Discussion in 'Insights & Inspiration' started by doggiedude, Apr 17, 2016.
Dateline apparently talked to someone.
yeah but no one knows who, and dateline didn't verify the story as far as anyone can tell .... I could tell dateline that I recently gave 5 grand to a homeless vet because I wanted to pay it forward, but i only wanted to be known as moose.... it would go viral all over the credulous part of the internet - but that wouldn't make it true
That’s shoddy journalism. They shouldn’t have run the story.
I'm sorry; I'm not replying to the angel story I just like your sig.
Thank you. It’s from Shirley Jackson’s novel We Have Always Lived in the Castle, which is a great book
Bearing in mind that the National Enquirer (and british red top press) regularly report on stuff like "statue of Elvis found on mars" and "CIA steal icebergs" I'm not convinced that the standards on this kind of journalism are particularly high
Last year, I came across some really hard times. I had left a bad relationship and the only place I had to stay was at my Step-Dad's house. I had no car, no savings, and no place of my own. My two children and I, all slept in a twin size bed in a tiny room that was full of all of our stuff. The only thing I had to rely on was other people's kindness and of course God's grace. I prayed everyday for the strength to get through, for rides to work, to find the right car, and eventually a place to live. My job was 15 minutes away from the town I was living in. Somehow, I was able to find a ride to and from work, every single day. Within 3 months time, I had enough for a car. Within another 5 months, I had enough money to get into my own place, but nowhere would rent to me because they were concerned that I didn't make enough money to pay the bills. Rent is extremely high around here. Place after place didn't work out and I began to lose hope. Finally, I checked out a small trailer to rent and the landlord and his wife met with me. We got to talking and we shared a common belief in God and both went to Baptist churches. We hit it off really good and even though I had barely enough to move in, they decided to give me a chance. I had confided in my pastor about the situation and when it was time for me to pay and move in, my church gave me the full 2,000 dollars to move in. So not only did I move into a place, but I also got to keep my savings. They also threw me a house warming party where they bought me everything I needed for my new place. Not to mention, they hooked me up with a program that gives free furniture to those in need. Everything I needed was provided for me! Just like what I had prayed for. So, I guess this story touched me. Because I have lived it. Also, being able to relate to losing my family. They didn't die or anything, but they disowned me at a young age, when I shamed them by becoming a teen mother. Just wanted to share, because good things do happen sometimes and there are a lot of good people out there! I've learned a lot by being poor and by losing my family. Sometimes it takes losing everything to realize just how amazing God and people can be.
True, but Dateline is meant to be a more legitimate news source.
Thank you for this. Thankfully, I haven't lost my family yet, but am going through a similar situation. Inspirational.
Why would I write my exp?
While it was barely passable as far as development
goes, nobody gives a damn about real crap situations
that fall on nobodies like me.
So I write about things of interest since my auto-bio
would be primarily depressing, and nobody wants to
read depressing. Granted I don't write sunshine,
rainbows, and lollipops either, but hey at least it isn't
If I read your comment right, I find myself disagreeing. I don't doubt that most lumberjacks are, at best, indifferent writers, but that's not the point. If one's MC is a lumberjack and you want to accurately reflect his world-view, you would need to have some close-up experience of swinging an axe (assuming they still do that); at the very least you would need to talk to one or more who do have the knowledge of what it's like. But of course if you want to describe how lumberjacks appear to the outside world, then you don't need to do any axe-swinging.
BTW, if you do start swinging an axe be sure to give fair warning to those around you.
I think if i were writing a book about lumberjacks I'd be more inclined to draw on my experience with a chainsaw (although they still use an axe to notch trees for building Buddhist shrines)
I think theres room for a book about a guy with a fetish for dressing up as a dentist whilst living in small town america - you could call it Fifty shades of plaque
Well, I did not talk in the name of any lumberjack, and there' s a fair chance that some of them could be really good, insightful writers. My comment was aiming more precisely towards the value of certain perspectives above others to depict an activity. I know for certain that if you want to know how to be a good lumberjack, to know how to swing an axe (or related tool) is paramount; not so much if you want to depict a whole context for the activity of the lumberjack: price of the wood, transport, cost of tools and related machinery, competition, diseases, law, amidst others, which are also relevant for a lumberjack´s life, or could be even more relevant for a tale than the use of the axe. Like many activities, to be a lumberjack is more than only the activities related to the forest exploitation.
The same happens with almost any activity, really. You shouldn't need, by example, to know how to handle a sarissa to write about Alexander the Great's campaigns. But of course could help, for the sake of realism.
I dress up as more than a dentist.
Do the Triad of MedFet.
Also I wouldn't call it 50 Shades of anything,
I think I could be more creative than that.
That wasn't you?
This one broke my heart
This is a very touching story and it warmed my heart. It made me appreciate the life I have more, when I say more, I mean I have a good life. When I was a child I had a similar situation. My mother left an abusive relationship with nothing, we let everything behind and went into hiding and started over. The Salvation Army helped us. We stayed with another abused mother and her children until things were figured out. When there was finally an apartment available, The Salvation Army paid our first and last months rent as well as co-signed the lease (my mother did not have a job). To make a lengthy story short my mother did not have to repay the money. There was a catch, if my mother got a call from the Salvation Army at any hour of the day or night we would have to take in another abusive mother and her children. This system works well, and we were so lucky it was there.
Sometimes it is better to be lucky than good.... if you know what I mean...
I realise that the last post in the thread was made over a year and a half ago but I think this theme is an interesting one.
When I published my first poetry book a lot of my immediate friends and neighbours thought I was writing about experiences of my own and seemed to have difficulty to perceive that a lot of it was about a totally fictional situation. Poetry can incorporate fiction as well so it really surprised me that they thought that these situations that had nothing whatsoever to do with me was about my own life.
I’m a thirty-five year old lady now and the older I get, the more it seems I have to write about. Recently, I keep recalling about a time in the past (I think it was back between 2000-2001) when I was making applications to universities and had achieved grades good enough to aim above my reach and included Oxford university in one of my UCAS choices. The degree I applied to do was a BA in English and History and I was able to combine both because I enjoyed both subjects equally and couldn’t really decide. I was quite happy when my UCAS application got through and I was invited for an interview (Oxbridge actually invite applicants a lot earlier for interviews and applications have to be made early if you’re applying there). Also I’d never been far away from home before but I was only going there to be interviewed anyway so that was only going to take 2-3 days and I was accommodated for that short amount of time in a room at Pembroke College and you wouldn’t believe how nervous I was. When I got there, they gave me a pack of reading to do and I only had a short amount of time to do it because I was too caught up finding my way around an unfamiliar location.
I was going to be interviewed by 1. the English department 2. the history department because the degree I applied to do involved both. But I was really nervous and the material I was given by the English department wasn’t really sinking in. I arrived at the first interview (the English one) early but when I was prompted with questions on the material I read I didn’t have anything to say because it was really hard and I didn’t understand it. I left the interview feeling like I screwed it up (which indeed I did) then I attended the second interview (the history one) shortly afterwards and the people in that one made me feel a lot more comfortable and warmed me in. Consequently I felt like I did a lot better in that one. Although I might have passed the history one and not the English one, you needed the approval of both to be accepted. TBH, it was a HUGE relief that I wasn’t.
For a start although the university is very reputable, I wasn’t very impressed by the standard of the accommodation provided. Although I was only there 2-3 days, there was no toilet in the room and the public bathrooms provided were in appalling condition. The bathtub was full of dirt and rust and dirty water when you opened the taps. It wasn’t really in much of a standard to wash. The exterior and gardens of the college however is very beautiful and I met a lot of other interesting applicants who talked to me about how their own interviews went including about some questions they were asked.
In any case, the 2-3 days experience overall was very interesting to me as I got to experience something new that I would have memories to share and write about many years later. Some people may not realise that there is also a dark side to institutions like this and I read a story recently that captured that. While I was there myself, I heard a rumour going round that the university had one of the highest suicide rates (at the time) and that’s not the sort of news you would want to hear while you’re there applying. In some ways I was able to understand that as it appeared to be a somewhat isolating place and maybe even lonely if you were over there for too long.
I could also incorporate aspects of this experience into my writing within the fictional circumstances of my characters and perhaps draw on the negatives as well as the positives via their experiences. I certainly think experiences can be used and conveyed into something more organised. Particular the sort that leave more impressionable footprints in your mind so, certainly, I agree with the OP and the point of creating this thread.
We're humans. A (relevant) writer writes (relevant) things that touch humans. The most deeper in the humanity, the longer it will last. There must be something of truly human to be relevant. Why is the Odyssey still read? Most of us don't even believe in gods disguising as people anymore... Why is Joyce's Ulysses still read? It's about a hundred years old by now... What makes writing relevant?
Inside or outside? Art has much to do with the inside, I guess. It's recreation of the outside though. We live with each other, but most of the questions that raise our interest are intimate. Are the gods and/or the demons inside or outside? Is it possible to write without going out there? Maybe it is, but will it be relevant? Maybe it will, but it has to be in order to matter.
Joyce's Ulysses might be an example that the outside may be closer than imagined...
What is this of going out there? Go to people? Go to see the seven wonders? Climb the mountains? Go into the abyss? If you get something from these places, it might be worthed, but if you only bring pictures from them, what's the deal? It has to matter.
What does matter? It has to concern humans. What does concern human beings or being human?
I think, for certain things, experience matters. For example, when writing about a group of people.... if you have never interacted with that group of people, then you run the risk of writing something that is full of bias and stereotypes (this is not including peoples of the past, like Ancient Romans, Egyptians, Feudal Japan, Vikings, etc.). I am on another forum for books written by or about black people (it helps me in my job as a curator for the African American collection to know what is popular in this group because I do not solely read books by one group or about one group). A lot of what they rant about are white authors writing about black characters. They posted about one author who's black character is so stereotyped in the description of her appearance, and the way she acts and talks that it's offensive. Even her name was terrible. It's like, have you ever spoken to a black person? had a meaningful interaction with one and not just based the character off of bad tv stereotypes of black people? Or even have a black friend or two or three that could read it and give you their opinions? The book wasnt satire or anything... it was about magic and vampires and werewolves. So the inclusion of this character was just weird and way off.
On the flipside, if you look at a picture of Fiji and become inspired by the sand and beaches, and you decide to write something that takes place in Fiji (or a Fiji-like tropical resort), then I dont think you ned to have gone to a resort to write about it. And with writing about groups of people you've never interacted with or met, i feel like there is a right way to do this and its by immersing yourself in that culture and its history. I have never been to the Sahara, but since I was in high school I've been in love with the Tuareg culture. I've researched little things about them over the years, like where their primary roam, the meanings of their robes, etc. This past year, I met a cultural anthropologist who had been to Mali and spent 2 days with a Tuareg community. She talked about the colors of their cloths (they can tell what clan you are from based on the richness of the blue head scarf they wear). She brought in their robes and I got to touch it. Right now, I've been on a Middle East/Eastern European culture binge (Orhan Pamuk books -i figured out how to pronounce the Turkish 's' and 'c' and I'm so hyped!-, and books about Kabul and the Taliban), but i've got some articles and books lined up about the Tuareg Rebellions.
A lot of these things have inspired my works. 3 of my stories either take place in or the MC travel to the desert. 1 of my stories series follow a fictional nomadic culture in the future on a different planet.
I think if you actively immerse yourself in whatever you do, then you will be successful.
I think that many writers think you need some truly amazing experiences to inspire you, but it's a lot more subtle than that. I hear so many writers say stuff like, "oh, I saw this woman do this and that and this, and it was an amazing story, so I wrote about it." Great for them, I guess, but my inspirations come from the small nuances in life. A weird-shaped leaf could strike an idea, an lead to an entire plot for a novel. Or hot chocolate burning your tongue. Maybe the cashier at Wal-Mart uses a weird word or has a certain accent that inspires you to write a character using that accent in your head.
Separate names with a comma.