I’ve been asked quite a few times how I manage to come up with ideas for this blog. I post five days a week, so that’s a fair amount of writing. As a creative person, I know that ideas can’t be forced (although being in the shower seems to generate a good amount of them-don’t know what that’s about), but deadlines are another matter. Yes, this isn’t a paid gig and no one is breathing down my neck for an article, but for me, this has turned into a good exercise in commitment (Sidenote: I once interned at an advertising agency and the owner and I were squabbling one day about the spelling of commitment. He won…he said “I’ve been married three times. Believe me, if there is one word I know how to spell, it’s commitment. Three m’s, one t.”)
I’ve found that, in looking for ideas for this blog, I’m becoming more observant in my daily goings-on. You’ve heard me mention serendipity several times, but it’s true…if you are aware and notice things, certain things line up and come to the light. Maybe you overhear part of a conversation while standing online at the post office, or you hear the Stop and Stop checkout girl talking to a customer about something, or you read something quickly in a magazine over your coffee in the morning.
There are lots of ideas out there. Right under your nose and crossing in front of you all the time. It’s just your job to connect the dots. My Spidey-senses are being honed more and more each day.
Appropriately, words are on the menu today. Yes, they always are, as this is forum for writing, but I’m talking about the actual words today. Not just words that describe something else.
A few days ago, I got an issue of Spirituality and Health magazine in the mail. I had come across one of those “get a free issue” cards and so I replied. It’s sort of a weird compulsive thing I have…if I can get a free magazine, I will. Curiosity always gets the best of me and I also figure that if you can glean even one, new, good idea from them, then why not? So, this magazine arrived and I’ve been trying to hide it from my husband because I figure I’m going to take a good amount of ribbing for it, almost as if I had received an issue of Rock and Gem Magazine or Wild Bird Magazine (yes, those exist. It’s kind of amazing how many rather specific magazines there are out there. That just proves that there is something for everyone).
The article that jumped out at me was one about the author of the book The Four Agreements, Don Miguel Ruiz, who has now authored The Five Agreements (guess there was more to agree upon). I actually should revisit his book, as I read it quite a while ago. Although frankly, I generally have problems with books that claim to give you the tools “to change your world”. That’s just so lofty and grand and sounds a tad too much like the ol’ marketing beast at work. Or something that Oprah would tout. But then again, this book is in it’s fifteenth edition, so something is obviously resonating with readers.
I won’t hit on all the five agreements, just the first. “Be Impeccable with your word: Speak with integrity. Say only what you mean. Avoid using words to speak against yourself or to gossip about others.”
Yikes. Am I (and so many others) doomed? Just joking (I think).
Just this morning (see? serendipity!) on NPR, there was a man being interviewed who stated that little white lies are ok and he classifies them, in many instances, as “social lubricants”, the term that just about had me careening off the road with laughter. “Yes…I LOVE your dress..it’s so flattering (social lubricant)”….
But I get it. That first agreement is a great one and an important one. Imagine not resorting to these little “social lubricants” and truly only saying EXACTLY what you mean. This would be a good exercise for a week. Honesty, or a supreme case of editing, would rule your existence. Cleansing for the brain, and for the heart, it seems. And I say “it seems” because I am somewhat guilty of these social niceties from time-to-time. Who hasn’t said they love a persons cooking when they really were thinking that it was the most bland, boring dish they’ve ever put to their lips? Sometimes it happens, but it’s also not going to rock the foundation of life.
Or is it?
This morning, I dropped off three giant boxes of books (remnants of the defunct tag sale) at my local library. As I was unloading them onto a table, a library worker came over to me and commented on how many books I was donating. He then mentioned, rather quickly, that he was finally learning how to read.
This was a grown man, probably approaching fifty years of age, and he just announced to me that he was learning how to read. He said he understood words but could not write them correctly or read them. He went on to tell me that the last book he read was a story about a chicken…Chicken Little? Henny Penny? He couldn’t remember the name.
I then congratulated him and told him to keep up the great work. He was in the right place…the library!
All words, any words, words that require you to look up the correct spelling or words that say precisely what you mean.
New words. Think about those words. Explore new ones.
Choose them wisely.