Challenge Accepted!

What if you only had three minutes to change your life?

Thaddeus Howze
4 min readNov 23, 2019


I’d say that’s a 750 word challenge I was born for.

250 words a minute…

As a writer, your challenge in any presentation is to show what you’ve got. In a post-literate society, it is the most difficult challenge imaginable.

Not because people can’t read. But because they won’t. They have too many other choices. To make things worse, as a writer, you lack the visual punch of the artist or graphic designer. Visual art appeals and in a second we can decide if we like or not.

If you’re judging music or spoken word, its the syncopation, the rhythm of the work, which connects to you, the meaning in that staccato delivery, or the arpeggio bridging that final coda.

As writers, in a post-literate society, we have only the Word. A tool casually disrespected in every form, maligned, misused, often re-purposed for malice. From advertising to movies, the Word is abused, bereft of its value except for selling soap or sex.

Writing requires you to read.
Reading requires effort.
Reading is hard.
One needs to…
To pause.
To reflect.
To interpret.
To glean value.
To find oneself.
To uncover symbolism.
To rush headlong into life or
to accept the inevitability of death.

To recognize writing worthy of one’s attention is an iterative gift,
giving itself again and again, each time becoming something new.

To recognize talent,
to know if an artist has the capacity

to bend reality’s warp and weft,
to create a thing from whole cloth whose composition,

if done properly can move you to weep,
to rage,

to frustration,
to love,

toward revolution,
to a point of destroying all you know of yourself;

To discover that talent is to be reborn in the light of new knowledge you’ve never before considered, transmitted silently across time and space.

Such a writer manipulates things unconsidered. They snatch from Plato’s realm of Logos, a reflection of the Ideal and lay claim to its imperfect twin, creating a tailored perfection which is uniquely theirs.

A talent such as this takes their Promethean powers, their knowledge of all which has been, can be, can ever be and with the stroke of a pen, tap of a key, or the timber of one’s very voice, create a Universe with a phrase… “Once upon a time…”

In creative hands, writing is a superpower!

It is my superpower. I write about everything. Not that canned-content crap. No force-fed, flavor-free, bias-rich churnalism (churned-out journalism, a lamentable practice in pop-culture circles).

In ten years, I have written 2,000 articles about science, technology, media, finance, robots, love and death. Online. Searchable.

This is my work.

My true passion, the thing upon which I am seeking your favor is writing fantasy and science fiction.


Forty years reading it and ten years writing it, I am close to a breakthrough. Having published two books and appearing in fifteen anthologies, one of which has Junot Diaz, Nisi Shawl, NK Jemisin and yours truly in the Mothership: Tales from Afrofuturism and Beyond credits.

I am fame-adjacent!

What I need is an opportunity for concentrated and focused effort. My desk is littered with half-completed works where a change of job or a serious medical challenge derailed it. Since the Recession, the Wolf at the Door has gotten so comfortable in front of my house, we got him chipped and collared.

The economic collapse of 2009 left an underclass of workers who were never able to return to the workforce at their previous wages. I embody that statistical bon mot.

Never content to languish on the sidelines, I reported on my former industry and was reborn a journalist. After a successful run at National Novel Writing Month, I became a creative writer of speculative fiction. A decade later, I’m a three-time Top Writer Award winner on Quora.

My next project…

I have ten seconds.

I create everyday. Poetry, analysis, treatments, humor, activism, as well as the spiritual battle for grandma’s immortal soul, zombified corporate labor, or for the domination of an entire galaxy by a super-intelligent feline.

I’m the best speculative fiction writer you’ve never met. Wakanda, Forever!

Thaddeus Howze
(707 words)