A writer’s job is to ask if something is possible and then argue, through their stories, that it can or can’t be done.
A reader’s perogative is to enjoy it, whether it is possible or not. If they like it enough, they’ll hold the idea in their mind and explore it for meaning and possibility themselves.
And then some day, some scientist or tech wizard or mathematical minded reader will test and prove the theory that otherwise existed only in a story.
Can these theories be thought up by other people and not just writers? Of course!
But a story, when done right, lodges the idea in the imagination to percolate longer and give rise to new ideas over time. It starts the idea on the creative side of the brain. And who knows what that does to the scope of the ideas.
Tl;dr – STEM is important, we need people to believe in science again. And the Arts are important because we need people to WANT to believe in science again. They are all equally vital to society and human development.
Something I wish more writers understood is the notion that words are free.
The thing nobody wants to admit is that the written word isn’t just computer code with only one right answer to unlock the desired command. Any old word choice might not always do. It isn’t like standing up and talking out a salespitch to convince somebody that your idea is best. You can’t rewind and edit a verbal conversation, especially when it relies on context, voice volume and tone, and even body language to communicate an idea or achieve a result.
The written word doesn’t have those same shortcuts and requirements. All you have is the letters on the page. This is because the written word is “spoken” in the Reader’s Voice. In the Reader’s head. It has to resonate with the Reader, not with the Writer. It doesn’t matter what the Writer thinks of their work if it means nothing to the Reader. Anybody can make words happen, but that doesn’t mean they’ll hit the mark on the first try.
Yes, words are hard. Finding the perfect combination of words, to form the perfect sentence, to craft the perfect paragraph, and fill the perfect page… all of that takes hard work. Real work.
But once those words are on the page, whether written on paper in pencil or pen, or written in a digital document, those words are then easily changed. They can be rearranged into something even better than what they started out. They are not set in stone. They can be perfect words and yet still be rearranged to fit better.
The only thing preventing the better draft becoming the final product is simple effort.
It occurs to me that I have been ridiculously quiet on this little corner of the interwebs as of late. And by that I mean, “for nearly the past year or so.”
I think it’s well past time I started wordsing over here. I’m working with words for a living now, quite joyfully, and I haven’t given up on my other writing dreams. There’s a novella in the works, and a few scripts that haven’t moved in an approximate age. I’m working on the novella first, dangit! You Don’t rush these things…
And I’m going to try to make myself get out to movies more often, so the wordsing is expanding every day!
What wordsing is everyone else up to lately?
It occurs to me that there is a lot I don’t know about the world. I will freely admit this. I will often ask questions of people who don’t want to form answers, because they know things I don’t. I want to learn. I want to experience. I don’t have the means to do everything I might possibly want to accomplish, but I have the resources to learn about them.
There’s a lot out there. The most genius among us as humans have not experienced everything there is to life.
So the question is, what is out there that I want to do? So far, with what I know, and what I have seen, somehow, that list is still rather small. I don’t have a Bucket List, and at my age, maybe I should.
But what I have learned is that life is the experience. The expectation implied by a to-do list is just an illusion. Life does what life wants. Sometimes the best experiences you don’t see coming until they are at your doorstep and opening the door (because maybe they aren’t always the most polite of guests.) Words and plans are insubstantial, just dreams in the mind. Life is something you don’t know until you see it.
Right now, I have the rare opportunity to seek out my own adventures with my time. I’m not entirely sure I know what to do with it. But I’m going to try. And first up is volunteering in my community, with that very first training day tomorrow. So we shall see how it goes.
That’s life! Little adventures, learning, exploring, sharing, helping, doing. The collection of stories to tell instead of merely the telling of them.
I have a few dozen stacks of these…
And this is why I write. It’s a terrible addiction and a ruthless dragon to chase.
“The triumphant softball coach was treated with all the veneration of a movie star for days following the big game.”
Veneration – noun
1) to regard with reverential respect.
2) adore, revere, reverence, worship.
“Kindred spirits are not so scarce as I used to think. It’s splendid to find out there are so many of them in the world.”
― L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables
Kindred – adj.
: of a like nature or character.
As it happens, I like my Nook and wish I had a nook to read it in! Although I generally do more writing on my Nook than reading.
“With a Nook for company, I curled up in the breakfast nook to read in the sunshine.”
Nook – noun
1) an interior angle or corner formed usually by two walls.
2) a sheltered or hidden place.
3) a usually recessed section of a larger room.
Lately I’ve been on a sci-fi/urban fantasy kick. And by lately, I really mean the past few years. It just sort of showed up and then decided to stay. Accordingly, I’ve found a few sources to help me along as I’m plodding through my writing projects. I’m sure they’re supposed to be for more intelligent, academic pursuits, but they certainly suit my purpose for chasing potential muse-rabbits down their plot-holes.
The Medieval Bestiary is exactly what it says it is. And it has some fun graphics. The site itself is a bit out of date, but it’s dealing in old lore and folktales so the information isn’t terribly likely to have changed too much since it was put up. Everything sources back and usually has neat quotes from ancient texts, just in case you don’t like their summaries.
Encyclopedia Mythica is a bit more straightforward and less graphically-inclined than the Medieval Bestiary. It’s set up like a wiki. In my poking around between the two, the Mythica seems to cover a broader range of topics. It includes an option to check their references but it doesn’t have the same handy quotes right there on the entry page.
And then there’s WolframAlpha, which is a cool little quick-fact generator. Type in a topic and it will do a breakdown of the information for you. For example, type in the name of a city and it will return with a page full of stats and demographic information and random facts useful toward the goal of writing about them. Very user-friendly, rather like Google.
A friendly warning: All of these pages are rather easy to get lost in, just like tvtropes.org, tumblr, or urban dictionary. One search leads to another which leads to another and before you know it you’ve lost an hour to looking up if bears really pee in the woods or if that’s just a fairy-inspired wives-tale.