Backup

Photo by tookapic

Earl Chinnici ~
What’s a great way to spend the day before a day hackers have traditionally loved to unleash their “jokes” into the world? Exactly. Back up your important files. Many readers might not know this, but in addition to the work I do around CleanWIP Magazine and writing, I also operate a computer help desk throughout the US at EarlsHelpDesk.com. If you’re unsure how, stop by the contact page of my site then call me for a free consultation today. And please keep in mind, the best time to backup your files is before you have any trouble with your computer, whether from a bad joke or from a less nefarious cause such as equipment failure or a PICNIC.

Control

The #CleanWIP theme for March 30, 2021 is CONTROL. [More info]

Photo Courtesy of NASA: S69-34316 (18 May 1969) — Overall view of the Mission Operations Control Room in the Mission Control Center, Building 30, on the first day of the Apollo 10 lunar orbit mission. A color television transmission was being received from Apollo 10. This picture was made following Command and Service Module/Lunar Module/Saturn IVB (CSM/LM-S-IVB) separation and prior to LM extraction from the S-IVB. The CSM were making the docking approach to the LM/S-IVB.

Earl Chinnici ~
“We don’t have to discuss your temper right now, but you’ll have to face it someday. Until you learn to control yourself, nothing will ever change. You’ll never hold down a job for more than a few months. You’ll always… —Charlie?”
I listened but heard nothing. Spirits completely deflated, I continued to speak aloud, albeit softly, to no one. “I hate when you walk out and slam the door while I’m talking to you. Maybe someday you’ll realize I’m only trying to help. Maybe someday you’ll…”

Mirror

The #CleanWIP theme for March 29, 2021 is MIRROR. [More info]

Photo by Kookay

Earl Chinnici ~
(The opening paragraphs of MAYBE…)
“Maybe you should move those things away from you”, she said. I was standing in front of a mirror that rests on the large hardwood dresser in my bedroom. Since I did not see anything out of the ordinary on the dresser, I quickly turned around and scanned the remainder of the room for any sign of a threat. What was it?
Although her tone was gentle, she obviously warned me of a danger I did not see. I realize this might seem a bit melodramatic, but several hairs on both of my arms tingled as I searched for these mysterious things and considered how it could be possible for her to see some dangerous thing in my bedroom that I did not see. I then considered for a moment how this was similar to a guessing game I used to play with my siblings. My mind raced through the possibilities and yet I was extremely slow to realize my life was in danger.

Palm

PALM is our #CleanWIP theme for Sunday, March 28, 2021, Palm Sunday.  [More info]

Photo by Simon

Earl Chinnici ~
(This paragraph from MAYBE… still makes me smile each time I read it.)
Even if you currently smoke like a chimney or salmon, do not worry that you will have to muster up an incredible amount of willpower. It might not take as much as you think. Wouldn’t you feel silly if you went through all of that worry over willpower for nothing, if this turns out easier than you thought it would be? Wouldn’t that be something; if you stressed yourself out so many years about getting off the cigarettes and then come to the realization that you could have actually quit easier than you expected? You would probably get an urge to plant the palm of your hand firmly across your forehead once you realized it was not nearly as impossible as so many people have implied over the years.

Relaxed Friday 77

It’s Friday! Here’s the scoop on #CleanWIP Relaxed Fridays.

Photo by Julita

Earl Chinnici ~
This first “phase” of “my project” lasted for a period of twelve to thirteen weeks. A major factor in the length of my “Phase One” is that I didn’t know there was going to be a “Phase Two”. I did not yet even realize I had a project underway. However, I did want to smoke less. I also felt it would be nice to choose whether to smoke and not just do it because of habit or addiction.
Once I allowed myself to consider the many aspects of my habit rather than just make excuses, I realized that my addiction to tobacco cigarettes was way out of control as far back as junior high school. I wondered how much longer I could continue to inhale all of this poisonous smoke each day before I would need a breathing tube.

Medal

The #CleanWIP theme for March 25, 2021 is MEDAL. [More info]

Photo by Goran Horvat

Earl Chinnici ~
We didn’t set out to be heroes, but heroes we became. I’m sure you’ve seen our faces on billboards and subway walls. We’re uncanny symbols of America’s determination and resilience. Some people claim we’re not human; some claim we’re not real. We want you to know we are. We do have feelings.
The entire world has heard the sanitized version of that fateful day and how our actions saved millions, but due to matters of national security, the president urged us to wait a year before opening up to the media. On the White House lawn, he commended us for our bravery; in the Oval Office, he thanked us for our silence.

Educate

The #CleanWIP theme for March 24, 2021 is EDUCATE. [More info]

Photo by Tide He

Earl Chinnici ~
Dave and Lisa are so good to me. They made certain I had everything I needed and all they asked in return was for me to stay focused on finishing school. Truly, I did not fall too far behind. Besides their persuasion, I also attribute my persistence to the many long conversations I had with Mom over the years about the importance of a good education.
After school, I’d usually help out around the shop. Lisa taught me the business side of running an auto repair shop and Dave taught me to get my hands dirty. Once I proved myself, I formally asked for a job. It tickled Dave when I handed him a filled out application one evening after dinner. He said he had to okay it with the boss, although we both knew Lisa would be fine with the idea; she would choose shopping or crocheting over working in the shop any day.

Increase

The #CleanWIP theme for March 23, 2021 is INCREASE. [More info]

Photo by Emmi Nummela

Earl Chinnici ~
(from MAYBE…)
Apparently, I also enjoy writing. By this point in my little project, writing had become a way to increase the amount of smoke-free time between cigarettes. Sometimes the things I wrote on the pages of my composition book seemed almost profound. Other times, it seemed to be much ado about nothing. Nonetheless, some of the people reading this might find my notes interesting and perhaps even comical at times. I suppose it is possible that these notes may help you live a longer and happier life. Maybe something I wrote in my composition book as I gradually overcame this awful habit and addiction will help you help yourself, a friend, or a family member.

Water

Photo courtesy of Pixabay

Earl Chinnici ~
(a helpful tidbit from a very special chapter of MAYBE…)
Many factors can affect perception of time such as age, activities, mood, personality, and environment. Everybody knows “time flies when you’re having fun”. On the contrary, it seems to drag when you are bored, sad, or waiting on water to boil. It may help to keep this in mind if you want to wait a longer period of time between smoke breaks.

Common

The #CleanWIP theme for March 21, 2021 is COMMON. [More info]

Photo by Nicole Köhler

Earl Chinnici ~
Over the years, my mind and body had become so accustomed to the poisons in the cigarettes I smoked; I would not often notice the fast heartbeat, dizziness, nervousness, confusion, and other common symptoms of being poisoned. I began to feel these things again, each time I smoked a cigarette. Afterwards, I would often wonder how I ever thought these things felt good.

Relaxed Friday 76

It’s Friday! Here’s the scoop on #CleanWIP Relaxed Fridays.

Today’s featured photo is a pseudomural of a green frog peeking over the edge of a canna lily leaf. It is one of 168 designs now available through the CleanWIP storefront with many more designs on the way. Purchases from the CleanWIP store help this magazine continue and also assist in the Hurricane Irma hurricane/tornado recovery effort of its owner. Thank you for your help.

https://www.redbubble.com/shop/ap/73715366?asc=u

Awkward

The #CleanWIP theme for March 18, 2021 is AWKWARD. [More info]

Photo by Tati Halabi

Earl Chinnici ~
One such hurdle involved the fact that I do not entirely understand why we stop one day and start another at some arbitrary time that has no celestial meaning whatsoever. Because I was often up at odd hours, it exacerbated this awkwardness for me. In hindsight, I am sure sunset would have been a much more pleasant time to end one day and start the next. Nevertheless, the first few “days” I recorded in my notes consisted of those periods of time between sleep.

Particular

The #CleanWIP theme for March 16, 2021 is PARTICULAR. [More info]

Photo by Erik Karits

Earl Chinnici ~
I understand busy. Ever since I published, the work has been non-stop. Although I expected being a guest on Write Connections would be a great way to advance my career even further, my debut book had already touched the hearts of many readers. Several thousand had already connected with me via online social networks and at smaller local events.
Due to the large outpouring of local support, most of my readership at the time was within a fifty-mile radius. However, thanks to one particular friend telling her friends and relatives, I already had a surprising number of fans in Kansas too.
I wrote about my friends in Kansas and how I love them dearly and about how butterflies danced inside of me as I heard my host welcome each guest. “Hi. This is Rachel of the Write Connections morning show and I’m here with Jenny Foster…

Recall

The #CleanWIP theme for March 14, 2021 is RECALL. [More info]

Photo by Goran Horvat

Earl Chinnici ~
When I returned home, I really needed to talk with Charlie, distraught by what had happened. I called his job around the time he usually returns from lunch and one of his coworkers told me she’d seen him leave mid-morning. I didn’t remember him mentioning any necessary errands, but since my afternoon was filled with grief and worry, nothing seemed easy to recall.

Relaxed Friday 75

It’s Friday! Here’s the scoop on #CleanWIP Relaxed Fridays.

Photo by Manfred Richter

Earl Chinnici ~
After school, I’d usually help out around the shop. Lisa taught me the business side of running an auto repair shop and Dave taught me to get my hands dirty. Once I proved myself, I formally asked for a job. It tickled Dave when I handed him a filled out application one evening after dinner. He said he had to okay it with the boss, although we both knew Lisa would be fine with the idea; she would choose shopping or crocheting over working in the shop any day.

Dear

The #CleanWIP theme for March 11, 2021 is DEAR. [More info]

Photo by Mabel Amber

Earl Chinnici ~
As I was saying when I first started this story, Cathy and I were on the phone with each other at the time and she was watching me. “Maybe you should move those things away from you”, she said. I hurriedly looked around to see what things I should move, but I did not find anything out of place. Within a few moments, it became obvious to me that I did not understand. Those nine simple words confused me to no end and so I asked her, “Move what things away from me?”
Her reply was soft-spoken. In hindsight, I realize that Cathy chose her words carefully so this suggestion would have the greatest impact possible without causing me to feel even the least bit pressured into doing something that I did not want to do. My dear friend Cathy gently replied, “Please don’t think that I’m trying to tell you what to do. It’s your life and you can of course, do what you want to with it. This is just a suggestion. You might want to consider moving those cigarettes away from you.”

Lump

Photo by Bruno

Earl Chinnici ~
Charlie opened and began drinking his second Crazy Chicken since coming home and when he once again started to speak, the conversation progressed downhill in a hurry. “You stated your opinion five times already. I heard you the first time. Why keep repeating yourself? Sometimes I think you just like to annoy me. It’s a twisted game you play.”
My calmness was wearing thin but the meanness of Charlie’s words caused a lump in my throat I had to clear before I could respond. “You know that’s not true, Charlie. How can you say such a thing?”
By that point of our talk, he could barely look at me and I just knew he’d come to his senses any minute. He didn’t.

Prove

The #CleanWIP theme for March 8, 2021 is PROVE. [More info]

Photo by Andrew Martin

Earl Chinnici ~
(excerpt from MAYBE…)
I have repeatedly asked “Rachel” not to call me, both by pressing “2” to remove my number from the calling list and by pressing “1” and then immediately telling the “human being” who answers, “do not ever call me again.” I believe it would be easier to perform a triple coronary bypass on a great white shark than to get this devious “company” to stop calling me.
Unfortunately, this harassing phone call proved to be a strong trigger. It caused me to forget the burrito I was warming in the microwave and instead, I stepped outside to smoke in an effort to get “Rachel” off my mind. I was drawing close to the filter when I finally remembered the burrito.

Hear

The #CleanWIP theme for March 7, 2021 is HEAR. [More info]

Photo by Mabel Ambel

Earl Chinnici ~
He was flapping his jaws like a chicken flaps its wings when it is chased, carrying on about how one of the managers treated him badly and he didn’t deserve to be treated that way.
The constant drone of his voice increased my nausea. I tried to interject, “I need to talk with you,” but it was no use. Maybe he didn’t hear me. He didn’t stop talking, seemingly not even to breathe. Couldn’t he tell I was upset too?
Within three minutes, I learned that Charlie had devised a plan to…

Thumb

The #CleanWIP theme for March 3, 2021 is THUMB. [More info]

Photo by Selfim

Earl Chinnici ~
(In my debut, Maybe You Should Move Those Away From You, there are many warnings and explanations prior to the paragraph I’m sharing here. Please don’t do the things I’ve done.)
Next, I would use the surgical tape to apply the part of the patch I would be using. This usually required at least four pieces of tape, seven fingers, and a thumb. Sometimes I would also enlist the help of a dresser or countertop to hold pieces of tape until I used them. I tried to smooth out the tape as much as possible to ensure it would not hang on my clothes or annoy me in any other way. Annoyances are commonly triggers amongst tobacco cigarette smokers.

Across

The #CleanWIP theme for March 2, 2021 is ACROSS. [More info]

Photo by Mabel Amber

Earl Chinnici ~
“I hope this doesn’t come across as indifference, but working here at the station I’ve seen many accidents. If those two aren’t dead, it’d be quite the miracle.”
Although I heard Scott clearly, I yearned for a more pleasant outcome, imagining deployed airbags and spared lives.
“I have to go to Atlanta,” I said, still shaking, but was quickly bombarded with various reasons I shouldn’t.

Attribute

The #CleanWIP theme for March 1, 2021 is ATTRIBUTE. [More info]

Photo by Aleš Háva

Earl Chinnici ~
Dave and Lisa are so good to me. They made certain I had everything I needed and all they asked in return was for me to stay focused on finishing school. Truly, I did not fall too far behind. Besides their persuasion, I also attribute my persistence to the many long conversations I had with Mom over the years about the importance of a good education.

Rare

The #CleanWIP theme for February 28, 2021 is RARE. [More info]

Photo by Silvia Schenk

Earl Chinnici ~
(excerpt from MAYBE… I’m no longer in an exclusivity contract with this book, so you can expect me to share more freely from it via CleanWIP Magazine now. I also plan to soon publish MAYBE… through other bookstores.)
Sometimes changing my shirt is not enough and I have to take a shower or bath to get the stench off my skin and out of my hair. I had so much cigarette poison on me one time that I had to wash my clothes during the middle of the night because even though I put my clothes in the hamper as I headed to the shower, the acrid smell of burned poison filled the entire bathroom. It did not stop at the bathroom door either. The horrific odor then began to drift down the hall headed towards the living room and kitchen. I realize that as a cigarette smoker, I had become accustomed to this powerful odor and I hardly even noticed the smell. On a rare occasion when I did notice, it did not seem to be anything a little cologne or air freshener could not cure. Nonetheless, I am now astonished that I spent the greater part of twenty-eight years of my life stinking worse than a toilet bowl filled with sulfur water.

Relaxed Friday 73

It’s Friday! Here’s the scoop on #CleanWIP Relaxed Fridays.

Photo by Shell Ghostcage

Thanks for tuning in, so to speak. I’ve been busy creating many fun products for the CleanWIP Storefront while continuing efforts to regain functionality of the collaboration group, now on MeWe. I’m also brainstorming a redesign of this e-zine to help showcase some of the greatest articles, posts, and tweets from everyone who has joined in the CleanWIP fun. Hopefully, we can get soon get back to the business of bringing readers some very special content from authors who prefer the cleaner end of the writing spectrum. ~ Earl

Chili

The #CleanWIP theme for February 25, 2021 is CHILI. [More info]

Photo by Robyn Wright

See also: Earl Chinnici’s Vegetable Beef Ramen Chili Soup.

Chip

The #CleanWIP theme for February 24, 2021 is CHIP. [More info]

Photo by Hans Braxmeier

Earl Chinnici ~
(This excerpt is from a special chapter of MAYBE… titled “Tips, Tricks, and Dramatic Visualizations.”)
Cigarette smoke can ruin practically anything. Electronic devices such as phones, computers, gaming systems, and audio systems are no exception. Consider this as you choose places where you will ban smoking. Get that sticky smoke away from these things!
Be realistic with your goals, but challenge yourself every day to some extent. Changing your addiction should be fairly easy if you take it slow and steady. Be firm with yourself, yet remain slightly flexible. Adjust your plan if you feel you must, but try to stay focused on your goals.
Bite off only what you can chew. Speaking of which, if you do not take care of your teeth, someday chewing might become far less enjoyable. Imagine trying to eat broccoli, pretzels, or potato chips with nearly all of your teeth broken. If you thirst for knowledge or you hunger for a distraction, learn about “vasoconstrictors” such as nicotine. Research it!

Cat

The #CleanWIP theme for February 23, 2021 is CAT. [More info]

Earl Chinnici ~
(excerpt from MAYBE…)
These cigarettes certainly did not taste like the popular brand that I used to smoke. I had grown accustomed to them, mind you, but the taste was nothing short of disgusting and they seemed to irritate my throat more than the cigarettes that I used to smoke. I often wondered why. I had even noticed that I was coughing a lot more as of late. In fairness, I am not certain that cigarettes were the culprit. Maybe dust was to blame. Maybe it was pollen. Maybe I shouldn’t kiss my cats every time that I pass by them. Maybe if you give me a minute I can think of another excuse.

Dog

Today’s #CleanWIP theme and collaborative article is DOG. [More info]

Photo by Christina Chiz

Jessica Marie Holt ~
“You should have shot him,” said Henry. “That dog’s a menace. I ran at him with a pitchfork the other day, and he lunged at me like he wasn’t even scared. Once I whacked him with it he knew I meant business, and he ran off.”
“I told Frank if he didn’t get him under control, I’d end up shooting him eventually.” 
“Why does Frank even keep a dog like that?” asked Henry. 
“Vernon Peedin got him for protection when the Willis brothers threatened to burn his house down, with him in it, after he testified against them in court. Vernon kept the thing on a good solid chain, and he always took proper care of his fences. And, the dog obeyed him. But you know Frank. He’s lazy and careless. He don’t even look after his mama, let alone keep his dog secure.”
Henry shook his head. “Some folks just don’t have any sense of decency.”
“Too true,” said Jim. He turned to Louis. “So, your first order of business is going to be filling in the hole that hell hound made, and making sure the coop is secure.”

Stick

The #CleanWIP theme for February 21, 2021 is STICK. [More info]

Photo by Mabel Amber

Earl Chinnici ~
(excerpt from MAYBE…)
Many of these forgotten cigarettes would smolder nearly to the filter while dangling from my mouth. They would frequently stick to my lips so firmly that they would painfully take a small chunk of skin with them as I ripped them loose. These cigarettes cost just as much money as the cigarettes that I actually smoked and they were the source of much unfiltered smoke around me, but I did not get to “enjoy” them. I may as well have had a poisonous smoldering twig dangling from my mouth. I may as well have tossed my money into a bottomless pit.

Wine

The #CleanWIP theme for February 18, 2021 is WINE.

Photo by Photo Mix

Earl Chinnici ~
(an important revelation from MAYBE…)
Some of the substances currently allowed in the manufacturing of cigarettes sold in the United States are fairly common such as ammonia, butter, caffeine, chocolate, coffee, ethyl alcohol, grape juice concentrate, honey, lavender oil, peppermint oil, pineapple juice concentrate, plum juice, rum, spearmint oil, sugars, urea, vanilla extract, vinegar, wheat flour, wine, and yeast.
While some of these substances might seem harmless and others might seem utterly disgusting, it is important to understand that chemical changes occur to the entire mixture as it smolders within a tobacco cigarette. Many studies, conducted by various organizations around the world, strongly suggest that cigarette smoke generally consists of thousands of chemicals including a number of carcinogens, substances that directly cause or promote various forms of cancer. Maybe you have heard of some of the very toxic chemicals commonly present in cigarette smoke such as acetone, arsenic, benzene, butane, cadmium, carbon monoxide, chloroform, copper, DDT, formaldehyde, hydrogen cyanide, lead, mercury, methane, and nickel.

Ash

The #CleanWIP theme for February 17, 2021 is ASH. [More info]

Photo by James DeMers

Earl Chinnici ~
(a little treasure from MAYBE…)
By now, I already consumed fewer cigarettes each day than I did before I started this project. I now consciously considered each cigarette before lighting it. I would ask myself, “Can I wait a little while longer before I inhale more poison”. I also greatly reduced the amount of second-hand smoke inside of my home by smoking mostly outside. In addition, I learned that I should “take a break” to smoke a cigarette rather than allow it to turn to ash and add unfiltered smoke into the air around me. Contrary to popular belief, to allow your cigarette to become ashes while you go about doing other things does not even slightly begin to qualify as multi-tasking.

Almond

The #CleanWIP theme for February 16, 2021 is ALMOND. [More info]

Photo by Volker Glätsch

Earl Chinnici ~
(excerpt from Maybe You Should Move Those Away From You)
I became obsessed with removing the “nicotine yellow” from my home. If there was a film of cigarette residue coating something that I could do without, and I was unable to wipe it clean or run it through the washing machine a few times, it was history. Off to the curb it went where it patiently waited for a prepaid ride to the county landfill. I even tossed a few things I could have easily wiped clean, simply because they were almond in color and that color reminded me all too well of the nicotine.

President

The #CleanWIP theme for Monday, February 15, 2021 is PRESIDENT.

Photo by Vit Ducken

Earl Chinnici ~
Now, we’re inseparable. When one of us has a rough day, the rest do everything possible to lift our comrade’s spirits. We lost the illusion of security we had always known, but we refuse to succumb to the anguish and the nightmares. There’s no time for it. We have lives to live—and a story to tell.
We didn’t set out to be heroes, but heroes we became. I’m sure you’ve seen our faces on billboards and subway walls. We’re uncanny symbols of America’s determination and resilience. Some people claim we’re not human; some claim we’re not real. We want you to know we are. We do have feelings.
The entire world has heard the sanitized version of that fateful day and how our actions saved millions, but due to matters of national security, the president urged us to wait a year before opening up to the media. On the White House lawn, he commended us for our bravery; in the Oval Office, he thanked us for our silence.
So much remains untold, but through this symphonic memoir, we hope to answer many of the remaining questions. We hope to silence a couple vicious rumors too.

Pizza

The #CleanWIP theme for February 9, 2021 is PIZZA. [More info]

Photo by Aline Ponce

Earl Chinnici ~
(a little anecdote that might make it into a book someday)
A couple months after a tornado during Hurricane Irma downed a tree across my home and many trees throughout the yard, I decided to order a pizza after a long day of cutting branches and tossing them on a fire. Concerned a delivery driver would question whether the address could possibly be correct, I added “Broken Home” to the portion of the online order form where I could leave special instructions. I was exhausted so I didn’t doubt the wisdom behind my choice of words until the young driver laughed hysterically as he exited his vehicle and began to approach me to finalize the transaction and said, “I’m so sorry for laughing. I hope everybody’s okay. It’s just that… on the way here, I rehearsed how I would explain to a jealous husband that I’m just delivering pizza.”

Nothing

The #CleanWIP theme for February 7, 2021 is NOTHING. [More info]

Photo by Myriam

Earl Chinnici ~
(excerpt from Maybe You Should Move Those Away From You)
These cigarettes certainly did not taste like the popular brand that I used to smoke. I had grown accustomed to them, mind you, but the taste was nothing short of disgusting and they seemed to irritate my throat more than the cigarettes that I used to smoke. I often wondered why. I had even noticed that I was coughing a lot more as of late. In fairness, I am not certain that cigarettes were the culprit. Maybe dust was to blame. Maybe it was pollen. Maybe I shouldn’t kiss my cats every time that I pass by them. Maybe if you give me a minute I can think of another excuse.

Cancer

Photo by Natasha G

Earl Chinnici ~
The featured photo today is of Sanguinaria canadensis (bloodroot) and I’m confident the opening lines from one of my works-in-progress, Skin Cancer, Black Salve, and Me, will help make sense of why I chose this photo for today’s article.
Convinced three blemishes on my left arm were cancers, I decided to evict them with the help of a certain drawing salve. I believe most people refer to it as black salve. I prefer to call it bloodroot salve after one of its ingredients, the herbaceous perennial Sanguinaria canadensis (bloodroot). The other ingredients of the blend I chose, namely antimony, galangal, and zinc chloride, do not in my humble opinion, lend well to a poetic salve name becoming of this author.
Using bloodroot salve to remove skin cancer is controversial, but I’ve been around long enough to realize the science of medicine is no more static than any science. Some things are widely accepted while others are the subject of relentless debate. We can all surely think of one or more substances or plants once widely used and legal, then prohibited and fought against vehemently, only to be legalized again later. Besides, I do not have a primary physician or insurance and even if I did, skin cancer removal might not qualify as an emergency procedure. Bloodroot salve seemed most plausible for me. I do not claim this was a wise decision, but I’m satisfied with the outcome and will probably choose the same again if presented with similar circumstances.

(This work was inadvertently put on hold after my home was destroyed during Hurricane Irma. I might get back to work on it soon. Since it is a short non-fiction, it’s likely my work-in-progress with the least resistance to becoming a completed product.)