Tuesday, June 21, 2016

712 More Things to Write about.

I discovered this book on a road trip I took with my son last fall. We were in Portland and had gone to see Powells Books. If you don't know about Powells, let's just say it's the biggest book store I have ever seen. It's an entire city block of books. Over 1,000,000 books under one roof.

I'm a book junky, so I could have easily spent several hundred dollars buying first editions, rare books and other things that struck my fancy. In a fit of self discipline that may take a long time to best, I bought only two books. One was The Rifle Book by the late Jack O'Conner, and the other was 712 More Things to Write About

As someone who likes to write, I don't have any books on how to write. Which must be quite evident to my readers. It is easy for me to get stuck in a rut, and find myself going back to visit themes I've touched on before. I don't know what drew me to this book, but I cracked it open in one of the hundred isles at Powells to this assignment: 
"Imagine you are on Yelp. Write a review of the restaurant everyone is talking about. In the fourth paragraph, admit you've never eaten at the restaurant, but argue why your misinformed opinion is still more important than the other reviews." 
I had to buy this book.  (I'm usually not this crass, but I didn't think anyone would ever read this, which is kind of liberating, but here's what I wrote)
Zero Stars. 
I absolutely hated the Inverted Penguin. (I think I made that up. I don't know of any restaurant by that name) The food was sub standard fare at best. The wait staff were not exactly rude, but definitely not friendly. 
The decor is an ill attempt at Shabby Chic. Seriously, you just can't buy a bunch of crap at the flea market, throw it on the walls and call it a "homey atmosphere"; it's still just crap.   
The prices seem very steep for the low grade slop they serve. I can think of a lot better ways to spend my money. Throwing it at the bums lurking outside, or just dowsing it in gasoline and using it to light the Inverted Penguin on fire would be putting it to far better use. 
In all honesty, I have never eaten at the Inverted Penguin. When I drove by at lunch today, I saw a guy I know walking in. He is an asshole. Not just a regular asshole; he's a first class, blue ribbon, certified gold plated asshole.  If he eats there, the place must be horrible. Trust me on this one folks. Stay away, it will only lead to your ruin.
 So, these are the little things in life that keep me sane. Or at least at some acceptable level of sanity that keeps me out of an institution.

If I can't think of anything else to write about, I'll crack this open again and pick an assignment. Here are a few I just picked at random.

  • Pick a pop song you loved as a child. Listen to it and write for at least five minutes without stopping. 
  • Write the scene about the first time someone other than your family or friend told you they loved you.
  • Nixon's deathbed.
  • Describe someone receiving a gift that you made for them by hand and they loved it. 
  • Write a letter of forgiveness to someone who is unforgivable. 

I feel better when I write, I should do it more often.