Biff Rambles On About … Getting Blogged Down, Joining a Writing Gang, and Big Game Hunting

Biff Hiking #4


I reckon a week and two days is long enough to stay away from blogging.

And not just blogging, but writing in general.

I suppose I could blame it on writer’s block, but the real culprit is a complete absence of things to write about.  We are even missing out on the Polar Vortex here in Dallas, so I can’t even complain about how cold it is.  In fact, it will be a balmy 63 degrees today (17 C).  How does one go about complaining about a warm spring day right smack in the middle of winter?

And nothing interesting has been going on at work, so there is no material there, either.  Do you want to hear me talk about spreadsheets and PowerPoints and interminable meetings about nothing?   I didn’t think so.

I am the inventor of the term “Spreadsheet Based Reality” (or SBR for short), and even I don’t want to hear about it.  But it can best be summed up by the pithy philosophical phrase:

“I pivot, therefore I am”

And if you get that joke, you have my deepest sympathies.

The Write Stuff

I finally got off of my duff this past week and attended a meeting of a local writer’s group.  It is the first time I have done that in probably 5 years.  I went seeking inspiration and guidance.  I went to seek comfort among my fellow writers.

However, there is something uniquely depressing about writer’s groups.

It is easy to delude one’s self while sitting at home and writing in solitude.  It is easy to convince one’s self that one’s skills as a writer are well-honed and that our Big Break is just around the corner.

But when one sits in a room with a few dozen other writers all of whom have the same aspirations, and all of whom are just as skilled or more so than one’s self … well … it is depressing.  We writer’s like to think we are a rare breed.

It turns out that, in nearly any setting, one cannot swing a synthetic cat around by the tail without taking out a dozen or two writers in the first revolution.

So I was quite happy to get back home to my solitude and my delusions.

A Wing and a Prayer

As many of you have probably heard, this is Stupor Bawl weekend.

We are not allowed to use the real name of the event for fear of a black van pulling up outside my house and a bunch of Ray-Ban wearing goons breaking down my door and working me over with leather truncheons.  But I’m pretty sure you know which event I’m talking about.

I will be going to a Superb Owl watching event this weekend.  However, I am wildly ambivalent about both teams who will be playing, and so I’m really just going for the food.

I will be standing for the entire 4-hour duration of the game because the hosts have apparently trained their dogs to jump up into people’s laps and lick at their plate of food any time anyone bends their knees in the slightest, preparatory to sitting down.

I ask you, who wants a buffalo wing that has been licked bare by a Pekingese?  It is no longer a buffalo wing, but merely a wing.  A wing coated in Pekingese slobber.  That does magically transform it into Peking duck.

I never want to appear ungracious, but there is already precious little meat on a chicken wing as it is, and having to share it with a needle-toothed Pekingese makes it hardly worth the effort to lift it to one’s lips.

I’ll just stick to the celery sticks.  I never have to fight anyone for those.



  1. I’ve never been to a writer’s group–was there a lot of wine? Because that’s the only way I could be even remotely enticed. As for the Toilet Bowl, I don’t understand football well enough to watch any of it, which is weird because I coached rugby for years and I understand THAT.

    Liked by 1 person

    • There was no wine that I could see. Perhaps that would be a big plus if they started offering it.

      I don’t know much about rugby, but I’m almost sure it’s more entertaining than American football. Having 4 minutes of commercials for every 1 minute of game play has made football almost unwatchable.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I don’t if I could ever see myself attending a formal writers group. It seems too serious to me, relative to the importance I give my writing. Maybe if I had that “I must write” gene I’d go for it. As it is, the WordPress bloggers club is writers group enough for me.

    And now to pivot…

    As for my Superb Owlish wisdom on the teams involved, I can only root for the team that hasn’t won it a bunch of times. I have a distaste for loaded super teams, and think that any team in any sport that has won a championship should be disqualified from the playoffs the following year. Maybe that would discourage loading up teams and spread the wealth.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I agree, Dave. It did seem quite serious when I was there. I’m sure they are all very nice people and I’m also sure that, one on one, they are all very warm and casual and supportive. But as a group it was a bit overwhelming. But that was probably my fault more than theirs. I am not very good in groups of more than about 2 people. Some might consider me to be a bit of a recluse, but I can’t help it. I was apparently born this way.

      I also agree with your distaste of “super teams”. That is why I couldn’t get really excited about the “dream team” basketball team we sent to the Olympics a few years back. It just seemed unsportsmanlike to send a team comprised of the best basketball players in the world to take on players that probably did not have very good training facilities or followers or anything else. Frankly, I was embarrassed as an American.

      Liked by 3 people

  3. I wouldn’t have the guts to attend a writer’s group. I can’t muster up the gumption to call myself a writer. Good for you for getting out there!

    I do have to say that your blog is hilarious and I truly enjoy reading it. Please keep writing!

    Enjoy the football game. Here’s hoping the pooches aren’t fans of celery!

    Liked by 1 person

    • You are very much a writer, Anne! And a very good one. Never sell yourself short.

      I do share your sentiment about writer’s groups, though. Being a bit of a recluse, it is hard to put myself out there into a group like that … let alone stand up and share my stuff with them. Perhaps I’ll get more assertive the more I go.

      And thank you for the kind words about my blog. I’m trying to get back up into the saddle, but having been “thrown off”, it’s proving difficult to get back up there.

      And I’ll try to be generous and choose to share whatever finger foods I pick up with the dogs. I’m sure they’d do the same for me if they had opposable thumbs.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I have my own lulls, most of January was ‘off’ for me too.
    It’s hard sometimes and literally putting up a blog post that says ‘Gone fishing’ or similar is enough to actually take the pressure off yourself… and then suddenly ideas have their own space to grow into when the anxiety about having no ideas had filled it before.
    In my case, I have a load of regular features now but just lack the energy and will to think them through and actually write something new for them… I just switch off for a bit and wait for the ‘I MUST write this…’ to come back.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sorry to hear about your lull … but on the other hand your words encouraged me in that they helped me realize that perhaps it’s not just me. Maybe it was just the post-holiday blahs.

      And good idea about the “gone fishing” sign. Perhaps I’ll give that a try.

      Good luck moving past your own lull! Perhaps we’ll both have a good February.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. The Peking Duck thing had me chortling big time. In this house, if Walter wanted your wing, you would have no chance…unless you are 7 1/2 feet tall. He likes our carpenter and a few days ago he licked his face. The carpenter was standing at the time. He said he’d never looked a dog in the eye without having to bend down before. So…I’m thinking that if a Great Dane wants to lick your food it automatically turns it into a Danish.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Glad I was able to get you to chortle a bit, Linda. 🙂

      I think I’d actually prefer a Great Dane to some little tiny dog. That much energy is such a tiny package makes me nervous. I like things serene and sedate.

      And your “Danish” remark made me laugh! Good turn-about!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I joined a writer’s group once and most of the writer’s except one, who was published, offered no constructive criticism. One writer was quite abrupt, and her writing was awful. I stopped going. I always think to myself: Do your own thing, don’t worry about what others think. It’s really helped me.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Great advice! I keep trying to “do my own thing”, but sometimes I start thinking that a second set of eyes would be a good thing. But then again, it’s very stressful to think about giving your writing to someone to read! That’s why I love the anonymity of WP, I think.

      And the writer’s group you went to sounds awful. If they’re not going to be encouraging and supportive, why are they even there? Hopefully there are other ones nearby that are more welcoming.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Superb owl. Man, you had me on a strange tangent there, Biff. How dare you take my atrophied brain hostage!

    Touching on your post, last year I attended a (ugh) weekly writing workshop, just to get some direction and expose myself to others problems and issues. Overall, I did not find it that helpful. people all have their personal precipices (haha I’ll let it stand). One guy did not like my use of a semi-colon, said it ruined the story for him. Likewise, there WAS some quite abysmal writing (other than mine, but also some stellar stuff) and one had to tread carefully and be diplomatic. Hey, we were together for 2 months!

    That said, it set me back from writing, actually, and I pursued my artwork more. And my running regime. (I like to bus myself far from home then run home, to give my run a purpose.)

    I enjoy my marriage of drawing and writing, though it is getting hammered and sawed quite often. (I need that sander, Biff) I have a humble following on Insta which inspires me.

    I hope that you will find your way to more writing, Biff, though I can understand a plateau. It happens in anything that you do, no matter how passionate you are on it. It is a symptom of our longer healthy lives. Perhaps if we lived short brutal lives our output might churn out more masterpieces? Maybe not, humans nature being what it is.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hiya, Bro! Happy January … er … February. Where has the time gone?

      Thanks for the feedback and encouragement. Based on the feedback getting on this post, I’m beginning to feel like writer’s groups are not a very productive way to develop one’s writing abilities. Of course, all of the books and articles and websites I’ve read on how to become a better writer have recommended writer’s groups. Strange.

      And by the way, I love your marriage of writing and cartooning! I love the one-two punch of an image that captures my attention and tickles my funny bone, followed by some great writing to explore the concept in greater detail. I enjoy your short “jab” comics, as well as the longer story-telling type comics. And, of course, your writing is always superb and an excellent read. I’m envious that you can mix it up like that. Since I cannot draw a lick, I am pretty much just stuck with the writing portion of that triad.

      As for your philosophy of, perhaps, our writing being better if we lived short, brutal lives, I think that is probably true. I used to subscribe to the theory of “infinite monkeys with infinite typewriters” of literature, and I was sure that I was one of those infinite monkeys destined for greatness. But I’m starting to think that I was one of the unfortunate monkeys.

      Liked by 1 person

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