Saturday, January 17, 2015

Proverbs for the new world

What’s your favourite saying or proverb?  “All’s fair in love and war”?  “Don’t blow your own trumpet”?  “Easy come, easy go”?

My mother’s favourite saying is “Reap what you sow.”

I have to admit I like that one and I try to live by it, treating others as I would like them to treat me.  It took me a long time to understand what my mother was saying with this one when I was a child.  I knew that if my father planted seeds in the paddock, then he reaped hay.  I tried to work out how you would plant one type of seed, but reap another.  Or perhaps, my young brain tried to figure, it was about stealing and reaping other people’s hay.

Perhaps we need to rewrite these proverbs into a language that kids in the 21st century would understand.  At university (all those years ago) I was introduced to the concept of “Garbage in, garbage out.”  They were referring to computer programming, but it has grown since then.  I think a lot of kids have heard this and understand it.  It can be applied to programming, but also for things like healthy eating, friendships and watching TV.  If all the kids watch is violence on TV (garbage in), then what are they going to do in life (garbage out)?

A couple of days ago I posted on FB my 21st century translation of “You catch more flies with honey, than with vinegar.”  My translation is, "You will get more achieved with a polite email, than a rant on social media.

My husband’s favourite saying is “Measure twice, cut once.”  Sage advice when it comes to wood-working, but very true when it comes to life too.  Maybe we should be saying in the 21st century “Check your facts before you post.”  Or given the explosion of twitter, “Check your spelling before you post.”   **facepalm**

Two proverbs that I used to get me through those awkward teen years came from two unlikely sources.  The first one was on a badge that someone gave me when I was a little girl.  It said “The smile you send will be returned to you.”  Even as I think about it now, it is true on so many levels.  From the simple smiling at a stranger who automatically smiles back at you, to the more complex thought of how you live your life will rebound on you.

The other saying that helped me as a teen came from the musical The Sound Of Music.  In one scene, Maria says, “When God closes a door, somewhere he opens a window.”  Now, you don’t have to believe in God to believe in the meaning of this proverb.  Don’t sit there and stare at the door that is closed to you, because you could be missing out on the windows of life.  I clung to this as a teen.  As an adult, I still do.

Recently a friendship of mine ended abruptly.  I stared at that closed door for a while.  I wandered around in the darkness of the room for a while.  Then I looked up and noticed the open windows.  I peeked into one of those windows.  I said hello, and found a new friend.  Shirley Ozment (writing under the name of SA Ozment) is a new author at Dreamspinner whose first book Illusions is released on the 13th of February.  In saying hello, I was staying true to a number of my personal beliefs.

When I stepped out into the social media world last year to whisper that I had a book coming out, several people welcomed me.  Authors were sooo goddamn nice (and I’m lookin’ at you Cardeno!), helping me and telling me it was going to all be okay.  I welcomed their advice and have tried to follow it.  Their friendship has helped me through five releases.  So now I hope to pay it forward and help the new author who is in the exact position I was in ten months ago.  So welcome Shirley – we’re happy to have you around.

It is also funny as to where help comes from in this world.  Several months back Anna Sikorska was contracted by Dreamspinner to give me a cover for Safe In His Arms.  (And goshdamn, didn’t she do a great job?).  From there I contacted her on social media and thanked her.  Even though she was on the other side of the world, she in turn introduced me to a friend of hers, a fabulous author in my own city, Pia Foxhall.  Pia is a wonderful person, and through our chats she’s now introduced me to an editor she knows.

As a result I’ve taken my first step along the path to get my m/f book published – which is enquiring about editing fees.  Oh, I know I am a huge way off, but I stepped out on that path.  I’m holding Pia’s hand as she waits for the answer on her book submission, and maybe, Pia will just end up holding my hand. 

There are lots of proverbs and sayings.  Some ring true.  Some, perhaps, more than others:

“One man’s junk is another man’s treasure.”  - Okay!  (And please tell me I’m not the only one who put a sexual spin on that…)

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