Writing and I: A Love/Hate Relationship

If you had asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up the answer probably would have been a writer. Unless of course you asked me near the Olympics, then the answer would have been either a figure skater or a gymnast! I have always wanted to write.  I love everything about being a writer; the words, the stories, the characters, the fancy coffee, the scarves.  Everything that is except for the actual writing.

There I said it; I am a writer that HATES to write!  What? Is that even possible. Possible? I do it all the time. So if I hate writing so much why have I always wanted to do it? Well, maybe hate isn’t the right word, it’s just that writing is….well…hard.   The hardest part is the writing part.  The part that I’m doing right now.  The part where you type whatever is going on in your head.  Do you want to know why?

It takes Discipline. Yes, it takes a lot of discipline to write.  It seems like it is the task that is never done.  You don’t really feel like going and doing it either.  It is something that you have to sit down and do everyday whether you want to or not. And if you’re writing toward a deadline (and don’t we all have a deadline of some kind) it gets even worse.  And to be honest. Discipline and deadlines are something that I have always struggled with.  Why? Because I struggle with consistency! And because I’m lazy.  But if you are ever going to succeed in writing you must have Discipline.  You have to make yourself, FORCE yourself, to sit down and do it.  Even when Pinterest would be so much more exciting right now, and even when you have no idea what to write. Which brings me to my next point………

Sometimes you have no ideas!  Most of the time when I sit down to write all I do is stare at a blinking cursor. I scroll up and down a blank sheet of paper and think, ‘Well that must be what’s on my mind…nothing’. And then when I finally manage to write something it turns out to be just a jumbled bunch of sentences that may or may not have any relevance to what I am supposed to be writing about. Which would be number three.

It has to make sense! That’s right! And sometimes this is a tough one.  It can’t just make sense to you it also has to be correctly interpreted by others!  People that don’t know you, or how you think. What?!  But that’s not all, it even has to be spelled correctly and be grammatically correct. That’s right… big bad Grammar.  Of course we don’t have to worry about that right now. After all this is only the first draft. (Sigh of relief) That all happens later, through a process called ‘editing.’

Editing. The only part of writing I hate more than writing.  This is where you go through the roller coaster process of reading your work again and again.  You read while your mind is going from thoughts like, “This is really good, I may really have something here.” To “This is the dumbest thing I have ever read, where is the shredding machine!?” You start to agonize over little things. Scrutinizing each sentence asking yourself things like, ‘Is that a good word for that?’  ‘Is this sentence to wordy, or to boring?’ ‘Can a rabbit actually gallop?’ If that’s not bad enough the next step is….

Proofreading. This is when you promptly forget all of the grammar you have ever learned in your life! It’s also when you learn to fear commas.  You have no idea where they should be, you just know that you should have some. And that they go……. where? The only thing more terrible than commas are the semicolons and colons. But how will your writing be academic without a few of those?!

Writing is hard, there is no doubt about it. But just because something is hard doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t do it. Even more importantly, just because writing might not be easy for you doesn’t mean that you can’t become a good writer.

Even on those days when it’s hard. I will keep writing.  Why? Because I love it.  I love the words that dance through your mind when you’re jogging. I love the story ideas and characters that wake you up at midnight.  I love the satisfaction of reading something I wrote (and edited). I love to write.  Even when I hate it.

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Don’t Look Away: Remembering the Holocaust

“To the past, the way has been barred, And what do I need the past for now?  What is there? Bloodied flagstone-Or a bricked up door or an echo that still cannot die away……However much I beg.”

~ Nonna L. Bannister The Secret Holocaust Dairies 

National Remembrance Day.  The day set aside to remember the past, and specifically the Holocaust.  It is the day for sad stories, sad images, and the tragic theme from Schindler’s list.  But is it?  Is that all it is? A day to remember a bunch of people who died long ago?  No, there is so much more to it than that!

The Holocaust killed an estimated 11 million people in the span 12 years.  But it took so much more than just their lives.  They were stripped of their humanity, their dignity, torn from their families, forced to labor as beasts, despised and abused. Men, women, and children, old and young, methodically and systemically slaughtered and de-humanized.  The Holocaust was a horrible, horrible, thing. But it must not be forgotten.

Why is it important that we remember these things? As Nonna asks ‘what do I need the past for now?’ It is important because it happened, and if we forget, it could happen again.  In the Holocaust we remember the enormous amount of evil that man is capable of.  We remember the terrible consequences that resulted from man’s desire to play God.  When men decided who was valuable, who should live and who should die.  In the Holocaust we view the tragic consequences of fear and apathy.

I have always loved to hear the stories of people who experienced the Holocaust.  Not for the horror, but for the hope.  Hope?  Yes, the hope in the people who survived but also those who did not.  The hope and courage of those that were willing to give everything to save the life of a fellow human being.  The hope that comes from the people who suffered in the most unimaginable ways possible and yet they refused to give up, they refused to lose hope. These stories inspire and encourage me.  They encourage me that no matter what, there is always hope. They inspire me to have the same courage.  There is so much we can learn from these people.

But is it not just the heroes of the Holocaust we must remember. We must remember those that thought they were God.  Those that thought they were justified in killing thousands of innocents.  Not just Hitler, Himmler, or the other leaders, but also their followers. The people who unquestioningly followed the orders that resulted in these horrible deeds. We also should never forget those who kept silent.  In a way these people shared in the guilt.  They did nothing, said nothing; they saw the suffering and looked away.

I believe that another reason we must remember the Holocaust is that it helps us to remember all of the innocent and helpless who suffer and die today. There are echoes of the Holocaust in the innocent baby that is dehumanized and murdered in his own mother’s womb.  The precious handicapped who are done away with for being ‘imperfect’.  Or the old and sick who choose to die because they can no longer sustain ‘a quality’ life.  Every life is precious.  The thing that gives every life ‘quality’ is that it comes from God.  No one is a mistake, every life is a divine gift. No mutation, no disease, nothing can change the value of a human life.

So please, don’t look away!  Don’t be silent.  Don’t be someone who does nothing!  Remember the helpless and defend them, this day and every day!

I’ve Got A Name! 10 Unusual Words that Describe Everyday Things

Have you ever referred to something as a thingy, a doohickey, or a thingamabob?  I have. But recently I’ve began to wonder.  What is it called? I mean it must be called something. And that lead me to another question. How many English words are there? Well, according to an estimate made by the global language monitor there are roughly, 1,025,109.8 words in the English language.  Wow! That is a lot of words. So many words that I bet a lot of them never even get used!

So today I am poking through the dusty shelves of the English language to unearth a few of these rarely used gems.  Below is a list of unusual words that describe everyday things.

  • Glabella: The space between your eyebrows.
  • Phosphenes: the lights you see when you close your eyes and press your hands to them.
  • Nurdle: a tiny dab of toothpaste
  • Overmorrow: the day after tomorrow.
  • Ferrule: The metal part of a pencil.
  • Collywobbles: butterflies in your stomach.
  • Vocable: Those na na nas and la la las in the lyrics of a song that sound good but have no meaning.
  • Griffonage: unreadable handwriting. (In other words the scribbles that adorn my notebooks!)
  • Zarf: The cardboard sleeve on a coffee cup.
  • Scurryfunge: The time you spend running around cleaning frantically right before company comes over.

So next time you come across that nurdle, or stop to stroke your glabella. Don’t call it a thingy, remember, it has a name too so use it!

Do you use any of these words?  Do you know of any other unusual words for every day things? I would love to hear about them in the comments!

An Attack of Creative Compulsion

It has been like this ever since I was little.  It can come in the shape of drawings, stories, poems, essays, paintings, and structurally unsound constructions of cardboard and duct tape.  Without warning and at any time I might come down with a sudden and acute attack of creativity. It is highly contagious and can last for days.  It can completely derail any prior projects and lead to a messy desk and solitary obsessive behavior for hours. And in some extreme cases the excessive hoarding of toilet paper tubes!  I never know when it will strike, at the store, on Pinterest (this one seems to cause a lot of attacks), in the bathroom, anywhere! I refer to this reaction as my Creative Compulsion.   And no I do not suffer from it….on the contrary I rather enjoy it!

I hope that I am not the only one that suffers from this consuming but very enjoyable Compulsion! As a matter of fact I think there is a spark of the creative in all of us.  Certainly we do not all wish to create the same thing or the same way but I think somehow, somewhere, there is a desire to make, to shape, to build,  to create in everyone.

In a way it is how we bear the image of Our Creator.  Isn’t it wonderful!  He created everything, from the sky, to the dirt, even us!  But He still gave us the ability and the desire to make our own creations!  He didn’t have to do that!  But He did!  Why? Only He knows but I like to think that it is because it gives us pleasure and it gives Him pleasure.

So go ahead! Round up the glitter! Grab a pencil (a teal one)!  Paper? Clay? Canvas? Who knows! There are so many wonderful things waiting to be made! So go out there and make them!