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Empathy and the Writer

I have a problem.  Yes, yes you smartarse.  More than one. Ok!  Let me rephrase it then.  I have a problem with my writing and I am not yet sure how monumental it may actually turn out to be.  You see, I am probably the least outwardly empathetic person you are ever likely to meet – unless perhaps you enjoy the company of people who have enjoyed a frontal lobotomy.  What worries me is that according to those in the know, empathy is critical in writing anything that you want your reader to feel emotionally towards.

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The King’s Wit

“What you saw belongs to you. A story doesn’t live until it is imagined in someone’s mind.”
“What does the story mean, then?”
“It means what you want it to mean. The purpose of a storyteller is not to tell you how to think, but to give you questions to think upon. Too often, we forget that.” – Hoid, “Wit” ,The Way of Kings

When I find a book that I like, I usually voraciously consume every other book written by the same author until I get to the point where I sit starving, waiting (and sometimes pleading) for the author to publish his next work.  I once did this so blindly that I only realised, after months of bemoaning the authors lack of work ethic, that he was long dead and would no longer be satisfying any of my cravings.  The authors don’t need to be Tolkiens or Atwoods or have won some high brow awards – they just need to have written books that I have enjoyed reading and I will usually buy everything they have ever written.  Brand loyalty or what!

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Make your mark

The last and only time I have ever voted from my heart was ironically the first time I could legally vote – in 1992 for the referendum on apartheid. I voted to end something that I believed was just plain wrong and needed to be stopped.  Since then, however, I have voted purely with my mind and my choice has been based on the simple fact that I believe that any healthy democracy needs a strong opposition to be able to function and thrive.  In other words, I have never voted for a political party that represented an ideal that I believed in or for a leader I trusted.  Instead I have voted to try and ensure that South Africa will never again have a single party dictating life to its citizens.

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