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 I lost interest in some, a few had no promise, and some where hopelessly out of date – such as a partial post about Kansas City Royals fans mercilessly booing Robinson Cano at the 2012 Home Run Derby.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.
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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 _____”.
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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.)