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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;

book shelf: thoughts on what I’m reading;

musings: thoughts on various subjects;

I like: movies, music and television I like.

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

 

 

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writing day-by-day

Versions

Certain film directors have done “director’s cuts” of their films, which is a longer version of the film originally released, with scenes the director has shot before but adds to the version first released. It may turn out like another version, without substantially altering the storyline.

Writers can do similar things with their pieces. A reviewer in one forum has published a review one way. In another forum says it differently, perhaps substantially differently, even better than before. This may be more than tweaking. It can be reinventing. But the view or opinion stays the same in invisible essence.

musings

Simply stated, this is what I think it is

I’ve been enjoying watching the Star Wars prequels, yet again, and as I’ve been watching, it happened to occur to me what the Star Wars philosophy may be as far I can read it.

Simply stated, Star Wars philosophy as far as I sense is that good and evil are equal halves of the same union, but one of these, either good, or evil, can get pushed further into existence than the other.

The pull towards good or evil, light or darkness, depends on how certain people and figures converge with good or with evil, light or darkness, at a certain point in time.

The ideal state is balance or equilibrium, even distribution, and harmony and peace, not greed and possessiveness (which is “imbalance”). One must be in-tune or integrated, to overcome evil or the darkness, and if one is, one may change the world, as one strives for the ascendency of the light in the mechanisms of the world, such as in Government.

However fragile I see this philosophy, I still enjoyed the films. The films can be seen from simpler angles such as what happened and from subtler thematic points of view about subjects like Fall and Redemption. However, the above philosophy is in my opinion the main idea in Star Wars, but it doesn’t work. I don’t believe in it as its untenable. Jesus addressed effectively the kind of philosophical issue Star Wars raises with his life, death, resurrection, and teachings.

writing day-by-day

Why continue writing at all? Especially after New Year’s.

New Year can mean there is a spike in divorces, according to one lawyer. Does it also mean a spike in giving up vocations,  jobs, employment or gigs as well?

One may feel like giving it the job away after a nice relaxing holiday. They call this the back to work blues or something like that. If you’re in a day job, you may quit and do something else, or keep on keeping on with the job you wished you loved, because you like the staff and not the job itself.

On the other end, if one doesn’t have commitments in writing, why continue writing at all?

There are writers who have commitments. I mean, they got to write and set goals because that’s expected of them, by the publisher, if they enjoy doing this or not. For these people, it pays the bills, as they say.

What’s the point of writing if you have no commitments like these? Why doesn’t one throw it in?

For the writer who is not stuck to any employer or publisher, here are three reasons to keep on going when there seems no point: One writes for their own satisfaction, three times over. And one may do some good along the way, for someone out there.

musings

Christmas “eureka moments” may happen in the quiet times

Pause to reflect. A writer needs refreshment and the Christmas period is quite obviously a good time for that.

I’ve been doing less writing recently and more note taking, research, and reflection.

But I trust that the pleasures of contemplation can draw me back to the discipline of writing in a fresh way.

Pre-Christmas can be busy, but the post-Christmas break is a good chance to re-store, re-think and re-charge, and even re-prioritize.

Life can be busy yet I wonder if it’s all helpful. Busyness is self-multiplying, in that work multiplies work. In a rush of doing work, one may find inspiration after inspiration, but rather thoughtlessly (don’t I know it).

In busyness, one may not be thinking clearly about what one is doing. However, in a period of reflection, like at Christmas, things can become clearer. Career decisions and direction can be made during the quiet times and in the process of reflection.

Reflection can spawn even Eureka moments that clear the mind with solutions and answers.

In reflection one sees the road ahead clearer in a transparent dose of reality that isn’t inspired by the adrenalin of the year that’s gone.

Sleep, get lazy, hazy, do something completely different, and don’t think too much. Pause.

writing day-by-day

Editors are there to help you

A good editor will never embarrass a writer. They will not publish your piece if it’s going to make you sound less than what you are.

Sometimes, writers write pieces that may sound good on the surface, and they send it to the publisher. The editor reads it and puts it on hold, lets it marinate, and comes back to it.

The editor rejects the piece and sends you a rejection letter. Once you get the letter and have another look at the article they rejected, you may agree, that the editor was right not to publish it.

The piece is just going to embarrass the writer and probably the publication. A good editor will reject the piece because the piece would have made you look dumb.

Editors care about the image they are projecting through their writers.

Of course, the piece may have sounded terrible, anyway. But the editor is saving you from other embarrassments as well, like the self-image you’re sending.

writing day-by-day

Going public last on the writer’s to do list

There are reviews I have done that I am proud of and there are reviews I have done I am not proud of. So, why would one send the piece in the first place?

Individual reasons or circumstances differ, but writing can be a case of not doing as I do, but after I’ve done it, learn from my perceived “mistakes”. This may be one of those times.

Enthusiasm can be too infectious, too unbridled and down right thoughtless. One can be compelled to act without thinking it through.

Experience is a learner, but thinking first is always better as it can eliminate things one may regret publishing later. Going public is the last thing a writer should do.

writing day-by-day

Knowing when to say goodbye

When is the right time to say goodbye to a piece one has written? There was this story I was working on from about 2008. It was kind of an epic, intended as a novel, but might have been a series of short stories instead.

I wrote a few drafts, but it didn’t sound the way it should. So, I left it for a rainy day.

One day, I looked at it again with a pair of fresh eyes. Lifting the story to a better level wasn’t worth the effort. So, it is now safely filed away as a relic of a past writing experience, one that was worth it. Because it was experience in writing fiction.

But it is the right time to say goodbye to that piece. It wasn’t executed the way it should and to get it right would be a drag.

I just knew it was the right time to move on.

random words

Words are powerful

Sometimes, one’s internal reality doesn’t have the words. But there are words for it.

I went along with my internal reality on some topic but without the words to describe it. It was this and that, but none of it seemed to fit. Until I cottoned onto it. By describing it with the right word, I understood what was happening inside myself. I defined it.

The word I used was powerful because it was the right word to use to describe the reality going on inside me. It all clicked. It was all right.

So, words aren’t empty, carry-less vehicles of expression. The correct words described reality perfectly.

I like

I Know a Ghost (2018)

David Crowder’s I Know a Ghost (2018) is not about seeing, talking to and getting to know a ghost as we’ve come to know ghosts through old fashioned horror literature and movies. It’s not about creeps and spooks in the night who happen to be Casper.

But the ghost part refers to the Holy Ghost in Christian theology and experience. Jesus, who rose from the dead, and went back to heaven, has since revealed himself through the Holy Ghost or Holy Spirit.

I don’t like calling the Holy Spirit the Holy Ghost because of the ghost word which has those negative connotations of haunted houses and spooks and scares. Yet what Crowder would be getting at is Jesus revealed through the Holy Spirit.

The lyrics delve deep into the Christian spiritual. Sometimes, Crowder’s vocals are infectious in coming out with lines of visceral power.

“Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, He is here and I’m not scared.”

“Got you from east to west, Got you from scared to brave, Got you from broke to blessed, Come see the empty grave.”

“This is a Holy Ghost party song, Like when a prodigal come home, Like somethin’ been given that you couldn’t earn, Like being in Heaven when you shoulda burned.”

“I may be flesh and bone, but in my soul, I got the Holy Ghost.”

Maybe it doesn’t sound on paper as good as it does on the album. But as Crowder says on Night Like This, “We’re singing about life from the dead.” This folk imbued, country, Southern gospel album has got it where it counts. Life.

I like

Nothing’s Happening by the Sea (1983)

Chris Rea put out an album in 1983 called Water Sign. It’s a safe album in that it’s about life without manipulating us to feel something or believe something, but perhaps the track Let it Loose plays on the emotions in a vague sense.

There’s one song on the album that I can say I like personally. It’s the dreamy Nothing’s Happening by the Sea which opens the album.

It casts an image of being at the beach, chill and relaxed. The song lasts for four minutes then vanishes into the next song, which is more energetic. But it is four minutes of peaceful bliss.