A Bit About Me

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Along with my daily duties as founder and head writer of HumorMeOnline.com, in 2003, I took the Grand Prize in the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest (also known as the "It Was a Dark and Stormy Night" competition). I've also been a contributor to "The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson" and the web's "The Late Show with David Letterman". I also occupy my time writing three blogs, "Blogged Down at the Moment", "Brit Word of the Day" and "Production Numbers"...and my off-time is spent contemplating in an "on again/off again" fashion...my feable attempts at writing any one of a dozen books. I would love to write professionally one day...and by that I mean "actually get a paycheck".

28 February 2014

Day 28: And then my brain exploded

Well, it is the last day of this month-long blog-fest over at "We Work for Cheese" and I've managed to plunk out all but two days' worth of them...so go on over there and see what we've each accomplished. 
 
Just a little (more like a lot) about myself regarding this month-long thing.  We were all given the same "prompts" - a word or words which we would incorporate somehow or another into our daily blogs.  I know it might seem incomprehensible, but I managed not to peek at the "word-of-the-day" until just before writing each day's blog...which, I would write at about 4:00-7:00 in the morning, mostly whilst watching the Olympics (hence the strong Olympic overtone in many of them).
 
I, like those Olympians, loved the challenge -- I liked to see what I could come up with in roughly 30 minutes to an hour.  Most times I would look at the word(s) and then an idea would spring to mind and I'd start typing...usually it went in a completely different direction than my original thought.  I like that things like that can happen inside my very own head. 

Coming up with that first word is supposedly the hardest, and I've known people to get some serious writer's block doing so. I used to be that way when I was younger, altho from an early age I knew I wanted to be a writer.  I loved short stories and, in my opinion, Ray Bradbury was the best at doing them. 
 
I had an English teacher once, oh, geez...maybe in 5th or 6th grade, whose name escapes me now -- but he gave me the highest compliment you can bestow upon a would-be writer of 12 or 13-years old.  

He asked me: "Where did you copy this from?"
 
Now, that might seem like a silly thing to ask -- considering in this day and age, you'd just pop online and copy/paste some portion of the text and find out if someone copied it.  Back then, it wasn't so easy.  Teachers couldn't know everything...and I certainly could have gotten something out of some obscure book and written it down and turned it in with my name on it.
 
So, when I was asked that question...I replied that I didn't copy it.  The teacher looked at me in utter amazement and asked, "Really?" I'm sure he had his fair share of liars over the years saying they didn't, but, I didn't...and I stood my ground.  He then said to me, and I'll never forget his words (even if I did manage to forget his name):  "Wow, you should be a writer...this is really good."
 
I was happy as a little clam and, in the following years, I would forgo taking study halls and lunches and gleefully filled up my classes with more English classes.  Not those English classes where you have to know what the "past present pluragative of a subjugated non-plussed noun" was, but actual "writing" courses.
 
I was all set to whisk off one of my stories to Omni Magazine...because back then they'd actually solicit submissions -- when the worst possible thing that could happen, happened. 

They published a Ray Bradbury story...and then one from another well-known sci-fi writer -- and then yet another.  My dreams were dashed, they'd never use some silly 15-year-old girl from New Jersey's stuff now...not when they had the likes of this stuff to choose from.  I pushed my pen aside after high school and that was it. 
 
Then, one day, many years later, I was sitting around making small talk to a little kid while his brother and my daughter were at a Science Olympiad (there's that word again) competition. I asked him what he wanted to be when he grew up, you know, the quintessential question every grown-up asks a kid...and he shrugged his shoulders and said he didn't know.  He seemed a bit embarrassed by the fact that a child of his "advanced" age, which was probably about twelve, had absolutely no clue yet. I remarked about how silly it was to ask children what they wanted to be when they grew up anyway...because pretty much no one really knows what they want to be when they're that young.  I told him that I did, however, know one kid who was always saying he wanted to be a "political speech writer" when he grew up...and we'd kinda look at him and go "Uh, okay, Eddie."  I then continued and said, "You know, when I was little, I wanted to be a writer, too." 
 
Then I went silent.
 
It dawned on me, that my tiny young self...knew what I wanted to do -- but, my grown-up self never did.  And, when everything was all said and done...I still wanted to be a writer.  Why I hadn't realized until then was anyone's guess.
 
It wasn't the greatest revelation; I mean it wasn't like I could tell you, "And then my brain exploded!" -- altho, being that I was at a science competition, it would have been the right place for it...and it probably would have been awesome, you know...for the other people to witness...kinda like one of those volcanoes everyone makes with the lava spurting out on top...but it wasn't even that type of science competition anyway, so it's probably for the best that it never happened.
 
But, it still amuses me sometimes when I sit here and think, because I do think about it a lot...and I will never know what would have happened had I just slipped one of my stories inside an envelope, slapped some stamps on it, and sent it off to Omni.  I'll never know if they would have bit.  It only would have taken one bite, too - and my whole world would have turned out differently.
 
Yep, I'll never know what would have happened, but you could be damned sure if they HAD published one of my stories...you wouldn't be reading this crap right now! 

As for Eddie...you know...that silly kid I told you about who wanted to be a political speech writer when he was like in 6th grade...and 7th...and 8th...and so on?  Well, I think this about sums it up: 

 




As for "writer's block" -- I actually have no problem whatsoever coming up with the first word to start it all...it's the ones after that which are the hardest for me.  I really need to stop talking about being a writer one day -- and be one.

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Thanks again to Nicky at her lovely blog, "We Work for Cheese", for giving me the opportunity all this month to enjoy a little bit of self-publicity, which, if you know me -- you know that I love nothing better. Well, okay, maybe I would love a chance to write a movie script...or a book...or...okay, I'm doing it again, aren't I?  Sorry.  

I managed to sneak in today's prompt, which was "And then my brain exploded" and the two I missed earlier on this month, which were "One bite" and "Liars".  I feel so utterly complete now.  


Lastly, I would like to take the opportunity to say to Ed Gillespie (who probably doesn't remember me at all): "Good luck with your Senate bid. I hope I didn't embarrass you too much by mentioning your name here. I know everyone (myself included) from your home town of Browns Mills, New Jersey, are so incredibly proud of you.  Here's wishing you only the best to you and your family...and, if you ever need a political joke writer...well, I'm here."  


  

25 comments:

  1. Lovely post, Mariann! You are a very deep and talented woman. Your writing is a delight to read!

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    Replies
    1. Thank you so much. :) I will have a nice warm fuzzy all day because of you. :)

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  2. You know what? I'd like to be a writer, too. Maybe someday...

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  3. Oh my fingers are too fast. I was going to say that I enjoyed you sharing your writing dreams, and I hope you get to where you want to be.

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  4. I loved learning more about you. There are so many "if I had only's" for people. I still have a book to write... And it is done in my head. We need to "get er done!"

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  5. Thank you Linda and Katherine. :)

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  6. Strange, I made the "We Work for Cheese" link purply like yesterday and it didn't do it. Stupid blogger site.

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  7. Life is full of "what might have beens" isn't it. I too loved to write and loved English in High School and majored in it in university. But then real life got in the way and while I had careers in journalism and communications I never got down to "writing". But hey, c'est la vie. I enjoyed reading your posts this month. Good for you to have gotten through it.

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  8. Thank you, Dufus, I plan to read yours all the way through because I'm sure it's better that way. Only only half read today's because I didn't want spoilers. :) I'll let you know what I think - it might take a couple days, tho. :)

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  9. Ah, very nice. I like how you explained your approach and you were brave to not look ahead. I usually planned a few days ahead by told myself that I wouldn't spend more than 1/2 hour writing the posts.

    I've enjoyed reading your posts during this challenge!

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  10. I think you used the past present pluragative of a subjugated non-plussed noun wrong up there, Mariann. ;)

    It's been a fun challenge, hasn't it? Let's hope that one day, we'll all be writers.

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  11. What is a writer, anyway? I have no idea. I wouldn't worry about it much.

    Good job on completing the challenge. I couldn't do it.

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  12. I'm confused. I thought we were all writers. Oh, you mean *professional* writers, who actually get paid. Yeah, that would be nice. In the mean time, there's always blog challenges. *and now my head explodes!* ;-)

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  13. You HAVE become the writer you always dreamed of being! Funny, I never wanted to be a writer when I was little. (I guess back then I just thought I'd grow up and be a mom. It was the 50's, after all.) Writing is now what I do for fun and I like it that way.

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  14. I too wanted to be a writer.. I even started writing a novel at a very early age and one of my teachers could not believe I could write like this. Although, when I grew up my ambitions got messed up. Things do not work the way you want it to, and you become the person, you never believed you could be.

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