301 Links in a Story — Chapter 4 Lizzie, Jean, and Etch-a-Sketch

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[For those of you just tuning in, this is based on the 301 Lists that Darren Rowse’s List Group Writing Project brought together. You’ll find Chapter 1 here –> A List Becomes 301 Links in Story — Chapter 1 ]

In Paris at Last

Finally, Lizzie was in the Paris Hilton. She was overjoyed to find that her room had been upgraded. That, of course, required a room tour to see what was there.

The room was so cool. It was Beyond YouTube and Google Video: 5 Great Video Sites on the Web were in the bathroom!

The desk had 10 Things You Find in Every Office. A note by the interactive television offered Ebay Scam/Hoax Avoidance Tips and 10 Everyday Items You Can Buy with E-gold.

A case in the library included the framed hotel plans and The architects Pen. The writer’s desk included a book that invited visitors to add to My Top 10 Favorite Desperate Housewives Moments. (The first entry was signed by Prince Charles.)

The bar was stocked with Sam Adams Top Ten Beers.

Lizzie grabbed a cold one and cracked it open. She sat back to contemplate. “Boy this really underscores 10 Things I hate about budget Traveling.” Then Listless Lizzie couldn’t quit laughing. I’ve landed in The Budget Travel Wishlist of Moi.

To Lizzie, camping and budget traveling always involved room service and chocolate-covered strawberries.

Memories and Hot Chocolate

Once she could breathe again, she realized a nap was in order. She’d flown all night and needed some sleep. She called up A Short List of Lists, but it was too short. Then she tried AAA list of 11 important advantages to list writing, but she couldn’t remember them all without the paperwork. So she settled on repeating the name of A List of Lists for Listing as a mantra.

By the beautiful bed, Lizzie found more reading material to calm her — 11 Ways to Improve Clarity and Start Getting Results. She thought she would meditate on that for a while and she would read 10 Ways to Improve Your Energy when she awoke from her nap.

As she was falling asleep her last thought was, “I remember Top 7 Freebies I’ve received,” she sighed. I miss that Photo Project that empowered me so. I miss Jay Leno and the other boys, who wanted to drive The Top Ten Hybrid Cars in my garage. She’d always thought those cars were the best test and trial in her plan of How to Find the Perfect Man. She thought back on 5 things I wish I knew when I bought my first motorcycle. Laughing she realized they were the same 5 things she wished she knew when she dated her first boyfriend too.

“Yeah,” she thought. “I should write a book on that. It would be like Extended Car Warranty Do’s and Don’ts for relationships.”

But whenever the idea of the perfect man arose, so too came the 10 Things: Married or Single. One of which is 10 Steps to a Happier Mealtime with Kids, then there was What to Bring on a Roadtrip with Kids, and not to mention the stuff her friend, Georgio, called “College Planning, Suffering, and the Avarice of Ray Charles; The Top 5 Things My Kids Have Said That Still Make me Laugh.” The little girl shook her head. She thought most guys were kids themselves. She knew for sure that she was.

When Lizzie awoke she was ready for an adventure.

On her way out of the room she saw a brochure that said, “Get More Done in a Day: Do Little Things, Achieve Big Things.”

“Exactly,” she said out loud.

She left the hotel and started wandering aimlessly.

In the Coffee Bar

It was in the Coffee Bar near Maxims that Lizzie met Jean, he was 5 foot 9 inches tall. His hair and frame were both wiry. His eyes were black and fiery. There was no doubt he was both romantic and creative. Jean had “You Must be an Artist If… “ written all over him.

Light-hearted after her nap and her walk, Lizzie was enjoying a hot chocolate. Jean smiled and sat down, already talking — in English. It seemed he could talk about everything to do with art –writng, music, and fashion.

“Do you know Five Common Musicianship Problems – Which Ones Do You Want To Overcome?”

‘Uh, why no?’ Lizzie said, looking into her chocolate, feeling a little inadequate.

“That’s okay, my smiling sweet one,” Jean smiled. “Soon we’ll be Taking the muse for a long awaited walk.

Lizzie said, “I know how to make Lists for Math Teachers and Other Educators,” and she did too. “I can even make 4 easy-to-use online resources for higher ed learning.”

Jean shook his head and ordered her another hot chocolate. “You are in Paris now my sweet American. You need to think more romantically. He reached over to take her hand and looked into her blue eyes soulfully. As he began to massage her left hand, he said, “Stuck? 49 ways to crack writer’s block.”

“My brothers Angelo and Pasquale would want to show you 5 Ways to Block Your Creativity. One of them might involve your knees,” Lizzie replied sweetly.

“No, cherie. I can teach you to write words like music. She Loves Me, She Loves Me Not?”

“If you asked, my clever boy, you might know that some would say that I could teach you.” Lizzie smiled with her eyes. “Jean, I don’t need you to show me your Sculpting Tools for Professionals, Five ways to get beyond an artistic block, your Sixteen Scintillating Short Story Starters, and then show me other guys’ Top five mistakes when buying lingerie for women.

Jean was a smart man. He seemed to sense he was not getting where he wanted to go.

Lizzie smiled and handed him a copy of The Problem with Writing . . . 25 Things to Know BEFORE You Write for a Living. She wrote “May you always hear the applause for your writing,” signed the paper, and gave it to him. She stood just as he did to leave. He looked up at her. She kissed him on the cheek.

As Jean turned to leave he said, “I guess a visit to see my etchings is out of the question.”

“I’m afraid so,” said our writer traveler, “I could take you to a toy store to buy you an Etch-a-Sketch and some crayons, if you like.” Everyone knows our Lizzie has a thing for crayons.

The last thing one writer needs is another writer. Just ask a writer.

Lizzie decided then and there that her adventure would not involve some French guy’s etchings.

It was time to walk to ————————-> Chapter 5

–ME “Liz” Strauss

Related Articles

A List Becomes 301 Links in Story — Chapter 1
301 Links in Story — Chapter 2 Lizzie Meets Fred
301 Links in a Story — Chapter 3 Lizzie Reaches the Paris Hilton

The Problem with Writing . . . 25 Things to Know BEFORE You Write for a Living
My Blogging Goal


  1. says

    Ah… another exciting saga of 301 Links has concluded.

    Just wondering? Are you a leftie? You mention Jean massaging your left hand while he talks about beating writer’s block. :)

  2. says

    Maybe you’re one of those people who were forced to write with their right hand? My mom grew up in a traditional family, who honestly considered that writing with the left was improper. 😮

    I’m intrigued by your symbolism. Etchings? Something appealing during your young days that you’ve realized wouldn’t work out? :)

  3. says

    No, Rico,
    I don’t think I was “switched” hands. i think I was like my son, who was ambidextrous until he went to school and then he just chose. He’s incredibly right-brain artistic too.

    I have no artists in my youth. Many theater types though. :) I was one. :)

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