hours to be able to sit down and write.

But it’s not happening.

At lunch time, I like to get out of the office and either come home (where I’ll read the paper and take a few minutes to relax) or go out on a lunch date with Facebook and Twitter.

Once the kiddos are in bed, the kitchen is relatively clean, and anything else that needed to be done is done, all I want to do is sit in my chair, put my feet up, and get lost in my phone or a TV show.  I may try to tell myself that I’ll write in a little bit (after this show is over, after I run out of lives on Candy Crush Saga, after my wife falls asleep and I can turn off the TV, etc.), but when push comes to shove, I find myself wanting to do something  – damn near anything – other than write.  Twitter!  Angry Birds!  Solitaire!  Ooo, I think I have another life on Candy Crush!  This episode (that I’ve seen three times before) is a good one!

Before I know it, it’s at (or past) my bedtime and the day ends without any writing being done.  This has been especially problematic as some of the few things I’ve felt desire to write about have been on the topical/what’s in the news side of the street.  It doesn’t matter how potentially good my Olympics-related posts might have been, it seems silly to publish them three weeks after the games ended.

*   *   *

There definitely is a block going on, but I’m not quite sure where it lies.  Since I’m not finding myself with the need to write before the words start falling out of my ears, I think writer’s block is a fair diagnosis.  But if I’m really being honest with myself, I think the blockage is more on the mental side – choosing to waste time instead of using it towards something I enjoy.  We could spend another 1,000 words (or $200 an hour with a professional) trying to get to the bottom of what might be causing that…

And so, I am left with this vicious chicken and the egg cycle.  I don’t really feel like writing, and when I do sit down to do it, there isn’t much that sparks me.

That’s why I’m hopeful this A – Z Challenge will be the kick in the pants to force that guy in my head to do his thing on a daily basis, while forcing me to make time to get something out on a deadline.

Stay tuned.

*   *   *

(Author’s note:  Wondering why there is a random letter in parentheses in the title of this post?  Not sure how this post corresponds to the daily letter in the April A to Z Challenge?  Like clicking on links?  These questions are all answered here.)

Awakening (A)

Long time readers* may have noticed that my postings have been few and far between this year.

*And seriously, I know I can be an insincere ball of snark, but I truly appreciate those of you who read my ramblings, leave comments, share them with others, and take the time to tell me that you like what I’m doing here.  Thank you.  It really means a lot to me.

The past two years, I’ve set a goal to publish 125 posts a year on Feit Can Write.  That works out to just over 10 a month, or about one every three days.  It’s taken some effort (and some December heroics), but I’ve accomplished that goal in 2012 and 2013.

So far in 2014?  By today (April 1), I’d like to have about 30 pieces published.  Instead, I have posted seven things.  I’ll be honest, I’m surprised it was that high.

I have been in a writing lull.  A rut.  A nasty combination of lack of motivation and lack of words that I need to put into pixels.

I’ve been trying to figure out how to get out of this creative ditch and work through my writing funk.  My current idea?  A sink or swim project that will force me to write (and publish) almost daily for the month of April.

Today, I signed up for the Blogging From A to Z challenge.  Here is the nutshell version:

  • Post every day in April, except Sundays.
  • The theme/topic of each day’s post corresponds with a letter of the alphabet.  Today (April 1) is A.  Tomorrow (April 2) is B.  So on and so forth through April 30 (Z).

I realize this is the writing version of sitting on the couch for six months and deciding to run a marathon in 30 days, but I think this kick in the ass is what I need to avoid having this blog wither and die.

I’m looking at this as a creative awakening*; a time to use one of my gifts (writing under pressure) to jump-start my writing routine.

*Awakening.  A.  And just like that, April 1 is done.  Only 25 more to go!

Or it may burn me out and cause me to take another three months off.  Who knows?

What does this mean for you, faithful reader?

  • Get ready for a mini-avalanche (avalanchite?) of posts.  Hopefully when this is done, I’ll settle back into a good 2-4 a week routine.
  • Be prepared to cut me some slack on how I tie that day’s letter into the topic/theme.  Looking ahead, there are a couple of days where I may stretch a little bit to incorporate some pieces I have in progress.
  • If you like, you can check out the work by others participating in the challenge:  I’m number 2,200 on the sign up list, so there should be plenty to choose from.


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(Author’s note:  Wondering why there is a random letter in parentheses in the title of this post?  Not sure how this post corresponds to the daily letter in the April A to Z Challenge?  Like clicking on links?  These questions are all answered here.)

Inside the Blogger’s Studio

A recent daily writing prompt asked folks to pretend to be guests on Bravo’s Inside the Actors’ Studio, an interview show where host James Lipton would ask each guest the same ten questions.

I’ll admit to having never watched a complete episode of Inside the Actor’s Studio*, but I’m not going to let that stop me.

*But I am familiar with the classic Will Ferrell spoofs of Actor’s Studio on SNL.  Close enough?

Your moderator for the evening.

I am a sucker for these types of questionnaires, be it in a blog prompt chain email, or Facebook meme.  Besides, who doesn’t love the opportunity to talk about themselves?

  • What is your favorite word?

Onomatopoeia.  Aside from it being a beautiful word to say, I love the irony that a word meaning “The formation or use of words that imitate the sounds associated with the objects or actions they refer to” sounds nothing like the act of forming words.

  • What is your least favorite word?

Lots of options here.  “Moist” was one of the first to come to mind, but I feel like that is a clichéd response.  Besides, when used correctly (such as an adjective for cake), moist is wonderfully descriptive word.  My choice would probably be “panties”.  It is damn near impossible for a grown man to utter that word without sounding like a creepy perv.

  • What turns you on creatively, spiritually or emotionally?

When an idea sparks in my head – a line that I think is clever, an opinion or insight that I must share, or I hear/read something that causes me to react strong (or with an excess of sarcastic snark) – it is amazing.  When that happens, I simply MUST write it down – even if it is just jotting a quick note in the electronic notebook I keep.

  • What turns you off?

I assume we’re still talking about creatively.  Otherwise, this is going to get uncomfortable for everybody.

My creative turn offs are a lack of time/energy to write; and dealing with stress zaps my creativity.  Frankly, I’d love to know what I could produce if I didn’t have to worry about / focus on silly things like work and paying bills.

  • What is your favorite curse word?

I’m going to give two answers here –  a PG and non-PG answer.  Why?  I feel that for the most part, “curse” words have lost their meaning.  An F-bomb in public, during a movie, or from your parent doesn’t have the same punch as it did 20, 30, or 40 years ago.  Shit, damn, bitch, and a host of other words practically feel conversational nowadays.  If you want shock value – which, lets face it, is a big reason why people swear in the first place – you need to go atomic by stringing together multiple curses into a Clark Griswold Christmas Vacation type rant.  Or you need to go to race or sexual orientation, which is not advised for day to day use.

My non-PG answer would be the f-bomb.  It is simple, classic, and timeless.  As others have noted, it can be a noun, verb, adverb, adjective, and so much more.  It can express frustration, fear, disappointment, hurt, and a whole host of other emotions.

But since I have three kids under the age of five, I need some good PG alternatives.  As much as I believe traditional curse words are losing their meaning and power, they are plenty potent (and pretty damn funny) when they come from a little kid.  Therefore, when I need to express frustration, I go with one of three child-friendly standbys:  “Biscuits and gravy!!”  “God Bless America!” or “Sons of guns!”

  • What sound or noise do you love?

Absolutely, and without a doubt, the giggles and laughter of my children.

  • What sound or noise do you hate?

I can deal with screaming, whining, crying kids, fingernails on blackboards*, squeaking Styrofoam (my wife’s nemesis), and a ton of other noises, but I simply cannot stand a dentist’s drill.

*I’m realizing what a dated reference that is.  Also, fingernails on a whiteboard makes no discernible sound.

  • What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?

I would love to be professionally retired.

  • What profession would you not like to do?

If my job involved selling stuff or contractor type duties, my family would starve.

  • If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?

“Trust me, this is most definitely NOT Iowa.”

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