What to put first?: Writer’s Quote Wednesday



This quote is part of Silver Threading’s  Writer’s Quote series. Writer’s who have helped inspire my writing.

To write one must engage with the world around. Imagination is not the everything, imagination needs feeding with experience and observation. Life is what feeds writers.

When I first wrote a book or attempted too, I found it so difficult to begin. Like a new and beautiful notebook – I might spoil it. I would start somewhere in the middle I decided. It worked and I tend to still do it. Not now, because I am afraid of spoiling it, but because of the difficulty of working out exactly where a book should begin.

Pascal was right, obviously the problem has always been there. The back story is always hovering there wanting to be first, but often that back story is not wanted until the middle, the end or not at all. Back story resents that very much and will try to hi-jack the story:) They see the empty path ahead and know their version would fill it beautifully; they are eager to elongate the path – prevent that corner of surprise, which we all know should be the start of the journey.

A writer needs to remain vigilant,characters can be sneaky creatures.

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1000+ bloggers; Compassion, humanity needs it


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Today I would normally be running my ‘words’ blog but I read yesterday about this 1000 speak blogathon.  Today 1000+ bloggers take to cyberspace to address the emotive subject that is compassion. There is no set format for this. Some will be blogging on individual problems some more general. I have hi-jacked my ‘words’ space for this purpose.


According to the Oxford English Dictionary compassion means

1) Participation in another’s suffering, fellow feeling, sympathy

2) Pity inclining on to show mercy or give aid

3) Sorrowful emotion, grief.

The views here are mine and if I offend or irritate I apologize.

I don’t personally believe that compassion is about pity, not in the modern use of the word pity, which often appear to have overtones of condescension or even judgment about it. Not always but enough for me to avoid it.

I believe to feel compassion, as opposed to pity, one needs to exercise imagination; need to able to circumvent ‘self’ and become ‘other’.

Compassion bypasses judgment, prejudice and assumed knowledge

Imagination is needed to truly try and feel what the other feels. It’s not enough to just watch the news, read the papers and feel sympathetic and  pity misfortune.

Compassion is much more than sympathy, more than pity, much more than ‘there for the grace of God go I’, more than walking a mile in another’s shoes. It is about changing a whole mindset to become ‘other’

Compassion is not about

Self interest

Compassion is not about charity, although that is needed.
Nor duty, although that can help a situation.
It is not directed merely to friends but also enemies
Compassion needs a powerful leap to comprehension.
Compassion is about being part of a whole, of life.
Compassion is not even just about human to human, all of life has a need for compassion.

It is not just about being kind, helpful or caring. It is about feeling the fear, despair or helplessness of another, to be able to hold a hand and say nothing, do nothing but be there; about quietly without thought of thanks or reward do something to alleviate. When I say reward I don’t mean monetary reward I mean feelings of self-reward. Compassion should be about doing, being, because doing, being, is what we do.

I make it sound easy but compassion, especially in the modern day bustle, is often one of the hardest things to achieve. I believe most of us  have it in us to have compassion for others. Maybe lives are busy or unraveling for us, maybe we have never exercised our minds and imagination in this way.  Maybe we are nervous of being ‘involved’  whatever, but I still believe we are capable of compassion.

Humanity needs it. On a personal level and on a global level, more and more as we become more over populated, humanity needs it.

When an old man dies: Writer’s Quote Wednesday


 This quote is part of Silver Threading’s  writer’s quote series. Writer’s who have helped inspire my writing.

To write one must engage with the world around. Imagination is not the everything, imagination needs feeding with experience and observation. Life is what feeds writers.

When I was growing up, years ago, one of our houses used to flood each year when the summer thunderstorms arrived. Not serious life endangering floods you understand, but, when in the house, maybe 12-18 inches of river water would soak into furniture,soft furnishing, bookcases and record boxes.

After the waters receded it was all hands on deck to drag every thing out into the sunshine to dry. Most stuff will dry on its own, but books need individual and particular attention if those pages are not to set like concrete.

I liked reading them but oh how tedious was the drying of them. Couldn’t we just abandon them, I would sometimes ask, petulantly I suspect. My Dad was a patient man with his wayward idle daughter but when it came to books always took a firm line.

Books deserved the work,
they gave us enjoyment,
knowledge and the wisdom of the ages.
Kept past lives and experience alive.
We should be prepared to give back.

Not in those words of course or I would have walked away with an

‘ughhh boring’

I was a child for goodness sake.  No, he could convey thoughts in a way I would listen to and absorb.

Later, when I was older, we would discuss other such book matters such as the destruction of ancient Libraries, burning of books, of censorship, of history’s memories and intelligent reading,

Then on my travels I listened to so many strangers telling me of their lives, their countries, finding similarities and vast chasms of differences. I learnt such a lot from these people, tucking away snippets into my mind. Many, by the nature of my travels – cheap economical and penniless! – were uneducated, illiterate and ignored by the great powers. What they had to say was passed onto their families and friends and sadly, it seemed to me, no further. I only had the snippets.

All those books I had and still will read, fiction or non fiction, are from the collective memories and experiences of the world. We collect so much knowledge in our lives, if some of it isn’t remembered by others in the future all we are, at the end, is a congealed lump of concrete paper. It behoves us all to be sure our lives and what we took from it are handed down for the enjoyment, knowledge and experience of others.

A few years ago I began a Living History Group, where members write memoir/autobiography and we meet and read to each other. Make sure it is written on more than a scrap of paper I warn them – produce a book with covers, with importance, so that it will not be thrown away. Generations to come will read and marvel at our ordinary but extraordinary lives.

We can be part of the new books to come. Not the destruction of a library.

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