Sunday, May 31, 2015

The Oxymoron ... a Reminder to Laugh at Ourselves

A Sanitary Sewer!  (photo by Jan Siebold)

    I snapped this photo of a "Sanitary Sewer" cover in Washington, D.C.  It is a perfect example of an oxymoron ... a self-contradictory term from the Greek oxus, meaning "sharp", and moros, meaning "stupid".  One translation of the term is "pointedly foolish".
    Popular examples of the oxymoron are "jumbo shrimp", "Great Depression", "military intelligence",  and "poor little rich girl".
    Maybe we enjoy thinking about the oxymoron because we are reminded that as human beings we are full of contradictions* and momentary lapses in judgement.  After all, these phrases were coined by humans, probably by accident or in all seriousness at the time that they were first uttered or written.  For the most part, the chuckle didn't come until later when someone realized the incongruity of the words in question.
    Any time that we are reminded to not take ourselves too seriously is "awfully good" in my book!

*see my blog post "Explore Contradictions!" dated 9/27/12



Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Patience, Man, Patience

photo by Jan Siebold

  My husband and I were walking up Michigan Avenue in Chicago.  At one intersection we tried to beat the traffic light that was turning from green to red, but didn't quite make it.  An impatient driver blasted his horn at us.  A bicyclist waiting next to the car looked at the driver and said, "You gotta wait, man.  What are you going to do, hit 'em?"  The small crowd around us cheered and clapped at this show of kindness and common sense.
  One of the greatest lessons that I have learned as a writer is that much patience is required.  Before my first book was published I spent months and months waiting to hear about the precious manuscript that I had flung out into the world.  Once I received a glorious acceptance letter I waited more months for initial contact from my assigned editor.  I waited again for responses to my rewrites and again for a glimpse of my book's cover art.  I waited for the F&Gs.  A little over a year after receiving the acceptance letter, the exciting day came when a box of the finished books arrived at my door.  That was followed by another nail-biting period ... waiting for the reviews to come in.
  Good things come to those who wait.  Meanwhile, life goes on.  Use the time wisely.  You gotta wait, man.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Salut a L'objet ... Greet the Prop!

photo by Jan Siebold

     In his book Creativity:  the Perfect Crime tightrope walker Philippe Petit describes his Salut a L'Objet ... a ritual that he performs when beginning each work session.  Petit calls it his "personal salute" to his tools and his work space.
     I believe that this salute is more than just a way to focus and to mentally prepare for work.  It is much more spiritual in nature.    
     My writing place is sacred to me.  I have chosen carefully the objects that surround me.  I love the idea of saluting this space and the tools that I use to accomplish my work.  They deserve my respect and thanks.