Blogapalooza: Choose just one you say? I laugh in the face of your expectations

August Blogapalooza Topic: (Ohhh, you won’t believe this one.  Just keep reading.)

Many readers might be familiar with the Chicago Now exercise called “Blogapalooza.”  This monthly challenge is open to any Chicago Now blogger who chooses to participate.  The only stipulation is that once you step up and say you’ll do it, you’re supposed to lock in to your commitment and “don’t bail.”  Standard practice is that a single random topic is sent out to us at 9pm and we promise to write what we can and hit publish one hour later–no matter what.

There are several benefits to this opportunity.  First, it requires us to stretch our imagination and write about a topic that is not of our own choosing.  That can be fun, scary and exhilarating all at once.  Second, it teaches the discipline of writing on a set schedule.  Third, it forces some bloggers to let go of that fear of hitting the “publish” button (I’ve heard that some bloggers store up a list of incomplete drafts they never quite get around to finishing).  Lastly, it gives some bloggers (like me) a guilt-free chance to jump back into blogging if they’ve been away from it for a while.

The result is that you end up with as many different perspectives on one topic as you have bloggers who participate.  It’s as much fun for us to read each other’s takes as it is for the general public.  I enjoy participating whenever it fits my schedule.


SOMEBODY went and changed all the rules!!!  (To protect the innocent–his lovely family–I won’t use his real name. Let’s just call him “Johnny Granville.”)  Our fearless leader, “Johnny Granville,” sent the instructions to us earlier in the day but asked us to still wait until 10pm to publish.  Because I was a good kid who always colored inside the lines and never crossed the street in the middle of the block, I still decided to leave “Johnny Granville’s” message unopened until the usual designated time of 9pm.  This is what I found:

Hey all,

Welcome to ChicagoNow’s Blogapalooz-Hour! Tonight is going to be a unique Blogapalooz-Hour for two reasons:

  1. You will have more than an hour as you’re receiving this email at 4:30 p.m.
  2. You will have more than one topic to choose from.

Instead of giving you one topic I’m going to ask that you choose from one of the previous 54 Blogapalooz-Hour topics [emphasis mine]. Whichever topic works for you, that’s your topic for tonight. Please make sure you share the specific topic you chose to write on.

–“Johnny Granville”

Harumphhhhh!  The trick is that they lock you in before you have a chance to see what you’re dealing with.  But since we’re changing the rules, I’m gonna change them even more.  In the time given I will write on ALL of the topics I could find which apply to this humdinger of an exercise.  Here goes:


September: “Give advice to a person, place or thing.”

  • Don’t ever do this shit again, Johnny Granville.

October: “Write about a time you helped someone, or a time that you received help.”

  • see September 2013

November: “Write about a great challenge faced by you or someone else.”

  • I’m feeling challenged at this moment.  And lost. And confused.

December: “Write about something you learned or experienced since you woke up this morning.”

  • I learned that Johnny Granville doesn’t play nice with other kids.



February: “Write about fear, or lack thereof, and the role it has played in any aspect of your life.”

  • I’m afraid I won’t be able to finish this shit in time.  Thanks for boosting my self esteem, Johnny Granville.”

July: “Write about a person, place or thing that you miss”

  • I miss the regular Blogapalooza’s which could conceivably result in posts that made sense.

August: “Write a letter to someone or some entity with whom you have had a disagreement”

  • Dear John Granville, did a bunch of Chicago Now bloggers do something to piss you off before you came up with this one??

September: “Write about something in your life you’ve given up but that you wish you still did”

  • I have vaguely fond memories of my life before tonight’s Blogapalooza.  But those memories are fading fast.

October: “Write what your perfect day would be like, either in reality or fantasy”

  • A day without 54 blog topics to choose from.

November: “Create a new holiday, or holidays, that you believe should exist”

  • National “Day Without 54 Blog Topics To Choose From”

December: “Write about a favorite memory from your childhood”

  • I don’t remember anything that happened to me before I opened my email at 9pm tonight.



February: “Pick any point of time in the future and write about what you hope/think/fear/expect your life will be like then”

  • At 10pm when I hit “publish,” my life will be a hell of a lot easier.

April: “Write about a time you made a mistake or were wrong about something”

  • I was wrong about raising my hand to take on this month’s challenge.  Johnny Granville.

May: “Write about your tomorrow

  • Gives me another whole month before I decide to sign up for this abuse again.

June: “Without trying to be humble, write about something you’re really good at”

  • Keeping my real feelings about this blogapalooza under wraps.

July: “Write about a time you lost your temper or somebody lost their temper at you”

  • Don’t get me started…

December: “You made a million choices in 2015. Write about one of them”

  • I made a choice NOT to block emails sent to me by Johnny Granville.  And not to unfriend him on Facebook.  And look at where it got me.


Yadda, yadda….


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