Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

Have you ever had one of those days…

You burn your mouth on your morning coffee. Traffic makes you late for work. Your funny joke is met with blank stares. You lock your keys in your car. Your roommate used the last of the clean dishes.

Everything just seems to go wrong.

That is a “Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day.

That term may sound familiar to those of you who are fans of children’s books.

Author Judith Viorst wrote a great kids book titled Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day, in which a young boy named Alexander had the worst day you can imagine.

He wakes up with gum in his hair. He doesn’t find a prize in his cereal (but his brothers do). He forgets the number 16 when he is counting. The dentist finds that he has a cavity. His brother pushes him in the mud. He has lima beans for dinner (and he hate lima beans).

And those are only a few of the rotten things that happen during the day.

Throughout the book Alexander mentions that he wants to move to Australia. He seems to think that all bad days can be avoided simply by moving to Australia.

Sorry to spoil the ending of the book, but his mom assures him that everybody has bad days, even people who live in Australia.

Sometimes when I am having a bad day I will feel like Alexander. I will want to move to Australia or Mars or somewhere else far away to escape my problems. But like Alexander learned, bad days just happen. And they happen everywhere. You can’t move away to escape them, you just have to plow through them.

Today I am thankful for Alexander.

I am sorry he had such a Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day, but I am glad that he learned from his day. I am thankful that I can learn from his day (and my bad days) as well.

Thankful For The Library

As I have mentioned in the past, I often go to the library to write.

When people aren’t burping, I find the library to be a great place to brainstorm new ideas. It is quiet, air conditioned and is filled with shelves of motivation.

Whenever I start to think that I can’t write a book, I like to play a game I call, “If that can be a book…”

The game is simple. You pick out a random aisle in the library and look through the different titles of books. You won’t go far before one particular book catches your eye. And most of the time it catches your eye because it is just so odd.

For the first part of this game, you are literally judging a book by its cover.

Once you have picked out a couple of odd looking books, you write down their titles and tell yourself, “If ____ can be a book, so can mine.”

I created this game one time when I was down on myself as a writer. I had begun to convince myself into thinking that I could never write a book.

I was sitting in the library and I looked at the thousands of books around me and thought to myself, “my story has got to be as good if not better than at least one of these books.”

To prove it, I walked down a random aisle and looked for a book I thought I could be as good as.

I didn’t create this game to be cocky or to downgrade the work of other authors.  I created it for motivation and as a way of proving that I belong.

Here’s an example from when I played the game the other day.

I walked down an aisle of non-fiction books in the library and spotted books called, Last of the Donkey Pilgrims, Crazy Sh!t President’s Said and about 50 books about Hitler.

I am sure that all of those books are very good and I am not hating on their work. I am just pointing out that if our world (and libraries) have room for 50 books about Hitler, then clearly they can make space for one book about a Moose named Maury.

So today I am thankful for the library. It provides me a place to write and a venue for playing “If that can be a book…”

You guys are welcome to take my silly game and apply it to your life. If you have a podcast, I recommend you play “If that can be a podcast..”. If you are an artist, I think you would benefit from playing “If that is art..”.

Give it a try and I bet you will feel better and have a renewed confidence in yourself.