Thursday, March 11, 2010

Words to Benefit Others

"Happiness comes when your work and words are of benefit to yourself and others." -Buddha That's my reason for writing words and songs, and for teaching. The Buddha summed it up!

I wrote a song the other day for the purpose of healing my community, despondent as many of us are since the discovery of the murders of Chelsea King and Amber Dubois. Some might assume that I want to share the song, my husband pointed out, out of egotistical reasons, to get fans. That thought had not occurred to me, because I only thought of the song as a kind of offering, to benefit myself by healing others, to feel as though I could do something to help, instead of feeling so helpless, as most of our community feels now. I know my husband is right, that people assume writing and sharing is about ego. But it's not for me. It's a higher purpose.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Contradiction Within a Metaphor

While discussing my plans for the enormous success of a newly finished manuscript with my son (as if planning has anything to do with success!), I mused, "Ah, I'll be in heaven when that happens."

My wise son replied, "That's a weird expression, Mom. It can be both negative AND optimistic. You could be saying that success won't happen till after you're dead. Or you could be envisioning the joy you expect to happen."

Maybe I should have used a simile instead: "Ah, I'll feel like I'm in heaven when that happens."

Word power...


You get an idea for a poem or a story, but you're in your car or out walking, somewhere impossible to write. And the idea spins into lines in your head, begging to be recorded. You worry that you'll forget this windfall of words before you can write them down. My advice to you: Don't strain to record them later if they were but temporary traveling partners. You wouldn't try to force a friendship with someone you met on the road unless some surprising, special bond had occurred. The same applies to your words.

I have learned to trust the power of reverberation in my writing life.

Reverberation is a quality directly proportional to the quality of the words. Great words tend to stick around and echo in your head till they're recorded. They are memorable because, by definition, they are "able to be remembered"--by the author as well as the reader. If you've forgotten your own words, chances are that someone else will forget them, too.

Trust the power of reverberation, and recognize that memorable words flow--they can never be manufactured.