Tag: If I was a — I would —

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I’d start by coming up with a solid goal. Destroying the world. or even destroying civilization, is pointless. I currently rule nothing, after destroying the world, I would still rule nothing, and have harder time getting toilet paper. Ruling the world is almost as bad. I have a target painted on my back 24-7, and […]

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Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. If I Were CDC Director…

 

I would start by taking the various department heads in a room to get my point across: Professionalism and competence earn respect. At the beginning of the Wuhan Coronavirus pandemic, 80% of people in the US trusted the CDC for information on the pandemic. It is now near 50% and falling. If the CDC is not trusted by the American people to provide advice on a pandemic, what is its purpose? (Aside from paying bureaucrats.)

The CDC must be a conservative organization. One of Conquest’s laws of politics is that any organization that is not explicitly conservative will become liberal over time, so the CDC must be conservative. What this means in practice is a presumption against restricting people’s freedom. People need to take risks and determine what is safe. We give them information so that they can make an informed decision. When we practice quarantine and lockdown measures, it should be treated like going to war or invoking martial law – never done lightly.

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Sometimes we get so wrapped up in the trivia of insurrections and coups and racists claiming to be antiracists conducting a reign of terror under the sponsorship of global corporations that these petty outrages distract us from the deeper crimes, crimes perpetrated in the culture against the truth. A friend of mine the other day […]

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Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. If I Were King of the Internet, I Would Mandate the Percontation Point⸮

 

Satire. Irony. Sarcasm. The written word seldom conveys these things well enough to tell them from someone’s making a serious statement or proposal. (This has even been codified and is now known as Poe’s Law.) Distinguishing serious from ironic is a very old problem, and one that was solved in about 1580. It was in that decade that Henry Denham, an English printer, came up with a solution. His idea was to have a new mark of punctuation that would distinguish when someone was not serious. That mark was the percontation point, and it looked like this: ⸮.

Thus, were I the King of the Internet, you would be mandated to use the percontation point⸮ It would probably be the only punctuation available to such publications as The Onion or The Babylon Bee. And maybe some mistakes would no longer be made:

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. If I Were Your Writing Coach, I’d Take Away Your Exclamation Point

 

Exclamation point abuse! It happens to far too many writers! It seems they just can’t help themselves!

Okay, look, you get one exclamation point per year or per book. That’s it. And I just used up my three-year allotment. Unless you are illustrating a point of a character who always seems to be in exclamatory mode, a character who is a joke and a punchline, then you might use more exclamation points to show what an idiot he is. Otherwise, just don’t. Exclamation points should be treated like saffron: Just a few bits go a very long way.

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. If I Were a Leaf, I Would Fall for You

 

If I were a leaf, I would fall for you.
From high atop the highest tree, I’d spy
As you came forth and topple through the blue
To meet your shoe as it kicked me up high,
To fall and rise once more and tumble nigh
That shoe to be kicked again as my plan
To be near your feet or fluttering high,
To always be your leaf that takes the van.
I am no falling leaf; I am a man,
A tired, old mortal with little play
Where once I strolled and kicked the leaves and ran
Beside you. Then I matched you fey for fey.
Good days come and good days go. Good days fade.
But those memories I would never trade.

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. If I Were the Pope, I’d Deal with China Differently

 

The Catholic Church, in her long and storied history, has lots of experience dealing with dictatorial powers that see her as a rival.

Throughout much of European history, bishops were a different class of wealthy noblemen. Rulers rightly saw bishops as potential threats. Many kings and princes attempted to control the ability to appoint the bishops within their rule. The response of the Church varied over time and place, but the essential lesson is that the Church should not, can not, cede her power to appoint bishops to the local authorities. When she does, it goes badly.

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. If I Were a Pirate, I’d Steal Thy Heart

 

If I were a pirate, I’d steal thy heart,
For something must a pirate steal, matey.
Ah, talking this way is not such a start.
No, no, we must discourse matters weighty,
Such as how to get representation
Of damsels fair of form in pirate crews
And thus to improve the pirate nation.
No people stands for long without it woos.
And men alone get up to deviltry
When left to their devices comical,
They turn their hands to outright ribaldry
And vile pursuits far more inimical.
Left are we to mull over thy beauty
And how that begets thy solemn duty.

It’s Talk Like a Pirate Day once more, a foolish bit of frippery. What better way to address one bit of foolishness than with another? Are you a participant in this ersatz holiday?

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. If I Were Your Writing Coach, I Would Start You at the Beginning

 

Your first line is the most important of your written work. It is like the door to your house or business. You want it to be inviting so the reader will feel welcome and come for a visit in the world you have created. If the door to your house is chipped and scuffed and needs painting or refinishing and maybe the screen on the storm door is hanging loose, people might be a little hesitant to come visit. If you want to be a professional writer, your first line is the door to your business. If the opening of your written work is sloppy or uninteresting, why would the reader want to move on to the next line? If the first paragraph is dull or passive or even seemingly evasive through being non-specific, why would a reader want to bother reading the second paragraph? You don’t want your reader to feel like they have entered a rough part of town where few of the houses are maintained.

As mentioned in the previous entry of this series, I critique a fair number of works of art before they are seen by the public. While I have critiqued works of visual and industrial art, my forte is in the written word. I have helped other authors develop poems, short stories, novellas, novels, and even non-fiction works. I often come across the same issues in the works of many authors, especially those who are amateurs or just trying to break into the profession. This conversation will highlight one of these common issues and errors: the weak opening.

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. If I Were Your Writing Coach, I Would Advise a Different Point of View

 

I critique a fair number of works of art before they are seen by the public. While I have critiqued works of visual and industrial art, my forte is in the written word. I have helped other authors develop poems, short stories, novellas, novels, and even non-fiction works. I often come across the same issues in the works of many authors, especially those who are amateurs or just trying to break into the profession. This conversation will highlight one of these common issues and errors. I may do more as time allows.

In most short works, such as a short poem, say a sonnet, point of view is not a big deal. The point of view may be the author of the work, or it may be a character made up for the occasion. When we start writing longer works, especially works of fiction, point of view becomes much more important. It seems that most beginning authors attempt to write from the point of view of an omniscient narrator. This is usually a mistake.

Member Post

 

If I were a cell (a biological cell) I’d have an identity crisis. I’d want to know some answers: “Who am I?” “Where did I come from?” What will become of me? What am I good for?   Well, maybe I wouldn’t really want to know all that. Single cells can’t really do that kind […]

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Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. If I Were Someone Else, I Wouldn’t Be Me

 

The theme for this month’s Group Writing challenges us to imagine a different scenario for ourselves. When I was a child, I read a lot of the Childhood of Famous Americans series from the school library. (I think I read nearly every book in the school library, and the librarian would let me come in between class changes and grab a book off the shelf without checking it out, knowing that I would read it on my lap under my desk during the more dull classes and bring it back before the end of the day.)

The stories of people like John Muir, Osceola, Babe Didrickson, Robert Fulton, Annie Oakley, Sam Clemens, Crazy Horse, and so many others moved me, inspired me, gave me ideas. I imagined myself as those people, and what I would do in the situations they faced, and I learned what I wanted in my own life. My mind was opened to amazing and strange possibilities, but I also saw the constrictions they faced, the challenges that existed for them even from a young age.

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. If I Were The Good Cat, I Would Make The Weird Human Stay Home

 

Dearest Weird Human, 

If I as the Good Cat could, I would make you come home more often. Just sitting on top of the suitcase when you’re packing doesn’t seem to do it. The other three humans are nice and all, they always have treats (and you’re stingy with those!), and pats, and call me by my real name, but it’s not quite the same. You let me lay next to you all day, even when I sit on the keyboard because I want more attention and make the laptop start flashing, and take me on walks with the leash so I can catch butterflies, and on visits to your friends.