What a roller coaster of a year for this blog. I went from updating daily to updating rarely, from knowing little about blogging to knowing too much about blogging. By “too much,” I mean that I’m still not ready to commit Word Salad Spinner to a regular goal or update schedule yet. Promising myself to deliver 1,250 words a week helped me stick to deadlines. But now I have actual deadlines to deal with, and I’m less inclined to write more essays about how a random short story counterpoints the surrealism of the underlying metaphor or whatever. Moving forward, quality over quantity. It’s still a period of transition, is what I’m saying. As Word Salad Spinner chronicles the journey of a writer, there will be a lot of transitions.

Here’s a quick overview of 2017:


Update 6/18/17: What the hell am I even doing here?

So, Nick, why do you want to be a writer?
I’ve always struggled with that question. At least, I’ve struggled with putting my answer into words. That’s because, when you look deep down, I have selfish reasons to desire my name in print. I want to help my self-esteem. I want to realize personal ambition.
But those are poor excuses for why anyone should care about my writing, or why I should bother.
I’ve been researching how to build a better blog and how to improve my web outreach. A few days ago, I downloaded some podcasts hosted by entrepreneurs. I listened to the first two recordings on my list. I found them helpful, cheery, insightful, and, above all, disgusting. There’s something slimy about those online hustlers you find when you reach down and examine them. It’s like finding a rat in your toilet. These “web gurus” seem so… solipsistic. Phony. It’s like they don’t even care what they’re selling, as long as the numbers on their screens are big and black.
That disgust for the web gurus also applies to what I’ve found in myself. I sat down yesterday to write another set of Glimmer Train reviews, only to find myself struggling with one question: “Who gives a fuck?” Only one person’s answer matters in that writing question: me. It’s an answer that helped me write through much darker times than this. And, right now, I can’t justify why my writing deserves to take up space in such an overstuffed world.
Jennifer Garam, in discussing “How To Keep Writing When No One Gives A Shit,” advises that writers find a higher purpose for their art besides personal glory. Otherwise, a writer will burn out. It’s amazing I went this far without a burnout.
I might still add to this blog on occasion. I hope to continue Two Candidates Walk Into A Bar regardless. And I’ll keep sharing other good blogs I find. But until I have a concrete answer to the question on the top of this post (and, ideally, until I find a proper job to work in), I’ll be on hiatus. The Mission Statement section of Word Salad Spinner will change for the better.
Until I can provide a satisfying answer to the question “Why do you want to be a writer?” I will be on hiatus.

Why Reading Is Like Weightlifting (or: why I love graphic novels)

I mentioned on April 1st that I was reading Pale Fire, by Vladimir Nabokov. I finished the book today. Mind you, the book only has 300 pages, and I started a good deal before April.
If you want to know what I thought about Pale Fire, you can find my review on my Instagram. Yes, the review consists of one picture. To find out what I thought, use your interpretative skills.
I like creating critiques of books through visual shorthand. It’s a weird hobby, but the practice helps me abstract my reaction to literature, record what I read each year, and create a type of analysis never seen before. It’s also in danger of ruining my reading hobby.

Continue reading “Why Reading Is Like Weightlifting (or: why I love graphic novels)”

Why Do We Support Creators Who Support Awful Beliefs?

Whenever someone asks the above question, the discussion’s bound to get personal. So let me lay my cards down on the table… or, rather, my CDs.


That’s a lot of Bill Cosby right there. When I say I am (was?) a Bill Cosby fan, I speak as someone who never watched The Cosby Show and never considered Cosby to be my, or even America’s, “dad.” What I do speak from is childhood memory. When our family drove 18+ hour trips to a vacation spot, we’d listen to Cosby to make the voyage easier, to make it resemble family bonding time. The tradition set in soon enough— pull over for gas, get McDonalds, eat our meal on the road while listening to Cosby’s familiar, family-friendly comedy bits. For many years, I had every routine from all our CDs accidentally memorized. Even today, our family will quote from The Chicken Heart, or talk about how Henry Kissinger’s from Alabama, just out of habit. Bill Cosby’s the only comedian we have in our CD collection, for the record (that is not a pun. I don’t want to veer off into more politics than I have to, but regardless of what the Second Amendment says, I do believe in reasonable, federally-mandated pun control).

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FRANKENSTEIN: The World Changes, We Stay The Same… And Vice-Versa

It’s FRANKENSTEIN FEBRUARY! That magical time of year when I power through a generally shitty month by re-reading the greatest novel of all time! Mary Shelley’s best book is such an accurate reflection of humanity that I learn more about myself each time I revisit the tragic history contained within. And with this third re-read, enjoyed alongside an introduction by Maurice Hindle, I have arrived at a new truth: there is something seriously wrong with me!


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On PewDiePie, and why he sucks at shock humor… just like every other guy

Some much-needed levity

Here’s my thought process whenever a media controversy lights up Twitter:


  • Something interesting happened!
  • I have thoughts about this.
  • I’m gonna look online to find out about this.
  • Looks like a bunch of much smarter people said everything that needs to be said about this.
  • I’m gonna play a video game!


That’s why you don’t see many “topical” posts on Word Salad Spinner— I like to say something unique and insightful, even if “unique” means “the only person to talk about binders full of women in 2017.” I cycled through a lot of possible approach angles when drafting this post, including a version that would start with me blasting a lot of people I respect. Those respected media scholars I follow weighed in on PewDiePie, pointing out how the joke functions in modern society, and missed whom the actual target of the joke was.

Continue reading “On PewDiePie, and why he sucks at shock humor… just like every other guy”

Always Put Your Best Foot In Front Of The Other

As I develop one of my many spreadsheets when editing “The College Station All-Male Feminist Union,” I fight with the niggling worry that I’m putting in too many edits after I published a completed version on my blog. Was I lying beforehand, in a sense? Did I knowingly give you all an “inferior” edition of my story? I’m here to say no, I did not… and even if I did believe so, it wouldn’t matter.

Isn’t there a holiday today or something? Involving red colors and companionship… of course, it’s CHRISTMAS!

Continue reading “Always Put Your Best Foot In Front Of The Other”