Skimming It | Daily Inkling

Write a blog post inspired by today’s Daily Inkling:

“Skimming It”

Find a book you’re not familiar with. Read the back cover synopsis, and skim a few of the pages. Then, tell us what happens in the book by filling in the gaps with your imagination.

Perfect for university students trying to hit a deadline. Just kidding, please don’t actually do this.


Continue reading “Skimming It | Daily Inkling”

Squids, Screwtapes, and Suspicions: How the Daily Inkling Got Its Name

Nikki and I like to consider ourselves excellent name-givers. Not a week goes by where weren’t trying to name something. We didn’t, after all, just come up with a name like Ezri (our cat) off the top of your head. Like designing a logo, the intentionality of what you call something or someone will shine through in all aspects of its lifespan.

We find no distinction between a name and a title. Perhaps a title pertains to creative content, while a name pertains to a living thing. Still, articles, blog posts, and videos take on a life of their own every day, and those renditions are effectively the “baby” of the composer. I know I would defend some of my favorite blog pieces with the nearly the alacrity of my own child. (Note to self: that statement might need revising once I have a child.)

The art of titling, we feel, is feigning into the background in favor of feel-good word engineering, corporate jargon, or perhaps worse of all, clickbait. We don’t advertise it, but we have a strong anti-clickbait policy here at Normal Happenings. A content creator has one shot at providing a title for their piece – it should not be wasted on misrepresented a work by supplying the audience with the most egregious information lacking proper context. If you want to see me get feisty about something, all you’ve got to do is send me an article with a misleading title. I dare you – you know where my Twitter inbox is.

A good name is quirky, efficient, and often rooted in real-life experiences. It delivers an idea of what the audience is getting into while still conveying a drop of the personality of the artist. Still, in all of my blogging, perhaps no other name comes from such a diverse set of inspirational sources as our Daily Inklings. This series of daily writing prompts approaching the quantity of 200 runs deep in both of our veins – particularly that word inkling. We spent a great deal of time deciding on a title, particularly since we knew a daily series would likely come to define Normal Happenings. Indeed, you would be forgiven for thinking our blog is called Daily Inklings if you were randomly tagged out of nowhere to take on one of our prompts.

Eagle and child
We’ll call the Eagle and Child the not-so-secret lair of the Inklings. Photo by Nikki, taken on her study abroad trip.

That word, “inkling,” is a convergence of our interests and experiences, and I’d like to take you through the flight path leading to that word being of such relevance. Speaking of flight paths, that’s where this story begins. In her third year of university, Nikki traveled from Alabama, U.S. to Oxford, U.K. for a study abroad trip that changed her life. She had been studying the Inklings, an informal literary group consisting of folks you might have heard of – C.S. Lewis, J. R. R. Tolkien, Owen Barfield, Charles Williams, and other legendary authors. They’re just some of the greatest literary minds of all time, nothing special. To say these Inklings have defined her life from this point on would be an understatement, as she never misses an opportunity to drop them into a literary conversation.

Meanwhile, I was discovering my own Inklings. This time, not in the form of literary greats but in squid kids that had evolved after humanities destruction to spend their lives spatting each other with ink just for fun. Yes, I’m referring to Splatoon, a quirky third-person shooter video game developed by Nintendo. And while it wasn’t the high art Nikki was discovering, it was helping me understand the concepts of enjoyment and thinking on your feet. So yes, the Daily Inklings were in part names after a video game. I remain unashamed. Still, we actively avoid video game prompts because we don’t want to steal the thunder of the many great gaming blogs we’re friends with.

But perhaps the most important ingredient in the word “inkling” is its own definition. Daily Inspiration? That’s too vacuous. Daily Prompt? That’s too ordinary. No, we needed something with nuance. We needed an idea, a clue, a spark of something great… we needed an Inkling. Perhaps it’s because I’ve been waltzing with this word every day for over half a year now, seeing bloggers across the world pouring their hearts into the Daily Inklings, but I feel there is something particularly deep about the word you cannot find in an ordinary pronoun or adverb. Perhaps I’m not the only one – surely the most legendary literary idea group in history must have had some inkling of the power of the word beyond a simple pun of the writing medium of the time.

Perhaps I am looking to deeply into things. Still, the banner is mine to run with. I will keep crafting Daily Inklings to arrive fresh in your feed each day. Perhaps one day, through a fluke of SEO and coinciding ideas and molecules floating through space-time, a Daily Inkling will inspire some journeyman novelist to ink the lore of the next Lord of the Rings or Chronicles of Narnia. I’ll never know, and in some small way that makes me believe in the concept of the Daily Inkling even more.

Want to get started on your Daily Inkling journey? Here is a good place to start! And here’s the latest one as of this posting. Also, tell us your absolute favorite Inkling so far in the comments below.


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I Am a Pollyanna: Personal Positivity in the Face of Societal Negativity

A personality defined by irrepressible optimism, even in the face of the most adverse or discouraging of circumstances. That, in a nutshell, is what the word “pollyanna” means.

Normal Happenings is a blog of unbridled optimism. Although I recognize and have deeply experienced the darkness of the world, I choose to encounter the world through an unbreakable positivity. I have no qualms about saying that’s a form of Pollyannaism, and a very healthy manifestation of it at that. I am not naive, nor unrealistic, but it my worldview of optimism that keeps me from sinking.

Flashback to May of 2015: I had just finished my first year of graduate school, proposed to Nikki winter prior, and extremely recently lost my assistantship due to misunderstanding and bad luck. This was an obvious section of my life that mixed strong positivity with negativity, making it apropos that this is when the word came into my life. It always came as a surprise to me that the word took this long to show up. By this point I was already making end roads of manifesting my overly positive personality, but more so my communications background should have given me knowledge of the existence of the iconic 1913 children’s book by Eleanor Porter. After all, the book inspired a great many movie adaptations and firmly cemented its way into modern vernacular. Continue reading “I Am a Pollyanna: Personal Positivity in the Face of Societal Negativity”