Temet Nosce—Know Thyself

Know Thyself - Temet Nosce

The Matrix is one of my all-time favorite movies. I actually went to the theater and paid movie ticket prices to see it—albeit 1999 movie ticket prices—but I shelled out the clams, nonetheless. That’s rare. With the quick turnaround from theatrical to dvd release, as well as the low retail costs, I usually don’t mind waiting the additional few months before they’re marketed for the home. In other words, I’m cheap very frugal.

But with The Matrix…well, for some reason, that movie was different. I had to see it at the movie house, as if compelled by a higher being—Divine Intervention, one might say—and on the last blustery day of March, I braved the crowds and waited an hour before settling into a burlap-covered cushion of The San Diego Cineplex.

The lights dimmed, the previews played, and the soundtrack took lead with its now-familiar oscillating chord. A blinking cursor on a blank computer filled the big screen. After seven of the most gripping opening minutes of any movie I’d ever seen, I knew my life was about to change dramatically.

Wake up, Mike….the Matrix has you…follow the white rabbit.

Two hours and nine minutes later, while passers-by bumped my knees wriggling to get out, I sat dumbfounded, unable to move—awestruck. I actually had a spiritual awakening of sorts, and was enlightened in a way no other film had done before, nor any film since.

Perhaps it was the intricate tapestry of philosophies woven together in a well-written Messianic journey, or it could’ve been the futuristic love story of two people fated to explore their destinies together, or maybe it was the never-before-seen spectacular visual effects. Regardless, it spurred an awakening within me.

However, this article is not a review or dissection of the movie. Today, as part of my Insecure Writer’s Support Group post, I’ll be discussing Socrates’ philosophy, “Know Thyself,” and how that knowledge can turn one into a more confident and secure person, and thus, a more confident writer. Please take a moment to watch the clip; it’s under two minutes and integral to the rest of the post. Besides, it’s a damn good scene.

[youtube.com/watch?v=svfDdcPmELk]

Know thyself—what a concept!

This scene inspires me every time I see it. Here we have Neo seeking clarity and direction from The Oracle.

“Do you think you’re The One?” she asks.

“Honestly, I don’t know.” he says. She then refers to the sign above the door that reads, Temet Nosce, or Know Thyself.

Without saying another word, but pointing her cigarette and lemonade laden hand to the sign, she essentially tells him, when you know yourself, you don’t have to ask that question. You just…know.

But she says it anyway.

“Being The One is just like being in love. No one can tell you you’re in love, you just know it, through and through, balls to bones.”

I love that line—balls to bones—classic. However, to expound on this, “Knowing thyself (i.e., being and knowing you’re The One, as in Neo’s case) is just like being in love. No one can tell you…you just know it, through and through, balls to bones.”

She holds his hands to get a reading and, because Neo does not yet know or believe in himself, tells him that he is not The One—he “is waiting for something…his next life, maybe.” In truth, he is waiting on self-awareness and an awakening. He will not fully become The One without a firm belief and inner knowledge that he is The One.

When are our doubts most prevalent?

I hate to generalize, or give a one-reason answer to a question when many are possible, but as a writer, my doubts crop up most when I put a new piece up for scrutiny; when I expose to the world my wildest dreams in story—because oftentimes those dreams are far-removed from who I am as a person.

Sometimes those dreams are fantastical. Sometimes they’re wholesome and family-friendly. Sometimes, raw and gritty. They run the gamut. But never have they been a direct accounting of my life. On the contrary, I tap into shared emotion rather than circumstance, although the circumstance may have been something I’ve witnessed in my life.

The reason I bring this up for IWSG, is recently, I shared two pieces on my blog: an excerpt from my WIP started in November, and a thousand-word short last month as part of Composers for Relief. It’s been awhile since I’ve done that, and boy, were my insecurities knocking at the door. Heck, pounding is more like it. My works were extreme opposites of each other.

Exposure of the latter made me nervous because I was touching on newly healed wounds, and although the story was fictitious, with reality ten times more painful, getting the feelings just right was crucial—and heartbreaking all over again. I wanted to do a good job.

As for the excerpt, that shook my tree for an entirely different reason—it contained cussing. And not just your run of the mill “damn” or “hell” or “a-hole,” but the F-bomb. After the first few paragraphs, much to my surprise, it slipped out of my main character’s mouth and dropped like an Atomic Bomb, mushroom cloud and everything, followed shortly by his father’s irreverent use of “GD” and “Chrissakes.”

That is so unlike me.

You see, in real life, this man behind the words is a Christian. I may not be a saint or your typical devotee, but I don’t really cuss, even though I know all the terms and have used them a time or two, usually for humor. Heck, I was in a fraternity and the Navy. But I wasn’t raised in a cussing household and was taught that someone who swears has an underdeveloped vocabulary and can’t think of the appropriate word.

But for story, sometimes profanity is the best choice, for not everybody is like me, such as the characters in my novel.

When two worlds collide

When I write about something that contradicts my own values, of course it makes me a bit uncomfortable, but where would literature be if we stayed in our comfort zones? Where would the world be? How would growth and change ever occur? For it is through new ways of thinking and radical approaches in conveying those ideas that changes are made.

My work-in-progress is a redemption and reconciliation story. I want to show major growth: what things were like, what transpired to make them different, and then the final transformation—a complete metamorphosis. But it’s not your typical pantie-waist story that the religious sect puts out to later showcase Kirk Cameron in the movie version. The affair in that story was no more torrid than a healed hemorrhoid. The author (and later, director) showed no real change, no heart-tugging reconciliation between father and daughter, no real depth throughout the book or movie. No wonder they were Left Behind.

Why? Because many times fellow artists (authors, actors, directors) who are Christians are too afraid to get their hands dirty, they don’t want “to go there” or feel it necessary to be that extreme; they are too worried what their church brethren will think. And in turn, they only reach people like themselves; they preach to the choir. The Matrix showed real vulnerability of characters, growth, salvation—and reached multitudes. That’s the kind of story I want to tell.

I want to reach the masses, the unchurched, the ones who speak in the words of my characters and act like them and endure the painful lives they lead, and oftentimes, those lives are totally different than people who’ve had a religious upbringing. To do this, I need to get down in the trenches.

Knowing Thyself is important in order to write with such grittiness and literary abandon and not lose yourself in the process. And with a strong belief system as an anchor—no matter your belief system—it quiets the criticisms and calms the fears when exposing yourself and your readership to all the “uncomfortable” stuff. Only then will self-doubting questions such as, “If I write that, what will my church family, or people in general, think of me?” fall by the wayside.

Because I believe that my God, creator of the universe, is smart enough to know what I’m doing. After all, he’s the one putting the words in my head.

Know thyself, Neo. It will free your mind. This, I truly believe.

[youtube.com/watch?v=8H31mmbN6Rk]

Peace,

ML Swift

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A great group of folks!

This post is part of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group. We post the first Wednesday of every month and share our solutions to common difficulties, encourage other writers to meet their insecurities head-on, and seek supportive shoulders when we’ve received one too many rejections. If you’d like to join the group (and we’d love to have you), follow the link to the  IWSG website, grab a badge, and put your name on the list. I’ll see you next month!

MikeBeachML Swift is a writer of Middle Grade, Young Adult, and Adult fiction, although he dabbles in many genres.

An Alzheimer’s caregiver for the past ten years, he has published several articles on The Alzheimer’s Reading Room, the largest online website catering to that community, and plans to write a novel about his experience in caregiving.

He resides in Florida with his dogs, Rameses and Buster, attempting to reclaim his side of the bed.

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38 thoughts on “Temet Nosce—Know Thyself

  1. You’ve hit upon something profound here, Mike. As Christians, we are supposed to reach the masses, and sometimes that’s uncomfortable. I admit I am safe in my writing because there are places I just don’t want to go. But maybe my characters need to go there. And maybe it will be all right if I write knowing where I am writing from.

    1. Exactly, Alex. When your foundation is built on solid rock, you won’t sink away in the sands. I’ve been participating in flash-fiction prompt groups for awhile (under a pseudonym) to try new things outside of my comfort level. It’s freeing, and I’ve really been able to push the envelope because I feel anonymous…no name connected to the avatar.

      I’m of the mindset that, if I want to give away what I have, then some of the squalor in the world is bound to get me filthy. But I know I’m washed in the blood, and although the clothes are dirty, the soul is white as snow.

      Thanks for coming by. I look forward to co-hosting next month.

      1. I’m gonna go the other way, here. I think Christians are salt and light. To be quite honest, I cuss in my personal life all the time to vent anger and yet my relationship to Christ defines me. This year, I made a loose resolution to cut down on it a bit. I don’t know. It’s a charged subject for sure. I think the salt and light issue is more about your relationship to God and yourself far before it’s ever an issue with others. But we’re a tightly-woven meme machine and what one does, others see. That’s just the way it is.

        I know this comment is far from enlightening, but I do want to say to two Christian bloggers, you and Alex, who obviously take the issues discussed in this post to heart when making decisions, that it’s a good thing to ‘work out our salvation with fear and trembling,’ as Paul would say. Only I’d take the liberty of modifying it a little. Work out your faith with struggle and honest questioning. It’s a sign that both you and your faith are alive. And a sign that you’re on your way to temet nosce.

        Onward.

      2. Suze,

        Thanks for adding to the conversation! Of course, this is a charged topic, and one that can’t be covered in one post or two or three or…(it was long enough at over 1200 words).

        It seems as though you understood my belief to be cussing and Christianity aren’t congruent, but that’s not the case. I don’t cuss as a rule, because it’s simply not me. It has nothing to do with my Christian beliefs, nor do I feel that someone who cusses isn’t “right with God.” I’ve had periods where I cussed (college and the Navy) on a more regular basis, yet still sought God. I think that the cussing dwindles as faith increases, not from a concerted effort or due to fear, but due to a change of heart—a kinder, gentler way of looking at the world. Cuss words seem to be more abrasive than that, and are usually used as such.

        I revere God, but I don’t fear him, although I know God could smite me right now for saying that. Well, there is the same kind of fear as a child has to a parent, but also the same kind of loving relationship.

        Unfortunately, I can’t (and won’t, in this venue) divulge 40+ years of my struggle and honest questioning, but believe me, my life hasn’t been peachy keen and pristine. My faith has been tested time and again, with further refining always taking place in the fire.

        And in my humble yet arrogant opinion, because some of the worst treatment I’ve received has been at the hands of the seemingly devout, I see three groups on the horizon: sheep, lemmings, and wolves.

        I don’t see where you came to the conclusion that I had a problem with cussing. This post was all about saying, “Screw it and write what needs to be written.” If we know who we are and stand fast, then can’t we do all things through Him? That means tossing around a few expletives, if need be.

        This is good. I appreciate your thoughtful input! 🙂 Yeah!

  2. This gave me goosebumps to read.
    Right now I’m writing a very dark scene as I explore my story protagonist’s past, and I can’t even look back as I’m writing it because it’s something I honestly never thought I’d explore. But there it is. How did this even get into my head if I was not meant to write it? I’ve come to see that my characters are able to say what I can’t because I’m scared to look.

    You’re so right. Knowing is everything, and we do know if we take the time to really listen.
    (In fact I hesitated over the mild cuss word in my post this month too, but it just seemed to fit. 😉 )

    1. Feelings are universal; it is how we express them that differs. Evidently, your protagonist shares their feelings differently than you. It’s not a bad or scary thing (they are, after all, only on paper), merely different. Of course, you might not want to meet with its real-life counterpart in a dark alley. Go for it, Kirsten!

  3. I loved the Matrix. Loved, loved, LOVED it. I, frugal lady that I am, even paid TWICE to see it in the movie theatres. I do wonder how many people it struck this chord with – how many of us it affected so deeply. The message to wake up, to ave faith in yourself, to be the fullest, brightest, most REAL version of yourself – well, I’m still trying to achieve that.

    I really appreciated the insight your post gave me. I didn’t really know the struggle that Christian writers might go through, and you gave me a window into that world. I salute your courage and your willingness to not be safe – to dig into the dark and terrible places inside humanity. Without a doubt, that will make your stories deeper and truer and more able to touch so many people.

    I hesitate to make statements about a faith that isn’t my own, but my understanding of Jesus is that that’s what he did. He touched the untouchable; he looked right at the darkness without fear. What could be more Christian, then, than that? I hope that’s OK to say, and that I haven’t been offensive. If I have, I truly apologize.

    1. You share my sentiments about Jesus to a tee, Liz. He was Jewish, and followed Jewish tradition and rituals, but taught a new message—a message of LOVE. He essentially reduced the Commandments to two: Love God and Love One Another. If you do these things, you automatically are following the earlier ten. After all, who steals, murders, covets, dishonors, etc., those whom they love?

      I’m Christian because I follow the teachings of Jesus. I’m not caught up in all the man-influenced and biased details…the devil is in the details. Other Christians may think me heretical or blasphemous, but I don’t believe that every jot and tittle in the Bible is of God. Man’s hand has been in it too much. But before the conservatives hem and haw (oh goodness, don’t get me started), Billy Graham said those same words, so I’m in good company (his last interview in Newsweek, I believe…I don’t know, I read it at the doctor’s office).

      I’m an advocate for all people and feel we need to break the oppressive grip that others have on us in the name of “religion” and “family values.” To do this, I need to put on the Armor of God and do battle fearlessly. Think about it, the Pharisees have always been around, acting all high and mighty and fooling many people into thinking they’re devout and pious, but they’re not fooling God. God knows what’s in your heart and God don’t like ugly.

      I’m not versed on all the religions out there and hesitate to summarize them, but it seems they all share those two core values: to love the god of their understanding and to love each other. So why all the turmoil? They don’t practice it.

      And honestly, why get up in everybody’s personal business, like gay marriage? What’s it to them? If they think it’s such a sin, how the heck is it going to affect them, either in this life or the next? On The Day of Reckoning, who is standing before God? YOU and NO ONE ELSE. So let it go, everyone, and “love one another. As I have loved you, may you love one another. By this, shall all men know you are my disciples, if you have love, one to another.” (John 13:34-35).

      Okay, I’ll get off my soapbox now. I could go on about this all day. Thanks for coming by, Liz. Big hugs.

    2. Mike, for some reason there’s no link to reply to your comment… so I’m doing it here, but I AM replying to your comment 🙂

      Ahem. Anyway!

      I’m so glad I didn’t offend you. I didn’t think I would, or I wouldn’t have written it, but I do always hesitate when writing my own opinions about others’ beliefs. It’s good to know it was the right thing to say.

      Thank you for such a heartfelt explanation of your faith and beliefs. It’s fascinating and heartening and I love learning about it. I agree with you 100%, even if I don’t necessarily use the same words you do. Love the higher power, whatever that may be, and love each other? Yes, absolutely. And yes, you’re also absolutely right that just about every major religion says the same thing, and yet we all fight about it, anyway. Sigh. It’s something I’m hoping to address, if even in some small way, in the book I’m working on now. I’m not a religious person – I define myself as culturally Jewish, but not religiously so – but I am a spiritual person. And I’m working on those two basic tenets all the time 🙂

      On a person level, I have to admit that while I work hard to keep an open mind, I often wonder what my Christian blogger friends might think of ME if I talked more about my personal life online. It’s disheartening to think of the judgments they might have based purely on who I’ve married. I’m very, very glad – and not at all surprised – to know you don’t feel that way.

      Thanks, Mike. You’re wonderful. Big hugs to you, too.

      1. Yeah…that’s the right reply link to hit. I changed the “nesting” pattern of comments. Each one used to have it’s own reply link, but it kept scrunching them into narrower and narrower columns…I didn’t like that, especially if more than a couple of comments were made. So I stopped the “nesting” at two comments.

        I may be a regular church attendee, but I don’t consider myself religious, per se (although I know all the rites, etc.). I, like you, consider myself a spiritual being. There’s a difference. Religion is following Man’s Rules…Spirituality is following God’s Rules. Religion is for people who are scared of going to hell; spirituality is for people who’ve already been there.

        More hugs. 🙂

  4. Mike, this is just oh-so-good. Being brave and authentic in our writing is the only way, I think, that our writing will resonate beyond “gee that’s a good story”. Write without hindrance, especially in the first draft, then we can edit and listen to other voices– (our conscience if need be). I love your writing. You are so gifted. I can’t wait to see what lives you touch and the imaginations you ignite through the stories you tell from your heart.

    1. “Write without hindrance, especially in the first draft, then…edit and listen to other voices—(our conscience, if need be).”

      THAT is going on my bulletin board. Perfect. Who sees our first drafts but ourselves? No one. So why not write like the wind? And the follow up, clean it up as conscience tells you, is excellent—a part of the editing.

      You’re so wise. So good to surround myself with folks like you’uns.

  5. I guess, if you know yourself, and you know your God, and your God, of course, knows you, then it doesn’t matter, as long as you are reaching out and bringing in. Thanks. This is something I’ve been thinking about lately.

    1. I hope you found some answers, or at least a road to peer down and see if it’s a path you want to take. Yeah, I try daily to cultivate my relationship with God. He’s my bestie.

      Thanks for coming by, DJ. It’s nice to meet you.

  6. My first book people kept telling me to tone it down, to turn the MC into a fairy tale princess whose feet never touched the ground. But if I’d done that there would have been no point in telling the story.

    Many stories can be told without that–some can’t, and it takes a lot of courage to send the book where it needs to go.

    1. “…send the book where it needs to go.” Precisely, Lauren. When I began my wip, I had an entirely different idea in mind. The story wanted to go elsewhere. I gave it that freedom, and it’s coming along nicely, and probably a lot more effortlessly than the original story. I would’ve probably had to fight with it the whole time, and not have been happy with the result.

      Thanks for visiting!

  7. I have enough trouble writing about the things I’m comfortable with, so my hat’s off to you and your ability to be able to write about stuff that run contrary to your values. Keep pushing yourself.

  8. I swore like a sailor when someone stole my work. I couldn’t even think up swear words bad enough. I don’t think it’s the words that matter, but the intent. If you say sugar and mean it like someone might mean the f word, then sugar becomes something immoral. IMO 🙂

    1. There are times in my life I’ve cussed a hole in the roof out of anger, so I know what you mean. They are quite few and far between, though. And yes, intent behind any word is the key factor. Thanks, Mary.

  9. Great post as always, Mike, and definitely one of your better ones.

    I struggle with some of the same things. At the urging of the author who helped me get started, I joined a large Christian writing organization. I benefited greatly from my time there, but I quickly saw I wasn’t a good fit.

    There’s a place for ‘clean’ and Christian books. I was glad to have books I could stock my homeschool library with and not worry what my kids might stumble across. But I’m an adult. I can handle seriously flawed characters and realistic writing. CF was just too sanitized IMO. It IS preaching to the choir.

    To me, the overall message of the story trumps its warts. As writers, we all need to feel free to decide our own boundaries. I sometimes write graphic sex, but I make it meaningful to the story and frame it within a conservative moral context. I avoid the f-bomb and taking the Lord’s name in vain, but I’m not scandalized if I read it in someone else’s work. (Of course, there’s characterization, and then there’s excessive and gratuitous.) *shrugs* Fiction is supposed to imitate and explore real life, and real people aren’t perfect.

    1. Very thoughtful comment, Melissa, thank you for taking the time…and I agree with your second paragraph wholeheartedly. Your third paragraph definitely has some quotables!

      When I started this post, it was just going to be about cussing (or doing something contrary to who you are) in your work. I hesitated bringing religion into it. But I’m followed by many Christians and some church family. After posting my excerpt, a lady from my church mentioned to me on FB that she’s “learning a lot about me, but still loves me.”

      Well, I felt the need to clarify and bring my faith into it. I am not my writing, yet in a way, I am, if that makes sense. These are not my life’s stories, yet in a way, they are. I relate the experiences and observations from my life in a crafted tale to relay some sort of message. And I do it in the most realistic way I can.

      I’m too jaded to be your traditional CF writer, and I don’t want to be a CF writer. I’m a realistic mainstream fiction writer who is a Christian. You’re right. CF is too sterile, too sanitized, superficially touching on topics: the pilot’s affair in Left Behind, the husband’s “porn addiction” in Fireproof, and what was it in Courageous? A cop on the take, I think. I saw worse stuff than than in After School Specials.

      Gratuitous anything will ruin a story: sex, violence, gore, cussing, adverbs… 😀 Keep it real; keep it simple. Thanks for coming by!

  10. I really believe that if you’re going to explore a wide variety of characters, you’re going to go places that make you uncomfortable – but that’s reality and I think it’s beneficial to me as a person. It’s growth. It’s seeing outside my own little bubble. I wouldn’t want to make my characters to all sound like me (how scary!). Bravo for you, Mike!

    1. Exactly, River. We have to be fearless in our writing, despite our comfort level. Otherwise, every book would be as G-rated as “See Dick run.” And even that can have negative connotations. 😉 Thanks for coming by and co-hosting this month!

  11. Swifty,

    Great post and I totally agree with everything you wrote. The Matrix was out of control amazing. It pushed the edges in every way imaginable. Matrix 2 and 3 not so much for me. But there were so many lessons and applications in number 1.

    Dirty Harry said it as well. “A man as got to know his limitations.” That is the quote that defines me. They are saying the same thing.

    As to using offensive language in writing. I have taken on the challenge to not have any offensive language in my work. It is hard, really hard. A simple f-bomb would make the work easier. But I think my writing is tighter and more creative as I have to explore a different way to handle the scene. So far it has worked, but then again no one has read it. (As an aside, you are getting dangerously close to being asked to be a Alpha reader of this unread work. Hopefully in the summer time frame.)

    About Christian Fiction and the Kirk Cameron movies. I have never read any of it and the only movie I saw was the “Fireproof” movie because my wife and I were arm twisted into seeing it. After we saw it, I was asked what we thought. My reply was I thought it sucked because one time in my life I lived it. Real life was much more horrible than the movie made it seem.

    Like you, I think it is imperative that a writer get into the weeds with the characters. If you want to be realistic, they you have to go there. I may not have any offensive language in my work but I have murder, greed, terrorist actions, the death of a wife and her children, suicide, child abuse, rape, drug abuse, pedophiles, and even a gay sex scene. Like you, I am willing to go there.

    This post kicks butt…no it kicks ass! Ha ha.

    1. Ha! Rob, you kick butt ass.

      Yeah…other than the special FX, Matrix 2 and 3 didn’t do anything for me. But the effects were cool as heck. The Matrix, that was a whole different story. Excellent.

      As you know, most of what I’ve written has not included swearing, but it didn’t call for it. If there’s one thing I hate, it’s gratuitous anything…sex, violence, gore, cussing, etc. Plus, the demos I’ve written for in the past didn’t call for it in the slightest.

      Not all adult mainstream calls for swearing, either; I’ve dealt with a few grown up issues without the need, but each story and character should be fully realized, otherwise all is for naught. And sometimes to fully realize a character, that aspect should be explored and conveyed the best way possible. Sometimes cussing is involved.

      I remember you mentioning your issue one time, and I’ve always wanted to commend you for facing it (I think I may have when you told me, but I can’t remember). But see? That’s exactly what I mean. When a subject like that is addressed (and done so as weak and two-dimensional as in Fireproof), it seems like “Oh my word, I can’t believe he did that” with the church crowd, mainly because behavior like that is foreign to them, not commonplace. It’s a shocker. But to those who’ve lived it, or were directly affected by it, they watch the movie and laugh at how far off the movie was. “They gotta be joking…that ain’t shit!” And that could be about anything…if it’s not a comedy, deal with it realistically. I’ve seen After School Specials with more substance.

      But anyway…this is getting long enough and it’s getting late enough. Way past my bedtime. There’s a gentle but steady rain pattering a lullaby, so I’ll call it a night and lay my weary head. Take care, my friend.

    1. I know…what’s the likelihood of that ever happening?

      I was just thinking of heading over to your place when I checked my blog and there you were! I’ll hit you later…cooking T-bones right now.

  12. Excellent post. Your insecurities of clashing faith with story really hit home for me. It was one of the things that worried me. Would my conservative Christian family judge me because of the deities in my made up world and my character who occasionally swore? I’m still not sure, and I still worry about it. But it’s true to the character, even though I make it a point not to use profanity.

    Thank you for this.

    1. I’m still unsure, but am following what’s being played out in my head. By the end, after reading, I’ll see what’s superfluous and, as with any work, start cutting and revising.

      Thanks, Loni!

  13. Very cool post, Michael. Your “ah-ha” moment has really made things clearer and made it easier for you to accept the disparate sides of yourself — your writer/creator self and your human/spiritual self. We should all do that.

  14. You are the one, Mike Swift – the one who’s as prolific as he is hysterical. Plus nice and handsome and humble and…Smiles. I’m thinking how relevant this is to me and my writing life, even though I mainly autobiographical material. I feel too ashamed to tackle a lot of what my character (i.e., me) goes through because I don’t know myself well enough. I think it’s a lifelong journey. Isn’t it?

    xoRobyn

    1. I think it’s even more relevant for the memoirist. Memoirist…is that a word? It is now! Honestly, I’ve had to overcome so much shame and ridicule in my life. It crippled me for awhile, until I delved into self-realization, saw myself in the mirror, and truly liked myself. It took many years (decades?), and like you said, still isn’t done. It’s a lifelong process. Hugs.

    1. Knowing thyself is the first step in being able to let go of the criticisms and fear…stand strong in your beliefs and your individuality. You are uniquely you. Nobody can tell a story exactly like you do…take advantage of that and be fearless. Thanks for coming by, Shannon. Good to see you again.

  15. Mike,

    I just read your post and I’m sorry I missed it last month. Tragedy on my part because what you said about catering to certain people really hits home for me.

    I write YA. The series before the book I just started is meant for my daughter when she hits those years. Because of that, I think the MS on the first book suffered. That just dawned on me after I read your post. Thank you. Now, I must fix that.

    As for the Matrix…well, I have a problem with that movie. Don’t worry. I’m not going to tell you what it is (unless you ask) because I have been told I sort of ruined the movie for people (Do you watch Big Bang Theory? If so, did you see the episode where Amy ruined Indiana Jones for the guys?). It isn’t a major thing so don’t feel desperate to know.

    Let me put it into perspective by comparing it to that best selling book Divergent. I don’t know if you’ve read that one (if you’re planning to read it, skip to the next paragraph. I’m not giving away any spoilers, but I am going to tell what brought me out of the story). The futuristic Chicago is divided into factions. The protagonist joins a group called the Dauntless. They travel around the city by jumping on moving trains. There are trains in this city that never stop. Why? It doesn’t make sense. No one else can ride the trains because they don’t stop. I tried to get past that. For some unexplained reason the trains will not stop. But…then toward the end of the book they do stop. Grrrrr.

    That isn’t a big issue in plot. It just took me out of the story. A reader shouldn’t have to fight to stay in a story because the world created doesn’t make sense or because the author doesn’t explain why something happens. That is what I feel about The Matrix.

    Thanks for the post. I enjoyed it.

    Leanne Ross ( readfaced.wordpress.com & @LeanneRossRF )

    1. Hey Leanne, and thanks for coming back over to catch this post. You didn’t have to, but I appreciate it. I was teasing when I called you out. 😉

      What is it with girls wanting to ruin movies for us guys? LOL. I don’t follow TBBT religiously (I’ve seen it several times, though, so I know of whom you speak), but Indiana Jones is another of my favorites!

      First off, I’m only a devotee of the first film…the others were special effects blockbusters with no real plot and sort of fell flat. I loved the FX, but the story grew weaker with each movie. I think they should’ve planned better, but I digress…

      I thought the world to be realistic. Nothing took me out of it. Yes, at first the concept was a bit difficult to fathom (“What’s going on here?”), but once I defined the two “different” worlds, everything was copecetic. One was the “dream” world (the Matrix) that we consider to be real, the other was the actual “real” world.

      Actually, I just watched the movie again last night! Still terrific. Nothing could ruin it for me. The other two…yeah, they were a stretch. They were a job to stay involved.

      Thanks again for coming back by and leaving such a thoughtful comment and discussion. 🙂

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