It’s been a long time since I did one of these. For those who don’t know where Meeting Notes originated, feel free to click on the tab above.
I don’t know what it is about monsters and flowers, but they’re often what I default to when I’m doodling. I guess I often see monsters as misunderstood lovers of beauty and art. Maybe it’s because I watched The Elephant Man when I was 10 and had my perspective of those different than us shifted forever. If you haven’t seen The Elephant Man, I recommend you watch it, even if only for purely cultural reasons. It’s an older movie, a bit sluggish at times, but still quite beautiful.
I like books and movies that offer me a chance to shift my perspective, though in a non-invasive way. For example, I don’t like Michael Moore, nor see his movies as actual documentaries, more his personal commentary on the world. I just want the facts unfiltered. That’s why I like hearing real stories from real people. We can understand a lot about life from good stories.
The movie Antwone Fisher comes to mind. In addition to one of the best movie openings of all time, we get the perspective of a young black man trying to deal with how he fits in the world and what to do with a difficult past. Racism is discussed, but to me it didn’t seem like Antwone Fisher was about the woes of being a victim, but instead rising above to something greater.
Brave New World, too, changed my perspective of life in realizing how truly heinous society could become if we only allow it to, little compromise by little compromise, yet all in the name of the greater good.
Recently a coworker recommended an older book called As A Man Thinketh to me. Consider it the earliest version of the power of positive thinking books. James Allen, the author, suggests that our circumstances in life are the fault of ourselves—or perhaps rather that we remain in them is our fault. He believes positive thinking leads to positive results, and negative bears negative fruits.
At first I didn’t want to believe thoughts had so much power over our lives, but the more I considered it the more I realized it was so—at least in my life. I was more of a negative person in the past. A friend helped me to shift that perspective, but honestly nothing in my life changed except me. Then suddenly greater and greater things were happening, opportunities were knocking at my door, instead of feeling stuck I felt like I was moving and growing—all due to a change in my perspective.
I’m not saying that everything James Allen wrote is necessarily true, but I think a lot of it is.
As a writer, what I gleaned from the book is that if I have a vision of my future success in writing firmly planted in my mind and focus all my thoughts and energies on attaining that goal—of course in positive ways–that I will eventually attract that success to myself. I feel like I’m moving in that direction, whether slowly or quickly.
So now I’m curious, dear friends. This topic was a bit unexpected for me, but all the same pleasantly surprising. And now I want to hear about your experiences. Have you seen or read any perspective changing movies or books? How have they impacted your life? Do you believe in the power of positive thinking? Who or what do you look to for inspiration in your life? Let me know below.
I know I traditionally accompany this with a haiku, but I think an explosion of random thoughts inspired by this image will do, don’t you?
14 thoughts on “Meeting Notes 08”
A couple of books that have changed my perspective on quite a few things:
1. Techniques of the Selling Writer by Dwight Swain. This book has given me so many insights into what it means to write good fiction. Many self-help books breeze through the ‘why’ and spend too much time on the ‘how’. This book really gets to the nitty gritty of a lot of those ‘whys’.
2. Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand. Easily dismissed by many ‘sophisticates’ but there are some intriguing thoughts here. Though I may not agree with everything (who really agrees with EVERYTHING from any philosophy?), there are some perspectives that make a lot of sense to me and made me question certain beliefs.
3. The Fixer by Bernard Malamud. An eye opener on morality and the idea that there is no such thing as “an unpolitical man.”
I’ll have to check out the other two books, but 100% agreed on Atlas Shrugged. That was my first introduction to Ayn Rand, and I’ve been a fan ever since.
Since I don’t read as much as most people, I’ll go with movies. The movie MASK, starring Eric Stoltz and Cher, about Rocky Dennis and his the rare condition which eventually took his life. Seeing this film as a kid had me wondering why people would treat Rocky differently because he looked out of the ordinary. It made me wonder if I had treated other kids differently because of looks. Yeah, deep stuff for a kid, but that was me. In pre-school my best friend was named Bakhari and he was African-American. A few years later my best friend was a Vietnamese kid named Nghia. I wrote my first stories with him called THE KARATE FLOWER. So I’ve always been open to people for who they are and not how they look, even as a child.
I think you default to monsters because on some level you relate. The being misunderstood part, anyway. We all have been misunderstood or felt like an outsider at some point. Your monsters rarely look scary. This one is smiling and delighted to be among the flowers. Perhaps the the creature is talking with the bees, who bring it news from the rest of the world. Even though the creature looks scary, it really isn’t. It simply wants to find it’s place in the world and be happy, just like the rest of us. That’ll be five cents please. 🙂
Eric Stoltz as in the Eric Stoltz that was almost Marty in Back to the Future? I’ll have to check this movie out. 🙂
Yes, that Eric Stoltz. So what is it with you and time travel anyway? If you could go back in time, where would you go? Why? Who would you meet if it wouldn’t change the future?
I don’t know if I’d want to go back. Maybe to help others, but not for me. I’d like to think I’m the person I am for a reason and all those things I experienced have purpose.
I’d love to meet Albert Einstein, Malcolm X, and Winston Churchill, just to name a few. Eleanor Roosevelt would be a fascinating person to meet too. There’s just so many people I’d like to meet. That’s what I’d do with a time machine.
Dude are you kidding me? If Doctor Who showed up with his tardis and said, let’s go travel through space and time instead of whatever you’re doing with your life, I’d go in a heartbeat. I love the idea of not being bound by space or time. I’d go all over. I’d go see if the Tower of Babel really existed, the Pyramids when they were first being built, Paris in the 1800s, Atlantis (supposedly it was real place), maybe Pompeii a few years before the volcano, see who was living in the Americas before Columbus found it—the list could go on forever. As for meeting people, Alfred Hitchcock for starters. He and I have the same birthday and his films have always been among my favorite. Probably George Washington, Susan B. Anthony, Walt Disney.
I like the idea of traveling to the distant future too, and see if we ever do actually invent hover cars or what? 😉
But then you run the risk of altering things. What if your time machine breaks down? What then? How would you blend in with the locals? There are just too many variables, and ways for things to go wrong.
I’d like you to write a book about a woman who thinks like you and someone close to her constructs a time machine. Maybe she invents it, I don’t know. She can’t resist and takes a trip but it breaks, or something goes wrong. What happens when her time machine breaks? That’s a story I want to read. How can she fix her time machine if she’s in Pompeii?
Rule #1, never trust the Doctor. 😉
Whatevs, the Doctor always gets out of any sticky situation he’s in. I’ve actually got a couple stories in mind that have to do with time travel. One I think I could do, but the other I’m not sure if I’m ready to write yet. But both have to be on hiatus, Shade comes first. 😉
Love your sketch!
Hmm, reading Lois Lowry definitely made an impression. Also the Norma Fox Mazer books. I think they were the first ones I read with “real” people, faced with real life problems in the same generation I was living in.
I’ve added a few Norma Fox Mazer books to my library list. And thanks, I enjoy my little scribbles. At least it passes meeting time in an enjoyable manner. 🙂
There is a series by Mercedes Lackey: “Magic’s Pawn,” Magic’s Promise,” and Magic’s Price.” I read these three books when I was younger, several times in fact, and they definitely made me very open minded towards homosexuals. I’m not saying I wouldn’t have been open minded towards them if I hadn’t read these books, but I do think that these books helped and made me more aware than I would have been if I hadn’t read them.
Not to bud in on yours and Brian’s debate, but time travel is an awesome topic, and if the Doctor showed up with his tardis and asked me to go through time and space with him, I’d be gone in seconds. 😉
I tossed “Magic’s Pawn” into the library booklist. I love that my library lets me create one. Then I always know what to check out, I just work my way down the list. 🙂
Let’s make a pact, if the Doctor shows up for either of us, let’s make him stop over at either of our places so we can all go on an adventure together. 🙂
Awesome scribble. I agree with Allen’s opinion on positive thoughts changing a person and their life.
Thanks! I do love my monsters. And yeah, it was a pretty good book Allen wrote.