Be Careful What You Read

I think we, as a society, need to learn to be careful what we read, see, and hear. It’s odd advice, I know, from a writer, but I think it’s something that needs to be said to a lot of people. We’ve probably all heard that old rhyme “be careful little eyes what you see.” I wonder how many of us take its advice seriously.

I’ll admit, it’s hard to do it today. Our society bombards us daily with sex and violence and the darkest parts of the human experience. I was writing a paper for school a few days ago that was on the subject of the entertainment industry. One of the points that I made was that I can’t name off the top of my head a single adult character on television that is celibate. The highlight of most “love” stories these days is when the main characters have sex for the first time. When I was talking about the paper with my mom later, she pointed out that often, it’s not just in the shows themselves, but actually in commercials for TV shows.

Some shows seem to run off of it. I hate to name one that is super popular, but Game of Thrones is a good example. I’ve personally never seen the show, but I’ve seen enough commercials for it and read enough reviews to know that it’s not something I want to watch. The show makes bank on subjecting viewers to graphic sex scenes and horrifying violence in nearly every episode. Maybe it has a decent plot, but to me it’s not worth it.

Honestly, all of this is dangerous. I don’t think people realize how much of a show they internalize every episode. When you’re laughing along to a romantic comedy, it’s easy to cheer for the likable protagonist when he finally gets the girl and they sleep together. When you’re glued to your seat during the heart-pounding action scenes in a movie like Jurassic World, you probably won’t notice all of the references to evolution and naturalistic thought.

We need to be careful. And some people need to be more careful than others. Personally, I can’t stand most pop or hip-hop. The genres are becoming increasingly filled with references I don’t want to hear. Even old favorites like country music is going down that path. For a long time, I’ve listened almost exclusively to Christian rock and rap. I pick my secular music very carefully. It’s not because I think I’m better than someone else who doesn’t, but it’s because I can’t handle a lot of today’s music. It gets in my head and in my heart in a way that is not glorifying to God. I’m not saying everyone, or even every Christian, should listen to only Christian music. I’m only saying that that’s what I’m doing because it helps me personally.

Sometimes, silence can drown out the bad in ways that sound never could. Sometimes, we just need to stay away from the bad. Christians in particular need to learn this. We are called to be in the world, but not of it (a la Romans 12:2). We have to guard our hearts against what the world will throw at us, and sometimes that means looking away. If you’re vulnerable to something, then get away from it. That’s not to say that we turn a blind eye to the problems of the world. But there’s a difference between knowing that something exists and participating in it, no matter how peripherally.

So please, friends, be careful what you see. Be careful what you read. Be careful of letting what you consume, consume you.

Guard your hearts.

Some Thoughts about Rewriting My First Book

There is perhaps no task so soul-sucking as rewriting an old manuscript. In this case, the old manuscript in question is my first book, which is currently under the name Super Star, although I’ve never liked the name. I started writing the book when I was 15 years old. I’m 19 now, and I’ve gained a lot of skill in writing and storytelling. Needless to say, reading my old stuff is making my eyes bleed.

I’m about two short chapters into rewriting a 30 chapter book. The good news is that the later chapters are a lot better in quality and won’t take so much brain power to redo. The bad news is that these first ones suck ice. I cannot stop cursing my younger self for her annoying tendency to “talk the plot.” In the last four years, I have really begun to understand what “show; don’t tell” really means.

Another thing I’ve learned since I started the book is that I have to be better at making the dialogue sound natural. It was something a friend commented on the first time I let him read the story. At the time, I brushed it off, but now I’ve realized how right he was. Mind you, I will never tell him this to his face.

One thing I didn’t expect to happen while doing the rewrite was enjoyment. But oddly enough, I’m actually enjoying myself on the project. Having the story already written, to a certain extent, takes the worry out of having to come up with words to pull out of my hat. Every once in a while (not often in these early chapters), I don’t need to change anything. “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” as the saying goes. Hopefully, the number of things I don’t need to fix will increase as I go along.

So I’m going to keep trying to have fun with it. And I’m also probably going to keep mentally kicking myself in the butt every few pages. In any case, it needs to be done if I ever want to publish this someday.

P.S. If you’re interested in reading some of my work, I have a science fiction and a fantasy series up on Wattpad. Fair warning, though: the fantasy series isn’t finished, so if you want to finish reading it, you’re going to have to wait. Here are the links:

Erya (Fantasy): https://www.wattpad.com/story/41523466-erya

Dark Ties (Sci-fi): https://www.wattpad.com/story/30352294-dark-ties

How to Be a Good Blog Reader

I’m doing things a bit differently today. I figured my other blog shouldn’t languish while this one enjoys the fruits of NaBloPoMo. Me Against the Page is my writing blog. I haven’t had much of a chance to update it recently, so I thought it deserved a few new words on the page. I hope you all like it.

Me Against the Page

I’ve been reading and writing blogs for a while now. When I first started out, I looked up advice on how to be a good blogger. And I found some. Actually, I found a lot of advice, most of it contradicting the advice of the last guy. Some people said to make your posts short, some said long. Some bloggers said to avoid controversy, some said to embrace it. However, I don’t want to write yet another one of those posts. I don’t think myself qualified to talk on such a subject, and quite honestly, I don’t want to add to the already confusing mass of blog writing posts that already exists in cyberspace.

I want to do things a little differently. In that spirit, here is my advice on how to be a good blog reader.

1. Read the Posts

This may seem obvious to some of you, but…

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