Archives for posts with tag: writing emotions

Two words
float, fly, and flit around,
“authenticity” and “passion.”

It’s a shame. Because their meaning and their expression in reality
is intensely, truly, most surely needed,
to be alive in the highest sense.

To be true, honest, and open in how we interact, with all that is in us. Our best effort. The open heart. No pretenses, no agendas.

Only moving in the honesty of our minds and soul-nature —
melted together to, without manipulation or self-levied protection,
putting ourselves out there…regardless of our endogenous fables and flaws.

Doing. For all to see. For all to embrace.
For all to take shots at.

Being authentic and passionate, honest and kind,
invites criticism.

(And it will come.)

Those who are truly brave are those who know the potential criticism and,
regardless of the fear of exposure, step into the unknown
with the gift of themselves riding on hope
that, somehow and someday,
those who need your love-gift most will open their palms,
letting their fingers relax and fall, to grasp, envelop, and own it.

And if they don’t. Well. That’s okay.
Because you did your part.

Writer, write.
Photographer, photograph.
Musician, play.
Dancer, dance.
Sculptor, sculpt.
Thinker, think.

Entrepreneur, create.

(I dare you.)

* Thup

Hey, there.

Part 2 of my series of guest posts for James Prescott in the UK is up and running.  There’s been a lot of buzz about it, so I thought you might like to go here and check it out:

“Ten Life Messes with Potential to Improve your Life.”

(Let me know what you think.)

Raising my mug to you —
* Thup


Hey, friends. Check out my guest blog for James Prescott in the UK…

See you there.
* Thup

There are three kinds of out that shake up our lives.

Out of commission.
At some point in time, all of us are thrown out of commission. We’re absent: either slipped out or torn out of what used to be.

We face challenges, trials, and off-the-grid events that pluck us from “normal life” (whatever that was). And the new day-to-day that results, in this intermediary land of out of commission, is downright weird. Bizarre. Unsettling.

Some pull back. Some lash out. But no one stays the same.
(All have some kind of response.)

Outside the norm.
At some point in our lives, we get a jolt: Something that we thought was okay is not.

We face new challenges, new ideas, and in-the-face reactions that spin us into “fresh perspective” (whatever that is). And the new day-to-day glimpse at the nuances of this revealed life, in the land of outside the norm, is downright disassociating.

Some pull back. Some lash out. And some reject the jolt — and stay the same. They avoid change, purposefully or by default (ignoring).
(And, someday, the jolt will rise up again…most likely, worse.)

Out from under.
At some point in our lives, if we’re lucky or blessed or smart enough, we realize we’re free to choose how to respond. No one can make us (on the inside) think or believe anything. And no one can make us (on the outside) react in any way. No matter how an event presents itself in our lives, we alone create the meaning of the event. We frame an idea, and our perspective comes on the heels of our beliefs. Our actions, then, follow.

No doubt: We’ll face people, places, and events that challenge.  But (again, if we’re grown-up enough), try-as-they-might, those events (or people) won’t be able to push us down, hold us back, or mold us into something we’re not. And the new freedom, in this fresh understanding of how we are free to choose our response — no matter what happens — is downright grace-filled.

Knowing when to change and when to stand in your boots is the definition of wisdom.

Authors. Screenwriters. Storytellers of any kind.
These are the realizations that your Hero goes through, in story.

Your Hero will be thrust out of commission. He will be pushed outside the norm. He will be faced with ideas and actions and decisions that make him question his core. I hope. And, at some point he will emerge, out from under someone else’s indictments. I hope. Because “out” is part of the character’s arc.

(It’s in our arc that we grow.)

* Thup

Sometimes, no matter how hard you try,
you can’t hide it.
The everyday camouflage isn’t working.

Like this.
(“Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.”)
<<Pay no attention to the scone beneath the lid.>>

Who are we fooling?

In good story, your Hero’s shoving down the Capital-P Pain.
In good story, your Hero thinks he’s okay.
He thinks he has this handled.
(“No worries. It’s not that bad. I’m okay.”)

But we all know.
<<he’s not okay>>

If our Hero doesn’t take care of whatever it is,
it’s all going to come crashing down.
(As I always say, good for story, bad for real life.)

We all have things we hide,
under the big bad umbrella of Capital-P Pain.

People walk all around us, sit next to us, talk to us…
(maybe it’s even us)…
All trying to cover up Hidden Pain.

What Hidden Pain is your Hero trying to cover up?
(And what-cup-lid-circumstance is he trying to put on top,
but it isn’t big enough?)

Write that.
That’s your character motivation. That’s your character arc.
Maybe that’s even the root of your plot twist.
(Pay attention to the man behind the curtain.)

Oh. And, friend.
We all carry Capital-P Pain. Yours. Mine. Ours.
Pulling back the curtain and looking it in the eye
is a good thing.
(Don’t let it get you. You’re bigger than that.)

* Thup

This morning,
the blinds in the reflection in my cup aren’t really wavy.

Look carefully at the picture below.
(The reflection distorts reality.)
Too many times, we reflect distorted thinking to others.
The reflection looks real. But it’s not.

Let me explain.

Events happen. (good and bad.) We see, hear, and feel the event.
But then we interpret the event. We give the event meaning.

The meaning may be true.

Or, because it’s filtered through a reflection of our thoughts, the “picture” in our minds might be distorted. Not real. False.

Distorted thinking messes with us.
Distorted thinking makes something that’s straight look bent.

Your Hero has some distorted thinking, doesn’t he?

He goes through an event, interprets the event (“What meaning does this have to me?”) and comes back with an idea.

Make it a wrong idea.

The best story-grabbing-can’t-put-the-book-down happens when the reader KNOWS that the idea is wrong, but the Hero DOESN’T KNOW that the idea is wrong.

Our Hero heads out and on his merry way and, all the while, we readers start waving our hands and shout, “No! Don’t do it! Don’t go that way!”

The Hero’s distorted thinking disturbs us.
(And it should.) Because when you let readers in on the distortion, it HOOKS them in. (YEAH! Exactly.)

In real life.
Drop the distortions.

No one wants that kind of drama.
(Think Straight. Get to the truth.)

Don’t let distorted thinking get the best of you. Because, if you reflect the distortion into your relationships, it can destroy them.

(Good for story. Not good for real life.)

* Thup

“I’m allergic to a lot of things.”

As an academic writing instructor, I’d whip out the red pen and slash that sentence into pieces…like so (this part is for writers…other-artists and non-writers, hang with me for just a second)…

I’m (Who is “I”? Avoid personal pronouns. Write out contractions: I am)
allergic to (What do you mean by “allergic to”? What happens? The reader wants to know, so follow this up with an explanation.)
a lot (How much is “a lot”? Quantify.)
of things. (What are “things”? Specify.)

But this isn’t about academics.

And it’s not about food…
(although I’m allergic to way too many foods, and the hives on my arms this morning got me thinking about writing this post…).

Or about medicine…
(although I’m allergic to four meds that bring pretty severe consequences, as in cutting off my breathing…).

Or about pesticides…
(though I can’t eat non-organic food because, yes, I break out in hives, too, along with a bunch of other uncomfortable symptoms that feel as if someone punched me in the stomach…).

Now that you have horrid images and feelings, transfer that icky-ew to what I’m really allergic to. Because I feel the same about these.

1. “I can’t.”
Who says you can’t? Who says either of us can’t? Too many of us don’t believe in ourselves. I can’t is the easy way out, rooted in laziness, for avoiding hard work. With I can’t, you’re missing out.

Hard work is good. The process of hard work, the going-through-it journey, can be filled with more joy than the end result. I can’t is choosing not to. I’m allergic to that kind of I can’t, for I can’t is really more like I won’t. 

2. “I won’t.”
Stubborn, prideful, heels-dug-in attitudes. Me-first, center-of-the-universe realities that are inward-focused. “I” is the key word. “Won’t” is the selfishness.

Not only am I allergic to I won’t, but it also brings on bouts of sadness. Sadness for the person who insists on I won’t and, therefore, doesn’t get the good stuff in life. Their own choice, but it’s still heartbreaking. Not something I want to be involved with.

3. “Good enough.” 
I don’t buy good enough. Good enough is quitting before best comes in and blows all expectations away. Good enough is the slippery slope of performing less and less and less, until we’re shadows of who (and what) we can (and should) be.

The person with the good enough lifestyle fools him- or herself into believing that less of life is acceptable. It may be acceptable, but it’s not as full, joyful, or brilliant. I want more.

3. “Later,” as in “I’ll deal with it later.”
When is later? If we don’t define later, later never comes. Give later a time slot, make it happen, get the results, get more, live better, feel better, do better…all because later actually happened.

Those who don’t name a time for later never really wanted later in the first place. So later is a self-lie, soothing the moment and rooted, again, in laziness. Yes, I’m being harsh. Truth can be harsh. But what happens if we don’t look at truth? I don’t accept the alternative. (I want more.)

4. “That will never happen.”
You’re right. If you say (and believe) those words, it won’t.

What you believe comes to be. Or doesn’t. Keep on saying that, and you’re stuck. Most likely, you’ll even change your reality to become your belief, to say, “See! I told you so!” Yeah. You created it so.

Change your words (and mind), and a bazillion possibilities — all positive — open up before you. Again, your choice.

5. …. (silence)
Oh, I love silence when you’re with someone who really gets you, and words don’t have to be spoken, because we experience a special level of understanding. But I’m highly allergic to silence that’s used as a weapon.

Mean-spirited silence can be as iron-hard (and as painful) as a physical blow. Those who wield silence as a tool to hurt are, in my allergy-book prescription, to be avoided, for the discomfort that always ensues.

In fact, all of these allergens cause discomfort, reactions, and plain-ol’ unhappy living. So they’re best to be avoided. Look for life-food that brings you health, and set a banquet table with energy-giving sustenance.

So. Okay.
Let me redefine the beginning sentence.

“I’m” is me. This post is my opinion, and mine only.
“Allergic to” means that I react. My body, mind, and soul react. All of me.
“A lot” — Okay, it’s only five. But for this kind of list, five is plenty.
“Things” means attitudes, as well as the words resulting from the attitudes. Attitudes and actions sculpt your life and mine.

What lies underneath our words shapes our lives.
My hands are in the life-clay, even as we speak.
So, since you and I are in this together, I have to ask:

Are your hands in your life-clay?
(Are you aware of these phrases and how they affect you,
and are you doing something about it?)

Or do you accept these phrases (and beliefs) and let them cause havoc in your life?
(Yup. It’s a choice.)


Writers (and any artist, of any kind, in any place)…
It’s our job to keep ’em on the edge.

On the edge means that the tension holds its little fingers outstretched, not quite touching but wanting to touch, its eyes widening and heart beating with the angst, waiting, waiting for the moment to connect and feel that everything’s okay.

Musicians, it’s the suspended 4th or 7th that doesn’t resolve.

Painters, photographers, it’s the image in the mist that one can’t quite make out, making the viewer squint his eyes and imagine, or the line of intricacy pulling the viewer in to the canvas to peer more closely.

Manga artists, illustrators, it’s the image the partial picture obscured from view, half on and half off, running away from the page,  pulling across the storyboard, eeking across squares and rectangles, seeping toward the turned page.

Screenwriters, it’s the image with a twist, the dialogue with a bite, the words left dripping with meaning before the cut to.

Writers, it’s the bits of story that keep adding up, still confusing yet beginning to make sense, making the mind search for the why of the scene that rolls and rises and crests into the climax, where the hero gets the external goal and experiences the internal change.

On the edge.
Waiting for the resolution.
It’s a nerve-wracking place to be.
(For the writer, because we have to meet expectations.
For the reader, because it’s downright emotional.)

We actually want this?
Another Yeah. Go figure. It’s curious to me that, in art, readers want nerve-wracking, enticing experiences. As long as the tension is rising, the reader/viewer is with us. We want to push the limits of adrenaline and angst. Readers want to be pulled along, with a thread of constant tension that doesn’t go away but builds into a CRASH. But there’s a good reason. It’s so that when resolve washes over us, it’s more satisfying. Relief.

On the edge works because it’s a universal experience. I contend that it’s a spiritual experience, the God desire for resolution in the deepest parts of who we are. We all wait for the resolution, the clarity, the ability to sit in peace and enjoy, within the senses and within the heart.

BUT (and that’s a BIG BUT)…
In life, the experience of on the edge doesn’t work well, especially if the limits are pushed and pushed and the edge is ignored over and over. If the coffee cup gets too close to the edge, it will not only spill but in the fall the ceramic shatters…perhaps into pieces that can’t be put back together.

Bottom line
In crafting on the edge in art, if we push the edge too far,
we lose the audience.
In life, if we (or someone else) pushes to the edge too far,
we lose much more.

(All the more reason to cherish and live life with care.)

* Thup

I’ve been asked.
“Where do characters come from?”
(You really want to know?)

They might be from you.

Because all writers
takes bits and pieces
of the people around them

and use those bits and pieces
to create, form, and craft
an individual on the page.

Circumstances that swirl around us
become the breath of circumstances
in the characters’ lives.
(if even just a little)

A moment of tenderness
seen, felt, tasted, touched
(or wishing to
see, feel, taste, touch)
becomes a sliver of the beautiful
on the page.

Shifted liquid from icicles of pain here
become icicles of pain in the story.

An argument here becomes
the seed of an argument on the page.
(even if just in flavor, feeling, or tone)

People we admire become the story’s Mentors
imparting knowledge and beauty
in which to revel,
on our backs and face up at the stars.

The friend we have
(or wish we had)
becomes the Ally
of secrets shared and got-your-backs.

The bringer of bad news
(and the change we never imagined)
becomes the Herald
screaming into our lives
words and worlds we never wanted.

Real Life.
Pulled, twisted, and braided
into the pages.

Don’t let anyone fool you.
— we’re all on the pages —

Writers draw from the breath of life.
Good. And Bad.

So the old saying,
be careful around an author,
or you may end up on the page,
is true,
if even in just a tickle of the word.

The pieces of humanity
touching us deeply
become pieces of pressed paper,
the page.

For instance.
My mother is failing.
ever so slowly.
different today than yesterday.
And as whispers life change and float away,
a character forms in my mind.
A character to grace the pages of my book
and somehow make immortal
what I hold dear.

Writing takes the threads of life, so many,
and with colors and weights of variance
fills in
opposites, poles, north and south.
The outstretched arms vs. The brushes with shadow.
all. part. of. story.

For what we really want — is it not true? —
is that, when we read a story,
we immerse, feel, experience the characters
in a way that we know them.
Truly know them.

And somehow.
Through knowing.
We are able
to deal more gracefully
with the life around us.

* Thup

many are alone
in the holidays.

a death.
a divorce.
a move.


many are alone
in the holidays.

torn relationships.

Pain comes in vanilla and chocolate.
external. internal.
both hard to taste,
even harder
when that’s all that’s on the table
to eat.

remember this,
in writing your story.
(It will change the way you write.)

remember this,
in living life.
(It will change the way you live.)

* Thup

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