The Hard Truth About Big Ideas

As you may have noticed, my blog has been in a bit of a holding pattern for awhile. This hasn’t been lack of motivation on my part, rather too much unfocused motivation.

You see, I have this problem that some of you may share. I’m an “idea person.” Even worse, I’m a BIG idea person. Lots of thoughts, lots of opinions, and twice as many stories buzz around my mind constantly. I get lines of dialogue waking me up in the middle of the night … blog post topics while driving on the highway … story structure in the shower.

You get the idea.

Big Ideas are my downfall.

The problem is execution. I have things to work on, things I’m passionate about. I know I should be working on those things, but somehow only a smattering of what I wanted to get accomplished actually gets done.

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Gladiator Fights Were Not all Death Matches

It’s one of those things that most people assume – when gladiators fought one of the combatants had to die.

Not true. It’s just not true.

Was  death a real possibility? Of course. It was a contest of strength, skill, and courage. Plus, they used real weapons.

But it was not mandatory, or even desired, for gladiators fight to the death. Off the top of my head, here are three reasons why:

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War of Words: When Authors Hate

I wanted to include this brilliant infographic courtesy of The Huffington Post. Just hover over the arrows to get the rich vitriol of authors ragging on each other’s work.

One of my favourites:

Mark Twain on Jane Austen

I often want to criticise Jane Austen, but her books madden me so that I can’t conceal my frenzy from the reader; and therefore I have to stop every time I begin. Everytime I read ‘Pride and Prejudice’ I want to dig her up and beat her over the skull with her own shin-bone.
—Letter to Joseph Twitchell (Sept. 13, 1898)

Poor Jane. At least she was dead. I still like Pride and Prejudice, no matter what the man with the mustache says.

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The Dangers of ‘Like’ Culture

Who doesn’t want to be liked?

Apart from Holden Caulfield – and that’s up for debate too.

On Facebook, as in most of life, it can be difficult to take a position that may turn out to be unpopular. If you post something many of your friends don’t ‘like’ it increases your sense of isolation. Even more intimidating, it can make you feel as though people are judging you for your dissenting opinion. And you’re right, they probably are judging you.

An interesting article by Neil Strauss on the Wall Street Journal website compares mining for likes to stand-up comedians practicing jokes:

A status update that is met with no likes (or a clever tweet that isn’t retweeted) becomes the equivalent of a joke met with silence. It must be rethought and rewritten. And so we don’t show our true selves online, but a mask designed to conform to the opinions of those around us.

A mask is such a good metaphor in this instance. We do so often hide behind our on-line personas like revelers at a masquerade. Me included.

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Word for That: Duffifie

I can’t tell you how much I love this word. Thank you to the Scots, for having a word for something that takes a sentence to explain:

Duffifie ~ To lay down a bottle on its side for some time, after its contents have been poured out, that it may be completely drained of the few drops remaining in it.

So duffifie that bottle of rum (or champagine, if that’s your preference), and don’t waste any.

Happy New Year!

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