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On being "original"...


I found an old book of mine that I used for a Creative Writing class in college. It's called the *Creative Writer's Handbook by Phillip Jason and Allen Lefcowitz. In chapter five, titled, Invention and Research, they talk about originality in writing. I think this is something many writers struggle with. Indeed, I do.

They had this to say:

"Originally, the word original meant the source, the starting point, the cause of a series of effects... In this sense, the term only describes; it does not evaluate. In time, it came to mean the primary instance of something after which only copies or imitations were possible.Because we tend to value a copy less than its original, we can be led to an irritable striving after originality in everything- as if the only valuable creation is one in which the creator has done everything in a totally new way."

When I read the above passage, I thought, Of course! Even the Bible says that there is nothing new under the sun. We say that history repeats itself. The fashion world says that every style eventually comes full-circle. Nothing really is original... is it?

The book goes on to say that:

"Insisiting that imitation is always bad and that originality, meaning uniqueness, is always good can be a trap for the beginning writer.

Don't fall into it.

In the first sense of the word, you can help but be original -you are originating- causing something to come into being that wouldnt occur without your effort. To accept the modern all-or-nothing sense of the word dooms you to failure because you have set an impossible goal: to invent materials and shapes that have no precedents."

I was temporarily floored by this revelation. So many people don't write because they are afraid of being "un-original," and so many people that do write, think that their writing is flawed because they may have been influenced by one writer or another, and therefore are simply just "imitators".

We are original, people! Every single one of us! Everything we do is original because we are doing it in our own way!!!

I am personally encouraged by this and I hope that, if any of my friends, or even friends-to-be, stumble upon this entry, that they will be encouraged too.

 



* Jason, Phillip, and Lefcowitz, Allen. Creative Writer's Handbook. New Jersey: Pearson Prentice Hall, 2005

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Missing you...

I was watching this video  yesterday - an interview done with my mom and dad when Mark, my brother, won a local singing competition - and I realized something that made me really sad: This is one of the very few video clips I have where I can hear their voices. In fact, right now, this is the only way I can hear their voices. I'm not like other "kids" - my parents are deaf. I can't just call them up and say "Hey Mom, how was your weekend?" or "Hey Dad, how was your Alaska Bike Run?" I guess, technically, I could call my Dad now that he has his cochlear implant, but he is so incredibly busy and it's hard to get him on the phone. My Mom did just get a CapTel phone, where she can speak into the phone and the dialogue from the other side of the line is typed out for her to read, but she doesn't have it set up yet...

I just really miss hearing their voices. I really miss them, period.

Having realized that being able to hear their voices and see them, even though I'm nine hundred miles away, it motivates me to start recording more of our family events. My dad always had a camcorder when I was growing up. So much so, in fact, that my first eight or nine years of life are on film  =)  However, over the past decade, we haven't really taken the time to document our time together. It's important to me that we do, because our time together as a whole family is rare... When my parents are gone, I want to be able to pop in a DVD and see them and hear them... It won't make up for anything, but it will make things just a tiny bit easier to bear.

I feel the same about my brothers. Sometimes I will save their voicemails so I can go back to them and hear their voices... It's hard being away from my family sometimes, but... it's good, too. Sometimes you have to be away from everyone and everything you ever knew to truly do something with your life.

I'm proud of everything I've done on my own, but... I sure can't wait to see everyone again!


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T-minus 29 days and counting...

... till NaNoWriMo '09! I failed miserably last year, completely due to lack of follow-through. I am determined to complete not only the goal of 50,000 words, but also the goal of completing a novel, and I am focused on the "prize" of getting a copy of my NaNoNovel in print from CreateSpace.

The NaNo boards officially opened yesterday, on my birthday. Everything is new and shiny and makes me even more excited for November 1st to roll around. There's a huge NaNo "community" here in Texas, so I am looking forward to all of the Write-In's and meet-up's. Hopefully I'll make some new writing buddies/friends!

I am writing a historical fiction novel titled Notes in F#. It was originally titled Song of War, but I decided that title was too... I dunno, boring. I once posted a synopsis of it on a writing message board and was told that the (original) plot was too overdone:

"Frank, a talented, young Jewish cellist, is taken prisoner by the Nazi’s to an extermination camp in the middle years of World War II. His musical talents are discovered while he is imprisoned and he is given special privileges in return for entertaining the German troops. Wanting to use his privileges to his advantage and somehow help his fellow prisoners, many who are waiting to die in the gas chambers, he begins secreting their letters away in his cello. The risks he takes are dangerous, and if he is found out, he will be executed. However, he is determined to survive, not only for his sake, but also for the sake of everyone who entrusted him with their last message to the world."

It was suggested that I revise the plot, so I came up with this:

"In 1947, Frank, a young, American cellist, discovers a stash of letters in the false back to a cello he bought from a second-hand shop. As he reads the letters, he realizes that they are from former prisoners of the Auschwitz concentration camp. He doesn’t know how they came to be in the back of the cello, or how the cello came to be in New York City, or who they’re from, but he does have something to go off of – the recipients of the letters. And so, he begins a quest to deliver the letters to their intended destination, and in turn, begins to piece together stories of war… and of love."

And that - my friends - is all I have to "go off of" for my NaNoNovel this year. I haven't done much research as of yet, but you'd better believe that the library and internet sources are going to be my best friends over the next two months!

I do have some notes that I've saved from various internet sources on what life in Auschwitz was like, as well as what life was like after the camps were liberated. What I really need to read about and research is what life was like here in the States while the War was going on. Nick has work all this weekend, so I'll probably spend my time at Barnes & Noble and the library, taking notes. Fun, fun!  =)

I'd better get used to staying up late to write before November 1st comes around, because I have a feeling that the wee small hours of the morning will be when I do most, if not all, of my writing. Sooo - I'm starting tonight!


 

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A Woman's Worth...

"You don't need a man by your side to validate you as a woman.  You already are loved and valued.  You're good enough exactly as you are.  Do you believe this?  Because it's true.  You have limitless worth and value.  If you embrace this truth, it will affect every area of life, especially your relationship with men.

You are worth dying for.

Your worth does not come from your body, your mind, your work, what you produce, what you put out, how much money you make.  Your worth does not come from whether or not you have a man.  Your worth does not come from whether or not men notice you.  You have inestimable worth that comes from your creator.

You will continue to be tempted in a thousand different ways not to believe this.  The temptation will be to go searching for your worth and validity from places other than your creator.

Especially from men.

But you don't have to give yourself away to earn a man's love.  You're better than that.  You're already loved...

Your strength is a beautiful thing.  And when you live in it, when you carry yourself with the honor and dignity that are yours, it forces the men around you to relate to you on more than just a flesh level. 

You are worth dying for."

- "Sex God" - Rob Bell

A successful life...








"Success is liking yourself, liking what you do, and liking how you do it."   -Maya Angelou



The past six months have taught me more than I thought I could learn in such a shot period of time...

I have learned that if love is true, it can withstand any test that comes its way.

I have learned that when faced with a battle you can choose to fight or give up, and that fighting is always the better choice.

I have learned that life is truly too short to waste time worrying.

I have learned that nothing great comes without sacrifice and hard work.

I have learned that two strong pillars make a solid foundation.

I have learned that God really does listen and that He cares.

I have learned that music and the ocean truly do heal people.

I have learned that life is not about praying for the storm to pass, but rather learning to dance in the rain.

I have learned that you can learn something from everyone you come in contact with.

I have learned that... I have learned.





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I'm in Texas, still... for good... with Nick.

And absolutely, totally, completely, irrevocably in love!

I've started not one, not two, but THREE businesses with Nick's help, and I've been helping him a little with his, though I don't do much other than take notes, hand him stuff, and smile a great smile  =)

We have a beautiful apartment in downtown Houston, and we've done a lot of fun stuff together over the past month. I LOVE exploring with Nick!

I have an unshakeable trust in myself, and in Nick, and I know we are doing and are going to do amazing things in Texas, and in our lives.

... Just a small, random, cluttered update  =)

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A touch of clean...

I officially have my first clients!

I will be meeting with them Friday morning and will service their house for the first time that same day.

Needless to say, I am VERY excited  =)

The way this business fell into my lap, I have no doubts that I can see it through and make it successful.

I am driven, enthusiastic, positive, and focused.

That's the way it's going to stay. 

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The measure of a man...

I was doing some searching on the internet for inspirational quotes, poems, and essays and I came across this interesting essay on the measure of a man:




The measure of a man…

 

I used to think it was money, because growing up we didn't have any and it sure seemed like it would help. For the most part, I was right. Money can get you just about everything you could ever need. But does it make you a man? Does it make you a better person? No.

For the longest time I thought women could make me a man. It doesn't prove anything. Money and/or bullshit is all that's needed to get women.

I thought about it for a long time, and I searched ever since I was a kid. I always wanted to be a great man, a remembered man, a man worthy of being called A MAN. It only took me about 40 years to figure it out.

It's love.

Not the English use of the word. I love the color pink! I love pancakes! I love that puppy! I love you! In the English language we've pissed on and perverted the meaning into every day conversation. 'I love you' is tossed around during sex or a massage, and two people exchange that word who don't really mean it because it seems like the right word to say.

I'm talking about the Greek meaning of the word love, mainly Agape.

 

There are other types of love:

Eros: Erotic, lust, fornicating, hot in the pants, etc.

Philia: Buddy, piazan, my friend, bro, ma nigga, etc.

Thelema: Desire, want, non-sexual (Like, “I thelema a great job with full dental benefits!)

 

No, those are not what I had been looking for. I had been looking for Agape:

Agape: Love with affection, regardless of attraction. A love where you'd die for that person if you had to. A love that can't be purchased or rented, a love that… and this is corny, but... a love that conquers and ends all.

One friend who grew up in Marshmallow Land where the streets are made of candy and life is perfect said, "Your parents love you like that." No, see, I grew up in Shitsville, where regardless what things looked like, they were made of shit. In my world, the real world, parents can easily abandon a child and not have any feelings for it at all. A child can be called “No shit!” (“This is your son!” - "No shit!") or “Oops!”

You don't just have agape love in your life; you have to earn it. I have that kind of love for my children and a few close friends…

 

I just now figured out I have that kind of love for my wife.

I realized that life isn't about me; it's about the people I love - my wife, my kids, a select few people. Then, I realized that I can't just shut out people just because I have other things going on in my life. What if I shut out my wife, or the few friends that I actually care about?

Who would I have then?  What would I really have then?

It's time to put away my armor and shield and just try like hell to be a half way decent person. I say, you can't please everybody, don't even try, and don't even give a hardy 'fuck you' to people that piss you off.

Money can be lost in a day. Life can be ended instantly. Drugs and alcohol wear off quickly. Once you have real love, it's not that easy to get rid of. If you can end a relationship in a day and move on, it's not love. If you can forget or get over a person in a week, that's not love. If you really love a person, I mean REALLY LOVE a person, then you have to work hard to get rid of it. Some might say if the love is really true then it's impossible to end… So, in that case, don’t give up on true love if you’ve found it.

If you want something to fight for, fight for love.

I've read the book of Ecclesiastes about a dozen times because I really enjoy it. I just now understood it for the first time and I wasn't even reading it.

The true measure of a person? Just like the height, depth and width:

How much love you've given.
How much love you've received.
How much love you've earned.

I am loved (agape) by more then a few (yes, including Jesus Christ). Do I really need anything else?

Besides ice cream and Diet Coke?

Oh, and cable, GPS, Slingbox, my computer, and my dog…

My Mercedes, this ping pong paddle, a thermos, a remote control, this chair, the googly eyed pencil...


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The same could be said for the measure of a woman.

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I love you.


You just told me that you loved me before you hung up the phone - and then you realized what you said.

You hesitated afterwards, as if you wanted to take it back, or say something more... Did you hesitate because you just told me a few days ago that hearing "I love you" and "I miss you" makes it harder on you? Do you still mean it?

 I do.

 And missing you hurts more than anything I've ever experienced, but hearing and knowing that you love me makes things a little easier to bear.

 All I know is, you're the only one in the world who makes me feel less alone.

 I love you, too, Nick.

 And I always will.

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Happy birthday...




Happy 93rd birthday, Mr. Sinatra.

I hope you're living it up  =)

Tell my Nana and Papa I said "Hi!"

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