Monday, August 22, 2011

Attention All Writers: Be a Campaigner

The lovely and talented Rachael Harrie is hosting one of her famous Campaigns! Sign-ups start today and ends on August 31. All writer's should participate (and all readers should check in and enjoy). I have been trying to get into one of these for a while because they are such a fantastic way to network, exercise those writing skills, and experiment with style and genre.

Click here to check it out: http://rachaelharrie.blogspot.com

Sunday, August 21, 2011

"Give Me Your Words, Your Views, Your Huddled Masses of Humor": a Contest

I love words. Some of my favorites are superfluous, gorgeous, seize, pugnacious, nostalgia, genre, dynamic . . .

The list is endless.

What I really appreciate is how words are put together to create humor. And I not referring to the comedians who are (were) writers such as Erma Bombeck, Dave Barry, George Carlin, but those writers who infuse humor as engaging detail. Some of my favorites are David Sedaris, Chuck Palaniuk, J.D. Salinger, and Nelson Desmille.

There are so many ways to create humor rhetorically: satire, metaphors, imagery.  Hell, even a single word can create humor: the word chicken cracks me up.  So do the words naked and shit.  Kumquat, that's a good one too. Scamper will always make me smile.

Put them together--Naked, I scampered onto the front lawn to snatch up the chicken before he could shit -- and that's funny! Even if you don't find the diction humorous, the image certainly qualifies.

I have always been the "funny one" of a group. I'd rather be the "sexy one" or "the rich one," but since I have a penchant for being friends with smoking-hot women, I am stuck with the role of being entertaining. And I have to say that I am usually successful. But it's time for me to give credit where credit is due. My humor was passed down to me from one of funniest people I know: my father.

He's not a writer; he's an engineer. But, he is a master of humorous rhetoric. As my mother says to him often: "How do you come up with this shit?"

Nobody knows. But, we certainly enjoy. Well, most of us. Those who have been blessed with one of his infamous nicknames might feel otherwise. My father has assigned such names as Hairball, Lactose Intolerant, Hockey Puck, and Studebaker to my sister and my past boyfriends. And he doesn't distribute them arbitrarily; they are tailor created for the person.

My father's humor is constructed in one of two ways: diction choice and imagery. Here are two examples:

While at my parents' house one afternoon, my mother mentioned she had to get something for me out of her bedroom and that she'd be "right back." Well after about a half hour, I said to Dad, "Wonder what happened to Mom?"

His response: "Maybe your mother tripped on a dust bunny and broke her arm."

I laughed so hard, tears were rolling down my face by the time my mother returned.  Not because I thought the idea of her getting hurt was funny, but because of the image. The specific diction made it easy to picture and the randomness made it funny.

Not only is my father great at creating imagery, he can work magic with alliteration (and consonance). One of my favorite "Dadisms" is "monkey fuck a football."  He doesn't use it as a sentence, but as a noun or adjective. Grammatically, it should be punctuated as "monkey-fuck-a-football." It means an awkward or an uncoordinated act. Synonymous with slapstick.

Here's an example for how it is used:

Yesterday, my sister, her husband, and I were assisting my parents in moving a daybed from my aunt's place to theirs. My aunt lives in a condo on the fourth floor of a complex. When my sister arrived, the code to open the door wasn't working for her so I went down to let her in. The elevator in the building is old and rickety (and I don't like elevators anyway) so I always take the stairs. By the time I reached the lobby, I heard the elevator doors closing and saw that my sister was no longer standing outside. With a huff, I turned around to climb back up the stairs. Just before I reached the fourth floor, my sister jerked open the stairway door and, "Holly, I'm here."

I said, "Jesus, this is like monkey-fuck-a-football."

Unfortunately, my father cannot produce his rhetorical genius on command, and even if he could, I doubt I could use it for what I need it for. This is where you, my followers, come in.

To begin the new school year on August 31st, I want to ease my students into the beauty of language. Instead of spending the first few days going over class procedure, homework policy, how they will be graded, and basically scaring the shit out of them, I have decided to play a little word game. Show them that English is fun! I've got the logistics of the game all worked out; what I need are the game pieces, aka, words. More specifically, sentences.

You've enjoyed my humor long enough, now I want you to reciprocate.  Before, I wanted your dirty minds; now, I want your silly minds.

Contest: who can come up with the most clever sentence that a teenager would find humorous? Edgy is okay, but it does need to be classroom appropriate so tone down the profanity and nothing pornographic, please. The sentences must be created by you: no quotes from movies or books (unless you wrote the book).

How to enter:

1) If you aren't already following me, please do so. I will not consider sentences from non-followers. Don't know how to do that? Read "Attention All Creepers" post.

2) Type up your sentence as a comment.

3) You can enter as many sentences as you want.

I will select five winners who will have their choice of prizes. For winners who are writers, I will do something to help promote their writing: buy something online, put a copy of their work in my classroom library, or write a review for a poem or short story. For winners who are not writers, I will send you a Starbucks or Amazon GC.

Entry deadline is August 29th, which is my father's birthday.

Monday, August 8, 2011

A Woman's Greatest Fear


I am good at a lot of things: cooking, making friends, teaching literature, making people laugh, cleaning, organizing, picking up on women, spending money, scaring the shit out people, and dare I say, writing.

I am also bad at a lot of things: baking, teaching high school freshman, science, multitasking, computers, picking up on men, saving money, chilling out, and singing.

Of course, the things I'm good at don't help me more than the things I'm bad at fuck me up.

For example, if I could teach high school freshman I would have a lot less grading. If I was more technologically savvy, I would have a lot less stress in my life. I'm straight, so my ability to pick up on women and my inability to pick up on men is almost funny. Singers get way more ass than writers do.

And being able to save money would make paying my rent a lot easier.

As a teacher, I get ten paychecks a year from October 1st to July 1st. I know banks have summer saver programs for us assholes; yes, I've participated in them;  and yes, I still end up financially fucked in September.

And there's no use trying to figure out where my money goes. A cure for cancer will be found before the cure to my financial irresponsibility.

Even though I taught summer school this year, I find myself unable to pay my September rent.  Believe it or not, I have never been in this situation before.

Thank the goddess, I have lovely landlords who are more than willing to work with me. As we negotiate via email on payment options, I always end mine with "or I'll sell my body and pay September rent the day it is due."

I'm joking (sorta) hoping that my humor will detract from my assholeness.

But then I thought: What if they've had enough of me? What if they're sick of me tromping through their backyard looking like hell to get my laundry while they are trying to entertain guests? What if they're sick of the heavy metal music (David Draiman, if you are reading this, will you marry me)? What if they're sick of me lying out naked on the roof? What if they're sick of my wine bottles leaving less room for their wine bottles in the recycle bin?

What if my landlords demand the rent on September 1st because they see a way to finally get rid of me?

It's not that I'm afraid so much of having to prostitute myself to stay off the streets, but what if I can't? And I don't mean "can't" as if I get the john up to my apartment as then burst into tears and scream, "I can't do this!" I mean what if I can't get the john up to my apartment at all?

Few women are willing to sell their bodies under any circumstances, but we all want to believe that we could if we absolutely had to. There is just something hot about men wanting to have sex with us so bad that they'll pay cash for it, and we want to believe the reason we don't do it is because we choose not to.

Consider the way Hollywood glamorizes prostitution. Eleven Oscars and even more nominations have been given to women for their roles as prostitutes and/or strippers.

Maybe Ms. Roberts didn't win the Oscar, but she certainly combined the fairy-tale ending with selling yourself. And remember that she used some of Mr. Gear's money to pay her rent.


And even Shirley Jones, the Partridge Family mom, won an Oscar for playing a prostitute. 

Instead of playing a mom peddling her children's musical talents, she plays a mom peddling herself in  I Want to Live!

Shit, if she can pull it off, maybe I can too! But I need the money more than the Oscar. I could roll it Charlize Theron style and be an ugly prostitute that kills her johns and then takes their money. If I get caught, well, I'll solve my rent issues. Also, my ability to pick on women will become useful.

That is, IF I CAN GET THE JOHNS TO BUY IN TO BEGIN WITH.

I started my morning worried about being homeless. Now, I'm frantically searching for my feminist soapbox while worrying about not being able to be a whore. Not only could I be homeless, but I could be homeless with an inferiority complex.

Holy shit.

BTW, I will not accept any loans from any of you. This post is not a ploy to get money. If you want me to take your money, you're gonna have to sleep with me. And that's final!

Or, you can buy about 100 copies of my short stories available online.