Stodghill Says So

An opinionated posting on a variety of subjects by a former newspaper reporter and columnist whose daily column was named best in Indiana by UPI. The Blog title is that used in his high school sports predictions for the Muncie Evening Press.

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Location: Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, United States

At the age of 18 I was a 4th Infantry Division rifleman in the invasion of Normandy, then later was called back for the Korean War. Put in a couple of years as a Pinkerton detective. Much of my life was spent as a newspaper reporter, sports writer and daily columnist. Published three books on high school sports in Ohio and Indiana. I write mystery fiction for Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine and others. Three books, Normandy 1944 - A Young Rifleman's War, The Hoosier Hot Shots, and From Devout Catholic to Communist Agitator are now available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble and other booksellers. So are four collections of short mysteries: Jack Eddy Stories Volumes 1 and 2, Midland Murders, and The Rough Old Stuff From Mike Shayne Mystery Magazine.

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Thursday, March 12, 2009

Need a Good Laugh?

If life has become tedious and every day seems like Monday, go to and read today's entry by Deborah Elliott-Upton. There you will find the most recent winning entries in the Bulwer-Lytton "It was a dark and stormy night" competition. This, if you don't know, is a contest to see who can write the worst beginning of a story.
Along with the laughs, you may feel a touch of sympathy for Edward Bulwer-Lytton, who took pen in hand and in all seriousness wrote those immortal words. You will even see a picture of him with pen in hand.
Why has "It was a dark and stormy night" become the standard of bad beginnings? I don't know the answer. Thousands of equally bad, if not worse, starts can be found in both novels and short stories. If Bulwer-Lytton were able to speak up today, perhaps he would say it was all for the best. Without that immortal opening, few people would remember, let alone care, that he ever picked up that pen. Immortality is best grabbed in any way possible.
I myself have written an occasional and totally unintended Bulwer-Lytton opening. How about "Edna was a detonator, Harry was a bomb." I had no intention of writing a comedy when I put those words on paper. Nor did I anticipate scathing comments from editors.
Then there was "He sat staring at her photograph, his eyes like open windows letting the sickness of his mind escape into the room." That beginning actually was published. Bulwer-Lytton would have been proud.
In thinking about it, I believe the poor guy was dealt a bum hand. The moral of the story is that you don't have to try to be bad in order to be that way. I'm sure that is true as the sickness of my mind escapes into the room.


Blogger STAG said...

Ahhh, it is only by history which we shall be judged.

11:49 AM  

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