Movie Review – Patriots Day (2016)

Wacky Boston accents.  Explosions.  Mark Wahlberg wants you to say hello to your mother for him.

BQB here with a review of Patriots Day.

It’s not easy to make a movie about real, tragic events.  First, there’s the possibility that people might be offended by the idea of Hollywood making a buck off of other people’s misery.

Second, real life often does not provide cookie cutter storylines.  Thus, movies like these often come across as well-acted documentaries instead of an actual cinematic story.

Mark “I’m From Boston So I Have to Be in All of the Boston Movies that Ben Affleck Isn’t In, Kid” Wahlberg leads the cast as Sgt.Tommy Saunders, a chronic pain sufferer forced to work crowd control on the Boston Marathon as a punishment.  Saunders is in the dog house with the department for unspecified reasons, but he’s assured this assignment will return him to good standing.

What begins as a fun event quickly turns tragic when bombs go off.  Scenes of mayhem, carnage, responders assisting people who have lost limbs, blood, body parts etc.  Personally, I could have done without seeing that, though I understand the overall goal was to explain to the viewer the pain, both physical and mental, that people experienced due to this attack.

Throughout the film, we are introduced to various people from all walks of life, from a young studious couple who end up losing their legs, to the poor unfortunate MIT police officer who is in the wrong place at the wrong time, to the dude who’s just checking his text messages when he gets kidnapped by a pair of terrorists and forced to go on a scary ride as their hostage.

Things get more interesting as the hunt for bombers/terrorist brothers Tamerlan and Dzhokar Tsarnaev gets underway.  Kevin Bacon and John Goodman are among the actors who play the assorted suits in charge.

One part that caught my attention was how technology made a big impact on the investigation.  Officers collected cell phones from the scene and were flooded with emails from citizens who had been recording footage.  Based on all that data, the authorities were able to find images of the two suspects.

It all concludes in a frightening chase/stand-off in Watertown, where the Tsarnaevs shoot at and hurl homemade bombs at police officers.  The scenes rival any action packed summer blockbuster.  Intriguing to watch until you realize…this actually happened.  Dun dun dun.

Overall, I felt the film treated the event with respect, though there has been some controversy.  For example, there have been some reports that Dennis Simmonds, a black police officer who was injured during the Watertown shootout, then died a year later from his wounds, was not granted any screen time.  Way to go, Hollywood.

STATUS: Shelf-worthy.  It runs long.  You could wait to rent it, though the Watertown shoot out scene is pretty intense on the big screen.  Again, I do say that reluctantly, as this stuff actually happened.

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More Prompts

#53 – Lucky Rabbit’s Foot

One day while perusing the knick knacks in a gift shop, Gordon spies a lucky rabbit’s foot key chain.

“I sure could use some of that,” Gordon says.

Gordon buys the key chain, and takes it to his rundown, ramshackle house, where he lives alone with no wife and no kids even though he is pushing forty.  There, at a table piled with overdue bills, he attaches his keys to the key chain.  He then goes to bed.

In the morning, Gordon is offered a do-nothing job with a high six-figure salary, a free mansion due to his name being selected at random in a contest, and on his phone, there are ten messages from his ex-wife seeking to patch things up.

“Thank you, lucky rabbit’s foot!” Gordon shouts.

Suddenly, there is a knock on the door.  Gordon opens it to find an adorable, three-legged bunny.

“If I were you, I’d toss the leg in the river, buddy,” the bunny says.

“Oh,” Gordon says.  “I’m sorry.  Is this yours?”

“Yeah,” the bunny replies.  “But keep that foot away from me.  Why do you think I chopped it off in the first place?  It brought me nothing but misery.  Sure, it put me on easy street for a time.  I surrounded by fine ass bunny broads and all the carrots I could eat, but before I knew it, I was being chased by a psychopathic farmer who wanted to turn me into bunny stew.”

“Wow,” Gordon says.  “I’m sorry to hear that.”

“Yeah,” the bunny says.  “And you’ll be sorry if you keep that thing.  But why would you listen to me?  None of the previous owners of that leg did and they’re all six feet under now.  You’ll be no different.”

The bunny hops away.  Gordon shuts the door, sits down, and ponders his situation.

What is in store for Gordon?  Will he keep the rabbit’s foot?  Will it cause him misery if it does?  Take the story from here and follow it to a conclusion.

#54 – Surprise Cake

As Daphne the stripper is wheeled inside a giant cake on a cart to a location to be determined, she starts questioning her life choices.  She wishes she had stayed in school, stayed away from alcohol and made something of her life.

“This is my last job,” she whispers to herself.  “I’m going to be clean and legit from hereon out.”

The cake stops.  Daphne hears some voices coming from the outside.  She bursts out of the cake in her birthday suit, sending crumbs and bits of frosting flying everywhere as she shouts, “Surprise!”

Sadly, Daphne is the only one who is surprised.  Instead of a beer hall filled with obsequious perverts, she’s in a church filled with nicely dressed, God fearing folk.  This isn’t the bachelor party she was expecting at all.

“Umm,” Daphne says as she desperately tries to cover herself with her arms, “I think there’s been a mistake?”

How did this happen?  Will the church folk call the cops, or was this mixup a form of divine intervention?  Perhaps these bible thumpers will help Daphne get on the straight and narrow path to salvation?  Or, will some unforeseen events transpire?

#55 – Heaven

For me, Heaven is a place where you can eat as much of the worst possible food imaginable as you want and never gain a pound.  Also, hot babes are plentiful and they find me attractive and interesting.  Better yet, I find myself attractive and interesting.  Also, it is possible to canoodle with the hot babes with reckless abandon and not wake up itchy the next morning.

What is Heaven like for you?  Write a description.

#56 – Hell

For me, Hell is a place where you have unlimited cookies but no milk to dunk them in, unlimited chicken nuggets but no sauce to dip them in.  Also, hot babes are plentiful and they find me interesting and attractive.  However, I am wearing a pair of titanium pants that are so securely tight around my lower half that I can’t really do anything with those hot babes.  Yet they keep coming on to me anyway.

What is Hell like for you?  Write a description.

#57 – Moldy Food Monster

Greg is a total slob.  He’s vaguely heard of a device known as a trash can but he’s never used one before in his entire life.  He comes.  He parks his butt on the couch, watches TV and throws his fast food containers in a corner of the room.

Over a period of several months, the moldy food inside of the containers grow mold.  They seep out of the containers, stick together and form one great big giant moldy food monster.

Name the monster.  Give him a personality.  Will he be good or evil?  Will he help Greg fix his lousy life or will he suck his creator into a deeper, darker hole of sadness and despair?

#58 – The Drunk Reaper

The Grim Reaper, exhausted after ushering souls off to the great beyond, cracks open a beer, then another one, and then after one.  He moves up to shots and after awhile, he’s wasted.

While “Death” sleeps off a hangover, no one in the entire world dies for twenty-four hours.  When he wakes up, he sees the world is still running and decides that no one will miss him if he just up and quits.

Thus, no one ever dies.  Everyone lives forever.


a) Write a story from the perspective that this is bad.  No one accomplishes anything if they think they have unlimited time to do it in.  The world’s resources dry up if people are being continuously added without anyone being subtracted.

b)  Write a story from the perspective that this is good.  Everyone is happy because they no longer have to worry about dying.  Criminals lose their strength because they can’t threaten anyone with violence anymore if no one can die.  People can eat, drink and be merry without worrying about the health effects.  People are nice to each other because they feel like there’s less of a competition for life’s resources.  After all, as long as you get to live forever, then if you don’t get what you want today, you can always try again tomorrow.

#59 – Mail Order Bride

Depressed and lonely, Gus fills out an online form on a Russian mail order bride website.  After he clicks the submit button, he starts having second thoughts and realizes this might have been a mistake.

Days later, Gus comes home from work to find a large crate on his front doorstep.  He pries it open only to discover a hot Siberian babe named Svetlana inside, covered with styrofoam packing peanuts.

Will this be a love story?  A comedy?  A drama?  Some other genre?  You decide, then write it.

#60- Get Medieval 

The Red Knight is kind and wishes to bring peace to the realm.  The Purple Knight is kind of a jerk face and wants nothing more than to rule the realm with iron fist and kill all who disobey.

Strap on your suit of armor and tell the epic tale of Red Knight vs. Purple Knight.





Zom Fu – Chapter 31


Poof! The Infallible Master’s ghost materialized in the middle of a well-worn road, startling Niu.

“Master,” Niu said. “Am I in exile?”

“Exile?” the master asked. “Why would you think such a thing?”

“My brain addiction,” Niu said. “I’ve been walking alone down this road for so long that I thought your goal was to get rid of me.”

“Never, my son,” the master said as he floated through a tree and headed into the forest. “Come, follow me.”

Niu abided. Soon he was in a clearing, surrounded by puffy white flowers.

“Perhaps I should be in exile,” Niu said. “I am useless in this fight. If I see a brain I’ll…”

“…eat,” the master said.

“Exactly,” Niu replied. “I’ll eat my weight in brains and keep coming back for more. No one will be safe.”

“No,” the master said as he pointed at one of the flowers. “Eat.”

Curious, Niu plucked a flower out of the ground and looked it over. “Chrysanthemums?”

“Long have they been considered an exquisite dish,” the master said. “Not too mention, perfect for making tea.”

Niu looked at the master with a skeptical eye. “I eat this…and I’m cured?”

“Not cured,” the master said. “But contained. Chrysanthemums possess properties that revitalize the body, mind and spirit. Gather as many as you carry. Consume them on a steady basis and they will give you the focus you need to fight your brain addiction.”

The big man sniffed the flower. It gave off a pleasant aroma. “I don’t know about this…”

“Well,” the master said. “It’s either this or stay out of the fight.”

Niu sighed. “The fates have never conspired to keep me out of a fight.”

The fatalist opened his mouth, shoved the flower inside, then munched on it. His jaws went up and down. His eyes began to water as the leaves tickled his throat and got stuck in his teeth.

“Seems like an acquired taste,” Niu said.

“Eat them non-stop and you’ll acquire it quickly,” the master said.

“Non-stop?” Niu asked.

“Whenever you aren’t doing anything, there should be a chrysanthemum in your mouth,” the master said.

“Exile is starting to sound like the better option,” Niu said as he pulled another flower out of the ground. He stuck it into his mouth and chewed.

“Nonsense,” the master said. “Your mission is vital to our cause.”

“This mission will ruin my stomach,” Niu said as he chomped on his third chrysanthemum.

“Flower eating is not your mission,” the master said. “My son, we are not alone. You must secure the assistance of the last kung fu clan.”

“The last kung fu clan?” Niu said. “I thought that was ours.”

“Technically, it was,” the master said. “However, there is a band of, how should I put it? ‘Eccentric kung fu enthusiasts’ who must be promoted to kung fu clan status if we are to defeat Dragonhand.”

“Where will I find them?” Niu asked as he stuffed his pockets with flowers.

Poof! The master disappeared, but his voice remained in the ear. “Keep following the road.”

“That’s a rather vague answer,” In said.

“And don’t stop eating those chrysanthemums,” the master said.

Niu bit into his fourth chrysanthemum of the day. “I wish I knew what I did to offend the fates so.”


Zom Fu – Chapter 30


Cling, clang! Cling, clang!

“Bring out your taxes!”

Tax collector Peng rang a bell as he drove a horse drawn wagon into the center of a remote village. From the looks of the dilapidated homes, the downtrodden villagers didn’t have much to give.

Three armor clad guards sat in the back of the wagon, keeping a watch on a bountiful haul. The tax man had been making collections throughout the countryside all day, and though few individuals had much to give, their contributions had added up significantly.

Barrels filled with gold, silver and sparkly gems. Bags of wheat, rice and grain. Candlesticks, trinkets, priceless family heirlooms.

Peng rang the bell again. “Time to pay your taxes!”

An old woman hobbled out of her house and waved her cane at the collector. “Robber! Thief! Villain! You already collected twice last week!”

“The Emperor may collect as early and often as he wishes,” Peng replied. “Shut your mouth and know your place, crone!”

The old gal tossed her last gold coin at the collector. He caught it.

“I hope you choke on it,” the old lady said as she walked back into her house.

The villagers poured out of their homes and formed an orderly line, waiting patiently for Peng to accept their goods.

“Ahh, very nice,” Peng said as a middle aged farmer turned over a bag of wheat.

The collector moved down the line, accepting all manner of riches until he stopped in front of three villagers who were covered head to toe in hooded robes.

“You dare hide your faces in front of your better?” Peng asked.

The hoods dropped. The men opened the robes to reveal they were holding giant wooden clubs.

Bonk…bonk…bonk…bonk! The attackers worked fast, clubbing the daylights out of Peng and his guards, knocking them out and sending them to the ground.

One of the attackers was a young man with long hair pulled back behind his head in a bun and a pencil thin mustache. “You’ve just reaped the Whirlwind,” he said to an unconscious Peng.

The Whirlwind looked to his men. “Return the goods. Don’t forget to take our fee.”

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Movie Review: Live By Night (2017)

Tommy guns!  Dizzy dames!  Ben Affleck in a white suit mumbling incoherently.

Youse guys better check out this movie if youse know what’s good for youse, see?

BQB here with the 1930s period piece/screen adaptation of Dennis Lehane’s historical crime novel, Live By Night.

Ben “Look At Me, I’m From Boston So I Have to Be in All the Boston Movies, Kid” Affleck stars as stick up man Joe Coughlin, a petty thug/World War I veteran who, despite being Irish, rises up through the ranks of the Italian mob on a mission of vengeance against the rival mobster who killed the maul he loved.

It’s a great premise.  It’s fun to see the past brought to life on the big screen.  Historic films rarely do well at the box office anymore, so it’s great to see Hollywood sticking up for them anyway.

Further, we’ve seen gangster era New York on screen, but its rare to see somewhere like Boston in the thirties.

My main complaint is the film tends to wander.  The whole point of the film is Joe seeking revenge, but he takes a roundabout zig zag approach to it instead of a straight line.  Halfway through the film you start to forget what Joe is up to.

STATUS:  Shelf-worthy.  Probably the best you’re going to see on screen in January.


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BQB Writing Prompts Book Progress

Well, 3.5 readers.  It finally happened.

I got a draft of a book finished that I felt was worthy enough to print out:c2oksetxuaatafk

I know.  Very exciting.  But this is big.  I believe it will get done and sooner rather than later.

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Daily Discussion with BQB – Ringling Brothers Circus is Closing

Sad news 3.5 readers, as Ringling Brothers Circus, a longtime American institution, is closing.

Is the circus an old timey thing that just didn’t last in the modern age?  Some news reports say it was the cancellation of the performing elephant part of the show that hurt ticket sales.  That’s too bad but then again I guess I don’t want to see elephants suffer just for amusement purposes.

I don’t know.  Surely in this day of advanced tech, couldn’t they have come up with some other spectacle to keep the audience in their seats?

Will you miss the show, 3.5 readers?

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They Ruined Last Man Standing

OK.  I’m about five years late with this complaint, but I guess that’s what happens when shows are preserved forever on Netflix and you can watch them whenever you want.

For the most part, I hate it when there are cast changes on a TV show.  If a group of actors/actresses wowed everyone in the first season then every effort should be made to keep the band together.

You don’t change your socks in the bottom of the ninth.  To change an actress is to change the character altogether.

In the first season, Last Man Standing was basically Tim Allen taking his winning Home Improvement formula and applying it to modern times.

On Home Improvement, Tim Taylor lusted after power tools, was kept in check by intelligent wife/psychology student Jill, and was a father to three wacky boys.  From time to time, he’d seek advice from his TV show co-star Al or his mysterious neighbor, Wilson.  During his Tool Time TV show, he’d regale the studio audience with a rant about some subject related to a problem he was experiencing with his family.

On Last Man Standing, the three boys are traded in for three girls.  Mike Baxter lusts after crossbows, shotguns and assorted pieces of hunting equipment.  He’s kept in check by intelligent wife/geologist Vanessa.  He seeks advice from his boss/confidant Ed.  In a modern twist, he regales the Outdoor Man website visitors with rants related to some problem he is experiencing with his family.

Symmetry.  Gotta love it.  Then they ruined it.

In the first season, Mike’s eldest daughter Kristin is played by Alexandra Krosney.  Her backstory is that she got pregnant during her senior year of high school, thus destroying all of her college hopes and dreams while leaving Mike with his only male ally in a house full of girls, his little grandson Boyd.

There was definitely a subtle lesson behind that character.  The message to young people who have kids way too young is, ok, you made a mistake.  But life isn’t over.  Kristin gets up everyday, works at a rancid diner, takes care of her son and occasionally takes a college class when she can fit it into her schedule.  Mom, Dad and younger sisters pitch in to help Kristin out.

Happy family.  Gotta love it.  You’re left with a hope that as long as Kristin keeps plugging away, she will eventually get her long awaited award.  She’ll get her education and she won’t have to work at a stank ass diner anymore.

Alas, in Season Two, Krosney is replaced by Amanda Fuller.  I don’t mean to knock Fuller.  She’s playing the character she was hired to play but, this version of Kristin stinks.

Jordan Masterson is brought in to play Boyd’s dad, Ryan, who in the first season had been played by Nick Jonas in a one time guest spot.

New Kristin and Ryan become liberal foils to conservative Mike.  What used to be a sweet, funny show about a happy family descends into a weekly political debate show where everyone comes across as though they want to slap the crap out of each other over the latest political happenings of the day.

I have a hunch what the network was trying to do.  They essentially moved from modern Home Improvement to modern All in the Family.

If you missed All in the Family, it had the same vibe.  Die hard conservative Archie Bunker would go toe to toe with his super liberal daughter Gloria and son-in-law Mike aka Meathead.

People tend to forget that as much of a hard ass Archie Bunker was, Mike and Gloria were, at times, unbearable in their own ways.

Archie had his pros, namely, he was a good provider and the only one in the household with the brains needed to earn a dollar or get any work done.  He also had his cons in that he was brutish and harsh, stubborn and set in his ways, though occasionally a heart of gold peeked through.

Mike and Gloria had their pros.  They cared about people and the world and were happy go lucky flower children.  But they had their cons, namely, neither one of them could work their way out of a wet paper bag and by the end of the show they had ended up a pair of forty year olds dependent on their elderly father/father-in-law because they were too free spirited to figure out how to earn a living on their own.

In short, the show runners, in my opinion anyway, were trying to say, “Hey, look, both sides have some good ideas, and bad ideas, no one has a complete lock on right and wrong and sometimes when people on opposing sides lock horns, all reason is thrown out the window.”

Apparently, the “new and improved” Kristin and Ryan worked enough to keep the show going for years but personally, I liked the first season better.  I get they are going for modern day Archie vs. Meathead and Gloria in the form of Mike vs. New Kristin and Ryan, but to me, it just comes across as this once adorable, happy family now hates each other.

Mike, like Archie, is a bit of a hard ass, though nowhere near as hard as Archie.  His conservative beliefs clash with New Kristin and Ryan’s liberalism, and the trio spend at least half of every show duking it out in a war of ideology.

Like Archie, Mike is a good provider, but he does try to foist his beliefs on his kids.  Like Meathead and Gloria, New Kristin and Ryan believe their way is the best to help people, but they do come off as ungrateful brats who boinked one night in high school and now they expect their father/father-in-law to raise and pay for their kid for them but they still want to lecture him on how to do it and tell him that he’s doing a shitty job when they should be thanking him for being there for them.

All I know is I just end up missing the happy family that loved each other in season one.

Plus, the bitter political divide the country suffers from can be seen everywhere.  Did we really need to see it on this show too?

Anyway.  Thanks for listening to my five year old complaint, America.  Bring back Alexandra Krosney.

Blah.  I don’t know if I’ll even bother to keep watching it.

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Miranda Sings Makes Her Own Hatchimal

This is the funniest thing I’ve ever seen.  You might think it is just her hatching the toy, but as she explains, she couldn’t find one, so she made her own by putting her cat in a paper bag.

Funny stuff.  The cat is very well behaved.  Any other cat would have gone nuts.

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Writing Prompts – Parting Is Such Sweet Sorrow


BQB EDITORIAL NOTE – this is my heartfelt plea to get my book readers to come look at this fine website.  Let me know what you think, 3.5.

Parting Is Such Sweet Sorrow

             Are you a baby boomer like my grumpy Uncle Hardass? If so, I thank you for being a far out, groovy, outta sight reader and wish you well with your writing goals. You’re never too old to write. Never let a young whippersnapper tell you otherwise.  Don’t worry.  I hear tie-dye shirts and eight tracks are making a comeback.

Perhaps you are like me, a member of the often ignored Generation X. Sure, that flannel lumberjack shirt in your closet is getting dusty and there just aren’t enough clinically depressed, long haired Seattle based alternative rockers on the radio anymore, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t plenty of time left for you to pen your masterpiece and share it with the world.

Before I go, I’d like to share some wisdom with my millennial readers. (Don’t worry baby boomers and Gen Xers, it’s a free country, so you can read this next part too).

I have heard rumors that at least one of my three point five blog readers was born after 1990, but I have yet to confirm it. Occasionally, I post about things like rotary telephones and dial up modems just to figure out who was born during the Reagan or Clinton administrations. At any rate, if you are a millennial, you have no idea how lucky you have it.

I know. Every up and coming generation hears that. Uncle Hardass said it to me. Uncle Hardass’ uncle said it to him. The wheel of intergenerational complaints never stops spinning.

I’m not saying you have it lucky in life. Hell, I’ve seen the news. You’re probably going to be riding your mother’s basement couch until the next ice age (the cataclysmic event, not the children’s movie, although my condolences because you’ll probably be watching that with your parents too).

I’m saying you have it lucky as a creative person. Consider this thought: There has never been a time in history than the present moment in which creative people have had it so good. 

The good news is that thanks to technology, the so-called traditional publishing gatekeepers have been bypassed. The gate to creative fame is open and the self-publishing “barbarians” (i.e. unvetted folks with work they want to share with the world) are rushing head first toward the promised land of fame and fortune at a lightning pace.

The bad news is there are so many barbarians to contend with that it is easy for an individual barbarian’s voice to be drowned out. I’m sorry. I’ll drop the analogy. Creative people don’t like being called barbarians. Well, I know one guy in East Randomtown who doesn’t mind it so much but that’s a longer story for another time.

Where was I? Oh right. Lecturing the millennials. Millennials, when I was your age, if a creative person wanted to get anywhere, he had to kiss the butt of the assistant to the director of the creative department’s associate vice-president’s cousin’s boyfriend’s dog walker’s taxidermist’s mother-in-law’s pharmacist’s sister’s podiatrist’s acquaintance’s best friend’s support group counselor’s husband’s doctor’s niece’s nephew’s bird trainer in the hopes of getting some sort of introduction into the world of creative prosperity.

Put another way, the gates that held an artist back from living the life of a happy, healthy, financially successful person were sealed shut, locked tight, fortified, and guarded by armed soldiers, laser wielding robots, apache attack helicopters loaded with nuclear missiles and hungry, man eating pit bulls.

In short, way back when, you’d spend a year or two trying to find your “in,” hoping that if you straddle the scene of the publishing industry long enough, a friend’s friend of a friend might sneak you through the gate and help you bypass all of the attack helicopters and pit bulls and so on.

You, the millennial reader, have technology that just didn’t exist when I was twenty. You should still be polite, but you no longer have to kiss butts. You no longer have to completely rely on an introduction from a friend of a friend of a friend. You can take your blog and your social media accounts, post your very best work, and put it all together to form a hypothetical javelin that you can use to leap across that gate and land in the world of creative success. (Note: do keep trying to network. Seek those connections and introductions. Kiss those butts. You might find a butt attached to a person who can help you build your javelin faster or better yet, alleviate your need for a javelin and just open the damn gate for you).

I don’t make promises or guarantees. People who do are, more often than not, charlatans. Maybe you sing like an angel but no one is listening to the track you posted.   Your artwork might be worthy of a museum, but for whatever reason, your online gallery isn’t being bombarded with clicks. Perhaps you have written a book that makes Hemingway’s collective works look like a pile of puke, but readers aren’t finding it. It is possible to work your ass off in the indie game and still loose.

But, millennial reader, what you get courtesy of technology that past generations didn’t have, is a chance. That’s right. A chance. Building an online following takes years. Sure, there’s the occasional overnight success story where someone posts something in the morning and is on the news by suppertime, but for the most part, creative notoriety is a multi-year enterprise.

When I was twenty, the only avenue I had available to me to break into the world of professional writing was to start kissing butts and pray that one day I’d kiss the right combination of butts to make my dream come true. To me, it just seemed like way too many butts. Ultimately, I pursued a path that took me away from my love of the written word because I did the math and I was just not able to afford enough breath mints to compliment all of the the required butt kissing.

Now, with a laptop and a few affordable purchases from your friendly neighborhood electronics store, a whole world opens up to you – a world I never dreamed would ever exist when I was twenty.

Think about it. If you’re a writer today, you can:

  • Write your book.
  • Find an editor to polish it up.
  • Find a designer to provide you with an eye-popping book cover.
  • Inform the world of your masterpiece via social media.
  • Start a blog and use it to promote your work. Turn it into a place where people who are interested in your stories can find you.
  • Record a podcast. Interview other authors. Shoot the breeze about books.
  • Host your own web show. I prefer not to because I have a face for print, but you should turn on your web cam and start talking about your love of writing until the cows come home.

There’s a vibrant online community of self-publishers who will gladly lend you their advice. There’s also a budding industry of what I call “self-publishing support providers,” i.e. editors, cover designers, promoters and so on. (Although, let the buyer beware as some of these folks may be more helpful than others. Shop around, do your due diligence and talk to other customers before you shell out a bunch of money you can’t afford to lose).

In the end, you might invest a lot of time, money, and effort into a self-publishing endeavor only to fall flat on your face. But, and this is a big but (not to be confused with the big butts that Sir Mix-a-Lot wasn’t able to lie about), you get a chance.

Back when I was twenty, in nineteen hundred and whatever, up your nose with a rubber hose, you don’t need to know the exact year, I would have bare knuckled boxed a thousand meth addicted hobos, sailed across every ocean in the world, climbed the tallest mountain, and fought off a pack of angry wolves just to get a chance to make my dreams of becoming a professional writer come true.

If you’re a twenty year old, don’t blow your chance. Start your blog.   Launch your podcast. Throw caution to the wind and host your own web show. Be cautiously optimistic. Remember, the Internet is forever so don’t do something online that will make you unemployed and unemployable, but at the same time, revel in the fact that you have a chance. A career as a writer that isn’t built on a long line of kissed butts is theoretically possible, and hypothetically within your reach.

Baby boomers and Gen Xers, you should still embrace this technology, but millenials, you are in the best position to do so. Start a blog when you are twenty and you may just find yourself lousy with an astronomical amount of readers by the time you hit thirty. (You’ll need them to help you adjust to the new normal of what it is like to be thirty).

Then again, what do I know? I just run a blog with a mere three point five readers. At any rate, I hope you enjoyed this book. Take these prompts. Use them as clay to build the bricks of your own stories. Don’t forget to post your prompt inspired works on your blogs and share them with me. My favorite time wasting social media sites are Twitter, where I am @bookshelfbattle and that Zuckerbergian monstrosity known as Facebook, where I am @bookshelfqbattler.

Better yet, is my online haven. Do stop by. My three point five readers are very lonely. Just don’t feed the Yeti. He’s fat enough as it is. Also, he eats people.

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