Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Writing { and reading and publishing } ~

Blog Conversation Concerning “What Should I Write?” . . .


Our last discussion here was on June 6th & June 11th… On Writing

It dealt with Etymologies—word histories—and explored their value for readers and writers…

Since the last part of that conversation didn’t elicit any comments, I’m moving on to a new discussion…

And, just before I do that, I must announce that, after this coming Friday (when I’ll publish the last, and 95th, short Tale in my Story Bazaar Cycle.), these blog conversations will be every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday…

So—“What should I write?”

That plea might be uttered by a well-seasoned writer or someone considering writing for the first time…

If it’s a well-seasoned writer saying, “What should I write?”, it could be a consideration about a new work or the next steps in a current work…

If you happen to be someone considering that question for the first time (or, the hundredth time before you’ve begun your first effort as a writer…), the options are just short of infinite

And, from a certain perspective, the well-seasoned writer may very well face a slightly smaller infinity of choices…

I’ve relied on what’s called a Muse to help me narrow those infinities (which can also occur just before the very next sentence…).

Over on the Lateral Action site, in the article, 5 Reasons Why You Need a Muse, it’s said:

“‘A muse?’ you ask. ‘You mean some kind of invisible spirit that dumps creative inspiration into my mind?’

“’Exactly,’ I answer. ‘A genius. A daimon. An independent force in your psyche that directs your creativity, and to which you deliberately hand over ultimate responsibility for your work.’

“’That’s nuts!’ you exclaim.'”

“All creative block is ultimately identifiable as a manifestation of performance anxiety or performance guilt. Offloading your sense of responsibility for creative work onto another self is like flipping a switch. It instantly removes that pressure and lets you breathe again. It returns you to the state of relaxed receptivity that characterized your earliest efforts, when you were just playing around in a ‘beginner’s mind’ mode. This is when the best stuff happens.”

That article also references a Brilliant TEDtalk about the psychological concept of the Muse by author Elizabeth Gilbert

However, for the sake of conversation ( conversation being the whole purpose of these posts on this blog:-), there could be other ways to become inspired about what “should” be written…

Aha!

Should“…

Seems we might need a word history:

“c. 1200, from Old English sceolde, past tense of sceal (see shall). Preserves the original notion of ‘obligation’ that has all but dropped from shall.”

Somewhere back in my earlier decades of life on this planet, that word “should” was something folks could use in conversation without incurring violent wrath from certain listeners…

Is it conceivable to you that writers “should” write certain things?

That a particular sentence “should” follow that one you just wrote?

That a precise gem of a word “must” precede a particularly important other word…?

I had to include a few questions to, hopefully, provoke a few folks to comment :-)

My particular brand of shoulds for my writing hover around concepts like the one expressed in New Patterns of Community Life in an Urbanizing World:

“Large-scale migration to urban centers has, in many cases, led to social fragmentation, the depletion of limited ecological resources, and profound feelings of isolation and despair.”

But…

Things that large will henceforth be relegated to my ruminations about my second book of poetry…

Which brings me to the image up there at the beginning of this post…

It was created by my Best Friend, author Jane Watson, for what I thought was going to be a new work I’d publish every Saturday over on Wattpad—a “column” of articles on writing…

That lovely image up there was Jane’s creation for the cover of that new effort on Wattapd…

However, I got cornered by my Muse yesterday and was humiliated by her…

Naturally, I deserved it…

How could I keep up blog conversations here (along with the search for the re-blogs I share…) while reading the 21 books I need to explore, as research for that new poetry book; and, the depth of thinking that work will demand—along with my attention to my social media activities (and, to be sure, all the time this writer needs to just sit here and commune with my Muse and other, yet Higher, Entities…)…?

Plus, my Muse drummed into my skull, “Why don’t you encourage folks on Wattpad to come over here and peruse the over 2,200 posts you’ve already written?” (…nicely organized by topic in that handy Top Tags widget, in the left side-bar...)

So, has my exploration of “What Should I Write?” stirred up questions or ideas or feelings?

If only one of you shares a comment, this conversation can continue………
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If you don’t see a way to comment, try the link at the upper right of this post…
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For Private Comments or Questions, Email: amzolt {at} gmail {dot} com
OR >>> Send Me a short Voice Message
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Keep it R.E.A.L.! Relevant, Engaging, and Affirming Literacy for Adolescent English Learners by Mary Amanda (Mandy) Stewart


English as a Second Language — or, a third or fourth language…

Today’s re-blog is from an exceedingly smart and compassionate teacher who can say this:

“The most authentic learning might come from the teachers as their lives are transformed by knowing, really knowing, their students as they engage with literature together.”

Nerdy Book Club

As a twenty-two-year-old, I completed my student teaching in an 8th grade Reading class for students new to the country. My cooperating teacher told me, “It’s just like teaching Pre-K to teenagers!”

Even my much younger self knew something was not quite right about that statement. Did these adolescents with nearly adult bodies and often very adult experiences, need to sit crisscross apple sauce on the floor to go over the alphabet? Or, was there perhaps another way to engage them in reading and other literacy activities?

I began my teaching career in that same middle school and I kept pondering who my students were and what they really needed. They were indeed in the dynamic process of English acquisition, not to mention beginning a new life in a new country, making new friends, adjusting to a different climate, and discovering the highly processed food of the school cafeteria…

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More Conversation about Word Histories . . .


Last Wednesday, the current discussion was begun with the post, Blog Conversation About Word Histories; and, because it received a comment from a reader, I received the impetus that keeps me from starting a different conversation :-) Conversation about word histories

That post actually received two comments; and, I’ll share them after I share just enough of what I said to give them a proper context:

“Consider the idea that words have ‘souls’—the ‘true inner meaning’ of the word…

“Just like human souls, that original inner meaning is still there when the word is very, very old—much has changed about that word’s ‘personality and habits’; but, the inner meaning of its soul is eternally the same…”

I went on a bit about the idea that words have souls and their Etymologies (the histories of their meanings) are their “true inner meanings”…

Now, the first comment from the last part of the discussion:

“And there’s the the pulse of attitude, or vibration, especially with repeated sounds – words, phrases, called mantras in some cultures. They are loaded with usage and can have powerful effects.
“The word ‘soul’ has suffered in modern times, too imprecise, not verifiable by scientific methods – a shame because it sums up the essence of life and being.”

Apart from my feelings that science will one day find a way to “account” for the soul, it seems such a shame that more writers and readers don’t consider the etymologies of words…

Consider the definition of writing and this sentence:

“Susan was writing a letter to Tom in her mind that she wasn’t sure was something she could actually send him.”

We all know writing means something like, “mark (letters, words, or other symbols) on a surface, typically paper, with a pen, pencil, or similar implement.”

But, Susan was writing in her mind—marking words on the surface of ____________?

So, let’s consider the etymology (the soul) of “write” —> “carve, scratch, cut, paint, pull, tug, sketch, draw, design”

And, because Susan was somewhat torn about revealing her mental writing to Tom, could we rewrite that sentence as:

“Susan was carving out a space in her mind that she might not turn into a letter to Tom.”

Or…

“Susan’s mind was scratching out a plea to Tom; but, she didn’t have the will to actually paint the words…”

Perhaps those examples fall short of convincing anyone of the value of etymologies…

Good dictionaries do have appended etymologies; but, the use of a good Etymology Dictionary can be, in my estimation, a transformative experience…

So…

Consider the second comment from the previous discussion of word histories:

“I liked the part that words have souls, just as the 72 year old guy does, subjected to outside influences that continue long after the internal mechanisms for change and initial creation have succumbed to the resultant soul.”

Well…

At least one other soul likes the idea that words have souls…

What are Your feelings?

All it takes is one comment to keep this conversation going………
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If you don’t see a way to comment, try the link at the upper right of this post…
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For Private Comments or Questions, Email: amzolt {at} gmail {dot} com
OR >>> Send Me a short Voice Message

The Presence of Wonder


Indelibly Important re-blog today………

A Teacher's Reflections

Always be on the lookout for the presence of wonder.  -E.B. White-

I do that every day at school.

…from morning


Watching the sun make colors come alive.
Children discovering ladybugs everywhere.  Each one is different.

…till evening


Snuggling together and watching the big sky.
Finding colors, seeing shapes and animals in the clouds.
Telling stories of imagination.

The presence of wonder is there.  We just have to look in order to see.

Jennie

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Let It Flow: Writing Without Editing


Very Meaningful re-blog today………

BREVITY's Nonfiction Blog

Last week in my workshop on self-editing at Mid-American Review’s Winter Wheat Festival of Writing, writer Terry Korth Fischer asked a great question:

How do you stop editing as you write?

I was a little confused by this question, because that’s normally not my problem. (My problem is Ass In Chair.) But everyone else in the room nodded–How to avoid editing ourselves in early drafts? How to keep the writing flow going without second-guessing every word?

Online, there’s some common solutions to compulsive self-editing:

Turn off your monitor. I think I’d freak out and have to keep turning it on to hit “save” every minute. For fabulous touch-typists maybe?

Start each day with a fresh page–at the end of a writing session, copy the last sentence into a new document along with some instructions to yourself about what’s next. Next session, start from there.

Write with a timer.

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