Writing Wit And Wisdom (And Reality Checks)

There was a time I posted lighthearted stuff on the weekends. I fell out of that habit. It being a long, hot summer (here in Britain), I thought I would have “fun with memes” for this first August 2018 Sunday morning.

What follows may resonate with you especially if you struggle to write and use social media like Instagram. It is full, as we know, of writers sharing other writersโ€™ writing axioms. There are times, though, they are trite, wearying, or not nearly as profound as the poster may think.

Sometimes, if I’m in one of those moods, I canโ€™t resist mumbling under my breath in impatient, irritated, sarcastic, snarky, reply. Such as now:

If you cannot impress readers while remaining true to yourself, you are doing writing wrong.

“The threat of homelessness or starvation [is] a tremendous motivator.” – My (now late) novelist uncle.

Well, on the surface, sure. But let’s also consider, say, Sir Salman Rushdie’s writing and then rethink those lines.

“Mummy, please, please, show me tell me just one more story before I go to sleep…”

I suspect there are those books we’ve all read that we imagine could’ve been better had they remained a blank page.

Failure is, without a doubt, not a dream.

Although a professional golfer who regularly ends up so far off the course that heโ€™s nowhere near even the marked rough is likely to feel he may need to try to find a different line of work.

Which sounds exciting, until you discover youโ€™re in Hell.

Speak for your shelf.

If my office ceiling has fallen on my head as I first sit down, I think thatโ€™s a day Iโ€™ll miss any word count target.

Actually having someone else read and edit your writing is not a bad idea either.

Yep, feeling uninspired, rather than go outside and actually do something like take a long walk, or see your boyfriend/girlfriend, or meet pals for a coffee or even a glass of wine and PUT THE WORLD TO RIGHTS (“There was that time in Spain…”), all of which may actually provide some new inspiration, instead stay nailed to your desk chair, alone, staring at those same four walls, and write about, uh, breakfast – โ€œThus, I poured out my oat bran…โ€ Because it’s just about always writing.

In other words, The Sun Also Rises.

Just donโ€™t cut with so little mercy that two weeks later you sigh, โ€œOh, dammit. Itโ€™s gone. Why did I listen to that stupid meme?โ€

Fitzgerald near the end of his life we recall ended up with little choice other than having to say something in writing screenplays and short stories just to try to pay the bills.


It is?

I urge every reader to be careful with Thomas Jefferson โ€œquotesโ€ found on the net. Lots are inaccurate or outright fabrications. I haven’t tried to source that one above, but for the sake of argument assuming he did write that, we are here: Endorsing brevity in that quote is the same man who spent some dozen droning pages going on and on and on and on in a 1786 letter about “a dialogue” between his head and his heart.

He is age 43, now U.S. Minister (meaning then, ambassador) to France, based in Paris, and a widower for nearly four years. Its “target” is now in England, age 26 and married which letโ€™s be honest makes this all rather inappropriate to say the least, and – born and raised in Florence, of an English father and Italian mother – she reads and speaks Italian and French better than she does English; the latter is actually more a “foreign language” to her. Based on her reply (in which, English apparently being too much, she falls back into Italian), Jefferson’s rambling, opaque letter leaves her surprised, breathless, and even baffled as to what on earth he is trying to say: much of it – likely due to the nuances of language – apparently goes right over her head.

Is he attempting in it to tell her that he loves her? Presumably she can’t ask her truly English husband, or anyone else, for an opinion. And obviously she did not have even Google Translate on her iPhone – which given Jefferson’s windy prose would probably have caused the app to crash time and again anyway:

Paris Octob. 12. 1786.

[My dear] Madam

Having performed the last sad office of handing you into your carriage at the Pavillon de St. Denis, and seen the wheels get actually into motion, I turned on my heel and walked, more dead than alive, to the opposite door, where my own was awaiting me. Mr. Danquerville was missing. He was sought for, found, and dragged down stairs. [We] were crammed into the carriage, like recruits for the Bastille, and not having [sou]l enough to give orders to the coachman, he presumed Paris our destination, [and] drove off. After a considerable interval, silence was broke with a โ€˜je suis vraiment affligรฉ du depart de ces bons gens.โ€™ This was the signal for a mutual confession [of dist]ress. We began immediately to talk of Mr. and Mrs. Cosway, of their goodness, their [talents], their amability, and tho we spoke of nothing else, we seemed hardly to have entered into matter when the coachman announced the rue St. Denis, and that we were opposite Mr. Danquervilleโ€™s. He insisted on descending there and traversing a short passage to his lodgings. I was carried home. Seated by my fire side, solitary and sad, the following dialogue took place between my Head and my Heart…

One word or two? Here, Mr. Jefferson, how about just TWO words?: โ€œI doโ€ or โ€œI donโ€™t.”

Finally, never forget this:

Have I done that? Uh, no comment!๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚

And lastly…

Have a good day, wherever you are.๐Ÿ˜Š

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