Seven Lines Challenge

For this challenge, you’re supposed to go to page 7 of your WiP, count down 7 lines, share 7 lines or sentences, and then tag 7 other writers.

I was tagged by ellDimensional on Tumblr, and I posted a bit from my main WiP there, but here’s a slice from my secondary WiP, HEDGEHOG’S DILEMMA, which I’m writing totally by the seat of my pants.

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Out of sheer laziness, and because there was no other club whose members actually left her alone, Holly  had chosen the FFA. The students teased her about that, too, saying that instead of showing prized Holstein heifers, they could just show Holly at the local student competition.

Holly preferred the crops aspect of the FFA, which enabled her to get lost in the scent of the dirt, the feel of the grit under her fingernails, and the occasional taste of pesticide if she happened to have her mouth open while someone was spraying it, which was often.

The club met outside in front of the school, where they were tending a box of moribund pansies.

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I didn’t tag anyone on Tumblr because I don’t have too many friends there, but I tag the following bloggers: Adventures in Writing, Invisible Ink, E on Publishing, Scribbling in the Storage Room, Ally Cat with a Pen, Tara Is a Rock Star, and Anthony Lee Collins. I understand that some of you may not have a writing-related WiP, but I’m tagging you anyway because you’re awesome. 🙂

Quotes Challenge #3

For the last day of this challenge, I have three quotes (because three is my favorite number).

Writing is the incurable itch that possesses many.

—Juvenal

I forget where I saw this one, but it’s been one of my favorite quotes for a while now. Not much needs to be said about it; if you’re a writer, you can’t not be a writer. You always have the urge to write inside of you, and you get irritated if for some reason, you can’t write. (And ironically, when you do get the chance to write, you make every excuse in the world not to write. One time, I cleaned the vacuum cleaner’s brushroll when I could’ve been writing.)

Be who you are.

—variously attributed

Sounds like a no-brainer (it also sounds like an advertising slogan), but it’s difficult. Some people tend to camouflage themselves so they blend in with the milieu wherever they go, and no one ever sees their “real” personality–the one they show to their most intimate friends. And then you  have those effortless people whose large personalities never change, no matter who they’re with or what they’re doing or where they are.

Hell is empty. And all the devils are here.

—William Shakespeare, The Tempest

Especially relevant in an age when crazy politicians (and they’re getting crazier and crazier) are attempting to take over the United States, but I jest. But in another sense, the quote is almost literally true in the way that I see hell: separation from God. I imagine that it would be the worst kind of emptiness. As for all the devils being on earth, it sometimes seems that way, but I’m sure there are legions more devils in hell, just as there are legions of angels in heaven.

My last three nominees for the challenge…

Quotes Challenge #2

No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.

—Eleanor Roosevelt

Feelings are strange things. You ought to be able to trust your feelings, but too often, your feelings can land you in moral muddles that are hard to get out of or even rationalize to yourself. I suppose a cognitive distortion is a type of negative feeling, a kind of anger at oneself: Everything I do is wrong. Everyone is better than/works harder than me. I should be a better person.

I suffer from cognitive distortions frequently, and I have to tell myself that they are like bad dreams: they seem very real, but when closely examined, they are patently untrue and even somewhat childish. So, as you would ignore the bad dream and refuse to let it seep into and pollute your waking moments, you would not give consent to that cognitive distortion.

That’s what Eleanor Roosevelt acknowledges in her quote: that you need to give consent to cognitive distortions such as feelings of inferiority, pulls toward perfectionism, and beliefs that you must always make everybody happy. If you don’t consent to believe in these feelings, then they hold no power over you.

It sounds like it’s so easy, like something from a fairy tale: Tell yourself it’s a bad dream and it’ll all go away. The reality is that these feelings are not dispelled so easily. That’s how powerful a cognitive distortion is and how strong its grip on you may be. The truth is that you have to work hard at getting rid of them. You have to step back and examine them in the raw light of logic so you can see that they are not true and that there is no reason to give your consent to allow them to make you feel bad.

Today’s nominations for the Quotes Challenge: