Friday, May 30, 2008

Externalized Memory

“We’ve reached a critical mass point where the amount of memory we have externalized in books and databases (to name but a few sources) now exceeds the amount of memory contained within our collective biological bodies. In other words, there’s more memory “out there” than exists inside “all of us.” We’ve peripheralized our essence.”
- Coupland, Douglas. Microserfs. HarperCollins Books: Toronto, 1995. pg 253

Thursday, May 29, 2008

We Are All Storymakers

“We are all storymakers. We use story to organize and control. . . . Human beings strive for order, control and peace but we can never be static. We must change, age, learn more, grow and adapt. So we are always in a cycle of creative struggle, changing and striving to manage our changing and to integrate what we learn into our own story. If during our growing up, for instance, we have suffered trauma . . .To escape the feeling of helplessness and confusion that we carry with us we need to organize, package, index our experience, do what we mean when we say “get a handle on it,” so that we can carry the baggage of our experience comfortably and not have bits and pieces falling all over the place. This is what we do when we ‘story’ it.”
- Gold, Joseph. Read For Your Life: Literature as a Life Support System. Fitzhenry and Whiteside: Markham, 1990. pg 51-52

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

What Now!?!

“A man’s only as big as the shadows he casts
so I keep my eyes and ears open like everyday was my last
stay on the front line and do what I do
cause it’s running through me
you can call it what you want, I write the lyrics that move me
don’t have any idea of where I’ll be in a year
maybe possibly over there, maybe still stuck here
I take it day to day and let it flow naturally
re-up refresh reiterate and recharge my battery
camaraderie my sanity relies on my rhetoric
cause my notebook’s like a journal-my own personal specialist
what now? well I don’t know, I just go where the music is
let it lead me where I’m going, make it fresh and keep doing it
it’s a mystery, at least it is to me, it’s unknown
so let’s make history and listen as progression is shown”
- Def 3 + Moka Only “What now!”from the album “Dog River”

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

In the Presence of Extraordinary

“It's overwhelming really. So much purports to be extraordinary everywhere you go, it's hard to say what really is anymore. But like an elegantly articulated brushstroke or a perfect piece of music, or even a flawed one, you know it when you see it. It fills you with a flush. It holds your breath for you. You know you're in the presence of extraordinary when there's just no guessing. And the only thought you can carry is a determination to do even better yourself.”
- Narrator on Everwood (The narrator also plays a character on the show. This is a picture of him)

Monday, May 26, 2008

Boring Titles

Sometimes it takes me a long time to catch on to things. For instance, when I first started collecting quotations and forming them into a commonplace book, I numbered the entries. I thought that this would help me organize them and find them easier.

The only problem is that the numbers don’t organize my collection very well. The numbers, in and of themselves, have no meaning. I would need to file each number under a specific subject. And so far, I haven’t been able to do that.

I have been labelling entries with key words but I have way too many of them to make them as useful as they could be.

It’s strange that this has taken me 20 weeks to realize. But now I see that a short title to each entry makes it easier to find the quotes. So I will be titling entries from now on. I will also go back to previous entries and give them more descriptive titles as well. I will also try to clean up my labelling system to make it more succinct and efficient.

If you have any ideas or would like to help me collect quotations, please let me know. You can comment here or send me an email. Thanks.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Have a Life

“Maybe thinking you’re supposed to ‘have a life’ is a stupid way of buying into an untenable 1950s narrative of what life’s *supposed* to be.”
- Coupland, Douglas. Microserfs. HarperCollins Books: Toronto, 1995. pg 187

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Most Prolific Art

“Story is not only our most prolific art form but rivals all activities—work, play, eating, exercise—for out waking hours.”
- McKee, Robert. Story: Substance, Structure, Style, and the Principals of Screenwriting. ReganBooks: New York, 1997. pg 11

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

We Are Brothers

“I got love for my brother
but we could never go nowhere unless share with each other.
We gotta start making changes
Learn to see my as a brother instead of two distant strangers
and that’s how it’s supposed to be
How could the devil take a brother that was close to me?
I’d love to go back to when we played as kids
but things change that’s the way it is”
- 2Pac “Changes” off his “Greatest Hits album”

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Power of Belief

“Maybe who we are is simply believing in who we can be.”
- Superman in Legion of Superheroes cartoon show 3 Nov 2007

Ah, the power of belief. If you truly believe something, you can make it happen. This is a great quote. It was also the first time I have ever felt the need to scribble down dialogue from a Saturday morning cartoon.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Writing Muscle

This one is for beginning writers out there. I hope it inspires you to start writing and keep writing.

“Attention is like a muscle. You can strengthen your focusing ability by using it, by not giving in to the urge to jump up and do something else. It’s not easy.”
- Perry, Susan K. “11 Ways to Maintain Focus” The Writer Magazine supplement Jan. 2008

Friday, May 16, 2008

Invisible Connections

“Langdon viewed the world as a web of profoundly intertwined histories and events. The connections may be invisible, he often preached to his symbology classes at Harvard, but they are always there, buried just beneath the surface.”
- Brown, Dan. The DaVinci Code. DoubleDay: New York, 2003. pg 15-16.

I think that everything is interconnected in some way. That’s why I really enjoy this quote from this great novel.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Imagined & Reality

“When we read story it can actually direct our brain processes so that the same signals are sent to our nervous system as would occur in the same situation in a life experience.”
- Gold, Joseph. Read For Your Life: Literature as a Life Support System. Fitzhenry and Whiteside: Markham, 1990. pg 40

Ever read a story and you get so into it that your heart races? The character might be in some peril and you really feel like you are in the same situation. That is a great feeling when literature can take you away like that. It also goes to show you how our imagination works.

Our brains are unable to tell the difference between an imagined experience and a real one. I read that in a psychology book and it has stuck with me. It explains a lot.

Good writing can transport us. We can be right there in that situation. For this experience to work, you need to be truly in touch with the text on the page. You need to use your imagination and the writer needs to have communicated with you in such a way that you share this experience over distance, time, and space. It’s an amazing feat and just one of the amazing powers that reading opens us up to.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Strong & Smart

“As long as I'm alive, I'll keep my head up high. Because I'm strong in body, and smart in mind.”
- Run DMC from the album Tougher Than Leather

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Just Be

“People are always saying you should be yourself, like yourself is this definite thing, like a toaster. Like you know what it is even. But every so often I'll have, like, a moment, where just being myself in my life right where I am is, like, enough.”
- Angela on My So-Called Life

Monday, May 12, 2008

Choose Good

“Human nature dictates that each of us will always choose the “good” or “right” as we perceive the “good” or the “right”. It is impossible to do otherwise.”
- McKee, Robert. Story: Substance, Structure, Style, and the Principals of Screenwriting. ReganBooks: New York, 1997. pg 248

I don’t think that everyone always chooses to do the right thing. People make bad choices all the time. I know I have. And I always wonder what led me to make those seemingly bad decisions. Perhaps, it was simply, because at the time, I believed them to be the right choices.

I think that all we can do in this life is to evaluate or choices closely before we make the. This was we can be removed from time, just a little, so that we can understand just a little better, what exactly the right thing is to do.

I think that deep down inside we all know the difference between right and wrong.

Happy Monday Everyone!

Friday, May 9, 2008

Joy & Pain

“There are only two emotions – pleasure and pain. Each has its variations: joy, love, happiness, rapture, fun, ecstasy, thrill, bliss, and many others on one hand, and anguish, dread, anxiety, terror, grief, humiliation, malaise, misery, stress, remorse, and many others on the other hand. But at heart life gives us only one or the other.”
- McKee, Robert. Story: Substance, Structure, Style, and the Principals of Screenwriting. ReganBooks: New York, 1997. pg 243

I wonder if life truly is this simple. Can it be a dichotomy between two things with just variations on one or the other? I mean, if there are only two emotions, maybe there are only two of everything. I mean, there are only two sexes, right? And there are only two activities; work and play. And there are only two things to do with the written word; read or write. Hmm, I think he might just have something here.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Equipment for Living

“Why is so much of our life spent inside story? Because as critic Kenneth Burke tells us, stories are equipment for living.”
- McKee, Robert. Story: Substance, Structure, Style, and the Principals of Screenwriting. ReganBooks: New York, 1997. pg 11.

Stop and think about this quotation for a moment. It is absolutely mind boggling. We spend most of our free time consuming stories, whether they be in the form of novels, TV shows, video games, conversations with our friends, writing, sport, and any other activity in which we partake.

This is another book that every writer should own. But I think it also has a lot to say about the nature of reality. McKee calls states, “Story is a metaphor for life.” I think that it goes well beyond metaphor. I think story is the nature of reality.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008


“I was rollin' around, in my mind it occurred
What if God was a her?
Would I treat her the same? Would I still be runnin' game on her?
In what type of ways would I want her?
Would I want her for her mind or her heavenly body?
Couldn't be out gettin' bogus with someone so godly
If I was wit' her would I still be wantin' my ex?
The lies, the greed, the weed, the sex
Wouldn't be ashamed to give her part of my check
Wearin' her cross, I mean the heart on my neck
Her I would reflect on the streets of the Chi'
Ride wit' her, 'cause I know for me she'd die
Through good and bad call on her like I'm chirpin' her
Couldn't be jealous 'cause other brothers worship her
Walk this earth for her, glory, I'm grateful
To be in her presence I try to stay faithful”
- Common “Faithful” from the album “Be”

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

We are All Alike

“Ask any mom or dad and they'll tell you with drop-dead certainty that their child is extraordinary. A genius of some kind. Gifted by the gods and deserving of great privilege. One in a million might even be right. Just try to tell the other hundred thousand they're not.”
- Narrator on Everwood

Monday, May 5, 2008

Ideas from Nowhere

This one is for all the writers…

“. . . good story ideas seem to come quite literally from nowhere, sailing at you right out of the empty sky: two previously unrelated ideas come together and make something new under the sun. Your job isn’t to find these ideas but to recognize them when they show up.”
- King, Stephen. On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft. Scribiner: New York, 2000. pg 37.

I absolutely love this book. I think every writer should own a copy of it. It is part memoir, part writing manual. I like his idea that writing comes from nowhere. I have been thinking a lot lately, about the phrase “out of the blue” and its connection to creativity. It is an amazing topic that doesn’t seem to have any research behind it. Yet, it is something a lot of people recognize.

We get these ideas seemingly out of nowhere. When we get them, we need to recognize them and act on them. That is our job as writers.

Happy Monday Everyone!

Friday, May 2, 2008

No Life

“You never heard about people “not having lives” until about five years ago, just when all of the ‘80s technologies really penetrated our lives.”
- Coupland, Douglas. Microserfs. HarperCollins Books: Toronto, 1995. pg 164

Coupland has a way with words. His characters can say things in regular conversation that just say so much about our own reality. This is just one of those shining gems that I have found in his novels.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Our Brain Works in Story

“Because fiction uses metaphor, character, situation, and temporal sequence, there is a layered, complex network of meaning and information. The reader is able to select and reorganize this to make it relevant, even to make it understandable, to her own experience, which is stored in the form of story in her mind.”
- Gold, Joseph. Read For Your Life: Literature as a Life Support System. Fitzhenry and Whiteside: Markham, 1990. pg 35

Our brain naturally organizes things and events into story. It is just the way it works. We think in story, we organize events and situations into stories, and we recognize and identify with other stories.

Story seems to be the only thing that all humans share. No matter what the culture or geography, humans create and use story in much the same way. It has been this way since the start of recorded history, and I am sure even since the first day man learned how to communicate with one another.

I believe that story is also one of the building blocks in the complex thing we know as life. It was there before we discovered it. And it is so integral to our life that we can’t imagine life without it. No one can live without story. Story is the nature of reality.