Quote: The story as a conversation

“When you tell a story in the kitchen to a friend, it’s full of mistakes and repetitions. It’s good to avoid that in literature, but still, a story should feel like a conversation. It’s not a lecture.” (Novelist Isabel Allende’s advice to aspiring writers)

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25 common words that I got wrong (or how my bad grammar is so nauseous, it’s making me and the people around me nauseated)

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Here’s a useful article from lifehack.org. I learned so much from this.

My favorite is item #20: plethora.

What you think it means: A lot of something.
What it really means: More than is needed.

Plethora simply means that there is more of something than is needed. For instance, you may think that 5,000 people is a plethora of people. However, when you put them into a hockey arena that seats 13,000 people, it’s actually less than half capacity and therefore not a plethora. If you had 13,500 people in that same arena, that would be a plethora of people.

Read on and weep.

http://www.lifehack.org/articles/lifestyle/25-common-words-that-youve-got-wrong.html

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At the hospital

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Guarded, she weakly looked at the hospital bill. It had been a week and she knew what was coming. She forced herself to read and understand  the words and numbers that swam before her. Her face fell. It was eerie how the paper turned translucent as her clouded eyes failed her. It was horrifying and more sickening than the illness itself.

Based on a melodramatic version of a true story. Hahah! The hospital’s billing section and the cashier really are some of the scariest places on earth. Boo!

The Prompt: Three Word Wednesday – Eerie, Guarded, Translucent

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Quote: Pick up the story’s rhythm

“When you feel the story is beginning to pick up rhythm—the characters are shaping up, you can see them, you can hear their voices, and they do things that you haven’t planned, things you couldn’t have imagined—then you know the book is somewhere, and you just have to find it, and bring it, word by word, into this world.” (Novelist Isabel Allende’s advice to aspiring writers)

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Fifteen

So I signed up for yet another social media account, LinkedIn, and realized, as I typed out my online CV, that I’ve been working for 15 years straight! (Slow clap. Tears.) 15 years! And I’ve been meticulously paying all my taxes! Yay!

The greatest feeling is looking back at my own experiences and heaving a sigh of relief to say, “Yessssss, I enjoyed and endured all of that” — the bad and good bosses, the GM who didn’t like me for the job vs. the director who trusted and believed in me, the manager who questioned my motives vs. the mentor who vouched for me and came to my defense, the most endearing and most annoying co-workers, the pat-on-the-back moments vs. the kick-on-the-shin moments, the laughable mistakes vs. the please-kill-me-now mistakes, the crazy working hours, late late lunches that merge with merienda, the instant pancit canton dinners and the lucheons at fancy restaurants, the art exhibits ohmygawhd the art exhibits, the free brewed coffee from the kitchen, the free lunch with a salad bar at the dungeon/bat cave/cafeteria, overtime work without extra pay, Christmas and NY holidays at work, the monthly tax-free SC, the rainy day commutes, the last trip MRT rides from Ayala to North Avenue Station, the official coverage assignments where I spent my own money just because I loved my job, meeting and interviewing so many interesting people, covering the old Chefs on Parade, photo shoots of all sorts, working with F&B to invent and actually give a name to the Drink of the Month, photo exhibit all-nighters, typhoon season power restoration all-nighters (with MagicSing!), … so many memories.

That chunk of a paragraph just made me smile. Really, that wasn’t so bad at all. :-)

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Quote: Find the right word

“It’s worth the work to find the precise word that will create a feeling or describe a situation. Use a thesaurus, use your imagination, scratch your head until it comes to you, but find the right word.” (Novelist Isabel Allende’s advice to aspiring writers)

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True love is “simple love” and other things I learned from Nicholas Sparks

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The Nicholas Sparks theme is “true love conquers and endures all.”

It’s true: every Nicholas Sparks novel (and every movie based on the book) is “emotional pornography” at its finest. Does this stop me from enjoying the melodramatic books and the movies? Hell, nooooo.

I’ve noticed this before — it’s like there’s a story template for A Walk to Remember, The Notebook, Message in a Bottle, Dear John, Nights in Rodanthe, The Lucky One, The Last Song. There’s a mould for the Sparks Man at Sparks Woman. And there’s always the “Love Sage”, some old and wise character who advises the Sparks Man/Woman to open up to love in order to live. Settings have a template as well — somehow, there’s a romantic or wistful scene near a body of water like a beach, river, lake, the high seas. Somewhere, somehow, someone will die. Somewhere, somehow, some complication will let the tears flow.

The Nicholas Sparks narrative (yes, singular, there’s only one pulsing through all his stories) is explained in detail in this article by Anne Helen Petersen. Long read, but  worth it. Found myself nodding along to most parts.

“The Sparks narrative offers a life — and a love story nested within it — that extracts its protagonist from (life’s many) concerns and consolidates the demands of life into one, simple task: Open yourself to love, and love in return.”

“It’s not, then, that women are simply suckers for love. They’re suckers for simplicity.”

“Some people love an action melodrama like The Avengers because it promises a world in which good guys beat bad guys — a world safe for the mere mortal. Others flock to a romantic melodrama like The Notebook for its equally over-the-top, yet no less compelling, embodiment of a love with the ability to structure the world and endure within it.”

“One mode scares us and then saves us; the other cuts our heart open and then heals it. Neither scenario — or any movie, for that matter — can possibly fix the fractured world. But both provide the sort of elusive yet necessary reassurance that a better, safer, more communicative, and compassionate world is one worth striving for.”