All of us, at some point or another, struggle with our thought-life. We may get caught up in the morass of negative self-talk, or tangled in a web of anxiety, depression, judgement, or any number of vicious cycles. It’s simply part of the human condition, and I’m sure you can come up with any number of examples from your own life.
Well, Shakespeare’s got something to say about that:
“Make not your thoughts your prisons”
–Antony and Cleopatra
Okay, granted, in context it’s not so reassuring, as Octavius Caesar is talking through his hat at this point, but out of context, it’s important.
Don’t allow yourself to be taken captive by your own brain. Just don’t do it. Okay?
The Bible also has something to say on that subject:
“We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”
-2 Corinthians 10:5
Again, slightly out of context, but I love this verse because it reminds me that we are supposed to be taking our own thoughts captive, instead of the other way around.
So there you have it. Two for the price of one today. Hope this gives you something to think on.
Or not to think on, perhaps.
I’m going to start with an apology for yet another short post.
I know, I know, but the weather is just too nice to waste.
I’m also beginning a lot of sentences with variations on the word “I.” Which is appalling. But I’m going to do it again, because
I’m trying an experiment. A new project has been rattling around in my head for a while now, but I haven’t quite known what to do with it, so I’ve been writing around the edges and starting to get acquainted with some of the characters. All fine and dandy, of course, but NaNoWriMo is just around the corner, people, and I think I’m going to give it another shot (the prior two unfinished novels notwithstanding).
So I’ve started working through a book which I’ve had floating around the house for… oh, probably the last decade or so. It’s called Story Structure Architect, and for some reason I’ve just never been able to get into it before. But now, with a specific project in mind, I think I’m going to love it! It’s already given me a much clearer picture of where I want this story to go, even if I don’t have all the details worked out.
And that’s that, really. I’ll keep y’all updated on how my experiment is going next week.
“Have compassion for everyone you meet, even if they don’t want it. What appears bad manners, an ill temper or cynicism is always a sign of things no ears have heard, no eyes have seen. You do not know what wars are going on down there where the spirit meets the bone.”
Be nice to people today, okay?
I’m currently reading the collected letters of John Keats, and finding them absolutely delightful. They are wonderfully written, but in a relaxed way, since he never expected them to be seen by any one outside his circle of friends.
Reading them has got me wondering why we don’t write more letters. I exchanged a few letters with my lovely California Lizzie last summer, and loved it. But really, as writers it doesn’t even matter if we have anybody to write to. We should be writing letters anyway. Write them to people you love. Write them to people you hate. Write them to your past self. Write them to your future self. Write them to your fictional characters. Write them from your fictional characters.
Just write ’em.
That is all I have to say.
This post is basically going to be a plug for a website. But they’re not paying me, I promise. I’ve just been having fun with it, and I figured I’d share.
futurelearn.com is owned by The Open University, and is essentially a place where you can get free online courses in a wildly diverse range of subjects, from Languages & Cultures to Law. I signed up for a couple of classes, one on Shakespeare, and the other on literature and cognitive science.
I know. So geeky.
But I was a little insecure about how the courses would work, so I decided to find a course to try just for fun before those ones started, so I found one that walked me through the process of making a film, from start to finish (or from development to distribution, if I want to get all technical and show off my new knowledge).
I’m in love.
The course was three weeks long, self-paced, and had a good range of projects; from personal research and discussion to watching video interviews with experts in their fields. And being that it’s totally free and not for credit, I can see it being an amazing resource for us writer types who need to do some research. I mean, I could totally write a book that takes place on a film set now without sounding like a complete idiot. I know who answers to who, which AD (Assistant Director) actually gets to yell “Action,” and what those danged clattery things are that they wave around in front of the cameras before they begin the scene.
I’m also pretty well up on my industry slang. “Kill the blonde, wouldja? And grab me a pancake to put under these Baby Legs.”
I’ve recently discovered that several of my favorite poems share a common theme of isolation without loneliness. A feeling of being separate, even in the middle of civilization. Have you ever experienced that? It’s not a bad feeling, at least for me. But then I’ve never been lonely.
At any rate, here’s one of the poems that best encapsulates the experience:
Poem to Be Read at 3 A.M.
by Donald Justice
Excepting the diner
On the outskirts
The town of Ladora
At 3 A.M.
Was dark but
For my headlights
And up in
One second-story room
A single light
Was sick or
As I drove past
Is for whoever
Had the light on
This month’s film score from Adam Young is based on “Project Excelsior,” a series of parachute tests made in 1959-60 by Captain Joe Kittenger. Basically, he went up into the stratosphere in helium balloons and then jumped out to see if parachutes would work that high.
Now, I don’t know about you, but just reading about that gives me an attack of the collywobbles. The edges of my vision are blurring, and my head feels too big. This girl doesn’t even like jumping off of logs on the beach. For Adam Young, on the other hand, it seems like the ultimate daydream. To each their own.
However you see it, this is a lovely upbeat soundtrack for writing happy adventures.
You can also listen and download right from his website.