Revisit any Commuter Challenge of the last ten years.
Do you wish you had spent a little more time on the final mix of that one song? Remix it now. Do you wish you had used proper tools to make that one illustration, instead of a ball point pen? Draw a better one now. Do you wish you had written a poem that one month instead of binge-watching TV? Write it now. Are you currently kicking yourself for never having participated in the Commuter Challenge, ever? Pick a challenge now — any challenge — and do it.
Do more than one. Do as many as you want. Do anything at all.
Over the years, the Commuter Challenge has docused on three major media: words, images, and music. (And pretty much in that order.) This month, your goal is to bring all of those together in an apotheosis of creative expression. In short, make something that incorporates words, images, and music.
Record a song with vocals and an accompanying illustration. Film a short video with an original soundtrack. Write a poem with an illustration and a musical accompaniment. Or something else entirely.
The words, images, and music should be all your own creation, but as usual you can get help from other people and/or computer programs in order to properly execute your ideas. Using found poetry/sound/images is okay, as long as it remains true to the spirit of the challenge.
Optional additional constraint: Your work should include reference to sunlight in the words or images, or both (And/or the music, if you’re the kind of visionary who can express sunlight in sound.)
Create a visual artwork in any medium that you’ve never used before.
This constraint does not apply to medium that you may have dabbled with in your childhood; if you made a collage in kindergarten or whittled something in grade school, then that shouldn’t prevent you from submitting a collage or carving to this challenge. You can also be as specific as you like, for example if you have only ever sculpted in polymer clay then it’s fine to submit a ceramic clay sculpture for this challenge.
Optional additional constraint: The artwork must be a depiction of a human or an animal.
Create one or more “hidden sequence” puzzles. In a hidden sequence puzzle, a set of 4-6 items are arranged in a precise sequence, and the reader is challenged to identify what the sequence is. The sequence can make use of esoteric knowledge, popular culture references, or be based on pure logic — that’s entirely up to you.
Here are some examples, along with their rules:
(rule: first names of successive US presidents)
(rule: the five biological kingdoms, in order of formal recognition)
(rule: 5×6, 6×7, 7×8, etcetera)
Of course, the rules are pretty easy to spot in these examples. A more interesting sequence might be the first names of successive vice presidents. Or, the first names of the presidential candidates that lost successive elections. You are encouraged to create multiple sequences of varying levels of difficulty.
Compose and submit three original jokes and/or riddles. Each of the three jokes must be in any well-known format, such as:
- How many does it take to change a light bulb?
- What do you get when you cross a with a ?
- Why did the cross the road?
- A , a , and a walk into a bar …
- Yo momma so …
- Knock knock. Who’s there? …
- What’s black and white and red all over?
Et cetera. You may use your own judgement regarding what you understand to be a common type of joke.
All three jokes/riddles must be utterly original inventions by you, and they must each be completely new this month.
Write a sonnet describing some news event that takes place during the month of February. If nothing noteworthy happens this month that speaks to your muse, then pick an otherwise forgettable and unimportant event and immortalize that instead.
Although you may choose any of the standard subtypes of the sonnet form for your poetry, you are encouraged to give serious consideration to the Pushkin sonnet.
This month is the second half of the Long Form Challenge.
The Commuter Challenge is going to finish out the year much as it did last year, with a chance for each participant to plan out extended, personalized challenges.
For the first week of November, decide upon one or more personal creative projects that you intend to pursue for the rest of the 2015, and plan it out logistically. Your schedule should aim to have some sort of measureable goal that you can aim to achieve every 1-2 weeks until the end of December.
Submit your plan by November 9th. That schedule will then define your challenges for the rest of November and all of December. Then, at each milestone, you should submit a brief report of your progress and (if applicable) any adjustments that you wish to make to the original plan.
Note that it is not required that you actually achieve your goals in order to satisfy the challenge (beyond submitting the initial plan) — only that you make an effort to do so.
This Long Form Challenge was conceived with the hope that it will drive us to invest in projects that mesh with our existing creative activities.
The October 2015 Commuter Challenge is to generate “cover art” for at least one October 2015 Song Fight.
To participate in this Commuter Challenge you do not actually have to submit cover art for consideration at SongFight.org, nor do you need to meet the SongFight.org submission deadlines, but you do have to follow their general submission guidelines.
Approximately every 12 days a new Song Fight title is posted at SongFight.org. The main aim of Song Fight is for people to compose and submit songs with that title, but cover art is also generated for each title. The cover art consists of an image that is ostensibly related to the Song Fight title, and most often includes the text of the title within the image. Sometimes the words “Song Fight!” also appear in the image, but that is not mandatory.
The image must be submitted as JPG images in three sizes: 400×400 pixels, 150×150 pixels, and 100×100 pixels. The different versions can simply be the same image in different sizes, or they can be variations on the theme. The size limitations may affect the resolution of the cover art, so keep that in mind while designing your entries – the ‘front page’ cover art is the 150×150 pixel size, so fine details may be lost if you need to reduce the image size to fit the guidelines, and you should ensure that any text in the images is legible at each size. For examples, see any of the hundreds of entries for previous Song Fights.
For this Commuter Challenge, any entry or entries are due by midnight, October 31st. If you would also like your images to be considered for the actual cover art at SongFight.org, those must be submitted to that website by their due dates, typically within a day or two after the due date of each song.
Compose a list of 10 instructions. Your list should have a title that ends “… in Ten Easy Steps”. There is no upper or lower word limit to this challenge. The only constraint on your submission is that the instructions should describe something that is generally an inside activity (as the warm weather slowly drifts off with the coming of autumn).
The August 2015 Commuter Challenge is to create a cover/dustjacket for an imaginary book. The concept for the book should be your own original idea, but you do not need to do any work on the text of that book other than generating the title for the cover.
The following links to lists of “weird books” are suggested for inspiration, but you may take a more serious approach to the project if you prefer.
Create an artwork and/or cartoon depicting a real-life event or story. The event in question should either be something that happened to you, or was told to you first-hand by a participant — in other words, not a fictional event. (However, fact-checking is not a requirement of the challenge, so illustrate the story that you remember or were told.)
There are no requirement on size or artistic medium. If you draw a cartoon, aim for roughly the length of a Sunday strip.