Musing in 100 Words

Kind of a prose poem thingy I found:

I dreamed that I wrote a poem for her. I wrote about her flaxen hair, her eyes that she thought were green but were really the gray of faded denim. Her slender limbs that looked like they had been cut from paper at harsh angles. Her teeth that she never revealed when she smiled. She is the symbol of something I have kept close to my heart for the longest time, and I don’t understand. I don’t love her as one would care for a lover or a friend. She should mean nothing to me, but I can’t forget her.

June 29, 2014

Helicopter Writing

The “helicopter parenting” phenomenon exists because some parents refuse to let their child fail or make mistakes, and with those good intentions, they pilot their child’s entire life. All that hovering can make a child stressed and miserable because she is forced to listen to distracting white noise that makes it difficult for her to figure out her own path, let alone move forward on that path.

A lot of the time, writers compare their novels or their characters to children. After all, the writer “begets” the novel and creates and raises the characters. You’d think that make-believe characters that came out of your own imagination would be far, far easier to control than a living, breathing child, and you’d be right.

However, when you do try to control the fictional people in your head, it somehow still doesn’t always work out, even though it seems like it should. I’m not exactly sure why total control of characters never works out, but it is a good thing because if you control your characters too much, they all end up as carbon copies of the author, speaking and acting and reacting exactly as the author would do. Perhaps the urge to hover too closely over our characters and control their every move comes from writing lazily, without truly thinking about where the story is going. When writing just for the sake of getting the words down, writers tend to default to whatever comes easiest, which tends to be ignoring our characters’ individual personalities and choosing their actions from our own perspective.

Then when looking back on the story during revision or editing, we see that our lazy writing has resulted in characters who are not true to themselves. At some point, we were essentially writing on autopilot, helicoptering over our characters and not giving them the freedom to develop as they should. The helicopter parenting phenomenon doesn’t work in exactly the same way because I imagine it would require a great deal of effort on the part of the parent to give his or her life up to control that of his or her child—it wouldn’t be laziness at all. But how much more effort and strength would it take to let go of those controls and let the child pilot his own life?

To Be Blessed

Earlier this week, I was inspired by this article on Aleteia. Usually when a person says he is blessed, he means that something positive has happened in his life or that the general circumstances of his life have thus far been positive. He is blessed because he has a good job, caring friends, a loving family, or all of the above.

However, the meaning of the word “blessed” is different when you consider the lives of the saints. They suffered greatly while on earth; they did not necessarily have good jobs and caring families and friends. Many of them lived and died in poverty and persecution. Is that a blessed life? By the world’s standards, not at all. It’s an awful life. You didn’t seize the day, you didn’t enjoy the basic pleasures of life like sleep and food and sex and mindless entertainment, and you chose to put all your trust in a Higher Power whom no one has ever seen and whom no one can empirically prove exists.

So when something bad happens to you—in other words, when you reach a point in your life that could be considered suffering—you can consider that to be a blessing, perhaps an opportunity to develop the traits that will serve you in an eternity of praising God in heaven. Hence, the true sense of what it means to be blessed cannot be discovered on earth. No one on earth today has witnessed the blessings of heaven, although certain experiences can give us hints of what that may be like. After reading and thinking about the article, I concluded that to be blessed is to suffer greatly, to endure a kind of spiritual beat-down for God, all while hoping you will be blessed in a heavenly sense.