#AtoZChallenge: T is for Three Hundred Writing Prompts (Guilt)

stormtrooper love 2018 opp antique store

Way up here, there’s no Wi-Fi.

AtoZ2019TWhich is good. That means I can’t check email or get lost on Instagram. Again. It means it’s a good idea, while I’m on this flight, for me to have packed a couple of books loaded with writing prompts on my way to San Jose.

I got a little help from the girl next to me on the plane – after we’d sufficiently gushed over how incredible the cookies they give out are (I even scored three extra packs from the flight attendant – and folded up an origami peacock in appreciation).

My seatmate chose two prompts for me to write on from the book 300 Writing Prompts (Piccadilly 2017):

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#AtoZChallenge: J is for Journalist, a #GirlsRock Interview with Esther Robards-Forbes

stormtrooper scarf 2018 photos antique shop

It’s cool when I run into someone in the biz.

AtoZ2019JNo, not showbiz. The newspaper biz. Usually, you can tell by the scuffed shirt cuffs and clothes bought in 1986. Used. Not in this case, though. Esther Robards-Forbes and I both worked for the Charlotte Observer back in the day.

She’s now in public relations at the University of Texas.

We had a conversation years ago that would have been one of the earliest #GirlsRock interviews. Instead, it sat in drafts, like those old archive rooms back in the newsroom. It was an awesome find for me.

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#AtoZChallenge: E is for Every Day Gratitude

stormtrooper pepsi 2018 thirsty antique shop
I’m grateful for photo ops in antique stores when I happen to have a stormtrooper in my pocket.

My journal has taken a beating.

AtoZ2019ELiterally and figuratively. Before last night, I hadn’t written in it for weeks. Also, the back cover has fallen off. There are about five pages left in her, and it looks like it spent a season getting kicked around on Gilligan’s Island.

Gratitude is easy to come back to, it seems.

It wasn’t as if I’d abandoned #gratitudeandshit. It’s part of every day. It just wasn’t getting written down. So I had some old things in there. Things such as, I’m grateful for new episodes of Silver Spoons and I’m grateful for my new calculator watch.

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#GirlsRock: An Interview with Master Careers Director Laurie James

stormtrooper owl february coffee gatlinburg tn
We used to send Madison pictures of every owl we came across. Who am I kidding? We still do.

Writing is like an onion.

Strike that. Writing is like a river. No, doesn’t feel right. Writing is like … well, something you have to peel back sometimes. And it’s also something that flows, sometimes beyond its banks, but can never really be stopped.

So maybe writing is like an onion river.

In any case, today’s #GirlsRock guest knows a very specific art of writing: The resume. That sneaky thing we prance about when we’re unhappy at work or … out of a job. It’s the key to everything, yet we often treat it as an afterthought.

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#GirlsRock: An interview with recruiter Liz Khodak

stormtrooper buffalo elk lion
Kind of reminds me of a Madonna video.

A writer finds himself, you know, between chapters sometimes.

When that happens, he finds the usual roundup of possibilities: Contract jobs that never seem to fill, positions for nameless companies that might want to talk to you. Maybe. If only you could talk with someone who can find you a job you’d love

Meet Liz Khodak.

Visiting her office uptown during a job search years ago was different. We sat at a table and talked. She listened. She took notes. (I tried to read them, but I’m lousy at reading upside down.) It was a very different experience.

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Go Ask Daddy about family dynamics, flavoring coloring and manned Martian missions

stormtrooper antique store records
Vinyl is making a comeback. What happened to all my Hall & Oates albums?

I grew up uncle rich.

I’m not talking rich uncles. I’m talking men who took the role to heart. I want to recognize each here with a little shoutout. I love them all (and my aunts too).

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10 Things Grateful, plus a lesson about staying plugged in

stormtrooper toys
I don’t know who these little guys are.

I lost my charger.

Not the Dollar General one. The one that goes to my work computer. It’s an Apple MacBook Pro charger. It costs about the same as the Pittsburgh Pirates payroll. I left it plugged in in the media tent during All-Star weekend. (I was hungry and distracted.)

I bought a replacement at a lower cost – about the same as the payroll of the Kansas City Royals, for comparison.

It’s not as fast and fancy. But it works. Thing is, I need to keep plugged in almost always, so I don’t get distracted and hungry and wind up with 7% battery and 37 stories to write. I can also plug my iPhone into this little charger that could.

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#GirlsRock: An interview with NFL podcaster Justine Turley

stormtrooper antique store

I’m so grateful to be in the right place at the right time.

That’s how it happened in the press box at Bank of America Stadium this past NFL season. That’s where I met Justine Turley. Her podcast, The Pow Wow, is about the Carolina Panthers, and her co-host is Panthers radio guy Eugene Robinson.

He played in the NFL and has identified Justine’s rare talents.

Those talents were apparent to me, too. We struck up a conversation and I knew in an instant she’d be a perfect fit for #GirlsRock. She graciously answered my questions, and as I kept up with her podcast through the season, I saw her grow even more.

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10 things grateful, plus a college signing

stormtrooper tonka tag sale

One week in.

I made it this far. Not gracefully. It’s 1:14 and I promised myself 1 hour, 14 minutes ago to get to bed at midnight like a normal person. Wait. Don’t normal people get to sleep at even decenter hours than that?

Blogging again has been better than any of the high school reunions I never went to.

I’m seeing friends again and spending less time in aimless pursuits. I’m also falling asleep at inopportune times and really need to work on that. I have a fantastic guest post live just before this one that deserves a load of promotion as big as the donuts I dream of.

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Go Ask Daddy about firehouse monitoring, NFL turkeys and mashed up chickpeas

stormtrooper antique shop shells green jars
Here’s to sea glass, sunsets and sales in beachside gift shops.

The comeback is complete.

GAD GRAPHICI haven’t done a Go Ask Daddy post since … the last time the Rams were in the Super Bowl. Or the Patriots didn’t cheat. That was 1776. Anyway, it’s been a while, and the girls’ questions are different now, but I still have 250 unanswered waiting on a spreadsheet.

Here’s how it works.

I select five questions each week randomly. They come from a trove of inquiries my girls ask. I capture them on bits of paper or in my phone note-taking app or in sharpie on my skin. (Not really, that last one.) Most I forget if I don’t write them down immediately.

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