Posts tagged with #creative writing

I posted this pretty picture on my instagram. Not much to it, I was just sitting there, and took a photo because it looked nice.

☀️🌳

A photo posted by Jeff Keen (@jeffkeen) on

But then Bennett commented:

BANDITDAYLAR: so… what am I lookin at here? Got a tree… okay. Building… okay. Hmm 🤔

So I went deep, art-school-style, and wrote up this after-the-fact bullshit. I’m not sure if this comes close to my MC Hammer pumps and a bump analysis, but it exercised the same creative muscles, and I had the best time.

JEFFKEEN: Look deeper. The modern building storefront (built by businessmen to sell their wares for profit), juxtaposed next to the old beautiful tree (planted to provide shade and oxygen to anyone, free of charge) is symbolic of the natural tension between the future and the past. The tree leans into the building, symbolic of the old generation trying to push back the change that the next generation created. The building stands strong, though, using new tools (glass, concrete, stone) that the old generation doesn’t understand, only knowing its roots, history, and its memories of many other buildings over the years. While both new and old want a better, more peaceful world, they disagree on the means to achieve it. The new holds a mirror up for the old generation to try and show them how difficult they’ve become. But just like the tree, the old can not see.

Life. Time passes on, things change, and eventually the old gets replaced with the new. So while the tree may remain in the same place for more years to come, its branches will be trimmed back so as to not interfere with the building. And eventually if it causes too much trouble, it will be chopped down and perhaps turned into a very similar building it spent too many years trying to fight against.

For now, it can do little else but try to enjoy the beautifully sunny day, and feel thankful that today is not its last. Like all of us.

I’d like to see a sketch where Haley Joel Osment is going around living everyday life, doing everyday things, and wishing he’d get recognized, but nobody does, despite the obvious hints he drops.

Here’s two scenarios.

[Scene: A grocery store checkout line. The customer before Haley got his very heavy groceries bagged haphazardly, and starts walking out of the store.]

Haley: [to the clerk] That’s gonna break

[Bag breaks as customer reaches exit, groceries everywhere]

Clerk: Whoa, you called that one
Haley: Yeah, I guess I have a Sixth Sense [chuckles]
Clerk: Yeah, I guess you do.
Haley: [Raises eyebrows]
Clerk: …I’ll… make sure to double bag yours…

[Scene: Getting a coffee at a hipster coffee shop. American Beauty by the Grateful Dead is being played.]

Barista: How’s your day going?
Haley: Pretty good. Did you put this album on?
Barista: Oh yeah, I’m a big fan of the Dead.
Haley: Me too. And actually, I’ve seen lots of the dead. [chuckles]
Barista: [blank look]
Haley: [whispers] I see dead people
Barista: They’re called deadheads.

AND THAT’S JUST A TASTE. C’mon Haley, let’s get together and make this. I know people who make great videos.

My friend Mark posted the following MC Hammer video on Facebook with the caption:

Good morning everyone. Your day is about to get better. You’re welcome.

What followed in the comments is some of the finest extemporaneous creative writing I’ve ever done.

Me: This is where Hammer peaked as a lyricist.

Mark: I’m not the Hammer historian you are, Jeff, so correct me if I’m wrong, but might this also be his speedo-wearing, schlong-slinging peak as well?

Me: It’s not that simple, Mark. With great work comes great struggle, and this Hammer masterpiece is no exception.

It’s widely believed among Hammer historians that this video is layered in metaphor with Hammer’s feelings on his celebrity. The remote controlled waterfall symbolizes the unhinged excess that piles of money can cause, and the stark change from his extra-baggy silk parachute pants to his fully-exposed banana hammock symbolize the complete loss of privacy Hammer experienced as he became more famous.

But he keeps up the facade of happiness for the public, and “goes through the motions” (symbolized by the choreographed dance moves in the second half), with his true emotions hidden by the dark black sunglasses he wears throughout the video.

So while the layman may view this video as his speedo-wearing peak (no offense), it actually marks the peak of Hammer’s sadness. And his genius.

Mark: Profound. Could it then be said that, in Hammer’s philosophical search for the true self, that his speedo, as juxtaposed with his harem of bikini clad ladies, is intended to symbolize the Anima Jungian archetype?

Me: I go into that in the seventh chapter of my book, When Parachute Pants Don’t Break Your Fall: The Untold MC Hammer Story, hitting bookshelves in October.

UX

At Spiceworks, we really wanted to stop supporting older versions of IE, but understood from the stats we collected that 5-10% of our users were still on old versions. So we came up with an upgrade strategy.

Whenever you’re asking someone to do something that might be a little unpleasant, it helps if you make it enjoyable, or funny. That’s basic User Experience. Take their mind off the bad part— “You want me to what?”—by distracting them with laughs.

So catering to an audience of IT guys, I thought making an Office Space joke would be appropriate.

Oosfdhm

And apparently it worked, because it just made it to the front page of reddit today!

Good morning! The time is 10:33 AM, and we stopped serving breakfast exactly three minutes ago. It’s lunchtime now.

While you may have just witnessed a waiter breeze by with two plates of breakfast deliciousness for the couple in the corner, you should know that their order was placed 15 minutes ago—during breakfast time. And while I agree that eggs and bacon are a great way to start the day, unfortunately we are simply unable to make any breakfast items past 10:30 AM.

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Grackle

Everyone’s head turned and followed your path when you entered the room. While they all turned back to their meals and conversations after you passed, you landed a couple of tables away from me and we locked eyes for a few magical seconds.

I was the tall blonde bearded man wearing tortoise shell glasses and a green, blue and white checked shirt. You were petite, with well-kept gray and brown feathers, and a lovely long black beak.

I must have looked silly sitting there frozen with my fork full of salad, inches from my open mouth, but I really wasn’t expecting you to capture my gaze so fully. Looking into your glossy black diamond eyes felt so familiar—I swear I’ve seen you before.

Do you ever perch in the ash trees in the Central Market parking lot? I drive the blue Acura.

I doubt you’ll ever see this, but in the slight chance you do, I wanted you to know that you have magnificent poise, a captivating presence, and remarkable courage. I have never seen another bird—male or female, big or small—get so close to a human wielding a plastic knife and fork, so obviously prepared to crush your beautifully slender body and pick out your little eyes if given the chance.

You probably get this all the time, but you truly are a bird of a different feather. To demonstrate such fearlessness for a few stray crumbs of cornbread and an abandoned sweet potato fry really makes me wonder how you live the rest of your life.

I’d love to find out.