Open minds often collect dust

Open minds often collect dust

A Lesson by Mike Lamb

Everyone has their own personal biases. Stay true to yours. You're defined by the things you don't like as much as the things you do.


Here's a quick personality test: go listen to the song Shiny Happy People by REM. Which of the following best describes your reaction?


1. I like it. It's catchy and fun. The lyrics are very positive and it makes me feel good inside.


2. This is the dumbest s**t I've ever heard in my life.


There's a third one that involves breaking into an angst ridden tangent on how s****y the world is, people are basically all evil at heart, corruption, genocide, dolphin murder, homelessness, depression, whatever. Over the top pessimistic outrage is played out and boring so let's just skip that one.


The bottom line is, everything you write should reflect the personality of your narrator and characters. People that attempt to get along with everyone and everything usually come up short. Agreeing with everyone is another way of saying you have no opinions of your own. Now I'm not saying you shouldn't try to understand other people's views. Abstract reasoning is essential to intelligent writing. But stay true to the characters. What's important to them? And don't go out of your way to spark up controversy for its own sake, either. Make conflict, but have a reason. Shock value is useless. The main appeal of shock value is "I like this because no one else does." But if no one cares, you're missing the point.


People disagree on s**t. It's a fact. Now there are two ways to handle this: Satire vs. sermons. No one likes to be preached to, but everyone likes to laugh. There's a reason people love George Carlin but hate Rush Limbaugh. Yet they both voice outrageous opinions. The difference is Limbaugh (for lack of a better example) is ramming his politics down your throat while Carlin is just making casual observations without really giving much of a f**k one way or the other.


I'm pretty sure this all had a point when I began, though it escapes me now.


Anyway, here are some random pointers:


Don't get hung up on the beauty and poetry of a story unless it's meant to be that way.


Don't crack jokes if you're not funny.


Don't assume people agree with you, but who cares if they don't.


Don't pretend to listen to REM if you think they suck.



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Posted 8 Years Ago

We should go out drinking and culling one of these days.

isn't chanting slogans and screaming obscenities one and the same today?

I forgot one myself, "it's got a good beat you can dance to it."
For like a hundred years Dick Clark did his pop single review on his show Bandstand with chosen dancers. To a girl and boy they all said this phrase, for like a hundred years.... then one day -I had the privilege of watching the show when it happened on air- one kid pipes up and says something to the effect of, "the lyrics have contemporary relevant meaning and the Harmonic structure on the bridge is groovy" I think old Dick had a stroke. He fell on the floor and a stage hand had to help him up. That kid was never seen again and the generational brain fart never happened again.... but in that one moment there was a glimpse of a higher power... a glimpse.

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Posted 8 Years Ago

O'Rielly! Much better example! I hate to single out Rush Limbaugh because a*****e or not, he's still funny once in a while. I've always been of the opinion that stand up comics are the only true philosophers left. The political speakers are doing it all wrong. Politics will never make people think, only chant slogans or scream obscenities.

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Posted 8 Years Ago

sorry I'm late teach, it'll never happen again......

you forgot clubbing baby seals.... just sayin'

yeah, my bad on all this stuff. Love Carlin, Limbaugh is at the top of the culling list. No check that, O'Rielly is.... sorry, my bad redux .
My wife keeps telling me I'm not funny and she'll tell me when I am....
btw, I'm a jazz guy, I really didn't listen to REM, caught their act in my sleep the other night though, purely by accident....

Good stuff, is anybody listening? We can hear ya mouth breathing out there.
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Mike Lamb
Mike Lamb

greenville, NC

Artist, writer, and a drunken lunatic prophet. I am the author of Jack's Inferno, a dark comedy bizarro/horror novel about Hell, previously published through Wordplague (now defunct). I am also a pro..