A complicated love story

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Photo by Jeremy Wong Weddings on Unsplash

— The plan’s not working.

— Ugh. This again?

— You said that if I asked you out to prom, Sally would notice me. So far, nothing.

— I’m her best friend. She’s complicated.

— It’s been ten years. And now we’re getting married? How will that help?

— Trust me, ok? It’s a good plan.

Thanks to Bill Adler Editor for the prompt.

Was that really the worst pick-up line ever?

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Photo by Robynne Hu on Unsplash

— Girl, are you a magnet? Because I’m attracted to you.

— Gosh, Tim, that’s the cheesiest pick-up line ever.

— How do you know?

—We’re already dating… Can’t you stop?

—It’s a genuine question. How can we discover the cheesiest pick-up line ever? We’d need a way for everyone to submit pick-up lines and evaluate them. A global network communication protocol… Fascinating. I must go back to the lab.

Decades later, long after Tim had invented the web, his wife still remembered that date. The glow in his eyes when he had his greatest idea. What a magnetic man.

Thanks to J.A. Taylor for the “Historical Inventions” prompt

As pointless and exhausting as it was, I’m glad I did it

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Photo by Ameer Basheer on Unsplash

On the 1st of November, as everyone geared up for NaNoWriMo, I decided to set myself a writing challenge: to write and publish at least 100 words every day.

Not very impressive, I know. But after being almost completely blocked for more than two years, there was absolutely no chance in hell I would be able to write 50,000 words and finish a novel draft like all the NaNoWriMo heroes out there. It would be unwise to aim any higher than I did.

Thirty days later, I am proud to call the experiment a success.

I did not write a masterpiece. …

Why I ditched my online courses to build Lego robots with my son

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Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

I had planned the perfect self-improvement schedule for this Saturday: books, podcasts, online courses.

It’s not the most relaxing way to spend a Saturday but, having recently changed careers and started work in a new field, I need to make the most of my weekends if I want to catch up with my peers.

My son was part of the plan, too. I prepared a table with children’s books and two boxes of Legos so he could spend the day playing quietly by my side while I worked.

There was only one problem: his table looked a lot more fun than mine. So much, in fact, that my son felt it would not be right for him to enjoy it alone. …

100-Word Writing Challenge, Day 27

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Photo by Eric Rothermel on Unsplash

After giving it a lot of thought, I concluded that my fear of missing a day of writing is irrational.

It is absurd for me to believe that I will fall into another two-year rut just because I let 24 hours go by without posting anything. Complete nonsense.

I understand that the only way to beat my fear is to confront it.

It ends today.

I will not write or publish anything at all for day 27 of my November writing challenge. I will skip it and go straight from day 26 to day 28.

I am not a superstitious man, after all. I know my creativity will not be constrained by such silly rituals. …

A tired father tries to answer his son’s bedtime question

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Photo by Myles Tan on Unsplash

I was in the middle of my son’s bedtime story when he interrupted me.

— Dad.

— Wait, let’s finish this page first.

— Dad.

— Okay. What?

— When I am 35 years old just like you are, will I be able to touch the ceiling?

He has been going through this information-seeking stage for a while, as all children do, but I am still thrown off by the timing of his questions.

A couple of days ago my wife and I had to scramble to explain “how flowers worked” while his ice cream melted — he wouldn’t eat until he was satisfied with our answer. …

100-Word Writing Challenge, Day 25

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Photo by C D-X on Unsplash

As this challenge approaches its end, I am worried that I might drop my newly-recovered writing habit without the daily obligation to publish something here.

It’s illogical, of course, but that is how I ended up being blocked the last time.

I started by missing one day. Then I thought it would be fine to miss the next one, then another.

I missed nearly two years of writing, one day at a time.

On the one hand, the need to write and publish something every day is a source of stress and anxiety. …

They knew it was contagious, but underestimated the danger

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Photo by Sammy Williams on Pixabay

It had to happen in 2020, that godforsaken year with all those video calls. A CEO was presenting to hundreds of employees when he yawned. A humongous yawn, the kind that makes you teary-eyed. Soon all employees were yawning, which made the CEO yawn again, creating a neverending loop.

They knew it was contagious, but underestimated the danger. Someone uploaded a video of the call to YouTube. Within the next 24 hours, millions of people had watched it and yawned. Many decided to go to bed and wake up only in 2021. It was November. They had seen enough.

Thanks to Bill Adler Editor for the prompt.

100-Word Writing Challenge, Day 23

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Photo by Alexandra Gorn on Unsplash

Yesterday I wrote about how writing is often a source of stress for me: by obsessing over quantity, quality, popularity, and frequency, I have turned a fundamentally beautiful activity into a significant mental health hazard.

In his response to my post, Mark Starlin said that the thought of sharing his work for the enjoyment of readers gives him joy. After mulling over his comment the entire day, I finally understand one of the main reasons for my writing-related anxieties: I am afraid of readers.

Sure, I appreciate the idea of sharing my work with other people. I also understand the pointlessness of writing something if no one would ever read it. …

“Above all, I want to thank my ex-fiancée…”

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“1988 Academy Awards, view from my balcony seat” by Alan Light is licensed under CC BY 2.0

— And, above all, I want to thank my ex-fiancée for dumping me on my birthday. You inspired this movie. I bet you regret leaving me now… Wait. Is that you on the front row? With Ryan Gosling? That’s… Wow. I’ll have to make another movie about you. Thanks again!

Big thanks to J.A. Taylor for the prompt.


Dan Belmont

I write short stories. I also write about writing. If I'm procrastinating on both, I write about why I haven't been writing. E-mail: danbelmontwriter@gmail.com

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