Thursday, May 4, 2017

Star Wars, Dad Jokes, and Writing Tips by Jim Hill

May 25, 1977. Jimmy Carter was in his first term, Sir Duke was the number one hit, and Han shot first.

Star Wars is about to hit its fortieth anniversary. I should feel old, but we live in a renaissance of Lucasian lore, a veritable fountain of youth for geeks like me. Whenever the opening crawl starts on the latest chapter, I feel like that long ago eleven-year-old who thought he was walking into a movie theater but who landed in a galaxy far, far away.

I didn’t see it on opening weekend; movies were a luxury for my single Mom and me. I saw it during summer vacation with my pre-teen squad (not that we used that term). Imagine a group of kids somewhere between the cast of Goonies and Stand By Me, and you’ve got it about right. We’d been playing sandlot baseball in the morning. Someone (Andy? Sean?) had the brilliant idea to see “that new space movie,” and I convinced my grandfather to drive us. Bumpy’s goldenrod Dodge Dart was more “bucket of bolts” than Imperial Cruiser, but we made it to the mall without a hitch.

I left home a child. I returned a fanboy.

Dad Joke #1

Q: What do you call a droid with a cold?
A: Achoo-D2

Three Tips That Work For Me

  1. Set a timer. Write for 25 minutes. Take a short break. Repeat.
  1. Print your work, so you have a tangible object from your effort. We all pretty much write on a computer, and it’s all ghosts, pixels, and make-believe until you can hold it in your hand.
  1. Try to remove the outcome from the process. This is the hardest thing to do.

Dad Joke #2

A: Martini
Q: Their favorite pasta?
Q: Magician?

Thanks to Facebook’s “On This Day” feature, I finally replied to a friend’s question about the daily trauma of trying to write. It took a year for me to answer this (an attention span says what?), but I think it’s worth sharing. Hey, we’ve all been there. 

My Life: Procrastination and panic interrupted by occasional bouts of daily discipline. I dread sitting down to write (fear) but enjoy the act of writing. And I *really* love having written. Mastering the fear/anxiety/insecurity is the key. Remembering that that mental/emotional stuff is generally all in my head and has nothing to do with the actual results of the work. Which is, ironically, making up other things in my head. Hmmm.

Q: What’s a Jawas’ favorite drink?
A: Linguini
A: David Copperfield. Jawas have no taste.

It works on a couple of levels. It winks at the audience – Star Wars fans who know Jawas say “Untini!” – by saying, “you’re clever enough to get this, we’re in the same club,” thus stroking their ego and inviting them in. It then works through a pair of rhyming, pun-like calls, and responses to set up the third question. After the first two, the audience nods with the “I see what you did there” awareness, maybe a groan, perhaps a grin. The third shifts the pattern in the classic joke format - the triple. The audience, in on it at this point, expects to hear “Houdini,” but the joke darts away from expectation and slaps them with a deadpan “David Copperfield.” 

Set up.
Set up.

If you love the Beatles and Star Wars, this is the video parody you’ve been waiting for your entire life. May the Force be with you.


  1. "Fan"-tastic! I think we need to schedule you annually for May the 4th!

    By the way, I read somewhere that the most productive way of going about your day is to focus on the task at hand for 52 minutes and then take a 17 minute break. Unfortunately, I seem to do it the other way around...

    1. Ha! I need to try that. I actually think Mary Cronin works that way, now that I think about it.

  2. I love the 25-minute timer too! The Pomodoro Technique. Work for 25 min then take a 5 min break. Its basis is that we can do anything for 25 minutes, right? When I'm disciplined I can go a whole day using this and be very productive. Thanks for the reminder!


Thanks for adding to the mayhem!