Wednesday, September 19, 2007

A Meme by Any Other Name Would Smell as Sweet

Colleen asked me to do a meme the other day, and I normally don't respond to these types of things (most memes seem a bit on the lame side), but since this meme dealt with writing, I decided to participate. Musing Woman actually started the meme, and I will have to admit, it seems a bit clever.

Oh, and part of the reason I like this is that it deals with strengths. The other day, I saw a bunch of videos concerning "Favorite People", and most of the videos had people saying, "Nope, I am nobody's favorite." That seemed sad, and I did not explain why in the blog entry. Sure, kids are getting patted on the back for doing substandard stuff, but most of us don't focus on our strengths.

Anyway, the meme concerns listing five strengths in our writing:

1. I observe the world. I really like observing others, asking what makes them tick. Or wondering what makes people tick. I enjoy telling other people's stories.

2. I understand grammar and break the rules on purpose. Doesn't sound like a big deal, but I understand about nouns, verbs, pronouns, capitalizations, comma faults, dangling participles and the like. Now I don't always follow the rules, but I know most of them and follow them often. Sometimes following the rules interrupts thoughts and ideas. Then I break the rules. The first speeding ticket I ever got I had no idea I was speeding. Sort of sucked. I mean, I want to know when I am breaking the rules – and speeding without the joy of knowing I was a bad-ass, was less thrilling for me. Same goes with writing.

3. I love analogies. I think in terms of making connections. And when I explain something, I often use analogies to explain myself. That way, I can use fewer words, or more vivid images, to convey my point. Hopefully, this strategy also gives the reader a way of remembering when he or she has read in the future.

4. I have been told I have a good voice as a writer. Some people enjoy reading my stuff because it seems familiar, like long conversations at the end of a party when you are cleaning up. My writing style is not terribly structured and formal, and people can follow what I am trying to say. Well, most of the time.

5. I love adjectives, but I don't let them get in the way of a good paragraph. Have you ever read something that was hindered by the use of excessive adjectives? The blatant and obfuscatory misuse of adjectives tends to elongate and complicate rather simple sentences and ideas. I have a thesaurus, but I don't really think my readers appreciate having to figure out long and complicated sentences or go to a dictionary twice in the same paragraph.

Okay, this was a fairly straightforward post. There were a lot of strengths that I did not mention, partly because it would have turned this meme into a humorous piece. I could have said the following:

1. I write a lot about lesbians, and lesbians are so "in" right now. I hope this does not offend, really. I guess I really think a lot about lesbianism. And it shows in my writing.

2. I went through a slutty period, and let's face it, sex sells. If I look at my blog entries, people like when I talk about more sexual issues. Who would have thought? But if you are not Marquis de Sade or D. H. Lawrence, people who write about sex are normally not good writers.

3. I masterfully use Google. You can be an expert on anything if you know how to use Google. I mean, take it from me, Google is making "know-it-alls" out of a lot of people who would normally be of average intelligence. And those who know SQL are "gods". Well, that was a little bit over the top.

4. I don't like saying the "P-word" and guys think that's cute. I also don't curse all that often, and it gives my writing a bit of freshness. I just don't want to be accused of having potty mouth.

5. I don't plagiarize because I can't remember anything I read. Actually, there are some really successful people who plagiarize. Well, they are less successful once they get caught.

6. I know when to stop writing. Crap, this post is too long.


colleen said...

An excellent read. Ditto on your #1. I had something similar but then changed it because I was going for 5 and I was wanting to post already.

Your number 3 is my number 4, only sometimes I talk like Yogi Berra. Is that a strength or a weakness?

Thanks, Lisa!

I'll come back when you start talking about sex again.

June said...

I enjoyed reading this post a lot. This is my first time reading your blog, but I'll be back. I like your style.

Black Jack Bauer said...


I don't normally read blogs with any regularity. Your blog, however, has changed that. Have you written a complete novel or anything yet? If so, where can I find it?

Good post.

Great point about Google.

musing woman said...

Good list! I envy your use of analogies. They don't come easily to me (at least not original ones!)

Also, I'd love to take credit for this meme but the originator is actually this guy.

Leesa said...

colleen: I think analogies can be so powerful.

june: thanks, sweetie. I learned what a pie bird was from your blog.

black jack bauer: writing a novel is a bit different than randomly writing a page per day in a blog. I have thought about it but have not committed to doing so of yet.

woman: thanks, sweetie. analagies come quite naturally to me. thanks for giving credit for the originator of the meme.

kathi said...

You could do a list of many more than 5, and you forgot 'creative', because you are. You put a great spin on things.
Hugs Hon.

~Deb said...

I've always enjoyed the way you write, because it's the way I would like to hear someone "speak". I had to agree with you on that one, especially your visualization on cleaning up after a party type of talk---something you would want to hear. Your grammar is awesome...

About the lesbianism---gotta love ya girl!!! :D

Leesa said...

kathi: you are very sweet, but it was hard for me to do. We (humans) don't normally compliment ourselves.

~deb: thanks, sweetie. you know, at parties, I listen more than I talk during the party (because people like that). But during clean-up, I open up a bit more. And thanks for taking my lesbian comments as they are intended.

Anonymous Boxer said...

Naah, it wasn't too long. You could have gone for one more.....


Ian Lidster said...

Your assessment of you and your writing skills is right on. See, absolute honesty is one of your virtues too as one of -- and I mean this completely -- one of my favorite bloggers of all.

RWA said...

I would say that is a very good summary of your writing.

Well done.

Leesa said...

boxer: thanks, sweetie.

ian: What is the saying, "Know Thyself". I forget who said that. Not the Hippocratic Oath, is it? I looked it up, and it has been attributed to at least these five philosophers: Chilon of Sparta (Chilon I 63, 25), Thales of Miletus, Socrates, Pythagoras, or
Solon of Athens. It was written in the Temple of Apollo at Delphi.

rwa: thanks, sweetie. Oh, #6 could be that I summarize. Perhaps a stint with Cliffs Notes would be good.