It seems quite insane, but NOT READING among the Literati is becoming popular. YIKES!
“Folie à deux (/fɒˈli ə ˈduː/; French pronunciation: [fɔli a dø]; French for “a madness shared by two”), or shared psychosis. It is a psychiatric syndrome in which symptoms of a delusional belief are transmitted from one individual to another.  The same syndrome shared by more than two people may be called folie à trois, folie à quatre, folie en famille or even folie à plusieurs (“madness of many”). Recent psychiatric classifications refer to the syndrome as a shared psychotic disorder (DSM-IV) (297.3) and induced delusional disorder (F.24) in the ICD-10, although the research literature largely uses the original name (“Folie à deux”). The disorder was first conceptualized in 19th-century French psychiatry by Charles Lasègue and Jean-Pierre Falret and so also known as Lasègue-Falret Syndrome.”[The above quotation and definition was taken directly off the Internet and the DSM. It’s accurate.] more…
It had been years since I’d seen Tennessee Williams’ play, The Glass Menagerie when I saw it was about to air on Turner Classic Movies. I think when I was younger, I didn’t have the patience to watch the play for its subtleties, nor understand its remarkable beauty. I didn’t care for the turned-in and frail nature of the character, Laura Wingfield. I found her brother, Tom, to be wilful, too impatient and rude to his mother, Amanda Wingfield, to like him. I’m an old-fashioned Southern gal, and I deplore rudeness to parents, so, I did understand the mother’s motivations, her understanding of how necessary it was for Laura to be taken care of. I also understand how much hope she had for her own life when she first married, and the constant day-to-day reminder that her life was to be something other than what she was experiencing. When she married her wayward husband, that hope was fresh and raw, filled with visions of love, children, and growing old together. Tom, unfortunately, was just like his father, ready to bolt because he itched to be “long distance”, always somewhere else. Time and age has brought it back to me to see it with wiser eyes. What I have learned in the ensuing years is that everyone is breakable, fragile, and the concern that the mother had for both her children is well-founded. Kirk Douglas as Jim, and Jane Wyman as LauraFor those of you who don’t know the story, Laura is a cripple who collects glass animals, and cleans them daily, living her life with the shiny objects as an escape from herself, her predicament, her disability. She can’t handle living in the world, in fact she feigns illness in order to hide from people and situations she can’t emotionally handle. Her glass menagerie is her entire world, the only world where she is comfortable. Tom, her brother, is her opposite. He longs to escape out into the world, detesting his home life so much he leaves every night to go to the movies, or so he claims, and returns drunk and crashes into his bed on the sofa. The brittle and delicate nature of Laura’s cherished items is a microcosm of the family: each hardened into their ways, cold and indifferent to each other. Her favourite is a unicorn. The creature is at once unique, and yet one small fracture knocking the horn off makes him the same as the rest of the horses in her collection. So how unique is he, really? Television production of The Glass Menagerie starring Shirley Booth and Hal Holbrook.Perhaps we’re all unicorns, and to stand out with a difference is at once wonderful and painful. There isn’t a human alive who doesn’t want to be loved, to have friends, to be a part of a family and community. And to have a secure future. Even Laura dreams of love, hanging on to a silly nickname, “Blue Roses”, given to her by Jim, a young man in her High School class. She had been at home ill, with Pleurosis. The well-meaning Jim christened her “Blue Roses” — which she has never forgotten– only to let her know that it wasn’t as devastating as she believed. And yet, he promptly forgot her, not even recognizing her years later when her brother Tom brings him to her home for dinner.Jim is the detached conscience of the play. He’s the levelling force to counteract Laura’s melancho
Source: The Fragility of Being Human
Source: We’ll Always Have Paris
Source: Crushing the Spirit
I’ve become rather philosophical in my old age and I love this new site where I’ve posted a number of articles. You can subscribe to my posts on the Niume site. Here’s my latest on Finding Meaning:
If we were the inquisitive type back in the sixties and seventies, and even the eighties, when we asked the question, “Who am I?” or “Why am I here?” or “Why me?” or “What’s It all about?” or “Is there something more than this?”, we would actually seek to find those answers in the traditional and not so traditional places, until we found the answer. Today, not so much. We’re too busy, too preoccupied with our phones, the Internet, too… Well, checked out and disinterested in philosophy, religion, and the great question, “Why?” Yes, indifferent to things that oppose our comfortable view of ourselves and the world. We are more interested in changing our shirts or a pair of shoes or the latest song than in questioning why we exist at all. If anything doesn’t seem to work for us, we will not dig in and labour harder to make it work, or to learn if its valuable to us in the long term. We give up, move on, and that has become our philosophy of life. If it doesn’t work for me, cast it off. because I’m the arbiter of all things good or bad. This is not a healthy viewpoint. There are still those who do quest, and this is for you.
I shall take you back to the time when the first Star Wars Trilogy burst onto the scene with Episode IV: A New Hope in the late seventies… more
Purchase The Truth and Nothing but Lies
All of the social media work has begun to take over my life. Something has to go, and I’ve chosen my blog. It takes so much time to do it justice that it’s cut into my more creative work, which is writing short stories and my books. Therefore, I’m retiring this blog for several months while I get caught up with my books and short stories. Bless Y’all. I hope to meet y’all soon at a lecture, or on my FB page. For a unique blogging site, go to Niume.
With much love and affection, Chéri Vausé
(My guest post as seen on Nina Romano’s Website: NINA)
Don’t write dialogue the way people talk
Sol Stein, the great author and editor for luminaries like Elia Kazan and James Baldwin, taught a class on dialogue that had never been taught to writers before. He taught at University of California at Irvine and had to hold the class in a medical amphitheater to house the number of writers taking his course. The first thing he said was critical. Dialogue is a foreign language. What that means is when you write you don’t write the way you were taught to speak. It must be adversarial, filled with nuance and revelatory language, but not so much for what is said, but what is meant. I love the example he uses:
Elmore Leonard: “Let’s get a drink, and talk for a few days.”
This line is rife with meaning. And, I’m sure you didn’t learn to talk like that.
Conflict is critical in dialogue
This doesn’t mean people need to shout, or to use profanity. Yes, use profanity sparingly. Curse words should only be used when absolutely necessary. So far, I haven’t found them necessary in any of my stories. Using lots of profanity is an easy way out of designing dialogue between characters that reveals what they are made of and where they are going. It should express conflict in order to thrust the story forward. Using the f-word does neither. It also shows a lack of imagination. Think of this. How do you write a scene between two people where one is so angry they are ready to kill? It would be easy to say, “I’m gonna kill that motherf——.” All this line shows is anger and nothing else. I personally love the line that Alan Rickman uses in Robin Hood where he screams, “I’m going to cut-out his heart with a spoon!” Hmm. Don’t you think that gives you a better visual?
Dialogue should also show an adversarial bent
Sol Stein says it should “show sparks.” Crackle is another way of expressing it.
Here’s an example from my book The Night Shadow:
“And to think I could be at home cleaning the cat box,” Esther Charlemagne said. “Watching for a Peeping Tom is so much better.”
You know at least a half dozen things about this character. Her relationship to the job and her partner is definitely adversarial. It’s the opening gambit and you already know she’s sarcastic, bored, she owns a cat, and it sounds suspiciously like they are on a stakeout… well, you get the point. Dialogue that snaps and crackles and lights a fire will make your story unforgettable. Readers love those sparks, and you won’t just have a reader of one book, but a follower.
I read a post by Robert McFarlane on his word-hoard column that concerned me. Now, I love words, and I love fellow word lovers. Mr. McFarlane is certainly no exception. Who is he? He is active in the preservation of the many words from the various languages once spoken within the United Kingdom. What’s this about? His latest article concerned the words excised from the New Oxford Junior Dictionary. He lamented the loss of words about the earth, and the introduction of words that only concerned technology. I didn’t just feel sad over the loss. I was thoroughly vexed, and so should he have been. Think about this. Someone summarily dismissed words, not antiquated words, but words that connect us to something other than technology, to something that is real and is uplifting and beautiful, to a world that feeds our soul rather than suck our time and the life out of us so we don’t connect personally. These were words that represented the miraculous beauty of our world. Here’s what he wrote:
A new edition of the Oxford Junior Dictionary was published. A sharp-eyed reader noticed that there had been a culling of words concerning nature. Under pressure, Oxford University Press revealed a list of the entries it no longer felt to be relevant to a modern-day childhood. The deletions included acorn, adder, ash, beech, bluebell, buttercup, catkin, conker, cowslip, cygnet, dandelion, fern, hazel, heather, heron, ivy, kingfisher, lark, mistletoe, nectar, newt, otter, pasture and willow. The words taking their places in the new edition included attachment, block-graph, blog, broadband, bullet-point, celebrity, chatroom, committee, cut-and-paste, MP3 player and voice-mail. As I had been entranced by the language preserved in the prose‑poem of the “Peat Glossary”, so I was dismayed by the language that had fallen (been pushed) from the dictionary. For blackberry, read Blackberry. ~ Friday, February 27, 2015 The Guardian
Now, I don’t know about you, but I’m upset. I don’t just lament their loss, I want to do something about it. What do we do? Contact the companies printing these dictionaries, write your local newspaper, bring it to the attention of everyone you can. We should be more interested in teaching our children lots of words to describe the world around them, rather than words only concerning the electronic devices their noses are glued to most of the day. What do they think education is for? What dictionaries are for?
I always believed that education and books were about opening their horizons, teaching them about the world and their history. Are we to believe that the only words worth knowing are those that have to do with the Internet and political and corporate speak? Or do they go to school to learn about our language, our history, civic responsibility, mathematics, philosophy, science, and literature? I pray it is the latter, but I don’t think that’s what’s happening.
Since when does the word chatroom take precedence over an otter, or broadband have more beauty than a bluebell? Look at that face. Do you want your child to look at that cute aquatic thing and say, “What is that?” and we’ve lost the name of that adorable creature to the word blog? What is wrong with us?
The next time you see an incredible heron fly by, don’t say, “What kind of bird is that?” You should know, because I told you that it is a heron, a magnificent bird frequenting wetlands. Here’s a picture so you won’t forget… Ladies and Gentlemen, a Heron! Blogging is stupid, and what cretin decided to take buttercup out of the kid’s dictionary? Fire them!
Order your copy of The Touch of a Shadow today: http://amzn.to/19S5A0L
Big Words ~ Little Words
Here’s something probably a little too deep on a weekday to ponder, but here goes. While we are busily creating our enchanting worlds on paper or on a computer, are we obligated to use only words to engage the average reader, and leave the 50 cent versions to the academics? The reason I’m bringing this up is because I’ve been told that I use too many big words when smaller ones would be sufficient. Cross my heart and kiss my elbow, I, like many of you, have adhered to that philosophy, or rule, or guideline–whatever it is–and avoided the use of those 50 centers like the plague, unless it’s a medical or technical term, and then I explain through the narrative or dialogue. I certainly don’t want to frustrate my readers, or make them feel like they have to drag out the old OED or dust off the Webster’s just to read my little mystery. How annoying. How cumbersome.
Okay, so I’m guilty as charged for fudging that just a wee bit. You know, taking a nip here and there, in this chapter or that one, savouring the beauties like sipping on a single malt whiskey, and feeling the glow of the word slide down my throat. Words, the dram of life. Sigh. Yes, my editor has been known to make a word suggestion if my hand is too heavy while indulging the word monger in me, and rightfully so. And, I am thankful, appreciative. She’s my conscience. She has the magic finger she can stick in the air and know which direction the wind is blowing and how hard. However, isn’t there just a snippet of resentment nesting somewhere inside all of us that just wants to scream to the world, “You should know this word! Dadgumit! Buy a dictionary!”
We don’t want to be that person. You know the one; the condescending intellectual snob. You’ve seen them at parties, hanging out in coffee bars, and they use an excessive amount of beige in decorating. Those people use large words like toilet paper. How discombobulating. (See!) We should run from that kind of narcissism, and sprint toward clarity. Besides, readership would positively fall off a cliff.
There is a line we can waltz up to and not cross, kind of like the Neutral Zone in Star Trek between the Federation and the Klingons. We can hang out there in our starship, and gaze out at the stars, drinking in the majesty of the universe of words. Being a wordsmithy there are so many lovely words out there that actually send shudders of light through my brain, and trail down my spine in seizure-like spasms. Their beauty resonates in specifics, with scalpel-like slices of meaning. The little guy may be too general, easily misinterpreted, and it might draw the reader into a different direction. In a mystery, this could murder it. What to do? Compromise. Use the big guy when it matters, gently define it, don’t beat the reader over the head with a dictionary. Readers are there to have fun, and learn one or two things.
Rather than the Star Trek analogy, I could have used Babylon 5, another science fiction television show. (I love that show!) As an analogy, the term Hyperspace in that series is more specific to the word problem we face. In the series, Hyperspace is used to travel more quickly through vast portions of space, using jump gates. However, the down side is you must have a specific direction to make the appropriate gate in order to get out of Hyperspace, and on toward the area of the galaxy you want to travel. If you don’t you could die, drifting off into the vastness of Hyperspace, never to be seen or heard from again. The point is that big words must have purpose and direction to be used effectively. Let it roll out so the meaning can be divined from the context, and use them sparingly.
Don’t drift off into Hyperspace. I’d miss you. Really. May the Force be with you. Wait, isn’t that another scifi..
Cheri Vause, Writer/Novelist
The Night Shadow ~ Book Series