Ode to the Gargleblaster

Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster

“For a moment, nothing happened. Then, after a second or so, nothing continued to happen.” 
― Douglas AdamsThe Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

From deep in the swamp of a months-long writer’s block, one little thing has kept me afloat, 42 words at a time: the Gargleblaster, a new writing challenge at yeah write.

After nearly three years of writing about challenges on my list of 101 things in 1001 days, I declared back in January that I would soldier on list-less.

At first, I felt exuberant to have finished my challenge. I enjoyed having nothing hanging over my head for a month, two months, three months, but I finally realized I was bored, then more bored, and then wallowing in a swamp. The long, cold winter coincided with a lack of motivation to do anything, until making a bowl of cereal in the morning took a little too much effort. I stopped writing, stopped exercising, stopped leaving the house very often, unless I had to.

I was tapped out, my stories all told, with no new ones up ahead.

Then came the Gargleblaster, and I was assured at least one post a week to get excited about. I had loved the inspiration for the challenge, the novel The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, as a kid, when I used to whisper “42” as a secret code to screen people in the know, so I was instantly drawn to it. Given an open-ended prompt each week, I reminisced about little moments with a camel in a desert or lost in a funhouse, and I put into words the fleeting thoughts that would have disappeared, like my impression that the sunflowers I grew in my basement felt happiness in the sun, or the thrill of pulling a fire alarm at my school, even though I had permission.

I love seeing the different directions into which all the writers scatter, an aspect of the challenge that is strongly encouraged. A prompt like “Which way to go?” will inspire a trail shaped by the devil’s backbone or a James Bond-worthy escape off a cliff, yes, but it will also draw responses dealing with the death of a loved one or an insult from a snarky boss.

With renewed enthusiasm for both writing and Hitchhiker’s, I went on a hunt for all the ingredients in a “Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster,” a cocktail from the novel.

Since I had no water from the seas of Santraginus V, not to mention any Ol’ Janx Spirit, I appreciated this Gargle Blaster recipe that makes the fictional cocktail with earthly ingredients.

After gathering vodka, gin, and Curaçao, along with mint extract, an Airborne tablet, edible gold glitter, lemon-lime soda, and olives, I was ready to get my mixology on.

Did my husband and I enjoy our cocktail? Yes, we did. It burbled in a particularly swamp-like way, thanks to the Airborne. Not only that, but I finally have something to write about. When you are stuck in a swamp, sometimes you have to blast your way out.

And if I get stuck in that swamp again, I know what I need to remember:

“Don’t Panic.” 
― Douglas AdamsThe Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

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(Video link)

42 Too Timid and Squeamish Gargleblasters My Gargleblaster page: 42

Update: Don't Panic towelThanks so much to yeah write for awarding me a special “Don’t Panic” towel as a prize for making a Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster cocktail. This is undoubtedly the coolest towel I own. It reads: “Don’t Panic / For Marcy, a frood who really knows where her towel is,” and features the yeah write Gargleblaster badge on the other side.

About Marcy

I blog about trying to get out of my comfort zone, completing 101 things in 1001 days (and beyond), and writing my memoirs. My book: Timid No More.
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25 Responses to Ode to the Gargleblaster

  1. Marcy – this is so awesome!! Thanks for the shout out for the new gargleblaster grid – I’m so glad it has helped with the writer’s slump (I slumped for about 8 weeks this winter/spring). I’m trying my own hand at the 42 word prompt for the first time this week.
    Cindy | The Reedster Speaks recently posted..I Can’t Imagine the Ocean.My Profile

  2. Erica M says:

    Marcy, I love your life. Even your depression gets exciting.
    Erica M recently posted..27 phones in the name of scienceMy Profile

  3. I love that you are still trying new things, whether it be a new writing challenge or a drink, without having a list as your guide.
    that cynking feeling recently posted..Sunday Slideshow: Preschool GraduationMy Profile

  4. Angie says:

    Marcy, your ode is a hopeful concoction of golden grit and spirit! Cheers to you. I especially liked the background information of Douglas Adam’s book The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy. Lead-in quote is perfect!!
    Angie recently posted..Basketball HeroMy Profile

  5. Natalie says:

    Marcy, you’re an inspiration to me.
    Natalie recently posted..I Would Change My NameMy Profile

  6. Christine says:

    MARCY!!! You completely made my day with this post. I have been dying for somebody to make a real Pangalactic Gargleblaster and write about it! This was a great read and a great tribute. And on Towel Day, no less! Thank you so much for being such a wonderful a part of the yeah write family.
    Christine recently posted..Rights and PrivilegesMy Profile

    • Marcy says:

      Thanks, Christine. I love the challenge. The cocktail–enjoyable, but pretty minty… How great that it is Towel Day! That was a total coincidence.

  7. Karen says:


    I love what you did here! I’m glad the gargleblaster has helped to reignite your writing. I always enjoy seeing your work on the grid. Karen
    Karen recently posted..Creation MythMy Profile

  8. TNKerr says:

    This made my day! I probably won’t make one myself (I’m more of a “whiskey, neat” kinda guy) but, I’m so excited that you made one and impressed that you drank it as well! I don’t believe you are timid and squeamish at all!

  9. Jen says:

    I love that you did this!

  10. Jetgirl says:

    This post is so absolutely amazing! I love that you made a real Gargleblaster and I’m happy that you have found your way out of the “swamp.” In my opinion you are “fantastique!” 🙂
    Jetgirl recently posted..Ow.My Profile

  11. Katie says:

    “Plop, plop, fizz, fizz, oh what a relief it is.” Sorry..I had a flash back to having an upset stomach as a kid. 🙂
    Katie recently posted..Retail TherapyMy Profile

  12. Shailaja V says:

    This is just way too cool. I bet Douglas Adams is smiling. Looking up.. I mean, down 😉 Great work, Marcy!
    Shailaja V recently posted..The Frantic QuestMy Profile

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