PHILOSOPHY: Aristotle and three no-nos

Via a professor of strangestgirl‘s:
“Aristotle’s three paths to unhappiness (paraphrased by strangestgirl):
* Spend your life doing things genuinely not worth doing
* Devote yourself to doing something you can never do well
* Wait for someone else to provide happiness for you”

#1 is the reason I don’t try to go out and work for The Man by coding or testing code at a government contractor or telecom company like hubby . . . I can’t convince myself that most of the things done under the guise of “coding” are worth doing, and the few lines of code that you actually do get out into the world are soon obsolete and replaced. It is kind of his calling and his passion to debug and set up systems, so he feels fulfilled by it, but I always felt I was wasting valuable time. There are ephemeral things you can do that ARE worth doing, but housecleaning over and over probably isn’t one of them. Your mileage may differ.*

#2 is what I’m afraid I’m doing by writing the novels. Sure, I’ve heard nice things from some of you, and I’ve heard nice things from editors at workshops and in critique sessions, but then I’ve also heard that you can’t go by anything they say if they don’t actually buy. How can you say that you can do something “well” when others say that you don’t? Where is the dividing line between your belief in your abilities and your need to delude yourself that you’re good at something?

#3 . . . I do know better than to sit around doing this. So should you.

Now, get off the computer and go do something fun.

* [Yes, you’ve seen this as “your mileage may VARY,” but that’s improper usage, as pointed out years ago on FidoNet and GEnie. It actually should be “your mileage may DIFFER.” If I say your mileage may vary, it implies that you get one value once and another a different time because you’re driving freeways one time and stop-and-go the next. But your mileage will always differ from MINE. See?

Various guesses at what “YMMV” might mean, from newbies over the years:
Yams make me vomit?
Your Mom’s my valentine?
Yes, my mechanic votes?
You melted my Velveeta?
Yikes–Mozart’s metronome vanished!]


Author: shalanna

Shalanna: rhymes with "Madonna" and "I wanna," and is not a soundalike with "Hosanna" or "Sha-Na-Na." Aging hippie with long hair, husband, elderly mother, and yappy Pomeranian. I've been writing since I could hold a crayon. I started with fiction, which Mama said was "lying." “Don’t tell stories,” she would admonish, in Southern vernacular. “That's all in your imagination!” When grownups said this, they were not approving. So, shamed, I stopped telling stories for a few years--rather, I stopped letting anyone read them. I'm married to a fellow computer nerd who doesn't really like hearing about writing, but who reads sf/fantasy and understands the creative drive. I'm actually a nonconformist/hippie still wearing bluejeans and drop earrings and the Alice-in-Wonderland hair with headbands and sandals. Favorite flavor is chocolate/orange, favorite color is either Dreamsicle orange (cantaloupe) or bubble-gum pink, favorite musical is either Bye Bye Birdie, Rocky Horror, or The Producers . . . wait, I also love The Music Man. Is this getting way too specific and irrelevant yet? Obvious why I don't sell a ton of flash fiction, isn't it? To define oneself, I always say, it is good to make a list. How about a booklist? Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird Frank and Ernestine Gilbreth, Cheaper by the Dozen C.S.Lewis, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe (all the Narnia books) J.R.R.Tolkien,The Hobbit/LORD OF THE RINGS trilogy Gail Godwin, The Odd Woman F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby J. D. Salinger, Catcher in the Rye (before dismissing it, actually read it) George Orwell, 1984 Kurt Vonnegut, Cat's Cradle Donna Tartt, The Secret History Mark Twain, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn James Allen, As A Man Thinketh Mark Winegardner, Elvis Presley Boulevard James Thurber, My Life and Hard Times The Wizard of Oz, L. Frank Baum Winnie-the-Pooh/House at Pooh Corner, A. A. Milne Peter Pan, J. M. Barrie The KJV and NIV Bible (each translation has its glories)

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