9 Things I’ve Re-Learned This Year
Life lessons aren’t mastered in a single bold stroke. We learn, we practice, we forget, we remember, we re-learn. Here are a few key notes I re-learned this year:
- Like a bottomless well, Ego’s desire for applause, accolades, approval, acknowledgement, acclaim, awards, and recognition is never satiated.
- When we stroke Ego, it purrs. When we stop, it snarls.
- It’s silly to buy another pair of shoes because we want an Ego boost from others when they see us rocking our new ruby slippers.
- People want us to do what they want us to do when they want us to do it. They are affronted when we don’t.
- When people ask us to “be honest” . . . they don’t always mean it.
- In many ways, we are at the mercy of the tides. Life ebbs and flows. Joy comes and goes. Sorrow is hard to avoid.
- Even if we’re not convinced that “everything happens for a reason,” taking time to look for “silver linings” helps us deal with passing clouds.
- When we aren’t wedded to a set destination, we enjoy the journey (and its inevitable detours), more.
- If we are enjoying the journey, we win. No matter where the wind blows us.
Aah . . . that’s better!
Nrhatch @ Spirit Lights The Way
Diversity and the Art of Writing
Writing has reassured me that the things we feel deeply as individuals are universal—love, rejection, angst, joy, belonging; that it’s okay to admit your vulnerabilities. It might feel scary, but it also makes you authentic. Your foibles, shame, and guilt might be someone else’s quiet truth.
People read novels autobiographically, through the lens of their life’s narrative, and their values and opinions. My heroine might be a role-model for one reader, but another reader might want to slap her. I have little control over how readers see my characters as an author, and this came as a big surprise. Most readers love my male lead, but one reader thought him a tosser (although she did reassure me she’d shag him in a heartbeat, oh dear!). Now I realise I can’t write my characters to keep everyone happy, it’s not possible. That’s okay, life isn’t a popularity contest. Besides, my characters largely write themselves.
Writing has taught me that diversity isn’t some little politically correct box to tick. Diversity abounds, it is the norm. The trick is to be open to differences and to hold back from rushing in to judge. I attempt this by thinking my characters’ thoughts, walking in their shoes, and imagining their predicaments. Besides, wouldn’t it be boring if we were all the same?
Susan @ Susan Lattwein
Susan’s novel, Arafura – Unfinished Business, is a gritty romance with a bit of sex, dynamite, and hilarity – not always at the same time.
Real Men Carry Purses
Statements of fantasy can be metaphors for real life—you can live backwards and you can still learn at age 403! I once read that even if your body never aged, you’re statistically likely to die from an accident before you hit 600. See, you just learned something! I told you it was possible.
I have previously claimed on this blog that I am 403 years old, but I am far closer to 43. Although I exaggerated my age for humorous effect, one can learn after 40. And, while we can’t literally live backwards, we can become more open and tolerant, which is the opposite of what usually happens when people get older.
So I learned two things this year, both related: to respect women on a higher plane and to break free from my personal gender stereotypes. While I’ve long thought of myself as a feminist ally and viewed women as equals, that didn’t stop my subtle objectification. I was never the creepy dude, but I wasn’t the ally I thought I was, either. The journey toward being a better person is a welcome one.
With encouragement from the women in my life, I finally bought something this year I’ve wanted for ages, a purse. Why can’t a guy have a purse? It elevates the quality of life. I needed to build up my “bravery” first, which shows you how badass women are. They carry purses all the time.
Eric @ ericjohnbaker
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