Begin, Again

I never made one of my discoveries through the process of rational thinking. -Albert EinsteinI know this was meant to be posted SUNDAY, and I really couldn’t tell you why I skipped something that is a standard part of my plan–other than I’m completely anti-routine. When my family lived in East Berlin, the Embassy put on some kind of security training and invited all the family members to attend. I remember the speaker told us that the best way to help those who are looking to kidnap or otherwise harm you, is to be predictable. Hearing that as a fifth-grader, despite my innate inclination toward organization, has had a profound impact on me. It’s to the point now that I’d like to have some rhythm to my days, but seem constitutionally unable to force myself to fit into that mold.

So I’m posting my ROW80 update a day late. On the other hand, I’m pleased with the words I added last week. I’ve crossed the magical 40K-word threshold, and am now confident I’ll be able to get Blood to Fire to my editor in time for her to process it in early February.

Which means: You get to read book 2 less than a year after I released book 1. That feels like a major, exciting milestone for me.

🙂

It also means, I’m kinda, sorta on track with my ROW80 goals. It helps that this term, I’m in one of my marketing concentration classes, and there are only five of us, so I don’t have nearly the volume of discussion board reading to plow through.

One of the real eye-openers of the past week, though, was an article about building our empathic habits. The final point of that article was to develop ambitious imagination, and it occurred to me that empathy may be one of those hidden traits necessary to be an effective storyteller. How else, then, do we figure out the realities our antagonists are living, unless we take the following into account:

Empathizing with adversaries is also a route to social tolerance. That was Gandhi’s thinking during the conflicts between Muslims and Hindus leading up to Indian independence in 1947, when he declared, “I am a Muslim! And a Hindu, and a Christian and a Jew.”

The whole article is worth reading, especially for its concrete examples, to help us all progress in the goal of reducing the crazy in the world around us.

2 Responses to “Begin, Again”

  1. shanjeniah says:

    Tonya –

    Wow, am I glad my sponsor list included you this round!

    I, like you, am a “flowy” person. It’s taken me 43 years to stop hearing my mother telling me how lazy I am for not having her priorities and need for structure, but the truth is that i get lots done – in my own way and time.

    More than that, I enjoy my life, and have time to enjoy with those I love, and in doing things I love, every day.

    Empathy comes very naturally to me, to the point where I don’t like to watch those blooper reels where people fall down – their pain is not funny to me.

    I get so wrapped up in my characters’ emotional lives, sometimes, that I forget I am also telling their stories!

    I will be adding the article to my ‘to-read’ list!

    Again, happy to meet you, and I will be looking for your updates! =D

  2. Tonya, what an awesome concept — that empathizing with our character antagonists aids in real-life empathy for those we oppose. I think empathy is the emotional component of objectivity. And both are sorely lacking in writing as well as in the world around us. I find I am motivated to develop this quality in myself. It can only make me a better person, as well as a better writer. Thanks for the interesting thoughts! 🙂

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  1. Evaluating Trust #1: #ROW80 Update 1/20/13 « shanjeniah - [...] Begin, Again [...]

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