Monday, November 4, 2013

Motivational Monday


THE UNDERGROUND OF THE CITY IS LIKE
WHAT'S UNDERGROUND IN PEOPLE.
BENEATH THE SURFACE, 
IT'S BOILING WITH MONSTERS.
(Guillermo del Toro)

When I was in high school, I wrote a story for the school's literary magazine. The teacher, Mr. R., gave me a strange look when he accepted it, saying only that it was, uh, an unusually dark story for someone like me.

In college, I wrote poetry full of shadows and despair.

A few years ago, I met with a literary agent at a conference to go over the manuscript pages I'd submitted for him to critique. As I, smiling and excited, walked over to him, I noticed he was looking at me strangely, and all I could think was that I had something stuck in my teeth or my hair was sticking up. But it turns out he was just surprised - I looked so normal, too normal, to have written the horror story in his hand.

The quote is such a great reminder that what you see is not always what - or all - there is. We all have "monsters," whether beneath a confident exterior lurks doubt or worry or panic. Maybe beneath a patient smile, simmers a short temper. Maybe beneath the sweet face and conservative clothes of a Sunday School teacher lives a rock and roll roller derby queen.

Let's keep this in mind as we go about our week. When we pay the pierced and tattooed barista, let's imagine she sings the sweetest gospel music we've ever heard. When the grumpy bus driver grunts at us, let's imagine he writes love poetry. Not only is this a good way to practice patience and kindness in general, but it's also a wonderful way to create interesting and complex characters.

(And now, if you'll excuse me, I've got to go take care of my "monsters" - they're busy slithering around my mind's tunnels, squelching through my imagination, their slick strands of drool dripping out onto the page forming story, characters. I can use all the help I can get during NaNo.) 

26 comments:

  1. This is so so true. We never know what's beneath people's surfaces or facades. Yet another reason to not judge a book buy its cover :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's so fascinating to wonder what people have going on, what they really have going on, inside of them.

      Delete
  2. Hi Madeline,
    What an inspiring way to look at life.
    Good luck with NaNo. I hope to pass the finish line the end of the month, too.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You'll do it, Donna! I believe in all my NaNo/blogging buddies, and I know we can do it. :)

      Delete
  3. What a great reminder to be kind always!

    Happy Monday. ☺

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's sometimes easier said than done, but I think it's definitely worth giving it a try.

      Have a good week!

      Delete
  4. My monsters tend to come out when I'm behind the wheel.
    You have been warned...

    ReplyDelete
  5. I'm smiling, Madeline, because I was recently introduced at an evening reading as a sweet girl who wrote very dark fiction. LOL. What does lurk inside the minds of us normal ones? hehee

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm pretty sure there's a lot of us out there.... :)

      Delete
  6. Great post. Ya can't judge the book...
    Best of luck with Nano

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Jai. And I can use all the luck I can get for NaNo. :)

      Delete
  7. HA! You and me both, sister. I am overweight now, but had my days of looking like a classic all-American girl--tall, blonde, blue eyes... though no boobs to speak of, but never mind... But people will make assumptions that that means I'm light and fluffy... not so much. My writing has ALWAYS been the dark underbelly. I mean I play on the blog and other social media, but what I really like to dig into is the messy stuff.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's in that messy stuff where we find the best stories.... :)

      Delete
  8. What a great story. My daughter, in her younger years, told me I don't look like a writer. A friend who dies her hair purple and wears crazy clothes fit her idea of a writer.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Now wouldn't it be funny if that friend with the purple hair was really into, oh I don't know, making elegant and fancy clothes for dolls? :)

      Delete
  9. Doubt, worry, panic, and a short temper. Yep, that's me.

    Great post!

    ReplyDelete
  10. I love this Motivational Monday! Such a wonderful reminder to carry through our interactions with others. And that story about the agent is priceless!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Jillian. And that moment is one I hope I never forget. :)

      Delete
  11. It's funny how we manage to pass ourselves off as looking so "normal". It's quite fun to surprise people. Hope NaNo's going well!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. NaNo is...going. That's all I have to say about that! :)

      Delete
  12. You know I love your dark stories as I have always gravitated toward the dark side myself! Although only in fiction though, obviously. :D

    Good luck with NaNo!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Of course only fiction, Julie. Of course. :)

      And thank you for the NaNo luck - I need it!

      Delete
  13. This is great. I'd love to surprise people like that too cause quite honestly, I tend to be the more boring quiet one. So would love to see people shocked like that. It'd be a compliment to me.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Glad you enjoyed it, Suzi. And you know what they say, it's always the quiet ones…. :)

      Delete