Sunday, February 27, 2011

Helping Others Is Not Always A Bad Thing


Jenny Matlock

Greetings fellow lunatics and welcome to my blog, Sophisticated Lunacy.  Thank you all for stopping by and visiting.  As I have the last 41 weeks, I am pleased to participate in week 43 of the Saturday Centus, that fun-filled writing meme hosted by Arizona’s own version of Erma Bombeck, Jenny Matlock, from her blog off on my tangent.

Writing a Saturday Centus is a fun literary exercise intended to challenge you to create an interesting story in 100 words or less, not including the supplied prompt.  Each Saturday it brings together great writers from all over the globe to share the experience of selecting just the right words in just the right way to create tiny glimpses of life that are sad, funny, profound or whatever the writer has in mind.

After posting to Jenny’s meme we all read each other’s contributions and give our feedback.  It’s like an online version of the Algonquin Round Table, only without the booze.  Well…usually.

The rules are simply no more than 100 words excluding the prompt, no splitting the prompt, no photos or illustrations and no vulgarity.  Oh, and I’d like to suggest one more rule for your consideration.  No batcrap crazy celebs like Charlie Sheen spouting nonsense like “I’ve got magic and I’ve got poetry at my fingertips.”  Sorry Charlie!  We Centusians have to have some standards you know.

By the way, Lindsay Lohan, you can stop begging to be a Centusian too.  It didn’t work for Paris Hilton or Snooki and it won’t work for you either.  Get over it.

This week Jenny has offered up a nice, normal prompt that is devoid of some of the more challenging trappings of previous week’s prompts.  She swears there are no tricks, no hidden agendas, no “Oh, and by the way” surprises to twist and contort our minds this time.

Very clever, Ms. Matlock, giving us this false sense of security and then BAM!  You hit us with “just make it a positive message that we can all relate to.”  Okay, so you didn’t actually say that, but I can read between the lines.  Hah! You have to get up pretty early in the morning to fool me…at least before 10:30am.

So with this in mind I have taken this week’s prompt, which is “The ATM machine began dispensing twenties...” and fashioned a tale that does just that.  I have entitled my little story this week:

Helping Others Is Not Always A Bad Thing

The morning began with a text from my literary agent.  He said there was a huge offer for my first novel. 

“Good,” I replied.

I passed by a bank in my new BMW convertible when suddenly the ATM machine began dispensing twenties.  As this was clearly a divine act, I thanked the Lord for the cash and left.

I saw an old homeless man digging through trash cans.  A feeling of warmth and joy washed over me as I knew exactly what to do.

“Hey old guy,” I said.   The ATM over there was spitting out free money.  Check it out!”

It felt good to help.

Jenny Matlock

Support bacteria - they're the only culture some people have.


Saturday, February 19, 2011

I Would Do Anything For Love, But...


Jenny Matlock

It’s week 42 of Saturday Centus already!  Wow…seems like only a week ago it was week 41…how time flies!

For those of you who have just entered the computer age and discovered the wonderful wide world of the blogosphere and this thrilling literary meme, welcome!  It’s kind of like going to a NASCAR race, ‘cept there ain’t no beer, no chew, no mullets and no one screaming “Git 'R Dun!” 

“Then what’s the point?”  I hear you say.

So glad you asked.  Born in the voluminously creative mind of Jenny Matlock either during a prolonged tantric meditation or while watching “Desperate Housewives” - the facts are still a bit fuzzy - the Saturday Centus was devised as a mental challenge for the literarily inclined.

From her blog, off on my tangent, Jenny hosts this weekly exercise in tight, concise writing.  The rules are you are allowed 100 words to write a story using a supplied verbal or visual prompt.  You cannot alter the prompt in any way, use foul language or add any images to your post.  Writing a story takes on a whole new dimension when you only have a limited number of words you can use.  This exercise teaches you to be very selective in your word choices so the words you use tell the whole story in an impactful and imaginative way.

Participants in this meme, or “Centusians” as we refer to ourselves, know only too well how quickly 100 words can be used up before we have to start hacking away at our stories.  It can be maddening getting down to that word count, and not everyone gets there, but it is such a fun challenge to attempt.  I invite you to give it a try.  Come on, I know you are itching to be a Centusian!  Who isn’t?

After writing our stories we link them back to Jenny’s meme post so that we can all share our little stories with one another and offer feedback.  This week our host has offered up a prompt based upon a favorite song.  The prompt is “I'd catch a grenade for ya...”  Oh, if only we had this prompt last week for our Valentine’s cards!  Oh well.  Here is my take on it.  I have entitled it:

 I Would Do Anything For Love, But...

A couple lies in bed, the husband barely asleep while his wife is wide-awake and restless.

“Honey, wake up.”

“Hmmm?  Go back to sleep, Blanche.”

“I can’t sleep.  Do you still love me like when we met?”

“Yes, Blanche.”

“Would you walk through fire for me?”

“Yes, Blanche.”

“Would you sacrifice your life to save mine?”

“Yes!  I swear, Blanche, that I'd catch a grenade for ya if you just let me get some sleep first!”

“Well in that case would you bring me a Diet Coke please?

“Will you die if I don’t get it?”


“Good.  Then get it yourself.”

*This story is not intended to portray anyone in particular and any similarity to anyone living or not is purely coincidental and is definitely not my wife.  Nope, not even a little bit.  (You happy now?)

Jenny Matlock

One by one the penguins are stealing my sanity


Monday, February 14, 2011

A Doggie Valentine's Day Card, A Saturday Centus


Jenny Matlock

It’s that time again…and this time I’m not horribly late as usual!  I’m talking about week 41 of Saturday Centus!  (That’s week 287 in dog weeks which, given our prompt this week, is a good way to look at it!) 

The host of this amazingly fun and challenging meme, Jenny Matlock from her blog off on my tangent, has thrown us a really fun curve ball this week in honor of Valentine’s Day. 

Rather than supplying us with a verbal prompt and letting us transform it into a tiny literary masterwork using only 100 words or less, Jenny has given us a photo and a mere 50 words and charged us with writing a Valentine’s Day card.

At last an opportunity to show that I too can be a sappy Hallmark card writer and come up with some romantic copy that will send hearts aflutter with desire!

So then, the object of this Valentine’s Day card is some hot babe or hunk then right?  I mean, Jenny wouldn’t further complicate this task by giving us something so patently unromantic that we couldn’t transition it to a sweet Valentine’s Day card that someone wouldn’t  love to receive, now would she?

No, of course not!  This is why she gave us this adorable photo of a pug wearing a Wonder Woman costume! 

Good thing too.  I was worried she might give us a photo of flowers or hearts and I wouldn’t know what to do.

So look out Hallmark!  Your next greeting card writer is ready to hit the ground running as is evident by the following example!

Now go ahead and join us and add “Centusian” to your writing resume!   (Publishers really stand up and take notice if you put it there…especially if written in 2” tall letters in red crayon.)  After you write your story, link it back to Jenny’s meme post so that we can all enjoy your fascinating take on this fun challenge!

Here is my effort for this week.  I hope you like it.  Be gentle.  It’s my first time.

To my Super Man 
on Valentine’s Day!

I love you for saving my life, as life

without you would be like dry

kibble, nourishing but without joy.

I love you for loving me as I am, even

with my snoring, wrinkles and

occasional gas 


Even a Wonder Woman needs a 

hero, and that hero is you!

Happy Valentine's Day!

Jenny Matlock

We are all a little weird and life’s a little weird, and when we find someone whose weirdness is compatible with ours, we join up with them and fall in mutual weirdness and call it love.  

~Author Unknown


Friday, February 11, 2011

The Last Song, A Saturday Centus


Jenny Matlock


Late again to the party!  Schoolwork is the bane of my blog life all too often these days.  Sometimes I wish I had never hopped aboard this warp-speed academic treadmill, but it does feel good to finally finish a class every five weeks.  Come April when I have to take statistics classes I will no doubt be too mentally fried to write, so don’t be surprised if I disappear for three months.  When I return there is a 53% probability that I will have suffered some serious brain damage.  Fortunately I don’t think it will be noticeable.

Saturday Centus time again (yes, a week ago…I know, I know…) and I am back to try my hand at writing something short and entertaining based upon a supplied prompt.  According to Ms. Jenny Matlock, that creative juggernaut over at off on my tangent and host of this fun little meme, the rules are that we can use only up to 100 words, not including the prompt.   

Those who dare break this rule will be punished in a most horrific fashion.  They will be strapped to a chair while headphones are placed over their ears playing the audio book version of “Going Rogue” as read by Sarah Palin.  Is that cruel enough?  You betcha!

Other rules are that you must not split the prompt or alter it in any way.  We like our prompts in their virgin edition.  Also don’t use any vulgarity in your stories because small children shouldn’t be exposed to that kind of stuff.  By small I mean shorter than 3’ 6”.    For taller kids it’s just fine as it’s probably nothing new.  Oh, and no pictures or illustrations of any kind because a picture is worth a thousand words and that would put you over your word count.

Got that?  Good.  So after you’ve written your amazingly clever, sparkly clean, picture-free 100-word story with the intact prompt, you need to link it back to Jenny’s meme post so that Centusians and non-Centusians alike can read it and provide you feedback on your effort.  And do please take the time to visit and comment on the other posted stories by clicking on the Saturday Centus button, which will magically take you to Jenny’s blog.   They are quick reads and are all guaranteed to make you go “Uhhh, what the heck?” which is high praise in the blogger community.   

So without further ado, I present my own Saturday Centus contribution.  This week’s prompt is courtesy of guest prompt-giver-outer and Centusian extraordinaire, Ames, from her blog, Girl Raised in the South.  This week’s prompt is "It was growing bigger by the minute..." All I can say is thank goodness for Jenny’s rule about keeping it clean.  The story might have been a little different otherwise.  

Here is my effort for this week.  I have entitled it:

The Last Song

Like a dimmer switch on her soul, Kathleen’s bright blue eyes had faded to grey over the years.  Her late husband Sean used to say they shone “like the azure sky o’er Donegal.” 

Since her stroke she just stared out the hospice window crying softly to herself.  The staff had seen this before.  The end would come soon.

On Sunday Corby, a volunteer, visited her and began playing his guitar and sang “I’ll Take You Home Again, Kathleen.”

A smile formed…and it was growing bigger by the minute.  She sang along as tears rolled down her cheeks.

She died that night…still smiling.

Jenny Matlock

"I am a drinker with a writing problem."

- Brendan Behan


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