Why you don’t understand me….


You don’t understand me because I write.
I don’t go for long walks or run marathons. I don’t find my therapy in a bottle or a block of chocolate (although I will admit that chocolate can sometimes work wonders).
I write.
I write stuff that is about me and what I am thinking. I write stuff that is nonsensical and full of whimsy. I write crap. Sometimes I even write stuff that’s worth reading.

I am not wired like you. The world would be boring if we were all the same.
I admire you. I really do. You are so self assured and know where you are going in life.
I’m not like that – sorry.
I flounder at times and each new challenge turns me upside down again. I don’t disguise it well. I know that. That’s why I don’t play poker!
When I am chasing my tail or feeling down – I write.
It is my therapy.
It is what makes me happy.

I know that you care and I am touched that you do.
But please understand why I write.

My name is Sue and I write as It Goes On

Killed over a Photo bomb!


That picture must have been worth it! Killing someone over a photo… that takes the cake!

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/01/23/vanessa-tapia-zavala-murder-photobomb_n_4651333.html

The Daily Opinion – White Feminism?


I learned a new phrase today! White feminism! Apparently this is the big topic amongst feminist right now, what group of women has the right to carry the banner?!? If you don’t know what I am talking about simply go type in the tags “feminism or feminist” and read away. I saw plenty of articles on it by WOC. That is a new one for me as well, WOC stands for “women of color.” I don’t know why it isn’t FOC, feminist of color???

I would like to credit Navigator on this one. I think he secretly threw in the word “racism” into the topic list for the last feminist conclave. Instead of the normal topics on “how to deal with misogynist bastards named Opinionated Man” we now have them fighting each other. Score one for the men folk.

-OM

Greatness, Finale: The Triumph of Forgiveness


This is one series that can run really long. Like a diamond, the attribute of greatness has so many faces its definition remains elusive. Thus far I have traced greatness along the lines of tenacity, examining its seed bed of childhood and the spirit that in adulthood defies bounds of endurance. I could go on to look at heroes who cope with severe disabilities or who have scaled Everest and run ultras that are four times the distance of a marathon. But I bring this series home with what I consider the most herculean of feats, to reach into the depths of one’s spirit in the costly act of forgiveness.

When someone injures us; mind, body, or spirit, it incites demand for justice. Parent, friend, or stranger has inflicted pain and must requite the wrong with contrition, if not suffering. The question that remains is what happens to the debt that goes unremitted. Someone must pay that debt and where the perpetrator has no plans to, the victim always absorbs the cost in one of two ways: with anger or with grace that clears the debt from the offender’s account. The acrimony that weighs on the unforgiving heart becomes an emotional cancer that often manifests itself physically. The liver literally stores the poison of grief and resentment. Understandably, freeing others of their debt depollutes our spirit and body. But life isn’t a treatise. You can understand the harm nursing grievance means to your emotional and physical well-being but if you’ve been abused, abandoned, attacked, or lost a loved one to a senseless transgression, you’re going to want blood.

Why is forgiveness so hard? To pay evil with grace is hardly possible. I wish it were as doable as three daily hours of training for a run. Indignation is the compelling logic of right and wrong, and speaks to our sense of entitlement. The anger also answers the feeling of helplessness with the delusion of strength.

Corrie Ten Boon with her sister and father endured unspeakable atrocities in a concentration camp for hiding Jews in occupied Holland. Corrie, the only one in her family to survive, went on to preach God’s forgiveness all over the world. Here is a part of her story:

“And that’s when I saw him, working his way forward against the others. One moment I saw the overcoat and the brown hat; the next, a blue uniform and a visored cap with its skull and crossbones..the huge room with its harsh overhead lights…the shame of walking naked past this man. I could see my sister’s frail form ahead of me, ribs sharp beneath the parchment skin. Betsie, how thin you were!

Now he was in front of me, hand thrust out: ‘A fine message, Fräulein! How good it is to know that, as you say, all our sins are at the bottom of the sea!’

And I, who had spoken so glibly of forgiveness, fumbled in my pocketbook rather than take that hand.

‘You mentioned Ravensbruck in your talk,’ he was saying, ‘I was a guard there. But since that time,’ he went on, ‘I have become a Christian. I know that God has forgiven me for the cruel things I did there, but I would like to hear it from your lips as well. Fräulein,’ again the hand came out—’will you forgive me?’ And I stood there—I whose sins had again and again to be forgiven—and could not forgive. Betsie had died in that place—could he erase her slow terrible death simply for the asking?

Since the end of the war I’d had a home in Holland for victims of Nazi brutality. Those who were able to forgive their former enemies were able also to return to the outside world and rebuild their lives, no matter what the physical scars. Those who nursed their bitterness remained invalids. It was as simple and as horrible as that.

And still I stood there with the coldness clutching my heart. But forgiveness is not an emotion—I knew that too. Forgiveness is an act of the will, and the will can function regardless of the temperature of the heart. ‘… Help!’ I prayed silently. ‘I can lift my hand. I can do that much. You supply the feeling.’

And so woodenly, mechanically, I thrust my hand into the one stretched out to me. And as I did, an incredible thing took place. The current started in my shoulder, raced down my arm, sprang into our joined hands. And then this healing warmth seemed to flood my whole being, bringing tears to my eyes.

‘I forgive you, brother!’ I cried. ‘With all my heart!’

For a long moment we grasped each other’s hands, the former guard and the former prisoner. I had never known God’s love so intensely, as I did then.”

I can just hear the cynicism about convicts alleging conversion. That is besides the point at the moment: it is excruciatingly difficult even for Christians. We assent to, oh embrace, the God who sacrificed the Innocent to acquit a guilty race. Jesus made amends through payment of punishment. Atonement. He took every stain of my being and the worst I will ever think or do, and removed them from me as far as East is from West in an act entirely unjust to God Himself. In this post, I offer a glimpse of a long, dark season in which I was incapacitated. I will appreciate your reading The Question of Human Suffering before you debate God with me, and do it under that post though not expecting me to resolve age-old mysteries. I share how it was Relentless Goodness that stripped me of all proud claims. But the insistence on self returns. It is the beauty of undeserved kindness, not the threat of retribution, that lifts us on the higher ground of humility and compassion. Deep in conversation with the theologian Ravi Zacharias on a train, a woman asked him what Christianity offers that other faiths don’t. “Forgiveness,” he answered, meeting the quiet of contemplation.

Full, deep forgiveness is an achievement of consummate greatness, a triumph worthier than Olympic gold because we are not actualizing or fulfilling the self but denying it. The human heart is the bloodiest, fiercest of battlegrounds; the place of pardon where we most profoundly attain the nobility of our humanity. For, I would add, it images divine glory. To answer insensitivity, violence, or hate with love calls for a power greater than our flesh can marshal.

There are a lot of bloggers writing their pain away. Every one of us has had someone to forgive. There are many bitter Christians, and on my worst days you can easily count me among them. But the Cross offers the why and the how we can move toward grace, makes the transformation possible. For a widened perspective of how people try to heal from unjust wounds, I would like to hear especially from those who do not share my worldview. Where do you get the power to release him, her who did that to you? Do you feel you can even try? Under the smile and the day-to-day are you emotional baggage heavy with dirt spit by tires that went screeching into the sunset? Or have you gotten up, refused to call yourself roadkill? Is coping enough for you? Are you walking, or running? To the beat of burdens buried in pockets or are you free of them? If so, how?

Holistic Wayfarer
holisticwayfarer.com

Finding Solace in Poetry


It would be almost impossible to over-estimate the extent to which poetry has soothed me in times of utter grief. I was introduced to words, rhymes and poetry by my mother when I was a tiny tot and she and I had our own special way of communicating through poetry right up until she died, aged 88, in 2009.

Mother’s birthday, which falls on January 29, was never without its poetic moments and I can only smile when I remember her amazement at a sonnet I wrote for her on what was to be her last birthday, five years ago now.

I would like to take this opportunity, granted to me by OM, to bring you a poem that Mother and I both loved and which we considered to be arguably the greatest love poem of all time. Being Irish, I’m sure you won’t be too surprised that the poet is W.B. Yeats, who won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1923. Here is that great poem:

When You Are Old

    WHEN you are old and gray and full of sleep, 
    And nodding by the fire, take down this book, 
    And slowly read, and dream of the soft look 
    Your eyes had once, and of their shadows deep;

    How many loved your moments of glad grace, 
    And loved your beauty with love false or true, 
    But one man loved the pilgrim soul in you, 
    And loved the sorrows of your changing face;

    And bending down beside the glowing bars, 
    Murmur, a little sadly, how Love fled 
    And paced upon the mountains overhead 
    And hid his face among a crowd of stars.

(W.B. Yeats 1865-1939)

I’d love to know what poems or lines of poetry have brought you solace at times of grief?

Jean Tubridy, Ireland.

http://socialbridge.wordpresss.com

When life becomes too hard


How many times have we thrown our hands up and said “It’s too hard”? What do we do at these times? Do we walk away and come back at the issue later from a different angle later on? Or do we walk away and turn our backs on the problem altogether?
What happens when life becomes so hard and the future looks so dark (in our eyes) that we see no possible way out?

There are many who are sitting reading this who would probably be saying “There is always a way” and you are right. There IS always a way. However when a person’s mind has become so polluted with dark thoughts and depression they are find it hard to see the light that you say is there. “Exercise will make you feel better”. The rational mind knows this to be true. The clouded mind is so bogged down in the mire that the mere idea that they find the energy to move from their position curled under the covers where it is safe is ludicrous. What makes it worse is that their mind is telling them that this is true but it’s also telling them to stay safe.

The thought of taking their own life becomes something that is entertained on more than the odd occasion. In their mind, the person battling the black dog of depression believes that their family, friends and workmates would be far better off without them. In the majority of cases, it is merely the thought that is entertained and not the actual deed. Sadly, some find life all too hard and end their existence within it. Have you ever been to the funeral of a suicide victim? It is the most heart rending of things to endure because coupled with the grief of losing someone, those that are left behind are also questioning themselves about what they could have said or done differently to prevent the tragedy. Alongside the grief is guilt as if coping with grief is not enough.

Do I know what I am talking about? Yes, yes I do. I have been on both sides of the equation. I’ve been driving along a road and thought how easy it would be for me to just swerve off and into a tree. I’ve pondered the easy way out of taking a handful of pills and going to sleep, never to wake up. But I’ve also been in the crowd standing wall to wall in a small church that is grieving the loss of a life ended too soon. I’ve asked myself the question ‘what could I have done to help him’? And I didn’t want my family to have to go through that if I had gone through with my plan to put my car into a tree.

So when life becomes too hard – and it still does believe me. What do I do? I cry. I cry a lot. I talk to friends and family who have no idea what to say but that is okay. At least they listen. I don’t want them to fix my problems, I want them to realise that my mind has these issues. And I write because writing really is the cheapest form of therapy I know. Some of what I write is just the random processes of my mind but occasionally, just occasionally, I can actually write something that is worth reading!

If life is getting too hard for you please don’t become a statistic.

My name is Sue and I write as It Goes On.

My Issue with Santa


So now that the holidays are over (are they ever really over though?) I guess it’s time to tell you what I think about Santa. Well, I think he’s creepy. That myth shattered for me when I was pretty little, about 5 or 6, and ever since then I’ve had this odd fascination with shattering it for others. Cynical? Perhaps. Grinchy? Oh well.

For the record: This is coming from a teacher of children, some of which do in fact believe in Santa. By no means am I telling you that I go around shattering the Christmas dreams of little children. That said, shall we carry on?

Please quit lying to your children. Have they been good? Give them gifts. And for goodness sake take credit for them. How can a child understand and appreciate a gift when it is so easily earned and so mystically given? You as parents have a tough job, don’t let an overweight geriatric get all the credit for the best part of parenting. Love your child by providing for them, teaching them about the world, listening to their problems, and by treating them to a nice gift now and then.

Santa isn’t real. We all know it. Historically founded? Perhaps. Let the magic of Christmas be about love and togetherness and thankfulness. Not a list of naughty versus nice. And for the love of all things Christmas do not manipulate your childs behavior by threatening to tell Santa about his or her misdeeds. That’s just cruel. Alright. I’m done with my rant. Here’s a poem I wrote about Santa back in college. I hope you like it despite how much you may want to hate it.

Mall Santa
In a red velvet suit, he’s perched on his throne,
awaiting his fans who’ve traveled from home.
We all know the story of this happy fellow,
how his love of cookies makes him quite mellow.
He twists his beard ’round his fat greasy thumb
while his other gloved hand scratches his bum.
He knows he’s the man who they’ve all come to see,
but this good old chap is not who he seems
He knocks back a double to take the edge off;
no child will notice his whiskey-drowned cough.
The camera bulbs flash and his job is near done,
he dreams of the clubs and paying for fun.
His jolly old face is just a good cover,
for this fat Mall-Santa is not like another.
He’s been shackled twice for shoplifting eggnog,
he’s even been rumored to attend synagogue.
Your kids may never know that that fat man they’re with,
is not really Santa because he’s just a myth.

For more musings about faith, family, food, and other things that don’t follow my alliterative phrasing head to my blog Love, B and have a look!

Love, B

Coping with Losing Elderly Parents


There is no easy way to lose one’s elderly parents but I reckon I am one of the lucky ones in that I had a very good relationship with both my mother and father and was able to be with them daily during their final years.

My father wrote me just one letter in our shared lifetime and that was just two weeks before the love of my life was swept away by cancer in January 1981 when I was just twenty-four. It was a very ‘fatherly’ letter and amongst other things, Dad said:

Please God in the coming year you will realise that there is no peace except the peace in your own heart. You have done all in your power to help and at least in this respect you will have no regrets. Regrets are often the most difficult to bear. 

These wise words about regrets remained etched in my mind and heart as my parents aged and I am so glad to be able to say that I don’t have many regrets about my relationship with them, especially in their latter years. Now that my own son has reached eighteen, I cringe a fair bit at the angst I must have caused them when I was a bit of a runaway teenager!

Mother died in May 2009, aged 88, and Dad lived for just a further sixteen months, dying at the ripe old age of 91. It felt like the end of the world when they died and I am now in that unimaginable future.

It was only after they had both died that I realised how little has been written about coping with the loss of elderly parents. Somehow, it seems that because parents are old that it’s considered to be somehow okay and natural  for them to die. I can accept the ‘natural’ bit but the ‘okay’ still catches me.

During the last few years, I’ve drawn on my training as a sociologist and on my life experience to try and find ways to cope with losing two of the most important people in my entire life. For example, I find solace in gardening, photography, poetry, writing and walking in the woods. These were things that Mother and Father both loved and I feel their presence most when I’m involved in these activities.

I would love to know how you have coped with losing your elderly parents or how you feel about that prospect if you still have your mother or father, or both, alive.

Jean Tubridy, Ireland.

http://socialbridge.wordpress.com

Catching Waves


I have just returned from a few days away at the beach where I enjoyed sitting out on the balcony (or at the large dining table inside) and watching the waves. Early one morning, there were many surfers sitting out in the water. I love watching them. Probably because a) I would never surf and b) I don’t go into sea water (Jaws has a lot to answer for ;) ).

As I was drinking my morning cuppa and surveying the scene before me, my mind wandered (as it often does) and I began to think about life and just how we all go about living it.
There we all are out in the big wide world waiting to catch our wave. The one that will bring us to happiness…. fame… fortune… recognition or abundance. Whatever in life it is we want. We are all different – some of us have yellow boards, some of us are wearing wetsuits…. you get the general idea. So whilst I was watching these surfers I wondered why they didn’t just catch every wave that came along, choosing instead to ride some out? What were their reasons for doing so? Was it not big enough? Or was it just not what they were looking for?Every wave was going in the same direction after all (just like life is all headed in one direction also).

Here is where I put my philosophical hat on ;)

Say for example we catch the first wave that comes along. The ride may not last for long but we are still heading in the right direction. If it peters out and we crash and burn, we get back on our surfboard and paddle back out – a little wiser for next time. Lesson learned. Wait for the next wave (or opportunity). Sometimes the ‘big one’ we are waiting for may give us a huge high and thrill when we catch it but dump us in the shallows and rolls on without us. It wasn’t what we expected at all. We get back on the surfboard and paddle back out and wait once more. Lesson learned. Each time we are ‘dumped’ we learn more.

What about those surfers that just seem to be continually waiting because no wave is exactly what they are expecting? They ride out the opportunities presented because nothing meets their standards. They spend their time in the water (life) just doing nothing. If they wait too long, a shark might find them easy prey. (See told you Jaws has a lot to answer for). Not everyone catches the wave of their dreams right away. It often takes many false starts and short rides before the wave you were waiting for finally arrives.

On that morning, whilst I was watching and admiring the skill and tenacity of those in the surf, I was learning a life lesson and isn’t learning and growth what life is all about?

Have a blessed day and hope you enjoying the wave you are on right now :)

My name is Sue and I write as It Goes On

What can I get?


Isn’t that the theme of life these days? What’s in it for me?
There is currently an advertising program for a car company running here in Australia that annoys me no end. It’s all about some cash-back offer however the ad shows things like a woman dropping coins in the hat of a busker and then putting out her hand for change. Or paying a person who has just washed a car windscreen and then putting their hand out for change. It’s perpetuating the culture that nobody does anything for nothing these days. Everything we do needs to have a kickback.
When someone asks you a favour, how do you generally respond? Is it “Okay, sure”, “Depends what you’re asking” or “What’s in it for me”? Do we need a reason (or payment) for helping a friend out?
When we apply for a job, we expect that we will be renumerated for our time (that’s called wages or salary). But should we also expect perks such as computer or phone? Or extended lunch breaks?  If they are included as part of the package, that’s great but why should we moan if they aren’t?
It appears that today’s society has become the “Me” generation. Everything is about them. What is it with expecting handouts as an inalienable right? In a world of billions of people, what leads you to believe that the world’s axis is you?
Surely the world would become a much better place if we had a shift in our thoughts from “What can I get” to “How can I serve”?

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if everyone adopted that mantra? How can I serve today?

My name is Sue and I write as It Goes On

Bottled Fury


It drips with melted scorn, this steel of resolve. Flash nor glamour is needed within these hallowed halls of wanted righteousness. Is it that we seek some light, nay… we simply see from the dark. And everything is much brighter with the coming day, when waking from nightmares of the night. I flash my steel in their general direction and blackness encompasses my flimsy attempt. Dare they that wish upon a star, only to see it fall to earth and in turn grant another’s wish. We see irony in the attempts of man to be like Gods. And humor in their downfall.

-OM

Let me Clarify one more Time


This is the last time I will write something of this nature. HarsH ReaLiTy is NOT a public website. It is owned privately, by me alone, and is a blank page for me to write whatever the fuck I want. That is what I have done, what I do currently, and what I will always do here… sharing my opinion on whatever floats my fucking boat (Yes, I just used the word FUCK twice, abnormal I know). If that offends you or you don’t want to be mentioned by me there are a few ways to help avoid that.

  1. Don’t email me.
  2. Don’t write about my website or me.
  3. Don’t comment on my website.
  4. Don’t be North Korean.

These are the ONLY people I ever comment on without permission. So it is really simple actually, if you don’t want me to mention you (and by the way I don’t ever post anyone’s name or website here without good reason) just stay away. Plenty of WordPress room for both of us.

This website is my journal, my FaceBook, my rant book, my twitter, my sand to draw in, my whatever the hell I want it to be on any given day. That is how I treat it and that is how I like to blog. I normally could care less what people think, but in this case I needed to respond because of a recent email. If you don’t want me to possibly call you out, don’t talk to me. This is not a company, it is a one man show and guess what? Sometimes I have bad days and sometimes I feel like kicking rabbits. I truly hope that offended someone.

It really is that DAMN simple.

-OM

Dear Follower


Dear Follower,

I will no longer buckle under repeated email pressure to re-blog anyone. I admit you got me with your request and urgently worded emails about needing to be re-blogged for school. Funny how as soon as I re-blogged you the emails stopped. Not even a thank you… awesome. Sometimes I am just a sucker.

-OM

Conviction


And do you holler at the wind? Shouting your rhetoric until your veins do burst… do you care who listens or takes heed? Lay down such worries for another day and instead take heart in your current passion. It warms you against the bleakness that is our everyday reality. Perhaps it is instead their reality and not your own that bothers them.

I walk through green pastures even during times of war. I see smiles around me even as I listen to the constant chorus of gunfire. I pick roses from graveyards and I parade through the streets with my ideals in tow behind me. I do this not for glory or for recognition, but instead because I care. Conviction is a banner and I have named myself the banner man for the day. Sadly our trumpets of war are looked down upon by others. The populace has grown soft and weary from battle and instead would rather dumb down or ignore the hard topics altogether. Even as I loop my way around the village square I am constantly being ignored.

“Be assertive without aggression” the fool whispers to me in the morning. By the afternoon I have ignored him for the very reason that I cannot ignore the beating of chests around me. “How dare he judge me,” “What does he know of our hardship,” and “Judge not least you be judged” are hurled at me from every direction. I smile. I smile because I know that my conviction has touched them and their anger at me is proof that their conviction is not as strong as my own.

-OM

Dialogue, not debate


In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? John 14:2

With about 40 major divisions of belief in Christianity (according to Wikipedia), and about 40,000 denominations within those, how do Christians ever hope to agree on the definition of Christianity – and God’s purpose for us here on earth?

OM has graciously agreed to allow me his space on Harsh Reality to ruminate about this over the next couple of weeks. For those of you who are not Christians, or who may be and don’t call yourselves such, I ask you to bear with me. There may be food for thought here for you as well. Or certainly an opinion or two you may want to share.

We as Christians have argued about theology since the Jerusalem Council. We continue to have debates and disagreements about tenets and dogma and doxology. Some of that disagreement is commendable. You cannot worship a God you do not know, or serve a God when you do not know what He requires.

However…how long is your list of non-negotiable items? Does your list fit what Scripture actually says? Have you taken the time to look for yourself? Are you standing outside the box inside which you have put God? Have you puffed yourself up to be bigger than the God who created you?

“I appeal to you, brothers, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same judgment. For it has been reported to me that there is quarreling among you. What I mean is that each one of you says, “I follow Paul,” or “I follow Apollos,” or “I follow Peter,” or “I follow Christ.” Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul?” 1 Corinthians 1:10-13

Are the debatable nuances of your theology truly important enough that they are applicationally relevant to the lives we are called to lead?

When we show ourselves to be mean-spirited and accusatory, closed-minded and judgmental, arrogant and divisive, do we attract people to God? Do we illustrate the love and humility of Jesus?  Do we reveal the Holy Spirit at work in our lives? The best way to evangelize is to create a deep desire in others that the Creator and Christ are real.

“Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world. I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me.” John 17:17-18, 20-21

Our call is not to convert people – it is to make disciples. And for most people, discipleship is not a snap decision; it’s lifelong process. We need dialogue, not debate. We need to plant seeds of love and let God harvest the hearts of others.

I’ll end on a note for us all – a quote from the apostle Peter, who Jesus called his rock, and who became the leader of the church in Rome – in effect, the first pope.

“Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind. Do not repay evil with evil or insult for insult, but with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit God’s blessing.” (1 Peter 3:8-9)

You can also find this posted on my blog at www.susanirenefox.com.

Tom Cruise is the Terminator


I have to mention that I watched Jack Reacher because it was on Netflix. I already knew it was going to be bad, but I like Tom and gave it a go. What the hell happened in the bathroom scene??? Now I realize our hero is supposedly some secret classified army specialist. Let’s just stop right here for a second…

Is anyone else tired of this “post Jason Bourne” trend of creating new top secret killers? Did we just get tired of calling them ninjas so we started making stuff up? Ok I will move on.

So our hero, Maverick, is walking backwards (why was he walking backwards through a doorway if he was so trained? Pfff some ninja!) when he gets hit full swing by a baseball bat to the back of his head. A baseball bat… our hero lands in the tub and shakes it off! At this point Batman pulls the curtain back, while taking a shower, and screams “Shizzam!” Ok, Batman didn’t show up, but if Tom Cruise can shake off that kind of blow… he might as well have.

We aren’t stupid Hollywood! Stop treating us like idiots! You can’t “shake off” a bat to the back of the skull. All the muscles and anger in the world would be lucky enough to simply keep your ass alive. Tom Cruise must be the next terminator. Yes I cared that much.

-OM

Real or Not Real


We can all bring to mind a character from literature that we particularly enjoyed. A character that stayed with us, and one we recall fondly. Perhaps you joined Huckleberry Finn on his many adventures. You might even be curious about what he’s up to now! Of course we’d have to ask Mark Twain about that. But imagine it, gaining an insight into what makes the character tick, seeing things through their eyes.

For books written in first person we can do that, at least for a certain length of time. Until we turn the last page, and it’s sayonara. The final curtain. Usually.

A few years ago it was popular for writers to set up character blogs, incorporating anything from daily news and humerous observations, to fun-packed adventures. All from the character’s point of view.

It’s easy to see the advantages from a readers’ perspective (entertainment value for one), but we shouldn’t overlook the disadvantages either. The main one, as far as I can see, is the lack of transparency. We bloggers like to learn from each other, to know the person we’re reading about. If we like a particular article or post, we generally click on the all-important ‘about’ button to gain more insight. What happens when everything we read is fictional? Sometimes it can leave us with more questions than answers.

It might also be confusing, especially if the character is based on a real person (or combination of people) in the author’s life. A reader could be forgiven for thinking they’re delving into the thoughts and feelings of a genuine person.

Media today utilises the popularity of fictional characters. Take for example Richard Castle – several books have been written under the pseudonym; based on a character from a cult television series. There is plenty of evidence to show how much people enjoy a regular drama-based series, and I’m sure fans of the show would welcome the thought of ‘spending more time’ with their favourites.

Fan-fiction is also becoming more popular, although most of examples you can read on Wattpad are based on real people – a perception of them at least. If you browse through Twitter there are plenty of fictitious accounts, some are down-right bizarre! Luke Friend from the X-Factor even had his own account on Twitter, dedicated to his hair.

As with anything else, there are a variety of reasons a writer might choose to create a character blog; promotion, information, recreation – the list goes on. From a writer’s point of view, sharing from the perspective of a particular character might offer a sense of freedom; a chance to show a part of themselves they wouldn’t normally reveal.

It’s not always easy to sit in front of a blank screen and fill it with words. At least words that are interesting enough to share with the world. If that blank screen is waiting for a writer to fill with anecdotes from a person (albeit fictional) who has a great deal to say, well, you can see the draw of something like that.

WordPress have hundreds of sites aimed at writers, of improving the craft, and sharing with others the pitfalls, successes and frustrations. One of the predominant themes is usually linked to the characters they create; how to make them genuine, natural, leap off the page. That kind of thing. I imagine a blog designed specifically for such characters would be a great platform to learn and grow.

I think, at the end of the day, a character blog is like everything else. If you like what you see, you follow the blog, and dip in and out as you choose. If it’s not you cup of tea, then you move on. No harm done.

What do you think? Is there a place for character blogs?

-Mel

www.mbarkersimpson.com

www.mbarkersimpson.wordpress.com

Feminism? Vegetarianism? Linked or not?


Opinionated Man:

This article was amusing. I also appreciated the mention of my scientific piece written on shatteredsmoke.com entitled “Those things women do.” I found it rather amusing myself. -OM
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Originally posted on The Bouncing Tigger:

vegetable-heart.jpgI have set myself a challenge to see if there is any link between being a vegetarian and being a feminist.
This fulfils a number of the Zerotohero challenges as it comes out of comments I’ve left on sites and new sites I’ve been looking at. one site which is great fun – but is very inspiring if you think you are a feminist is http://shatteredsmoke.com/2014/01/13/those-things-women-do/ – by the Opinionated man. Well he certainly has opinions – just look at what he has to say about fashion… but then he does live in Colorado – says the Londoner and proud of it!
As part of my challenges I looked into a number of new topic areas but came back to a discussion about being a vegetarian by someone who was also a feminist and blogged about both, so I thought ‘I wonder if there is any link? Are more feminists…

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