No longer in my hands

At the start of the week, I submitted two pieces, read: one article and one devotion, for consideration for publication. It felt good that the job was done and that the submission process had begun, that it was no longer in my hands as it was. Looking forward to what happens.


A writer’s state of mind on a grey day

Bad days are gone, grey days instead. In the grey days there’s a sliver of hope.

The day may be grey. A rejection letter that sounded like a gentle let down. A letter from the editor that while the piece hasn’t been accepted, it’s on the short list. Tiny bits of encouragement woven in.

With that little bit of encouragement, one is encouraged to do more. There may be encouragement in a letter from the editor. The letter may be a rejection, but although this sounds funny, there’s the bit in the letter that says try again, send another one, and see how it goes.

The letter may say your piece is on the short list and the bit of encouragement is to feel free to submit something else in the meantime. That could be two pieces that get published or more.

So, with this encouragement one starts to conceive fanciful ideas. What will my next piece be about? How should I write it? Better be careful in writing it properly. It gives one a bit of hope that the next time the editor sends you an email, it may be good news. It gives you the steam to write something else.

What one can deliver

Little things I pick up along the way…as I was reading a book, I stumbled onto a nugget of wisdom. The book appraised films for this or that reason and a reason a critic gave was personally illuminating. The critic said a certain director wasn’t prepared to go the places a subject or premise would naturally go. It clicked. If I am to write stories, write stories I am prepared to deliver on. Go to the places the subject demands. If I can’t go there, don’t write it.

Give a book a chance

As I was talking to someone about a Star Wars book I had ordered, which, by the way is a ” special” Star Wars book, the momentum of the conversation made me think about the Star Wars: Aftermath books I haven’t finished reading. So, I felt like reading them.

I was inspired, as per usual, but my rationale for wanting to was that I don’t like to waste and I like to finish the job, in this case not a real job, but finish the job metaphorically speaking. I had to finish the book. This despite the book losing its luster for me about a month or so ago. The lesson: when one has hit the wall with a book, give it some time, and then the wall may come crumbling down, somehow.

A moment of clarity

There’s nothing like the feeling of relief when you know you’re done and dusted on something that had been following you around like an obsessive fan. But then you’re done with it–one can put that side of writing aside–and focus on what goes better. You juts know beyond a shadow of a doubt that that side of writing is not the way to go. So, out it goes, and in goes what’s going to work better. In fact, it’s so major that it’s sheer peace to know it’s over.

Pretty obvious stuff really

I love researching for the sake of it, to dwell on and absorb knowledge, but whenever a writer wants to apply research, one should know what it’s useful for before starting. Is it for a book? Is it to learn something to pass onto your readers? Pretty obvious stuff really. The trick is knowing why?

Maybe research for fun, full stop, no more than that. Become not a know-it-all, but useful in some regard that you never thought about before. Research for fun may come in handy somehow.

Finding true inspiration

Less an old-fashioned, lavish musical, Xanadu (1980) is whimsical, decent.

Whimsical in that a muse comes into the life of a frustrated artist.

The artist struggles in the world of commercial cover art, paying the bills in producing music store posters, which is against his sense of genuine artistic expression.

Then along comes an Angelic muse, dressed in silky white, on roller skates. Cruising along the beachfront, she gently kisses him. As he finds out more about her, she inspires him to pursue an inspired life and ditch the day job.

Then the artist/dreamer encourages a retired night club entrepreneur to set their sights on enlivening an abandoned building and dream of ways to make it into a nightclub.

The young artist thinks it needs rock and roll, and the older man thinks it needs jazzy numbers from the 1940s, but as they dream aloud, their fantasies merge and feature The Tubes, modern dance moves and classical style.

This musical apparently was lambasted by the critics. But Gene Kelly, Olivia Newton John and Michael Beck provide appealing performances. Kelly is charming, Newton John is stunning, Beck plays the loveable searcher. He falls in love with the muse who is keeping the relationship appropriately platonic.

Olivia Newton John plays the Greek muse. Her songs feature on the soundtrack and she gives solo performances as well.

An animated sequence involves Newton John and Beck—which attempts to milk the mystical aspect of the story for all its worth.

The muse arises from Greek mythology. One can see a broader perspective without taking Greek mythology literally: the theme of having inspiration fall into your lap.

It’s almost supernatural. Inspiration can happen at uncanny times and when one needs it.

Some critics might have said that Xanadu is a phony. But between the lines of dancing, song, and clean-cut love, comes a tale of finding true inspiration.

Xanadu (1980) ***½ Starring: Olivia Newton John, Gene Kelly, Michael Back. Writers: Richard Christian Danus, Marc Reid Rubel. Songs: Olivia Newton John (written by John Farrar) and Electric Light Orchestra (written by Jeff Lynne). Director: Robert Greenwald.

Practical reasons for behavior makes better sense than ‘faith in self’

“Faith in yourself” is believed to help someone move from one state in life to another. It’s believed to help someone make progress.

Yet one is already moving along in life. One doesn’t need to have faith in self. One just goes and does.

What about in other circumstances? It’s the same. If someone is searching for something in life, that search already has inner momentum. One is already impelled because one is needy and dry.

But in everyday terms, life just keeps on going.

If someone is severely limited or debilitated it may take extra effort, however. Does believing in yourself work then? I think if someone needs to, they will move out of their predicament. It’s more inspiration and the need to rather than empowerment to. The need will drive one out.

What if someone is getting on with their life but there are obstacles or road blocks in one’s way? Wouldn’t faith in self empower over and above the obstacles?

One just doesn’t know how much they are already moving along. Obstacles just become part of the everyday hazards that have to be dealt with. Faith in self has nothing to do with it.

What about moving into a career or new vocation? Wouldn’t one need faith then, to believe one can achieve it, to get through the hard yards of achieving it?

Again, one will fight for what they want, but quite a few of the things we do have practical origins and faith in self does not figure consciously.

Saying to have faith in self is so overused.

Essential reading

I wouldn’t call myself an avid devotional reader. Apart from the Bible, the devotional literature I have read is minimal. So minimal in fact, that the devotional book I’m currently finishing is the only devotional book (apart from the Bible) I’m about to finish in its entirety.

It’s so good I couldn’t put it down. The Imitation of Christ by Thomas A. Kempis is essential reading for any Christian or anybody.

It’s humbling, challenging, inspiring, and glorifies God, and can put ego in perspective.

This God-focussed book may boil it down to Christ divine, his grace and love for fallen humanity is available for those who want to seriously follow him.

Of course, that summary may simplify this special, spiritual book, which will take one by the heart and spirit as much as the mind.

It’s also beautifully written as if God was orchestrating his music through it.