Scrabble Victory

I participated in the 49th annual Montreal Scrabble tournament this past weekend, the first such tournament in 2 years (due to COVID) and the largest tournament in its history.

I am happy to announce I won the tournament and a cool five hundred dollars to boot. This is the most I’ve won at a tournament and my first multi-day live tournament victory. It was also the first tournament I’ve played outside of Ontario.

I finished with a record of 10-1, clinching victory with 2 rounds still to play. This was an unexpected result due to the strength of the field.

I now have an ELO rating of 1927, surpassing the 1900 mark for the first time. With the win, I am now ranked 1st in Toronto and 8th in Canada. I am truly humbled by my success.

I had a great time with new friends and old and enjoyed the opportunity to walk and dine along the Lachine River and also venture through parts of downtown.

I’m hoping to enter one of the larger tournaments this summer, most likely the Word Cup in Chicago. The field there will be far tougher than any I’ve faced. I don’t expect to cash against such competition, but I think it will be lots of fun.

“Reality Show Spinoffs The World’s Not Ready For” and “The Guiding Voice”

I have two new stories to announce for your reading pleasure!

First off, another comedy piece, this time poking fun at the world of reality TV/game shows. I am very thankful to be published in Weekly Humorist, one of the most followed sites of satirical writing. Thank you to editor-in-chief Marty Dundics for the support and kind words.

The concept for this piece started a long time ago when I would see commercials for the show “So You Think You Can Dance?” In my head, I would repeat, “So You Think You Can Prance?” and imagine a spinoff show where competitors vowed to be the world’s best prancer. From there, I came up with 11 more spinoff concepts that are sure to draw a few laughs.

My second piece is a spiritual journey published by Amethyst Review. This publication focuses on sacred/mystical writing, a new avenue for me.

As with many of my literary/fictional pieces, this story began as part of the NYC writing competitions. It follows a young man in an isolated tribe in the Amazon as he comes of age into manhood.

As always, I’m interested to hear your thoughts. More comedy stories to come in the near future!

The Reviews are in for my Sick Dance Moves

My latest story is now live on The Haven, another comedy page on Medium. Thank you to editor Christine Stevens for managing such a great page.

I tried a different style in this piece, writing the whole story in a series of quotes. I’m not sure if the piece is as successful as the others, but it’s good practice to try writing in different ways. There are so many different framing methods to writing comedy pieces, and I would like to try many more.

As always, interested in your thoughts. Remember to follow my page on Medium and clap and comment. Happy weekend to all.

Introducing Mega-Corp’s Working From Home Benefits Package

My latest story, “Introducing Mega-Corp’s Working From Home Benefits Package” is now live on MuddyUm. Thank you to editor Toni Crowe for publishing this piece and for the kind words.

I have been working from home since before the pandemic made it cool. For years, people would ask me how I could stand working from home without going crazy from the lack of social stimulation. I guess I’m just an introvert that way. I have worked in a few offices over the years, and each time I felt the existential dread creeping in.

Now that others have started working from home during the pandemic, they seem to understand the benefits of it. People realize they get more work done without the distractions and can socialize during evenings and weekends. It’s not for everyone, but many people are seeing the benefits, including financially: The lack of a long commute (particularly with skyrocketing gas prices) and the money saved on dry cleaning/lunches/coffee, etc. really adds up.

I played on my dislike of office culture in this piece by imagining what it would be like to bring the worst aspects of the office to the sanctity of one’s home. I also incorporated aspects of the work reform movement that is spreading worldwide in response to poor treatment of workers from heartless corporations.

I hope you enjoy my return to comedy writing. I am hopeful to publish more in the near future. Happy reading!

The Depths of El Hoyo

My latest story, “The Depths of El Hoyo,” is live on Flash Fiction Magazine. Flash Fiction Magazine publishes a piece of flash fiction (max. 1000 words) daily. With 17,000 followers on Twitter, they are one of the most read sites publishing flash fiction, and I am honoured to be included in their magazine.

Editor Keely Gardiner worked with me through two rounds of revisions. She challenged me to bring this piece to the next level, helping me add depth to the piece despite the stringent word count. I am forever thankful for her guidance.

This story, like many of my fictional pieces, began as an entry to the NYC Midnight competitions. I believe I was assigned the genre of romance (or perhaps romantic comedy?), a genre I don’t know much about. But I do enjoy writing comedy, and so I filled the piece with sexual innuendo, to try and lighten a rather heavy piece.

Despite the subject matter, this is not about me. I have done a lot of solo travelling, but never to South or Central America. I still believe that fiction should remain fictional and that true stories are better served for memoirs. Maybe one day I’ll write non-fiction. I’ve been thinking about writing essays (perhaps on tournament Scrabble), although for now I’m more focused on my comedy writing. But until I writ an essay or more comedy, I hope you enjoy this literary piece.

Heteropathy, the Insecure Straight Guy’s Alternative to Homeopathy

My latest story is now live on MuddyUm, a wonderful humour page on Medium. Please check it out and let me know your thoughts.

A big thank you to Andrew Rodwin for his editorial eye, and to editor-in-chief, Susan Brearley, for creating and overseeing the site. MuddyUm is clearly a labour of love and a very successful one at that.

This piece is based on a joke I’ve been mulling in my head for years. I’m glad to finally get the thoughts out of my head and onto paper (well, screen).

I’m also happy to announce I’m over 100 followers on Medium and thus eligible for the Medium Partner Program (i.e. to be paid for my work). I think, at least for now, I’ll delay monetizing the page, as that would introduce paywalls to my readers. I’d rather have more people view the stories than make a few dollars. What’s the point of telling jokes if there’s no one there to laugh?

Hope you’re enjoying my pivot to comedy writing. I am definitely enjoying writing in this genre. More to come soon, I hope.

My Grandmother Died And All I Got Was This Lousy T-Shirt

I have another story published to Slackjaw, my third in less than two months! I continue to receive such wonderful feedback from friends and family as well as the Medium community. I wish I had gotten into comedy writing a lot sooner. I think I’m quickly finding my niche.

The story is as ridiculous as the title suggests. Follow the tale of an ungrateful granddaughter as she bemoans her lack of a “present” following the death of her grandmother.

I was fortunate to have a strong relationship with all of my grandparents, and I think of them often. I’m not sure if they would have gotten the dark humour in this piece, but they would have been proud of me for putting myself out there and chasing my writing dreams.

My maternal grandparents were working class people and never had much money. But they never spent much either, and when they passed, they left me money which I put towards my first (and, to date, only) car.

My paternal grandparents were better off financially, and they loved to buy nice things. When I look around my apartment, I see many of their cherished belongings: their end tables prop up my TV and their vanity license plate (go Blue Jays!) hangs on my wall. They also left me money, which I used to pay off an unexpectedly large tax bill.

But mostly, all four of my grandparents left me with something much more valuable: what it means to be a good person. Their generation was selfless in a way people today can never emulate. Three of my grandparents emigrated at a young age from Europe (just before Hitler could get his dirty hands on them). And in Canada, all four of them grew up in the Depression. Living through such hard times instilled a sense of community and compassion that society seems to be lacking these days.

Thinking of them all today.

Ranking TV’s Hottest Unseen Characteristics in Terms of Their Physical Characteristics

My latest piece is now live on Slackjaw. This is the first time I’ve published twice on the same site and that was a purposeful decision. I love Slackjaw’s take on humour and the welcoming Medium community. Thank you to editors Alex Baia, Sarah James and the rest of the Slackjaw team for taking a chance on my pieces and for all their hard work.

Those who know me know how much I love 90s sitcoms like Seinfeld and Frasier. In this piece, I ranked the hottest characters from those shows and others whose faces we never get a chance to see (e.g. Maris Crane from Frasier).

Writing this piece was an eye-opener in many senses. Three of the six characters I wrote about were morbidly obese, while Crane’s rampant anorexia was played off for laughs (she once sprained her wrist by putting too much dip on a cracker). I also could have included Peggy Bundy’s mother from Married With Children, who was so heavy that the walls would shake when she walked.

Is this a sign of previous generation’s fatphobia that all of these characters’ morbid obesity were played off for laughs? Or perhaps it’s more a testament that when writers don’t show a character, they are prone to exaggerate their features. Thus, a skinny character becomes really skinny and a fat character becomes really fat. What do you think?

Check out the piece and make sure to clap for it on Medium and subscribe/follow directly on Medium. Once I get to 100 followers they will start paying me for my writing. I got well over 50 followers from my first piece to that site, Mom And Dad, I’m Gray, so I’m over halfway there.

Happy New Years!

Mom & Dad, I’m Gray

My latest story “Mom & Dad, I’m Gray” has been posted to Slackjaw. This is my first attempt at comedy writing and I’m honoured to have been accepted into the top humour publication on Medium, with approximately 150,000 subscribers.

After being rejected by so many of the top sci-fi mags over the past 2+ years, it was exciting to get into a top comedy mag in my first attempt. Perhaps I’ve been writing the wrong genre all this time.

This is a very absurd piece about someone coming out as the colour gray. It’s satirical and ridiculous, but it also tries to find some truths and heart as it parallels the LGBT coming out experience.

Let me know if you enjoyed the piece. Was it too weird? Confusing? I will be trying my hand at more comedy pieces soon, so any feedback will be much appreciated.

Thank you to Sarah and the rest of the team at Slackjaw for publishing this piece.