Ignoble defeat, in 10 words or less

So, um, I guess I should just ‘fess up and be done with it.  It’s been hanging over my head for more than three months by now and at this point I need to admit to myself that it’s just not going to happen.  Indeed, as much as I hate to fail at anything, the odds that I’ll man up and write a Ten Word Tale using the words I solicited in January are only slightly better than the odds that I’m going to win the Maine state lottery. And for the record, I’ve never been to Maine and I don’t buy lottery tickets. So, you know, you guys win; I’m a big 10-word-using loser.

Pretend pity-party aside, though, I do honestly feel bad about having asked for words that I never got around to weaving into story of mystery, intrigue, and/or robot overlords.

If you ask me, and let’s pretend you did, I believe I can effortlessly lay the blame for my lack of production on the Ten-Word front on two things. One, I really, really want to finish my novel, so that gets all my fiction-focused brain activity.  I don’t even have the kind of time I’d like to put into that, so setting thought and energy aside to work up another short piece was just kind of a silly idea to begin with.  I really had no business even suggesting it.

Still, I probably would have done it, but there’s this other thing and it’s the clincher: you people are some hardcore sadists when it comes to volunteering vocabulary. Seriously, look at the list put before me: falloon, daubiest, caramelize, letch, xylophone, proximate, Xanadu, zoetrope, sesquipedalian, and ennui!  The list reads like a Scrabble player’s fever dream (or nightmare).  I mean, sesquipedalian?!  I can’t even use that in a haiku.

I will admit that I could have taken the easy way by just adapting one of the unwritten stories already rattling around in my head with the words in question.  The fact is, though, that a Ten-Word Tale is supposed to use the words in a meaningful way, not just include them kind of, you know, by-the-way.  I’m sure I could have spewed out something about how Joanie Doe went to a parade, saw a bunch of falloons, spent the afternoon learning to caramelize crème brulee, and then went on a shopping trip to buy her nephew a new toy. And then, when she can’t choose between buying the ungrateful kid a xylophone or a zoetrope, she’s abducted by bluish, bucktoothed aliens and hijincks ensue that ultimately lead to her finding her long last father and saving the US Constitution with nothing but determination, a bobby pin, and sesquipedalian prowess.

Clearly no one wants that kind of foolishness.

So, without dragging this out any further, I’m tapping out, calling uncle, waving the white flag.  I’m taking my ball and going home, and oh, OH! the shame, how it burns.

In all seriousness, though, you guys did a great job of doing exactly what I asked for by offering challenging terms.  It’s all on me that I just couldn’t come up with any way to use them in a story that I liked enough to actually write.  The only even marginally decent idea I had was a sort of dark and depressing thing, and I don’t want to write dark and depressing things here.  I’m saving that stuff for my upcoming children’s anthology, “Fairies Eat Kids Because They Taste Like Chicken”.

I still can’t figure out why I’m having trouble finding a publisher.

At any rate, I’m sorry for sort of letting everyone down, especially the 10 of you that offered (*cough* impossible *cough*) words out of the goodness of your respective hearts.  A tip of Puddin’s cap to all of you; I’ll happily accept a Scrabble or Words With Friends challenge from you any time, any place.  I owe you all a round.

Maybe next time I’ll be smarter and limit the words to something from The Attitude’s vocabulary.  Then again, that would probably end up sounding like Thomas the Tank Engine fan fiction.

That’s a whole different kind of burning shame.