Joe Donan

The benefits of teamwork cannot be overstated

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Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

I know what you’re thinking: “But writing’s essentially a lonely business, isn’t it?” Well, what if I told you it doesn’t have to be? Better yet, what if I told you it shouldn’t be?

I used to believe writers were inherently lonely creatures, and to be honest, I liked that idea. I felt comfortable as a non-native English speaker writing from a cobwebbed corner of the world, speaking my mind and never worrying about anyone else’s opinion on my words.

The problem was, I wasn’t very pleased with my work, nor did I enjoy the writing process as much as I thought I should. For me, it was reduced to writing, editing, submitting, crossing my fingers, and getting subpar results at best. I did experience my share of moderate initial success, but more often than not, my pieces were duly ignored, quickly forgotten, or downright rejected. …

And how they jeopardize your decisions and relationships.

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Artwork and animation by the author, Joe Donan

Imagine someone asked you to rate your intelligence, looks, and moral values on a scale from one to ten, with ten being perfect and five being average. If you give yourself a seven, as most people would, then you may be suffering from the illusory perception that you’re better than most people: a notably common and persistent cognitive bias.

According to MasterClass, “a cognitive bias is a strong, preconceived notion of someone or something, based on information we have, perceive to have, or lack.” …

He confessed to killing 93 women in 34 years.

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Samuel Little — Source: FBI Media

On January 24th, 1971, the decomposing body of 33-year-old Mary Brosley was found in a 6-inch grave, her legs partially sticking out of the ground. Nearly half a century later, 78-year-old Samuel Little — also known as Samuel McDowell — confessed to choking her to death, providing small details such as the necklace she was wearing the night he took her life.

As it turned out, Mary Brosley was the first of allegedly 93 unfortunate women — by the account of Little himself — who would die by his hand, in a serial-killing spree across 19 states and spanning 34 years, until his last murderous deed in 2005. …

10 unexpected Holiday gifts

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Photo by the author

Twelve months ago, I thought I knew what it was like to be a teacher living on a tight budget. Little did I know the year 2020 was about to prove me wrong.

In my home country of El Salvador, the COVID-19 crisis had some serious consequences for educators. Class hourly rates decreased, the number of groups per teacher was greatly reduced, and somehow, teaching from home felt like twice the amount of work compared to last year.

As a result, I had to sell my car along with some of my belongings while I spent several months looking for new job opportunities. My rent was due, unpaid fees from my daughter’s school were accumulating, and I was about to lose my mind trying to figure out a way to stay afloat. …

The wisdom of Shigeru Miyamoto

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Source: NintendoLife

Mention Mario to an average person, and most likely, they’ll tell you exactly who he is and what he looks like, even though he doesn’t exist in real life. Now, ask the same person if they know Shigeru Miyamoto, and chances are they will have no idea who you’re talking about.

Veteran gamers, however, know Mr. Miyamoto is a prominent and respected figure in the video-game industry, and the chief developer of some of the most renowned franchises of all time, including the Super Mario Bros and The Legend Of Zelda series.

For over forty years, Shigeru Miyamoto has worked tirelessly and loyally for Nintendo, developing, producing, and directing video games since he was hired as their first artist in 1977. And even now, being nearly seventy, he doesn’t seem to be planning to retire anytime soon. …

The best of the best of our third writing contest

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Image source: Massonstock on Freepik — Caption: Canva

We’re happy to announce that our third writing challenge was a success and that we have chosen our winners!

Thanks to all those who participated and went the extra mile to make their stories shine like diamonds! You gave me and our dear chief editor Kelly Eden a wonderful time as we immersed ourselves in your creative and thought-provoking stories. That alone makes all of you winners in our hearts.

Naturally, having dozens of outstanding entries to choose from, it was tough to make up our minds for our twelve finalists. Selecting the winners was even more challenging. To see what I mean, imagine being asked which of your children you love most. …

The “Twitter Killer” of Japan.

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Takahiro Shiraishi — Source: Youtube

On Halloween 2017, the Japanese police made a macabre discovery: 27-year-old Takahiro Shiraishi was hiding the dismembered, rotting corpses of nine people in his 13.5 squared-meter loft apartment in Zama, near Tokyo.

Shiraishi kept the human remains of his victims, eight female and one male, aged 15–26, in a set of coolers and toolboxes; their bones covered in cat litter in an attempt to hide all evidence against him, including the stench of decomposing flesh.

His only male victim was identified as Shogo Nishinaka, the boyfriend of Mizuki Miura, the first woman Shiraishi had killed. Suspecting Shiraishi was behind her disappearance, the 20-year-old man personally confronted the killer, who had no choice but to murder him in order to silence him, leaving no loose ends. …

Pupusas: The pinnacle of Salvadoran Cuisine

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Two rice-flour cheese pupusas— Source: Wikimedia Commons

“Upon meeting me, everyone here in El Salvador asks the same two questions,” a Spanish girl once told me, “One, where are you from? and two, how do you like pupusas? — invariably in that order.”

I couldn’t help but smile. If she hadn’t said that, I too would have made the same inquiry. You see, that’s just how proud we Salvadorans are of our national dish, the pupusa.

Now, what is a pupusa? you may be wondering. Nothing really that fancy, and at the same time, the indisputable pinnacle of Salvadoran cuisine: A piece of flattened corn or rice dough filled with a variety of ingredients, cooked on a griddle for a few minutes and served with cabbage slaw, tomato sauce, and a drink of your choice. …

It’s not all rainbows and unicorns

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Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay

To some people, Till death do us part is a phrase. To others, a sentence.

All jokes aside, to me, marriage is more like a rollercoaster: an exhilarating ride of super-steep ups, neck-breaking downs, and barf-inducing loops; with some people having the time of their lives, and others crying for their mamas and wondering “What the heck was I thinking?

Thankfully, I consider myself a member of the first group. I got married last year on Teacher’s Day in my home country — fitting, considering both my wife and I are educators — and since then, I’ve been having a great time. I’ve laughed out loud, cried in joy, eaten to my heart’s content, and been loved in a way I never thought possible. …


Joe Donan

Husband • Father • Educator • Writer • Artisan • Pizza chomper

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