Writing a Memoir: The Ultimate Selfie →
Apparently, it’s simple. You flip the camera on your phone, extend your arm and snap away. It’s not so easy for me. It takes practice, a long arm and a certain degree of confidence.
Whether you love them or hate them, avoid them or post them, selfies are here to stay. ‘Selfie’ was even selected as word of the year for 2013 by Oxford Dictionaries.
Selfies are also getting a lot of flak. People who post a lot of selfies have been accused of alienating people. They are said to be shallow and have low self-esteem because they need constant approval and are prone to superficial relationships. The selfie-obsessed seem to be down-right narcissistic. Some people go so far as to call them mentally ill. (Daily Mail)
On a more positive note, they are considered empowering. They give you an opportunity to express yourself and to show pride in your appearance. They can boost your confidence, but then you should guard against becoming dependent on the opinions of others. It also allows you to control your image. (TeenVougue)
Why selfies are like writing memoirs
"My favourite part about being a writer is being totally lost inside a story, so immersed that your fictional life overtakes your real one. I love the madness of that, when the story is pouring out and you feel this crazy urgency to get it down before you lose it. It’s totally euphoric, and yes, completely wacko. I also love playing with words, fiddling endlessly. I like to kind of just stare zombie-like at my computer screen for days living inside a particular sentence or scene or section trying to make it better, to bring it to life."
"Writing is a border town between experience, imagination, and understanding. Borders are wild and unstable places so it’s a good idea to be as centered as possible when visiting them. The reasons writers often surround their writing time with rituals such as jumping rope, making coffee, or rearranging piles of paper is that these are ways to prepare for the trip."
"I think writing is a process that starts long before the writers are actually writers and probably goes on long afterward. It’s rather like the way the Arabs weave rugs. They don’t stop. They just cut them off at a certain spot on the loom. There is no particular beginning or end."
"The only way you can truly get to know an author is through the trail of ink he leaves behind him. The person you think you see is only an empty character: truth is always hidden in fiction."
Carlos Ruiz Zafón
#Carlos Ruiz Zafón
19 Surprising Rules Copyeditors Used to Enforce →
1. Don’t use “beat” for “defeat”
2. Don’t use “call attention” for “direct attention”
3. Don’t use “conclusion” for “close” or “end”
4. Don’t use “decade” for “ten years”
5. Don’t use “donate” at all
6. Don’t use “collided” at all (it’s now acceptable to use “collided,” but only if both objects are in motion)
7. Don’t use “fall” for “autumn”
8. Don’t use “graduates” for “is graduated”
9. Don’t use “hardly” for “scarcely”
10. Don’t use “issue” for “question” or “subject”
11. Don’t use “leniency” for “lenity”
12. Don’t use “notice” for “observe”
13. Don’t use “pants” for “pantaloons”
14. Don’t use “prior to” for “before”
15. Don’t use “progress” for “advance”
16. Don’t use “reliable” for “trustworthy”
17. Don’t use “retire” as an active verb
18. Don’t use “sensation” for “noteworthy event”
19. Don’t use “taboo” at all
"The pen will never be able to move fast enough to write down every word discovered in the space of memory. Some things have been lost forever, other things will perhaps be remembered again, and still other things have been lost and found and lost again. There is no way to be sure of any this."
One habit every writer must have →
A day in details.
The sign looms large and slightly crooked. I take a deep breath and enjoy the last of the air conditioning in my car before I plunge into the cesspit that is the Traffic Department. Heat, like the arms of the undead, drags at my knees and slows me down. The African sun is relentless and the black tar is its happy accomplice. A car guard in Day-Glo yellow saunters closer. I nod. He smiles. The deal is made. My car is safe. Well, supposedly safe. My driver’s license has been ready for quite some time, but I have not managed to summon the energy to fetch it. It will be destroyed within the next week if I don’t get it today.
A friendly gap-toothed guard directs me to the queue. I take my place. Docile and compliant as I settle in to wait. Unperturbed, I dive into my bag for my trusty cell phone. The Internet; my ever present companion. One click and two bleeps later, it dies. It takes a moment for the realisation to dawn on me. I am trapped in a queue with no cell phone. Panicked, my little brain almost seizes, but then something odd happens.
I start looking around. I notice things. The scene comes alive. I notice the cracked heels of the rather hefty lady in front of me. The lady at her side is scrawny by comparison. Her black roots melt into peroxide tips. Shampoo is not something she has invested in recently. The body odour of the gentleman behind me, compliments of the summer heat wave, settles warm and heavy over us all. There is nowhere to turn. A well groomed matron stands in the sun. Her back unbent by something as trivial as heat. Her coiffure intact and refusing to wilt. I notice the heads turn, like spectators at a tennis match, as an old man in really short shorts walks up the path. He is a man on a mission.
He clutches a bunch of papers and waves them at everybody as he passes. Yes, we see you, funny little man. Once white fingers, stained brown from years of accumulated dirt and manual labour, clutch the papers. Even to my untrained eye, none of them look like government documents. He pushes his luck at the gate, hoping to jump the queue. We, the queuing mass, square our shoulders to confront him, but the friendly gap-toothed guard directs him to the back of the queue. Like good citizens, we deflate as one. He huffs and puffs. We ignore and shake our heads.
Eventually, we make our way inside and we are directed to another queue. The short-shorts man makes his own way to a different counter. Adamant that he should not have to wait. We all sit and watch in fascination as this man gestures and flaps and stomps and huffs and puffs and stomps some more. The staff hold firm. We stare, entranced. It’s like watching a daytime soap. This man is crazy. At some particularly loud point I couldn’t help but think that this is how innocent bystanders get shot. He writes with exaggerated strokes on his documents. A black BIC flying over the paper. He slams his fist on the green melamine. At last my name is called. I collect my license. The last words I hear as I leave are: “You are being racism. I report this.” He wags his fat, dirty finger as he says this. I marvel at the patience of the staff. Granted, as a patron of this particular department, you need a fair amount of patience too.
I was still clutching my phone as if I could charge it with willpower alone, but I was grateful. I would have missed the entire tirade if I had been pinning or tweeting. I would not have been able to share this story of the sad man at the traffic department with you.
As writers, we should be gathering details all day. What did the counter tops look like? What type of pen was given to him to write with? What did the silly misspelled signs say? I need to look around all day and teach myself to remember. Sometimes, I need to put away my phone and have real damn experience for a change. Jot down things as you go through your day.