Once upon a time there were three little writers. They owned lots and lots of paper, and lots and lots of pencils and lots and lots of erasers. They also owned computers - except Russo, who owned an old toaster, a calculator, and an analog hard drive, which she stuck together with a lot of duct tape and paid a squirrel to operate. Anyway, the three little writers knew oodles of words and grundles of sentences. Their heads were packed with them. So packed, in fact, that they ran around with chronic headaches. Boy how tired they got of those headaches!
One day the little writers decided that the only way to relieve their headaches was to get the words out. So they enrolled in a writing class/critique group together. They brought their pencils and their papers and their erasers and their laptops (Janiel did. Maegan doesn't believe in laptops and Russo . . . well, you know) and all of their words and sentences to class. They sat down in little desks and listened to their literary-god-like instructor fling lustrous beads of wisdom at them (pearls being too expensive on a writer's budget.)
A whole new world opened up before them. Which had nothing to do with anyone named Jasmine. Or Robin Williams either, for that matter.
All was going swimmingly, or to be more accurate, scribblingly, when one day the three writers got collective writer's block. They. Were. Stuck. And no amount of pencils, paper, or erasers could put the words which they had set free back into their brains. What to do? So, the three writers went to their literary-god-like instructor and, after begging an audience and offering really quite obscene amounts of chocolate in various forms -- like puddings, cookies, and brownies -- were granted the most lustrous beady-bead of wisdom ever yet to dribble from the mouth of a writing instructor. He said:
YOU MUST CHALLENGE THE KNOWN.
"Gasp!" gasped the three writers. "Is that all it takes? Why we can do that, in just two shakes!" (They had all inexplicably begun speaking in Seussian rhyme since enrolling in the class.) And from that moment the writers were free! Ideas filled their minds and tumbled to the page faster than they could say ideas filled their minds and tumbled to the page. It was simple. They must challenge every dark, beastly, grasping, drooling, slimy, oozing, mealy, shriveled bit of horribleness that ever rose up to challenge their creativity, and their happiness. Why had they never thought of this before? Oh the wisdom of their literary-god-like instructor! To free-up one's creativity, then, one must stand forth, boldly meet, and
CHALLENGE THE GNOME.
(And quite possibly invest in ear swabs for clarity of hearing. But we won't worry about that for now.)