All We Are is Dollars in a Wallet

The husband and I run an online dice store, Game Master Dice. I’ll write about the whole, sordid history of acquisition and the daily running of it one day; for now, I wish to discuss a phenomenon one experiences in sales:

Everyone is a walking wallet.

My husband told me that awhile ago, when I complained about how pressured I feel at stores. These days, I feel it everywhere. Websites, billboards, friends, store aisles -they are all trying to get a bit of my money. No –all of my money. It’s just a matter of who can grab it first with the brightest ad and the most compelling sales pitch.

Most of us learn to resist, mostly. Otherwise we’d not be living with a roof and walls whilst wearing clothes.

But the onslaught is relentless! I know that advertising has been around since before Pompeii. I know that companies have always sought the best way to purchase ad space in our brains. I also know that ads were less insidious, even when the mental takeover involved a catchy jingle.

If businesses could, they would literally brainwash us to buy. I incorporated that idea in my serial science fiction story.

I’ve thought about all these sales tactics lately because we’re trying to ramp up sales in the dice store. We are therefore pulling out the tricks I use(d) when doing paid content writing: keywords, tags, linking, Instagram and Pinterest and Facebook…

We want to make a living, but sales and marketing have always made me uncomfortable.

My consolation is that we’re marketing to people who want to purchase what we sell. They’re going online to find a dice set or a Reaper miniature or a dice cup, and we’re trying to point them down our little aisle of the internet. It’s not like we’ve popped up during their drive with a BUY OUR DICE NOW!!

Right?

I remember a job interview waaaaay back when, during which they asked me if I’d be comfortable selling their product to customers who called in. I had nailed the interview up to that point; I knew it. My answer to that question, I also knew, shot me right in the foot.

So how comfortable do you feel advertising? Do you tell friends and neighbors about a great deal without any qualms at all? Would you rather stay out of the Rat Race entirely and go live on Walden Pond?

If you get 10 of your friends to read and comment …yeah, nevermind.

—————-

If you read what I wrote this week, I guarantee you won’t be pressured to purchase anything:
Wednesday, July 24: “Summer Days Ain’t Lazy at All.” I complained about pregnancy.

Thursday, July 25: “The Top Ten Reasons I Can’t Write Romance.” Also complaining, but in a humorous way.

Friday, July 26: Winner of the Weekly Terribly Poetry Contest. Congratulations to Rasmus K. Robot and Charles!

Saturday, July 27: Announced the 36th Weekly Terrible Poetry Contest. The theme is your ‘favorite’ relative (who’s really not). PLEASE ENTER!

Sunday, July 28: “One More Day,” in response to Carrot Ranch’s prompt. Someone else was complaining.

Monday, July 29: An inspirational quote by Joseph B. Wirthlin. He says to stop complaining.

Tuesday, July 30: “Wilhelmina Winters, Ninety-Eight.”

Wednesday, July 31: Today.

I also posted all this week at my motherhood site. I wrote “Manic Kids? Try Snacks!,” “Why the Heck Would Anyone Get Pregnant?,” and “Pregnancy Limerick.”

 

©2019 Chelsea Owens

Wilhelmina Winters, Ninety-Eight

Wil and her father hadn’t time nor thought for conversation. The old Winters sedan sped along at a rate Wil worried over, given its age. Not until a few blocks from school did she realize the tire wasn’t flat anymore.

“You fixed the car!” she exclaimed.

Rob grunted. Wil remembered that her father preferred one task at a time. He also preferred that task to never be talking. Still, she wanted to cheer him up some. “Good work,” she ventured, stealing a peripheral glance. His profile softened and the half-mouth she could see almost smiled.

They rode the final street in their former silence. Wil’s school loomed out of the morning grey. Rob tore toward its curb and parked next to an old patch of slush. Besides a few straggling teenagers arriving in similar fashion to Wil’s; the muddy, uphill patch of dead grass to the doors was empty.

“‘Bye, Dad!” She stole a kiss on her father’s cheek, caught her pullover on her seatbelt, and forgot to pull the door latch to open it. She was too busy extricating herself from belt and car to see her father’s quick, swallowed smile.

The door slammed behind her as he answered, “‘Bye, Mina.” She raced up the slippery lawn. Rob watched in tired bemusement before pulling away; he needed to get to work.

Not until Wil entered the school itself and made for her locker did she notice she’d forgotten her bag. Doing a quick about-face, she thanked whatever Being lived above that Mr. Saltz hardly cared if anyone even showed up to his class. English would be the only difficulty; they needed to bring their novel to read aloud.

“It’s not like half the class can read anyway…” she muttered. She stomped down the hall, preoccupied. Her left boot wheezed a soft *Eeeee* as she walked. Upstairs, left, straight she walked. Maybe Miss Riles will loan me a book. Formulating a future conversation in her mind, she turned and walked into the Math classroom.

And straight into her teacher. “Oh!” Mr. S. said, surprised.

Wil stopped dead. All eyes were on her and all the faces showed equal surprise to the teacher’s, but not for long. A snicker started somewhere and it soon spread to the rest of her peers.

Mr. S. appeared at a loss. He’d been interrupted mid-lecture by a student, and the other students seemed diverted. Wil took advantage of his distraction and made for the nearest empty spot. She sat and faced forward; every inch an attentive, responsible pupil.

Their teacher cleared his throat. He glanced back at his notes on the white board; unfortunately, he hadn’t written anything there yet. “Hmmm,” he said. His eyes fell on his packet on the desk. “Ah! Exponents!”

The lecture resumed; allowing the rest of the class to return to their usual, inattentive behaviors. Wil hoped she could manage the remainder of the day without drawing attention to herself. Given her experience, she doubted it.

 

Continued from Ninety-Seven.
Keep reading to Ninety-Nine.

 

©2019 Chelsea Owens

“Those who stand at the threshold of life always waiting for the right time to change are like the man who stands at the bank of a river waiting for the water to pass so he can cross on dry land.

“Today is the day of decision.”

-Joseph B. Wirthlin, “Three Choices,” October 2003

One More Day

Smoky, slatted sunlight lay in lines across the staring face. Soon, only a muted glowing shone there as the associated hand pulled the blinds closed again. *Snap*

He’d said he’d be different; for one more day. That had been a gigantic step, vocalizing. Into the dark of night and mind he’d stood and whispered, “Tomorrow, I go out.”

A laugh escaped the lips. Whose, he did not know; but then, he did. A distant memory of non-lined sunlight views and happier company than his own filtered to recollection.

Then; he was sure he’d laughed. Then; she had, too.

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What came to me for Carrot Ranch‘s prompt this week: for one day.

July 25, 2019, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story that includes the phrase “for one day.” The words single out a special occurrence. What is the emotion and vibe, where does it take place and why? Go where the prompt leads!

Respond by July 30, 2019. Use the comment section below to share, read, and be social. You may leave a link, pingback, or story in the comments. If you want to be published in the weekly collection, please use the form.  Rules & Guidelines.

 

Photo Credit:
Ethan Sykes

 

©2019 Chelsea Owens

The Weekly Terrible Poetry Contest

Welcome to Terrible Poetry Contest #36!

Need a bit of guidance? Read my basic outline here. This is the sort of contest only undertaken by the satirical at heart, by the artists who know that starving is a silly way to be.

Here are the specifics for this week:

  1. Topic: A tribute to your ‘favorite’ relative. We all have them: that maternal aunt who means well, that grandfather who keeps asking when you’re going to make something of yourself, that sister who’s so successful you just want to bless her heart.
  2. Length is totally up to you, but I prefer short. Grandma probably does too, Dearie.
  3. Rhyming is optional. You do what feels right to you, like that time you were with what’s-his-face -remember? That didn’t end well, now did it? -Of course, your relationships usually don’t turn out for the best. I was just telling your mother, the other day, that…
  4. Speaking of, I’m sure your mother would have something to tell her bridge club if you made it terrible. We wouldn’t want yet another Christmas where I only have your collection of Star Wars toys to share in the family newsletter, now would we?
  5. Let’s not shock your relatives, unless cementing your status as a Black Sheep is your thing. PG-13 or classier is fine.

You have till 8:00 a.m. MST next Friday (August 2) to submit a poem.

Use the form below if you want to be anonymous for a week.

If not, and for a more social experience, include your poem or a link to it in the comments.

Have fun!

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Photo credit:
Ashwin Vaswani

WINNER of the Weekly Terrible Poetry Contest

As is becoming a theme, the day’s nearly passed and I’ve finally had time to read through everyone’s entry.

Since I know you all skip to this part anyway, the winners are:

Lugubrious University

by Rasmus K. Robot

Darkness descends in the night of mourning
Glory be, I shall write sunrise in dew-mornings
Profundity in me is profuse
So for pomp I use
my lucubrations with candles at night for taunting

AND

The Nearer the Bone, the Sweeter the Meter

by Charles

There once was a poet named “Peter”
Who said, when set up with a nice wholesome intelligent and attractive girl who couldn’t have been any sweeter,
“I must write a poem
I have to rush home
and, then I’ll be pleased to meter”

Congratulations, Rasmus and Charles! You are the most terrible poets of the week!

Selecting a winner was very difficult. You all did very well; sometimes too well. Our two winners wrote terrible limericks that kept to the theme, enlisted some annoying poetic element (Rasmus: language, Charles: that second line), and were an overall disaster to read.

Here are the remaining talented poets and their submissions:

The poet from Wigan

by JWebster2

There was a young poet from Wigan
Whose muse was rather a big one
And what was worse
She couldn’t do verse
Just sat in the dark with her wig on

—–

Shakespeare’s Legacy

by Kristian

Shakespeare was incredibly clever

But he wrote terribly dull poems, however,

And when his day was done,

His poems still live on

Because they’ve been taught in our schools forever.

—–

Untitled piece

by Rasmus K. Robot

Heat is hot and I’m told not very cold
’tis known she’s got the pot and the gold
she’s got the hot dress on
that she’ll not long don
and befuddled and muddled a fortune foretold

—–

Untitled piece

by Peregrine Arc

There once was an old man named Stan
Who won the Poet Laureate, upper hand
He was celebrated all over, was featured in a Doodle;
He held five hour lectures in Tucson, Dover and Vancouver
And Google decided to replace his day with an Homage to Poodles.

🐩 Arf.

—–

Untitled piece

by Deb Whittam

There was a gentleman called Charles,
Who posted posts which were kind of bizarre.
But when he failed to be terrible,
He complained and stated it would never do,
He was a failure but in reality he’d only tried too hard.

—–

That’s me

by John S

Bukowski, Rossetti, and Poe
All wrote good poetry, so
Drafting a page
Earned them a wage
Back when a writer could crow.

I write some verse nowadays,
No one knows me anyways
Posting on blogs,
I write and I slog,
My poetry sucks more than slays.

—–

In praise of Shakespeare making up words

by Bruce Goodman

There once was a poet from Stratford
Who regarded himself as absolutely confabulatfid
He wrote many a sonnet
And then said Oh! Donnit!
I didn’t mean to be so desderpolygnatfid.

—–

Avril’s Fool Deux

by Reality

There is a poet named reality

Who struggles with humanity’s finality

Whilst artsy fartsy, namby pamby,

Touchy feely, airy faery

According tutu (to two), and frivality.

—–

Untitled piece

by Gary

There once was a Boris who wanted to be a Poet
He thought he was better than us that’s why he only drunk Moët
He thought it was ok to lie, cheat and bluff it all the way to the top
He even had his hairstyled like his best friend Donald’s flop
Unbelievably one day he became a poet wouldn’t you ******** know it

As this is PG of course ********* means just. In no way does it mean effing.

—–

A Bunch of Jerks

by LWBUT

A doddering politician named Boris

Was desiring of very high office.

Where, with his junior jerks,

They’d acquire loads of perks,

While all the time ripping our wealth off us!

—–

LaPoettessa

by Ruth Scribbles

The poet she know’d it she showed it
She wrote it she spoke it she fidgets
Her lyrics they rhyme
Every blasted line
She renamed herself LaPoettessa

—–

Thanks again for all the fun! Visit here again around 10 a.m. MST tomorrow for the new theme.

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Mr. Robot and Charlescot: D. Wallace Peach created this graphic that you can use (if you want) for a badge of honor as the winner:

The Top 10 Reasons I Can’t Write Romance

Part of my membership in the I’m Not Really Certain I’m Typical Female Nor Do I Want to Be Labeled as Such Club includes a general aversion to reading Romance. Naturally it follows that I have some distaste for writing it as well.

Today I realized I not only have a distaste; I am not certain I can write Romance. Why?

10. In terms of hormones, I’m a bit low on the ones interested in intercourse between animate beings.
Granted, I’ve had children nearly all of our marriage and they’re a bit of a killjoy that way…

9. I’m old and tired and just don’t care.
Now, get off my lawn, you young’uns!

8. I find cliché situations silly.
Whenever I’ve tried to write a romantic encounter, I laugh. I slip into over-the-top silliness, a twist, or simply give up.

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7. I think sex belongs in marriage, to the person one is married to.
Seriously, so many problems would be avoided that way. Logic belongs in love, right?

6. I therefore do not find infidelity exciting and alluring; rather, I judge the protagonist(s) for weak character(s).
Those people really need to grow up and get jobs instead of meeting in cafés all day.

5. In fact, I find romantic dialogue trying.
I’d rather skip ahead to …the end?

4. When given the option of a night on the town, I choose a book in the closet.
And it’s not a romance novel.

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3. I’ve never watched The Bachelor or anything like it.
This makes conversation with other females a bit limited, especially if I voice my opinions on such shows.

2. I do not find celebrities attractive.
Like with Number 6, I feel that they’re constantly making poor judgement calls. I like a few of them, but do not daydream about them moving in with me.

1. I am attracted to the ‘wrong’ sort of man.
People say there are all types. People say there’s no accounting for taste.
The problem is that book after movie after conversation assumes that ‘all women’ want a Bad Boy. All women are at least secretly turned on by an unkempt biker hiding a sexy set of muscles under that rough leather jacket.
Yeah, no. I’m like a zombie; I like brains.

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Sometimes I’ve tried, but I am me and need to write what I know. And who knows; maybe there are more not-all-women out there who think just like me. Maybe they’ll read my realistic romance books and love them.

Photo Credits:
Alejandra Quiroz
Eliott Reyna
Oleg Yeltsov

 

©2019 Chelsea Owens

Summer Days Ain’t Lazy at All

I realized that somewhere near …July June 25 I became lost in life and was not able to keep up with my regular blog reading. Instead of conceding defeat, I kept telling myself I would catch up. The same happened with writing my own posts. In fact; the same happened with the housework, meal plans, summer schedules, vacation plans, homework, etc.

I should have just closed shop for the summer.

The main problem has been my children, both those out of me and the one in me. I’ve had enough on my plate trying to motivate and manage myself. After First Bathroom stop, First Breakfast, Second Bathroom Stop, Second Breakfast, and showering; the day’s nearly half over and I realize I ought to get the boys out of bed and doing activities.

For their part, they’re just fine sleeping in and playing all day. I’d be fine with that, too, if it weren’t for the dishes’ habit of piling up when The Magic Fairy doesn’t wash them. That lazy Fairy’s neglected everything from yard work to laundry to budgeting since I became impregnated.

It’s like she’s hoping to get fired or something.

So, I’m sorry. I’m sorry for not posting regularly. I’m sorry for not reading regularly. I’m sorry for how boring I’ve been, complaining about a situation that SUCKS BECAUSE I’VE BEEN CONSTANTLY SICK SINCE MID-APRIL.

My creativity is shot. It’s lying on the ground with several empty bags of snack food and the remains of the clothing that I can’t wear anymore. And curled up on the pile by 1:00 p.m. every day is my current energy level.

I think I’m dreaming of about a year from now…

—————-

Still, I kind-of wrote stuff this past week:
Wednesday, July 17: “Frilled Shark, a terrible poem.”

Thursday, July 18: “The Strangest Pregnant Animal Ever.” This was the last in a series of pregnant animal poems, in tribute to the Terrible Poetry theme for that week.

Friday, July 19: Winner of the Weekly Terribly Poetry Contest. Congratulations to Peregrine Arc!

Saturday, July 20: Announced the 35th Weekly Terrible Poetry Contest. The theme is a limerick of poets who take themselves way too seriously. PLEASE ENTER!

Sunday, July 21: Answered Kevin’s questions with “Sunshine, Lollipops, and Blogger ‘Awards.'”

Monday, July 22: An inspirational quote from Kira’s site.

Tuesday, July 23: Nothing!

Wednesday, July 24: Today. Happy Pioneer Day from my home state.

I also posted all this week at my motherhood site. I wrote “Stop and Smell the Bindweed,” “Everyone Needs to Get Messy, Especially Kids,” and “A Parent’s Poetic Lament.”

 

©2019 Chelsea Owens

“We need to acknowledge that the existential dread, the exhaustion, the tears, the sadness, the insomnia – and so many other pleasant things – are symptoms. Do all those things you enjoy, think long and hard about your life and find ways to make it better, stay in bed if you want to, take that long bath you’ve been dreaming of for months on end, pick up a hobby and everything, ease the symptoms, but along with all those things, please try to understand the underlying causes behind them.

“Are there external causes? Have you always had those symptoms? What triggers them?

“Otherwise, those thoughts will come back. They will grow stronger, and they will force you to realize there is something wrong. They will twist your mind, make you believe things which are not true, lead you to despair and sometimes, to the wrong way out.”

Kira Writes, “Existential crisis

Sunshine, Lollipops, and Blogger ‘Awards’

Kevin Parish at What Words May Come gifted me The Sunshine Blogger Award. Thanks, Kevin!

Sunshine

Here are Kevin’s questions:

  1. What verbal graffiti do you use too much? (Examples: Like…Well anyway… I know, right… Huh… Umm…)
    Ummm… Huh… I don’t really know.
    do know that I have detested “I know; right” since it first cropped up, so you shan’t hear me say that ever.
  2. What is your favorite color?
    I’m rather fond of winter shades: dark burgundy, dark blue, dark green, dark black, etc.
  3. Do you love, hate or couldn’t care less about professional sports?
    This may shoot me in the foot in terms of followers, but I am not a professional sports fan. I love to watch anyone who is a master of his craft, so I do enjoy the occasional match. Frankly, I find rooting for a team pointless since the members are not even native; they might very well be originally from the opponent’s home state or be traded there next season.
  4. What’s the name of your longest-time best friend?
    My husband is my longest-time best friend, and his name is Kevin Owens.
  5. What’s the funniest nickname you have ever heard?
    Like H.R.R. Gorman, I’ve a better story about a real name. My husband worked with a man who legally changed his name to something like Captain Yam*. The guy was a bit socially awkward as well, as in showing up to work every day in something like a bike helmet awkward**.
  6. Do you have a nickname that you can/will share?
    My mother called me Munkey as a child. Word is that I looked like a monkey but she made it sound slightly cuter than that. I also liked monkeys. Darn sticking-out-ears…
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  7. Have you ever started laughing really hard just by thinking about something? If so, and you can remember, what was it?
    Oh, yes!! Occasionally I will engage in a comments conversation on WordPress and my friend or I will say something downright clever. I’ll think about it and laugh for days.
    I think one of the latest ones was betwixt me and masercot (AKA Charles). He mentioned Dr. Suess in response to my blog post on picture books.
    Me: “…Fish in a tree is hard to believe.”
    Him: “The worst was when they hopped on pop, right after his kidney surgery…”
    Me: “You must not hop post-op?”
    Still laughing. Though, I laugh whenever I read one of Charles’ blog posts as well. He’s dangerously funny.
  8. What are three of your “bucket-list” to-do’s?
    1. Write and traditionally publish a book.
    2. Visit Europe.
    3. Learn the violin.
  9. Would you rather have a lake house or a mountain chalet or something else?
    I’m more of a mountain chalet type. We once stayed in a house in Montana for a family vacation, when I was a child. The whole thing perched right on a lake and gave me anxiety that it would simply tip in at any minute.
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  10. What country would you live in if you couldn’t live in the one you live in now?
    I like Gorman‘s answer for this, too, but I’d probably choose Canada.
  11. Do you believe that people can change? Why or why not?
    I do believe people can change, and see that they do. Honestly, different life stages and circumstances force a lot of change on us whether we like it or not. It’s those who are able to initiate change that I admire, and those able to take surprises in healthy directions.

—–

Mostly I use this next part to introduce any of my readers to any of my other readers whom I find excellent to read. The main snag is that I’ve already ‘nominated’ a fair number here, here, here, here, and here. If you’re looking for some great sites, scroll down to the bottom of those links and also check out these:

  • Kat of The Lily Cafe. She writes, she mothers, she reads; she’s amazing.
  • Frank Prem, the poet. I can’t believe I haven’t mentioned him before! Frank has the gift of capturing voices in the poems he pens.
  • Robert C. Stroud of Mere Inkling. Primarily writing from observations of C.S. Lewis, Stroud expresses and expounds upon various interesting and informative topics.
  • Almost Iowa. I can’t find his real name right now (if he gave it), but these all seem to be hilarious recounts of experiences in …well, almost Iowa.
  • My Mindless Drivel. Another excellent writer, mostly sharing life stories and thoughts on how things ought to work.
  • Charles of Legends of Windemere. He’s an author and all-around good guy. We also seem to share opinions on …Bad Boys?

If any of you whom I’ve named get the notification and wish to respond, here are my questions:

  1. If you could be a type of cheese, which would you be and why?
  2. What is the strangest fact you know?
  3. Who inspires you the most as a writer?
  4. If you were King of the World for one day, what change(s) would you make?
  5. What’s your favorite cheesy joke?
  6. Who would win in a mud wrestling match: broccoli or a potato?
  7. What is the first thing you think of when you see the word collywobbles?
  8. What is the best letter of the alphabet?
  9. When two roads meet in a yellow wood, are they dirt or paved?
  10. Could you live without your left thumb? What if you needed to give something a two thumbs-up rating?
  11. What’s your favorite salad dressing and whoever thought salad was a good idea in the first place?

—–

RULES:

1. Use the sunshine blogger award logo

2. Give thanks to the blogger that nominated you

3. Answer the 11 questions given to you

4. Nominate 11 other bloggers and ask them 11 questions

Photo Credit:
Saray Jimenez
Jose Rago

* This is not his name, but is close.
** This is not what he wore, but is again close.

©2019 Chelsea Owens