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When you beat yourself up, you hold the hammer

Thursday’s Thoughts continue to be affected by Tuesday’s truth. No matter how correct my idea could be, the tone with which it’s delivered bothers me. The notion that we are all self-appointed experts exhausts me. Disclaimer: I don’t know Anything. I may write with authority but that’s only because I’ve decided it’s true for me at *this* moment in my life. I repeat: All of my “wisdom” is likely folly and subject to change on a wish on the wind. You have been warned.

Recently a friend, one of the non-imaginary variety, texted me how bad she was feeling about some choices she made. These were small dietary, lifestyle choices that have resulted in her not living up to her own standard. (I type that for clarification because some choices have bigger consequences than others.) There’s about a book’s worth of thoughts rolled right into that one idea. Today I’m just going to focus on 1 tiny part and hope it helps someone out there have a better day.

Negative Self Talk This internal lecture begins as some kind of punishment. You think, “if I just kick my own butt over this, I’ll learn my lesson! I’ll do better from now on. But first, I really need to hammer this home. I must fully, thoroughly understand how terrible those choices were to insure that I never repeat them. I will be sure to tell myself all of my faults and failings. I will not hide any of my negative attributes from myself. In fact, let me dig through this vault I’ve kept close by just for such an occasion. Ooh here are some of my favorites! I shall emotionally magnify them as necessary so that, as God is my witness, I will never eat an entire box of crackers (or whatever) and watch Netflix (for days–or whatever) again.” Yeah! You criminal! How dare you?! (oops–not helping) Read More

Who gives a @#$%&! about an Oxford comma?

(My apologies to the music group Vampire Weekend for hijacking their lyric.) Writing Wednesday has been full of dull information. It’s been less than charming to see people argue over the use of the Oxford comma. When I was in high school, my 10th grade English teacher bled red ink all over my papers if I used one. She told me we were using AP style. (She also got really irritated with the way my awesome short story ended.  She wrote a piece about Mike Tyson being her hero. It wasn’t very good. I thought of her with a smirk when he chewed Evander Holyfield’s ear off. Ms. English Teacher, grab a dictionary because that’s not very heroic.)  Not to put too fine of a point on it but her judgement was questionable. Every teacher had a different idea of what was preferable. Between punctuation and the various American/British spellings of words, I’m having a fabulous time.

I’ve listed an example below for those of you who don’t understand the Oxford comma ISSUE.

I love my parents, Rob Lowe, and Miss Piggy.
(That mark just before the word “and” is the Oxford comma. It’s supposed to let the reader know I’m listing 3 different things.)

I love my parents, Rob Lowe and Miss Piggy.
(Same sentence without the Oxford comma)

Without this tiny mark, there’s a chance that someone might think I’m declaring that my parents are Rob Lowe and Miss Piggy.

First of all, it’s rare that these sorts of questions would come up. Most of the time, the list is such that this confusion would not occur. Second, if I wanted you to know that my parents are Rob Lowe and Miss Piggy, I could use a colon and remove all doubt.

I love my parents: Rob Lowe and Miss Piggy.

Rob Lowe and Miss Piggy

I’m a proud multi-species pen.

Third, I’m sorry Kermit. They just couldn’t control their passion for each other.

The worst part of writing a book, so far, has been watching people attempt to eviscerate each other online as I double check that tiny little jots and squiggles are all in the right place.

2nd Amateur Writer Error: I forgot that I’ll never please Everyone.

If a tree fell in the woods, would we tell it to shut up?

Could it be Truthful Tuesday? Have no fear, imaginary friends! Truthful Tuesday will not be a regular feature. I can’t commit.

Once in a while, our collective wisdom exhausts me. I was going to post about how the Internet solves the age old question about the tree falling in the woods when nobody is around….. Of course every cool picture of a fallen tree had a blog attached to it. Those pictures were illustrating the same idea I had or to teach something about marketing. See? We’re all so wise. We seem to be repeating ourselves. (Tangent: How many blogs and podcasts are out there simply re-purposing what other blogs and podcasts have said?! I’m all for a summary but that feels a bit like cheating.)

living tree trunk carved like a stick figure

Here’s a tree that hasn’t fallen down. Check out some interesting art at pooktre.com.

The short version of what I wanted to say is this: The Internet gives that tree a megaphone with a recorder and a pause feature. When someone comes within range of it, possibly years after it fell, the sound can play and it will be heard. That can be great news to many people who live just to be heard. They shout at the infinite abyss, “I’m here!!!! I’m worthy. Listen to me!” while stamping their foot for good measure. It can also be the worst news for people who are growing because today’s wisdom can easily be tomorrow’s folly and there’s a worldwide record of it. Read More