F is for Flash Fiction

3CB9B5CE-9A17-487D-AC95-CB46590B5F5EThe tagline for my blog is “Random Musings on Life, Society, and Politics.” But something is missing from that tagline. Since I started this blog in May 2017, I’ve published 2,670 posts. According to my categories count, 534 are about “Life,” 348 are about “Politics,” and 0 — yes, zero — are about “Society.” In fact, “Society” isn’t even a distinct category on my blog.

The category on my blog with the most posts, 1,103 of them, is “Flash Fiction.” Many, but not all, of my flash fiction posts are written in response to prompts — word prompts, photo prompts, miscellaneous writing prompts, and combinations thereof.

I really enjoy exercising my imagination and creativity when I write flash fiction. It’s actually more fun to make up fictional tales in my head than it is to deal with real world realities. And to be honest, writing flash fiction often serves as a much needed distraction from life, society, and politics, which these days can be very disturbing.

So I suppose I could update my tagline to include flash fiction. But “Random Musings on Life, Society, and Politics, Plus a Lot of Flash Fiction” sounds kind of awkward, don’t you think?


Previous A to Z Challenge 2019 posts:
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Happy Thirteenth Anniversary

No, it’s not my thirteenth wedding anniversary. I’ve been married for way more than 13 years. But it was exactly thirteen years ago today, on October 10, 2005, when I published my very first post on my very first blog.

It was on Blogger or Blogspot, which may be the same thing (I think my URL had a “blogspot.com” domain name), but it (or they) are now part of the Google family, which they weren’t at the time I started that blog.

Anyway, I named my first blog “They Took an X-Ray of My Head and Found Nothing.” It was based on something Dizzy Dean, a professional baseball pitcher in the 1930s, said. In game four of the 1934 World Series, Dean attempted to break up a double play on a ground ball. The second baseman’s throw ended up hitting Dean in the head, knocking him unconscious. Dean’s x-ray at the hospital came back negative, and Dean was quoted as saying, “The doctors x-rayed my head and found nothing.”

But I digress. The tagline of my blog was “All the news, views, and commentary that I think are important…to me, anyway, because, after all, it’s all about me!” Hmm. Not much has changed in 13 years, has it?

My first post was a whiny lament about how the second basement for the Boston Red Sox made an error that cost the Red Sox the game. And it was a playoff game, too! I used to blog about sports a lot back then because politics at the time was, you know, boring. Oh how I wish that were still the case.

My “X-Ray” blog was up and running for more than three years, until December 6, 2008. It was replaced a month later, on January 6, 2009, with my second blog, which only lasted until June 9, 2009. For my third blog, which I started a month later, on July 6, 2009, I moved it from Blogger to TypePad. Then, in July of 2013, I started blog number four on WordPress.

For personal reasons, in mid-April of 2015, I took a two-year hiatus from blogging. Until May of 2017, when I started this blog, blog number five (hence, “Fivedotoh”). I realized that I couldn’t stay quiet with Donald Trump as POTUS and with all of the chaos he was creating and the damage he was doing.

I also decided that, in order to maintain my own mental health, I would dabble in flash fiction to serve as a distraction from the insanity in Washington.

And here we are, thirteen years later. So happy thirteenth blogging anniversary to me. Thank you for sharing this auspicious anniversary with me.

To Prompt or Not To Prompt

89D7CF32-2469-41AB-A53A-BE1D5F14D087I saw this comment below on another blogger’s post yesterday:

“I have no real interest in posts that are a result of prompts by others. The pleasure (to me) of this community is to read about the bloggers — their lives, challenges, wants, dreams, and myriad of things that go into their typical day.”

Do you agree with that commenter? Do those of you who are reading this have little interest in posts that are written for prompts from other bloggers? Would you prefer posts that are more about life, challenges, dreams, wants, and daily activities?

I haven’t made any definitive counts, but I’m guessing that the vast majority of my posts over the past year have been written in response to prompts. Photo prompts, word prompt, and other writing challenges. And aside from my political rants about Donald Trump and the Republicans, not very many of my posts have been about my personal “life, challenges, wants, dreams, and myriad of things that go into my typical day.”

I enjoy writing flash fiction, particularly in response to photos/images. It gives me a chance to let my creative juices flow as I interpret the images that serve as the prompts and craft short stories around them.

Likewise, word prompts, and other writing challenges also allow my imagination to run wild and to write tales leveraging the words that are offered up for inspiration.

It was nice when WordPress had its daily word prompt and its weekly photo challenge. One word prompt a day and one photo challenge a week, plus a few other bloggers’ prompts, was perfect. But since WordPress stopped its prompts at the end of May, a whole bunch of bloggers — myself included — have stepped up with their own word prompts and photo challenges. And I have been doing my best to post in response to many of them.

Which then begs the question: have I gone overboard with respect to prompts? Should I instead be writing more personal posts dealing with my real world life and daily activities?

Well, I’ve made a decision and I want to thank you all for listening and for helping me think through this conundrum. After giving this a fair amount of consideration, I have decided to continue writing flash fiction in response to prompts. And I’m going to continue ranting about Donald Trump and all the shit he’s doing and saying. In other words, I’m not going to change the way I blog.

If you have anything you’d like to say on the matter, please leave your thoughts in the comments section.

Write About What You Know…or Not

6BD0137E-85D8-4FDD-9CE2-FBD0B72A0BAFYesterday I was nominated for the Blogger Recognition Award by the lovely blogger over at Magnoliajem. I really do appreciate the nomination, but I have declared my blog to be an “award-free blog.” That said, it’s nice to be recognized and I’m happy to answer questions asked by such nominations.

In the case of this award nomination, we are asked to give a brief story of how our blog started and to give two pieces of advice to new bloggers. So here goes.

How this blog started

I started this blog in May of 2017. It’s not my first blog. I started my first blog in 2005, but quit my last (fourth) blog in 2015 when it began ruling my life. I needed to break away from blogging in order to maintain both my sanity and my marriage.

By May of 2017, I was obsessing about something else: Donald Trump as President of the United States. My obsession with Trump was driving my wife crazy and she suggested that maybe, as a distraction, I should start a new blog. But she also suggested that I avoid posting about politics and Donald Trump.

So I started this blog, “Fivedotoh,” so named to reflect that this was my fifth iteration of blogging. It served as a way to escape some of what is going on in Trumplandia, especially when I write flash fiction in response to prompts or to whatever other ideas pop into my imagination.

But, unfortunately, the insanity of Trumpistan has permeated my blog and far too many of my posts are rants about our Moron-in-Chief. But I think my wife, at this point, prefers that I rant about him here rather than while sitting at the table across from her at breakfast and dinner.

Two pieces of advice for new bloggers

In my opinion, the best part of blogging is interacting with the community of bloggers. When you’re new to blogging, it takes a while to build up an audience. Sometimes it can feel like you’re talking to yourself, but if you write well, and have something to say or stories to tell, you’ll be discovered and become part of a community. So my first bit of advice is to stick with it.

My second piece of advice is to write about what you know. Or if you don’t want to do that, just make shit up and write stories.

Thanks, once again, to Magnoliajem for the honor of the nomination.

The Great Escape

01DF352D-425B-4199-BF4C-44A4E670928FI used to have a different blog from which I retired three years ago. The focus of that blog was mostly my observations and perspectives on politics, society, religion, community, and current events. On that blog I only rarely posted flash fiction.

The other day, kind of out of the blue, my wife asked me why my new blog (this blog) is mostly flash fiction. “You know,” she said, “your blog’s tag line is ‘Random Musings on Life, Society, and Politics.’ But most of your posts are short pieces of fiction.”

After thinking about the change in the nature of my blogging that she pointed out, I realized that I’m so stressed by the current political cesspool created by Donald Trump, that responding to myriad prompts with flash fiction tales serves as an escape valve for me. It’s perhaps the only way to maintain my mental health and emotional wellbeing in this insane, chaotic, bizarro political quagmire that Trump and his Republican enablers in Congress have foisted upon us.

In all candor, even writing this post is causing my blood pressure to rise. So I think, in order to cope, I’ll continue my escapist mechanism by responding to prompts that you, my fellow bloggers, have offered.

This doesn’t mean that I won’t occasionally dive into what’s going on in politics and in the world around me. But if I want to live to see sanity restored, I need to distract myself with the escape and distraction that writing flash fiction provides.


Written for today’s One-Word Challenge, “candor.” Photo credit: Oadtz at Pixabay.