642 Things To Write About, Or: My Friend Writer’s BlockJuly 7, 2016
By Alex Stahlmann,
I fancy myself a writer, but when I’m given the opportunity to write whatever my heart desires – like right now, with this Peepshow post – I’m often confronted with an old friend: writer’s block. We just sit there staring at each other. No one moves. No one talks. Silence. It’s kind of a boring scene. In fact, come to think of it, I don’t even like writer’s block. He’s a pain in my ass, and, to my recollection, hasn’t contributed anything positive to our long-lasting friendship!
In attempts to hone my craft while simultaneously curbing visits from dreaded writer’s block, I bought a book: 642 Things to Write About. As a result, you get the privilege of learning about the most recent incident in my life that made me upset.
What was the most recent incident in your life that made you upset?
I have this dog, right? His name is Prince James Murphy, but we just call him Murphy, and that gets shortened to Murph, naturally. Murph is pretty excellent, but here’s the deal: He’s a puppy, and puppies can be hella annoying. Not only does he know how to pull on my heartstrings, he knows how to push my buttons. He knows exactly which ones will get me fired up, and if he’s in a mood he’ll shove them in until they stick.
After waking up at the crack of dawn to let Murph out to relieve himself after the night, a walk about the neighborhood and some playtime in the backyard, Murph still hadn’t taken care of his secondary business. You know, pooped. Prior to getting a dog, I never would have thought one could be so concerned about another animal’s bowel movements as I am now. Alas, there I was, kickin’ it with Murph, asking him if he needed to “doo doo.” (My girlfriend hates that I say “doo doo” when I’m trying to get Murphy to go number two. I think it’s hilarious.)
“Dude. You need to doo doo, or what? Last chance, bud. Doo doo now or hold it ‘till I get home. Doo doo, Murphy. Doo doo.” I urged.
Instead of doo dooing like a rational being, Murph looked straight into my eyes and bolted for the raspberry bushes. I can’t be certain, but I have a feeling the unripe berries he’s been pilfering have made things… less solid. Hence, he’s not supposed to have them. By the time I made my way over, Murph grabbed one more tart treat from the bush and dashed right on to the hostas. Hostas are known to make dogs sick and can even cause depression. Knowing of the evil plant’s adverse effects – I’ve warned him, you see – Murph hid until my arrival, ripped off a leaf and dashed right back to the raspberry bushes – all the while chewing on his poisonous prize. The cycle continued, and each time I approached I was greeted with what the dog-training books refer to as mouthing. Let’s call it what it is: Murph tried to bite me each time I came within range. Not hard, mind you. Likely playful. Yet, a habit we’re attempting to check.
Needing to end the “playful” sequence, I commanded Murph to sit, treated him, and brought my now-muddied dog back into the house. Was I upset? Yes. Am I upset now? Not really. Will Murph do this again? Likely. Will he doo doo when I get home and let him out of his crate? I really hope so.
So, why buy a book full of writing prompts? It’s simple, really. First, as you already know, I hate writer’s block. 642 Things to Write About essentially eradicates that problem. Second, if I hadn’t, you wouldn’t have learned about my dog’s bowel movements and tenacity for play at exactly the wrong times! Third, and most importantly, I enjoy writing and I want to be better at it. It’s no secret that practice makes perfect, and having 642 prompts at my fingertips allows me to skip the intimidating, grueling task of landing on the perfect subject and lets me jump right into the joys of composition.