Donald Lau, chief fortune writer at Wonton Foods–the largest provider of fortune cookies, noodles, and other Chinese staples; after 30 years has writer’s block.
I used to write 100 a year, but I’ve only written two or three a month over the past year, Lau recently told “Time” magazine.
It happens to everyone sooner or later. Thirty years was a good run. Mr. Lau plans to step down–let someone else take over. Over the years, fortune cookie fortunes have changed. Twenty-first century fortunes lean more to new age philosophy.
According to a Time article, some diners have taken cookie fortunes way too seriously. The fortune cookie company was investigated in 2005, when 110 Powerball lottery players won about $19 million after using the “lucky number” on the back of fortunes. A jilted wife claimed to be the victim of her husband’s fortune promising him romance on his next business trip, and a satisfied customer wrote to say he got a new job after reading a fortune about a new opportunity coming his way.
I wondered if Mr. Lau was ever envious of writers in other genres? For example, greeting card writers. Greeting card authors, could at least fall back on terrible puns. Puns so terrible–they were cute. Have a “punny day,” “wasn’t that the punniest thing?” or other drivel, equally lame.
My personal favorite is alliteration. It’s almost an obsession. An awful affliction, and a struggle, to allow alliteration an amenable amelioration. But, that’s not the point. Mr. Lau kept it fresh, kept it real for thirty years. Few of us, myself above all, will ever do as well.
–Highlights from an original article, penned by Kristen Bahler, “Money Magazine Careers”–
Writer’s block stalked on big, flat feet
Word clearinghouse, barren, stone cold
Mediocrity attacked, anything written
Conserved word resources–a poor excuse
Oh, the places words wouldn’t go
The places words wouldn’t see today
A murder plot brewed
Behind imprisoned walls
Write about anything
Rain–the way water
Circles down a drain
Spring, backyard swings
The way a doorbell rings
Good times, bad times
Poems that don’t rhyme
Epistemology, pain, agony
Who you are, who you want to be
It’s up to you–don’t ask me
When you express yourself
What a relief–like a purgative
Throw in a superlative or two
When you’ve nothing to do
Heavens to Murgatroyd!
Stay up all night
And write something
You know–you could be write!
When sentences are jerks
And, syntax won’t work
Sound bytes, don’t bite
Phrases go through phases
When prose flop
Poems are a mess
Bad ideas–just won’t stop
When you’ve been cut down to size
By readers, that undress
Best efforts, with their eyes
When flummoxed by others
That don’t follow any rules
Stuck by the road–like a big, fat, fool
When crazy thoughts pass, through your thick head
Efforts, all for naught–because, soon you’ll be dead
At Okey-Dokey–It’s all Okey-Dokey!
Clean up that mess; we can help get you
back on track–on your way to success!
If you’ve read to the end
You knew–it was pretend
If there were, such a place
I’d be first in line–to be committed!
When was the last time you experienced writer’s block? What do you think brought it about–and how did you dig your way out of it?
Thanks for the invitation. I really didn’t expect to be here today. I hope my disappointment doesn’t bring everybody down.
My blog’s two-year anniversary passed recently without fanfare. No applause–it’s too late. How did I get here? After 694 posts, am I where I want to be?
Sometimes I don’t want to be here at all. Is it wrong to feel this way?How long can this crazy love/hate relationship go on? I feel like a bus driver in a clown suit–expected to be entertaining all the time.
It’s a question of balancing life with blogging. Living life takes priority. Perhaps some are better at balancing the two. My challenge, write better posts, without feeling obligated to post something every day.
When inspiration doesn’t come–I don’t force it. I re-read my better posts. I read posts from other blogs. Even that doesn’t always help. Sometimes it generates more questions.
When something’s good and worth reading–I know it. There’s no other way to say it–today my stuff stinks. I need a nap.
BRAIN FOG: a temporary inability to form clear thoughts–sometimes referred to as brain freezes, brain farts, and senior moments.
Today, the words won’t come. My creative juices aren’t flowing. No matter–I’m not discouraged. There are far worse things that could happen. It’s only temporary and life’s too short.
In “Joe vs. the Volcano,” it was a “Brain Cloud”–far more serious than brain fog. In the opening scene, Joe got bad news from his doctor–played by Robert Stack. The movie was a bittersweet cocktail of happy/sad moments.
What would a person do differently after contracting a terminal illness? Would there be regrets? …Words left unsaid? …A mad rush to complete all the items on a bucket list? …Restitutions to be made?
I can’t give advice that I don’t follow myself. Live life to the fullest. Don’t take yourself too seriously. Find joy in people and your surroundings. You have much to be thankful for. Wise words from the Dalai Lama.
Of don’t know, and
Which way to go?
Feast, or famine
Or, too little
Days without sunshine
Shopping with no money
Jokes without punchlines
All over, my
The downright insane
By the minute
I’ll spare you
From, this dismal