Superstitions and Boomerangs

September 3, 2007 at 10:30 am | Posted in books, career, Jessica, writing | 1 Comment

My father tells me there is an old Irish saying: “Never talk about someone else’s children until yours are dead.” Now, I did a brief search of this phrase for verification, but could find no mention of it in my quick perusal of the Internet. Whether this saying is something my Great Grandmother Delaney brought with her when she came over or just one of those sayings of questionable origin, I cannot say. But during this week of discussing superstitions here at the Purple Hearts, I thought it was an appropriate way to kick off my post.

I think it’s bad karma to trash talk.

Whenever the folks in my RWA chapter try to prepare one another for conference attendance, one of the golden rules always mentioned is to be aware of what you say and to whom you say it. While the RWA national membership may consist of approximately 10,000 writers, the publishing industry is a very small world and, rest assured, news of bad behavior or bad comments will find their way back to the one person you wouldn’t want to hear them.

So the best way to preserve yourself through the drama of artistic writing (not to be confused with The Art of Dramatic Writing) is to stay above the fray.

Avoid those karmic boomerangs carrying negativity and bad tidings, or be ready to catch what comes back to you.

Distance yourself from the trash talkers, the naysayers, the poisonous playmates (Julia Cameron talks about this in The Artist’s Way), the figurative vampires, the insatiable parasites, or the fill-in-your-phrase-here. You know the people I mean, and they can have negative effect on you just by association. In the karmic universe, I have to believe that if you give these toxic people enough rope they’ll eventually hang themselves with it.

If you must – MUST – pick apart another author’s work, find that one or those two trusted individuals who comprise your vault and vent in extreme private. You never know who may be sharing that elevator with you, or who may be in the next stall in the ladies’ room, or who may be in line with you at lunch.

Why put yourself in such a precarious situation? ‘Don’t put it out there.’ And to offer another trite but appropriate phrase, ‘Don’t hate the playa’, hate the game.’ That author whose book you don’t like? She obviously did something right. Learn from her ‘mistakes’. The next time you pick a book apart, try to find the one thing that made it work instead of using the pieces to tear it down. Don’t forget – something about it made someone want to buy it.

And if there’s a book in which you absolutely cannot find any redeeming quality, you can always say, ‘nice font,’ and move on.

I also believe that in putting good things into the universe, good things will come to you in return. May you have a week full of good things, especially good writing!



1 Comment »

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  1. hey Jess- words to live by not only in the writing world, but beyond. Thanks for the reminder.

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