May NFLM Necessity is the Mother of Invention

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Thread: May NFLM Necessity is the Mother of Invention

  1. #1

    May NFLM Necessity is the Mother of Invention


    Necessity is the Mother of Invention
    May 2015

    This month topic is " Necessity is the Mother of Invention"- A time when you were forced by circumstance to step out there and be truly creative to solve an important issue.

    The winner will receive a badge pinned to their profile and given a month’s access to FoWF where you’ll have access to hidden forums and use of the chat room.

    Have the prompt included in some way into your entry. All non-fiction formats are acceptable (article, memoir, personal essay, etc).


    • All forum rules apply. The NFLM competition is considered a creative area of the forum. If your entry contains inappropriate language or content, do not forget add a disclaimer or it could result in disciplinary actions taken. Click here for the full list of rules and guidelines of the forum.
    • No Poetry! Nothing against you poets out there, but this isn't a place for your poems. Head on over to the poetry challenges for good competition over there. Some of us non-fiction people wouldn’t be able to understand your work! Click here for the poetry challenges.
    • No posts that are not entries into the competition are allowed. If you have any questions, concerns, or wish to take part in discussion please head over to the NFLM Coffee Bar. We’ll be glad to take care of your needs over there.
    • Editing your entry after posting isn’t allowed. You’ll be given a ten minute grace period, but after that your entry may not be scored.
    • Only one entry per member.
    • No liking entries until the scores go up.
    • The word limit is 650 words not including the title. If you go over - Your entry will not be counted. Microsoft Word and Google Drive are the standard for checking this. If you feel it’s incorrect, send it to the host of the competition and we’ll check it for you and add our approval upon acceptance.
    • Sources must be cited if appropriate. Citations are excluded from any word limit. The content of footnotes (which includes expository, supplemental information) are also excluded from the 650 word limit, but instead must abide by its own limit of 200 words.
      • 1. Important note: The inclusion of cited sources is not always necessary. Some non-fiction genres, such as memoir or personal essay, do not typically include sources.

    There are a few ways to post your entry:

    1. If you aren't too concerned about your first rights, then you can simply post your entry here in this thread.
    2. You can opt to have your entry posted Here which is a special thread just for NFLM entries.
    3. You would put your entry there if you wish to protect your first rights, in case you wish to have the entry published one day. Note: If you post your entry in the workshop thread, you must provide a link here, in this thread, otherwise your entry will not be counted.
    4. You may post your entry anonymously. To do so, send your entry to the host of the competition. If you wish to have us post it in the workshop thread then say so. Your name will be made public in the poll thread once the challenge is over.

    Writers of all skill levels are welcome and encouraged to participate.

    This competition will close on:
    May 16th 11:59 PM
    Last edited by Plasticweld; May 1st, 2015 at 10:57 AM.
    God hates a coward Revelation 21:8

    “Good writin' ain't necessarily good readin'.”

    Hidden Content ,

    To encourage and facilitate "me"

  2. #2

    A Time in My Life (600 Words)

    One of my most cherished memories was a compliment received from the ex-wife of a noted playwright, “You captured the essence of his “Arab”… a breathtaking performance that I’m sure Bill would stand up and cheer for.” Okay, Okay, I know it sounds like a bit of self-aggrandizing, so let me backtrack, and go over those events that led up to that theatrical critique that left me popping at the seams.

    This is a tale that took place many, many years ago when I was young, good-looking and full of dreams…

    I just recently returned to New York with my tail between my legs. For the past three years my dreams of becoming a Hollywood legend in the land of California ended in disillusionment and disappointment. I decided to concentrate more on the theater, rather than the Movie or T.V career that I recently abandoned. With my G.I .bill in hand I enrolled in college and joined their Theater Arts program. I was accepted into the “Chapel Studio Players,” a prestigious repertory company, affiliated with the school. It was reserved for the more gifted of acting students.

    There were four productions a year performed in the main theater. These were all well received events. Being that the theaters proximity was just fifteen miles from Broadway many a high heeled theater patron would be in attendance. To get cast in one of the main productions, no matter how small, was a feather in ones cap.

    I was cast as “The Arab” in William Saroyan’s five act play “The Time of Your Life,” first performed on Broadway in 1939, winning the Pulitzer Prize as well as the New York Drama Critics Circle Award. He was one of the Greats.

    Although the part didn't have many speaking lines except for one monologue, it was the only character that was on stage for all five acts. He mainly sat at the bar smoking cigarettes. The character also played the harmonica at the end of each act, which if played right, added a sad accent to the piece.

    I rehearsed the part for a month, learned to play a few licks on the harmonica, dyed my hair and beard gray, and learned how to do an Arabian accent and smoke unfiltered cigarettes. My pivotal scene was in the third act, soon after the “Cop’ did his monologue, flicked his cigarette on the floor and exited. I ended the act with my monologue and did a fade playing the harmonica. A powerful scene… if done right.

    The first performance went well and when I came out for a bow I was nicely received. When I was backstage an actor friend came up to me and said, “You may have looked like an old man but didn't move like one.” A light bulb clicked on.

    The next performance I slowed down my characters movements, considerably. In the third act when the ‘Cop” flicked his cigarette on the floor, I slowly got off my stool and slowly, very slowly, picked up the cigarette and with stooped shoulders, walked back to my stool, and smoked it… to the audiences delight. This time when I came out for a bow, I received a standing ovation. I made the “Arab” real and his story more poignant by being in the moment for the whole play. He became a real person to the audience, not a young man playing an old one. Necessity is absolutely the Mother of all Invention.

    So when Carol Marcus, a noted actress herself, said William Saroyan would applaud my performance, how could I not puff up like a peacock?
    Last edited by rcallaci; January 6th, 2016 at 03:20 PM. Reason: post editing-fixed typo
    Nature weeps, the devil sings
    at mans greed and pride
    and what it brings

    Just lots of useless
    little things

  3. #3

    Comedy of Errors (641 words.)

    It was one of those ideas that seem like common sense right up to the moment when you’re past the point of no return.

    We had bought the semi-derelict cottage in the beautiful Wye Valley in a haze of confidence. This upbeat mood was mostly founded on a book we had come across that was filled with New Age accounts of self-sufficiency and couples breaking free of the rat-race.

    The initial euphoria got us through the first few months of pulling down ceilings, ripping up floorboards, spraying the woodworm and filling the cracks. Finally, we were at the stage of putting everything back together. The rewiring and plumbing went in like a dream and in no time at all, we were ready to re-plaster the walls and replace the ceilings.

    It is possible that all this success had encouraged us to take a slightly casual approach to the work at hand because, when we realised that one sheet of eight by four plaster board would exactly fit the ceiling space above the stairs, we decided it would be foolish and tiresome to cut it up just to nail it back together again. A little thought might have cautioned us to consider the weight of this huge sheet of drywall but we were on a roll and in no mood to be cautious.

    One of us at each end, arms extended painfully to grip the width of the board, the love of my life and I headed towards the staircase. I staggered upward under the great weight whilst hubby twisted the drywall and started up the ladder with the plaster board sheet resting on his head. Meanwhile, at the top of the staircase, with arms at full stretch above my head, I was able to push my end of the board up into position on the ceiling.

    There was a moment of still silence, during which I was thinking how much time we had saved by putting up this ceiling in one operation; then Ray spoke. His voice was strangely strangled by a mouthful of nails and the weight of the huge board on his head,
    “Darling,” he mumbled, “I’ve left the hammer out in the yard.”

    We took a moment to assess the situation as I tried to ignore the painful throbbing in my outstretched arms. They say that necessity is the mother of invention and, in that quiet moment of despair, an idea lit up in my mind.

    I moved one hand to the centre of the board to balance it and felt behind me for the broom that I had been using on the landing just before this adventure had begun. I used the head of the broom to push up the board and wedged the handle onto the handrail that was fixed to the wall at the side of the staircase. It was precarious, possibly even lethal for Ray, considering the vulnerability of his position at the top of the ladder, but fortune favours the bold and I was better placed to be bold than Ray.

    I glanced at his stricken face as I crept down the stairs and tried an encouraging smile. I even remembered not to use the handrail.

    Then, back in position at the top of the stairs, I listened to the sound of hammering as I reaped the reward of my inspired idea by using the broom to force the board upward and, in this way, was able to avoid all that pain in my arms. Suddenly Ray spoke again,
    “Bloody hell, now I’ve nailed my glove to the ceiling!”

    From the relative comfort of my new position, I looked down to see him with the hammer in one hand and the other firmly secured to the ceiling. I was saying nothing; it was his turn to come up with a solution this time.

  4. #4
    ​Good Vibrations

    “Can I borrow your massager?” my daughter asked as I was preparing to take her and her brother to school. We were in the kitchen.

    “I guess,” I replied. “Just go in my room and get it. Your dad’s reading e-mail on his phone so you won’t wake him up.”

    She disappeared upstairs. In a few minutes she returned and we left for school.

    On the way, I asked her, “Why did you want to borrow my massager?”

    “Oh, I had a clogged-up sinus and I put it on my cheekbone and ran it at full speed to shake the snot out of it.”

    “How … ingenious,” I told her. “Did it work?”

    “Yeah, it worked really well.”

    “O-kay.” Since she’d put it back, I forgot about it.

    That is, until a week later when I awoke with clogged sinuses. I remembered her solution and thought I’d try it. At first, nothing happened. I felt the vibration all over, even in my jaw. Since nothing was happening, I turned if off and put it away.

    A few minutes later, though, I noticed that my sinuses were draining and I felt almost normal.

    Sometimes genius is about creating new devices to solve problems. Other times, it’s about finding new uses for existing tools.
    Everything you want is just outside your comfort zone.
    — Robert G. Allen

  5. #5

    Sixty Two failures 650 words

    Sixty Two failures by Bob Brown Not to be scored

    I scrambled to find my helmet and jacket. The fire alarm had now sounded for the second time. The Army surplus air raid siren echoed across the hills breaking the tranquility of our small town. Switching on the scanner we found out it was our warehouse that was on fire.

    I jumped on my motorcycle to ride over to see what was left. I parked by the main garage in the puddles of water a remnant from the firefight. I was met by Keith, who is a longtime friend, he was dirty and frazzled shaking his head, he told me nobody was hurt but the building is a total loss. He calmly told me about the intensity of the fire as we walked over to see what was left. In mid-sentence he was interrupted by a woman’s screams "No! No! Stop!" it sounded as though a child was being run over. We ran back to the garage to find that the fire truck had backed over my motorcycle, it lay wedged underneath it. Dripping gas, broken plastic and parts lay scattered about in the dirty water. They got the truck off my bike, I picked up the pieces and looked it over… it was banged up pretty good. I stood the bike and just stared at the mess. The business stuff gone, now no more than twisted metal, my bike being wrecked somehow bothered me more. I listened as the Chief told me not to worry, they would cover the damage, they were supposed to have a man back there when backing up, per insurance regulations and seeing as they did not, they would cover the cost themselves. I got the bike started and rode off. Winding up through the gears, letting the bike roar as I shifted through each of the gears, I was not going to let them think I or my motorcycle had been beaten.

    I was astounded at the cost of replacing the damaged parts, the dealer ticked off the cost of replacing the broken and damaged stuff, $2700 it seemed far too high for plastic parts, I thought I would try something else. This was in 1992 and with the internet I was sure I could find a cheaper alternative. I was able to find something about plastic welding after doing some searches. I didn’t know it was even possible. Being a gambler, I ordered the needed tools and material to try and fix my own stuff. The tools and material were designed for automobile bumpers and I was sure it would work on my stuff.

    I was wrong…

    After making attempts’ on scrap parts with my new plastic welding tools I found out the hard way not all plastic is the same, what worked for car bumpers did not work for motorcycles and in my trial tests all the welds failed.

    I did not give up, I kept at it and I kept failing. At test, sample sixty three I came up with a method that worked, I figured I was lucky I now knew 62 ways not to repair plastic. Having restored cars I knew that it takes a while to learn any new method. My next step was to buy a motorcycle to practice on. I bought one repaired it, sold it, then bought another one, each time making decent money in the process. The first few years I would buy and sell about 30 motorcycles a year. With the help of my son we put together a web page describing and documenting our services, we would not do only our bikes but customer bikes. We built a business from the ground up becoming one of the largest in the country. A Changing economy, changes in technologies and markets doomed us; thirteen years later I shut the doors of Empire GP. The company is gone, all that remains is my name Plasticweld.

    God hates a coward Revelation 21:8

    “Good writin' ain't necessarily good readin'.”

    Hidden Content ,

    To encourage and facilitate "me"

  6. #6


    by Emma Sohan

    I started rereading one of my old books last night. And I laughed, and I felt my main character's pain, and I made only minor editing changes -- this was, after all, about the 20th time I had read it --

    until I got to page 153. Then it went clunk.

    His hand reaches out and gently touches mine. I can feel the electricity between us. And now we're too close, it's impossible for us to separate.

    I am very fond of just ignoring that clunking sound and telling myself it's written as well as it can be written. It's nice. It looks fine. That paragraph has the information I want. It's romantic! But . . . my sense of clunk is deadly accurate.


    Now what?

    It's a love scene! I can't have a bad love scene. I'm fond of convincing myself that what I wrote is good, I just read it too many times. But . . . it kept clunking. So I called on my inner muse. For inspiration. For words to magically appear that I could love.


    So I went to bed. Sleep always works for me. I wake up confident, refreshed, and ready to write.

    Still nothing.

    I wish I could say that, as I stared at what I had written, some new and brilliant idea suddenly streaked across my brain, like a meteor leaving a bright trail in the night sky. It was actually the opposite. Last month I started a discussion on connecting sentences, one of my conclusions being that love scenes should use semicolons. Also eliminating that awkward (and embarrassing) "can":

    His hand reaches out and gently touches mine; I feel the electricity between us.

    Now I'm limping! Yes! What next? The day before I was thinking about the value of repetition in writing. So, being about as unbrilliant as humanly possible, I add repetition.

    His hand reaches out and gently touches mine; I feel the electricity between us. Now, now, now we're too close.

    My inner muse, who was avoiding this paragraph like it was a radioactive wasteland, finally decides to make her contribution -- another semicolon (which I could have figured out myself) and some parallel form (which she can do in her sleep).

    His hand reaches out and gently touches mine; I feel the electricity between us. Now, now, now we're too close; now we cannot possibly stop.

    And now, now, now I have something I like. Letting my muse do some more parallel form, the next paragraph becomes:

    He pulls me to him, hard and fast. His lips meet mine, and we are sharing heat, sweat, and passion. Now, now, now we are physically fused together; now we cannot possibly separate.

    And -- ironically -- that's starting to look creative, at least by my standards. As you may recall, that was not my goal -- I just wanted something I liked, but it's that too.

    It would be convenient if this month's theme was how random stabs are the mother of invention. But my experience still fits the theme. I needed to do something, and my normal stuff wasn't working, so I needed to do something different. I would have kept stabbing randomly until I found something. I am not a spontaneously creative person -- I need problems like this to force me out of the normal.

    The next paragraph in my book still goes clunk. Back to work!
    How to write a good start: Hidden Content . Useful, original information. Long and thorough.
    Includes Hidden Content (do you start with description?), Hidden Content (a favorite with publishers apparently), starting with Hidden Content (a lost art), and more.

  7. #7


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