Thursday, December 25, 2008

Monday, December 22, 2008


The winning photograph for this week was taken by Cindy Tucker a few years ago. The creepiness of the dolls has always intrigued me. Here's what Cindy had to say,"I discovered this window display in a local bakery in Dresden, Germany while I was attending the 24-7 Prayer International Leaders Gathering. I was walking from the hostel to the building where we were meeting when I discovered this bakery with an odd collection of dolls displayed in their window.

Depsite the creepy dolls I did stop in and I must say I had one of the best creeps I have ever had."

Here's a link to Cindy's Flickr site:

As for the entries..... I called a 3 way tie. I really liked all of the entries for different reasons. I enjoyed Linda's because of the child like qualities that were entangled in the main character. Mary's was sentimental and sweet. And I appreciated Jerry's not only because it was written wonderfully, but because it tied in with the Juicer for this week. It made homage to the young lady whose life was cut much too short during her church's Christmas production.

Not Laughing Now
By: Linda Gail A.

My husband made fun of my dolls when we got married. David and Rebecca were my kids. I refused to give them up just because I was now a married woman. When I started dressing them and putting them in his bakery window, I finally earned his approval. Customers stopped by each day to see what new thing they were doing. Business boomed. And I was no longer laughed at when I bought the dolls new clothes. My husband even wrote it into the bakery’s budget.

In Honor of a Life Snuffed Out Too Young
By: Jerry H.

Fred missed his daughter. Keri had been taken from them in a terrible accident, too young, doing what she loved best, sharing her faith. Fred felt as if parts of him had been wrenched out like the plumber jerked the jammed junk out of his café’s grease trap.

Fred had placed two dolls in the shop window. They sadden him because their cheeks reminded him of the way that Keri’s face lit up when she shared about the kids she taught. Keri loved those dolls, saving fifty soup labels to win them. They couldn’t take her place, but they could still bring smiles to children, just like Keri did.

A gift of love
By: Mary F.

“Teddy, My Grandpa made those dolls,” she said, stopping in front of the little shop.
“Mama, they have blue eyes and brown hair just like yours. Can we take them home?”
“No,” she said, tears welling up in her eyes. “I owned this bakery once. Business was slow and I told Grandpa.”
“Santa can fix that. Just wait until Christmas.” he laughed. “Early Christmas morning, he walked with me to the shop and the sun rose on this display – his handiwork.”
“People stopped to look then came in to eat. A man offered to buy the business, dolls included. I sold it.” Then the tears flowed. “I sold my birthright.”

Thursday, December 18, 2008


As some of you may or may not have heard, there was a tradgey last evening at Crossroads Church in Oakley, OH. During the opening night performance of the church's Christmas Production, a cast member fell somewhere between 20-30 ft after a malfunction with her harness, and consinquintely passed away this morning.

Obviously, this brings a very deep saddness to all who have heard the news and honestly, it's hard for me to grasp or understand. It's gut-wrentching.

I know normally we here at 110words send out funny or amusing photos and the stories are pretty light. But I just wanted to remind everybody that when words are hard to find verbally, sometimes the best therapy is writing about them. I know we give out tips and all, but journaling is so healthy and I believe it not only allows you the chance to express your feelings, but you can also improve your writing skills while doing it.

I've included a link to one of the local newstations stories on the incident.

PLEASE continue to pray for the young ladies family and friends, as well as the church and all who were in attendance last evening.

Monday, December 15, 2008


Jerry Hartman has this week's winning photo. Just like his previous photo, Jerry took this in Russia. Here's what Jerry had to say about his winning photo and where you can find more his snapshots. "This picture is exactly what it looks like, Russian Orthodox priest blessing a car. This is outside of The Orthodox Cathedral in Almaty, of which I have pictures of there also. I have finally connected the links which can be found at, this links to my flickr and picasa accounts"

Just like last week, LOTS of great entries. I picked Ken G. as the weekly winner. While everyone's entries were great, I picked Ken's because it was the most unique and honestly, kinda random. The whole thing made me laugh out loud.

The Wager
By: Ken G.

Mark Lutz groaned. Of course, the mistake he made was in betting Joe Boyd in the first place. He thought it was a safe bet that Dave would never walk on stage during Turkeyfest in that costume without saying a word. He didn’t see the long con. They had played him perfectly. Now he was stuck in this itchy bishop costume blessing used cars all week, because they had agreed that the loser would have to do the first new outreach suggestion they pulled out of the comment box in the atrium. Mark summoned his best Father Guido accent and went back to work.

By: TresK

Brock paced nervously. His tunic scratched in the San Diego heat. This was supposed to be a simple mission; zap back two centuries, grab the girl, then home.

But nothing had been simple since Jardin went rogue.

“How much longer till it runs?” Brock’s voice was tight.

Craft remained calm. He was always calm. “Not long. I found the specs” he said, matter-of-factly.

Good, now to get her into the car. “It’s time to travel, M’Lady”.

She smiled at his pun, but her voice a mix of guilt and hope. “Will he be there?” she asked.

There was no answer he could give, so Brock just opened the car door.

Templar Lexus
By Deb Freitag

Andriatte felt relief wash over her. The sun was already high but she was finally on her way to shop for something fabulous to wear to her nephew’s wedding in Lake Como.

“Are you almost finished?” she piped up impatiently as the priest flung incense into the engine of her faltering Lexus. She didn’t want to get rid of it yet, even though it left her hanging on her last trip to Milan. Instead, she e-mailed for some divine assurance.

An hour into the trip, she smelled sickeningly sweet smoke. She lifted the hood and shouted, “Madre mia,” as she pried the singed Holy Flinging Brush from the manifold.

By the Book
By: Mary F.

“Brother Paul, is this car a care”

“Yes your Excellency, it is the only new car I ever owned and it has been a continual problem.”

“Let us bring this to the Lord,” the Bishop responded.

“Lord, I remind You of your Words in Philippians 4:6 when You said

‘Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.’

My brother and I come with humble and thankful hearts for the privilege of bringing this request to You. We ask for a complete resolution.”

“Check your lemon laws, boys”, said the lawyer in the red shoes and black jacket.

By: Tim Parsley

“We wouldn’t be in this mess if you hadn’t thrown out last year’s branches!” Father James was mumbling a stream of complaints as he flipped through the owner’s manual.

Derek’s red-robed shoulders slumped in defeat. So far, his internship wasn’t going very well. No one told him that you burned last year’s Palm Sunday branches for this year’s ashes.

Desperate to cover their bases, they had been scouring the neighborhood looking for fallen palm branches. Equipped with a Bic lighter and a plastic container to gather the ashes, they still had two hours until the Ash Wednesday services began. Plenty of time.

That’s when the car began to sputter…

Unction of the Sick
By: Randy H.

"…from ashes to ashes and dust to dust", pronounced Father Fredrick solemnly. "This concludes the ceremony of last rites."

As Father Fredrick closed the book, the guilt swelled within. When parishioner Christopher asked for counsel about his dilapidated car Fredrick did not foresee this misunderstanding. Father Fredrick had advised against repairs due to the condition and the expense relative to its years of service. Strangely depressed and mournful, Christopher requested the unction of the sick sacrament. Caught off guard and painfully empathetic, Father Fredrick agreed. Leaving the priesthood was something not dared considered, until that day.

By Linda Gail A.

It was an innocent coincidence that the car broke down in front of the Cardinal’s residence. My brother decided that it would be fun to pull a fast one on the Cardinal. He quickly rigged up a speaker that would pick up his cell phone. Then he moved around the corner and “the car” started confessing its sins. In no time at all, a crowd gathered and the Cardinal’s attention was gotten. Before long, the car was getting absolution. Then my brother had to go and give his own confession.

Monday, December 8, 2008


110's own Jerry Hartman took this photo. I thought it was absolutely perfect for this blog. It's unique, different, creative. Here's what Jerry had to say about this snapshot.

"...this was a piece of playground equipment in the playground at Children’s Home # 1 in Almaty Kazakhstan where we met our daughter Anastasia. The mountains in the background are translated as The Old Man. If you follow them on a map they become the Himalayas."

Kudos, Jerry! And remember, if you'd like to see your photo featured on this blog, send me your best pic to and you may see yourself featured on here!

As for the featured writing entry this week.... The winner is... Tim Parsley. Tim's new to 110words, but I was blown away with his story. It had all of the right elements... A good storyline, emotion, descriptive words. You knew the who, what, where and why. All of the key elements that we discuss on this blog. Great job, Tim!

By: Tim P.

Pulling the last drag, she pushes out the smoke sideways through pursed lips as her eyes narrow at the red rocket still standing in her back yard. Propped casually in an old lawn chair, a crossed leg bounces repeatedly from under her lime green bathrobe. A thinning house slipper dangles from her foot.

When he built the rocket the boys were still small. Six and four? Five and three? Hard to remember. Been so long. Boys are both driving now.

Clearing her throat, she stands up, walks inside the house. Pulls the patio door closed. Through the glass, eyes the rocket.

Four years since he left. That, she remembers.

Gimme some more...

Friday, December 5, 2008


So technically it's Friday. And I'm just now sending out the Thursday Juicer. Oops.

Instead of showing you something that you probably already know, I wanted to share an opportunity for you to view some great writing in action.

110's very own Brad Wise has written and directed a fantastic mash-up of stage and film, called the {re}gifter. It's this year's Christmas production at the Vineyard Community Church in Springdale, OH. I would encourgage everyone to come out and see some very talented writing come to life. Tix are free, but you need to reserve them soon.

Check out this link for more info and a few teasers.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Monday, November 24, 2008


What could possibly be better than Jesus popping out of an egg?

Linda A. created the highlighted entry of the week. It took me by surprise and made me laugh out loud. I can appreciate the element of surprise in a good story.

By: Linda Gail A.

Its 108 degrees; the towel draped over my head to keep the sun off drips with my own sweat. The Gobi desert sucks every drop of moisture from me, and my mind begins to wander. Pancakes, bacon, eggs, toast with jelly, large frothy glasses of milk…. Food images keep appearing in my mind’s eye. It’s almost like I can touch them. An egg emerges. It cracks itself and Jesus stands inside. Oh God, is this a sign? Am I going to die? I drop to my knees to repent, only to hear evil laughter telling me it’s too late. I know better. “Jesus, save me.”

Gimme some more...

Wednesday, November 19, 2008


This is great stuff for the folks who have a hankering for writing for television or radio. Good writing comes in different forms.

Monday, November 17, 2008

# 014

Sweet nothings, it's been 14 weeks already! Where has the time gone?

I just finished reading each of your stories and I was amazed at how each of you has blossomed over a few short weeks.

Deb F. is our highlighted entry this week. Deb's clever colaberation of embracing normal people and "stars" is classic. And her end made me laugh out loud. She did something that we talked about in a Thursday Juicer not that long ago - taking a normal situation and heightening it to where unsual characters or situations can be explored.

Title: Pimpin’ Da Sidewalk
By: Deb F.

Gerard Steele Channel 9: So...ladies, how and why did this become your Sunday morning ritual?”

Danise: It started about two years ago when we saw Hugh Jackman run by in leopard tights and a gold shirt.

Sharon: I’ll never forget that day.

Danise: Da very nex’ Sunday we see Betty White – no kiddin’ – get a cab and she was lookin’ rough.

Sharon: We figure Saturday night is party time for the stars and we can catch ‘em on the mornin’ after! So now we host a gossip blog: at blogspot/pimpindasidewalk

Danise: …And we’re a hit at coffee hour after Sunday evenin’ service at St. Paul’s.

Sharon: We pray for them.

Gimme some more...

Thursday, November 13, 2008


Everyone needs to be reminded of the Who, What, Where, When and Why of Storytelling. And this guy has a cool accent. Dig It.

Monday, November 10, 2008


Mary F. was the higlighted entry this week. I absolutely loved the romantic aire she created with her story. We don't get that a whole lot on this particular blog, but she expanded her horizans with this. Fantastic job, Mary!

Little Star-Hoppers, Let Us Love
By: Mary F.

Little star-hoppers, not long ago, the heavenly wanderer’s came to the beach by Dolphin cove. Their ships were gigantic bubbles rimmed with fire – a holy fire, some said. Perhaps it was so because the heavenly wanderer’s were gentle and kind beings who brought gifts of healing and hope. People, sick and well, young and old, came to see them and most were healed. But some, the Villi, came to kill. Their hearts were angry and fearful and they blew up the billowing ships and poisoned the heavenly beings.
Little star-hoppers, these heavenly wanderer’s do not come anymore but we who have received love must give love to all we meet.

Gimme some more...

Thursday, November 6, 2008


The Office does a fantastic job each week of taking a normal scenario and adding a healthy dose of ridiculous to it. A story is always better if your character is "normal" but in an absurd situation or you play out how your charcter(s) is absurd but the situation is normal. I learned this in improv class. I'm not that smart to think of it myself. Thanks, Joe Boyd.

Monday, November 3, 2008


Randy H's entry was selected for week number 12. Even though I'm sick of the election already, Randy's entry still made me laugh out loud. He did a great job of using current news but in a way that's still clever and unique. Check it out.

Dirty Politics
By: Randy H.

"Geez Joe! Say it ain't so", Sarah shouts.

"Now that I'm VP I don't have all that much to do," Joe responds. "So I thought I would convert this restroom to accommodate both sexes like the North Koreans have done in public places. I am the foreign policy expert you know."

"This is the U.S. Capitol building, NOT North Korea." Condescendingly Sarah jabs, "Haven't you ever heard of freedom?"

"That's unfair," Joe says.

"Is it?" Sarah replies, "You're peering over my restroom stall. Unless you're here to diffuse a nuclear bomb I don't need you in every aspect of my life."

Joe concludes, "You haven't seen the half of it."

Gimme some more...

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Juicer: Spider (short film)

Be advised. This is intense. I chose it because it's a story that sucks you in and leaves you a little breathless and does so with very little dialog.

Monday, October 27, 2008


Markey Mark is our highlighted entry this week. I totally dug his descriptions of the cigarettes and how white his knuckles were, among other things. Mark painted a fascinating scene by simply using descriptive words. Great job, Mark.

The Captain
By Mark H

Darryl jammed the stick into drive, smashed the accelerator to the floor, his thick fingers turning white as he gripped the searing hot steering wheel. Cold ashes fell from the open ash tray. Jagged tears in the weathered vinyl seats gnawed at his legs as he fought to control the fish-tailing car.

Darryl had just jumped to warp speed as he reluctantly left the last session of the 42nd annual Star Trek Convention. For a brief few minutes longer, he was not Darryl, he was Captain James Kirk, brilliant commander, supremely confident, the ultimate player.

Soon, only Darryl would arrive at his empty one bedroom apartment, alone once more.

Gimme some more...

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Monday, October 20, 2008


Apparently our amazingly awesome photo intimdated a few folks. Not as many entries as I was hoping for.

By the way, is that not totally a young John Tesh in the photo?

Isaac S. wrote the highlighted entry for this week. I could appreciate his story because his "awesome story" had a bit of uppercrust to it. It was a different spin than most of the other stories and I could appreciate that.

By: Isaac S.

In an attempt to show his republican friends just how awesome diversity can be, Brad organized the first ever “international and minority students against big government” picnic.
“Sure you can lure in those types by offering something for free,” scoffed Brad’s frat brother Graham, “but try asking them to a potluck event and see who shows.”
Brad didn’t listen to Graham’s cynicism. He knew on campus there had to be more people than just his clique who wanted economic deregulation, low taxes, and babies to live. He wanted to help maintain individual freedom, he didn’t care who brought the drinks and desserts. And besides, the Asian chick is hot.

Gimme some more...

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Juicer: The Princess Bride

I have no idea how I ended up here, choosing a Princess Bride clip. It has nothing really to do with writing short short fiction. But it's bloody brilliant dialog. So....enjoy.

Monday, October 13, 2008


Thanks to everyone who submitted. This past week's writing "rule" was the two men in the photo could not be related by blood and had to have a connection OTHER THAN boxing. I like the spin Russ took. Good stuff. Enjoy.

Hans & Jerrold
by Russ B.

Hans's attractive legs brought him more work, but Jerrold believed his hands were better than anyone's. ...and took great pains to protect them.
"Hans can only dream of skilled hands... if Hans can dream", thought Jerrold.
Hans was a pretty boy, airhead type. Jerrold had to keep reminding him that boxing was only PR, and to stop hitting him in the face.
It was no longer fun rooming together.

Hans dreamed only of lunch. “ and bratwurst” (which would eventually become his downfall).

Jerrold knew “Hands may be great, but if face looks like cauliflower, you lose job!.” The super model game in Prague was cut-throat.

Gimme some more...

Thursday, October 9, 2008

The Juicy Juicer

This may be a bit of a stretch, but work with me here.

An old lady, her daughter and grandchild go outside for some fresh air. That's the basic premise. However, watch the video and see how the story creator wove a plain basic idea into something unexpected.

Never forget the element of surprise.

And if you're really an overachiever, check out this link:

Monday, October 6, 2008


This picture is a personal favorite of mine. He just makes me uncomfortable. Creepy.

* By the way, for anyone who is just checking our site, we've begun to add little prompts in each week as well as sticking with the 110 words or less, due by Monday at 11am deal. For example, this past week each story had to have a conflict dealing with fish somehow. Coolness, I know. *

Brad W. is our highlighted story of the week. His conflict was subtle, but it reminded me a lot of how a man's mind functions. I may be sexist here, but I thought he hit the nail on the head. In his entry, you understood where he was at, why the character was there and what he was doing.
When you describe the whole picture, your readers can grasp on and enjoy the journey with you.

Camouflaged Apology
by Brad W.

Derrick sits in his brother's room digesting two quarter-pounder meals and 13 cigarettes. He wants to watch television. He wants Randy to come home and find the remote so he can watch television. He considers regurgitating the McBeef and hiding it in the hamper. He stares at his crotch and wonders if that’d make him bulimic. Stupid Randy and his faggy feelings. He probably hid the remote on purpose. Derrick scans the room for a pen. The desire to write an apology battles the desire to sleep. “Randy, sorry for not taking you fishing yesterday. My bad. Next time, ok?” He decides not to yell at him for the remote.

Little Bud By: Mary F.

“This can be an amicable divorce. Our firm can handle everything” her lawyer said.
“Ok by me, I replied. She can have the house, my 401K, and the cars. All I want is Little Bud.”
I knew she never liked Little Bud, my gorgeous Copperbanded butterflyfish. Maybe she was jealous. I could sit for hours watching him diving between the rocks in the aquarium.
Finally the day arrived for me to pick him up.
“He’s had an accident,” she said when she came to the door.
Then I saw her cat puking up gold and bronze flaked vomit. I know it wasn’t an accident.He’s gone forever. I’m so sad.

Birthday Surprise
By Mark H.

I’M creepy?! That pretentious little brat said I’M creepy! I spend an hour getting made up so I can entertain him and his little gang of cretins down at the Golden Arches, and he says I’m creepy. So anyway after he tells me this, somethin’ just snaps, and I grab the first Happy Meal I see – it’s a fish sandwich, heavy on the tartar sauce, lucky for me. So I mash it the little bugger’s face, wash his hair in the sauce.

Well, it did look kind of good, so I get one to go, with fries. Ahh, nothin’ like a good meal after a hard day’s work.

By: Linda Gail A.

“Are you eating again?”
“What’s it to you?” Bubba replies as he wraps his mouth around another McDonald’s Quarter Pounder, in no mood to be nagged.
“Your shorts don’t fit you anymore,” Bubba’s wife replies.
“They’re fine.”
Bubba’s wife enters the room. “Your fish is hanging out,” she points. “Your shorts are too small.”
Bubba shrugs. “I said they’re fine.”“When you have a child pull the flower in your pocket and your drawstring pants fall as planned don’t call me from jail because your fish was hanging out.” She turns to walk from the room, but adds one last sage comment. “Buy bigger shorts.”

How the World Was Saved Through Pollution By: Jerry H.

BozotheEvil exhausted, superpower drained, fell into a sluggard heap to the floor like a pile of discarded washrags. As each cigarette burned it’s last he exploded a balloon, the reverberation comforting him, reminders of the sound of his impacting energy rays.

BozotheGood imagining he could ruin my plans and save those starving super intelligent orphans with Fillet O’Fishes. I showed him, I showed him good.”
BozotheEvil enjoyed every bite of his spoils, 513-1/2 fried fish sandwiches; satisfied he fell asleep snoring like an idling bulldozer. Quietly the big sleep came, mercury poisoning, BozotheEvil had finally done something right in his life.

Untitled By: Deb F.

“That is IT!” swore Reggie. “That’s the last gig where I open for the pony.”

“You should make ‘em pay for the shoes,” said Tony, “It’s not easy to get dem clown shoes clean, y’know.”

“Nobody wants to see the clown anymore. They weren’t even watching me make the balloon animals.”

“Yeah, but you should get you some o’ dose long thin balloons. These round ones aren’t dat exciting.”

“No man, I think I lost them with the fish. Swallowing the goldfish used to have them riveted. But kids are jaded.”

“Probably the hormones in the fast food, man.”

“Pass me the Coke I gotta wash down Goldie."

The Plight Of A Clown By: Randy H.

"That John Denver is full of sh**"

The comedic line rolls from the TV as it pacifies Ralph with a movie he's seen dozens of times. It reminds him of his initial encounter with the McDonald's people. During the interview it was explained to him rather convincingly that this job would be much better than the one he had at Macy's. With this position he wouldn't have to take silly photographs with squirmy and annoying kids who beg for toys they know their parents will buy them.

Ralph ruminates, "What's worse; working 20 hours a week or eating these cold, leftover fish sandwiches every night?"

The Third Party
By: Tres K

Bobby flopped to the floor. He was, as Grandpa Jack used to say, “Tugging on an empty line.” Around him earnest young men talked softly into their cell phones. Outside, the press circled like barracuda, sniffing for blood. His campaign manager would keep them at bay long enough for Bobby to enjoy his fish sandwich and fries. Bobby valued Leon for that, above all else. The press could throw around words like “dynasty” and “legacy” all they liked, but he had to live this circus. He should be used to it, but all he could think of was the peace and quiet waiting for him on November 5th.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Thursday Juicer: Bob Dotson on storytelling

Bob Dotson talks about the Hey, You, See, So components of storytelling.

Monday, September 29, 2008


Wow, you all sure did turn out for #007. And sweet petunias, you kids used your imagation. It appears that the prompt of "I can't believe she didn't..." really helped get the juices flowing. So you'll probably see a bit more of that.

This week's highlight entry was from Jerry H. First, he had the catchiest title. And secondly, Jerry used fantastic detail. Specifically in regards to the eyes and make and model of the vehicle. Well, just read it, you'll see.

There's A Reason Studeabkers Are So Obosolete
By: Jerry H.

I can’t believe she didn’t open the clutch when she started the car. A 1955 atomic powered Studebaker XL47 isn’t like modern cars with voice activated engines and clean carbon monoxide power.
I told her, “Take the Ford”, but “No Daddy please the Stude is so cool. Coolness is a vital part of winning that scholarship to Harvard.” Well after battering her baby blues, a couple more oh daddies and pleases, I gave in. Then call came, midnight, Mill Valley Mall, car backfired, Daddy help. I don’t know who needs to have their butt kicked more, her or me.

By: Brad W.

"I can't believe she didn't think that was funny."
“Did she see you?”
“I don’t think so. I was driving pretty fast.”
“Could you see her face?”
“Yeah, bro. I watched her in the rear view. She was FREA...KING... OUT.”
“Oh, I know. She called me bawling.”
“What’d she say?”
“I could hardly understand her. It was nuts, man. She was…”
“Acting like she saw a ghost? Ha hahahahaha.”
“She peed herself.”
“Peed…..her pants.”
“That’s awesome!”
“I don’t know, man. Peed-pants seems a little….”
“I don’t think so. I’m feeling a little guilty.”
“Whatever dude.”
“I’m kinda hungry.”
“Hop in.”
“Waffle House open?”

“She’s Back”
By: Joe B.

“I can’t believe she didn’t call first.”
Tommy mumbled, staring down at his own vomit.
And all over his leather Bostonians, too.
He planned on wearing sneakers, but forgot to pack them in the duffle bag.
The duffle bag. Crap. He left it back where she had energized.
“She shoulda called first,” he said aloud. He was sure he was done vomiting now. He wiped his mouth and inspected the splatter on his shoes.
He couldn’t look up. Not yet. He thought if he didn’t look at it, it would just go back to normal.
He hated her. This is what she does to him. And now she’s back.

Un-Happy Birthday To Me
By: Christopher D.

I can't believe she didn't get the red one. For months, maybe even years we have talked about this. We've looked at catalogs. We've visited every Light Up Car Show for hundreds of miles. Each and every time she asked, I told her I wanted one. Not only did I want one. I wanted a red one. Now here I am, on my birthday, in front of my friends and family, and I have to try and be excited about receiving the wrong lit car. I mean, the interior looks nice. It doesn't have many miles. But darn it, it's just not the red one!

The Bi-Monthly Pizza Party
By: Hannah K

I can’t believe she didn’t stay for this. I told her it was worth skipping her aunt’s party to see and it only happens every eight weeks. “Jimmy,” Augusta said. “No cars, not even cars that ‘glow in the dark’ are worth skipping Astella’s bi-monthly pizza party.”

That’s the third one this evening, driving out from behind the carwash as if they were born there.

“Excuse me sir!” the driver said.
“Could you direct me to the, um, ‘highway’?” I ambled over, “Where you headed, mister?”
“A coronation… I mean pizza party.”
“Pull out, turn left, and follow the signs.” I wish Augusta were here to see this.

By: Tres K

I can’t believe she didn’t calibrate the stopping watch. She didn’t even check the time range. Now I’ve got some clean-shaven yokel starring in the side window. And she’s the one calling me careless? Untamed, maybe even undomesticated, but not careless. Drunk on my own cajones, she said. Right about that, I guess, but she’s never Zapped, never felt the tingle of a new When or the adrenaline high of the unknown. Shit… only 00:00:29 more till the skin cools. Then I’ll have to open that door and start dancing, start figuring out when I am. If I ever get back, I swear I’ll Zap that broad to 3018.

Ethel the Nutcase
By John A.

I can't believe she didn't know that filling the carburetor full of plutonium would have this effect. True that Ethel has a fixation on Back to the Future and its sequels, but did she really think she could time travel in our car ? That goofy wife of mine. Just how am I going to explain this to the police ? And where is Ethel right now ? Sleeping. And hoping that when her alarm clock rings, the time machine on the nonexistent flux capacitor will be ready to transport her to God knows where. Or when. I knew that sleeping on large curlers would someday cause her to go off the deep end.

Bye-Bye Dream
By: Mary F.

I can’t believe she lost the glowing pink Cadillac.
“For your 30th birthday,” I said. “I’ll give you a 1955 pink Cadillac and have it converted into a glower”.
She is a living breathing Elvis fan who dreamed of owning a 1955 pink Cadillac. Her apartment is covered with Elvis memorabilia: pink Cadillac cookie jar, Elvis pink Cadillac montage, Elvis pink Cadillac key chain and every Elvis pink Cadillac item that she can scrounge up on e-bay. But she let the salesman buy her a few drinks, talk her out of the Cadillac, and then charge her to juice up her Grandpa’s old car.
She traded away her dream.

Fresh Paint
By Mark H.

I can’t believe she didn’t put the car in park… but really I can. She’s my achingly beautiful, Einstein smart and often laughingly absentminded wife. She “parked” the car at Lake Luminescence near our home in northern Minnesota to go jogging on the trail around the lake, aptly named for the unique light-emitting algae that coat it during the summer. Unfortunately, the car slipped gurgling into the lake before she was even around the first bend. By the time I arrived, it had been towed out, glowing like a casualty of Three Mile Island , as the luminous microscopic organisms transformed our ride into a shimmering, lime-green spectacle of light.

In Denial
By Linda Gail A.

I can’t believe she didn’t join me for a night to remember. I don’t know what it was that turned her off. I have the absolute coolest tricked out car. I replaced the boring metal with a clear plastic and filled it with the same fluid that’s inside a glowing lava lamp. I mean, come on, what other guy has that? So clearly, it’s not my car. But that only leaves me. Yet that doesn’t compute either. I hold seven degrees from top online universities, and I have a pet llama. I am so totally a babe magnet. It’s clearly an issue with her.

Shot Thru the Heart and You're to Blame
By: Jenny S.

“I can’t believe she didn’t leave the keys!”
Carl stooped over to get a better look inside. Geraldo just sat in the drivers sear, numb.
Carl had a thing for shady women and pyramid schemes. This was an issue that had plagued him most of his adult life. And as embarrassing as it was, he always signed on for another product.
This time was no different. Carl of course, had already paid his fee to join upfront and had brought Geraldo as part of the recruiting process. But with no keys, getting his friend to buy into The Mean, Green, Radio-Active Machine would prove to be a bit more difficult.

Unexpected Breakdown
By: Randy H.

I can't believe she didn't work faster. The results are in and what we've found is quite remarkable. The dye we ran through your system revealed an obstruction; an unusual one. So you're going to feel some bloating and tightness for awhile until we can flush your abdominal cavity. I am writing two scrips that I want you to start today. The first is a liquid that will get rid of that sputtering sensation and re-energize you. The second is a capsule that will break down all the gunk and help your system operate efficiently. Remember, no greasy foods. I want to see you again in two weeks. Any questions Mr. Goodwrench?

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Thursday Juicer: Michael vs. Toby

The Office comes back to us tonight. Hence this video choice. One of my favorite parts of the story line is the mystery behind why Michael hates Toby so much. Humorous conflict and mystery are the two things we could all maybe wrestle with as storytellers.

Monday, September 22, 2008


Everyone seemed to take a different spin on the mud picture. That was refreshing! It you combine our stories together, you have one depressed, lonely Mudman with clear pores. Fantastic.

Linda's our feature story this week, if only because she can spell Chateu Le'boint. So.... French. Even though the main character in the picture was obviously a male, Linda added that interesting perspective that only a female can appreciate - getting rid of dry, itchy skin. This is my kind of man.

Sidenote: my husband actually took this photo on our vacation to the middle of nowhere. We can upon a fantastic little festival in Brementon, OH where they were enjoying many hours of mud volleyball......

By Linda Gail A.

When I read the ad promising to cure dry flaky skin, I jumped at the chance to finally rid myself of living an itchy misery. I went to the spa at the Chateu Le’boint and ordered the revered mud treatment. I was surprised to find out the treatment takes 7 hours, but only on sunny days beginning at 10 a.m. The technician applies the mud and then you endlessly walk in the hot French sun. Finally they crack you; with the mud goes your flaky skin. Only no one mentioned that you might want to remain on the grounds. The looks from locals were priceless.

Reluctant Hero
By Mark H.

I am Mudman, defender of the weak. I could have been bitten by a radioactive spider, but noooo, I had to fall into a radioactive mudpit. Sure, I can vanquish a dozen bad guys with a torrent of mud from my fingertips. Gets in their eyes and up their noses. Really something to see. But you ever try to get a date when you look like this? I mean, where you gonna find a Mudwoman? And then at parties, they make me stay outside. And my boss complains that I smudge everything at work. And pigs chase me for the mud. And…well, it’s just a tough life for ol’ Mudman.

Out Of Touch
Randy H.

I've never really played football in a mud bowl before, at least not intentionally. That was a well deserved break from the research paper due tomorrow. I don't know what to write anyway. My brain is all locked up. Moore always assigns these ridiculous topics and wants citations. I didn't expect to see Janie out here. I wonder if she saw me? Good thing I added those ab sets last night. I hate doing abs but it was well worth it. It's a wonder Janie didn't tackle me herself. Girls like to play hard to get.Hey Ryan, can I hitch a ride?

Mud Slinging
By: Jenny S.

Tom’s therapist had told him he needed to find an extra-curricular activity. After he discovered his wife was playing her own version of Twister with their exterminator, Tom broke off relationships with everybody he knew, including his mind. He found solitude in torturing his ex’s favorite pillows – oversized, overpriced, crush velvet – and slinging mud at her in online chat rooms.
After all the pillows had been destroyed, Tom decided to heed his therapists advice. After aimlessly driving around, he saw his answer. As each mud filled balloon burst against his skin, the pain grew more and more intense. But Tom was grateful for a different reason to cry.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Thursday Juicer: Ira Glass

Here is Ira Glass of "This American Life" talking about the building blocks of a great story. I love this guy. Love his voice. Love how carefully he chooses his words on his radio show. Love the way they tell stories and how they take one theme and take a bunch of truly unique looks at said theme. Check out their podcast here. The two building blocks he discusses are Anecdote (sequence of events) and Moment of Reflection. Good stuff here, enjoy. Part two is good as well.

Monday, September 15, 2008


So Hurricane Ike visited the Tri-State this weekend. According to Willie on 700WLW last night, so of you may not even have the electricity to read this entry until Saturday. Lucky, lucky you.

Mark's entry is our blog of the week. It's funny and very descriptive. It's not just a chair - it's an oversized chair. It's not just a mug - they're heavy and empty. No one wears ties. I can visualize what this office looks like, how the office staff is dressed. When you can almost include your audience in with the story, you've got a great story. You shouldn't just tell a story, you should involve the audience. They should never be confused on where the story is taking place or who the main characters are. Great job this week, Mark.

Worse Than Fees
By Mark H.

It was long after “banker’s hours” had ended for the day. The officers of First Boar Bank sat around the large mahogany table in President Ty Twaddy’s personal conference room. Suit jackets adorned the backs of the oversize chairs, ties were long ago discarded, heavy coffee mugs emptied as they stared at the photo of the unidentified man straining to take his cash from one of the bank’s ATMs. “But sir,” pleaded the vice-president again, “our customers are SUPPOSED to withdraw their money. They use it to, you know… buy things.”

“No! I won’t have it!” Twaddy railed over and over. “This meeting is finished! Raise the ATMs another foot!”

Magic Potion
Mary F.

Some predicament, trying to manage when you’re 3 feet tall. It’s all your fault, Bertie – you and your old buddy, Dr Fink.
“Honey,” you said, “we’re having a little clinical trial. Dr. Fink has developed a new drug that could help you lose your little tummy.”
“You mean my big belly. What did this discovery do for the other people who tried it?”
“It’s new, Sweetie. We need to try it on humans – but it’s safe.”
Ha, safe. They should use it to cure overcrowding in prisons since it shrinks people to half their size. Hope I can deposit this before someone sees me.

Bad Day
Randy H.

After explaining to the executive editor that he had been writing such anonymous columns for two years, Tom still didn't understand why as an AP writer his name wasn't published, identifying his authorship.

Feeling slighted and misunderstood, Tom thanked his boss for listening and exited. Tom stepped outside, looked at his watch, and with the rest of his day open decided to self soothe with a bite to eat. First he needed cash. Seeing an ATM, Tom angrily wondered how a machine he couldn't even reach could be credited to "Jeanie" while his writing read around the world would remain with no name. Tom's appetitequickly vanished.

The Dowry
Tres K.

Jack was getting desperate. This should have been easy; plant the seeds, climb the stalk – just like his family had done for generations. But things, apparently, had changed. He located the giant easily enough, living off Vine Street. There wasn’t any goose but Jack did find an ATM card in the big guy’s wallet. In spite of the changes, giants hadn’t gotten any smarter; his PIN was on a Post-it note stuck to the back of the card. Now all Jack had to do was reach the machine, punch the buttons and withdraw the gold. Yeah, right… Still, Mr. Peep had promised his daughter’s hand, if he made it back.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Thursday Juicer: PostSecret

PostSecret is an amazing experiment in storytelling. People share their secrets via postcards. Amazing how much is communicated in so few words using a tiny 4x6 canvas. Some of these are very painful to read- just so you're aware. But they're inspiring on so many different levels.

Sunday, September 7, 2008


There's been some very interesting stories coming in about the Dracula Cha-Cha. Some seem to have nothing to do with good 'ol Dracula. Soooo, that's different... But I really liked how Randy took something ordinary and created it into something fantastic. Everyday characters, but he twisted it into a news story with phenomenial results. Excellent job, Randy!!!

By: Randy H.

LIVERPOOL-- Today marks the anniversary of the debut of a musical phenomenon that never materialized. It was at Stanley Field 35 years ago that Bob McFadden and his Transylvania Polka staged an event that was utter failure. Bob McFadden himself became a laughingstock among musicians and entertainers worldwide. This concert was a marketing disaster as the event was dubbed the new rage in youthful entertainment. The album titled Dracula Cha-Cha had become trendy in the US as teens filled dance halls dressed in Halloween costumes. Looking to capitalize globally, marketing executives looked to England. Less than 100 spectators attended this concert and McFadden went on to produce children's music.

Try out these other tasty treats...

Blonde Bride
By: Mary F.

Look at me, a real doll. Gorgeous curls, golden hair, and skin like ivory. Perfect is the word to describe me. No wonder the Count wanted me for his date. Who wouldn’t? Lucky dog, I say.
I feel creepy. It’s only the first dance, my absolute favorite, the Transylvania polka. He’s dead white and talk about cold – corpses are warmer than him. Those are fangs, not teeth. I heard he was weird.
Maybe I should leave soon, really soon. It’s so dark – who blew out the candles? Where did everybody go? Does he really have 3 brides? What was that again, the blonde is number 4. NOooooo.

Our Song
By: Linda Gail A.

I hadn’t seen the old vinyl in years when my grandson pulled it out of a dusty pile.

“Grandma, what’s this?” he asked holding it up.

Memories surged back. I’d bought it the night after the Ghoul’s Ball at Sharonville High; the night I met Wolfgang. He was dressed as Dracula and when he whispered that he wanted to suck my blood, I knew he was special. The song playing became our song. 62 years later, 59 of those as man and wife, the memories are just as fresh as that night.

“It’s just a record dear,” I share keeping my memories to myself.

The Maple Street Shindig
By: Melissa F.

It was time once again for the “Annual McFadden Halloween Extravaganza”, so named by the host. Obligingly, the whole neighborhood would attend. Over the summer Bob had learned Photoshop so he decided to take the party to a new level: a souvenir photo based on costumes. Louise and the girls were reluctant guinea pigs.
They thought last year’s “extravaganza” had gone as low as it could: “dress as a farm animal” where everyone had to finish every sentence with the sound their animal made. Since there wasn’t much talking or mingling, they had hopes this year’s event would be cancelled. No such luck for the McFadden clan…or the neighbors.

Veiled Perdition
J. Arns

Little did Melanie know that she was invited to the castle for more than a festive ball; and this would be her last. Ironic that she enjoyed the polka in the arms of her seemingly magical and alluring partner. Her naivety, surpassed only by her beauty, drew her into the lurid underworld of forbidden passions. She arrived in the small burg an innocent tourist, unaware of the macabre events which forever marred many a damsel before her. Poor Melanie. Never would she leave the epitome of hell into which she was thrust to return to the safe and loving arms of her fiancé. She would instead remain a prisoner of the castle - forever.

The Dance
By Mark H.

Count Dracula loved to cha-cha. It helped him forget about the world out there that condemned him for the occasional little bite on the neck. But he was not nearly as confident as everyone assumed he was. In fact, he was quite shy, but he had to keep up appearances. All he wanted to do was ask that beautiful creature to dance. “Does she even know I exist?” he thought. His heart pounding, a bead of perspiration on his forehead, he spread his cape, bared his sharp canine teeth, and nervously blurted, “Hi, I’m Drac, would you please dance with me?”

“I thought you’d never ask,” she whispered. “Let’s cha-cha.”

Trading Jam
By: Shay

Montreal in the fall nipped at Genevieve's face. Life bustled at the farmer's market where she was stationed, selling her family's famous jams and jellies. She moved her hands in her pockets. She saw familiar faces.Bob was not familiar. Sure, Hollywood used Canada for its backdrops. But normally, its stars didn't stray off the set for preserves.He saw her.His swagger. His persuasion. His charisma. His new star -- Genevieve -- was hooked.She played his role.Montreal in the fall nipped again. The poster that hung on her bedroom wall showcased a moment in time when she traded jam for a life that never gelled.

Back At Home
by Brad W.

Rod walks into the kitchen and gives his wife an exhausted, obligatory kiss on the cheek. He tosses the newly pressed LP on the table. It clinks against the saltshaker. His wife stops peeling her newly picked carrots and looks toward the noise infraction.

“Rod! You’re new album! I didn’t know it was finished!” She says, excited and hurt at the same time.

“It’s not. The pizzicato is still all wrong. It reeks of Stravinsky. It’s trite, unoriginal garbage.” Rod opens the fridge and waits for his wife to affirm him.

“Stravinsky would never think of doing Transylvania polka.” She wrongly encourages.
“Exactly.” Defeated, he grabs the milk. “Nobody would."

This Moment
By: Jenny S.

Dracula nervously whisked away the beads of sweat that had begun to form on his pale forehead. His clammy hands shook as he ensured his perfectly gelled hair was still in place.
"You can do it. You can do it, brother", Dracula muttered to himself as he swung open the gymnasium doors and stepped onto the freshly waxed wood floor. The smell of sweaty teenagers hung densely in the air.
Ever afternoon he had holed himself up in his room practicing for this hour. Sure, there had been "The Monster Mash" and "Werewolf in London", but no one had ever seen or heard something as daring as "The Dracula Cha-Cha".

Polka Nights
By:Tres K

Vlad looked at the old polka album fondly. Those certainly were halcyon days, he thought ? Friday nights at the Moose lodge, Saturdays with the Elk?s. And the women? their long hair barely hinting at beautiful necks beneath. He?d done a lot of dancing over the years; formal colonial balls, jitterbugging at the sock hop, on the Ballroom floor in a tux. Now it was Salsa. He liked the beat and the ponytails certainly gave a nice view, but nothing was hidden; the nakedness left no mystery, no hint at things to come.Maybe it was the hair, maybe it was the beer? he still longed for those Polka nights.

By: Christopher D

The class sat anxiously in their seats awaiting the announcement. Life was about to change for one of these ghouls. Miss Fortune walked through the classroom door, and peered out over the students. Frank was nervously tightening his bolts. She could see Marcus Mummy had already sweat through his dressings. She made them wait long enough. It was time."The winner of this year's 'Name The School Pageant After A Student' musical is...the Count!"Dracula jumped to his feet and let out a yelp. He knew he was suddenly $500 richer and now had to meet with the local composer, Bob McFadden and put the finishing touches on the Cha-Cha.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Thursday Juicer: Readin' is good

My apologies on the latency of this Thursday's tidbit of inspiration. I am on vacation. I sat out on a lake reading Michael Chabon's The Yiddish Policemen's Union. If you've yet to read anything by the Pulitzer Prize winning, Mr. Chabon I highly suggest you pick up The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay. It's a dazzler. Anyways, all that reading is maybe what reminded to find this little commercial and share it with you. It's pretty cute. Can I call it cute? Perhaps it's been awhile since you've spent a few hours in a good book. Perhaps this weekend could be a good time to get back on that wagon. It's either that or "pre-season" college football.

Monday, September 1, 2008


Great job this week, guys! It was really awesome to see what a different take each of you had on the photo. Personally, I thought this weeks photo was kinda difficult because of how detailed it was.

The thing I appreciated about this week's winner was how descriptive she was with everything from the comics to the characters thoughts. I really felt like I could have been in the room with them all. Way to go!

By: Natalie S.

The fair was in town. Sprinkles heard there were squirrels that could waterski. Sculptures of cows made entirely of butter. Cotton candy bigger than your head. Your head!
That morning she brought him his white loafers with the paper. "Ah yes, the fair," he said when he saw them. Sprinkles whisked her tail. "Just let me finish the paper and we'll see if we can't make it out."
Sprinkles lifted her head off the shag carpet. He was still on Mary Worth. There was still Rex Morgan MD, Prince Valiant, Gasoline Alley. And the crossword! She laid her head back down and sighed. Cows! Made entirely of butter!

Little Things That Matter
By: John A.

Seventy-six year old Bart Schoenstein planned to spend the rest of his life on a ranch with his beloved wife Wilma until tragedy struck and changed his idyllic picture. He dreamed of living out west, so after retiring last year, they left their native Connecticut and headed for Manzanita, Arizona. Their move to the desert was just what the doctor ordered for Wilma. Or so they thought. Wilma's pancreatic cancer claimed her life 6 months ago, leaving Bart lonesome and deeply depressed. Dementia unfortunately destroyed his memories, his only solace now found in his beloved farm animals, most having free reign of his abode. Life continues on the ranch, without Wilma.

By: Melissa F.

Misu was contemplating her fate. How had she wound up here with Mr. Edwardo and Camelle, the rag mop with bows in her hair? Wasn’t it just short months ago she’d been traveling the states with Bobo on her back? Now, every day Misu was expected to perform the tricks that Mr. Edwardo had taught her—roll over, beg, fetch. As Mr. Edwardo sat reading his paper with the rag mop beside him, Misu was expected to lie obediently at his feet. When would this near-sighted, agoraphobic millionaire realize he’d made a mistake and return Misu to the circus…or at least feed her some oats and not a dog biscuit?

No Pets Allowed
By Mark H.

When it came to interior decorating and pets, Carlo marched to the beat of a different drummer. Homer was his little buddy, and no “No Pets Allowed” rule would keep them apart. He felt a little guilty that Homer had to stay inside the small apartment out of sight, but in fact, Homer had grown accustomed to eating his apples and carrots in the dining room with Carlo. Negotiating the bathroom was a little tricky, but he was a very smart pony. “Don’t worry,” Carlo sighed, “one day you’ll be able to play outside again.” “No hurry,” Homer thought, “I really like the way this carpet tickles my belly.”

By: Stephanie H.

juniper couldn't muster the energy to roam the fields as she once did, happy and free alongside jack. instead, she laid on the same shag carpet next to the same leather boat shoes she nuzzled with each day.
the house smelled stale. it was warm in its familiarity.
she hardly remembered the way the long grasses tickled her stomach near the ravine, or how the hose felt when they'd come back to the house sticky with damp earth. the locusts always showcased a full orchestra in late august.
the evenings were thick as life eked out its last moments before nightfall.
herman was just happy to have the company.

Oh Brutale Solitude
By: Kristopher H.

“Hmmmm. Esther won’t be back from her mother’s until Tuesday, and bras are half off at Penny’s. I’ll see what Merle is doing tonight.”

-Thoughts creep into my mind like this when I cut my bagel at an awkward angle, or when I take my coffee five minutes after two instead of at two precisely. This only happens when Esther leaves for extended trips-

“Maybe the sun isn’t the sun at all. Maybe the sun is the not-sun.”

“Perhaps Esther’s preference for light grays and creams mixed with brass ISN’T all the rage in Kansas.”

“Is that a pony at my feet?”

“Are you my pony?”

-Be my pony. Please-

For Sale
By: Randy H

After returning from his customary morning walk, Wilbur regrettably ignores the crossword puzzle and quickly skips to the classifieds in search for a piece of replacement furniture.

"Let me see," Wilbur anxiously sighs. "SLIGHTLY USED OAK BUREAU," "GLASS TABLE TOP- 1 OWNER," "SINGLE DOOR WARDROBE," he mumbles under his stale, early morning breath.

As his eyes scan the columns, Wilbur's mood suddenly improves. "This is it!" he says out loud.

"FOR SALE – Antique Peruvian Coffer. Perfect addition to a collection. Functions great as a coffee table or for general display. $50 OBO."

Wilbur's thoughts turn to his dysfunctional piece, "I wonder if the seller would consider a trade?"

Rectory Spectacle
By Linda Gail A.

While waiting for the annual pet blessing with Mutt and Prissy, I’m often struck at how inconceivable a room I find the parlor at the rectory. In a home where single men live, you wouldn’t expect to find tapestry, flowers, or shag carpet. I always pictured starker living quarters for my priests; at least masculine decor. But then again, I did come over rather late one night to confess and found Father Pat in a pink chiffon robe. Oddly, Mutt adores the shag rug, and every year he lies down in sheer bliss to await his heavenly blessing.

Ozzie & Harriet

By: Jennie O.

Circus was his way of life. Grateful man was he.Parents died when he was but a tiny lad of three.Long and lean like his papa, thankful for that gene.Became the stilted man and Ozzie was his name. Married the bearded lady who did constantly complainHoped in time his gratefulness would her tongue tame.“Lovely today “, said he. “Hot as heck” ,said she.“Beautiful rainbow!”-“Bad storm!”“Room’s just perfect.”-“ I’m too warm.”“Complaints might make you a little hoarse,”“For that you’d be grateful, of course!”Count your blessings don’t be aloofAs she began to nag there was a “POOF”Neigh Nag neigh nag