Claudia Osmond ~ Reader, Writer, and Ruminator

Posts Tagged ‘ruminations’

Is it just the way we do it now?

In a peek inside my head on October 6, 2010 at 12:08 pm

This whole social media scene intrigues me. Why do people do it? Why do I do it? People have gotten on just fine for millenia without it by actually sharing their lives around tables, in living rooms, in pubs, with real people in real time. Why the sudden appeal of joining online communities? Is it just the way we do it now? Is it just the way we’re evolving socially?

I’ve heard and read comments, many times, (uh, mostly on facebook and twitter) about how people are so involved in their online communities they barely have time for or remember the names/contact info of the “real” people in their lives. Now, I’m assuming they’re joking, but is there some truth to that? Is this becoming a trend?  

This blog topic was actually inspired by Becky Levine’s post on “Unclogging a Piece of Social Networking”. In it she expresses how social media can actually start to bog you down. How there are times when one should assess which sites are best and which sites are best left out.

It got me thinking … What is the overall worth of such sites in my life?

So, jumping off from Becky’s conversation, let me ask you this: What social networking platforms have you found to be most enriching to your life? By asking that I’d like you to step away from answering in terms of commercial value, like, if you have a business and it’s doing better since joining LinkedIn. Or if you’re an author and you’ve sold more books since joining Goodreads. If that’s true, then that’s great. But what I’d like to know is, are there any social media platforms out there that have actually helped you connect with people in really meaningful ways. Have you met people through social media who have supported you, encouraged you, helped you, laughed with you; have truly become people you call friends? Have you met people through social media who have helped you develop your craft; expanded your knowledge and passion in a field of interest; facilitated a venue for your artistic expression; assisted you in finding the help you needed; provided the boost you needed to keep you from giving up something important to you?

If yes, would you share an example?

If no, is this something you’d like to get out of social media at some point? Or would you prefer to keep your social media contacts at a professional level?

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Three to One

In a peek inside my head on October 4, 2010 at 4:14 pm

What do you do when writing is really HARD?

Me? I check email, send a tweet or two, post a link on facebook, research something obscure and hope it’ll somehow find its way into a future manuscript. And then I write a blog post about how writing can be really hard.

You know, I often wonder how some writers can crank out book after book after book – entire triologies have been written in the time it’s taken me to complete one freaking book. I kid you not. (Hmmm … maybe they don’t distract as easily as I do when writing gets hard. It’s a thought.)

I’m also a slow reader. A friend of mine can read entire trilogies in the time it takes me to read the first book. Again, I kid you not.

However, I must say that she hardly remembers a thing she reads.

Me, on the other hand, I over-think things. When I’m reading, I often find myself analyzing words and sentences, reading them over and over because I like the sound or the look of them. If there’s an especially appealing word on the page, my eye will jump back to it several times before I turn that page. Sometimes I have to stop and say the word out loud. Yes, I’m a bit obsessive with the look and sound of certain words. Especially if they’re in a fabulous font. I have a childhood saturated in Dr. Seuss to thank for that.

The same kind of thing happens when I’m writing. More times than not, I find myself jumping back a few pages, reading and revising when I really “should” be pushing forward. And ironically, it’s days like today, days when I’m determined not to go back, that writing becomes hard. It’s days like today that I get the least amount of writing done. When I don’t allow myself to flow with my natural writing bent, when I don’t allow myself the pleasure of enjoying the words I’m writing and my focus is only on adding more words where I left off the day before, my word count seriously lacks growth. 

This isn’t a new revelation to me by any means. I used to think my “revisionitis” was a condition that I needed to be cured of, so I used to fight against it. (Evidently, sometimes I still do.) But I’ve recently realized it isn’t a condition that needs curing; it’s simply my process. A process that I’m still learning to accept.

And I’m coming to accept something else, too:

I write best when I read. Yes, when I read other people’s books, of course. But I mean, when I actually read and enjoy the words that are already in the document I’m working on. I’m a very visual person: I love format. I love fonts. I love the look of dialogue. I love deep black on crisp white. For me, writing is more than just getting the story out and dropping as many words as I can onto the page; although c’est tres important, aussi. But I’m slowly figuring out that my revisionitis isn’t only about rewriting. It’s also about allowing myself the pleasure of enjoying and appreciating the words that are on the page for the way they look and sound just as much as for what they mean. And amazingly, when I do that, the story progresses.

The trick is figuring out how to do that about three times faster than I currently am.

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When does writing become hard for you? And what do you do about it?

What does this say about God?

In a peek inside my head on September 20, 2010 at 9:30 am

Questions and insights into the human condition have always been of interest to me. Some people believe we are inherently good. Others believe we are inherently evil. But if we are inherently good, why is there so much evil in the world? And on the flip-side, if we are inherently evil, why is there so much good in the world? (Yes, there is a lot of good going on in the world. And you really, truly don’t have to look too far to find it. But to focus on the good things in our world is really quite counter-cultural and would likely put scores of journalists and news anchors out of a job; ’cause let’s face it, the scandal involving so-and-so is going to get the air time over a segment on a youth group raising funds to feed homeless people downtown. Not to mention, People, US, and TMZ would be a complete bore and seriously be lacking in word count, wouldn’t they?)

I digress.

In light of some recent public and media attention surrounding two specific events in the U.S. that demonstrate some very un-Christian behavior from a couple of professed Christians, I found it timely to be asked this question yesterday. Perhaps it’s a question on many people’s minds.

“If man is made in the image of God, what does this tell us about God?”

I would have loved to answer that question from a positive slant. But it was asked from the negative. And really, either way you look at it, this question can’t be answered and presented in a nice neat little box. It’s a messy question. And it’s one that comes from a very specific perspective.

By no means am I suggesting the following answer I gave is a definitive, “right” or only answer. Like many things in life, the true and complete nature of humanity’s relationship to God and vice versa isn’t something that can be figured out in a few minutes. Not in a day. Not even in a lifetime. But that shouldn’t stop us from grappling with the questions we have. So here’s a partial perspective on the topic from my general point of view:

Have you ever heard about the original masterpieces they’ve discovered that have been painted over by some other artist, covering up the work of the master artist? I think it’s kind of like that. The original masterpiece God created has been painted over by our own choice of designs.

We have no one to thank but ourselves (as a species) for the things that are wrong with humanity, for who has been given the power to make choices? Yet we tend to project our bad choices back to God and blame him for everything that’s wrong in the world. We even blame him for giving us free will and the ability to make our own choices, as is reflected in the question above. But usually only when those choices make humanity look bad, ie: slavery, injustice, abuse of power/authority, hate crimes, disrespect of the environment, the list goes on …

However, God’s original design/image/brushstrokes are still there, underneath millenia of humans painting over his design with their own. But, small glimpses of the original design sometimes do resurface when people act on behalf of the world and humanity out of pure unselfish motives.

There are other positive things about humanity, too, that truly do reflect God’s image. However, sadly, we seem to like to take credit for those things ourselves.

The upside in this broken world: we do have the ability to make choices that can let the original design resurface. And in so doing, we can make our world a better place.

Have you ever asked yourself the above question? How would you answer it? Please leave a comment if you feel comfortable doing so. I’d like to hear what you think.