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Archive for the ‘Quotations’ Category

One of the most meaningful pieces of advice I work from comes from the quote  to “seek knowledge, even unto China. ”  To me this means that every moment in every place is a source for knowledge, so inspiration often comes to me from the most unlikely places.

Here’s what I found tucked inside my Chinese fortune cookie the other night.

One’s mind, once stretched by a new idea, never regains its original dimension.

I love stretching my mind. That’s what makes writing so much fun because I am always challenged to look at things in a new and unique way. Then the challenge becomes how to express what I envision so that others may see it as well.

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This post is for everyone over 50 who thinks it’s too late to take up writing. I didn’t take it seriously until I saw my 60th  looming on the horizon and I knew if I was going to do anything interesting with this part of my life, I’d better get busy. Fast.

I jumped in with both feet and never looked back. After I got a few chapters into a children’s story I realized I had no idea where I was going and how to get there. So I spent the next year researching, trying to understand the structure of a plot and how to create characters. I studied archetypes and astrological signs; what makes a good protagonist and worthy antagonist.

Since my book, Guardian Cats, is seen through the eyes of cats, I did extensive research into cat behavior, including cat body language, cat whisperers and a whole host of YouTube cat videos. My collage of delicious bookmarks ranges from such diverse studies as The World Egg Throwing Federation, pirates and bullies, raccoons, talking parrots and pet psychics.

My computer, driven to its limits, crashed and burned. I lost all my research, photos and and half my files. I slogged on, determined that I wouldn’t drop the ball. There was no turning back, especially after a year of sleep deprivation that it took to study this fascinating craft.

The more I studied, the more I was hooked. Whenever thoughts crept into my mind like– ‘You’re too late! Too old. You should have kept up your writing when you started years ago. Then you’d be somewhere now…’–I slammed the door in their faces. Threw rotten tomatoes, eggs, anything handy, at those whiny, demonic little beings.

The thing is, my previous attempts at writing were childish and immature…when I was a mere 20, 30, 40 years old.  I like to think that all my living counts for something and that being over the hill a late bloomer might actually help.

Here are a few tips for other late blooming writers.

  • Read like crazy. Haunt libraries, bookstores, Amazon and GoodReads.
  • Study the craft of writing like you are attending a university.  Take it seriously, but keep it fun, if that makes any sense.
  • Throw rotten eggs at your demons.
  • Patience and determination will be your best companions.
  • Write without expectations. Write because you love it.  Like my mentor, Ray Bradbury, says:
“Write only what you love, and love what you write. The key word is love. You have to get up in the morning and write something you love, something to live for.”

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I have quit listening to the news and watching TV (almost) because it is bad for my mental health. Much of what we are fed daily keeps us stressed about money and financial security, while at the same time it encourages us to keeping buying and going deeper into debt. Vicious, vicious circle.

It’s time for a revolution! Time to break out of our small Walmart ideas of the perfect life and start living. Time to stop cruising around the shore going in circles and think of life as a voyage. It is truly an adventure and it’s all around us. The cup is half full overflowing!

This quote, by Sterling Hayden stopped me in my tracks because it is such a powerful expression of what I’d like to say. And besides, he actually followed through on this. He would have loved Matt Harding of the famed “Where the hell is Matt?’ experience.  (video embedded below)

“To be truly challenging, a voyage, like a life, must rest on a firm foundation of financial unrest. Otherwise, you are doomed to a routine traverse, the kind known to yachtsmen who play with their boats at sea… cruising, it is called. Voyaging belongs to seamen, and to the wanderers of the world who cannot, or will not, fit in.

If you are contemplating a voyage and you have the means, abandon the venture until your fortunes change. Only then will you know what the sea is all about. “I’ve always wanted to sail to the south seas, but I can’t afford it.” What these men can’t afford is not to go. They are enmeshed in the cancerous discipline of security. And in the worship of security we fling our lives beneath the wheels of routine – and before we know it our lives are gone.

What does a man need – really need? A few pounds of food each day, heat and shelter, six feet to lie down in – and some form of working activity that will yield a sense of accomplishment. That’s all – in the material sense, and we know it.

But we are brainwashed by our economic system until we end up in a tomb beneath a pyramid of time payments, mortgages, preposterous gadgetry, playthings that divert our attention for the sheer idiocy of the charade. The years thunder by, the dreams of youth grow dim where they lie caked in dust on the shelves of patience. Before we know it, the tomb is sealed. Where, then, lies the answer? In choice. Which shall it be: bankruptcy of purse or bankruptcy of life?”  from The Wanderer, by Sterling Hayden, actor and author

Thanks to Sid at Right Brain Therapy for introducing me to Matt. Watch a truly joyous contemporarywanderer.

 

 

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Writing a book is an adventure. To begin with, it is a toy and an amusement; then it becomes a mistress, and then it becomes a master, and then a tyrant. The last phase is that just as you are about to be reconciled to your servitude, you kill the monster, and fling him out to the public.” Winston Churchillcat-and-mouse

 

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The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing. One cannot help but be in awe when he contemplates the mysteries of eternity, of life, of the marvelous structure of reality. It is enough if one tries merely to comprehend a little of this mystery every day. Never lose a holy curiosity.”

Albert Einstein

Curiosity

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hubble_34sfwMusic takes us out of the actual and whispers to us dim secrets that startle our wonder as to who we are, and for what, whence, and whereto.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson

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Books can be dangerous. The best ones should be labeled “This could change your life.”

Helen Exley

133-Chained-library-at-Wimborne-Minster-1709x1021

The Chained Library - click on picture for larger view

“In a room of the eastern tower of Wimborne Minster, Dorsetshire, is an important collection of chained books. Mr. H. R. Plomer has recently [c. 1890] inspected this library, and from his account we gather that it contains some 240 volumes. ‘The books,’ says Mr. Plomer, ‘are arranged on shelves round the sides of the room, with their backs turned inwards, each book being attached to the shelf by a small chain fastened to an iron rod.’

The library was formed in 1686, and the greater part of the works were presented by the Rev. W. Stone, a former rector of the parish. A manuscript volume of prayers, the work of the monks, written in 1343, is the oldest work in the collection [as of 1890]. It is not finished, as the initial letters are omitted. The Breeches Bible, dated1595, strongly bound in wood, is there. Walton’s Polyglot Bible, several well-known commentaries, numerous works of the Old Fathers, Camden’s ‘Life of Elizabeth,’ Barnes’ ‘Life of Edward the Third,’ Chamberlayn’s ‘State of England,’ 1670; also a copy of Sir Walter Raeigh’s ‘History of the World,’ bearing date 1614. Of this latter work, Mr. Plomer says that ‘several pages of this book have been burnt, and tradition has made Matthew Prior, the poet, the culprit; the story being that, whilst reading in the library by the aid of a candle, he fell asleep over the volume, and the candle committed the ravaegs.

Judging from the appearance of the holes, it is much more likely that these were made, as suggested by a correspondent of Notes and Queries, with a red hot poker. By whatever mischance the accident occurred, the destroyed part of each page has been neatly patched, and the text restored – that also, and with more probability, a work attributed to Matthew Prior.’

Source: From Old Books

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