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.
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:
My Gargleblaster page: 42
Update: Thanks 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.