“Sun and rain, are both precious gifts from God. Yet, we consistently bitch when it rains because we don’t want to get wet. Good and bad, again are both precious gifts from God. Yet, we consistently bitch when something bad happens because we don’t want to deal with it. Do you see where I am going here? Good, apply this to your life, pronto.”-ME
Archive for the ‘Wisdom’ Category
I am an Event Manager. One of my duties as an Event Manager is effectively managing large crowds. This weekend I had the pleasure of managing a crowd of 30,000 plus crazed girls, aging from 5-18 (with some parents, not many though most of the young girls were dropped off), over the course of two days, which included three shows. Many of which are fanatical followers of Justin Bieber.
Surprisingly, Justin Bieber taught me a lesson in philosophy. I witnessed a lot over those two days. But one situation stood out in my mind in particular. Let me explain.
Starting around 10AM thousands of Bieber fans started to gather in hordes outside of the arena in which he was performing. Their goal was to catch a glimpse of Bieber. How important to them was this glimpse, even if it was only for half a second? I would say that to them it was equally important as taking their next breath of air. Think I am over exaggerating? Attend one of his concerts. No sarcasm or humor meant by that comparison, its simply the sad truth.
At one point during the day, I began to assist my workers in maintaining a secure perimeter around the back entrance to the arena. This was in an effort to not only keep the building safe, but the fans safe as well. I was at a barricaded entrance, which was holding back thousands of fans. My primary duty at that post was to let no one exit outside of the barricade.
A mother and her three daughters pleaded with me to let them pass. Their hope was to gain a better view so they could see Bieber. I explained to them several times for safety reasons that I could not do that. Eventually the mother gave up trying to plead her case. She looked me in the eyes and told me, “I will never forget your face. For the rest of my life, I will never forget your face. You have ruined mine and my daughters day.”
I replied, “Thank you very much.” She answered, “I will never forget your face.” I answered again, “I appreciate that.” Her three daughters were looking at me the whole time.
After the two day concert was over, I began to reflect back and wonder why all these young girls were so crazed about Bieber. That day I could have asked one of them to name off 20 facts about him, and they would have gave me an answer in under 1 minute. On the other hand, I could have asked one of them to name 5 facts about Jesus, God, Buddha, Hinduism, Judaism, etc and I would bet money one of the most popular answers I would hear would be, “Do you know when Justin is coming out?” Again think I am over exaggerating, please attend one of his concerts.
Naturally, I began to ponder what is wrong with these kids. I thought back to story I told you above about the mother and her three daughters. And I realized I was asking the wrong question. I should have been asking, “What is wrong with these parents?”
I am going to leave you with one fact, and keep everything I said above, and especially the last question I asked in mind. Justin Bieber has over 33 million twitter followers.
Have you ever considered that simple words in our language are used in a devious way? A way that we have never even considered? As writers and readers maybe you are more apt to pick up on this.
For example lets look at the words “no” and “yes”
“No swimming today in our pool.” “Yes, you can have that to eat.”
Stop. What is you initial reaction to the connotation of those two sentences?
Probably and arguably correct, the answer is negative for the first one and positive for the second one. But is that really the case? Let’s dissect the scenarios more presented by those two statements.
“No swimming today in our pool. There is a storm only minutes away. It is about to hit our house.”
All of sudden the negative connotation is suddenly changed with a little more information. “No”, is not such a bad thing right?
“Yes, you can have that to eat. But for dinner we are eating something else besides fried food.”
All of sudden the positive connotation has changed. “Yes”, is not such a good thing?
You may be thinking “duh” who doesn’t know with more information the connotation changes. That is not the point. From birth we are conditioned that “no” is negative, and “yes” is positive (Proven by your initial reaction to the first two sentence). The older we get the more this is instilled into our way of living. It becomes harder for us to say “no” and easier for us to say “yes”.
But is “no” really so bad? And is “yes” really so great? I think we all could learn how to say “no” more and “yes” less. You will be surprised by how much freedom this will create in your life.
Real life is the present tense. We don’t fix our eyes to what was, or what will be. But rather we focus our hearts on what is. In this way, may we all find a measure of peace. -ME
Rules of Writing #5- The use of the word “and” should be monitored and deleted when or if possible. This becomes an issue when you start to notice not a few, but several of your sentences containing the word “and”. Fortunately this is a simple fix most of the time.
For example, “I arrived at the store at a quarter past nine to meet Sarah, and bought some eggs while I waited.” There is too much going on in this sentence. Easy solution though, delete the word “and”, and add “I”. “I arrived at the store at a quarter past nine. I bought some eggs while I waited.”
Remember simple, short sentences often give your reader the best tools to paint the vivid picture you are trying to describe to them.
This seems like such a trivial issue, but trust me from a reader’s point of view it is a big issue. You don’t want to swamp your reader with a bunch of huge sentences connected by the word “and”. While proof reading your work, ask yourself is this “and” really needed each time you come across one. If not, delete and create two sentences. Wait, did I use “and” in that last sentence? Was it correct usage or should I have deleted it??
Rules of Writing #57- Avoid over using adverbs and adjectives. This is a common issue that plagues beginner and seasoned writers the same. When re-reading your work, check for common mistakes, but be careful to notice over use of adverbs and adjectives.
For example, “I quickly ran to go see why Sarah was crying.” What is wrong with this sentence? It is not needed to say “quickly”, ran already implies quickly. Another example, “Sarah and I took a seat on the hood of her car. We gazed at the blue sky for what seemed like hours.” What is the issue here? Do we really need to say “blue” to describe the sky? Unless blue has a central theme to the story and plays a key part in that sentence, or rather the sky changing colors is a part of your story, you don’t need to place “blue” there. We all know the sky is blue. Save your adverbs and adjectives for really important parts that need detailed painting not for common every day subject matter.
Above were two minor examples. Make sure next time when you are proof reading your work to be watchful for the adverb and adjective over use. A lot of times simple and short sentences paint the best, vivid pictures for your readers. If a sentences seems convoluted and wordy, its probably because you have to many adverbs and adjectives. Take them out and now read how smoothly that sentence flows.
Start of the End
These are not easy times to call yourself a gunslinger. But I continue to walk the once, well traveled path of my ancestors. Many years ago, I held my head high when I passed the fork in the road. I squint my eyes as I watch the silver sun slowly set in the distance. I smile. The end of the beginning is almost over. I walk forward.
Usually I do not dissect my own works for the reader to read, but I’ve decided to do so for this (idk why).
First sentence- Gunslinger (much like the one in the dark tower series) represents the older, now dying line of those who follow a now forgotten code of morality, spirituality, etc. In addition, besides being forgotten it’s not easy b/c the gunslinger is tempted several times to give in and change his/her name, hence the use of “call”.
Second sentence-Despite the hardships, despite the pressures the gunslinger continues with the life he/she knows, while recollecting memories of this on the way.
Sentence three- the gunslinger dips into his/her past and tells us a story about being tempted to divert paths. The gunslinger declines, and afterwords is proud of the his/her actions.
Sentence four and five- The silver sun setting represents the “mechanical world” not just in terms of technology but in terms of the spirit of the people who have given up the old ways for the new ways. The gunslinger squint his/her eyes because it painful to see what the world has become. The gunslinger smiles, b/c hope is felt as a result of the sun setting, which represents the new way fading, but slowly. (we are not clear as the reader if this is false or real hope)
Sentence five- The stories ends with the gunslinger’s new motivation and motto being told to the reader. He/she now sets out to continue and finish the mission with new found hope.