11/5/13

Finding inspiration in fictional proverbs

"You scrub a floor clean by picking a single spot and getting to work."

"A man has as much luck as he has seeds in the field."

I'm finally reading the last set of books in Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time series. Have you read them? So good, aren't they? I started Book One back when I was a teen. I read the first few quickly, and then started to slow down but picked up the next installment every few years. Maybe he was still writing them, and that's why I had gaps between books. I don't remember. But anyway, I got through the first 11 books gradually over a couple of decades. Then, the author suffered an untimely death leaving the story undone. I thought I'd never know what happened to Rand, Mat and Perrin... so sad! But, fortunately for me, and all those fans out there, his wife carried the story forward with the help of another author, Brandon Sanderson, in a final installment of 3 books. I picked up the 1st of the three final books the other day and have been slowly sinking myself back into this amazing world.

All of this is to explain the two quotes at the lead of this post. They're from the book. It's peppered with made-up proverbs from made-up cultures in a made-up world. But, made-up or not, there is truth in every one of them. (Isn't that the case with all fiction? It's really just truth wrapped up in a pretty package.)

For some reason these silly little quotes (and there are dozens of them sprinkled through the novel) are just tickling my fancy right now. I love the message, the cute way the message is phrased, and I love the fact that this is advice coming to me through the filter of fiction, about a people and a place that exist so clearly in my mind and no place else. Wacky, right?

That first quote, "You scrub a floor clean by picking a single spot and getting to work," is speaking to me today about my writing. Writing a novel is a really big job, like cleaning a floor. I'm going to pick my single spot -- today's 200 words (my very modest daily goal) -- and get to work. Maybe if I keep at it, one spot at a time, there will be a novel at the end. Word by word.

The second quote "As man has as much luck as he has seeds in the field," reminds me that I need to continue to get myself out there in terms of seeking out people, ideas, inspiration, books, events, speakers, classes, opportunities, that feed my spirit and fuel my work. My novel, and my own personal growth journey, will come out better if I'm seeding the field, which in my case today means feeding it new ideas and connections with other people going on a similar journey. I'm not sure that this is exactly what the author had in mind with this proverb, but that's what I'm taking from it today.

Love it when you can take inspiration and meaning out of a few silly quotes and a bit of fiction.

So that's what's on my mind today. Hope you are having a good week!

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