Monday, September 30, 2013

Monday Quote: Stephen King

"you can, you should, and if you’re brave enough to start, you will." ~ Stephen King

I like this quote because, while it relates to writing, it is easy to apply this slogan to all things in life. I think many people do not begin things in life because they are not brave enough to take the leap...and rightly so. The world is scary. People live to stop us and tear us down. They willingly criticize. Failure is highly an option. But all of those are excuses. Because living with the feeling that I never tried...that's what I fear the most.

It's that first step that's the hardest. It's getting passed all the excuses of why we shouldn't and just taking the jump. We need to start. We need to pursue. And, we need to not take no for an answer. That's the only way to really live.

Happy last day of September!

Friday, September 27, 2013

Can We Combine Cliché with Originality?

One topic roaming around the writer world is the debate over cliché. By definition, a cliché is an overused expression or idea. I thought of this because my family and I were watching a television show that premiered this week. I’m not going to say which one because I don’t want to openly trash said show and offend someone who might have enjoyed it…although I can’t imagine many who would have. 

While watching, I joked with my mother that at writer’s conferences they always tell us to scrap the first thought, second thought and third thought. That is the only way to plow through the cliché and get to something truly worth writing. I said this show’s writers obviously didn’t do that activity. The clichés were flowing from the plot structure to the bad guy’s “strategy” down to even the dialogue. We knew it was time to change the channel when I predicted what the character was going to say right before he said the sentence…just bragging, but I got it word for word. I am not one who focuses too much on clichés. In fact, I would roll my eyes at people in my English classes who would trash a story for having one cliché line in the entire book. In fact, a friend of mine lost a short story contest in high school to a paper that began “it was a dark and stormy night.” I think there are just some blatant clichés that do push tolerances. 

When looking at the cliché in closer depth, the idea of being “original” is often contradicted. The writer community strives to have a brand new twist. “Don’t be predictable,” they say. But then the writer interacts with those in the publishing world. They want something similar to what is already out. They don’t want something completely different and unique because they don’t know how to sell that. They don’t want blended genres. They want the cliché. 

I can see how a television show like the one mentioned above comes about. It seems safe. It seems easy. But, even though the two sides appear to proclaiming different things, I think there is a way to mesh them. Readers don’t want to read a book by a different author that is just like one they read for someone else. But quirky doesn’t always sell. There has to be a happy medium; a way to do the same story in a different way. 

An example of this would be the show Once Upon A Time. They use fairy tale characters and multi-dimensions, but they throw their own twists on the whole thing. It’s a curse that made the multi-dimensions and Red Robin Hood is the wolf (to name a few). The show works because it captures the old in an original way. That is the only way to bridge the difference. So, is cliché bad? Only when done blatant. When adapted, cliché can also capture an audience or even take them by surprise.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Where are the Witches in Paranormal Fiction?

Sometimes, random thoughts find their way into my mind. I would blame it on the long commute this year, but really…if I’m honest…I would have to admit that random thoughts seem to be the byproduct of being a writer. Don’t get me wrong, they often lead to story breakthroughs. But, they also tend to make me look a little weird. I have accepted this. I lead you in this way because, I really couldn’t tell you why I was thinking of this particular topic.

But, I was pondering on the types of paranormal novels currently out. Right now, most of them are vampire related. It got me to thinking. I love a good witch story, and yet I’m not seeing them anymore. In fact, one of my favorite movies still is Practical Magic, although I can never go wrong with Sandra Bullock. So, I got to thinking about my favorite witch stories (most are old because I don’t know many recent ones). 

The Witch of Blackbird Pond1.       The Crucible. I know this isn’t a “witch” story as much as a “witch hunt” story. But I read it in high school and remember the feeling it gave me. I was so horrified that something might actually happen like that…and then to learn it is rooted in history. This story is an example of how fiction can be strengthened by a touch of reality.

2.       The Witch of Blackbird Pond. Again not really a “witch” book, but a super one anyway.

3.       The Lion, the witch, and the wardrobe. I love, love, love this book. I remember reading it in elementary and being swept away by the idea of traveling to other worlds through a closet. Didn’t get into the rest of the series, but this one is good.

I know Beautiful Creatures is the newest witch book….but it’s not on my list….I’ll leave it at that.
My favorite witch movies:

1.       Practical Magic: I love that this is not a “wicked witch” movie. It captures the magic of the idea.

2.       Hocus Pocus:  The 18th century meets modern day Halloween. What could go wrong?

3.       The Craft: The good witch versus the bad witch. Love this movie.

So there it is, just in time for Halloween. If you recommend a good witch book for October, let me know!

Monday, September 23, 2013

Monday's Quote: George Eliot

"It is never too late to be what you might have been." ~ George Eliot

I like this quote because I see it all the time. There are writer's I've met who left writing due to life events. Then, later, came back and started their career. I even met someone pursuing a writing career who was in their seventies. It's never to late to begin.

As funny as it sounds, that keeps me going. I don't want to give up because I don't want that to be a regret at the end of this short life. I want to keep pushing and pursuing. I want to keep making myself better so that I can become what I desire. I want to be the best person I can, and it's never too late to accomplish that goal. But, even if I come to the end and don't accomplish all I want, at least I can say I gave it my all. That's the ultimate point, in my opinion.

Friday, September 20, 2013

The Evolution of Vampires: how writers adapt Dracula in new ways

Last week, I finished reading Ilona Andrews’ Magic Bites, which is the first of their Kate Daniels series. In it, they wrote vampires as mindless monsters who continuously feed unless they are “controlled” by people with power. This got me to thinking about all the different types of vampires written in literature. I think, as far as paranormal goes, vampires are the only ones that differ into two distinct groups.
The first is the Twilight gang. The hotties who mingle among humans and may or may not roam in the sunlight. These characters are either power hungry (excuse the pun) or bear the emotional burden of having to kill to survive. I guess we can’t really blame Twilight, because Anne Rice showcased similar vampires, the one I’m thinking of is Interview with the Vampire. In fact, she is the first one that I am aware of who used the idea of feeding on animal blood instead of human blood to help save said emotionally burdened character. Twilight was the first I noticed to come up with the idea of changing eye color to mark the difference.
The second type of vampire I find in a lot of urban fantasy novels. This is the monster. They are demons-like, typically black-leather skin to mimic the bat. They border zombie-like in nature. They hide in shadows, don’t typically speak, and are certainly not emotionally burdened. This is because they are no longer human. I love Ilona Andrews’ description the best. Her character Kate was explaining how she can tell the age of a vampire. “Undeath brings certain anatomical changes. Some are immediate and some are slow. The older the undead, the more apparent those changes become. A vamp’s never finished. It’s an abomination in progress.” I loved that last sentence. It strikes a commonality between both types of vampires: the mark of being one of the damned. Even the original vampires had this religious allusion.
Authors like Jim Butcher combined the best of both worlds. His vampires (who drink blood) appear human but then transform into their “true self” when angered. This self follows suit with the monster mentioned above. Of course, he also incorporates a trend I am starting to see more which is a vampire can feed in different ways. They can feed off emotions, intimate touches, and even psychological manipulation. Most result in the victim’s death when done in abundance, and all rejuvenate the vampire.
I think back on the original vampire. What would Bram Stoker think of the spin modern literature has taken on his creation? I, for one, welcome the change. Vampires have been around for quite a while. And, I don’t know about you, but there are only so many stories I can read about people sucking other people’s blood and being repelled by garlic—and even less regarding the beautiful human girl who falls in love with a vampire. I just wonder why writers only take such diversity with only vampires.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

is there such a thing as "original" fiction?

I began reading Orson Scott Card's novel Ender's Game this weekend. In the intro, he made an offhanded comment that Science Fiction is one of the only genres where originality is stressed. I don't think he meant to slam the other genres...or maybe he did...but I took a little offense to this.

I thought about if this statement was even true. I don't read a lot of Sci-Fi, so feel free to correct me in the comments below. But, at least as far as movies are concerned, the genre typically follows space odyssey centered around exploring other planets where the humans encounter a race they must outsmart to survive. Or they involve a battle already taking place. Most plots involve deep space exploration, explaining the travel by placing characters in "deep sleep" with liquid oxygen (which movies make look like pink goo). Can we really say that Sci-Fi is completely original?

But he strikes on a chord currently in the industry. Someone posted on twitter a while back that the "cookie cutter" story was most of what publishers were currently seeking because they know how to sell it. Romance genres are always accused of following this structured form of writing. By definition, this means that they go beyond the typical plot arch and actually define common events: Boy meets girl, boy/girl hate each other, boy/girl fight until an event causes them to realize their love, boy/girl get together in the end. Scenery and names change, but the basic plot line does not.

I thought maybe the "dystopia" novels might fall victim to his claim, mainly because I read Brave New World as well as Anthem in the same month during high school. They are so close, I could not tell you the difference because they have meshed inside my head. But, Brave New World and Hunger Games are distinctly different. Looking only at current novels, Hunger Games and Divergent are different in the messages they send. But are any of them truly "original"?

He did go on to say that Sci-Fi doesn't simply want to entertain, but to cause the readers to stop and reassess ideas. Okay, I can give him that, but does that not happen in other genres as well? Is there no "point" to Toni Morrison's Beloved or Suzanne Collins' Hunger Games?

While it is true that most genres have their characteristics and expectations, I would be hesitant to say all genres are following this same cookie cutter approach. I think Orson Scott Card is partially right. Many stories are spin offs (so to speak) on other novels. A writer might consciously (or subconsciously) take their own twist to something they previously read. But I disagree that the genres are simply mimicry (while Science Fiction never falls victim). Just think of the urban fantasy novels out there. There are vampire monsters vs vampire hotties; there are gods versus heroes or supernatural versus heroes.

Such diversity is still out there and I hope that never changes.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Monday Quote: Vince Lombardi

"It's not whether you get knocked down, it's whether you get up."~ Vince Lombardi

With football season in full swing, it was only right to use a quote by a great football coach. Of course, this quote can be applied literally, but he was meaning so much more by it. When the phrase "if you fall off a horse get back up" becomes too cliché, then this one is a nice substitute.

In the writing world, I think we get knocked down a lot. A signing doesn't go as expected. Our short story didn't win some contest. We get dropped from a publisher. Or, someone slams us in a review. Or even as simple as a plot starts to fall apart in the middle of a novel. There are countless ways we can get knocked down. The important point is that we get up. That's what life will judge us by. That we rise from the ashes, so to speak.

So, as my favorite fish character once said, "Just keep swimming!"

Friday, September 13, 2013

Too Much Involvement Can Equal Burnout

One of the writer conversations this month discussed the idea of using writer’s “advice.” It suggested that seeking too much advice can actually be detrimental to a writer’s psyche. Another article I read this week discussed the idea of writer burn out. In my opinion, this is the most dangerous aspect of writing. Not plot development, or character analysis or even rejection letters. It is burning out from the competition. The article suggests that writers burn out because they are too critical of other books (i.e. in discussion groups and book clubs). I will extend this opinion. I think writers burn out because they are too much involved in the conversation. 

The world of publication is changing so dramatically. I met people who are super excited about this. Self-publishing through places like Amazon and Smashwords is on the rise. This means writers no longer have to try to sell themselves in a one page query letter. They no longer have “gatekeepers” barring their work from being seen in the world. However, the flip side of this is that there is no filter. Those negative toward the changes say it is harder than ever to get noticed above all the “not good” work flooding the scene. 

The idea not to seek advice follows this concept. Everyone has their own opinion. Some say to outline. Others say not. Some say to self-publish, others say this will ruin a career. Some say to build a social media presence, others say it’s the face-to-face interactions that matter. Some say to write in the morning, others the evening is best. For every piece of advice, there are countless rebuttals, and everything contradicts the other.

This week, I found myself questioning what I want. It’s easy to get frustrated. Query letters remain unanswered. Is that a rejection, or should I be patient? Should I self-publish…but is that truly the easier route? Some weeks I fall into frustration. I become like that kid on the playground who wants to take her ball and go home. I don’t want to play anymore. I don’t want to fight and compete anymore. I’m tired of the negativities. I’m tired of the contradiction.

I actually like the advice from the articles. I think it’s important to step away and remember why it is I began doing this in the first place. What I like the best about the article about finding heart is that everything goes back to writing. Stop critiquing. Stop trying to write in a certain way to please the masses. Stop thinking in general. Just write. It seems so simple, and yet is sometimes the hardest thing to do.

It’s good to be connected, but too much connection can leave frustrations and negative views on the world. So, I pledge that next week I want to step back and focus on writing again.

For this reason, I have decided to back off of the blog a little. I want to try to do Monday, Wednesday and Friday in an attempt to blog better. If I find I miss the interaction, I may increase back to five days a week. I thank you all for following me and your continued support in my endeavors!

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Can you Beat Fiction Characters

I was reading Nathan Bransford's blog this morning and immediately got excited. The captivating title is "The Rory Gilmore reading challenge." If you have never seen Gilmore Girls, then you would not understand my excitement. But, I LOVED that show. The witty banter between mother and daughter was just as entertaining as the soap opera story lines. I wanted to live in a place like Stars Hollow and be as smart as Rory (and still have the affections of all the boys).

What I secretly envied is the amount of books they claimed the character read. In fact, she was always seen carrying, referencing, or reading a book. I used to think the amount of reading she did was unrealistic. However, I have since met people like her so have learned that I'm just a slow reader.

Someone, with a lot more time than I have, put together a list of the books she "read" over the course of the seven seasons. The challenge is how many of the 339 novels have you read. I secretly hate these challenges because, even though I am an English major, I rarely score very high. I blame my teachers who picked obscure books instead of classics in an attempt to broaden our opinions. Anyway, I took the challenge and scored a despicable 14. Guess I'm adding to the already long list of books to read in the next few months. What is your score?

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

The Book Signing Scene is Changing

I'm out of reader questions to answer. I'd like to continue the idea of answering questions on Wednesday. If you have a question, please click here or leave a comment below. Otherwise, I will try to do my own ponderings.

Is Book Signing Venues Changing?

It's hard to imagine that I set out on my adventure almost 10 years ago. My first book signing was in a local bookstore in our mall, which has since shut down. I sold 30 copies in three hours. It was so much fun, and yet so scary at the same time. It seems like as the years progressed, the bookstores in my area became more an more friendly to local authors. I guess that could be a sign that things in the industry were beginning to take a drastic turn.

Now, when I look at my friends, I am starting to pick up a trend. Bookstore signings are still happening, however not as frequent as before (or maybe I'm noticing more now). They are doing signings at festivals. For fantasy and sci-fi, this would be comic-con. I have even known authors to find a certain niche and attend their festivals. An example is if I write a lot of mid-evil period books I may want to attend a Renaissance Festival. I see writers attending a lot of book fairs to sign as well.

I think that this places have always been around. What I am starting to find are the interesting signing places. A writer I know did a book signing at his local Dairy Queen. What's even better is he sold out of in a few hours. People do signings at libraries, local schools, flea markets, and even coffee shops. I haven't heard of someone doing one at a grocery store, but I wouldn't be surprised if someone has tried it. Wait...I've done one at the PX before. Does that count?

As book stores close and struggle to stay open, I love that writers are adapting. We will sell a book to the person next to us on a flight. We don't care as long as we are selling books and talking to fans. I think what is important is that while we expand our signing horizons, we always remember to give back to the local independent book stores. Don't forget they are still key to selling matter what the e-book movement may suggest.

If you are a writer, what is the craziest place you have done a signing in?

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Meet Brasidas

I love coincidences in life. They make me look like such a better writer. I made the decision a long time ago that I would only use Greek names in my Atlantis series. I was in high school when I wrote the Curse of Atlantis, therefore, I asked a teacher to provide me with a list of Greek names we used to write our own mythologies in the seventh grade. I soon outgrew this list before I even entered the second book.

I have since discovered sites for Greek names, which is great. For any writer, I recommend at least a book of baby book (if not websites) to help with character names. I bought my first baby name "book" when I was twelve which raised a few eyebrows at checkout. Anyway, I don't put a whole lot of thought into naming characters. Whatever name grabs me will work. But, as in this character, the name that grabbed me matched perfectly with the mythology. Perhaps it was my muse speaking to me.

In my second Atlantis novel, I introduce the character of Brasidas. In my story, he is the second in charge of an elite fighting force in the Zeus army. He faithfully follows orders, even if they are at times brutal. In real mythology, Brasidas was a great Spartan commander. What makes this all the more perfect is that I used Spartan society to mimic Zeus' society. They are about honor and military gain. In fact, in my novel children have a choice: military or the arts. Military, of course, holds more honor to the family.

So, I suppose if anyone asks, I will say that I planned the whole thing. Because I do my research down to the last pebble and map parallelisms with real life. But I will say this with a nod and wink, knowing that the coincidences in life are far more creative than anything I can strategize.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Monday Quote: Eleanor Roosevelt

"Do what you feel in your heart to be right--for you'll be criticized anyway." ~ Eleanor Roosevelt

I loved this quote when I found it last week. I think it applies to anything in life, but I relate to it in writing especially. There are so many people out there who live to criticize. It's like they cannot breath without putting another person down. But, even still, there will always be someone who doesn't like my work. My dad, in all honesty would be one of them. He is super supportive, but he likes his stories reality based. People start changing into wolves and he is bothered.

So, for me, I take this as my motto. Write because I love it. Write because I want to share a story. But, don't write what someone else says is the "next big thing." Don't write because I need to reach this target market. Yes, keeping target markets and story relevance is important, but the main reason to write is because I love it. So, just write for the joy of writing and the adventure of personal growth.

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Friday, September 6, 2013

Why Do Movies Change Books?

This summer seems inundated with movies based on books...or else I paid attention this year. Earlier in the week, I listed my favorite movie representation of novels I've read. This list got me to thinking. Is there a common thread as to what causes fans to hate a movie adaptation? And why, if the book was so good, does the movie industry always have to change the story?

I pondered these questions and came up with three reasons why I think movies must change novels when bringing them to the big screen.

1. There is just not enough time. I won't even get into the physics involved in reading a scene and acting it out. But, I would venture a guess that someone can read the same scene faster than actors can perform it. But, excluding that, there is a lot in a book. Typical novels are around three-hundred least the ones I read. A mainstream suspense novel even breaks into the six-hundred zone. That's a lot of scenes. There is just not enough time to cover everything. The only movie I saw that got away with showing every scene was the newest Great Gatsby movie with Leonardo Dicaprio. But, that is really a novella at 144 pages....I think it is technically longer than a "novella," but still is very short.

2. Novels allow for thoughts. In most cases (unless it is a detective film) I absolutely hate voiceovers. It seems like a cheat. Novels are allowed to showcase what their protagonist is thinking. Getting inside another's head is part of the allure of the story. I have read stories without internal dialogue, but not many. Movies have a different standard. A good movie must literally "show" what the character is thinking/feeling. Voiceovers in movie form becomes like the taboo "telling" in novel form. It takes the easy way out and devalues the work. Therefore, things have to be adapted to showcase the characters.

3. Movies have a different audience. This seemed weird to me at first, but I have rested on it. Most movies will change books by adding action. Movie audiences (even the book fans) typically expect to watch action. Very few want to watch a slow-moving scene filled with dialogues, which is typical books progression. We expect the fight sequence, or a car chase, or something with action. It has to be visually appealing, something books don’t have to consider.

Ultimately, I believe audiences will forgive these changes. What I find is the determining factor on whether readers are satisfied falls on casting. Do the actors embody the characters we have grown to love? Part of this depends on how well the author wrote the character. But the other part depends on the production staff putting in the effort to find the right people—and them saying yes. Harry Potter did a huge casting call before finding Daniel Ratcliffe. And people were happy for the effort. Characters are important elements in literature. That must carry over.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

A List of Good and Bad Books to Movies

People tend to complain when a book is turned into a movie. I decided to do a couple of lists for movie of books I've read.

Great Movie, Great Book:

1. Tuck Everlasting. My favorite book, so I might be a little biased on this one.
2.  Hunger Games: loved the book series and love Jennifer Laurence as Katniss.
3. Jane Eyre (2011): I used the new release of this story to read the classic novel. They rearranged a few things for the sake of time, but did a nice job capturing the characters. Loved the book, loved the movie. Not sure about the other adaptations, but I hear they are good as well.
4. Othello (1995): my reason for liking this might be bad...I love how the actor for Iago captured the essence of that character. This movie made me fall in love with the play.

Movies Better than the Book:
1. Time Traveler's Wife. Love the movie, although very little Rachel McAdams does is bad. The movie cut a few issues I had with the plot.
2. Beautiful Creatures. Again, changed the book, but this particular book made me mad. I loved the changes and loved the story as a result.

The Horse WhispererHorrible Movie, Great Book:
1. Horse Whisperer. Loved, loved, loved that book. But, Robert Redford decided the ending needed to be changed to be more philosophical. His ending is therefore not as strong, in my opinion, and ruined the movie for me.
2. Twilight. All I'm going to say is Robert Pattinson as Edward? Hmmm. Don't get me wrong. Love the actor in everything else he does. Just not this series.
3. One Shot. Tom Cruise as Jack Reacher? No.
4. Mortal Instruments: City of Bones. I think classifying this movie as horrible is a stretch. However, I didn't like the change of the ending. I also didn't like how they handled the Silent Brothers. Their voices should be more wispy and less Darth Vader. If someone does the other two books, I'm interested to see if they redeem themselves.

Books I Can't Wait to See as Movies:
Divergent (Divergent, #1)1. Divergent. I hear it's in the works and can't help my happy dance in anticipation.
2. Catching Fire: second installment of the Hunger Games, mark me there!
3. Enders Game. Saw the trailer, got excited. Now I have a little over a month to read the book, but am excited about the story line.
4. Any Dresden Files book. Don't know if they are making a movie, but someone should push for that.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Does Movie Adaptation Automatically Equal Success?

I'm out of reader questions to answer. I'd like to continue the idea of answering questions on Wednesday. If you have a question, please click here or leave a comment below. Otherwise, I will try to do my own ponderings.

Last week, I came across an article slamming a particular movie interpretation of a popular book. I have never had a book changed into a movie, although many have said they could see it done. Therefore, I started to place myself in that author's shoes. Would I feel like a failure if the movie flopped at the box office?

I remember Stephen King discussing his stories. He said he hands the work over and prays they don't mess it up. I think many can agree he has had wonderful adaptations as well as cringe-worthy ones. Most authors don't contribute to movie scripts. In fact, the only movie I know of that even allowed the author's input was the Harry Potter franchise. That is, until movie 4 or 5 when she finished the final book. Then they cut her loose and ran with their own ideas. There may be other movies that actually follow author input, but, as far as I understand, it is rare if it happens.

So, would it be enough to have a book taken for the big screen? Does that mark a success in the author category. Or does that success rely on how well the movie does? I know my personality well enough to speculate. I think, for me, even if I have nothing to do with the adaptation to film, I would still take it personally if the movie doesn't do well. I would second guess what caused the movie to flop: any changes made, how well the actors captured the characters, or if it was the work itself. I think it would be just as hard for me to see my story falter on the big screen as it would in book form.

Authors are entertainers at heart. We want our work read, seen and enjoyed. So, I sympathize with authors who have their books transferred to movies. But, speaking as an outsider looking in on this topic...I certainly would count the fact that the work was selected in the first place as a huge success, no matter the outcome in ticket sales.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Stop Summer from Ending with this Goddess

In Arizona, August marks the end of "summer." Not because the weather changes. If that were the case, then middle of October would mark the end of summer. No, it's because that's when we go back to school. However, for most, the "end of summer" comes in September. Even the calendar marks the end of summer and beginning of fall at the end of this month.

So, in honor of all those wishing for summer to continue, I figured I would showcase the goddess of summer. I always thought of Demeter as the goddess of seasons. After all, she holds the mythology explaining the cause of seasons. Her brothers controlled the other aspects of the Earth, but she held control of the land. But, as I was looking into this, I discovered another goddess: Carpo. She is supposedly the goddess of fruits and the earth and is associated with summer. The sites I found suggests the idea of Demeter split into multiple gods, Carpo expanding as one. The idea of a goddess fading and changing into a combination of four new gods is a little disturbing. In fact, I would love to see a story where Demeter faces off with her replacements…but maybe that’s just me.  

So, whether it is Demeter or Carpo, I think either would be a popular god in today's day among school-aged children. Summer is the time we always look forward to and hate to see leave. At least we don't have to wait long for the holiday months to bring joy to the oncoming winter.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Monday's Quote: Mahatma Gandhi

“Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.” ~Mahatma Gandhi

It seems people strive for happiness. We want to be happy in our jobs, happy in our lives and happy in our achievements. I think many don't take the time to stop and think about what will make them happy. For me, I often get wrapped up in life. Bills pile and I take more hours at work. Friends need favors, the puppies need obedience classes, or I somehow sign myself up for some obligation. I say yes before I stop to think if that is something I truly want to fill my life with.

If I stop, there are three things that enrich my life. My family, reading and writing. It seems simple to prioritize these things above everything else. So why do the other things in life often gain more priority? I like this quote because it makes me stop and remember. The things that make me happy need to stay in my mind, in my words and in my actions. It needs to be the greatest priority. After all, I am reminded too often how short life is. We might as well be happy as we travel through it.

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