What to NEVER say to a writer. EVER.

tumblr_inline_n9g140tV701s1ll4kOr… how to earn a first class “E Ticket” into one of my stories.

I’ve seen lots of articles like this.  “10 Things To Never Say to a Writer“.  “Eight Things You Should Never Say to a Writer”  “19 Things You Should Never Say to a Budding Writer” (I like how that one tossed in “budding”).  People love lists.  And most of these cover the generic situations writers of all genres find mildly annoying.

Included in nearly every list are questions like “Will you write my paper for me?”  and “Can I be in your story?”  Personally, I’ve never met anyone bold enough to ask me to write something for them, but I’m often asked (sometimes joking, sometimes serious) if whoever I’ve just met can be a character in my book.  My friends know better.  If you end up in one of my stories, typically it’s not because I like you.  My stories are angst-fests so ending up in one generally means you’re either in for a lot of suffering (if I like you) or you’re a red shirt.

The last person I specifically wrote in was a stick-up-his-ass hotel manager in New Orleans.  I had asked if I could look around for a bit, because I’d love to use the place as a setting.  He – swear to God – had me escorted out of the building by security.  That earned him multiple appearances in several of my stories.  Usually  he ends up something like this:

Some days, it’s good to be a writer.

I found this note waiting for me on my NaNoWriMo account, from an admirer who will remain anonymous.

I thought that I signed up for the nano trial version of Scrivener and that it would last until december, however I went to use it today and was informed that the trial version was finished and would have to pay the full amount to continue.

Texas chili cook off

I DID NOT WRITE THIS

This is an oldie, but every time I read it I’m in tears by the end.  I looked it up on Snopes to verify the truth of the matter, but came away empty handed.  True or no, it is 100% hilarious.

If you can read this whole story without laughing, then there’s no hope for you. I was crying by the end. This is an actual account as relayed to paramedics at a chili cook-off in Texas

Note: Please take time to read this slowly. If you pay attention to the first two judges, the reaction of the third judge is even better. For those of you who have lived in Texas , you know how true this is. They actually have a Chili Cook-off about the time Halloween comes around. It takes up a major portion of a parking lot at the San Antonio City Park . Judge #3 was an inexperienced Chili taster named Frank, who was visiting from Springfield, IL.

Frank: ‘Recently, I was honored to be selected as a judge at a chili cook-off. The original person called in sick at the last moment and I happened to be standing there at the judge’s table, asking for directions to the Coors Light truck, when the call came in. I was assured by the other two judges (Native Texans) that the chili wouldn’t be all that spicy; and, besides, they told me I could have free beer during the tasting, so I accepted and became Judge 3.’

Here are the scorecard notes from the event:

CHILI # 1 – MIKE’S MANIAC MONSTER CHILI

Judge # 1 — A little too heavy on the tomato. Amusing kick.

Judge # 2 — Nice, smooth tomato flavor. Very mild.

Judge # 3 (Frank) — Holy crap, what the hell is this stuff? You could remove dried paint from your driveway. Took me two beers to put the flames out. I hope that’s the worst one. These Texans are crazy.

CHILI # 2 – AUSTIN ‘S AFTERBURNER CHILI

Judge # 1 — Smoky, with a hint of pork. Slight jalapeno tang.

Judge # 2 — Exciting BBQ flavor, needs more peppers to be taken seriously.

Judge # 3 — Keep this out of the reach of children. I’m not sure what I’m supposed to taste besides pain. I had to wave off two people who wanted to give me the Heimlich maneuver. They had to rush in more beer when they saw the look on my face.

CHILI # 3 – FRED’S FAMOUS BURN DOWN THE BARN CHILI

Judge # 1 — Excellent firehouse chili. Great kick.

Judge # 2 — A bit salty, good use of peppers.

Judge # 3 — Call the EPA. I’ve located a uranium spill. My nose feels like I have been snorting Drano. Everyone knows the routine by now. Get me more beer before I ignite. Barmaid pounded me on the back, now my backbone is in the front part of my chest. I’m getting s***-faced from all of the beer.

CHILI # 4 – BUBBA’S BLACK MAGIC

Judge # 1 — Black bean chili with almost no spice. Disappointing.

Judge # 2 — Hint of lime in the black beans. Good side dish for fish or other mild foods, not much of a chili.

Judge # 3 — I felt something scraping across my tongue, but was unable to taste it. Is it possible to burn out taste buds? Sally, the beer maid, was standing behind me with fresh refills. This 300 lb. woman is starting to look HOT … just like this nuclear waste I’m eating! Is chili an aphrodisiac?

CHILI # 5 – LISA’S LEGAL LIP REMOVER

Judge # 1 — Meaty, strong chili. Cayenne peppers freshly ground, adding considerable kick. Very impressive.

Judge # 2 — Chili using shredded beef, could use more tomato. Must admit the cayenne peppers make a strong statement.

Judge # 3 — My ears are ringing, sweat is pouring off my forehead and I can no longer focus my eyes. I farted, and four people behind me needed paramedics. The contestant seemed offended when I told her that her chili had given me brain damage. Sally saved my tongue from bleeding by pouring beer directly on it from the pitcher. I wonder if I’m burning my lips off. It really ticks me off that the other judges asked me to stop screaming. Screw them.

CHILI # 6 – VERA’S VERY VEGETARIAN VARIETY

Judge # 1 — Thin yet bold vegetarian variety chili. Good balance of spices and peppers.

Judge # 2 — The best yet Aggressive use of peppers, onions, garlic. Superb.

Judge # 3 — My intestines are now a straight pipe filled with gaseous, sulfuric flames. I crapped on myself when I farted, and I’m worried it will eat through the chair. No one seems inclined to stand behind me except Sally. Can’t feel my lips anymore. I need to wipe my butt with a snow cone.

CHILI # 7 – SUSAN’S SCREAMING SENSATION CHILI

Judge # 1 — A mediocre chili with too much reliance on canned peppers.

Judge # 2 — Ho hum, tastes as if the chef literally threw in a can of chili peppers at the last moment. **I should take note that I am worried about judge number 3. He appears to be in a bit of distress as he is cursing uncontrollably.

Judge # 3 — You could put a grenade in my mouth, pull the pin, and I wouldn’t feel a thing. I’ve lost sight in one eye, and the world sounds like it is made of rushing water. My shirt is covered with chili, which slid unnoticed out of my mouth My pants are full of lava to match my shirt. At least during the autopsy, they’ll know what killed me. I’ve decided to stop breathing. It’s too painful. Screw it; I’m not getting any oxygen anyway. If I need air, I’ll just suck it in through the 4-inch hole in my stomach.

CHILI # 8 – BIG TOM’S TOENAIL CURLING CHILI

Judge # 1 — The perfect ending, this is a nice blend chili. Not too bold but spicy enough to declare its existence.

Judge # 2 — This final entry is a good, balanced chili. Neither mild nor hot. Sorry to see that most of it was lost when Judge #3 farted, passed out, fell over and pulled the chili pot down on top of himself. Not sure if he’s going to make it. Poor feller, wonder how he’d have reacted to really hot chili?

Judge # 3 – No Report

The Obit We all Wish We Had

This was my July 8 2009 entry.  So good, it needs to be reposted occasionally.

Copied from UTNE. I want the author to write my obit.

“The good people at the mortality-centric website Obit scan death notices in newspapers far and wide. It’s a respectable mission, especially when it turns up gems like the obituary for “teetotaling mother and an indifferent housekeeper” Nancy Hixson. Want to know how to write an obituary? You can read the entire notice over at Obit. Don’t settle for this irresistible and inspiring taste:

(NANCY) LEE HIXSON of Danville, Ohio died at sunrise on June 30, 2009 … In addition to being a teetotaling mother and an indifferent housekeeper, she was a board certified naturopath specializing in poisonous and medicinal plants; but she would like to point out, posthumously, that although it did occur to her, she never spiked anyone’s tea. She often volunteered as an ombudsman to help disadvantaged teens find college funding and early opened her home to many children of poverty, raising several of them to successful, if unwilling, adulthood … She was the CEO of the Cuyahoga Valley Center of Outdoor Leadership Training, where she lived in a remote and tiny one-room cabin in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park. Despite the lack of cabin space and dining table, she often served holiday dinners to friends and relatives and could seat twenty at the bed. She lived the last twenty-three years at Winter Spring Farm near Danville where she built a private Stonehenge, and planted and helped save from extinction nearly 50 varieties of antique apple trees, many listed in A.J. Downing’s famous orchard guide of 1859 … She was predeceased by her father Dwight Edward Wood of the Ohio pioneer Wood family of Byhalia, who died in the Columbus Jail having been accused of a dreadful crime … Cremation has taken place. In lieu of flowers, please pray for the Constitution of the United States.

Onward Nancy Hixson, wherever you are.”

Here’s the whole thing:

http://obit-mag.com/articles/a-great-paid-death-notice