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“In every audience Q&A the eternal question about the writing process is asked: What motivates or inspires? How do you begin? And for such occasions, I have this response handy: First thing in the morning I prepare myself a big mug of strong coffee and then sit down at my desk and switch on my computer and proceed to scroll through Facebook for the next four to six hours. Depending on the audience, that joke usually solicits a good laugh. If I’ve made someone laugh within the course of my day then I feel a sense of accomplishment, I feel I’ve paid rent for being on the planet another day.

In recent months, I’ve asked participants in my humor writing workshops to write poems, flashes, or humor pieces prompted by news articles I’ve posted on my Twitter feed. I keep an updated file of these ‘ripped from the headlines’ prompts. Recent headlines include: ‘Universal Orlando Now Has a Butt-Naked Troll That Farts Glitter at Guests.’ And: ‘Oklahoma Man Driving Stolen Vehicle Caught With Rattlesnake, Uranium, Whiskey and Firearm.’ Just the other day I saw this pop up on my Twitter feed: ‘Police have kettled a giant octopus on Whitehall and are marching it back to Trafalgar Square.’ Is there any better verb than ‘kettled?’ Any word more inspiring? I could write a War and Peace prompted by just that word. I could write a My Struggle.
—Tiffany Midge, author of Bury My Heart at Chuck E. Cheese’s (Bison Books, 2019)