June 24, 2020

Dear Hope Nation,

I’ve always got more ideas to write about than time to do so. While these letters have been, mainly, a pleasure to write each day, they don’t offer the chance to clean my desktop of unrelated ideas, which pile up like newspapers by a vacationing family’s door.

Much like my experience with gyms and physical fitness, I hate writing, but I love having written. That is, I feel like the best me when I’ve taken time to write something each day. In conversation, I’ve learned lots of Hope members have the same response, and I can’t count the number of folks who have said they want to write more often.

In an act of laziness-borne genius, I think I’ve found the solution to my ever-growing idea list and Hope members wanting to write. Here are some things to write about, taken from my Future Projects list. If you write, say, more than 250 words on any of these topics and send what you’ve written to me, I’ll publish your writing PLUS buy you a soda or juice drink of your choosing, making you a professional author—and thus ineligible for the Olympics.

Seriously, send your stuff to keith.howard@recoverynh.org and your dreams will come true.

 In no order, here are More than Fifteen Story/Novel/Poem/Essay Ideas

  1.  A description of drugging or drinking at three different phases? How was I affected and how did my relationship with getting messed up change over time?
  2. A meditation on each of the 12 Steps, the 3 Principles or the basics of SMART Recovery
  3. A mirror with a memory.  This wall mirror, located in a back bedroom, has a memory of everything that it’s seen.  Unclear whether it’s conscious or not.  Accessed through concentration (like the I Ching or tarot?)
  4. Life in a group home for troubled teenagers.  Narrator is a staff member who misunderstands most of what he sees/hears among his charges.  An unwittingly unreliable narrator (e.g., The Story of the Dog in the Night).
  5. The difficulties of incorporating technology into contemporary fiction.  That is, the novelist writing in 1963, say, may not have seen the advent of touchtone phones, refrigerator ice makers, or black-and-white TV, but technology didn’t change the form/function/TASTE of communication for cripes sake!
  6. Related—why did voice telephones last for 80 years before the advent of texting.  How would the world/people/I be different if VOICE were the groundbreaking new technology?  And what about video—is anyone who doesn’t live far away from grandchildren care about video chatting?
  7. An interrelated series of stories about the same event but told by different families on the same street
  8. Escaping to Canada across the New England border, escaping the fascism that never came.  Subtheme—difference between political dissidence and mental illness
  9. A pill that makes farts colorful, so no one can deny having passed gas.
  10. A first-person account of the Oyster River Massacre.
  11. An examination of the opening lines of my favorite novels.  Closing lines.  Correlations between.
  12. What are basic human rights?
  13. A satirical scholarly essay on ghosts.  Do animals have ghosts?  How long do ghosts haunt a particular place?  Where do ghosts go when they die?  Are there ghosts of ghosts?
  14. A life lived with the lyrics of Eminem (or Incubus or Ani DiFranco or name your favorite) as one’s moral compass.
  15. A series of haikus instructing a person how to do the Heimlich maneuver.
  16. The stories of each of the graves in the little graveyard in a forest.
  17. The difficulties of having a dog die, especially when you won’t bury it or burn it or even stuff it, but continue to drag its corpse around with you.

I look forward to reading your stuff. Whether you submit or not, please know

You matter. I matter. We matter.


%d bloggers like this: