I'm late with this, so I'll sneakily move the clock back by 20 mins.
Topic of the day: My favourite quote
It's more of a philosophy of life, though one that didn't start out as a philosophy of life. When I was a teen I came across many aphorisms that I thought would have been great as a favourite quote, something that always occurred to one in times of need for inspection, etc, etc. (Carpe Diem! was one, inspired of course, by the film.) But nothing struck me as really something I could really think about, until:"I believe the only way a writer can keep himself up to the mark is by examining each story quite coldly before he starts writing it and asking himself if it is all right
as a story. I mean, once you start saying to yourself 'This is a pretty weak plot as it stands, but I'm such a hell of a writer that my magic touch will make it all right,' I believe you are done."
In one of his interviews, if I recall right. (I copied it down in a notebook years ago.)
Of course, it looks like nothing but writing advice. Which I agree with and try to follow in my own writing, but as the years passed I felt that it was a good metaphor for living my life, a constant reminder to re-examine myself for what is shallow and insincere and to stop telling myself lies. I mean, there are just too many times when you start telling yourself, "I'm not doing the best I can but since I'm so charming/capable of flim-flam/faking it that I don't have to work at it anymore."
Complacency is really tempting, especially when you know you will still look good while being so. And then going on to think that this is totally ok. But it's also dishonest and it makes my stomach curl up to think of lying not only to other people but also to myself. I mean, it's one thing to have been self-delusion: at least you didn't know. But if you did know and you were telling yourself that that lacklustre thing was actually a shining pearl, well, that is just wrong
It's hard advice to follow, because it's hard to be honest with myself. It's easy to gloss over my own shortcomings, to be resentful at others and reject what I know to be the truth, because that would put me in a bad light. But what choice is there?
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, either is fine.