Time--2017 A to Z Theme

My theme for the 2017 Blogging from A to Z April Challenge was "Time". The posts are of a more philosophical, contemplative, and even autobiographical bent. No time management tips in this theme, but stuff intended to make you think.

Always a work in progress--welcome to my blog...

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Wednesday, July 5, 2017

One Valuable Lesson (#IWSG)


      I'd learn a lot more if I didn't forget so much.......

Insecure Writer's Support Group


Join us on the first Wednesday of each month in Alex J. Cavanaugh's Insecure Writer's Support Group--a forum of writers who gather to talk about writing and the writer's life. For a complete list of participants visit Alex's Blog

Co-Hosts for July are:   Tamara NarayanPat HattPatricia LynneJuneta Key, and Doreen McGettigan



Question for July:

What is one valuable lesson you've learned since you started writing?

         Through the years I've taken writing related classes, read many writings about writing, and involved myself in other educational and recreational realms about the art of writing.  Somehow writing seemed to be in my blood from my earliest memories.  I've enjoyed reading since I was a young child and was motivated to write by reading.  And if movies count, then I've watched plenty to get some kind of an influence from those.  Life itself is an education for many subjects and in some sense we are always in school though the classrooms might be a bit different than what we normally think of in respect to classrooms.

        A brain is like a sponge.  We absorb everything around us and within the realm of our own thoughts and reasoning.  In life we learn a lot of stuff, but it's mostly an amassing of subtleties that are in turn processed according to our life experiences and interests.  

        One valuable lesson learned?   Where does one start?  So many lessons have been vital to me in my writing endeavors that it would be difficult to single out what is most important to me.  In fact I'd dare say that the most important lessons are those integral aspects of writing that I now take for granted and can't particularly name.

       However, let me go to one thing that has been weighing upon me over the recent months (or is it years?).   We live in an age of extreme sensitivity to differing opinions.   There is so much divisiveness in our society that being genuine and expressing oneself openly can work to ones detriment both from a social standpoint as well as being commercially viable.  I'm seeing this in my blog writing.  I enjoy expressing my opinions and generating discussion.  Sadly, disagreement is rarely met with tactful intelligent response to the point where a sensible discussion can ensue and dissenting parties can be open to learning and understanding each other.  Being on the "other side" can get ugly in many cases.

       Some of my blog readers have asked me my opinion on certain issues, but I believe that they, knowing my stance on other issues, are essentially baiting me into an uncomfortable situation where they can attempt to discredit my opinion because they think they are the ones with the right answers.   I happen to think that in a good many instances both sides bear truth and those things perceived as falsehoods are merely different ways of looking at something.  

         Most of my writing does reflect my beliefs (political, spiritual, or what have you) and I don't think I am much different than a good many of those who write.   Though I try not to be preachy or overbearing in my writing,  there is almost always a message that I'm trying to convey.  I like stories, but I like enlightenment as well.  My favorite books, stories, and movies have all had that quality to them.  Escape is fun, but enrichment can carry far greater rewards in the long run.  

         More than ever before, we seem to be in a time when an opinion can label a writer as a pop star or a pariah.  Writers fall into niches, as perhaps they always have to a certain extent, but never as noticeable as it is now.  Categories and subcategories run rampant and if you toss in a writer with an opinion that others don't like, that writer can face consequences.

           It's not something I'm going to worry about much.  I'll write what I want to write and believe what I want to believe.   Look for it here at Tossing It Out.  I might offend more visitors to my site in months to come, but I must write what is in my heart and on my mind.  That's life--especially in this crazy social media age where little absurd things can rile people as much as big deep ideas.  It doesn't matter really.  That is until the question of marketability enters the picture.  Then I guess we have to accept that we are all jerks to some people while others will cheer us on.  

           Is this a lesson learned?   I think so.  And it's one that I'm still learning about and trying to contend with.

           Do you avoid reading about "issues"?    Would you rather be challenged to think about what you are reading or do you just prefer to escape?    Are you somewhat afraid to express your opinions about major issues for fear that you will make others angry with you?






         

          

40 comments:

  1. Great write Lee, some issues I would avoid especially as I am getting older is "The Inevitable " Perhaps it's not a good thing to do but that's me a present.

    Yvonne.



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    1. Yvonne, I think your avoidance of certain controversy is befitting of your type of writing.

      Lee

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  2. Those that scream loudest for the right to say what they want will be the first to shoot you down if what you state doesn't line up with their views. Sad truth about where we are in America today.

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    1. Alex, I won't disagree with that.

      Lee

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  3. I think Alex said it best.

    People are so intolerant anymore. The liberal media crams tolerance down our throats and yet won't tolerate individual thinking or personal values.

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    1. L.Diane, tolerance is encourage unless it's something the other side doesn't agree with. Debating opinions is often discouraged in our time.

      Lee

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  4. I enjoy your blog posts for this reason, Lee. I appreciate your honesty and openness. And I too am fed up with the intolerance of those who for the past how many years have been preaching tolerance.

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    1. Karen JG, yes, our "tolerant" society has become far too intolerant.

      Lee

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  5. There is an intolerant streak that is very ascendant nowadays. It makes me hesitant to test the waters too much. I got a negative reaction from opinioning that Hollywood types should stick to their own turf in influencing voters, and not involve themselves in other states' politics.

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    1. Pop Tart, in company of others, when in doubt I often keep my mouth shut unless the discussion is trivialities or some topic that seems to be non-incendiary. And even then you never know what might set someone else off. I agree with you on the involvement of Hollywood and celebrities in politics. I look to them for my entertainment and not my political advice.

      Lee

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  6. Good points Arlee! Seems the more I express my views, the less my followers and comments. Oh well.

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    1. Eve, I think it's good to be genuine and let your beliefs be known. If others don't like it then so be it.

      Lee

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  7. Lee,

    I think we can all learn from one another but like you pointed out our society is hyper-sensitive which usually generates over-blown comments. People don't wish to converse in a civil fashion. No one agrees on every subject 100% and that's ok. I'm glad you aren't allowing negativity of others to dissuade you from writing what you want to write. That's the way it should be for any of us. I hope you had blessed, safe, and fun Independence Day!

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    1. Cathy, sometimes I think people should breathe evenly, think rationally, and just talk without flying off the handle. Still it's disconcerting to me to be attacked for what I believe.

      Lee

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  8. I am a people pleaser, so I usually don't write about sensitive subjects on my blog. I leave those sorts of things for my fiction, where I can hide behind different characters. I am interested in reading about challenging topics though.

    My eleventh-grade history teacher called me a sponge because I would sit quietly before the bell rang (this was first period) and listen to all of the different conversations my classmates were having. I was too shy to participate, but loved gleaning bits and pieces of my classmates' lives.

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    1. Tamara, I was also very reserved in school, but now I think there are things that need to be said as well as listened to.

      Lee

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  9. I'm a conflict-avoiding person, so I don't often express my opinions. Mostly because I've found debate to be rather fruitless beyond defensiveness and hurt feelings. So I stay out of it. :)

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    1. Loni, people need to listen, learn, and process it all to avoid hurt feelings. Feelings have become a big problem in modern society--IMO.

      Lee

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  10. The public forum is not the place to have a heated discussion. Trolls show no mercy.

    Anna from elements of emaginette

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  11. And I think a lot of people believe that being "hidden" behind their computer screen/phone, and not having to directly face anyone, gives them a sense of security that no one will be able to identify their Jekyll/Hyde personalities, thus they unleash their argumentative side. I avoid conflict as well, though I'm as opinionated as anyone. LOL Excellent post. :)

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  12. With our writing, we certainly have the freedom to include our beliefs.

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  13. I see it now on FB, whenever you express an opinion, you are gonna get yelled at, even by friends. I pissed off several of my friends when I made a disparaging posting about man-buns. My friends all have sons who wear man buns, and of course they love them. Now I get the distinct impression that they are still vexed w/ me about it. So I keep my mouth shut now. It's not worth it. We live in such an angry society now.

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  14. I'm like Tamara, I keep things light on my blog and my fiction is where my feelings tend to come out about social matters. So I do engage, but I guess in a more indirect way. You're right though, everyone should be free to express their own opinions (as long as they're not deliberately meant to inflame) without fear of things getting ugly.

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  15. Possibly, our angry society derives from the ease by which we can all express any opinion on any subject over a blog, Facebook, or other Internet facility.20 years ago, we only had Letters to the Editor or op-ed articles, which most of us never bothered to read. Also, if we follow commentaries on the national TV outlets, we get the producer's position on each issue repeated, into nausea, by each of the producer's star commentators.

    I have even heard people ask me whether I follow Fox News or MSNBC, presumably to find where I get my ideology. Is it any wonder why we are divisive if we allow celebrity "experts" to guide our political outlooks?

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  16. Sadly, your statement about not being able to open a discussion without possibly getting an angry response when someone disagrees with you is so true. (Bad sentence. Sorry) People can't debate anymore--at least most can't. How sad is that? Debate is one of our best ways to open all sides to discussion so people can make intelligent choices for themselves.

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  17. Originally, I was going to include a lot of politics and religion in my blog, but it's never happened.

    Many people online - particularly drive-by commenters - seem to have strong opinions on every single topic. I guess maybe I don't, or at least not strong enough to want to alienate friends with.

    You and I don't agree on basic national politics, but I've never felt like I think less of you for your positions. Since nothing is at stake between a politicial interaction between you and me (I mean, it'snot going to FIX anything), why in the world would I go for the throat?

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    1. I agree with Harry. Assuming we're all adults, why would we change our minds on an issue because another adult insulted or demeaned us? Wouldn't we be more likely stay with our position? Insults are the last refuge of the ignorant.

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  18. Great post Lee thanks - keep on writing. Nobody has to agree with anyone else - we just need to respect others' different views-

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  19. Hi Lee - I tend to keep quiet ... but will respond if necessary, as diplomatically as I can. So often we don't have the full story, or are commenting from another country - something again leaving us bereft of a full understanding. As Susan says - respect others views ... cheers Hilary

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  20. These days people get mad about anything and everything. I guess the warrior in humans has been suppressed too long...and chopping wood as a release is no longer an option in most communities that don't allow wood burning. Yes, I'm reasonably careful about what I say on the internet because I don't enjoy being called names or attacked with rage-filled obscenities. I take out my frustrations on the weeds in my garden. :D

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  21. People on BOTH sides (whether you're a liberal or a conservative) are getting more intolerant in my opinion.


    www.ficklemillennial.com

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  22. It's so important for people to respectfully listen to many different voices (so long as the opinions are expressed intelligently and maturely). Even if I don't hold certain political or theological views, I like to learn why someone else has those views. I'm very openly gender-critical, trans-skeptical, and radical feminist on Twitter, but I know I'd get lots of unfriendings on Facebook if I publicly stated something like, e.g., "I don't want men in women's sex-segregated spaces like bathrooms, locker rooms, shower rooms, and spas." Many other women (and some men) who are anything but politically conservative have had to turn to platforms like The Federalist to air these views, since most neoliberal platforms these days won't air any dissenting opinions (though the tide is slowly starting to turn as more people on the Left reach peak trans). One of the women leading the fight to keep women's-only spaces safe from men who think they're women is a conservative who doesn't consider herself a radical feminist at all, yet she's been a wonderful friend and ally to many of us with much different political views. We've found we have more in common than we have differences.

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  23. I think when one is firm in their beliefs, nothing can sway them..no matter what. This is when no amount of discussions will ever work. I always stick up for my own beliefs but I often can't find the right words to make my point. so, at times, when people have the intelligence to use words to make your own beliefs sound trivial then that's not right either. Don't worry...I'm not thinking about you actually but my ex who could use words to demean my own beliefs. Now I believe that I can't be swayed into believing Trump is good for the U.S. and oh can not be swayed to my belief. We each could show reasons( not the right word but you get my gist) for why we believe we are right but I. The end, it is a standstill. The key is respect! One must respect the other person's viewpoint and not be offended. Do I like escape? Hell, yeah! I've had major things in my life and movies and books have helped me through these very tough times and we all need it.

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  24. I'm answering this question differently than everyone else (as always lol) because I've been writing for a long time... since I was 12 years old. I learned that I could imagine all these strange things as a kid and that writing them down not only made sense but made me feel better. It meant I could always revisit what I'd written and I could add to it or rip it up and throw it away and... sometimes even share it... and everyone didn't hate it.

    I was never a shy kid but definitely kept to myself most of the time. Writing opened up a world where, when I ventured out, I wasn't scared of almost anything because I could see everything happening as a story I could write later on. That meant I didn't have to mentally be a part of anything uncomfortable, just the reporter of the story later on. Maybe that's why reporters will do some of the stupidest things to get that story. :-)

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  25. The more agitated I get on the views I hold the more I realize they need examining. I don't get upset about the values I hold - compassion, generosity, discipline, mindfulness- because they are based on years and years of being tested. Views? Not so much. So many of the issues we can all get agitated about are many-layered, contextual, and influenced by our own ingrained biases. I will hold to my values but views are too slippery! Thanks for raising the issue of issues!

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  26. LEE ~
    I'm very late getting here. Partially because when I actually have the most amount of computer time, I'm technically at "work", on the clock -- with plenty of time -- but my work computer will not let me comment on YOUR blog. (I don't seem to have this problem with ANY OTHER BLOG in the known universe. The work computer uses an Internet Explorer browser, so I think it has something to do with that, and perhaps a setting you've enabled somewhere. I'm not computer savvy enough to really know.)

    Secondly, I've been a very lazy blogger lately. I decided to cut back to just ONE 'Battle Of The Bands' contest per month in order to devote MORE time to my other two blogs, and instead it seems I've simply cut back on all of 'em. I don't understand it myself.

    >>... "What is one valuable lesson you've learned since you started writing?"

    Well, that's easy enough. I learned how to write better. I convey my ideas better. I punctuate better. That's about it. Beyond that, what I have learned is due not to writing but to reading (and just living life).

    What annoys the living daylights out of me, when it comes to the ultra-important subjects of politics and religion (and let's face it, they are the two most important topics there are, and in many respects are actually intertwined), most people today don't seem to recognize the difference between an opinion and a fact.

    People seem to think that all differences are differences of opinion, not realizing that many differences of opinion are actually based on the fact that some people simply do not KNOW the facts.

    For examples: I hold opinions on music. I dislike most Prog-Rock, Punk Rock, and Rap. These opinions are based on facts about those types of music, but my opinions are still subjective and I can understand why some folks would disagree with my opinions on those types of music.

    But then we get to OBJECTIVE FACTS. I believe that Jesus Christ was the prophesied Messiah, that He was crucified and Resurrected. I believe The Holy Bible was Divinely inspired. These beliefs are based on indisputable FACTS. But then some "numbnuts" will come along and say this is just my opinion and his belief in Evolution (for example) is just as valid. WRONG!!! In an extended debate with me, based solely on known facts, I would crush the evolutionist. It would be no contest. And yet he will go on his merry way "feeling" that his chosen view is as valid as mine.

    Based on history and objective facts, I will argue that the Free Enterprise system is, overall, the best for the most number of people. The socialist, will dispute that, based on his "feelings".

    That crap annoys me no end!

    As the truly brilliant ADRIAN ROGERS once said:

    "EVERYONE HAS A RIGHT TO HIS OWN OPINION,
    BUT NO ONE HAS A RIGHT TO BE WRONG
    ABOUT THE FACTS."


    ~ D-FensDogG
    [Link:) Stephen T. McCarthy Reviews...

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    1. STMcC, great comment which I agree with for the most part (I like prog rock and I base this on what I see as facts).

      Unfortunately, my travel computer seems to have become very slow so I'm going to refrain from responding point by point. I will also agree that in our time feelings seem to rule and reasoning seems to be off the table for many.

      Hopefully, I'll be able to do this next round of BOTB. When I get to my sister's house I'll try to get this darn computer going at a better speed and even then it still sucks compared to my home PC.

      Later
      Lee

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    2. Thanks, LEE.
      I realize you won't really be able to respond to this addendum due to the computer issues. But I just wanted to clarify (in case you didn't realize this) that it is certain facts about Prog-Rock which lead me to dislike it. However, I fully understand how THOSE VERY SAME FACTS ABOUT PROG-ROCK might lead someone else (such as yourself, in this case) to actually embrace it.

      So, in other words, sometimes opinions are based on facts. But other times, facts SHOULD lead to similar conclusions. It all depends upon the subject matter -- whether it is something that can be considered subjective (e.g., taste in music) or objective (e.g., the results of foreign or domestic policy, etc.)

      OK, it's 5:00 AM and someone here needs to dress for work and get is half-asleep butt out the door and onto the most dangerous road in America.

      ~ D-FensDogG

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  27. Lee; it does seem true that there is way too much ultra-sensitivity in the world today. Writers should be able to state an opinion without getting castigated by people who don't agree with them. It's important to always be true to yourself and not kowtow to outside influences. I don't use my blog as a platform for current affairs, but if I did, honesty would be more important than the consequences (like losing followers) thereof. Apologies for the late response. I've been playing 'hooky' from the internet, lately. Hope you're having a good summer!

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  28. Opinions do not offend me unless they encourage violence and intolerance against race, gender, age, or any other status. If I don't like your opinion or belief, I can just either state my own or ignore what you've written and click on either the Next or Exit button. People can be overly sensitive and take things personally. Sometimes, they just read a part of what you say then go berserk and call you things. That recently happened to me, but it was her people laughed at.

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Go ahead and say something. Don't be afraid to speak your mind.
I normally try to respond to all comments in the comment section so please remember to check the "Email follow-up comments" box if you want to participate in the comment conversation.

For Battle of the Bands voting the "Anonymous" commenting option has been made available though this version is the least preferred. If voting using "anonymous" please include in your comment your name (first only is okay) and city you are voting from and the reason you chose the artist you did.

If you know me and want to comment but don't want to do it here, then you can send me an email @ jacksonlee51 at aol dot com.

Lee