On Repetition

“When we came out of the theater, we all agreed: the film was a waste of money, a waste of time, and a waste of energy.”

Ah, repetition.

People, particularly presidents of countries, cult leaders, and motivational speakers, use it frequently in speeches made to huge crowds. In this scenario it usually works well, gets folks on board, riled up, ready to drink the Kool-Aid.

Other people, like parents, also use it in speeches, sometimes very loud speeches, made to their offspring. In this scenario it has about a 50/50 chance of getting the desired result unless you parent as I do, with the occasional threat of bodily harm or, worse, the cancelation of somebody’s cell phone service. I know, threatening is not a politically correct parenting tactic but from my perspective it works, as evidenced by the disappearance of the small, crawling pests that used to shop my kid’s room like a Costco.

Often though, repetition is simply proof that the writer has never been properly introduced to a thesaurus. (It’s also proof that the writer doesn’t read, but I’ll beat that drum another day.)

Speaking of repetition, repeat after me: Thesaurus.com is your friend and Powerthesaurus.com is your best friend.

I don’t know how anyone – professional writers, business people, students – anyone, writes without consulting Thesaurus.com or Powerthesaurus.com. They’re always open on my computer, as are Google and Urban Dictionary, and I use them constantly.

Let’s say I’m writing about the menu at a restaurant, and let’s say it’s a five-star restaurant. How many times can I use the word food before the reader faints from boredom? Once. Maybe twice. People, I implore you, think. It’s a five-star restaurant. It doesn’t serve food. It serves cuisine, fare, a rare treat for your taste buds, gastronomic delights, died-and-gone-to-Heaven deliciousness.

What would you rather eat – food, or died-and-gone-to-Heaven deliciousness? That’s right: died-and-gone-to-Heaven deliciousness. And your reader would, too.

Repetition, when used properly, is a powerful tool.

Repetition, when used because you’re too lazy to crack open a thesaurus and find new, fun, interesting, cool, thought-provoking, exciting synonyms is a sure fire way to put your reader to sleep.

I have spoken. Don’t make me repeat myself.

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On Advice

It’s been one of those weeks. One of those weeks that starts off fine and then takes a nosedive so unexpected and painful you can’t sleep and you can’t think straight. You can’t tolerate food but wine, wine is more welcome than ever. You keep your glass filled and your phone charged as you talk over and over and over again with your closest confidantes. They all say the same thing. They use different words but it’s the same advice. You know they’re right. But you don’t want them to be right. All you want is to hit the refresh button and go back a week.

Someone once said. “Advice is what we ask for when we already know the answer.” I used to like that quote. Now I’m not so sure.

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Comparison is the thief of joy

This week’s episode of Flaws Are The New Black is about the pitfalls of comparison. Maybe you’ve heard the expression, “comparison is the thief of joy” and maybe you haven’t. But I’m here to tell you, it is. When we compare ourselves or our lives to others’, we suffer. When we compare our current selves to our past selves, we suffer as well. Just look at this teary pic of me feeling bad for myself because I don’t look like the photo on either of my book jackets any more. Oy vey, Susan. Knock it off!

The trick to ending this suffering is throwing out every single solitary photo of myself. I’m kidding. I plan to burn them.

No, the trick is GRATITUDE. I need to be grateful for the fact that I’m awake, alive, safe, healthy. (Maybe not mentally healthy but hey, you can’t have everything.) I need to be grateful that I have two incredible sons, friends and family who love me, work I enjoy, and yummy wine to drink at night.

Aging sucks but it’s better than the alternative. Comparison sucks too because it makes me ask myself, “how bad could the alternative to aging really be?” 

Comparison sucks us down the rabbit hole. Gratitude takes our hand and pulls us out. I hope you’ll watch the episode. It’s called Comparison is a Killer. Worse yet, it makes you cry!

Love,

Susan

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Coffee Before Fuel Is Cool. Reverse It, and You Might Regret It

Certain Cars + Diesel = Disaster. 

Sleepily, she slips in her debit card, punches in her zip code and hits enter. Then she looks down to select super-premium or sort-of-super premium or whatever the heck the hundred bucks a gallon gas her BMW demands is called, but she can’t find it.

Hmm. That’s weird.

She lifts the bright green handle. Maybe the super-premium or sort-of-super premium is underneath it? It’s not. She looks around. None of the other drivers out in the early morning drizzle appear to be having trouble with their pumps.

Maybe this one only has one kind? she wonders and then looks – really looks – at the bright green sign with the white writing and it registers. Oh dear God, it’s DIESEL!  She grabs the nozzle that she’s thisclose to plunging into her gas tank, shoves it back into place on the pump, replaces her gas cap, and slinks into her car wondering if anyone’s been watching her stupidity.

And then she drives off, vowing from then on to get coffee before getting gas. Because clearly she’s incapable of doing one without the other.

BASED ON A TRUE STORY. THAT HAPPENED TO A FRIEND. AND SHE WANTED ME TO SHARE IT. NICE OF HER, HUH?

 

 

 

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