Not even bad Tofurkey will stop you NaNoWriMo writers!

imageLet’s be honest: No one is going to read this.

Why?

Because everyone is busy working on their novel this month! Who has time to read a blog post — even if it’s about writing — when they have 30,000 words remaining in their 50,000-word manuscript, no to mention a 30-lb. Thanksgiving turkey already thawing in the sink?

Plus, in just a few weeks, many NaNoWriMo participants will be following up their day of giving “thanks” by attacking fellow shoppers on Black Friday for the last pair of “Walking Dead” slippers! What if their fingers get broken during a tussle at Target? Or they get walloped at Walmart? Mauled at Macy’s? Shanked at Sears? Body slammed at Bloomingdales?

You get the idea.

Even though it’s less than a week into NaNoWriMo, a lot of writers are feeling the pressure to finish their manuscripts before Nov. 24 because anything can happen once Thanksgiving Day arrives. No one wants to take the chance of being within 500 words of finishing their manuscript, only to have it consumed in a sudden turkey flashover fire thanks to the combustable nature of aunt Renee’s new whiskey stuffing recipe.  Continue reading

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Reading my book is like having that first talk about sex

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Canadian humorist and screenwriter Randall Willis reacts to my “Pearls of Writing Wisdom.” Possibly after eating too much poutine…

When I saw the notification on Twitter that Randall Willis had posted a review of my new book, it was the first time in a while that I’d felt nervous about my writing. Not so much because he’s Canadian. Or because he’s a hilarious, award-winning writer and screenwriter. And not even because he knows a lot of guys who play professional hockey and carries a hockey stick in the trunk of his car “just for emergencies.”

Unlike my first book, Humor at the Speed of Life, which was a collection of newspaper columns I’d published over the last 16 years, Pearls of Writing Wisdom: From 16 shucking years as a columnist is more personal because it’s written for writers. Seeing my book in the hands of other writers I know and admire made me nervous in the same way I’d imagine it must feel to host The Oscars; standing in front of an audience of talented peers and hoping to be worthy of their time and attention. Except in this case there’s not even an open bar to loosen things up first.

At least I don’t have Stephen King staring me down from the audience.  Continue reading

I’ve been chosen to broker peace between the U.S. and Canada

(I’m over at Long Awkward Pause today with a Special Live News Report for LAP-TV, which I should clarify has nothing to do with a lap-mounted camera…)

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ALBERTA, Canada — In an unprecedented move aimed at easing tensions between the U.S. and Canada following Justin Bieber’s request for permanent U.S. citizenship, Canadian officials have agreed to what they are calling a “mutually offensive compromise” by granting temporary citizenship to one staff member from Long Awkward Pause.

“We think allowing anyone from LAP citizenship in our country for 24 hours is more than enough to make up for 10 years of Justin Bieber,” said Pierre Bidet, a spokesman who helped broker the decision. “However, if there is an attempt to extend the citizenship beyond 24 hours, we are prepared to jettison Rob Ford across the channel and into Seattle.”

After hours of closed-door deliberation, LAP announced it had selected a representative and, coincidentally, run out of beer. “From what we remember from the meeting, the two aren’t related,” said LAP staff member Jack DeVoss. “But we chose Ned because he was the most qualified. Plus he got there late and was sober.” (More at LAP…)

Be aware of the dangers of having Canadian friends

imageI have several good blogger friends who are Canadians. I realize that many of you are now slowly shaking your head with that “I told you so” expression.

But I really try not to judge people or their cultures, no matter how strange or foreign they seem to me.

For the record, I have friends from southern California, too.

But let’s get back to Canada, where my friend and humour (see how I spelled that?) blogger Randall Willis resides. In Toronto, Ontario actually. I’d give you his exact address but it resembles the coordinates for a Space Shuttle landing. I’m not sure why Canadians use all those numbers and letters, but I’m guessing it has something to do with the metric system. All I know is it would take me longer to put the address into my car’s GPS system than it would to drive aimlessly until I found him by accident.  Continue reading

It’s official: Let’s try this post again! (In its entirety this time)

(Note: This has been updated from the original post earlier this morning, which was missing 300 words thanks to the new “auto-save” feature on the new “WordPress Editor.” In short: I almost had a stroke already this morning…)

image The latest round in The Public Blogger’s “Performer of the Year” competition has been completed, and thanks to your continued support — and a little help from Canada,eh? — I not only made it through the round but remain in the No. 1 spot after sweeping the public and judges vote. And yes, and investigation has been launched.

My reaction when the results were posted was something along the lines of:

“HOLY @#$%!”

So what does this mean exactly?

I have no idea, other than I’ll be heading into Round Six with my fellow nominees — Oscar, Rebecca, Kelly and Charles — this Sunday for our next challenge, which is called “RAW.” The one thing I do know is that if they want the ratings to stay up, it better include me keeping my clothes on. Continue reading

It’s official: Canadians still like me pretty much

(Note: This has been updated from the original post earlier this morning, which was missing 300 words thanks to the new “auto-save” feature on the new “WordPress Editor.” In short: I almost had a stroke already this morning…)

image The latest round in The Public Blogger’s “Performer of the Year” competition has been completed, and thanks to your continued support — and a little help from Canada,eh? — I not only made it through the round but remain in the No. 1 spot after sweeping the public and judges vote. And yes, and investigation has been launched.

My reaction when the results were posted was something along the lines of:

“HOLY @#$%!”

So what does this mean exactly? Continue reading

A sneak peek at my 24-hour Canadian citizenship

image Who doesn’t LOVE Canada, AY? Moose. Mounties. Molson. Maple syrup. Mike Meyers. And lots of other uniquely Canadian things that begin with the letter “M.”

Which is why I was excited to be given Canada (yes, the whole country) as my guest for the next round in The Public Blogger’s “Performer of the Year” competition tomorrow!

I actually have several readers who claim to be from Canada — and hey, I believe them. In fact one of them, fellow humorist and tireless thespian rights activist Ross Murray, actually sent me a can of real maple syrup once! And I know it was genuine because the label was written in actual Canadian-uh-ish. Plus, the contents were measured in metric kilograms.

Or millimeters.

No, pentagrams.

Anyway, he was also gracious enough to make a brief cameo in my video for tomorrow night’s competition. Not that he’s wearing briefs in the actual video, just so we’re clear. Continue reading

For this week’s Nickel’s Worth, I am deferring to Canada

An image borrowed from Ross Murray's private collection of Andy Warhol's "Early Failures" collection.

An image borrowed from Ross Murray’s private collection of Andy Warhol’s “Early Failures” collection.

Welcome to a special edition [Please note bold print] of Ned’s Nickel’s Worth on Writing, which is coming to you from Canada this week! Why Canada? And what makes this week’s NWOW so danged special? Because, in addition to today’s post having a decidedly international flair (There are French people in Canada, so it’s almost like we’re in France!), it also happens to be the first reblog of any post here. That should tell you several things, including: 1) How terrific I think my friend Ross Murray’s post is, 2) How important I think it is you read it, and 3) This morning’s double deadline has put me so far behind I think I see my butt in front of me.

Not necessarily in that order.

And come to think of it, that actually might be my editor in front of me…

Anyway, Ross and I have spoken in the past about the inevitability of — and ways of getting out of — a writing “slump.”

Or “slouch” as they say in Canada, because whenever possible a Canadian word must have an “ou” in it, such as “Humour,” “Harbour” and “Flour” to name a few. However, despite this language barrier, I have come to appreciate our exchanges and Ross’s insights into writing. This one in particular, about how tapping into your creativity can be like riding a wrecking ball with Miley Cyrus easy with the right approach, is a great example of wisdom, wit and me shirking my responsibilities this week.

I promise you’ll understand why once you read Ross’s piece HERE

You can’t be too careful when it comes to packages from Canada

I was taking no chances; as far as I knew, Canada may have stopped being our ally during my walk home...

I was taking no chances; as far as I knew, Canada may have stopped being our ally during my walk home…

The afternoon started out like any other: leave the office, walk two blocks home, pass through our white picket gate toward the front steps, then holler “EVERYBODY STAY IN THE HOUSE” while dropping into an army crawl. Naturally, no one at home had any interest in coming outside until I yelled for them NOT to — at which point three of our children and both dogs attempted to squeeze through the doorway simultaneously, closely resembling a horde of diarrhea sufferers trying to de-board a subway car for the last working restroom.

“STOP!” I commanded, freezing them all — yes, even the dogs — on the porch, just inches away from a small white package with the word Liquid written in several places in black marker. The name on the return address wasn’t one I immediately recognized. The fact that it was from a foreign country (Canada) made it even more suspicious. Continue reading

Being Canadian for a day could lead to a strained Molson muscle

Since the speed limit is 120 mph in Canada, sneaking Kraft Mac & Cheese into Alberta should be a breeze.

Since the speed limit is 120 mph in Canada, sneaking Kraft Mac & Cheese into Alberta should be a breeze.

Today we will be talking about Canada.

Why?

Because aside from the many similarities we share with Canadians, such as celebrating our independence day the very same weekend, and our historic bi-lateral agreement banning any future above-ground testing of Nadya Suleman’s reproductive system, I have been offered an official Canadian citizenship starting at 12 a.m. on Jan. 1.

OK, so my citizenship will only last 24 hours.

Possibly less, depending on how I pronounce the word “Poutine” (which, from what I understand, is a French word meaning “clogged artery”). However, if all goes well, I will get to spend an entire day as a real Canadian, eating nothing but Tim Horton’s Donuts, chewing purple gum that tastes like soap, and stretching my Molson muscle (which I swear only sounds inappropriate for a family newspaper.) Continue reading