This week: Janus - The Doorway To Tomorrow!Edited by: Fyn
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The world is full of people who have never, since childhood, met an open doorway with an open mind.~~ E. B. White
A friend is Janus-faced: he looks to the past and the future. He is the child of all my foregoing hours, the prophet of those to come, and the harbinger of a greater friend. ~~Ralph Waldo Emerson
Hence all original religions are allegorical, or susceptible of allegory, and, like Janus, have a double face of false and true~~ Percy Bysshe Shelley
Every doorway, every intersection has a story. ~~Katherine Dunn
You don't see much of any path unless you are Janus, looking simultaneously backward and forward.~~Frank Herbert
I prefer to see myself as the Janus, the two-faced god who is half Pollyanna and half Cassandra, warning of the future and perhaps living too much in the past—a combination of both.~~Ray Bradbury
New beginnings. Continuations. Fresh starts. Mulligans. No matter how you look at the beginning of a year, it is a good point (although, by far, NOT the only point) to reset, re-evaluate, scuttle, or create new visions for your writing, your life, or your junque drawer!
It can be a time to focus on the positive. Some, stick with the negative. (to wit - 202won) - personally, I kind of keep on keeping on. Rough year that last one? For many. To each of us, our gauge is personal. What was really bad for one might be nothing to someone else. But it isn't a competition and we each have to deal with our real world and what is particular to us in our surroundings.
Janus, the god of doorways, he who looks both forward and back; who is accused of being two-faced, of wearing numerous masks is the one standing, bridging the gap from one year to the next. Writers are multifaced. We wear the masks of our characters. A new year progresses forward from the 1st of January or a birthday or an anniversary. We can look both forward and back, but forward we must travel.
I have heard from a great number of people (both on WDC and out in that other place}. 2020 was, according to these folks, a terrible year for writing. For any number of reasons: far away from family, being confined to hearth and home, working from home (as opposed to an office), friends/family getting sick, the anxiety of getting sick/staying safe/going out, etc. Some of us were already working from home so that didn't change, indeed, we had all the built-in excuses NOT to have to go out or deal with people. Yet, still, stuff just got in the way.
So the New Year is the perfect time to reset, right? Sure, for some. For others, that additional stress might start an avalanche of excuses, and bury them under the shoulda, woulda, couldas that bog anyone down.
If, perchance, you haven't been 'able' to write, I have a few tiny suggestions that might maybe help to breakthrough.
There's that old 'sit down and just write for ten minutes about anything or nothing or the laundry or the latest braindead maneuver a spouse/kid/cohab/boss/friend pulled. Anything, The dog! What's on your desk. What ISN'T. Doesn't matter. It isn't for anyone to see and isn't expected to be perfectly written anything. Just a nudge to get the writing cells flowing again, a bit of a flame to warm them up. Frozen molasses does not flow at all!
Write a letter to a friend. (even an imaginary one!) Just a chatty thing about what you did, didn't do, wanted to do or would never do. Write to a sloth, an elephant, or a (gasp - ick!) brown recluse spider!
Pick a random word from the dictionary and free-associate. Just a string of words bouncing along.
Describe something random like an animal, a train, a thunderstorm, or a color to someone who can't see.
Even thinking about some of these is a step in the right direction.
Usually try to write a thousand words a day? Try five hundred. Try fifty. All dialog. No dialog.
Pretend you are a figure in history or someone from a favored book or fairy tale. Write from the perspective of Moby Dick, Jack the Ripper or Henry VIII. Maybe be the Eiffel Tower or a pyramid. An inch tall or something on your desk. Be a camera or a paintbrush.
Write a bunch of things down and pick one a day out of a jug and spend 20 minutes writing. Anything. Something.
Little steps can make something big seem more manageable. It can provide a sense of accomplishment. Dusting every last thing in the house is all well and good ... as long as it isn't an excuse to avoid writing! It doesn't matter if what you actually write is stellar. Just exercises to get you jumpstarted. No one can go from being desk-bound to running a marathon overnight. Writing, like crunches or pushups, takes an ongoing effort. So, it is okay to start slowly.
Point is, we are writers; therefore, we need to write! We can do this!
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Paul writes: Hi, Thank you for that marvelous story. I’ve been through several of the things you talk about, but I’m a 78 year old man now and my memories are a bit different. I was the one in the navy from 1959 to 1963 writing my mother while cruising around the South China Sea while the Vietnam war expanded.
Christmas has not been a big thing for me since I was 9 and discovered Santa Claus was a fantasy, but we always made it a big thing for our 5 kids.
I absolutely believe in the main theme of your piece though; things are all about what we make of them. The quote, “If you’re having a bad day, change your attitude,” changed me when I discovered it was true. Now I spout, “If you have a good attitude no matter what happens, it’s a good day. If you have a bad attitude no matter what happens, it’s a crappy day.”
Thank you again for those very positive thoughts.
Stay safe and enjoy life, it’s still a great place to hang out.
Lazy Writer est 4/24/2008 says: I loved this news letter!
Lilli ☕ comments: Wonderful and timely words. Thank you, Fyn! While the holidays this year will not be like years past, we can still enjoy them. We need to be creative and be grateful for the things we do have.
WakeUpAndLive~No cig for me! adds: Thanks for the NL. I will be spending Xmas alone, but I love living alone so I will be in good spirits. I have a tree, books, films, and my writing. And the company of my old dog. What's more to wish for? Have a good Xmas holiday all!
Thanking you all for the comments and feedback. These are what keep we editors writing the newsletters!
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