School Days and Lattes
Greener Pastures September Newsletter
It’s Fall, y’all. Our faithful dog Aggie is trying to figure out which is more exciting — the fact that the kids are back in school or that it’s drinkable gourd season. Anyone that says those pumpkins are purely decorative hasn’t been smoking the right things. That’s right, shots fired.
We had a fabulous summer on the pasture. Special shout out to editor Mike, who got married! And a big thanks to the entire editorial team for not getting arrested or infected during hot vax summer. Way to preserve deniability folks!
But enough about us. Let’s talk about what you thought was great during the month of August.
August’s most popular piece: What To Expect When My Snake-Handling Congregation Comes To Your Town by Ryan Zaharako.
Editor’s note: Ryan’s Snake-Handling piece is exactly the kind of zany we love to get on GP. We loved the way this was grounded on an actual thing — religious snake handling — and still managed to create a character that is both oblivious and almost endearingly naive. Just don’t ask him about his trouser snake.
Here’s what Ryan had to say about his writing process:
For years I’ve been making the joke that I don’t trust any religion that doesn’t handle snakes in church, the way the good Lord intended. So, one day I thought perhaps I can turn that concept into a humorous article. I imagined the pastor of a traveling snake-handling congregation answering questions about his lively profession on a local religious radio hour, and What To Expect When My Snake-Handling Congregation Comes To Your Town was born. The question-and-answer format lent itself nicely to the comedy. And once I found the voice for Jebediah Jacobson, it just poured out like venom into a fresh snakebite.
Thanks for the funny, Ryan!
Get Your Book Club On
Are you a humor writer or comedian who wants to read more humor books? Is it hard for you to actually make the time as an adult without a deadline? Then join editor Amy Currul and other funny people from around the world once a month over Zoom. This months book is “Man Seeking Woman” by Simon Rich (originally published as The Last Girlfriend on Earth). If you want more info, drop Amy a line at firstname.lastname@example.org!
Writing Tip of the Month: Getting Back into Writing After a Break
Hey hey folks this is Teresa here with some tips on getting back into the writing wagon. Summer can be a hard time to write, especially if you have small people to care for, or there’s a plague going around.
#1. Don’t beat yourself up over a pause. Life happens, and most of us can’t afford to go off into the woods and write while other people take care of our rent and groceries.
#2. It’s normal to wonder if you’ll ever write something good again. That fear can lead to writer’s block. Instead of fighting those feelings, do a little writing jujitsu. Sit down and write the most terrible thing you can come up with. Revel in it. Try to write something so bad, the words will spontaneously combust on the paper or screen. Do this a couple of times over the course of a week.
Often we get blocked because we’re afraid of what will happen if we fail. By deliberately writing terrible prose, we force our minds to get past that blocker. The worst happened. We wrote a flaming pile of dog excrement. And you know what? We didn’t die. Also, you’ve put yourself back into the habit of writing again. Going back to our jujitsu metaphor, you took that writer’s block by the lapels, flipped it over your shoulder, and dropped that sucker to the ground. Booya! Throw up a fist pump of victory and rock on with your bad self.
Question for the Editors: What Are Your Feelings About Pumpkin Spiced Lattes? Friend or Foe?
Amy: I love seasonal treats, so I’d say friend! I also don’t like people who hate things just for the sake of hating them. If you genuinely think it’s a gross drink, fine, but let the rest of us have this one thing!
Brett: It’s time for me to finally admit: I’m basic AF. All things seasonal are my greatest love.
Cassie: Ask me after I finish my pumpkin cream cold brew.
Kegan: My family’s from Morton, Illinois — the pumpkin capital of the world — so 1) obviously yes, and 2) don’t say anything bad about pumpkin’s to my face… or else.
Mike: It’s time for me to finally admit that Brett is super basic. Most basic guy I know. That wasn’t the question? Oh yeah, I love PSL’s they’re great. Did I mention that Brett is basic?
Ash: Adding flavors to coffee is like adding water to beer. Only a basic guy like Brett would do that. FOE fo sho!
Susan: Future husband.
Teresa: I’d say less friend or foe, and more like that hot guy you know is no good for you, the one that’s going to love you and leave you but you just can’t quit him.