Weird Week in Writing: The craziest literary beer ever; Hemingway look-alikes; luxury tomes made from moon rocks and … blood?!

Freaky Friday—the latest from the weird and wonderful world of
writing this week, followed, as always, by a prompt. (I’ll also announce the winner of the swag drawing Monday, so stay tuned.)

The End of Budweiser? Francis Fukuyama’s The End of History is the inspiration behind a new brew. As Paper Cuts reports, “Not just any beer, but the world’s strongest (55 percent alcohol by volume) and most expensive (500 pounds a bottle). As if that weren’t enough, it comes encased in a taxidermized squirrel, hare or stoat. All the animals are reconditioned roadkill. Some, apparently, come dressed in tartan.”

Is the pope a Catholic (Writer?): Yes. Pope Benedict XVI is publishing the children’s book Gli Amici di Gesu (The Friends of Jesus). Like all books, his reportedly was rejected hundreds of times by agents with platform concerns.

“The North thinks it knows how to make corn bread, but this is gross superstition”: Meet Mark Twain’s southern feast menu.

The Bentley of books: From tomes made of paper and moon rocks ($112,500) to books made of, err, paper and a celebrity’s blood ($75,000), a new generation of luxury reading choices has emerged.

In the wake of her Christ the Lord: Out of Egypt, Anne Rice is now out of Christianity:
This week she publicly withdrew from the religion on her Facebook page. (Maybe it had something to do with the Pope’s encroachment on the market?)

Parade of Papas:
Key West is teeming with awesomely bearded men competing in the Hemingway Look-Alike Contest. Cat with prosthetic sixth toe=bonus points?

(Image: Via)

* * *

WRITING PROMPT: Losing the Faith

free to take the following prompt home or post a
response (500
words or fewer, funny, sad or stirring) in the Comments section below.
By posting, you’ll be automatically entered in our
occasional around-the-office swag drawings.
you’re having trouble with the
captcha code sticking, e-mail your piece and the prompt to me at, with “Promptly” in the subject line, and I’ll
make sure it gets up.

At a tour of the headquarters of one of your favorite products, you lose all faith in it.



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7 thoughts on “Weird Week in Writing: The craziest literary beer ever; Hemingway look-alikes; luxury tomes made from moon rocks and … blood?!

  1. Vibram Five Fingers

    I don’t really run barefoot. I wanted to, but the combination of super hot sidewalks and the fear of sharp objects convinced me that Vibram Five Fingers were a good compromise between running shoes and none at all. What I didn’t know was that my reasons were the same as almost everyone else’s and the guys that I looked up to were the same Vibram Fivefingers that everyone else did.
    Though I don’t call myself Barefoot Tyler (mostly because I DON’T RUN BAREFOOT), this video is absolutely hilarious. The insults are far better than the random crap the Vibram Five Fingers guy is spewing.

  2. Danita Lease

    We were still two miles away from the factory when the aroma of hot chocolate wafted into the car. Jenni and I smiled at each other in anticipation, we loved Pennsylvania so far, the antique shops, the Old order Almish, then with out tour of historic Philly, we were in hog heaven.

    But our heavenly hogs had never driven to Hershey, had they? It was a good thing that Jenni and I had both been diligent with our dieting given all our sightseeing. We gained a few pounds from staying with Jenni’s Mom for three days, but we were still far from having to resort to our "mom jeans". We had been so good we actually deserved a vist to the the chocolate factory.

    "Okay, are you thinking Willy Wonka?" Jenni breaks into the Oompa Loomp song, and we don’t know all the words of course, except for the oompa loompa part. It’s so bad it’s good.

    "I’m huuuuuungry!" Jenni smiles as we pull into the parking lot.

    "For shhhocolatte?"

    "Oui, oui!"

    I don’t know why I decided to bring my bag, but I did.

    "Please carry my camera for me since you’re bringing your bag." Jenni asked me as she locked up the car.

    "Sure thing."

    The aroma of the place had my mouth watering. The factory was huge, and our tour guide, Jeff had our group of twelve making a fast pace through the processing room on to the payoff, the liquid gold part of the plant so to speak.

    "Terry, give me my camera, I want to get a shot of these beans."

    "Beans? You’re kidding right?" I was already fishing in my bag for her camera.

    "No, in a close up shot in this light it will look really rich, pretty…"

    Jenni had her camera up to her face, zooming in for her shot, she was leaning in and that’s when a spider dropped onto her back from the steel beam over her head.

    I began to issue the high pitched primate alarm cry that human females instinctively sound upon the arrival of a large spider in close proximity.

    He was a south American muy macho spider, a massive beast, sporting what looked to be muy macho fur and he was on my best friend’s back, making his way to her head.

    "Mommy Mommy Mommy! Mother of God get off meeeee!!!"

    Jenni began the instinctive primal spasmodic spider removal dance, we all know it by heart.

    My bag. Thank you God for my bag. I swung and swung and beat that spider, all he could do was to latch on the bag, I flung him, he arched high into the air and landed into the cauldron of liquid gold, the precious chocolate, and two of his legs pawed helplessly at the air as the mixer brought him under.

    Jenni was still caught in the last throws of her dance, still trying to brush off the sensation of the spider.

    Her camera was demolished on the floor of the factory.

    "You ladies okay?" It was Jeff, the rest of the tour group had followed him back to us and were peering at us from behind him.

    "Yes, we’re fine, my friend here just dropped her camera. Brand new! Destroyed!"

    "What a shame!" Jeff was motioning us to join the group, "You’ve got it now?"

    "Yes, thank you, we’re fine."

    The group continued with Jenni and I following.

    "What are you thinking, you need to tell him about the spider!" Jenni scolded me.

    "No way, that’s thousands of dollars of chocolate, if they don’t find a spider in it, they’ll think we lied to them for grins and then there will be hell to pay."

    "Why would we lie about something like that?" Jenni wanted to know.

    "We wouldn’t. But people are so freaky nowadays, and I can tell you, they won’t find the spider in that – just look- it’s going through the grinders right now!"

    Jenni conceded, it was too late to say anything.

    Jenni and I are still in our skinny jeans this winter thanks to Señor Spider, for Jenni and I our biggest diet busting temptation was chocolate, quoth the raven, nevermore.

    That didn’t stop Jenni’s boyfriend from his awesome Valentine prank with the fake hairy spider in the heart shaped candy box, Jenni screamed loudly which warmed Rick’s cold, cold heart I’m sure. Ah well, he made up for it in diamonds so he’s off the hook.

    I’m sorry I brought it up at any rate, so just don’t think about it, okay?

    Just don’t.

  3. Rebecca

    I used to love peanut butter, I really did. That ooy-gooy goodness could be slathered on anything and I’d eat it. I even petitioned every year for our class field trip to be to the Mr. Salty Peanut Butter factory. You know what they say being careful for what you wish for? Oh is that ever so true.

    In sixth grade, my life sciences teacher agreed. We were doing a stint on food safety in the U.S. and visiting a food manufacturing plant fit in with his lesson plans. We got to see them dump silos of peanuts into a hopper that washed and shelled them. Then we got to see them fire roast the nuts. I was very interested at first. Then we saw the roach craw onto a conveyer belt.

    We shouted hysterically to our tour guide so they could stop the machinery and pick the bug out.

    “Oh, don’t worry, kids,” he replied jovially. “Industry regulations allows for minute quantities of insect parts and rodent hairs. We, here at Mr. Salty, have always managed to stay well below the threshold of what’s allowed.”

    I have not eaten peanut butter since that trip…

  4. Zac

    Love the pieces.

    @Mark, according to an I Write Like visit over the weekend, I once again roped Lovecraft. So, maybe there would be a discount because the book would be mixed with chunks of my prose, alongside bone necklace?

  5. Mark James

    Zac.. . I loved the luxury item books. So, let’s see. If I wanted to spend $125K on a collection of Lovecraft short stories, bound in a luxury book, the pages would be mixed with . . bits of a cursed bone necklace, right?

    “What is so hard about keeping up with me?”

    I was almost speed walking, but he was still faster than me. “I thought this was the Heaven tour.”

    “It is.” My guide waved an arm at me. “And if you don’t hurry, we’ll miss the Herald Angels singing.”

    “But you’re Satan,” I said.

    “Lucifer.” He gritted his teeth. “Who else would get this backwater assignment? He’s been after me ever since that woman ate the apple.” He paused a second, thinking. “Well, there was the fight with my brother. I racked up a few eternities of indebtedness with that.”

    “You mean Michael?”

    “He gets to be Viceroy of Heaven. I get this.” He practically skated over the gold-paved street. “I know you’re mortal, but try to move as if you have two legs, not one and a half. He’s big on schedules. Or haven’t you read Revelations?”

    “Are we going to meet, you know, Him?”

    Lucifer swung his head around, looked at me. “Don’t tell me you paid for the Grand Tour.”

    “No,” I said. “Just the Budget Deal. Came with the prophets, the hosts of angels and meals at the hotel.”

    “I’d nearly forgotten.” He reached inside his black robe, pulled out a flat white envelope. “Prick your finger with the pin inside. Sign in blood on the dotted line.”

    “What is it?”

    Lucifer glanced up at the blue sky, the way I’d check a clock. “Hold Harmless Agreement for when you meet the prophets. The tours make them nervous. They throw curses around.”

    A pillar of fire sprang up between me and Lucifer. A man with black hair, dark green eyes, and a body worth selling your soul for came out of the flame. “I’ll finish,” he said. “You have to go. Mardi Gras.”

    Lucifer’s face twisted into . . . well . . . into a wicked grin. “Always good catches there.” He faded to a dark cloud, then to nothing.

    The man turned to me, and I recognized his armor, his flaming sword across his back, his broad shoulders. “You’re him. Michael.”

    “Yeah. I’m him.” He looked at the contract in my hand. “Did you sign yet?”

    “No.” I would have pricked all my fingers and both thumbs for him. Then I had a better idea. “I’m a little squeamish.” I held my hand out to him. If he touched me, I’d die happy.

    “You don’t want me doing that,” he said. “I make war, fight battles. My sword’s no good for that.”

    I licked my lips, let me eyes linger a little too long, a little too low. “What’s your sword good at?”

    “What are you staring at me like that for? Bleed on the contract, or we’ll miss the Good Intentions trolly.”

    “I thought I got my heart’s desires up here.”

    “Wishes get granted,” Michael said. “Desires, that’s Lucifer.”

    “Do you ever visit Hell?”

    “Yeah. On Blue Moons.”

    “When’s that?”

    “You writing a book?”

    “You want me to?”

    “What I want is to get back what I was doing. Let’s go.”

    I followed him, not too close, enough to keep his muscled legs, his sculpted arms, in my sight. Before the tour, I hadn’t planned on a change of faith, but the dark side was looking awfully good.

  6. Nathan Honore

    My father has always encouraged me, usually in the wrong ways. Both of us being musicians he would often hire me for various events and offer my services to colleagues. A year or two after I began college, I decided that I was to be an audio technician and not a tuba major. My heart soared and I felt as though I was on the precipice of greatness. Of course dear old Dad had his two cents to put in. Quite stern in the face he asks, " Who do you know who does this?" I reply that I have professors and I have actually done some work in the studio as well. He retorts, " You need to see what it’s like in the real world, not just your college. You need to make contacts." And by finding my contacts, he meant his. Thus, he set up a shadow session for me with a guy he had recorded with before, David Valiant. Expecting great things at this studio, we pulled into one of the poorest neighborhoods in Milwaukee and proceeded to enter the man’s house/studio. Microphones, cords, and mic stands are strewn about the 70s green, stinky carpeting. I’m disappointed already. My father introduces us and leaves me alone with the Valiant fellow. He has swooped back black hair with hints of grey and a layer of stuble on his very regular face, which is place delicately above his black turtleneck and very tight jeans. He gives me the "tour." There’s the room with all the crap everywhere, the actual recording booth, and basement for guitar storage. I am very eager to see his collection, but I’m not allowed. We go into the booth where he starts working on some very cheesy graduation visuals for a small job. He doesn’t talk much, but when he does it’s to himself. This goes on for an hour or so and he appears quite disinterested with the entire project as he sips his tea of unknown origin. After that is done, he brings up an actual audio project that he’s been working on for a country singer. It is terrible. I can’t quite make out if it is religious or not, but I’m sure that’s not a good thing. I try to watch him work as much as possible, but all the good stuff is done. He is merely adjusting levels. Valiant tells me a studio musician will be coming in shortly to add some MIDI strings. Goodie. The musician comes and I get demoted to the couch in the corner. They go through the tunes quickly and have that same bored look the entire time. I try to offer a few artistic suggestions, but they are quickly shot down. The guitar basement is starring at me and laughing. Finally, my father picks me up. He has a knowing smile on his face as he asks "Well, what’d you think?" I merely reply, "Thanks Dad." Back to school.