thomastontimes.com

“It was a dark and stormy night…”

By Ashley Biles abiles@civitasmedia.com

March 14, 2014

The written word is something that I have always been passionate about and looking back through my childhood, there were several signs that “writer” would be a good profession for me to choose. For example, I always loved when we had creative writing assignments in school and remember being ecstatic when one of those in fourth grade was to create our own book-write the story, draw the pictures, the whole nine yards. Mine was entitled “The Story of Bronica Bunny and P.J. Pig,” and was a story about friendship.


I would also often create issues my own newspaper, “The Biles Bulletin,” and force my family to read whatever front page news I came up with that week. One of my favorite stories was about a woman who reported someone broke into her house, stole three rolls of toilet paper, a pack of paper towels, made a sandwich and had the nerve to leave the dirty dishes in the sink before fleeing the property. I used an actual crime report from the local paper as the basis for that one.


One would think as much as I love to write, that writing a column for the paper would be one of my favorite things to do; however that is not always the case. I wouldn’t say that I completely loath this monthly duty; it is more that I have a love-hate relationship with it. Some months I have no issue when it comes to thinking up a topic and those are the times that I love getting to try my hand at something different than the usual meetings I cover. Other times, I spend days staring at a computer screen, nearly going cross-eyed while waiting for inspiration to strike and cursing myself for ever wanting to do this for a living. I’ll let you take a guess as to how this month has transpired.


So while I was waiting for said inspiration, I decided to do some perusing online to see if anything caught my eye as a good starting point for the column. As my luck would have it, nothing did. However, I did find several interesting facts while doing “research,” such as camels have three eyelids; it is believed Russia has at least 15 secret cities with their names and locations unknown and the only member of the band ZZ Top without a beard is actually named Frank Beard.


I also discovered, through a complex form of testing, that I should live in an underwater suite in the Maldives, drive a DeLorean like in “Back to the Future,” and am most like Snoopy when it comes to cartoon dogs. I found that last one oddly fitting, seeing as Snoopy is one of my favorite comic strip characters and he was a writer as well. Many of my favorite Peanuts comics are the ones where Snoopy is at his typewriter trying to create the next great American novel. I know how he feels when he struggles to come up with the right words and paces back and forth on top of his doghouse a lot; only I pace around in my office.


Over the years Snoopy has taught many of us several important lessons about life and one thing he knew to be true was the importance of taking a break from his writing. When the words just weren’t coming and he couldn’t get past it being a dark and stormy night, he would jump in his plane in search of the Red Baron, host hockey games for Woodstock and his friends or just hang out with his buddy Charlie Brown. Today seems like a good day to follow his advice and go hang out with my dog. Who knows, she just may have some words of wisdom for me like Snoopy has had over the years.


Ashley Biles can be reached by calling 706-647-5414 or on Twitter @AshleyBiles1