Thursday, January 27, 2011

Weird But True! Unexpected Paths to Creativity

Recently, my stepson Reese has been into fact books, including Ripley's Believe It Or Not Special Edition 2011 and Ripley's Believe It Or Not Enter If You Dare. They've got a bunch of oddities that seven-year-old boys are totally into. And my new favorite is Reese's National Geographic Kids Weird But True book.

It is filled with facts like "If you run in the rain, you will get about 50% wetter than if you stand still," and "Your hair grows faster in warm weather." And these crazy facts helped spring me out of a poetic writing funk I've been suffering through since late 2010. Well, it also helps that I recently discovered this great collection of poems by Ira Sadoff titled Settling Down (published in 1975 by Houghton Mifflin).

I ended up with the first poem I've been really happy with in 2011. Yay!

If anyone is interested in the poem, just send me an e-mail at with the subject line: Send me that Weird But True poem. I'm going to refrain from posting at the moment though, because I want to try sending it around for publication--something else I've been neglecting lately.


Since you bothered to read this poem-less post, I guess I'll share a few weird but true facts about myself:
  1. I always set the music volume at a multiple of 2 or 5 when I'm driving.
  2. Chewing candy canes usually makes me sneeze. However, I have no issue with sucking on them.
  3. My father was in charge of naming me and did not care to give me a middle name. Luckily, my mom inserted the Lee.
  4. I can eat an entire package of hot dogs by myself--without it being a competition. For that matter, I can also eat entire packages of cookies, pretzels, chips, and more.
  5. English was my worst subject in high school.
  6. I change my appearance frequently. Sometimes I have long, shaggy hair; other times, I shave my head down to the skin. Sometimes I have a beard; other times, I do not. I sometimes wear contacts, but I can also sport glasses. Even my weight fluctuates frequently.
  7. I am a really heavy sleeper. Like so heavy that I sleep through tornado sirens and fire alarms. Like so heavy that Tammy has to throw things at me to wake me.
  8. Raised on very bland foods, I now put Frank's Red Hot sauce on nearly everything I eat--from scrambled eggs to lasagna.
  9. Sentimental moments in movies can make me tear up. For instance, the end of It's a Wonderful Life and The Iron Giant both always get me.
  10. And I have a thing for the number 8 (and the number 808). But I probably should've mentioned that 2 weird things ago.

Follow me on Twitter @robertleebrewer


By the way, Reese just finished reading How to Survive a Garden Gnome Attack, by my friend Chuck Sambuchino. It's a super funny book, and Reese read it all in one night. Once he picked it up, he couldn't put it back down. So check it out!


Also, check out this recent guest post I wrote for Amanda Hoving's Amanda's Wrinkled Pages blog titled Share Your Writing and Who Knows What Will Happen. It's all about why I got started writing and how writing led me to my true love.


Caren E. Salas said...

You crack me up! Now, when you say a "package" of hot dogs, is that with buns or without? Just wondering. You have officially inspired my next blog post. You rock.

Charles said...

Reese is obviously a genius!

Robert Lee Brewer said...

Charles, he obviously is.

Caren, I eat them with buns. And either A1 Steak Sauce or mustard. I've never done a full package as chili and cheese dogs, though now that I'm thinking about it...mmmmmmmmm

RJ Clarken said...

Is your thing for the number 808 because it (kinda sorta) looks like 'BOB', whom you are not? ☺

RJ Clarken said...

Also, Reese is a genius, no doubt about it.

What kind of things does Tammy throw at you when she really needs you to get up?

(I'm on a silly roll today,..)

Robert Lee Brewer said...

That 808 spells BOB on a digital calculator is but one of the myriad reasons I have a thing for the number.

As far as what Tammy throws at me, I think she tries to avoid using breakables (because I have a hard head), but she'd throw plastic bottles at me when we were in the hospital after Will was born.

Walt Wojtanik said...

That was very informative, Robert. I think that would be a great non-poem prompt for the minions. An ice-breaker and a chance to "know" each other better. Then we can take one of the ten as our inspiration for poetic brilliance. BTW, you can't spell Walt on a calculator without causing yourself major physical and emotional damage. (Not that I've tried...all right, I did, but that's another story)

Robert Lee Brewer said...

I had a college professor (the great sestina poet Jim Cummins) who had us use News of the Weird as a poetry prompt. Weird and funny are just as useful as sad and serious.

Anonymous said...

I loved your weird poem! I read it to my sons, for whom I will eventually purchase your buddy's recommended book... it's on my Amazon wish list, awaiting a time when I'm not already broke from my sons' voracious reading habits feeding upon this week's book fair at school, and upon my poor, poor wallet.

Robert Lee Brewer said...

Thanks, Colette! Those book fairs can be wallet killers.