I have a quote on my Crimespace page: "Kindness and compassion could solve a whole lot of problems." Somebody asked me the other day what's the context, why do I have that there? So after a while, when the fact that somebody had asked was still on my mind, I decided to blog about it.

First off, it's not really a quote, nobody has said exactly those words that I know of, except me. It's there because a saying on a web page is sort of like an epitaph -- it should be something you want people to associate in their minds with who you are.

As I mentioned, maybe here, maybe elsewhere (the web is getting too big for me to always recall where I've been and what I've said there), I'm not that great a blogger, and so I've abandoned my attempt to keep my own blog going ... but it was called The Compassionate Curmudgeon. Reason it was called that, it's a pretty good description of me at this time of my life. I'm a curmudgeon in that I'm no longer young, I admit I'm opinionated, and I firmly believe the greatest and best thing about getting old -- no matter the exact number of years in one's definition of "old" -- is you can say what you want and to heck with what anybody else says of you for it. Am I open to new ideas? Yes, absolutely! Do I think the new ideas floating around are of any better quality than the old ones? I'm sorry to say, No, for the most part I do not.

It's like with women's shoe styles -- we seem to be going back to the 50s, and I don't like that one tiny bit. Not to mention underwear. I fought hard to get out of everything that had to do with constricting and restricting -- I'm of the bra-burning generation, fergoshsakes. I do admit I was slow to give up spike heels, so I wasn't perfect. But even the men who read this will know what I mean, I bet, when I say this applies to global ideas also. The one exception here is the whole hip-hop-culture thing; I can't for the life of me say where that fits, and I have a hunch it has cultural value, but I still don't get it. The vulgarity puts me off. But it's certainly new and unique to the present time.

Now all of this sort of blather would be merely political and/or cultural if it weren't for one very important thing: I write books. I'm still doing it, officially retired or not. The difference is now I don't really care if I have a contract or not. And so, because I'm not going to cop out again and write something historical, I want to deal with things that are clearly important in the present day, I pay attention to what's going on in our world. And my observation of the present world, my country (US) especially, convinces me that if we don't stop grabbing everything we can get for ourselves and start paying attention to the welfare of other people and of our planet, we flat aren't going to have much of a future. That's at a minimum; at the maximum, I don't need to point out that in the Middle East people are doing a very good job of killing each other off .. and we've definitely made that worse. What we -- big, global we -- need, I think, is to practice kindness on a daily basis, and to adopt a philosophy (regardless of individual religion, or none) of compassion. If more and more people did this individually, eventually we'd get somewhere better than where we are now. I firmly believe this.

And I'm trying to figure out a way to work it into a plot and put it in a book. An exciting book, which means there will of course be nefarious goings-on as well as whatever else occurs. It might even turn out to be a crime novel.

That's what's behind the quote on my Crimespace page.

Dianne

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Comment by Dianne Day on July 17, 2007 at 8:52am
Nikki, I am writing every day. However, it seems like it's taking forever because I'm now on the third attempt, and this time it's like the Three Bears, just right.

As to posting questions related to writing in the forum, I'd suggest scrolling through all the topics to see if it's been done before. I think it has, but I'm not spending as much time here myself now (because of my writing) as I did at first, so I can't say for sure. There may be better places on the internet to ask them. At AOL in the early days we had a Writers Forum with some really good editors and writers answering questions, and I should imagine there's something like that around, even though after AOL got so huge, it kind of got lost in the shuffle. Good luck. Oh, and I should say i don't know all the rules yet myself because just this morning I saw Daniel said I did something wrong. But I didn't delete it, I left it for him to fix.
Comment by Nikki on July 17, 2007 at 8:37am
>> I can say, however, that I've been researching the topic for several years.

My gut reaction is to blurt out something along the lines of, "Write it already!" Then I feel you'd be obliged to counter with something equally pointed, such as a reference to folks who reside in domiciles made from heated sand.

That's just the curiosity talking. I hope you do get it written soon, though.

I have another question for you. Can a person post a question related to writing in the forum, even if it isn't specific to mystery/crime writing? I'm new here and don't quite know all the rules yet.
Comment by Dianne Day on July 16, 2007 at 7:06am
I'm sorry, but I can't say what I'm addressing re the sense of urgency I feel without talking more about the book than I can do at the moment. I can say, however, that I've been researching the topic for several years.
Comment by Nikki on July 15, 2007 at 3:14pm
>>And I think it's also true that our time is unique for a lot of reasons,

I agree, but possibly not for all the same reasons.

>>There is an urgency, for me, about our present time -- and that's what I want to write about.

Where does this sense of urgency come from, other than emerging technology? And, what slice of this life do you feel compelled to address? Just curious. I'm always curious to know what makes a person write about a certain subject matter.

I got an excellent piece of advice from Diana Gabaldon years ago. She encouraged me to write something. Not being a writer, I asked her what she thought I should write about. She said research is a large percentage of writing, so write what you're interested in researching. I'm still researching the subject, so I guess it worked out.

Nikki
Comment by Dianne Day on July 15, 2007 at 6:16am
Bit of clarification: when I said "communication possibilities" above, I meant that we are able to reach one another globally now, via such forms as Crimespace right here. This makes for a sort of global community -- and that is entirely new!
Comment by Dianne Day on July 15, 2007 at 6:13am
Hi Nikki, and thanks for the comments. I said I'm not a good blogger because I prefer dialogue to monologue, and I get bored with my own thoughts fast. If people are reading and commenting, as you did, then I enjoy responding -- but somehow as I write in blog form what's on my mind, there's this little small voice somewhere in the back of my head saying "who the hell cares what I think?"

On writing historical being a copout, for me it would be. I agree that history informs the present, but the truth right now is that we live in a present in which most people, especially those who make the big decisions, don't seem to know much history or else they don't thinkabout it enough to learn anything from it. And I think it's also true that our time is unique for a lot of reasons, the main one being the communication possibilities that have opened up just in our own lifetimes; another being the rise of women to positions of importance in many countries of the world, where this was not done since before the current three main religions took hold. There is an urgency, for me, about our present time -- and that's what I want to write about. With compassion, as I said.

Thanks again for your comment.

Dianne
Comment by Nikki on July 14, 2007 at 2:42pm
Where did you get the idea you weren’t a good blogger? IMHO, the purpose of a good blog is to provoke thought in others. If they are moved to comment and/or stop and question their own thinking patterns, all the better.

>>I'm of the bra-burning generation, fergoshsakes.

Disclaimer: My generation was known more for wearing a bra as outerwear, but I’m with you on the current underwear fads. That is to say I’m clueless about them.

>>I'm not going to cop out again and write something historical, I want to deal with things that are clearly important in the present day

I’m curious to know why you label writing something historical as a cop out? Is it that it’s the realm of comfort for you, or are you just tired of writing it? Surely you aren’t saying that history isn’t relevant to modern life. In some ways history is the only relevant thing, the only way of gauging what we’re doing, right or wrong, in our own time.

>>What we -- big, global we -- need, I think, is to practice kindness on a daily basis, and to adopt a philosophy (regardless of individual religion, or none) of compassion.

This reminds me of the quote from Ghandi, something to the effect that if all the world practiced the Christian concept of the Golden Rule, there would be few problems left. Of course he was not espousing Christianity as the true religion, only emphasizing the importance of compassion and love.

It’s also an interesting and refreshing sentiment from someone who writes about crime.

Nikki

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