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Scribblings and scrawls of a hopeless romantic soul

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Writer’s Quote Wednesday

Writer’s Quote Wednesday – Reminder from a classicist

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“The power of good is shown not by triumphantly conquering evil, but by continuing to resist evil while facing certain defeat.”

― Edith Hamilton, Mythology

We remember today the birth of Edith Hamilton, an educator, writer and historian who was a notable popularizer of classical literature. She was a gifted storyteller who brought to life timeless tales of gods and heroes from the Greek, Roman and Norse mythology. Through her books, we got to look at the origins of the universe and beyond. What’s your favorite from her works?

Writer’s Quote Wednesday – Are you a literary parasite?

Writer's Quote Wednesday

“For, substantially, all ideas are second-hand, consciously and unconsciously drawn from a million outside sources.”

— Mark Twain

Mark Twain wrote this in his letter to Helen Keller who was once charged and acquitted of plagiarism.

This quote came to mind when I immersed into Kirby Ferguson’s Everything is a Remix, a four-part documentary about the long history of creativity, originality and copyright. In this series, he gives a contemporary explanation of Twain’s statement. On how ideas are continuously told, retold, combined, alluded and altered in films, music, writings, artwork, technology everything.

I, myself, have been a literary parasite (my own choice of words). There were many times when ideas are scarce and I cannot write from scratch. So I took inspiration from writers of the old and new. I’ve tried writing a poem that molded with Emily Dickinson’s and a fiction that borrowed a fellow blogger’s character.

I used to feel doubtful and fearful of unoriginality but Twain’s words taught me how everything builds on what came before. That it is not a failure of our creative integrity when we take inspiration from others and turn it into something that is unique to our voice. I see this now as a symbiotic relationship instead of creative kleptomania. I believe we can all be humble literary parasites while paying attribution with high regards.

There is a thin line, of course, between brazen plagiarism and honest innovation. Like I said, we should transform it into something that is not a copycat of the original. Find a unique angle, look closer to a specific detail, and from that idea, create an entirely new concept that is yours.

Writer’s Quote Wednesday – A plea

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“It’s easy to tell the toiler
How best he can carry his pack
But no one can rate a burden’s weight
Until it has been on his back”

Ella Wheeler Wilcox

Sharing this quote from Ella Wheeler Wilcox’s poem titled PREACHING VS. PRACTICE.

I know it’s scary and tiresome to live in these troubled times. We all have suffered physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually and financially. We all have our personal burdens and, at times, we tend to carry those that are not ours.

I hope we find it in our hearts to help each other. Please be kind and sensitive to each other’s pains. 😦

Writer’s Quote Wednesday – The Great Perhaps

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“I go to seek a Great Perhaps.”

―François Rabelais

It is with heavy heart that I share this quote as I mourn for a colleague, a friend, and a kuya who is now off to seek his Great Perhaps. I cannot talk about life and death the way Albom or Coelho does, but I can wholeheartedly say the world lost another good man today. I could only wish he left us on a good time. Not during this cursed pandemic. But perhaps, God has far better plans. He may not be surrounded by the people whose lives he touched, but his soul will be surrounded by our love. 😦

Writer’s Quote Wednesday – Life

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It is never quite safe to think we have done with life. When we imagine we have finished our story, fate has a trick of turning the page and showing us yet another chapter.

 L.M. Montgomery, Rainbow Valley

Here is a great reminder from L.M. Montgomery in these trying times. When all seems lost and hopeless, when nothing seems to go right, when giving up is a lot easier than holding on, may we be reminded to seek and see life’s magic and endless surprises. In a child’s eyes, in a stranger’s smile, in the colors of the sky, in moonlit nights. May these not-so-little things give us reasons to carry on. One day at a time. 🌻💛

Writer’s Quote Wednesday – THUG LIFE

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“Sometimes you can do everything right and things will still go wrong. The key is to never stop doing right.”

Angie Thomas, The Hate U Give

The Hate U Give Little Infants Fucks Everyone.

Angie Thomas’ novel revolves around this redefined meaning of THUG LIFE by Tupac Shakur, popularly known as 2Pac.

It follows 16-year-old Starr Carter whose uneasy balance between her poor neighborhood and her fancy suburban school is shattered when she witnesses the shooting of her best friend at the hands of a police officer. His name is Khalil, but the world calls him a thug. Everyone wants to know what went down that night. But Starr’s decision to stay silent or to speak comes with a risk for her people and her life.

Some people snicker at the thought of reading books under the young adult genre. They have this stereotyped belief that YA novels are shallow, sappy and superficial. They rarely see it as an avenue for discussing socio-political issues. But Angie Thomas proves these people wrong.

Without mincing her words, she delves into the most delicate and controversial subjects in America and the world today: racism, oppression, privilege and broken justice system. The book is thought-provoking without being preachy. It gave me different perspectives to look into. It made me introspect on what I have done and what I would do when faced with these issues. Other than posting about the hashtags and signing every petition there is, do I have it in me to act against racism, oppression or injustice?

In the end, this novel goes to warn the society that what it gives (hate/violence/injustice) to little infants (the poor/minority/less fortunate) will always come to haunt them. The THUG LIFE cycle continues…

Writer’s Quote Wednesday – Iron and Ironies

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Today we are surrounded by man and his creations. Man is inescapable, everywhere on the globe, and nature is a fantasy, a dream of the past, long gone.

Michael Crichton, Congo

My first foray into the written world of Michael Crichton was Congo. James, who loves the man as much as Dan Brown, never missed to mention his works whenever we talk about books. So I guess this is where curiosity killed the cat but satisfaction brought it back comes in.

The 1980 sci-fi novel centers on an expedition searching for rare blue diamonds and investigating the mysterious deaths of a previous expedition in the dense tropical rainforest of the Congo. At first I was worried that I’d be stuck in the complicated science and technical jargon but as it turns out, Crichton is a great de-jargonizer. I found myself immediately engaged in the story that capsulized science, history, and geography in each and every page.

Which brings me to this week’s WQW, Iron and Ironies. Congo left me emotionally, mentally and morally disturbed. In a simple story it raised provocative questions that I found hard to answer.

To what extent is animal cruelty? Is it limited to performing experiments/animal research? How about throwing lobsters on a boiling pot? Sticking pigs on bamboo poles? Exterminating rats? Do ALL animals have rights or just a selected few? Does man get to give them the reason to stay alive as a species?

These questions led me to reflect on our deeply ingrained habit of meat eating, on the equality among animals, and man’s idea of speciesism. I know there are multiple sides to these multifaceted issues and I would love to hear a thing or two from you. 🙂

Writer’s Quote Wednesday – We need to be bothered

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“We need not to be let alone. We need to be really bothered once in a while. How long is it since you were really bothered? About something important, about something real?”

Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451

There is, I assume most of you would agree, a long list of reasons why physical copies of books are better than their eBook counterparts. However, not everyone can bare the temptation for too long. A peak at a sentence that reads, IT WAS A PLEASURE TO BURN, could lead you to the very last page. And that’s what happened. I read Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 online.

This classic dystopia will take you to a time when books are banned and burned. In Guy Montag’s world, lives are dominated by televisions and literature is on the brink of extinction. Books and freethinkers are burned without a second thought. The storyline is good enough that it could stir the minds of many, but perhaps I was looking for more. More hard-hitting satire, more stimulation. Maybe a stronger revolt.

Nonetheless, it’s still a commendable piece of writing. This quote, for one, is very timely.

With all the happenings in different corners of the world — be it political, moral or environmental concerns — we really need to be bothered.

Writer’s Quote Wednesday – I have a question

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Or, rather, Lelouch does:

“What do you do when there is an evil you cannot defeat by just means? Do you stain your hands with evil to destroy evil? Or do you remain steadfastly just and righteous even if it means surrendering to evil?”

Lelouch Vi Britannia

In the vein of last week’s WQW entry, Are there any questions?, here I am throwing yet another inquiry.

Just recently, I was thrown into an alternate world where a philosophical and moral battle strongly exist. The quote above is taken from the Japanese anime, Code Geass. I’ve heard of the series years ago but I never had the drive to watch it. James successfully lured me into the anime this time. No regrets. 😀

The story revolves around the Empire of Britannia who conquered Japan and now call it Area 11. Its residents lost their rights to self-govern and are now called Elevens. The Empire uses destructive robotic weapons called Knightmares to ensure control, but someone is about to stand up against it. Lelouch Lamperouge, a Britannian student, seeks to use the power of the Geass to build a world based on his ideals. Unfortunately he finds himself caught in a crossfire between the Britannian and the Area 11 rebel armed forces.

Back to the question, I have this weird feeling inside that has been weighing me down. As an INFP whose choices and decisions are tethered on emotion and idealism, I find it hard to agree with Lelouch’s ways. For him, the ends justify the means. This just doesn’t go right with me. However, by the end of the series, I felt like loosening up to his approach. It’s a dilemma still. Can’t one just remain righteous and destroy evil instead?

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