writing with an aim

winter and branches
Writing without an aim is like taking this winter picture of bare branches at random while strolling by. Is it essential to have an aim? I believe so. HERE ARE SOME DEFINITIONS of AIM:
Objective, object, goal, end, target, design, desire, desired result, intention, intent, plan, purpose, object of the exercise; ambition, aspiration, wish, dream, hope, raison d’être.

I ask myself, “Why do I write this little note daily? What is my aim?” My answer is, “I need the practice.” Blogging is an effective way to practice writing and keeping your brain working a bit. Reading and writing are still the more tested way of keeping a person’s brain cells exercising a bit and not falling into stupor for too long to the point of eventual incapacity. A point of no return. The more reluctance one feels the more one should try to write and read. One way of learning to write is to copy. Take your favorite book and start copying chapters. Make it a daily habit. Another way is to write a letter to a loved one. You may not get to post the letter but it does keep you going and building a habit. I just read of someone who actually hand writes to many people. Over the years many have received and even collected his handwritten letter and notes. Some frame them up. (You know who the person is as he is in the news right now.) I have not posted a physical letter for years. Even my email has been replaced by short social text or multimedia messages. But I find that the short messages do not take brainwork to compose. It is more like clicking at random and giving automatic pre-programmed short replies.

When I interview some persons I find that they have nothing to say. They are not even capable to think. They have nothing to say about themselves or others. Their minds do not store words. I note that they spend the bulk of the interview time messaging or reading messages on their mobile handheld phone including iPads, iPhones and other smart phones. I find it sad to look at them or think about their lives. Can a man or woman happily leave out a big part of what God has perfectly created and designed for them to have and enjoy? I often wonder. Please do not get me wrong. I am not judging the rightness or wrongness of a lifestyle. I am just lamenting the loss of quality of life that God has given so richly to each of us as human.

Writers ad poets like to dream that one day the whole earth will be filled with readers of books. I am one of such dreamers.

writing memoir for others

truthful memoirWriting memoir is like taking a magnifying spotlight and shine it on certain parts of one’s memories and blow them up for others to see.

It is hard to write a memoir for ourselves not to mention for others. Why? Because we cannot be truthful. Not that we do not want to but we cannot. Our memories tell us things that may not be true and we tend to select the more pleasant or the more politically correct parts and ignore the rest. We do not want to hurt ourselves or others. We put some window dressing like we put on makeup when we go out and do not want to be seen as too colorless. There are many reasons for not being truthful. I personally find it hard to write untruth which is why I do not write my own memoir. I write memoirs for others. They speak and I write. It is different from writing my own. However, even though the onus is on him or her to be truthful I still find it hard when I know it is not her or him at all, this nice person they try to portray. Does this mean I stop writing for them? My answer is no. As long as they put their own names as authors and be accountable for themselves.
I believe the readers know too. Many readers are their friends and relatives. Their colleagues, their bosses, their subordinates, their suppliers and consumers. People who have worked with them and for them. Their church friends and pastors. Their corporate organization and community too. Their husbands, wives and children. So how can anyone think or imagine or fool himself or herself by telling tall tales and believe that the tales will hold water?
When I interviewed someone who was a friend of someone else, I often heard another side of the story. Shall I put them into the book? A question hard to answer.
My advice to young writers and copywriters is be really careful and do research before you agree to write for someone. Always look behind the facade for credibility and integrity of the person concerned. The onus is on you to check before you commit to the writing assignment.

Do we still need writers?

woman reading Irish copyToo often I write without thinking of what I shall do with the written words. When the words come, perhaps even at midnight I just sit up and write. I am doing a book in another language at the same time but it is based on a book already formed and written in English so the translated work is only a partial writing as I add new information I have since uncovered in my research and interviews. For that book I know the target audience so it is not exactly like writing without a direction.

But when it comes to my thoughts in words at midnight I have no audience except myself. I read yesterday that the traditional publishers of physically printed books have to collaborate with providers of e-technology so that the books can be published online or in other multi-media forms. The increasing spectacular growth in online internet environment and mobile-phone and portable hand-held e-book reading gadgets trend warrants that the traditional publishers change drastically and involve themselves in strategic alliance with paperless technology professionals.

Whilst the technology gadgets are dazzling and convenient for the young users and perhaps readers of books, the contents of books still cannot be replaced by gadgets. Content counts. That is why we still write. There is still hope for a content writer.

Some people walk away from you. A few march with you.

jeffrey-archer-mary-archer
Jeffrey and Mary Archer

“Some people standby you in your darkest hour while others walk away; only a select few march towards you and become even closer friends.”
― Jeffrey Archer, Only Time Will Tell
“We all make mistakes but one has to move on.”
“If you make a deal with a fool, don’t be surprised when they act foolishly.”
― Jeffrey Archer, Only Time Will Tell
“I find I don’t learn a lot while I’m talking”
“While there may not be a book in every one of us, there is so often a damned good short story.”
“Are parents always more ambitious for their children than they are for themselves?”
― Jeffrey Archer, A Prisoner of Birth
“There are defining moments in one’s life when you learn about yourself, and you deposit that knowledge in the experience account, so you can draw on it at some later date.”
― Jeffrey Archer, Best Kept Secret
“Making a million legally has always been difficult. Making a million illegally has always been a little easier. Keeping a million when you have made it is perhaps the most difficult of all.”
― Jeffrey Archer, Not a Penny More, Not a Penny Less
“It’s one of the ironies of mountaineering,’ said Young, ‘that grown men are happy to spend months preparing for a climb, weeks rehearsing and honing their skills, and at least a day attempting to reach the summit. And then, having achieved their goal, they spend just a few moments enjoying the experience, along with one or two equally certifiable companions who have little in common other than wanting to do it all again, but a little higher.”
― Jeffrey Archer, Paths of Glory
“The sign of a great man is how you handle defeat. – Old Jack”
― Jeffrey Archer, Best Kept Secret
“No, Mr Redmayne, not my tears. Although I’ve read that letter every day for the past eight months, those tears were not shed by me, but by the man who wrote them. He knew how much I loved him. We would have made a life together even if we could only spend one day a month with each other. I’d have been happy to wait twenty years, more, in the hope that I would eventually be allowed to spend the rest of my life with the only man I’ll ever love. I adored Danny from the day I met him, and no one will ever take his place.”
― Jeffrey Archer, A Prisoner of Birth
“If you have talent and energy, you’re king. If you have only energy and no talent, you’re still a prince. But if you have talent and no energy, you’re a pauper.”
“You can often judge the character of a person by the way he treats his fellow men.”
― Jeffrey Archer, Only Time Will Tell
“only a fool blames the messenger.”
Mary Archer: ‘Jeffrey asked from jail if I wanted a divorce, but I’m not a quitter’
‘Hang on, hang on.” Dame Mary Archer is determined to interrupt her husband Lord Archer in mid-flow as he tells a story about the deal he did with her father to let her carry on with a career as a chemist after their marriage. “If I might be allowed…” she tells him in school-mistressy tones, fixing him with a look from across the drawing room of the Old Vicarage at Grantchester. But the bestselling novelist, entrepreneur, former politician, charity fundraiser and ex-prisoner is taking no notice. “You’ve said enough already,” he barks back, and the couple simultaneously burst out laughing.
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Jeffrey Howard Archer, Baron Archer of Weston-super-Mare (born 15 April 1940) is an English author and former politician.
He was a Member of Parliament and deputy chairman of the Conservative Party, and became a life peer in 1992. His political career, having suffered several controversies, ended after a conviction for perverting the course of justice and his subsequent imprisonment. He is married to Mary Archer, a scientist specialising in solar power. Outside politics, he is a novelist, playwright and short story writer.

Eloquence in her writing

cynthia ozickReading good writings by others helps us to write better. Reading is enjoyable in itself even when we cannot write. Each reader has his or her particular likes and dislikes. I personally like reading Jewish writing. I decide to post some quotes about writing from Cynthia Ozick (1928-) today as I have just read her short story titled,”Envy; or, Yiddish in America”. She is a writer of fiction and also publishes critical essays, poetry and plays. She is one of the most celebrated Jewish American writers. I marvel at the eloquence she displays in her writing. Where do all those words come from? Perhaps reading some of her quotes we may catch a glimpse of her secret. I fully agree with her: “Read, read, read.”

Her Quotes about writing and novel:
“We often take for granted the very things that most deserve our gratitude.”
“No one can teach writing, but classes may stimulate the urge to write. If you are born a writer, you will inevitably and helplessly write. A born writer has self-knowledge. Read, read, read. And if you are a fiction writer, don’t confine yourself to reading fiction. Every writer is first a wide reader.

“If we had to say what writing is, we would have to define it essentially as an act of courage.”
“A writer is dreamed and transfigured into being by spells, wishes, goldfish, silhouettes of trees, boxes of fairy tales dropped in the mud, uncles’ and cousins’ books, tablets and capsules and powders…and then one day you find yourself leaning here, writing on that round glass table salvaged from the Park View Pharmacy–writing this, an impossibility, a summary of who you came to be where you are now, and where, God knows, is that?”

“To imagine the unimaginable is the highest use of the imagination”
“This is what travelers discover: that when you sever the links of normality and its claims, when you break off from the quotidian, it is the teapots that truly shock.”
“I write in terror…I have to talk myself into bravery with every sentence, sometimes every syllable.”

“What does the novel know? It has no practical or educational aim; yet it knows what ordinary knowledge cannot seize. The novel’s intricate tangle of character-and-incident alights on the senses with a hundred cobwebby knowings fanning their tiny threads, stirring up nuances and disclosures. The arcane designs and driftings of metaphor – what James called the figure in the carpet, what Keats called negative capability, what Kafka called explaining the inexplicable – are that the novel knows.”

“An author’s extraliterary utterance (blunt information), prenovel or postnovel, may infiltrate journalism; it cannot touch the novel itself. Fiction does not invent out of a vacuum, but it invents; and what it invents is, first, the fabric and cadence of language, and then a slant of idea that sails out of these as a fin lifts from the sea. The art of the novel (worn yet opulent phrase) is in the mix of idiosyncratic language – language imprinted in the writer, like the whorl of a fingertip – and an unduplicable design inscribed on the mind by character and image. Invention has little capacity for the true-to-life snapshot. It is true to its own stirrings.”

“On a gray afternoon I sit in a silent room and contemplate din. In the street a single car passes – a rapid bass vowel – and then it is quiet again. So what is this uproar, this hubbub, this heaving rumble of zigzag static I keep hearing? This echo chamber spooling out spirals of chaos? An unmistakable noise as clearly mine as fingerprint or twist of DNA: the thrum of regret, of memory, of defeat, of mutability, of bitter fear, made up of shame and ambition and anger and vanity and wishing. The soundtrack of a movie of the future, an anticipatory ribbon of scenes long dreaded, of daydreams without a prayer of materializing. Or else: the replay of unforgotten conversations, humiliating, awkward, indelible. Mainly it is the buzz of the inescapably mundane, the little daily voice that insists and insists: right now, not now, too late, too soon, why not, better not, turn it on, turn it off, notice this, notice that, be sure to take care of, remember not to. The nonstop chatter that gossips, worries, envies, invokes, yearns, condemns, self-condemns.”
― Cynthia Ozick, The Din in the Head

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Definition of eloquence: fluency, articulateness, expressiveness, silver tongue, persuasiveness, forcefulness, power, potency, effectiveness; oratory, rhetoric, grandiloquence, magniloquence; informal gift of (the) gab, way with words.