Category Archives: Procastination Techniques

Talk to Strangers while Pretending to be the Antagonist

Picture of a petrol station, but not a real one, by Ralf Peters
Petrol Station? But something seems a bit off. You are awake, aren’t you?

If you want to waste your time writing, drivel, I read somewhere, go ahead and write about characters you have no understanding of.

No, it would be better if, instead of writing, you explored their backstories first.  Get to know their fears, their flaws, and what kind of cereal gives them hives.

This is what was in my head when I pulled into the gas station in some strange part of town.

As luck would have it, my debit card didn’t work.  I didn’t feel much like going in and talking to the attendant.  But I knew Harlan, the twisted antagonist in a story I should be writing, would have no problem with it at all.

So instead of going in to the attendant, I sent Harlan.

Bad idea.

When the police had left, and the attendant stopped cursing, we  both laughed a little.

I told the poor gas attendant some of the horrific crimes Harlan had committed – in the backstory to my story.  We agreed that Harlan was one sociopathic MF.

It was quiet now.  The streets had seen the Tuesday night commuters come and go, leaving us alone there in the dark by the pump, save for the glow from the neon sign out front.

The attendant was quiet, his mind far away.  Then he stood up slowly.  He looked down at me, a slight grin slipping out.

“That story is something,” he said.

“But want to REALLY see something?”

Earnest Hemingway Did Not Air-Pop His Corn

IMG_0510

You’ve come home from whatever it is that you do for money while pretending not to be a writer.  Now there is that fear: If I find myself alone, I may be obliged to write.

Never fear.  This is why this blog exists: to show you that, even when the whole universe favors you writing, there are still ways to avoid it.

Let’s have a little popcorn snack.  Get some oil smoking and throw some dead corn seed right in there.

That Air Popper someone gave you and your third ex-wife for a wedding present – the one thing she let you have when she kicked you out?  Oh please, the only place to use it is in a story as an ironic murder weapon.  In real life, you cannot feed a soul on hot air.

But I see you there at the stove – you threw the popcorn into the smoking oil then looked for the right lid as kernels started exploding.  You were brave, you told yourself, for looking for the lid only after you’d thrown the kernels in.  Your life needs a GoPro.

You get the whole greasy mess into a bowl, and your fingers follow – ravenous fingers that toss the hot crunchy, oiled and salted mini clouds into your mouth with abandon.  The glory of the popcorn!

But what seemed so promising falls into your gut as a quagmire of dead greasy corn seeds, and the guilty grease won’t wipe off your fingers. Not completely.

There is no way to write great literature with greasy fingers.

Now all that’s left to do is call your third ex-wife, a dying bottle of Jack Daniels in hand, and beg like the humiliated almost writer you almost were.

At least you did not use the Air Popper.  This time.