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Best of 2019


Best of

It’s been a year of growth around here at ACCIDENTALLY INSPIRED.

It seems like barely twelve months ago subscriber numbers were hovering around the 500 mark. Now inching closer to the 3000 milestone, word is finally spreading about what some of us veteran readers have known for a long time – Matt’s beastly fine little corner of the blogosphere is the place to come for swashbuckling great reads, supreme writerly insights and thrillifying analogies and turns of phrase.

Here’s a sweet sixteen collection of his finest posts from the year –

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# 1. Wordsmithery and Feelings of Inadequacy (July 19)

Pav’s sister said something to him many years ago that lit up his brain like a candelabra. It stuck. It grew. It played on loop. It shaped him. What did she say? You’ll need to read this acclaim-worthy post to find out.
Remember it HERE.

# 2. A Spring Thaw (February 12)

Is he a kindergartner refusing to eat his vegetables? Is he an adult wracked with doubt after reading one too many writing advice books? Either way its tools down for our budding pro-author while his path up Novel Mountain is temporarily halted by the feeling maybe he’s not doing it right. Holed up at base camp with his tent flap bared open for all to see, our momentarily oxygen-deprived story explorer confesses, in a moment of delirium, it may actually be comforting not trying to write every day. We don’t believe him. We know it’s not true. Fool us you don’t! Wrestling with your inner critic you may well be. Yet we know all the while you’re busy fitting steel crampons to your hiking boots and reaching for that trusty ice-axe. The next stage of the climb awaits…

This simply brilliant post includes what surely must be a strong contender for ‘Analogy of the Year’“I feel better when I write. It cleans out the mental pathways like running a Neti-Pot through your sinuses”.
Remember it HERE.

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# 3. The Dawdle (July 8)

Pav treats us to an original short story about an author who puts effort – a lot of effort – maybe too much effort – into setting up the perfect writing conditions. This includes having on-hand a 78 hour long, personally curated playlist of songs. Guaranteed to bring a knowing smile of recognition to every writer and would-be writer’s face.
Remember it HERE.

# 4. On Writing Advice (August 10)

For those who’ve ever been tempted to flip the middle finger at writing advice from successful, published authors and regard rules as something made merely to be broken, this thought-piece will provide pause. In a post-truth world where regard for authority and expertise is not as it once was, Pav wisely recommends the path of “assimilating a little bit of knowledge from the people who have gone before you along the way.” He analogizes about the perils of people deciding to throw the road rules out the window and drive on the left hand side of the road. In my region of the Planet, sorry to be the one to tell you Pav, that’s completely normal. Yet I know what you mean!
Remember it HERE.

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# 5. That’s A Wrap – Kind Of (September 21st)

Always one to consider the feelings and wishes of his loyal readers, Pav explains the reason he’s been feeding us all mere breadcrumbs on the blog of late (posting less) is that he’s been devoting all that writing energy to a higher cause – namely putting the finishing touches on his novel masterwork. Ok, sounds like a reasonable excuse. You’re forgiven – for now! There are greater crimes, I suppose, than moonlighting from your own ‘blarg’.
Remember it HERE.

# 6. Story-Matic #46 (October 17)

Nothing interesting happens in libraries? Wrong! This little short story gem from our master writer features librarian Alise, homeless Gary, and a stoop. Not only that… you also get a twenty year mystery about an unpublished novel that turns up in someone’s backpack. Breath in the musty air of this veritable mind-boggling boulevard.
Remember it HERE.

# 7. Anti-Social Socialites (June 15th)

The next sentence is true. The previous statement was false. But for a real paradox read this post. Pav deems the act of writing to be a type of self-imposed solitary confinement. Yet, as he points out, writers have to know, and know intimately, how people think and act. And in order to do that they have to get out amongst real people and mix with them. Hence the very apt title of the post.
Remember it HERE.

# 8. The Hideout Needs a Name (July 31)

What’s this? A sample passage from his novel-in-progress dangled unannounced for we readers to pour over like cheese morsel thrown to hungry mice? Well… yes it is! Features a character called Dina who opens a bag of tortilla chips by ‘gashing’ it with her ring.
Remember it HERE.

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# 9. The Pill Problem, Revisited (April 25)

The reasoning goes like this: when you have a headache you take a Tylenol. You then have a lie down and the pain goes away. Logically after the pain has gone you don’t keep on taking the Tylenol. All on solid footing so far, right? And yet… he’s getting the skeptical eyes from his wife, which, as he puts it, “is usually a sign that I need to pump the brakes.” Should he take his thumb off the scales or leave it on? Are these bathroom scales or kitchen scales? And will he opt for name brand or generic? The answers to all these questions and more are contained in this fascinating and as usual, brutally self-honest post.
Remember it HERE.

# 10. Early-Man Ennui (June 24)

Two caveman, Dag and Thop (both with British accents) contemplate the very possibly ‘spiritually icky’ meaning of life. Hunger takes over and their stone-age navel-gazing comes to an end. They go out and hunt for antelope.The whole shebang is downright pre-hysterical if you ask me!
Remember it HERE.

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# 11. Story-Matic #63 (October 20)

Two body builders in a gym. In the right light, both with enough popping veins to make them look like human road maps. One’s named Dimitri. The other is Kurtis. Kurtis decides to play a trick on his buddy Dimitri. The trick involves superimposing a certain image over the weights on each end of a barbell Dimitri is lifting in a video. It’s kooky. It’s funny. This fiction piece has ‘Personal Best’ written all over it.
Remember it HERE.

# 12. The Theory of A-Holes (October 15)

We’ve all traveled that rough stretch of human highway; the one populated with inconsiderate, self-centered mooks who irritate like sandpaper. Its part of what it means to be human, no matter what part of the world you live in. Pav puts forward an anthropological theory to try to account for why there seem to be more annoying nitwits around these days than ever before. His thesis references big fish, small ponds, the film A BUG’S LIFE and toilet paper. Searching for profound meaning? The Dalai Lama has nothing on this.
Remember it HERE.

# 13. The Inevitable Pain of Football Season (August 31st)

As a writer, Pav and pain have naturally been companions for some many years. His life as a teacher has no doubt also brought him face to face with a variety of… ahem, for want of a better word… pains. Yet it is the highs and lows of footy season fandom that occupy his thoughts on this occasion.
Remember it HERE.

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# 14. A Superpower You Didn’t Know You Had (July 4th)

Episodes of The Handmaid’s Tale have Matt questioning “Who’s driving the bus?” Who indeed. The answers are bona-fide bristling and certainly worth the re-read.
Remember it HERE.

# 15. A Quick Monologue (August 24)

He feels the need to spell out to his readers that this bit of spice is ENTIRELY fictional. Read it and you’ll see why.
Remember it HERE.

# 16. Signs, Signs Everywhere (February 23)

When does a restroom sign look like a dude putting a baby on a grill? When it looks like this….
Remember it HERE.

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Accidentally Inspired Best of 2016


The blog had a few hits over 10,000 this year, and even factoring in (or, rather, out) the unprecedented and unexplained 2500 or so hits from Taiwan late last month, that’s over 2000 more hits than last year. And considering that this blog gets promoted … not at all, but only through repeat visitation and people stumbling across it, I’ll take that as a pretty good sign. (Also — thanks for reading!)

Since it’s growing, and since I have at least a few regular readers and commentors, I thought I’d try something different. I’ve not done this before, but all the cool kids are doing it, and it got me thinking: as much as I spin my wheels around here, I have written a few things that aren’t a total waste of time here at Accidentally Inspired. I mean, granted, 2016 has turned into a total sharknado-show here in the closing months, but it hasn’t all been bad. So what better time than the end of an arbitrarily-defined irregular orbital period to take a look back at some of those posts?

Here, then, are the best of 2016.

Most Popular Overall: These are, in descending order, the most-viewed posts on the site.

  1. Do You Wanna Go To Target? I guess it should be no surprise that the goofiest thing I wrote this year would be the most-read post I’ve ever had here. Lesson learned: start a youtube channel.
  2. Why Mickey Mouse is the Worst Kids’ Show. Kids go through phases, and my kids were in a doozy of a Mickey Mouse Clubhouse phase. It was lodged in my mind like popcorn between the teeth for months, and this was the result. I stand by every word of it, months later.
  3. Orkestra Obsolete. I did something here that I rarely do, which was to re-post a video that I saw and thought was awesome with very little commentary. Somehow, searches for that band ended up directing some visitors here, and still do occasionally. Still a great video.
  4. Why I Am an Atheist. I decided this year I wasn’t going to pretend I wasn’t an atheist any more. I’m too old for that sharknado. This was my coming-out post. Not a bad read if you’re interested in the guy behind the curtain.
  5. More Riffing on Light and Dark. Just a little post about symbolism that I may revisit some time, because it’s everywhere, but we don’t pay all that much attention to it. I think I was high on the scene where (SPOILER!) Han Solo dies in TFA at the time.

Most Popular Flash Fiction: I haven’t written as much flash as I used to (and I need to work on that — it really is great exercise), but I still do from time to time. These stories had the most views out of the lot.

  1. Pegasus Intelligence. A funny bit of fluff about a stymied writer. Funny how that’s a motif across my work.
  2. A Laughing Matter, Ashore, and The Dark Fairy. Three stories in a collaborative flash fiction challenge. Links to the other authors’ contributions are contained within each of those pages. The germ for the first story (A Laughing Matter) came from my Storymatic, which has proven to be a pretty awesome little tool.
  3. The Apocalypse Ticket. A lesser-known superhero races to save the world but is bested by bureaucracy. I think it’s no coincidence that I’m at my best when I’m adventuring in the absurd.
  4. Overtaken. A weird little piece I wrote in the wake of the Olympic games, but not a bad one.
  5. The Cloud Conspiracy. A genre mash-up that I actually quite enjoyed: climate science fiction and noir.

Honorable Mentions / My Favorites (in no particular order): A handful of pieces I particularly enjoyed for one reason or another.

  • The Prisoner’s Dilemma, Egomaniacs, and the 2016 Election. This one very nearly cracked the top 5. I imagine all pre-election pontification looks pretty silly in retrospect, but I was proud of this piece. I particularly liked the precept of using logical problems and thought experiments to structure some entries, which is a thing I may return to.
  • An Open Letter to the Creators of FreeWrite. The FreeWrite is a product I have decided to love to hate. I absolutely adore the idea, but it’s so self-important and overhyped, it’s almost ludicrous. It still pops up in my facebook all the time, and while I would love to own one, there is no way in hell I’m swallowing the $499 (!) price tag.
  • Chick Magnet. I absolutely loved this bizarre little story about a guy who, despite his wishes, is loved and pursued by a flock (haw) of avian suitors.
  • I Hate Everything, Even My Own Birthday. Because it’s true.
  • On Losing, or Why Art Competitions Suck. A little treatise (read: rant) on why it’s bottom-line absurd to compare your art to anybody else’s.
  • No Such Thing as Coincidence. Not a revelatory post or anything, but a little spotlight on what I would consider some tremendous personal growth: earlier in my life, a setback like the one I suffered would almost certainly have had me throwing in the towel for good. But not this one, not me, not now.
  • Star Wars Owes You Nothing. Despite overwhelming positive reception, the haters were out in force over Star Wars VII, and I think that’s idiotic because, well, Star Wars (or any other beloved bit of media) owes you nothing.

Bonus: My Favorite Search Terms for 2016: Unfortunately, Google apparently hides the searches that bring people to the site, and Google is obviously the overwhelming king-daddy of search engines, so that’s a pretty big missing puzzle piece. Still, I get to see some of the terms, and some of them brighten my day.

  • “giving my son an enema” led a few visitors to what is still one of the most-viewed pages of all time on the site, and I have mixed feelings about that. Pity that I don’t actually tell the story. It’s too unpleasant.
  • “sw7 sucks”. Blasphemy! My review is most definitively in support of TFA. Also, as noted above, Star Wars owes you nothing.
  • “are dreams useless?” and “dreams are useless”. Yes, they are.
  • “the meaning of the word babyloading”. I don’t know what this word means, but it does, in fairness, seem like exactly the sort of thing I’d talk about.
  • “‘hadn’t pooped in five days’ diaper”. Again, you’ve come to the right place.
  • “what do you mean by locker room talk”. Oh, you know. Just a desperate attempt to legitimize a serial abuser of women.
  • “bouts of gratuitous whining”. I think I have a new subtitle for the blarg.

I guess that pretty much does it for 2016. So as Han Solo said to a guy who was really just trying to help him out: I’LL SEE YOU IN HELL.

And as we go into 2017, remember our daily affirmation:

Image result for donnie yen i am one with the force

(Thanks imgur.)


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