The Ballad of Mr. Carrot Man

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I was just an innocent carrot walking down the street. My day was about to get crazy, but at that moment I was just a happy little vegetable enjoying an afternoon stroll while sipping on a nice, hot pumpkin spice latte from Starbucks. I was so happy that I wanted to whistle, but I’m horrible at whistling. Instead, I decided to sing a song that I’d begun writing earlier in the day.

Not so far away…there is a magic land of carrots…”

Then I stopped singing because I was struggling to come up with a good rhyme for ‘carrots.’ You’d think one would come easily to me since I am a carrot, but I guess I just wasn’t in the songwriting zone at that particular moment.

I silently walked on and was keeping my eyes out for trouble. I’m just a tiny carrot living in a city full of humans and other creatures, so I try to be extra-careful.

It’s a dangerous city and there are street gangs on nearly every corner. However, I got very lucky when I moved here because the local gang on my block is called The Bloody Vegetarians. They look up to me like I’m sort of a god, which I really enjoy. After all, not every walking and talking carrot is worshiped that way. It made me feel very special.

I made my way to the end of the street and saw three members of The Bloody Vegetarians standing on the corner. Horatio, their leader, waved to me. I silently wondered how he got to be the leader of his gang. Was he the bloodiest of them or did he cause the most bloodshed in others? Either way, it was probably best that I didn’t know.

“Yo, Mr. Carrot Man! How’s it hanging, boss?”

“Top of the morning to you, Horatio. How is all in our fair city today?” I asked.

“Dude, it’s not good for you. Someone is looking for you. Someone very scary.”

“Where is he? Or is it a she?”

Einstein, another of The Bloody Vegetarians, chimed in. “It’s a man. Well, it’s a male. A male bunny. He looks crazy, Mr. Carrot Man!”

I took a deep breath and tried to remain calm. “Do you know where he went?”

Horatio scratched his long and scruffy beard like he was in much deeper thought than my question required. “I don’t know, man, but I bet he’s not so far away.”

“Not so far away?” I asked. “I was just writing a song with those lyrics in it. Hey, by any chance, can you think of good rhyme for ‘carrots?'”

Vito, the usually silent member of the gang, yelled out, “‘Merits’, man! ‘Carrots’ and ‘merits’, you see?”

“Merits?” I asked.

“Yeah, man,” Vito proudly said. “It’s the plural of merit. It means good qualities.”

I nodded and gave it some thought. Merits. Yes, I liked it! Now that I had this great new word to use, I wanted to immediately get back to work on my song. However, fate had other things in store for me. Fate and one rapidly approaching, very ugly animal.

There he was – the most demented looking bunny I’d ever seen. All three of the Bloody Vegetarians screamed and ran away, leaving me alone with this horrible monster. He was looking at me like he wanted to eat me for dinner.

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I ran away as fast as I could, but the bunny was much faster than I was. He got ahead of me and quickly stopped and blocked my path. He turned and we stared at each other. I suddenly realized that I had seen him once before.

He was the same demented bunny who had killed my cousin Fred earlier in the year. But he hadn’t just killed Fred. He’d also done unspeakable things to Fred’s corpse.

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The freaky bunny charged towards me. I didn’t want to end up like Fred, so I decided to fight. I quickly removed the lid from my still very hot pumpkin latte drink and I hurled the cup at the bunny’s face.  The still-steaming liquid splattered all over his head, from his ridiculous looking ears, down to his obnoxiously long whiskers.

He screamed in agony for several seconds and then he started to calm down. The bunny bent over and licked some of the drink that had landed on his little paws. He looked back up at me.

“This is absolutely delicious,” he said. “Is this a pumpkin spice latte?”

“Yes. From the Starbucks on 8th Street.”

“This is the tastiest thing I’ve every had in my life. Even tastier than your cousin Fred,” the bunny said. “I must go to Starbucks immediately and get one of these.”

I was going to say something to him about Fred, but I decided to let it go. I’d never even liked Fred very much. “You’d better hurry. The store is going to close soon.”

The freaky bunny nodded at me and then he ran off. I sat there for several minutes and thought how lucky I was to still be alive.

I got up and started walking again. My new gratitude for life caused energy to flow through me and I was overcome with joy. It made me want to sing. And this time I got even further with my song.

Not so far away…there is a magic land of carrots. Don’t judge us by our orange skin…but judge us by our merits!”

I was thrilled with my new lyrics and I finished writing the song later that day. I’ve  even recently began work on another new song, this one all about pumpkin spice lattes.

But that is a song for another day…

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The above story was inspired by a writing challenge that I’m participating in. The name of the challenge is the #WingWritingChallenge and it was created by writer J.C. Wing.

The prompt for this particular challenge was the words “far away.”

I had a lot of fun writing this one. I hope you had fun reading it. Have a great day!

P.S. – Go get a pumpkin latte. They’re delicious.

 

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#BeingBuddy: All Hail The King of Procrastination

Greetings, my good people. I am Buddy Gott, The King of Procrastination. No, no. Thank you, but no kneeling is required. Please stand up. Now sit down. Now stand back up and take two steps to your right. Do as the King says, my minions! Okay, I’m kidding. I’ll stop. Please relax now and make yourself comfortable as I tell you about my life in royalty.

I’ve held my title of The King of Procrastination for a very long time. I’ve wanted to give up my crown for many years, but I kept putting it off. (Get it? Haha!) Seriously, though, I am happy to report that I’ve been working on recognizing my problem and I’m changing my ways. I’m procrastinating less and less and there’s even been talk that I may get impeached and I’ll no longer be the King.

But even though I’ve been the King, procrastination certainly isn’t exclusive to me, is it? I know quite a few people who have problems with procrastinating. I see my friends joke about it online nearly every day.

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So, why do we all do it? I guess the answers are different for each of us and can change from day to day, but for me, it’s usually because of some element of fear. As I’ve been learning more and more lately, fear has played a very large part in my life in many different ways.

What kind of fears do I have that make me procrastinate? Well, let’s take a look at something like me writing this posting. I write a new post every week and I usually have very little trouble writing them. However, for whatever reason, this week’s posting made me feel intimidated. I had a feeling that I wouldn’t be able to come up with anything good for a topic. Then I came up with a topic (not this one) and thought it was rotten and I abandoned it.

Looking back now, it wasn’t a bad idea at all, but I’d gotten myself into a negative kind of funk and then things started to spiral. I was doubting everything I was going to do and it had all started with fear. That’s basically always been the main reason why I’ve procrastinated with my writings. Whether it’s a posting here on my site, or work I’m doing on a book, I often put things off because I’m unsure of what I’m going to create or I’m unsure of the quality of it. Then I put those things off until later…or until never at all.

But here’s the thing. When I actually do whatever it is I was afraid of, it’s never as bad as I think it’s going to be. I’m not claiming that everything I do is wonderful, but doing something, doing anything is better than doing nothing at all.

So, if you’re like me and there are things that you hesitate doing because of some sort of fear you have, try your best to push through it. Don’t put it off until later if it’s something you feel you need to do or that you want to do.

Just do it as soon as you can. The sooner you do it, the sooner it won’t be something that’s bothering you. Do it now and chances are good that you’ll feel better almost immediately. And not even because of what you did or how you did it.

You’ll mainly be feeling better because you didn’t quit. You had a goal and you met it. You won.

Plus, if you do those kinds of things now and don’t put them off until later, you’ll have less of a chance of being the person who replaces me as The King (or Queen) of Procrastination.

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Oh, sure. You might like the idea of wearing a crown. I understand that. Just remember, though, that not everyone looks good wearing a crown. You could end up looking creepy.

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VERY, VERY CREEPY!!!

 

 

#BeingBuddy: Staycations Can Be The Best Vacations

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Vacations are great, aren’t they? We all need to recharge our batteries from time to time and vacations are a perfect way to do that. My wife and I are on vacation right now and it’s been wonderful.

So, where did we go this week? Well, not very far. In fact, we had to drive somewhere yesterday and it was the first time in six days that we even got into our car. We’ve either been staying inside relaxing together or we’ve been going on walks to nearby parks like the one in the above picture.

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Oh, my goodness. What the heck happened to my hair? Well, thankfully, nothing for real. One of the relaxing and downright silly things I’ve done this week is to play with apps that do things like that. I also found a groovy one that made me look 30 years older.

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Rock on, Old Buddy. Rock on!

So, what else have I done this week? Well, Lisa and I both spent a lot of time writing. She’s gotten a lot of work done on her new book and I’ve done a lot of work on mine. Neither of us have put too much pressure on ourselves, though. If we felt like writing, we did. If we didn’t, we didn’t. After all, we’re on vacation! What I think is especially cool is that I bet that part of the reason we were both able to accomplish so much is because of how relaxed we’ve been.

IMG_1419 Even our cat Nikita embraced the spirit of Vacation Week and decided to take it easy most of the days. Alright, come to think of it, she does this every day anyway…but still, I think she has the right idea here.

You know what else we did? Color and draw! Here’s my favorite creation of the week:

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And you know what? It really has been all good. I’d rank this as one of the best vacations I’ve ever had. I have absolutely no problem with people going away on trips for vacations and I often love to do it myself. Traveling can be wonderful. In fact, we’re planning a big getaway next year and I know it will be awesome.

But there’s a lot to be said for just staying at home and having a “staycation.” It’s nice to not have to worry about traveling anywhere and being able to just totally take it easy at home.

I highly, highly recommend it.

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#BeingBuddy: Erasing Fear and Making Art

I can say, without a doubt, that the biggest obstacle to my writing fiction has always been fear.

What exactly have I been so afraid of? Well, that’s a good question.

If I thought you had three or four hours to hear my complete answer, I’d go ahead and share it here. Nah, it’s not that bad. I’m just joking.

Or am I? Actually, I’m one of those people who very often hides behind humor to mask what I’m really feeling or thinking. I’ve done it most of my life and I’m a master at it.

So, why do I do that? Well, it goes back to a lot of fear. Myself and countless others often hide our true selves behind jokes or other sorts of walls because we’re scared of sharing what’s deepest inside of us – our true selves. We often do it because we’re fearful of what others will think about us if we share who we really are.

Will people say that we’re weird? That we’re stupid for thinking the way that we do? That we’re just a bunch of big losers?

Having those sorts of fears is very hard for anyone, but I think it’s especially detrimental to those of us who want to make art. Whether you’re writing or making music or doing anything else where you’re creating art, the best way to do it is to dig deep into yourself and use what’s inside of you.

For me, when I’ve truly gotten into a project and dug deep into myself and written without fear, those times have been my most enjoyable times writing. Where I’ve gotten myself into trouble is when I’ve been fearful of what others would think of those writings. Would people think my stuff was weird? Would they say that I had no talent? Would I be a failure in their eyes?

But then I’d take it to an even worse place. I’d totally abandon those writing projects because of those stupid fears. And then I’d feel like a failure. But I realize now that I wasn’t feeling that way because I felt that I had no talent or that I lacked passion. I was feeling like a failure because I was letting my fears cripple me and totally stop me from doing what I wanted to be doing.

And that’s a shame, isn’t it? I’ve done the above and countless others do the same thing every day. And it’s not even because of other people actually criticizing or being mean to us. It’s because of our fears of those things happening.

But what does it really matter even if people don’t like what we do? Yes, we all want to have approval from others and that’s totally understandable. But if we’re not doing what we truly want to do because we think someone’s going to disapprove of us, aren’t we selling ourselves incredibly short? If we let our fears stop us like that, aren’t we stopping ourselves from reaching our true potentials? From being not only who we really want to be, but also from who we really need to be?

I did it for far too long and I’m not going to do it any more. I’m going to write like I’ve never written before. No more fears. If I feel like writing something, I’m going to write something. When those old fears try to hit me, I’m going to hit them back even harder and then erase them from existence.

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I didn’t realize it until very recently, but I am much stronger than those fears are.

So, like me, if you want to write, then you should write. Sing if you want to sing. Dance if you want to dance. Do whatever you feel passionate about and never let your fears stop you from being who you really are. Do you want to truly be happy? Then make sure you keep being the you that you want to be. That you need to be.

I’m going to do the same. I’m going to keep being Buddy.

#BeingBuddy: Writing Journey Update – Outlining

This has been a very good week for me.

As I mentioned in an earlier posting, I’ve been making a very loose outline of what I want my first book to include and exclude. Part of how I’ve done it is that I made a long list of things that I tend to like and dislike in stories.

skeletonFrom there, I took the things I liked most and then made another list that was kind of a skeletal outline for a story. It didn’t go into creating detailed characters or a detailed plot, but it gave me an idea of what I wanted my own story to look like and it gave me a structure to build the story around.

For an example of what I mean, let’s pretend that I made a list of things that I liked and it would later result in the story of the first Star Wars movie. However, my loose outline is so loose that it first looks something like this:

– Main character (MC) is young and naive, yet is a likeable underdog.

–  MC strongly desires to have big adventures, but is stuck in a life that he feels is holding him back.

–  A tragedy occurs and it instantly changes his life, forcing him to face big challenges.

– With the new challenges come new friends, romance, and an evil enemy.

– He overcomes the challenges, defeats the enemy, and becomes the hero that he always wanted to be.

Very vague, right? But something like this could turn into Star Wars. Actually, the above “bones” of my skeletal outline add up to the basic structure for a lot of different movies and books.

The trick, of course, is in filling in those blanks with great characters, settings, a detailed plot, etc. But that comes later.

So, I came up with my own skeletal outline and then let it sit for awhile. As more ideas (bones) came to me, I added them to the outline (skeleton.) Then it wasn’t long before I started getting more detailed visions about who the characters would be and what exactly the plot would be.

I was able to fill in the blanks. Now I know where I’m headed next with this story and I’m very excited about writing it.

So, what is it going to be about?  Well, I’ve decided to currently keep that a secret. I’m not even going to say which genre the story is. My work in process will be totally Top Secret for a little while.

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Ooh, my wife just came up with a great idea. She suggested that until I’m ready to share exactly what my book is, I could refer to it as my #TopSecretWIP.

Oh, yeah. I like that a lot.

So, I am off now to listen to some music and get back to work on my novel. I’ll be back soon and will continue sharing how it’s going with my #TopSecretWIP.

If you’re writing, then I wish you Happy Writing. If you’re not writing…well, be happy doing whatever you’re doing.

See you around…