What do you get when you cross a stream and a creek?
And possibly lost, as I didn’t see any indication of water on the trail map…
Ah well. What’s an adventure without some adversity, am I right? It’s these very struggles that cement a moment into our memories. Believe me, there is no struggle on earth like hiking.
Or at least, that’s what I thought after the last few outings, challenging my body to go beyond the usual 9-5 slog.
But that was before I tried writing about these adventures. And let me tell you… for someone who can barely keep himself entertained, expecting to do the same for one internet’s worth of people with nothing but a few thousand combinations of 25 letters—and sometimes Y—is… Ambitious. At best.
I’ve found that going step-by-step is the best way to get started.
With that said, the second step for any successful writer is to maximize distractions, tangents, puns, groan-inducing punchlines, and foreshadowing. But I’ll get back to that later.
First comes the hook. As the primary method to draw in the audience, a hook has to tie itself around an unsuspecting reader, gossamer-thin line unseen and unfelt, subtly pulling, until they’re bound up tighter than a nun with a rope fetish.
You see, the “hook” isn’t actually a hook at all. It’s a sultry glance thrown across a bar, promises unspoken, expectations unleashed. A wily poker player’s purposeful tell, baiting out the over-confident youngsters. A hook is a blade honed to near invisibility, so sharp as to be unfelt as it slides in, a job completed… The shadows themselves undisturbed by it’s passing. A hook has purpose. In fact it is nothing but purpose, manifested and given form.
Or if that’s a bit too nuanced for you, I’m told that there are… Other approaches. A good punch to the nose will do wonders for grabbing somebody’s attention. This isn’t the freaking Iliad, after all.
And good riddance, at that!
I’m not one of them hoity-toity writers with skirts all a’ ruffled when my GrubHub’d Chai-tea vanilla latte doesn’t match the energy patterns of my potted cacti (no, HELAN, it’s not from pottery barn, it was HANDCRAFTED by indigenous Portland, Oregonians who SLAVE away for multiple hours every week in their downtown studio lofts between tandem bicycling to the authentic barbershop for their bi-weekly $90 mustache trimming and engaging in raw denim enthusiast events to show off their sick whisker fades! Why don’t you take that attitude and drain it into my latte HELAN so for once in your life your spice will be appreciated).
Furthermore! I don’t write on a MacBook, like some spoiled trust-fund kid. No sir-ee! I’ve got a got’ damn Huawei! Banned by the government! Excommunicated by freakin’ Google! I’m slumming it, y’all! I’m practically buzzfeed over here! My period key is broken and that means you get unrivaled enthusiasm!
There once was a hiker named Earl.
He always would hike with a squirrel.
When asked for a reason,
He said with a wheezin’,
“This ol’ girl rubs me nuts like a pearl!”
Because sobriety is overrated, and my week has been garbage—the kind of garbage that can only dream of an upper middle-class home bestowed with Simple Human soft-close cans—I’m about neck deep in PBR cans. Admittedly,” neck deep” isn’t as impressive when that neck is connected to a body that’s sprawled out face-down on the ground in an alleyway behind the bar, but… Creative freedom! As a writer I have the enviable ability to make myself into whatever I want to be. And today… That’s a Pabst drinkin’, keyboard tappin’, mountain climbin’, human personification of the holiest grail of writing techniques, the run on (and on) sentence. Oh and don’t worry, as a musician I was getting trashed on PBR long before it was cool.
Hrmm. I think we were talking about “hooks”. I’ll, uh… Let you sort through the orgy of written word above to decide which sentence best caught your eye, you sly dog *wink*.
Hell, between you and me, I bet this could make for a solid “choose your own adventure” article. It would be like Goosebumps, except the scariest thing here would be looping you back to the beginning and you’d have to work through that bit on Portland again.
Let’s move on, mkay?
Now, to the meat and potatoes.
The bangers and mash.
The Haggis and tripe.
The jellied eels and blood pudding.
(Jesus Christ Britain seek help, it just breaks me up inside to see you like this…)
“How to get un-Lost in the Woods: a Hiker’s Guide too Book Titles shure to Peeve Your Editor Who Said righting Drunk was a Bad Idea, but F*ck You Carl, If it was Gud enough For Edgar Allen Poe it’s Good enough for Me, and Besides witch Yer a Shite Editor anyways, Ye’ Don’t even know Wot Words To Capitalize* do Ye’ ya Little pric—”
Ahem, today we’ll be journeying from pen to—gestures expansively—nature! And so begins the most harrowing tale known to man, wherein yours truly takes on Washington State’s most feared mountain climb.
Thus concludes part 1 of 2. Check in next week for the thrilling conclusion of this epic hike!
*if you’re wondering what words to capitalize in a title, it’s actually quite simple. I’ve broken it down into 4 simple steps.
1. Is it the first word in the title? Boom! Capitilize!
2. Does the word contain four letters or more? Capitalize, baby!
3. Does the word contain two letters or less? Lower case!
4. Does the word contain exactly three letters? Flip a coin and if you get called out after publishing just blame spellcheck like all respectable writers should.