As a writer, defy the odds and become a third type of person—the listener waiting to record.
Productive Procrastination: 7 Creative Activities to Distract Yourself from Writing Try something new!
We are more than nose-blind; we are all senses-blind to the habitual.
In the 1700s, Montesquieu wrote his famous citing how men from Iran viewed Paris as one huge entangled mess of carts and hurrying people and houses built on top of each other in a jumbled muddle.
I used to love the expression “tête-à-tête” for a private conversation between two folks, until the cyber spelling gizmo changed a pair of E’s to A’s, which made me envision a couple of lactating cows touching together their bovine parts, not a face-to-face exchange. Along the same lines, who doesn’t have a tale about clumsy fingers? Then one day, I learned the entire quote: “The blood of the covenant is thicker than the water of the womb.” In other words, blood shed in battle bonds soldiers more tightly than shared DNA.
It’s said that when President Nixon went to China to open trade and toasted the Chinese with a raised glass and the “bottoms up” expression, a Chinese man misspoke as he toasted back. Or, being too pressed to double check one’s text that autocorrect elves gleefully edited. I’m also fascinated by how many of us misunderstand the idiom and carry on in our lives for decades repeating the same maxim with aplomb, never realizing we’ve misinterpreted the thing. My late mother-in-law used to admonish us: “Blood is thicker than water.” I’d counter that I felt close friendships were tighter than the happenstance relationship of being kin. So the quote isn’t extolling family ties at all—and was more in keeping with my sentiments. Staring at photos on the computer doesn’t stir me as much as peering at them in an open album on my lap. Instead of chiming in with your own in a tit-for-tat battle to be heard, hear theirs. Over the phone, a pal of mine related her first date after widowhood.Pick a subject and brainstorm your unique roster of 10 à la David Letterman.Dredge up foreign words that are commonly used in English. Have you ever keyed one into a computer and found the machine corrected it to something other than your intention?Find an angle: Evaluate why the story would interest someone.I’ve interviewed a pediatric dentist, an oral surgeon, my friend who’s moving to another state after 40 years in the same little area of Florida, a quilter, nurses, a potter.I read somewhere that a foreigner who comes to the USA will notice things we consider par for the course.Because of the contrasts with what he’s used to, he’ll spot different customs, architecture and inventions that are novel to him whereas they’ve become routine to us.Of course, Montesquieu was French, and his goal was to criticize the monarchy, so he did it from the perspective of these young Persians.He published his Persian letters anonymously from Amsterdam.(“Covfefe” comes to mind.) An entire mystery could be woven around an autocorrect text or a text mistakenly sent to the incorrect email. “He sent a photo of his genitalia to an old farmer’s old wife.” “Why? Mark Twain said, “Eat a live frog first thing in the morning and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day.” Now that’s a visual image which illustrates that once you’ve experienced the worst, things are bound to improve. Everything she reported of their conversation over lunch sounded mundane, humdrum, almost boring, until she said he asked, “Do you like sex?A lawyer friend on an exotic cruise before the days of cheap rates outside USA borders received an urgent text from a client who had been arrested. ” “He was drunk and hit the wrong key.” Yup, fear of snakes is the most common phobia among mankind, womankind and probably animal-kind. That can develop into a mystery, a tale of horror or a non-fiction humorous vignette. A quotation like this humorous one gets my cerebral juices pumping, and I tick back to all the worst days of my life and how things Crack open a photo album—the older the better. Facebook is now offering a service called Past Book where, for a fee, they’ll create a physical album of photos you’ve uploaded to Facebook along with what you wrote in that box labelled “What’s on your mind? ” Which of course made her story far more interesting.