Monday, August 23, 2010

What I Did Over My Summer Vacation - A Saturday Centus

Jenny Matlock

This is my contribution for week 16 of Saturday Centus (fashionably late as usual) which is a fun and challenging themed writing meme hosted by the Erma Bombeck of the blogosphere, Jenny Matlock, at her blog Jenny Matlock, off on my tangent…..

This week our dear Mrs. Matlock has rattled our cages once again with an unexpected twist on the whole Saturday Centus meme thingamajig.  Usually she or a guest supplies a prompt, a phrase that we must use in our essays as written, but this week we have no prompt.  Instead she has given us the title of our essays from which we will base our stories. 

Seeing that it is back-to-school time again, this week Jenny is borrowing a lesson from our teachers from back in the day when they used to assign their students a theme to write entitled “What I Did Over My Summer Vacation” at the beginning of the school year. 

Given the current state of affairs in schools these days, that assignment has probably been updated to keep pace with the students and their promiscuous behaviors as “Who I Did Over My Summer Vacation” or “Where I Did It Over My Summer Vacation.” 

But I digress.

The rules this week are simple – exactly one hundred words total.  The title must be “What I Did Over My Summer Vacation.”  The essays can be fact or fiction but must be told in the first person.  That’s it!   Are you up to the task of writing a whole 100 words?  Considering that this paragraph alone has 70 words, I don’t think it is too daunting a task.

Step up and be a Centusian this week!  Link up your story to Jenny’s blog meme post and then just sit back and enjoy all the love and attention you get as a result.  I do it and I’ve even gotten marriage proposals from it!  A few were even from women!  So there you go.

Unlike my previous efforts, this one is actually based on a true story.  I have many other summer vacation stories, but this one was the least repressed of them all.  Most of the others are either to gruesome or embarrassing to recall here.

Speaking of embarrassing, have you ever had one of those awkward moments that you would rather forget? 

Like when you went to hug Grandpa Earl and he got an…um…that is to say that he got “too excited” and then he wouldn’t let go of you? 

And then he winked at you and called you Lucy, but your name was really Tom. 

And then he wet his lips like he was going to plant a big sloppy one on your kisser, but you gave him a karate chop and broke free before he could grab you and dashed out the door and escaped. 

Then you sat in the driver’s seat of your car and suddenly felt all creeped out and nasty like you had just been violated or something and started to cry.

Has that ever happened to you? 


Yeah, me neither. 

But wow, that would really mess with a guy’s mind I bet.  It might even make him write weird blog intros that were just a rambling mess of sophisticated lunacy.  Scary thought though, huh?

Yep, good thing we dodged that bullet.

Anyway, here is my EXACTLY 100 WORDS story this week.  As you would expect, I am entitling it:

What I Did Over My Summer Vacation

Backpacking alone into the wilderness, I braved the rugged terrain and blistering heat for hours before reaching a small, secluded lake with crystal clear waters that lay hushed, reflecting a curtain of towering pine trees, jagged granite cliffs and deep azure sky in its glassy surface.

I swam naked in the cool, soothing water, feeling at once primal and overwhelmingly in tune with nature.

At night the sky was ablaze with a view of the cosmos like none I had ever seen.

Though enveloped in its serene majesty, the forest yet denied me my quarry.

Where were you hiding, Bigfoot?

Jenny Matlock

Participate in Saturday Centus!  It may be the least offensive thing you do all day.


Sunday, August 15, 2010

One Summer Afternoon, A Saturday Centus


We’ve arrived at week 15 of Saturday Centus, the literary equivalent of the television show, “The Biggest Loser,” where the name of the game is writing a very short story and losing extra words by working out with your mind!  But unlike the show, this meme isn’t known for some crazy woman (whose initials are J.M.) yelling at us and pushing us to work harder and write faster in her sick, twisted pursuit of personal fame and fortune.

Nope.  Not even close. 

Saturday Centus is the inspired touch of genius of Jenny Matlock, a brilliant writer,  famous bloggess and host of her blog, Jenny Matlock, off on my tangent…., whose weekly memes and stories have captivated the blog world and made her a household name. 

How popular is she?  She’s more popular than a fake birth certificate in her home state of Arizona!

And while she cares little for what we stuff in our faces as we undertake the exercise that is Saturday Centus, (personally, I like a couple of double bacon donut cheeseburgers to get my creative juices flowing…don’t judge me!) she feels very deeply that the rules of the meme be strictly followed so as to provide consistency in our respective efforts.

Here are the rules.   Each week Jenny gives us a prompt, a carefully worded phrase that she comes up with that challenges each of us to expand our minds and tests our writing skills by using it in a story. Although, truth be told, it can be just something she read off the back of a cereal box at the breakfast table or from a page in the phone book.  Nonetheless, it must be used as written and cannot be split or substituted for other words.

Secondly the contributors in this meme, whom we’ll refer to henceforth as Centusians, are charged with the difficult task of keeping their stories to within a 100 word limit not including the prompt words.  And if the word limit and the prompt weren’t already a difficult enough challenge, the use of vulgarity and pictures, and in particular vulgar pictures, is also strictly forbidden as well.  (I save up my vulgar pictures and post them to other meme’s that aren’t quite as restrictive.)

After the Centusians complete their tiny tales, they link them back to Jenny’s Saturday Centus meme post so that the other participants can check out their treatment on the prompt and share their comments about the stories with each other.  However, there is no truth to the rumors that we then sit around a campfire and sing Kumbaya.  (That was just a one-time thing.)  

I strongly encourage all of you readers out there to check out these creative short works of fiction by clicking on either Saturday Centus button, which will take you to Jenny’s Saturday Centus meme post for this week.  And after you read the stories, leave the writers a comment because they love feedback!  (Here's your chance to use vulgarity if you want!)  Oh, and if you feel compelled to send money to any of the writers for providing such an imaginative, entertaining post, feel free to do so by contacting me.  I'll be happy to pass it on (minus handling expenses of course.)

Of course you are all welcome to submit one of your own!  And don’t complain that you have too much to do.  It’s only a hundred words!  Your excuse for not writing one would probably be almost that long!  Plus you have all week to contribute!  So let’s see how you take the prompt and put your personal spin on it!  It’s fun and may even burn calories to boot!  (I’ll have to check with Jillian Michaels just to be sure.)

This week’s prompt comes to us from a regular SC contributor, Cheryl at Deckside Thoughts, who offers up this tasty gem:

I listened to them from my perch on the top step and didn't know whether to laugh or to cry...

Here is my take on the prompt.  I have entitled it:

One Summer Afternoon

Summer in New York turned my apartment on the Lower East Side into one hot, sticky sauna.  Sitting outside waiting for that elusive cool breeze, I watched with interest as life in the neighborhood unfolded around me.

Two old yentas crept slowly past, obviously a bit hard-of-hearing. 

"Oy veyizmir!  I have such tsuris, Bracha!”

“Nu Ester, I'm so sorry to hear that.”


“I said I’m sorry for you!”

“Oy, such suffering, I tell you!” 

“You should see a specialist.”


“A specialist!”

“Woe is me, down to my toes!  But…”


“I can’t complain!”

I listened to them from my perch on the top step and didn't know whether to laugh or to cry.

So I smiled.

Come on and try this already.  Don't be a schmuck!


Monday, August 9, 2010

The Brave Little Pilot, A Saturday Centus


Jenny Matlock

I’m back again to participate in week 14 of the Saturday Centus, a fun and challenging writing meme hosted by that inimitable creative dynamo, Jenny Matlock, at her blog, Jenny Matlock, off on my tangent…

Yes, I know I said it was the Saturday Centus, and not the Monday Centus, but give the man a break here, okay?  I’ve been up to my eyeballs in writing a lengthy treatise for my economics class, so my mind has been occupied with formulas and charts and crap I’m undoubtedly going to forget the moment I finish the course.  I am sorry that I am a little late getting started, but the main thing is that I still got it in.

(Insert snide, wholly expected, sexually derisive comment here.)

Perhaps I should convince my professor to adopt a Centusian approach with written assignments.  Think of the time we could save by chopping our 15 to 20 page papers into easily read and absorbed 100 word essays!  Hmm…yeah, now those would be some real prompts to groan about.

I suppose I could take a mentally minimalist view of economics like that loony political pundit, Glenn Beck, on his Faux News show.  Instead of a lengthy discourse on the advantages of a free market economic system, I could just describe Beck’s anti-Semitic, conspiratorial views on how all our economic problems can be traced to a secret elite society of Jewish bankers and power brokers manipulating the economy for their own evil purposes.

Yeah, Professor Schwartzman would just love that!

This college stuff is tough.  That’s why it’s better to do when you are young and still have most of your brain cells left.  Oh well, I suppose I could always go to bartending school if this doesn’t work out.  My mom always told me I had the perfect face for radio, so maybe I could give that a try.  We’ll see I suppose.

Anyway, getting back to this meme, here is the dealio with Saturday Centus.  You are given a prompt of indeterminate length which you are then compelled to use unaltered in a creative story that you write using a maximum of 100 words, not including the prompt. 

Failure to adhere to the 100 word rule conflicts with the paradigm that is “Centus,” which could lead to a breach in the time-space continuum opening up a portal to the nine circles of Hell.  This may also coincide with massive shifts in the earth’s mantle, causing apocalyptic world destruction. 

And you know what that means.


No more Justin Bieber concerts.

(Be afraid…be very afraid.)

When you are done with your story, link it back to Jenny’s Saturday Centus meme post.  Then join the rest of the Centusians hanging out at Jenny’s, knocking back vodka with prune juice and chatting about the weather and how, according to Faux News, the current administration’s gross negligence is causing all these natural disasters like Hurricane Katrina and the San Francisco Earthquake of 1906.

Oh, and be sure to stop by and visit all of this week’s writers and leave them a comment!  We writers love to get feedback from our readers.  It’s like our heroin, except without the dark, sunken eyes, emaciated appearance or uncontrollable itching. So be a pal and give us a fix, man.

This week’s prompt is:

"Objects in the rear view mirror are closer than they appear…”

And here is my take on the prompt.  I have entitled it:

The Brave Little Pilot

“Daddy, are you sure I can do this?  I’m only seven years old.”

“That’s the perfect age for piloting a space ship, Jessie.

Now let’s go over the rules again.

Keep your helmet on and your hands inside the space ship at all times
and do whatever the technicians here on Earth tell you to do.

Oh, and remember that objects in the rear view mirror are closer than they appear, so watch out for meteors.

You got all of that?”

“Yes daddy.  Don’t worry, I’m not afraid.”

With that, she climbed aboard the MRI scanner.

Tears formed as I reflected on her difficult journey ahead.

Jenny Matlock

Don't be a foppotee! Join in the fun!


Blogs I Am In Awe Of