Why I’m here

When you’re driving in a car with a passenger you talk. You use words on your journey.

I put my journey of the writing life into “notes” on this blog, and other writerly stuff.

This is what I have so far written about on this blog:

 

writing day-by-day: jottings on my writing progress and the writing process

random words: thoughts on words that interest me

books: thoughts on what I’m reading

musings: thoughts on various subjects

life: thoughts about life and what I think about life

reviews

 

I have contributed to daily and weekly newspapers, monthly and bi-monthly magazines, quarterlies, journals, and websites.

 

 

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Ideas galore: how to get through the flow.

There’s an easy way to file away ideas and thoughts. It’s not by filing ideas and thoughts for different genres into different notebooks, but simply keeping a notebook for everything that comes to mind.

I’d been doing it the other way, though, but realized the put everything in one place approach is better.

I’ve been keeping my Bible reading notes in one exercise book. This was for the purpose of jotting the ideas I get from reading the Bible which could become devotions, meditations and reflections.

When other ideas came to mind, say a story idea that jumped into my head, I had to find a different notebook, or piece of paper, to jot the idea down.

But it would be quicker just writing the idea in my devotional notebook because that was handy. I don’t like mixing various ideas around in a notebook intended for one thing, though.

It makes much better sense to include everything in one notebook, doesn’t it?

So, all one has to do is headline each notebook entry for what kind of idea it is: be it devotional, story, article, poem, etc.

And if one is the run, one may keep a recorder, or something like it, for easy recording when ideas come to mind. Keep the ideas in one place on the recorder and indicate what each idea is, whether story, article, poem, etc.

Much better. All in one place and headlined for easy reference. All one needs now is a good notebook and/or a digital recorder. Digital recorders hold more information so spending on one is probably cheaper in the long run than buying notebook after notebook. May be just invest in a simple digital recorder for notetaking, if one likes, or if that’s easier when on the run. Or write it down, if that’s preferable.

A little mystery is good

Is it good to tell others everything about your writing? Sometimes, it’s not. One may face people who wish they could get your job. Why stoke their flames by saying you’re doing this and that?

Otherwise, one may select what one tells others.

It’s a good thing to remember the proverb of concealing what one knows. Not only in terms of facts and subjects, but in what one does with their time and how this applies to writing.

A little mystery where appropriate can give a colour to your profile, whereas saying everything you know lacks discretion.

Contributing to the reading cause

I was approached by Books in My Baggage to write about my experiences with books.

I was asked what is your favourite books and why? And what is the impact of reading books in your life?  I thought back to my youth first and answered accordingly.

Books in My Baggage wants to get people into reading books so I think by contributing my thoughts about books I have contributed to a good cause. The link to my page on Books in My Baggage is here .

“A seething mass of anxiety” as they say

Waiting can be excruciating, but waiting is not just standing there, doing nothing, thinking nothing, feeling nothing.

When we feel something negative as we wait, that can make waiting worse. When we don’t care, that can make waiting better.

Actually, anticipation is the crux of waiting, for good or ill. We don’t wait emptily. We are a seething mass of anxiety while we wait. Or we don’t care. Better to not care, if possible.

This is like waiting in the writing game.

Writing regularly

One of the rules of the writing life is to keep on writing.

One reason for this is as follows. If the writer submitted only one piece, say, every two or three months, then there is a lot of waiting involved, to find out if your piece is accepted.

But submitting regularly means there are more pieces being considered, so less time waiting to hear back. You should hear back at a more regular pace.

At least in theory, because sometimes there can be huge waiting times.

 

Writing it down and weighing it up

If you want to write anything for publication or pleasure may as well get yourself a notebook or exercise book depending on how mobile you are during the day.

Using a notebook, Dictaphone, or mobile phone somehow, may be good for people on the move. For writer’s in one place most of the time, all of those ways are good, but a writer in one place may use an exercise book effectively.

The idea is to write, jot, or note down what comes to mind, your inspirations, your thoughts, that may become stories, poems, articles, and so on.

But not every idea is worth its weight in gold.

When I’m in a critical frame of mind, there are ideas I see in my external environment, or whatever ideas I’m engaging with, that I may dismiss.

But if I reviewed the product I would give it a chance. At the end of engaging a product I may ask if the idea stacked up.

Even asking that question is slanted on the negative. If one has to ask it, what does that say about the product?

The lesson of that is some ideas are always going to be poor and some are going to be good.

Opportunity knocks

When I did a writing course, the tutor said to the class to ask the publisher for writer’s guidelines before one sent them a story. Don’t write the story and send it without reading the guidelines first, in other words. So, that’s what I did this week.

There are no online guidelines to access with the publisher I am interested in writing for so I sent them an email. An editor came back to me by email a few days later with some positive feedback. He would be interested in seeing some samples of my devotional writing. Opportunity knocks.

Unrelenting but also inspiring

Filmmakers have endeavored to capture this man on celluloid since the silent era of film, but Jesus might be one of the hardest historical figures to film.

The Passion of the Christ (2004) co-writer and director Mel Gibson portrays Jesus, played by Jim Caviezel, in his anguish and torment, in an unrelenting portrayal of Jesus’ Roman crucifixion which doesn’t hold back any punches.

From the beginning of the film, as Jesus is in the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus is agonizing over God’s will, but Jesus’ obedience to the will of God will lead him to the cross of crucifixion in its unrelenting ‘passion’, a grueling two hours for the viewer.

Jesus’ agonized facial expressions, as portrayed by Jim Caviezel, elevates the intensity of the moment in Gethsemane. Then, Judas betrays him and gives him over to his enemies to be crucified.

Dialogue in Latin, albeit unhistorical, and Aramaic, adds flavor (and subtitled in English) and space has been made to digress from a verbatim retelling of the gospel in the aid of drama.

But the effect is, at times, overdone, with showy slow-motion camera movements, intended to revere Jesus while it’s also violent.

The relationship between Mary and Jesus is sincere. The flashbacks to Jesus’ life in ministering to the needs of others makes a striking contradiction from many scenes of his torture–why such horror for such a good character? Jesus’ taking on the burden of humanity sins is the supernatural and theological substance Gibson doesn’t elaborate on too much.

The brutish Roman guards make the scourging look realistic. The scene eventually climaxes in an emotional crescendo—when the violence becomes too much for this viewer, an eventual bogging down in excessive violence, a violence that is hinted at right at the start with the quotation from Isaiah the prophet, that hints at yet another blood fest from the director of Braveheart.

Yet, The Passion of the Christ is an emotional roller-coaster. It can reach a haunting tone and moments that tear at the heart, but there’s also a hint of inspiration. There are moments that make us sympathize with Jesus and we see his selflessness. While one shouldn’t sacrifice one’s life as Jesus literally did, The Passion of the Christ challenges us in our own contexts to endure the pain of putting to death selfish actions and inactions.


The Passion of the Christ (2004) ***½ Revised version of review, original published Entertainmentnutz.com, 2004. Starring: James Caviezel, Monica Bellucci, Maia Morgenstern, Francesco Cabras, Rosalinda Celentano, Claudia Gerini, Ivano Marescotti, Matt Patresi, Sergio Rubini. Screenwriter: Ben Fitzgerald, Mel Gibson. Director: Mel Gibson.

Looking closer

On the writing journey, there is at least one thing a writer can do to improve their work. It is to look closer at how they are putting something. Instinct to write is compelling, and then excitedly submit the work. The piece sounds okay or good, but look closer. Thinking twice can improve the piece no ends. Looking for ways to make the piece more interesting and compelling.