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London New Year’s Day Parade January 1, 2013

Posted by nrhatch in Music & Dance.

This morning, at a quarter to dawn, we turned on WUSFK to watch the London New Year’s Day Parade. 

At 10:30, we watched the USF Marching Band “Rolling in the Deep” . . .


A few minutes later, we saw the horn section “tooting their own horns” in Parliament Square . . .


And, then, in the Grand Finale, we saw our niece FULL SCREEN . . .


Here’s the youtube clip of . . . HOT Band in London.

Aah . . . that’s better!

The Writer’s Desk ~ A Contest Giveaway!!! January 1, 2013

Posted by nrhatch in Humor, Word Play, Writing & Writers.

In the process of tidying  my office for the advent of 2013, I came upon a slim book, The Writer’s Desk, by Jill Krementz,  which might interest more than a few of you.

So I’m going to auction it off to the highest bidder and use the proceeds to fuel my chocolate addiction for the coming year.  😉

Mmm . . . C~H~O~C~O~L~A~T~E!

Let the bidding war begin . . .

As indicated on Amazon, The Writer’s Desk is a sought after collector’s item ~ $100 for a new copy; 22 used copies from $36.

OK.  Now that I’ve got your attention, I’m actually going to GIVE my copy of The Writer’s Desk to the winner of The First Ever Annual SLTW Writer’s Desk Competition.

Contest Giveaway Rules:

1.  Write a short essay or poem (between 33 and 100 words) about your writing desk, your writing rituals, why you write, how you write, how you stop writing, or . . . surprise us with a tantalizing tidbit about your writing life.

Sample essays (from the book):

a.  I like to think of some scene, it doesn’t matter how crazy, and work backward and forward from it until eventually it becomes quite plausible and fits neatly into the story.  I’ve just finished another novel, in fact . . . It really is funny.  It’s worked out awfully well.  I’m rather worried about the next one.  It will be a letdown almost.  I don’t want to be like Bernard Shaw.  He turned out some awfully bad stuff in his nineties.  He said he knew the stuff was bad but he couldn’t stop writing.

~ Sir Pelham Grenville Wodehouse (a/k/a P.G. Wodehouse)

b.  I don’t take notes.  I don’t outline.  I don’t do anything like that.  I just flail away at the goddamned thing .  .  . I’m a salami writer.  I try to write good salami, but salami is salami.  You can’t sell it as caviar.

~ Stephen King

c.  I surround myself with objects that carry with them a personal history ~ old books, bowls and boxes, splintering chairs and benches from Imperial China.  I imagine the people who once turned the pages or rubbed their palms on the surfaces.  While they were thinking ~ thinking what?  And then I hear my yappy little dog.  Bubba Zo is my distraction, my reminder to get up and go for a walk before he pees on the carpet.  I now include a lot of dog metaphors in my writing.

~ Amy Tan

d.  I prefer to get up very early in the morning and work.  I don’t want to speak to anybody or see anybody.  Perfect silence.  I work until the vein is out.  There’s something about the way you feel, you know when the well is dry, that you’ll have to wait till tomorrow and it’ll be full up again.

~ Katherine Anne Porter

e.  I don’t ask writers about their work habits.  I really don’t care.  Joyce Carol Oates says somewhere that when writers ask each other what time they start working and when they finish and how much time they take for lunch, they’re actually trying to find out, “Is he as crazy as I am?”  I don’t need that question answered.

~ Philip Roth

2.  Illustrate your essay or poem with a photo, drawing, or other visual depiction of your favorite writing space.


Summer 019b

Or out:

Summer 021b

Since a picture is worth one thousand words, that gives verbose sorts a fighting chance to win the contest. 

3.  Post the illustrated essay or poem on your blog.  No blog?  No problem:

* Start one.  I’m serious.  WordPress is always looking for new bloggers.
* Don’t want to start a blog?  Do a guest post on a friend’s blog.

4.  Link back to this post in your post . . . or post a link to your illustrated and illuminating essay or poem in the comment thread below.

5.  Invite your friends to play along.  If we get more than 25 entries, I may toss another prize into the pot for the 2nd place finisher ~ also, probably, a writing book of some sort.  If we get more than 50 entries, prizes might be awarded for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place finishers.  If we get more than 100 entries, I might have to extend the judging time.

Additional prizes will be announced as and when added. 

6.  Contest link submissions must be posted by Robbie Burns’ Birthday.  If you don’t know who Robbie Burns is, think Haggis.  If you don’t know what Haggis is, count your blessings and eat a scone.

Wikipedia ~ Robbie Burns (in Public Domain)


7.  After I’m done toasting the greatest Scot of all time,” I’ll read through the contest entries and pick three (3) favorites using a 10-point scale:

Essay ~ 5 points + 2 bonus points if you make me laugh out loud
Photo ~ 2 points + 1 bonus point if I turn green with envy

I will do my best to be fair and impartial.  I will also do my best to narrow it down to three (3) finalists . . . but I reserve the right to pick up to seven (7) finalists if I’m feeling indecisive.   Judge’s decisions (and indecisions) FINAL.

8.  On Groundhog’s Day, I’ll post the top 3-7 essays and photos for you to vote on.   Mark your calendars.

If you don’t know when Groundhog’s Day is . . . ask Punxsutawny Phil.

9.  If you make the finals you may ask your friends to vote for you.  And you may, of course, vote for yourself.  But only once.  No stuffing the ballot box.

And don’t hang your hopes on hanging chads ~ they do NOT count.

10.  Voting will close at noon, EST (Eastern Standard Time), on Valentine’s Day (the day Sir Pelham Grenville Wodehouse died, at the ripe age of 93).

Vinegar Valentine, circa 1900 (in Public Domain)

11.  Sending me chocolates for Valentine’s Day will NOT increase your chance of winning, but it will make me smile . . . see above photo.

12.  No purchase necessary.

13.  Only one entry per person . . . even if you have more than one blog.

IMGP2049bThe final vote is in your hands, not mine . . . all ballots cast will be transparent to all concerned.

You’ll see.  😉

Once the contest closes and the votes are counted, the winner of The First Ever Annual SLTW Writer’s Desk Competition will receive my copy of The Writer’s Desk!



Great!  On your mark, get set . . . go sit at your writer’s desk, put on your writing cap, open a vein, and let the words flow, gush, or sputter as they will.

If you’re stumped about what to write and/or stymied by writer’s block, say “C~H~E~E~S~E!” . . . and take a photo of your frustration and/or confusion to illustrate your  poem or essay.

Aah . . . that’s better!

The VOTE is OPEN . . . click here!