Friday, June 17, 2011

Feed-the-Writer's-Soul Friday-Neverisms

Awhile back, on Facebook, I saw something on my home page that made me do a double take, stop and click on it. It was a post from Amazon Kindle.

The title of the page said “10 Things You Should Never Do”. Well, I ask, who can pass that up? Turns out they were promoting a book called Neverisms: A Quotation Lovers Guide to Things You Should Never Do, Never Say or Never Forget. As writers we tend to like the spoken word, especially if someone took the time to write them down.

This list turned out to be quotes that begin with the word ‘never’. Some were funny and some were beautiful and profound. I would never have guessed that Tyra Banks had anything profound to say, but I do like what she said. I like several of them actually. I think I’m going to write a couple of them and post them on my wall because they are relevant to writing. At least to my writing, and hopefully to yours at well. But the best thing about the few minutes I took to look at this entry is that I have another book I really REALLY want to read now. 

Below is what the post says are the top 10 things not to do.
(Taken from their site:

10 Things You Should Never Do:

Some are ancient, but with modern relevance.
1) "Never dare to judge until you have heard the other side." --Euripides, 5th century  B.C.
2) "Never promise more than you can perform." --Publilius Syrus, 1st century B.C.

Some come from modern, and even slightly unexpected, voices:
3) "Never dull your shine for somebody else." --Tyra Banks
4) "Never let go of the fiery sadness called desire." --Patti Smith

Even legendary sports stars have gotten into the act:
5) "Never underestimate the power of dreams and the influence of the human spirit."--Wilma Rudolph
6) "Never let the fear of striking out get in your way." --"Babe" Ruth

Some have an impressive metaphorical quality:
7) "Never cut what you can untie."--Joseph Joubert
8) "Never offer your heart to someone who eats hearts." --Alice Walker

And some are beautiful examples of paradoxical phrasing:
9) "Never let your sense of morals keep you from doing what is right." --Isaac Asimov
10) "Do you wish men to speak well of you? Then never speak well of yourself."--Blaise Pascal

The conclusion? Never underestimate the power of a neverism to improve your life. How about you? Do you have a neverism you want to share?

Friday, June 10, 2011

Feed-the-Writer's-Soul Friday-Expectations

The other night my husband, daughter and I went walking with our dog Moose. He’s a puppy, about 8 months old, who is big (probably about 70 pounds), smart, and very stubborn. My daughter walked out of the house with the leash but as we got to the road, she handed the reigns over to my husband.

“Here Dad. You walk him. He listens to you better than he listens to me.”
            “That’s because dad expects him to listen,” I answered without thinking about it.

But as we walked some more, I thought about my answer. I think the same goes for parenting overall. If we discipline our kids or give them rules to follow but don’t expect them to follow through, why do we ask them to do it? We know that they won’t, and our expectation will have been met. Often the kids know when we are backing up our request and when we are giving lip service. (Darn kids!)
Then I got to thinking about my writing. If I write with the expectation that no one will like it, then the probability of that being the truth is pretty high. Why is that? I think we are often products of our expectations.

            Think about this for a moment. I think it’s a cousin to the self-fulfilling prophecy idea. According to Wikipedia “a self-fulfilling prophecy is a prediction that directly or indirectly causes itself to become true, by the very terms of the prophecy itself, due to positive feedback between belief and behavior.” It goes on to give this example, which I think will clear up that hazy definition. “When Roxanna falsely believes her marriage will fail, her fears of such failure actually cause the marriage to fail.”

Wow. The power of the mind and spirit is astounding. Our thoughts influence our actions such that just thinking something negative can make it happen. So, the lesson here? Be conscious of what you are telling yourself as a writer and be kind. Give yourself permission to make mistakes, try something new, and take a chance. When those negative thoughts creep in, throw them out the window. Why? Because it matters.