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Friday, April 13, 2012

Friday the 13th (and other things you should ignore)

Thanks to a random news blurb, I was reminded that today is Friday the 13th. *cue dramatic music*

I find it kind of ironic that this week houses the ever-terrifying Friday the 13th, because The Boyfriend and I watched The Da Vinci Code on Tuesday night, and in it they have that whole fantastically blasphemous scene in which Ian McKellen goes on an explanation/rant about the origins of Mary Magdalene, Jesus, and Friday the 13th. (Granted, Friday the 13th wasn't a huge part of his speech, but it WAS mentioned in there. I promise.) His explanation for why we remember Friday the 13th as a day of horror: on October 13, 1307 (a Friday), members of the Knights Templar were rounded up, charged with heinous crimes, and subsequently tortured/murdered.

Whether or not this is the real origin of our freakish obsession with Fridays and 13s, I don't know, but Ian McKellen sounds so ominous when he says it that you just have to believe him. Then again, he is also capable of convincing us to abandon our comfy homes in the Shire and embark on a perilous journey across Middle Earth, so maybe he can't be 100% trusted. But whatever the origins of Friday the 13th, there is one truth that we cannot deny:

This "holiday" doesn't really matter. At all. And is totally okay with being ignored.

This, of course, links up quite nicely with a certain aspect of writing that should also be ignored. The certain aspect that I've been struggling with whilst plotting out Sci-Fi Novel. The aspect that starts with a "se" and ends with "lf doubt."

Yeah, you know what I'm talking about. That little voice that silently chirps away at every good idea you have. That little voice that sits back in its big comfy armchair going, "That plot twist is so cliche. That character name is so ORDINARY. That world-trait is so obvious. You're horrible." And, if you let it get to you, it can make you crumble into a tiny ball of saddened-writer-goo and throw away all your notes and cry yourself to sleep.

Holidays like Friday the 13th could do the same thing. We could (and I'm sure some people do) let the superstitions and horror get to us and force us into comatose states whenever this poor little day rolls around. Or, as most of us do, we could totally forget that today is a day of supposed "horror" and all things evil and ignore what is, ultimately, quite an average day.

If it's so easy to ignore supposed days of Ultimate Terror, why can't we ignore those silly little self-doubts just as easily?

So I hereby move to make Friday the 13th a day of Ignoring -- ignoring those stupid little voices, ignoring those pings of self-doubt, and plunging ahead with whatever plot twist, character name, or world-trait you want. Because if we let go of most of the negative things we cling to, we often find they weren't really that important to begin with.



J.R. Johansson said...

Sweet! I'm great at ignoring things. I'll get right to it. And darn that Ian McKellan, always leading us into trouble. ;-)

Rachel said...

I am all for ignoring........ignoring that pile of papers that is between me and graduating college. ;-)

But I agree with this post a lot. Self-doubt is something we all struggle with, and it is difficult to ignore. But I try to turn off Publisher's Marketplace and Twitter etc and Facebook and Goodreads, and try try try to focus on myself

Wyman Stewart said...

Ah, Dan Brown, did you know his father taught mathematics at Phillips Exeter Academy in Exeter, New Hampshire? Think Dan Brown attended school there, also. So, he comes by his numbers and codes, naturally.

Give good old "self-doubt" a name and write him / her into your story, then watch this character preen with pride, playing it's role with such zest, you will hear only words of encouragement; of hurry-up; of more-more, from its lips, such will be its excitement! Your first draft will be done in no time.

As for Friday the 13th. origins, here's a link to some fun reading from Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Friday_the_13th

I must run now. It's 13 O'Clock. Do you know where your ghosts are?

Dara said...

Umm...October 13th is my anniversary. Actually, we were married 700 years to the day of that massacre. But it was a Saturday the 13th.