The Big DumpTruck

Throwing Little Thought Pebbles at Your Windshield Since 1996

Category: writing

Goal: More than 5 Posts in 2017

My Big DumpTruck game was awful in 2016, which is probably a very bad thing, because it was the 20th anniversary of the darned thing. Can we have a do-over? I know a lot of celebrities and millions of voters who would like another shot at doing 2016 right.

If I promised to be better about writing, will you be better about reading?

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Forgot To Press the Magic Button

I wrote a post a while back and it was sitting in draft mode. I may publish it with a previous date. I just might do that, don’t you try to stop me!

I have really ignored my site and that’s a shame because next year is the 20th anniversary of bigdumptruck.com and maybe I’ll have to fire things up and offer prizes to people who actually read my posts and can answer questions. Or people who send me money or diamonds. They could get a prize as well. Amazon has a whole thing now where you can offer items as prizes, which makes me laugh when I’m looking at something particularly expensive. I think I get seven visitors a day (probably because I update so infrequently, what with Twitter taking up the ten minutes a day I used to devote to writing here.

If I offer a prize, it will likely be something incredibly useless. I think those are the best prizes of all, don’t you?

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Short Stories

I have given myself the task of writing a “Collection” of short stories while I am home recovering from surgery. I don’t know how much writing I will get done because in general I am a horribly lazy person. Maybe I will write a story about a person who had surgery who is trying to write a collection of short stories. Write what you know, right?

The good news is that when I announced I was going to try to do this, I said that I would write crappy short stories, so everyone will have super low expectations. Those are always the best kind of expectations!

Here’s a sample for you.

All those novels she had read about the romance of the starving artist did not cover the very real possibility of dying from the world’s worst caffeine headache by the end of the week. Her tombstone would read “Here Lies Annie Hatfield, dead of a broken heart when her boyfriend, Morning Breakfast Blend, left her in her time of need.”

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Typewriting

I downloaded a new app today called Hanx Writer. Oddly enough, the Hanx does refer to Tom Hanks, who worked to create an app that replicates his beloved typewriters.

Anyone who knows me at all knows there are three sounds in life that I adore beyond reason; tap dancing, crackling fires, and typewriters. The sound of typing literally lulls me to sleep, which is a dangerous thing when you work in a building surrounded by people typing all day.

But I digress. Go download this free app (Hanx in iTunes) and tell me it’s not fantastic. I actually paid for all three styles of typewriter AND the 99 cent add-on that will let me use these as my keyboard in any app.

Yes, I have a problem, but any time I can give myself a soul-soothing delight for less than $6, I’m all in.

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Planting a Flag

The hardest part may be
Reclaiming the places and spaces once shared by two;
favorite haunts, now haunted.

You can ignore, retreat, recoil
Avoid the heartache
of a thousand happy memories
Or face them
Own them
Plant your flag in the soft sand
of towns with ocean views
Even as you wipe away tears
and try to smile
Tell the waitress you aren’t waiting for one more
even when your heart is
Because every special place you went
With him
Is a place you went
With you
You can own
those roads and restaurants,
the sun and the Saturdays
or continue giving them away
to someone
who doesn’t even
want them

(C) bigdumptruck.com

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Hardy Boys and the Mystery of the Old Shoe

We saw this shoe, jammed under the stairs.
“How do you not notice that you’ve lost a shoe?” asked Jody Frank.

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Winter

Frozen fields unfettered
blowing ice
breath short
wandering, pondering
The day stretches long and lean
Possibilities peak out
between gnarled tree branches
and frosted grass
lonely birds fly
with weak songs their
promises of warmer days.

For now, the sun is wanting
and the journey long
Swirls of smoke from a chimney
and my breath
call me back to the fireside
to wait
another step forward
another day closer
to spring

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Collateral Damage

Collateral Damage

I knew a man
Once.
Forever ago
He seemed to be
what he was not
Denied his truth,
at least to me
I know now
Killing time –
late night prayers
tears
wishes and whispers
When I would not
could not
hear.
To reclaim his old life
The Pinnacle
I, collateral damage.
“Good enough”
Isn’t good enough
when you’re
selfishly
holding out hope.
Hope knocked
Right or wrong
Truth never spoken
Fleeting “I’m sorry”
Then silence

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Tools For Improving My Whole Life

I found a thing on Amazon (and put it on my wishlist!) that is the one thing that I need to make everything in my life fall into place. It will make me healthier, prettier, make men fall in love with me on sight. It will improve my singing voice, my ability to cook chicken, and I’m pretty sure it would get me that Miss America Crown I’ve always wanted.

One thing it would really do well is help me write that book I’ve been meaning to write for the past 30 years. It would help get it published, too. And then it would help the book sell and make me a freaking boatload of money.

I’m of course talking about the Montegrappa Chaos Limited Edition 18K Gold Rollerball Pen.
The Limited Edition 18K Gold Rollerball Pen of my dreams!
 
(Click to view on Amazon)

I think what I like best about it is the fact that the pen comes with not one but two skulls. Sure, all that intricate detail might really irritate your hand after hours of writing with it. But isn’t that a small price to pay for an 18k Gold rollerball?

I feel I must issue a stern warning about this pen, though. The pen, while awesome, is not jewel-encrusted. I can’t think of a single thing that isn’t made better by jewel encrustation. This pen would be, that’s for damned sure.

BUT, I’m going to stick my neck out and still recommend this pen. It is a limited edition, and technically, you could probably attach your own diamonds to it. I mean, I think you should, actually. In fact, I insist upon it. After you order this pen for me, you should arrange to have your favorite jeweler attach diamonds. Maybe a ruby or two. Nothing too ostentatious, but something to add a little pop to the pen. Looking at it now, it’s almost too plain without the jewels. Maybe you should just save your $69,000 while I try to find something better. Or, hey, get this for me and I’ll use it to write you a thank you card.

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Coming Clean

I need to get something off my chest. It’s been bothering me for decades now, and that’s not good. But I have decided coming clean will free me up to be guilty about other aspects of my life.

I have a degree in English. It’s actually an English Lit degree with a minor in writing, based on what I studied. Sounds impressive, huh? I wanted a degree in creative writing, but couldn’t afford any of the colleges that offered that degree. Specifically Emerson. Oh how I wanted to go to Emerson.

So I spent four years at a private Catholic college deep in the heart of Connecticut, studying prose and poetry. I have the paperwork that proves I did.

However, I know nothing about literature. I know what I like to read, but I don’t know why I like it. I don’t know anything. I can’t believe I faked my way through college like that. I couldn’t tell you why the Great Novels are great. I don’t even like most of Shakespeare. I suck at English Lit.

Because I have this degree and I feel like certain things are expected of me, especially when I write. That’s the part that throws me into a panic. I keep thinking that having this degree should make me a better writer, but I don’t think it does. I fear it doesn’t. I don’t even like to talk with people who are actually good at this stuff because it’s so intimidating to me. How did I get through four years of college learning to analyze literature and not like good literature? I don’t even have drugs to blame this on, as I am clean as a whistle. I mean, I’m betting the Pope has smoked more pot than I have (which is none).

So the funny thing about this is that I used to write a lot of poetry. I edited my college’s literary magazine my junior and senior years. And get this! I have actually had a poetry reading (with a professor of mine and a friend of his) in a real live bookstore in Hartford. My parents even drove down for that one, which was fun because it was an “alternative lifestyle” bookstore run by some ex-nuns. This was 1987 or so, and I think my parents were shell-shocked, but maybe not.

So even as I’m being asked to participate in a public reading of my poetry, I’m convinced it’s absolute shit, because I cannot tell if it is or not. I like what I’ve written, but I like a lot of things that aren’t good. I enjoy crappy romance novels like there is no tomorrow. I find slogging through most of Dickens a chore (I enjoy the movie versions, though). I have no idea if my poetry is any good, and I’m afraid to find out. One of the other poets had written stuff that sounded completely alien to me. Where his poems good? I have no freaking idea. I didn’t think so, but I think he’d had books published, and I was selling computers, so who was I to judge with my unjustly-earned lit degree?

15 years ago, I actually had my own e-zine called “Block Lines”. Remember those? I was so cool. I published poetry I liked (and some of my own, but other people’s poetry as well.) I don’t know if I was a good editor (I didn’t really edit, I just selected what to publish) but it seemed like a hip, happening way to get some of my work out there. I had a lot of fun with it until I got pregnant and exhausted and put it on hiatus. For 15 years.

Every year as my birthday gets closer, I get a burst of inspiration to write, and this year, for the first time in a decade, I’ve been writing poetry again. I’m not going to share it here because I’m still too terrified that it’s crap. Well, I’m not terrified that it’s crap, I’m terrified that YOU will find out it’s crap.

So that’s what I wanted to come clean about. I’m a possibly crappy writer who can’t use the skills her degree should have given her to validate one way or the other the quality of her writing. There. I’ll start to feel better any minute now.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go write a crappy poem about how this makes me feel.

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