Recently I joined several writer-group discussions online. I actually was invited by the manager of one group on Linkedin to answer questions or add to discussions. He said that in return I could use the link to my website. Always on the lookout for new readers of my blog, I hastily accepted.
I added my two bits worth a couple of times in reference to questions or comments other writers had initiated. I expected to generate a bit of feedback but that didn’t happen. Zero. I then posted half of one of my blogs covering the subject of The Fog Index. This is a tool for writers that allows you to adjust your writing to the level of your target audience. Are you writing at the fourth grade level, the eighth grade, the tenth grade, a senior in high school or at the university level? With the Fog Index , it’s easy to find out the level of your writing and adjust it. Sounds neat, huh?
Not so neat because I got a lot of feedback from elitist writers who apparently march to another drum beat. They had never heard of The Fog Index and the very word Fog meant “hack” to them. I answered them as best I could. I tried to persuade them that we writers need all the tools and help we can get. Not so with them. They apparently dream of beautiful, poetic and difficult to read prose and they are happiest when they must have a dictionary at hand to look up words they don’t know.
Anyway, it all got me to thinking of one of my plays FP 140, which was first presented in Paris, France, at the Paris English Theatre. This work deals primarily with closed minds. I got the idea for it over Christmas when two friends, Gary and Ron, from Oklahoma were visiting Ken and me in Paris.
We went to Chamonix in the French Alps for several days. Unfortunately there was a terrific snowstorm and the four of us were shut ins for the next couple of days in our rented chalet. With the TV being out, we had to entertain ourselves.
After tiring of Charades and the like, Gary and Ken played The Diagramming Sentence Game in which they posed the most difficult sentences they could to one another. I must say they were brilliant at it even though Ron and I weren’t all that engrossed.
Then Gary suggested a game his high school English teacher had them do in class once: The Closed Mind Game. In this activity, the object is to come up with as many reasons as you can for NOT doing something. We wrote them down and I still have that sheet which includes fifty entries. Here are some of them we came up with on that snowy evening: We’ve tried that before. It costs too much. We’re too busy. That’s not my job. We don’t have the time. We’ve never done it before. We’ve never heard of that before. It’s against our policy. It’s against my values. I don’t have time. You’re right, but—. Put it in writing. We’ll get laughed at. We’ll get back to you. I like it but—. We’ve done all right without it up to now. Let’s form a committee. It won’t work.
We had a great time playing The Closed Mind Game because it was more truth than poetry. A closed mind to my way of thinking is like a great stone wall.
I had a teacher once who said that the word “change” was the most feared word in our vocabulary. After my experience with internet discussion groups, I’m seeing that is truer than ever. I haven’t written any more comments and doubt if I will. I’ll just continue writing these blogs.