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…


But their experience just might benefit you

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Photo created by Yanalya on Freepik

“I don’t recall asking your opinion, *******. Bye.”

That’s the reply I got from a fellow writer, accompanied, of course, by an uncalled-for insult at the end. An all-time classic.

My crime? Making the following suggestion:

“This subtitle is a bit too long. Consider shortening it.”

Now, how dare I give my opinion like that, when no one asked me to? What gives me the right to provide lengthy and detailed feedback on other people’s writing as if I knew better? Just who in the world do I think I am?

Well, I’m an editor. And the writer who took…


Does their artistic value match their hefty price tags?

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A replica of “Fountain” (1917) by Marcel Duchamp — Collage by the author — Source: Wikimedia Commons (Public Domain and CC BY 2.0)

Would you consider putting your own fecal matter up for sale? — Well, someone did, and their product is now regarded as a work of art worth thousands of dollars. Yes, you read that right. A work of art with a soaring price tag, highly-coveted by collectors.

This, of course, begs the question, what on Earth is art?

Whereas Oxford-Powered dictionaries define art as “the expression or application of human creative skill and imagination, producing works to be appreciated primarily for their beauty or emotional power,” other scholarly authorities such as The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy argue that whether art…


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 individuals: 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…


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…


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…


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…


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…


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…

Joe Donan

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

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