Building Blocks (anniversaries)

Think about ‘anniversaries’ in your life that are brought to mind due to newspapers or television. Your characters can benefit from these ‘mind sparks’ that influence their momentary behaviors and attitudes. For example, TV ads for Pizza Hut announce that they will turn 60 on May 31st; but the first Pizza Hut restaurant east of the Mississippi River opened in Athens, Ohio in 1966. I thought about how in 1955 for a great pizza we and our neighbors had to drive 14 miles round trip to Chiapparelli’s in Baltimore’s Little Italy. Opened as a pizza place in the early 1940s, Chipparelli’s would become a full Italian restaurant.

Here are some possible 2018 anniversary ‘mind sparkers’:

January 13th: The 50th anniversary of Johnny Cash performing at Folsom Prison. The performance was recorded and released in May 1968 under the album title At Folsom Prison.

March 24th: 60th anniversary of Elvis being inducted into US Army.

June 9th: The 25th anniversary of the release of the movie Jurassic Park at the Uptown Theater in Washington D.C. The national release in the United States was two days later on June 11th.

July 13th: The 81st anniversary of Krispy Kreme Doughnuts.

July 28th: The 40th anniversary of the release of the movie National Lampoon’s Animal House.

September 14th: The 40th anniversary of the airing of the TV show Mork & Mindy.

October 11th: The 86th anniversary of Krystal, the American fast food restaurant chain being founded in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

Think about your ‘building blocks’; we can not write without them.

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Aye Sea (188 word homophone flash fiction)

When the barber said that he put mousse on his hair, startled pirate Ken thought he meant moose. “You what” yelled the seafarer! “Hair gel,” the barber calmly replied. Like everyone else in the town, the barber was familiar with buccaneer’s homophone problem. Just the other day, when Fred the bartender asked if the pirate wanted his rum in quarts, the sailor replied, “Quartz is a solid object!”

Everyone at the pub once had a good…very silent…chuckle when the Ken got ‘aye, eye, and I’ mixed up. Or the time when the shopkeeper said that he was getting ready to have a sale, and the pirate wished him luck when he set sail.

The most dangerous episode was on a Friday the Thirteenth. While standing at the pub bar dinking ale, a new pirate customer said that he felt like he was looking into a mirror because Ken was his ‘dual’. Ken immediately drew his saber for the duel! Thankfully someone stepped in between the two ocean bandits.

Yes, life in a port can be both amusing and dangerous, even when a pirate is not drinking port.
(Aye Sea, © Steven S. Walsky, May 2018.)

Building Blocks (New York City)

We all have interesting memories of a place that we have traveled to that made an impression on our lives. Think about travel events that you consciously and ‘memory prodded’ remember that will influence your writing. Here are some reposts and new personal Building Blocks connected to New York City:

Street scene: Two Orthodox Jews – with their large black brimmed hats and black coats in contrast to the noonday heat – walking past the tourist bedecked steps of St. Patrick’s Cathedral – turn their heads to look at two blond-haired Scandinavian girls who are dressed as rodents for an advertising promotion. The models are yelling at a Pakistani taxi driver who, claiming not to understand their version of English, is explaining – high-pitched, at a feverish pace – to a policeman why he ran over their Mouse Cart. While four Chinese tourists – wearing I love New York t-shirts and carrying bags from an East European deli – are taking pictures of the hundreds of Wisconsin cheese pamphlets now littering the sidewalk. Nothing is odd when everything is unique; this is New York City.

Verbal expressions “I love”: Over the course of our lives, and those of our characters, we ‘fall in love’ with ideas. For example, in 1966 Steve was attending the 90th Westminster Kennel Club dog show in New York City. I ‘fell in love’ with two things. First, having been raised around the Fox Terrier dog show world, and even though a Fox Terrier would win Best in Show, I ‘fell in love’ with the idea of winning Westminster with an English Setter. Sadly, I have never fulfilled that dream.

While the Westminster show itself is still a yearly event, the second thing I ‘fell in love’ with is now history. At 11:30 pm on Saturday night, I was introduced to a truly world class club sandwich in the Hotel Taft Tap Room, between 50th and 51st Street and Seventh Avenue; just north of Times Square. Interestingly, in October 2012, when I mentioned the Hotel Taft and their club sandwich in a comment to a fellow blogger and author Susannah Bianchi, who lives in New York City and frequently dines out (at the time, the Carlyle), she did not remember the Taft. How strange? Then I remembered that the Taft closed in the early 1980s. Sadly the Hotel Taft and their fabulous club sandwich, which I had on several later occasions, are now a memory. The building is now occupied by the Michelangelo Hotel. While ‘Michelangelo’ is an artistic name, the Taft club sandwich was truly ‘food’ art.

“Unwanted visitor”: In 1968 a friend and I, while attending a national college television/theater seminar, were ready to order lunch at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel restaurant. At the time, be it stage, screen, magazines, etc., the Waldorf, was at the height of ‘sophistication’. As we waited to order our food, I noticed a cockroach crawl out from behind the flower vase and start walking across the table. I looked at my friend, my friend looked at me…what was the proper etiquette? I was far too old to jump up from the table and yell ‘there’s a cockroach’ to alert the staff. Thus, I did what a real gentleman would do; not to smash the bug and mess up the tablecloth, I simply used an upside down ashtray to entrap the bug. For some reason food was now history, and strangely no staff member would stop by our table. As we left the restaurant without ordering, I quietly mentioned to the maître d’ that an “unwanted visitor” was at our table.

“I bought a diamond!”: The 1968 trip to New York City also had some memorable experiences for our other college classmates. The second day there, a classmate came back to the hotel all excited: “I bought a diamond for a ridiculously cheap price from some guy standing outside a jewelry store!” While the next night, after a ‘college’ party, some ‘who are they?’ college coeds entered an unlocked hotel room and snapped pictures of some of our scantily clad ‘beddy time’ classmates who were laying ‘asleep’ across their beds and on the floor.

New Year’s Eve: I decided in 1973 to go to Times Square to celebrate New Year’s Eve in a way just about every person in the world so dreamed; yep, I went to New York City. When I checked into the hotel there was a very pretty young lady working behind the front desk. I smiled, she smiled, I smiled…instant connection. She changed the room that had been assigned to my name, to a room that faced towards Times Square. About 10pm I looked out the window and saw that every person in the world had descended within visual sighting of Times Square, even though the temperature was drooping to 28*F. Obviously, there was no way that I was going to navigate that crowd to watch the ball drop. I watched from my room. The clock stuck 12:00, and suddenly the world lit up as the ball dropped and the air exploded with the sounds of gunfire mixed with firecrackers and emergency sirens. I instantly knew that I had a better and safer view.

Think about your ‘building blocks’; we can not write without them.

Please visit Susannah Bianchi’s blog for her very interesting New York City written imagery.