Writing Is Hard, Sometimes

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Writing is hard. This sentiment repeats itself over writing posts everywhere.

Why is it so? I reflected on this notion and came to realize that it’s not a correct universal statement.

It should read: “Writing is hard, sometimes.”

There are times when you the writer knows what’s in your head, you understand the scene that you want to share, and the words just flow. That’s a great experience, and any writer feels a sense of catharsis, a physical release, and satisfaction. Even though we know, we’ll probably have to rewrite it and spruce it up a bit later; these moments can keep us motivated.

The writing becomes difficult when we face a scene that we need to write, and we don’t want to relive that experience for personal reasons. I ran into this the other day, so let me share my experience.

I have a scene in my new WIP, In The Woods, where my protagonist, Samantha, meets up with an old friend, Zach. Big deal, right. Well, it was tedious to write because the character’s mindset is so far from my own.

You see, I’ve been happily married for over thirty years. To write with the correct mindset of Samantha, I had to remember what it feels like to confront a person whom I’ve admired in the past, held a torch for, and was crushed by the breakup. Not only that, but Samantha was hurt to the point where her character had no other love interests since.

samanthaThe protagonist’s entire sense of trust had been depleted when the man she was infatuated with had left her hometown. Now he walks into her life again, and feelings are stirred. Add the conflict of Samantha having to work side by side with this guy.

Yes, most of us have experienced unrequited love, but do you remember how it felt? Can you spill the right tension onto the page?

Thank goodness I have a dependable memory and also have counseled many broken hearts over the years. I pulled in those real life stories and used them. I found it uncomfortable to go back there, into the thoughts of the past, things better left behind.

But the scene called for the emotional state of a young teenager, hurt and disillusioned, now a grown woman trying to come to terms with herself. I had to go there.

Situations like this scene are when the writing is hard work. We search our feelings even those out of our comfort zones and are willing to relive healed wounds and tap into the emotional drive needed to reach the momentum the scene demands.

Here are three things that may help any writer:

  • First, answer questions about your character’s motives as an objective onlooker.
  • Then let the character speak in their own voice, not your past, but their past.
  • Last, tap your own emotions to create a mood, but do not rewrite your own story.

I wonder, does anyone else want to share a scene they had a hard time writing? Please share and post your comment.

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kai Stachowiak

 

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The Things We Say: through a glass darkly

It’s funny how we repeat phrases often without thinking of where they came from or the context of the meaning. I noticed one such phrase recently

through a glass darkly“.

I had suggested to a reading group at BookLikes.com that we should read a book series called:

withintheglassdarklyWITHIN THE GLASS DARKLY by William Gareth Evans published in 2010.

It’s a Gothic tale based on characters introduced in 1872 by the author Joseph. T. Sheridan Le Fanu in his novella Carmilla which was included in his short story volume named In A Glass Darkly.

indexWhile searching for the original short story volume, so that I could read the story that inspired William and other authors, (even Bram Stoker’s Dracula was inspired by the story Carmilla),

I came across another novel Through A Glass Darkly by Karleen Koen an historical fiction published in 2003.

In A Glass Darkly is also a short story written by Agatha Christieregatta_mystery – first published in 1939 by our favorite sleuth author

and now available in a collection, The Regatta Mystery and other stories .

I was curious of what else would turn up referencing glass darkly . . .

A few more strokes of the keys and I discovered poetry regarding this phrase as well. THROUGH A GLASS, DARKLY is a poem by Gen. George S. Patton, Jr. which you can read by clicking the link.

throughglassdarklyfilmThere was also a well received movie Through A Glass Darkly made in 1961

Directed by Ingmar Bergman, famous for his close up shots without movement of any  kind to magnify the intensity the character’s emotions, as well as the famous double face shot of two characters looking in opposite directions and never meeting each others POV unable to communicate or understand each other.

This is all heavy stuff and with so many people inspired through the ages, and in various art forms,  I decided to get to the crux of the matter.

Glass darkly is a term coined for a mirror.

mirrorMirrors have been around in one form or another for ages. Long ago people used a metal base like bronze to see their reflection and had to polish the metal vigilantly. Later forms were layered with glass tiles on top, but still the image was dark, thus glass darkly. Learn more about the history of mirrors here: The History of Mirror: Through A Glass, Darkly

The term was even referenced in the Bible, yes that long ago . . .

For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.  And now stays faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.

(1 Corinthians 13: 12-13)

Who knew!

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More Info:

Indie Wire The Essentials: The 15 Greatest Ingmar Bergman Films

through-a-glass-darkly“Through A Glass Darkly” (1961)

A slow and painful disintegration of a family vacationing at a summer home on the island of Fårö trying to cope with the deteriorating mental state of the family’s eldest daughter Karin who has suffered a nervous breakdown.

 

Within My World – Dracula, the musical

The musical is by Gareth Evans and Christopher J. Orton, with orchestrations by the noted British composer and producer, Ian Lynn.

Spring Weather On St Patrick’s Day

Feels like spring today.

Here in the Mid-south we’ve had early record-rains and tornado warnings, which paved a welcome path for the beautiful weather of yesterday and today. Take a look at this wonderful peek at spring. I drove to town and passed beautiful farm and country roads.

Instead of taking photos of the flood-plane damage, this time I snapped glimpses into spring. Green grass awakening, buds on the trees edging their way out, and the early pear trees have blossoms. I’d like to share a few photos with you today on St. Patrick’s Day, appropriate since they are filled with budding greenery.

Enjoy the nice weather while it lasts.

pondhorse Farmtreeinfield GatedBlossomsBird  oldshed OldtreeOnHill

old barnTree

Happy St Patrick’s day

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Self-reflection Before the Holidays

Now that the Thanksgiving holiday is over, Black Friday and Cyber Monday are done deals, maybe we can concentrate on the holiday ahead. Not the shopping, baking and gift buying. . .

Instead, I’d like to suggest that we take time to do a bit of self-reflection. Think about your life in whole and the finger print you are leaving on this planet.

Think of how you interact with others, and also how you view yourself. Most important, are you leaving a trail of wastefulness or planting a field of good measure.

In no way are we ever going to become saints, and perfection is not the issue. It’s our intentions – the motivation from the heart. It’s easy to become self-absorbed in an unhealthy way, especially during the holidays. Buying new gadgets to keep up, without thinking or caring about the electronic dump sites we help create, is one way we become wasteful. Think before buying a new phone.

Maybe with reflection we can change our intentions, and work toward loftier goals.

So instead of checking your list of material gifts to give or receive, think in terms of good wishes you have for others. You could give your time instead of material presents. Many lonely people would cherish your time spent with them, like the forgotten elderly or the hospitalized veterans.

Your fingerprint on other people’s lives is precious.

Spending your energy on others will not only cheer them, but will most likely make your day as well.

Happy holidays – I wish you life’s best.

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These pictures were from the Mind Unleashed site. For inspiration – Visit the TheMindUnleashed.org a conscious news dissemination organization that seeks to inspire… and follow the posts on the Facebook page

Control how you see life

People Seek Answers – Halloween, All Saints’ Day, Samhain & Fortune-telling

Countdown week . . . almost Halloween

It has become the national holiday where children go house to house to get free candy. But that’s not how it began . . . Trick or Treat was referred to Beggars Night years ago,  when children begged for food.

Walt Disney created the Skeleton Dance in 1929 and exploited the idea using classical music to his bony dancer characters.

 

Trick or Treat cartoons were brought into the forefront in the early 50’s and made going house to house an annual custom.

Mainstream cartoons became part of the culture and were distributed throughout North America and the UK, solidifying the customs and beginning the trend of costumes. Some still homemade costumes but others, now store bought. Trick or Treat became a lucrative business, and the real origins of Halloween were forgotten.

Trick or Treat may now be mainstream however the true roots of the man-made holiday originated from the old rituals practiced by religious groups who regard All Hallows’ Eve as a special religious day, also referred to as All Saints’ Eve.

All Saints’ Day is dedicated to the remembrance of the dead: saints, martyrs, and all the faithful departed believers.

Scholars point out that the Christian All Saints’ day took it’s beginnings from a pagan holiday of Celtic origins, called Samhain, a harvest festival. Since the late 1900’s, Celtic neopagans (followers who try to keep to the old pagan customs)  and Wiccans (Wicca was defined in the 1940’s but refers to those who worship the moon goddess and the horn god)  have observed Samhain, or something based on it, as a religious holiday.

The festival marked the beginning of the dark half of the year. During Samhain,the practitioners believed that the spirits and fairies (some call them Aos Sí), needed offerings to survive the winter. They left out food and drink for them. The people also believed that the souls of the dead visited their homes looking for the same hospitality.

The Samhain holiday is considered a time of year when the boundary or veil between this world and the other-world can be easily crossed. This means the spirits or fairies can more easily come into our world. To celebrate their appearance on the earthly side, and to ensure prosperity for the coming year, propitiation rituals were often performed appeasing the gods for atonement. Many have used imaginative design to envision the secret rituals performed in a macabre nature.

Often, Divination is used – that’s insight by way of the supernatural, taking account random events, and merging the disorganized into one insightful prediction. Fortune-telling practiced told people about their future. People seek answers.

The Chinese have been practicing Kau Cim.

This method of fortune telling has been used for thousands of years, and is still practiced today. People seek out guidance before making major decisions. Although not a religion, they look for good luck.

Who knows what will evolve next? The most important take away is that people at their core have a tenancy to seek supernatural answers.

We believe there is something out there greater than ourselves and we want to communicate with the entity – to seek out our future, wanting to direct our destiny. Some call upon the word of God. Others call out to the goddess, others believe in the nature of science.

“We seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go . . . ” no wait that’s something else  🙂  We seek answers to life’s questions.

Halloween is a time of year when we look to the supernatural. We watch scary movies and read haunted tales, to try to find a reason. But is the other side of the veil, paranormal activity, and other supernatural events part of science?

We seek answers . . . are they out there?