The Horror of Dialect

In a creative writing class I had several years ago, the teacher cautioned against writing in dialect.  The irony was that at the same time I was taking an Advanced Placement English class that assigned several books written in that particular style. Throughout high school and subsequently college I have periodically read books written in dialect, and I can see why it isn’t common place anymore.

“There Eyes Were Watching God” is often hailed as a classic, and assigned in classrooms all across the country.  I struggled to get through it, I could barely make out what the characters were saying.  I love reading, obviously since I’m a writer, but reading books written entirely or mostly in dialect is an insurmountable challenge for me.  I can figure it out, but my brain wants to fix the words which means it makes reading slow.

Authors are called to “show nor tell” in their stories, and writing in dialect is one way to accomplish that.  To me, though this shows the pitfalls of relying too heavily on showing and not implementing it wisely.  Sometimes, writing short bursts of dialogue, such as a few lines, might be a creative way to show a character’s accent.  Writing an entire book that way is clunky.  That isn’t me saying I claim to be a better writer than these classical authors, but I share this perspective to let others know that if they feel the same, they aren’t alone.  If you are like me, then dialect can be not only clunky, but distracting from the overall plot.  Thank goodness it is a product of the past.

Three Years of Blogging

It was November of 2013 when I first started blogging on WordPress.com.  Since then, I have learned much about myself and the whole blogging process.  What started out as a mission to let the readers gain insight into the worlds I built and the process of writing, became so much more.

Truth be told, blogging was something I despised.  I saw it as a way for people to sit from the safety of their homes and critique the world around them without having to get involved.  Around the time of started on WordPress, I knew of someone who used his blog to spew criticism at the culture.  Don’t get me wrong, there is plenty to say about societal shortcomings, but I wanted a theme, something to tie my stuff together and that’s writing.

Writing was to be the topic and I resolved not to deviate from that.  In July of 2017 I finally moved on from WordPress.com and bought a domain.  Along with that came a new vision with my blog.  During the couple years I only wrote about writing, I struggled with topics, yet I did not want to be an armchair critic.  Blogging after all is something anyone can do, anything can be said, and facts largely become irrelevant.  That isn’t something I want to be a part of.  However, many authors use blogging to discuss life, social issues, and the world.

I realized that if a reader is going to take the time to read a blog they want to know more than the ins and outs of writing.  A variety of content is essential, especially if a blog is going to become monetized.  I began writing on more topics, and realized that I can do it in a way where I don’t have to offer sanctimonious platitudes without facts.  I can write about my observations in the world, sharing my thoughts and feelings while at the same time directing my own words back at myself.  I have a blog about refusing to get offended but instead pausing and taking time to formulate our thoughts instead.  This is something I need to do, especially in this crazy world that only seems to be getting more insane.  Now, the challenge is to not become what I dislike about blogging, and become a critic from behind a computer screen without living up to my own standard.

Quick thought on cliches

I have written about avoiding clichés, and even pointing out clichés that aren’t discussed often.  Something else came to my attention recently.  Most stories have clichés, in fact I cannot think of a single book, movie, or TV show that completely avoids clichés.  Perhaps there is something out there that doesn’t utilize an overused trope in its story, but I do not believe I encountered one.

The issue is how often do clichés appear and how they are utilized.  There are common threads that bind genres together, obviously, that is what makes them genres.  Yet, when something like a magical weapon that must be found, or destroyed in order to destroy the big bad is used, we automatically think of Tolkien.  In fact, that cliché is so overused in the fantasy genre that a story guilty of using this type of plot will be accused of being a Lord of the Rings rip-off.  However, lesser-used clichés, like a character finding what he needs in the middle of the book will be less obnoxious and more forgivable.

Stories that have noticeably less clichés and strive to be their own tale, instead of a repackage of their inspiration are what authors strive for.  In the search for originality, it is easy to loop back around into the territory of cliché once again.  Us writers should always intend to avoid things that are over used, but sometimes it is inevitable.  Just like in the real world, things repeat.  It is simply important to know when and where to use them and to be careful.

Another type of rare love

It is often said that true love is rare.  Many people find romantic love, but making it last is difficult, especially to one person for the rest of our lives.  In a culture where changing relationships is common practice, this is especially true.  However, I hardly see posts, songs, or television shows about other types of rare love, particularly true friendship.

In grade school most of us had at least one friend, most had a handful to several.  However, as hormones begin to fly, and kids grow into adults and discover who they are, people change along with their friendships.  I was a docile kid, the stereotypical doormat.  I let people say and do what they wanted to me and just fume to myself, this was the case all the way up until a few short years ago.  I’m shy and introverted and so I spent quite a bit of time alone, but still needed friends.  In fact, quality friendships are as important to me as family.

Like a lot of millennials, I grew up watching Boy Meets World and wanted desperately to have the kind of friendship that Cory and Shawn had.  I had a couple friendships like that, but they did not run as deep or last as long as I had hoped.  In some cases, it was a blessing to no longer be close with as they were mentally abusive, and a few were even bullies.  With other people we are separated by distance but keep in contact as much as adulthood allows.

Ultimately, I learned that a good, solid friendship is hard to come by.  In fact I would argue it is just as difficult to find as romantic love.  Friends come and go, but it is rare to find someone who wishes to be invested in your life.  This is not to say that I don’t have wonderful friends, or have t found the friendship I was looking for, just that life has taught me just how valuable it is.  It you have a best fried That is like a sibling, then you are blessed, cherish them.

Emotions or Rationality?

In our era of skepticism, cold, unadulterated rationality is often valued.  Science has lifted the curtain on certain superstitions and wives’ tales.  Most people in the modern western world strive to be rational, and scientific.  We don’t want to be like our ancestors that believed diseases were cause by curses.  Most of the time we try to bring that rationality into our everyday lives, particularly our relationships.  But just how rational are we as a species?  Everyone knows that humans are biased, yet there is more to it than that.  I believe people are emotional first and rational second.

Whether we realized it or not, we are emotionally invested into the world around us.  I theorize that our emotional connections to things run far deeper than any of us realize.  Emotions are what drive us, what connects us to our beliefs, I wager far more than any evidence or rationality.  Emotions are not bad things and how they intertwine with our beliefs can be beneficial, for example it can drive us to learn why we believe what we believe.  Rationality too can intermingle with emotion and help us see whether we believe something simply because we want to or if there is evidence to support it.

Emotion, dare I say, contributes to our openness and willingness to accept rational thinking and beliefs.  If we have a strong emotional attachment to the truth, we I’ll search for it ourselves, despite what common consensus may say.  Therefore, being emotional beings isn’t always a bad thing, but I feel it is something we must be aware of.