Hey, Welcome to LOVING THE STRANGE, where we celebrate the weird and embrace the heck out of it.
This week, in honor of Shaun Farrar, our own Florida man, we are talking about Florida men.
In ancient times, so back in 2013, Florida man became a meme because there were just so many weird and bizarre news articles (mostly police beats) about Florida men doing weird and criminal and often dumb things.
Both CNN and the Miami News Times claim that Florida men aren’t that naughty or bizarre compared to their equivalents in other states, but it’s just because the freedom of information laws in that state make it pretty easy to peruse police beat.
The Columbia Journalism Review says that Florida Man is “one of journalism’s darkest and most lucrative cottage industries”, because “stories tend to stand as exemplars of the mythical hyper-weirdness of the Sunshine State, but more often simply document the travails of the drug-addicted, mentally ill, and homeless.”
Watch out, Santa! I am a deadly weapon! It’s the tree stand, really. Or maybe just one of the pointy branches.
At first, in some weird way, I was kind of impressed, because seriously, how ironic and anti-Christmas is death by Christmas tree?
Like, if I wrote that in a book some reviewer would say, “Jones’ quirky writing style sometime stretches the boundaries of the imagination.”
But it really happened! In Florida! In 2008!
And I was also kind of impressed because he tried to throw the tree at his dad, which made me think: Wow. Superman Strong. Florida men are so strong!
I know this because I am married to one.
But I was unimpressed because let’s face it:
It’s never cool to try to kill your father unless your father is…
Luke, Do not throw the tree at me. I am your father.
EDITED TO ADD: SORRY! SORRY! IT IS NEVER COOL TO KILL DARTH VADER.
VOLDEMORT? HE’S OKAY. RIGHT? DOES HE HAVE KIDS? Ugh. I hope not.
Anyway, it turns out that the tree was not a normal-sized Christmas tree that touches the ceiling.
It was a mini tree. A MINI CHRISTMAS TREE!
I amnot so deadly or am I?
Blech. No longer cool at all. That’s almost as exciting as throwing a wreath at him. Except I like the rainbow on the tree. Sadly, this happened before rainbow trees.
Here’s the thing: Using details like, “A man tried to kill his father with a Christmas tree” makes your writing so much better.
Choosing the right details can make or break your story but using no details? That’s a great way to make a bad story.
“A man tried to kill his father” tells us nothing.
“A man tried to kill his father with a Christmas tree” tells us a bit more.
“An enraged Florida man tried to kill his father when he threw a mini Christmas tree directly at him” is even better, right? I mean, it’s absurd, but amazing.
What do details do?
Details ground the reader in a scene or reality.
Details can show mood.
Details can show character.
Details make it juicy.
Make your stories juicy! And make your life juicy, too! Don’t make it go-to-jail juicy, but find the details in the everyday. Explore the tiny bit of your room, your dwelling, your food, your self. What shows your mood, your character? What grounds you? It’s all good. Share it with the world.
COOL MYSTERY I WROTE
NEW BOOK ALERT!
My little novella (It’s spare. It’s sad) is out and it’s just $1,99. It is a book of my heart and I am so worried about it, honestly.