Thursday Thought-Self Help: A Whack on the Side of the Head

Years ago, in my incarnation as a local TV worker bee, I went to a conference for promotion and marketing types. I wasn’t really a promo person, but the TV station’s general manager decided that since I was a writer, I could do the station’s promo. I was also a smoker in those days. I didn’t know anyone at the conference, but struck up conversations with people in the smoking section of the lobby.  Net working with those folks was more valuable than the workshops.

I ended up with my very first laptop as a result of that conference (and when I left the station, I negotiated the laptop as part of my package). And I learned about A Whack on the Side of the Head.

The book isn’t self-help for personal or even profession growth in the traditional sense. There is no advice about how to manage your in box, your email, or delegating to your underlings (of if there is, the rest outweighs the arrogance). Instead, Whack is about learning to look at situations from another angle. Turning problems upside down, sideways, and inside out. Stretching the limitations of your creativity.

I rushed home and ordered the book and the Creative Whack Pack from Amazon.  The Whack Pack, according to my favorite on-line merchant, is going or has gone out of print. It’s a deck of cards using the methods/ideas from the book to assist in choosing a method to deal with your situation. Example: I just drew the SUBSTITUTE card. There is a small blurb, then the question: “What can you substitute?” The purpose is to not only get the reader to think outside the box, but in some cases, destroy the box.

The book is full of gems, such as “Sacred cows make great steaks.” (Richard Nicolosi, businessman), and “All art is a series of recoveries from the first line. The hardest thing to do is put down the first line. But you must.” (Nathan Olivera, artist).

The book is from 1983, so parts of it are dated, especially when it comes to technology, but the premises are sound. And I believe it has been updated and expanded.

 

 

MJ Monday-Meals: Cilantro Lime Quinoa

I had some leftover ingredients hanging out in my fridge and decided to combine them to see what I could come up with as a side dish for quesadilla night.

That’s about a cup of cooked quinoa, half a jalapeno, a lime and what I could salvage from a bunch of decaying cilantro.

First, I diced the jalapeno into tiny pieces.

Then I squeezed the room-temperature lime into the bowl. (I use a small tea strainer to keep out the pulp and seeds.)

After I’d wrung all the juice I could from the lime, I grated a little zest into the bowl.

And chopped the cilantro.

Voila! A simple side dish using ingredients about to rot in the refrigerator.

We ate it the next night with chicken quesadillas and it was surprisingly good.

Office Update-July

I have made significant progress in my office reclamation/redo project. I completely cleared out the area in the hall where the printer and all the old RWRs sat.

Next, I tackled one of two bookcases belonging to my husband that reside in my space.

The book case hid behind the door, and was literally crammed to the ceiling.

Cleaning it off took an entire Saturday.  And yes, the shelves are warped. Replacing the bookcase isn’t in the budget right now.

The bookcase now resides in the hall where the old magazines and printer once took up space.  It took the good chunk of a Sunday afternoon to move all the books.

As the bookcase is not only taller, but more solid than the printer stand, it seems as if there is less room in hall, but that’s an optical illusion. The bookcase is actually narrower than the printer stand. It just takes some getting used, especially when coming out of our bedroom.

But it’s done!

MJ Monday-Manuscript: Character Backstory

A member of my local RWA chapter has started virtual write-ins several nights a week and on weekends. For some reason, this has jump started work on the manuscript.

I wrote a flash-back scene a couple of months ago. I love the scene. I think I did a great job on it. However, one of my critique partners doesn’t think I need it, that I can thread the outcome of the scene through the story. This scene shows the motivation behind the decisions one of the characters makes.

But did I write it because I as the author need it or because the story needed the info in a chunk?

If I do end up cutting the scene, I’ll send it to my newsletter subscribers as extra content.

There’s always an upside.

Thursday Thought: A Weird Moment

A couple of years ago, my husband and I (and maybe a chromo or two) were heading downstate.  We stopped for lunch at a major fast-food franchise. Nothing unusual.

We were sitting in a booth by a window, keeping an eye on our vehicle. What I saw next astounded me.

A big truck pulled into the parking lot. It was a cattle truck. The cows were mooing.

“Is that a cattle truck?” I asked my husband.

“At least we know the beef is fresh,” he replied.

Which is weird because I’ve always heard the burgers weren’t made from real meat.