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Brian Manton
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Miyamoto Musashi

Do not ever think in acquisitive terms.

Do not harbour hopes for your own personal home.

Do not be intent on possessing valuables or a fief in old age.

Bruce Lee’s Fundamentals

“As you think, so shall you become.”

“It’s not the daily increase but daily decrease. Hack away at the unessential.”

“If you spend too much time thinking about a thing, you’ll never get it done.”

“To know oneself is to study oneself in action with another person.”

“Take no thought of who is right or wrong or who is better than. Be not for or against.”

“I’m not in this world to live up to your expectations and you’re not in this world to live up to mine.”

“Showing off is the fool’s idea of glory.”

“To hell with circumstances; I create opportunities.”

“Always be yourself, express yourself, have faith in yourself, do not go out and look for a successful personality and duplicate it.”

How to Write With Style

by Kurt Vonnegut

Newspaper reporters and technical writers are trained to reveal almost nothing about themselves in their writings. This makes them freaks in the world of writers, since almost all of the other ink-stained wretches in that world reveal a lot about themselves to readers. We call these revelations, accidental and intentional, elements of style.

These revelations tell us as readers what sort of person it is with whom we are spending time. Does the writer sound ignorant or informed, stupid or bright, crooked or honest, humorless or playful-- ? And on and on.

Why should you examine your writing style with the idea of improving it? Do so as a mark of respect for your readers, whatever you're writing. If you scribble your thoughts any which way, your readers will surely feel that you care nothing about them. They will mark you down as an egomaniac or a chowderhead --- or, worse, they will stop reading you.

The most damning revelation you can make about yourself is that you do not know what is interesting and what is not. Don't you yourself like or dislike writers mainly for what they choose to show you or make you think about? Did you ever admire an emptyheaded writer for his or her mastery of the language? No.

So your own winning style must begin with ideas in your head.

1. Find a subject you care about

Find a subject you care about and which you in your heart feel others should care about. It is this genuine caring, and not your games with language, which will be the most compelling and seductive element in your style.

I am not urging you to write a novel, by the way --- although I would not be sorry if you wrote one, provided you genuinely cared about something. A petition to the mayor about a pothole in front of your house or a love letter to the girl next door will do.

2. Do not ramble, though

I won't ramble on about that.

3. Keep it simple

As for your use of language: Remember that two great masters of language, William Shakespeare and James Joyce, wrote sentences which were almost childlike when their subjects were most profound. "To be or not to be?" asks Shakespeare's Hamlet. The longest word is three letters long. Joyce, when he was frisky, could put together a sentence as intricate and as glittering as a necklace for Cleopatra, but my favorite sentence in his short story "Eveline" is this one: "She was tired." At that point in the story, no other words could break the heart of a reader as those three words do.

Simplicity of language is not only reputable, but perhaps even sacred. The Bible opens with a sentence well within the writing skills of a lively fourteen-year-old: "In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth."

4. Have guts to cut

It may be that you, too, are capable of making necklaces for Cleopatra, so to speak. But your eloquence should be the servant of the ideas in your head. Your rule might be this: If a sentence, no matter how excellent, does not illuminate your subject in some new and useful way, scratch it out.

5. Sound like yourself

The writing style which is most natural for you is bound to echo the speech you heard when a child. English was Conrad's third language, and much that seems piquant in his use of English was no doubt colored by his first language, which was Polish. And lucky indeed is the writer who has grown up in Ireland, for the English spoken there is so amusing and musical. I myself grew up in Indianapolis, where common speech sounds like a band saw cutting galvanized tin, and employs a vocabulary as unornamental as a monkey wrench.

In some of the more remote hollows of Appalachia, children still grow up hearing songs and locutions of Elizabethan times. Yes, and many Americans grow up hearing a language other than English, or an English dialect a majority of Americans cannot understand.

All these varieties of speech are beautiful, just as the varieties of butterflies are beautiful. No matter what your first language, you should treasure it all your life. If it happens to not be standard English, and if it shows itself when your write standard English, the result is usually delightful, like a very pretty girl with one eye that is green and one that is blue.

I myself find that I trust my own writing most, and others seem to trust it most, too, when I sound most like a person from Indianapolis, which is what I am. What alternatives do I have? The one most vehemently recommended by teachers has no doubt been pressed on you, as well: to write like cultivated Englishmen of a century or more ago.

6. Say what you mean

I used to be exasperated by such teachers, but am no more. I understand now that all those antique essays and stories with which I was to compare my own work were not magnificent for their datedness or foreignness, but for saying precisely what their authors meant them to say. My teachers wished me to write accurately, always selecting the most effective words, and relating the words to one another unambiguously, rigidly, like parts of a machine. The teachers did not want to turn me into an Englishman after all. They hoped that I would become understandable --- and therefore understood. And there went my dream of doing with words what Pablo Picasso did with paint or what any number of jazz idols did with music. If I broke all the rules of punctuation, had words mean whatever I wanted them to mean, and strung them together higgledy-piggledy, I would simply not be understood. So you, too, had better avoid Picasso-style or jazz-style writing, if you have something worth saying and wish to be understood.

Readers want our pages to look very much like pages they have seen before. Why? This is because they themselves have a tough job to do, and they need all the help they can get from us.

7. Pity the readers

They have to identify thousands of little marks on paper, and make sense of them immediately. They have to read, an art so difficult that most people don't really master it even after having studied it all through grade school and high school --- twelve long years.

So this discussion must finally acknowledge that our stylistic options as writers are neither numerous nor glamorous, since our readers are bound to be such imperfect artists. Our audience requires us to be sympathetic and patient readers, ever willing to simplify and clarify --- whereas we would rather soar high above the crowd, singing like nightingales.

That is the bad news. The good news is that we Americans are governed under a unique Constitution, which allows us to write whatever we please without fear of punishment. So the most meaningful aspect of our styles, which is what we choose to write about, is utterly unlimited.

8. For really detailed advice

For a discussion of literary style in a narrower sense, in a more technical sense, I recommend to your attention The Elements of Style, by William Strunk, Jr. and E.B. White. E.B. White is, of course, one of the most admirable literary stylists this country has so far produced.

You should realize, too, that no one would care how well or badly Mr. White expressed himself, if he did not have perfectly enchanting things to say.

In Sum:

1. Find a subject you care about

2. Do not ramble, though

3. Keep it simple

4. Have guts to cut

5. Sound like yourself

6. Say what you mean

7. Pity the readers

Recent events have lead me to do a bit of soul searching. A karmic audit of sorts.

I'm on the wrong path; that much is clear. That feeling in my gut isn't always indigestion.

But anyway, this sort of life planning bollix invariably leads me to... dun dun dunnnnn... LISTS (my procrastination method of choice).

I get a blank sheet of paper and the things that are important to me flow onto the page. Sometimes it comes in angry sentences about whatever is bothering me that day, but these have to be looked at and thought about from a different angle. Soon, angry sentences get a strike-through and I've written what I'm missing or what can be changed so that the root of this anger will no longer be a problem.

After the current cerebral flotsam and emotional jetsam are on the page, all the old reliables come out, usually in the wrong order. Once I feel the list has no holes comes draft two. Some entries are redundant, some are stupid and not important at all, some are illegible and in dire need of rewriting. After that they get split into categories and put in order of importance.

Love comes first. Your partner, your family, your friends. Luckily I'm not so stupid to have that anywhere but the top of the list.

Next is Output/Creativity and the million sub entries that this one contains.

Health after that. Not much point if you can’t keep yourself around to do the things you want to do.

Then Input/Inspiration. The things that spur you to create. The things you want to learn about.

The final category is “Bollix”. All the things you have no choice but to do but are completely unimportant in this greater context that you are trying to squeeze into your frame of view. Things like having a job other than your ideal one, paying your rent on time, sorting that giant fucking stack of paperwork.

I find myself a little less detestable when I note that, while inspiration is below health (what’s the point reading that book if I’m coughing a lung up), creativity is more important to me than physical well being. If you can find absolutely nothing to say with your life or are not at least willing to strive to find something to say, some purpose, then why fight to live a little longer.

I’m going to fight to live a little longer anyway.

- B


Find Sonography schools near you

Was in Prague recently. Beautiful city. Thought I'd throw some of the pix up here.

(Moderators, feel free to delete if I shouldn't be posting this sort of randomness)

more pix...Collapse )



I found this file on my hard drive just now. Written lastnight while drunk.

--------> Fuck You.doc

You’re a fucking idiot.

You don’t have a clue what I can do.

You can feel safe in the fact that, for now, neither do I.


Ah well... at least I wrote something.

The world stood still and a hush washed over all.

He stood at the end of their gaze, broadcast in many forms. Silhouetted on a transparent background, people saw him differently. Across every screen in the display window of a television store in Israel he was seen in greyscale before a stark red field. A live stream on Youtube gave full colour, the background white and grey checks. His voice was somewhat distorted when heard over AM radio frequencies in South Africa.

He apologised for not having it figured out yet and, after a brief silence, asked them to be good to eachother. He would be back when he could.

What the hell do I want to say to the world?

Nothing to see here

You scored as Artist, You are an Artist Empath, one who creates their own reality and infuses the realities of others with your energy & emotions. You are poetic and sensitive. You turn your feelings into creations and share them with the world. Everything you touch turns to song and is freed by the color of your eyes. Your spirit dances with the winds and paints delight in the evening sky. (from the "Book of Storms" by Jad Alexander at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Empaths/)












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What Kind of Empath Are You?
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What Muppet are you?

You are Gonzo the Great.You love everyone, and still you get shot out of a cannon on a regular basis. Oh, and you are completely insane and have a strange fascination for chickens.ALSO KNOWN AS:The Great Gonzo, Gonzo the Great, Just Plain Weird SPECIES:Whatever HOBBIES:Tapdancing blindfolded on tapioca while balancing a piano on his nose, backwards, five times fast. FAVORITE MOVIE:"From Here to Eternity...with no brakes." FAVORITE TV SHOW:"Touched By An Anvil" QUOTE:"No parachute? Wow! This is so cool!"
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