Friday, November 07, 2008

What about Wishes?

So I've been doing great on my withdrawal from  news addiction. This is a blog post about writing! That's an improvement, right? (Okay, so who watched the press conference today? My respect for him managed to grow. I didn't know it had room to grow. He is such a good listener, such a gracious man. So polite and thoughtful to the reporters.)

(Wait, one more note: who else is fascinated with the email he sent out to his supporters Wednesday? We're going to have a president who emails us. That's something, isn't it? I have a feeling he is going to continue to use his community organizing talents in his presidency. I'm looking forward to seeing what happens.)

image One of the ways I connect to my stories (and hopefully to readers) is through Universal Wishes. There are things we all wish for, all hope for, and those things are common ground.

Wishing for Love

I once heard a story about a therapist (or psychologist or psychiatrist or something) who was asked to help refugees. She was worried about how she could ever understand and help them after their experiences. In the end, she said she was surprised they were much like everyone else: hoping for love. She joked it was all about my boyfriend and I were in different boats, and he took up with another woman, etc.

The universal hope for love is probably why romances, as a genre, sell the best.

Wishing to Take Back Time

I was just thinking, the other day. I once knew someone who made a little traffic mistake, just a split second tiny oopsy, and killed someone. Last I talked to her, it was two years after the fact and she still hadn't recovered from the emotional impact. As far as I know, she moved back to her home country to be with her family.

If you think about it, she could've just gotten a ticket, no accident, and it would've been forgotten immediately. No big deal. Oopsy-daisy.

But then it had to result in hitting another car. Bigger deal. And someone died, HUGE deal.

It's strange how, in the split second after something tragic and terrible happens, you want so badly to undo what happened  that your mind searches frantically for a way to undo disaster. In that moment, you almost believe you can go back in time, you have to be able to go back in time, just a couple seconds. You want it so badly you believe if you think fast, you'll be able to find a way to undo it.

But then you realize you can't.

image Wishing to Be Understood

And then I was thinking about the yearning to be understood, the need to express our feelings and thoughts and personal philosophies. Is this a writer thing, an artist thing, or part of the human condition? Do some people find their yearning satisfied by reading books, watching movies, hearing others of like mind? And are others hardwired to find their yearning satisfied by the creation of those books and movies, by the expression of their feelings?

Like yin and yang?

Wishing for a Different Destiny

Joaquin Phoenix is giving up acting. God, he's a brilliant actor; it breaks my heart.  Sometimes, I think the universe gives certain gifts to certain people, but doesn't give them the desire. What do you do when you're gifted at something but don't want to do it anymore? What if the universe still needs that thing? I remember talking to one of my teachers once, and she mentioned that sometimes she felt as if the universe conspired to keep her in teaching, no matter how much she wanted out.

She's a great, fantastic teacher, one of the best of the best, truly. I can honestly see why the universe would conspire to keep her in teaching.

Real life is contrary to what "they" say.

So what do you hope for? What other wishes do you think most humans share? What do you wish for? Do you ever write characters wishing for something universal?

19 bonus scribbles:

Heather Harper 11/07/2008 08:43:00 PM  

I wish for peace and content. Financial peace, peace with others, peace with myself.

spyscribbler 11/07/2008 09:36:00 PM  

Oooh, Heather, sounds great to me! All of that, sheesh. I sure connect with that.

Edie 11/07/2008 11:08:00 PM  

You ask big questions, Spy. I wish for so many things. For a cure for so many diseases, starting with cancer, Alzheimer's, Crohn's disease and arthritis. To reach my professional goal and sell my books. Then there's the economy. I wish that will swing back up. Soon.

One of my books is about four women who met through a weight loss program. Almost every person I know, male and female, wants to lost weight. Does that count as universal? Not in every country, but in the U.S.

Robin 11/07/2008 11:17:00 PM  

"Ever wish you could turn back time and take it all back?" That would be my wedding day. Har. Har.

I didn't know Joaquin Pheonix was quitting acting. Was it because of that one crappy movie with Mark Wahlberg? I sort of liked it. Certainly not worth quitting over.

This is totally selfish, but the thing I wish most for is that my kids will be OK - happy, healthy, find love (in another boat if necessary). But that leads to unselfish wishes, like world peace, so they can live in a nice place.

Virginia Lady 11/08/2008 01:22:00 AM  

I have so many things I would love to wish for.

Peace, prosperity and happiness. But more than anything I really wish people appreciated what a wonder being alive is. I think we need to realize that being able to appreciate one another, faults and all, and taking the time to enjoy each other is more important than material possessions.

Melanie Avila 11/08/2008 09:10:00 AM  

I wrote about longing today, too, Weird. I actually wanted to email you about it but my internet was down all day yesterday. One of my characters is really affecting me and this is a first for me.

As for my wishes, you know them both.

Melanie Avila 11/08/2008 10:49:00 AM  

And... once again you've nailed one of my favorite scenes from the movie. *sigh*

spyscribbler 11/08/2008 12:20:00 PM  

All great wishes, Edie. I have mixed feelings about the economy. I don't want it to get worse, but sometimes I think some of us need an attitude adjustment when it comes to our financial priorities. (Let's pay our bills and our mortgage before taking a golfing trip to Las Vegas, LOL.)

I want to lose weight.

spyscribbler 11/08/2008 12:26:00 PM  

Robin, those aren't selfish at all! I think all wishes are, in a way, selfish. Most every selfless act or hope can be traced to some self-oriented motivation, even if it's self-preservation for the human race as opposed to self-preservation for yourself.

Good lord, I have no idea what I'm talking about. Clearly, I just feel like talking, LOL.

spyscribbler 11/08/2008 12:27:00 PM  

Virginia, peace, prosperity, and happiness sound perfect! I'm sort of experiencing a backlash to the materialism of our society. I don't want things. Things repulse me. I would empty out my whole house if I could.

spyscribbler 11/08/2008 12:28:00 PM  

Melanie, I love getting emails from you! Bummer about the internet. I hate that! But look at the writing you got done. I need to get to work. I'm still struggling through my world. It takes a long time to read 150,000 words!

I've so got my fingers crossed for your wishes. :-)

LaDonna 11/08/2008 05:03:00 PM  

Spy, beautiful blog. And I was sad when I read about Jonquin. He's brilliant and when he acts, I feel the man. He channeled Johnny C perfectly in that movie. I wonder if the music desire stemmed from his experience. Whatever he decides, I'm a fan.

I think all humans grow from love. It's such a small word for so many areas of our life. On a personal note, I wish no child would go hungry or be harmed ever again. We're such a knowledgeable world, yet our children are sometimes less protected than a criminal. We're responsible for making it right, and I have faith that we can.

As far as my characters, they all carry specific hopes, and it's my job to deliver. :)

Dube 11/08/2008 07:40:00 PM  

Joaquin is giving up acting? I didn't know until I read your blog and went to the link. I bet you he will eventually come back. He's 34, so it sounds like a "mini-midlife crisis" or maybe an identity crisis type of thing. I'm the same age so I kind of know how that works. ;-) I bet we haven't seen the last of him!

Rick 11/09/2008 11:27:00 AM  

I wish very much that the news would go away, so that people would again go out and find life for themselves instead of having it delivered by news conglomerates who profit by our emotional ups and downs.

I wish the government would go back to work instead of being a reality TV show to keep people distracted from life. If we have to turn to politicians to feel good about ourselves, we have, I think, lost touch with living.

So, yes, I wish the news would go away so we could be adventurous again and find our own news. If we are too busy watching television to live adventurous lives, I fear our fiction will tend toward the tepid.

That would be a good start.

spyscribbler 11/09/2008 12:21:00 PM  

LaDonna, I'm so disappointed, too! He is a talented singer. I'll be curious to hear what kind of music he's going to sing. Sad, though. He's brilliant at acting!

I agree: it's all about love!

spyscribbler 11/09/2008 12:25:00 PM  

Dube, I'm about the same age, too. (35) I'm going through the exact same thing, big time. It's a pain in the neck.

I hope you're right! I hope we haven't seen the last of him.

spyscribbler 11/09/2008 12:35:00 PM  

That's an interesting take, Rick! I think most of the news is ridiculous. I do think it's important for us to be aware of what our government is doing (particularly when it starts taking away our rights), and that we need to be aware of what's going on in the world.

Interesting what you say about life and fiction. I think you're right, but also that there's a happy medium.

Fiction, ideally, should reflect our life and times, and we need to live the former and be aware of the latter.

Rick 11/09/2008 12:58:00 PM  

That's the difficulty, Spy. So many of our opinions are absorbed passively, gained without involvement, just by tuning in the television and radio. What I'm wondering is whether the decline of American fiction has a bit to do with our passivity. Haven't you noticed that the rise in depression and anxiety tracks with the rise of televised media? Politicians and politics and world events tend to substitute for own lives. As writers, if we don't live enough, experience enough, do enough, our fiction might be watered down because of it. What do you think?

I'm curious on this, not argumentative.

spyscribbler 11/09/2008 02:08:00 PM  

Rick, you bring up some great discussion, LOL. Do you really want me to address all of it, LOL?

In High School Honors English, we sort of (arrogantly) referred to that as the Common Cattle Syndrome. Well, I don't think we defined it as a syndrome, but we definitely used the term "common cattle" a whole lot. I'm not proud of that, LOL, but there was an element of truth in there.

About the television and radio: I hate both if they are background noise or an excuse to disengage the mind. I do enjoy watching a few shows on the internet, but with my full attention. I rarely listen to music in the background, although, lately, I have been doing a little more of it. Mostly, though, if I listen to music, that's what I'm doing with my whole attention.

DH, on the other hand, has them on constantly. To say it irritates the shit out of me is an EXTREME UNDERSTATEMENT. If not watched actively, it can blanket the mind, squelch curiosity and desire. That's my opinion. There's a time for mindless relaxation, though. Just not all day long!!!

I would agree that we are too passive, as a whole, but I would take that as far as saying we are too passive about our country and our politics. If we are not aware, then that government can take away our ability to live and adventure without us even realizing it.

As far as politics and politicians substituting for our own lives, I can honestly say that pretty much everyone I know tends to passively ignore 99% of the time, save this election year.

I'm thrilled that this election has inspired people to be more aware, more involved, and more active. 80% of the voting population used to vote; we're at 35-55% in the last forty years, save this year.

On the whole, though, I find that most people pretty much ignore politics. But that's just my experience.

As far as living vs. writing: I don't know. Everyone I know is working so much, there's not much time for anything else. It's part the economy, part our society.

It's arguable that work is part of our life, and it's part of our life experience.

Again, I think there's a balance. You have to have time to make money. You have to have time to write. You have to have time to eat, sleep, and be with family. After that, there isn't much time for living all that you write about.