Friday, June 2, 2017

Doing it on Compulsion

Have you ever seen the show called Talk Stoop?  It is a show .... if you can call it a "show" ... that has always fascinated me because I can't figure out the whole reason for it.  The host, Cat Greenleaf, sits on the stoop of her house in Brooklyn (apparently it really is her house) with her bull dog Gracie and interviews celebrities.

It's an interesting concept, and Gracie makes the show for me, but it's not a show per se, it's about 5 minutes, if that, long.  And what's the point?  You rarely get anything substantive from it and it always leaves you wanting more.  If it has a sponsor I don't know what it is!

Well, it wasn't until I went looking for a photo of Cat and Gracie that I discovered it's a real show when taped  It runs for 15 minutes, not 5, and is broadcast in the top nine American markets.  The interviews last 15-20 minutes, which is longer than most celebrity interviews on talk shows.  According to the stats I saw, it is watched by about approximately 12 million viewers a month.  I wonder how many of those get the abbreviated version that we get here, as a filler during a commercial break for another show.  I did a search locally, and it is not listed here.

I was thinking about the show this evening because one of the celebrities today was a girl who, I think, is a judge on the latest dancing show (I don't watch it so I don't know the title).  She was telling Cat that you don't become a dancer to become rich.  You do it because you have no choice.  You have to dance.  It's a compulsion that you can't really stifle.

I understand that.  It's how I feel about writing. I have always written and from grammar school was carrying on regular correspondence with friends and pen pals. 
(I remember a pen pal fight that a friend of mine and I had about a boy in our class.  She insisted he was her boyfriend. I responded with that he was MY boyfriend, and the letters went back and forth, each "MY" written larger than the one before it.  We never settled the question, but he's gay anyway, so I suppose it didn't matter!)

I was such a bookworm, devouring all the fiction I could get my hands on that it's a shame I never honed any fiction talent.  I just never had a thought in my head about plots.  They say that a real author carries around hundreds of plots, all just waiting to be written.  Ask me to come up with a plot and I can't think of one, let alone hundreds.

But I love to write letters, journals, answers to questions, theater reviews, and, when the paper used to pay for them, feature stories.  When I am feeling nervous or restless, one way I calm myself down is to find something to write.  It's what keeps Funny the World going for more than 17 years now!

It used to be that I hand wrote everything, but after I discovered the joys of typing, I rarely wrote anything any more.  My hands fly over a keyboard so fast they can keep up with what is going on in my head, where it takes longer to write something and I am always editing myself to make things shorter (maybe I should do that with my typing too!). 

Occasionally, doing research for something you are writing leads to very unexpected places.  Tonight, for example, I was struggling with what I was going to write and I came across an article in something called "Chicago Now" which is titled "40 really awful writing prompts."

And they are.  Really awful. "tell the story of a single raspberry that is possessed by the devil," "a man awakens to find all of his socks are gone," "Describe your recent bowel movement, using all your senses." and so on.  I will spare you any attempt to follow any of these prompts, but one of them was so weird that I had to do a google search and I learned more about the wonderful world of nature, specifically duck sex, which I found in in a blog called "Science Blogging."
Female ducks can thank evolution for avoiding becoming impregnated by undesirable but aggressive males endowed with large corkscrew-shaped penises: vaginas with clockwise spirals that thwart oppositely spiraled males. That's right, males are literally screwed.

The research on this evolutionary 'battle of the sexes' at the genitalia level were described in the December 23 issue of the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B.

"In species where forced copulation is common, males have evolved longer penises, but females have coevolved convoluted vaginas with dead-end cul-de-sacs and spirals in the opposite direction of the male penis," said Patricia L.R. Brennan, lead author of the paper and postdoctoral researcher in the Yale Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. "This coevolution results from conflict between the sexes over who is going to control fertilization."
I really have nothing to add to this, but aren't you glad I was trying to figure out what to write tonight.  I will go to sleep envisioning duck sperm trying to navigate the maze of a female's vagina.  And I won't look at ducks in quite the same way again.

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