Category Archives: Quotes

*******TRUST YOUR GUT!*******

Excerpt from PhillyVoice

Lightbulb Bridge
Light bulb acts as bridge across metaphorical cliffs.
March 12, 2016
Drexel study: Insight yields better solutions than analytical approach

DOES THIS CONFIRM THE ADAGE FROM THE 60’s—”IF IT FEELS GOOD, DO IT?”

When researchers from Drexel University, Northwestern University, the University of Wisconsin-Parkside, and Italy’s Milano Bicocca University conducted a series of puzzle experiments that tested the effectiveness of eureka thinking compared to methodical analysis, they found that responses derived from insight overwhelmingly led to more correct answers than those that came from more involved thought processes.

“Conscious, analytic thinking can sometimes be rushed or sloppy, leading to mistakes while solving a problem,” said John Kounios, director of Drexel’s Ph.D. program in Applied Cognitive and Brain Sciences. “However, INSIGHT IS UNCONSCIOUS AND AUTOMATIC — it can’t be rushed.

When the process runs to completion in its own time and all the dots are connected unconsciously, the solution pops into awareness as an Aha! moment.

Ah ha moment

This means that when a really creative, breakthrough idea is needed, it’s often best to wait for the insight rather than settling for an idea that resulted from analytical thinking.”

WHERE EVERYBODY KNOWS YOUR NAME…AND YOUR FATHER’S NAME…AND YOUR GRANDFATHER’S NAME…AND…

The following is a quote from my book, “Bosses and Blackjacks: A Tale of the ‘Bloody Fifth’ in Philadelphia”— Chapter Ten, 1907: Follies

          “Damn, Davey. Haven’t heard anything that funny in a long time!” Johnny took another swig of beer and wiped his mouth with the back of his hand. “Smith’s got some sense of humor for such a big shot.”
          “Yeah, he does. Thanks for meeting me here at McGillin’s. I tell ya, after the day I’ve had, I needed a drink. Want another beer?
          “Nah. I’m finished. Think I’ll head home before the sky opens up.”
Dave patted Johnny’s back. “Yeah, you’re right, guess I should get going too. Next time, we’ll meet closer to home.”
          As they emerged from the cool darkness of the saloon, Dave blinked a few times to clear his vision, then looked up at the sky and announced, “Those storm clouds are lookin’ mighty serious. Take care, old friend.”

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(The following information is excerpted from McGillin’s own website:)

McGillin’s Olde Ale House threw open its doors the year Lincoln was elected president. That’s shortly after the Liberty Bell cracked and long before ground was broken for Philadelphia City Hall. The beer taps have been flowing since 1860 — making it the oldest continuously operating tavern in Philadelphia and one of the oldest taverns in the country.

1860
Catherine & William McGillin opened the Bell in Hand Tavern.The Irish immigrants, who raised their 13 children upstairs, soon become known as “Ma” and “Pa” and the laborers who frequented the bar called it “McGillin’s.” The nicknames eventually stuck. The tavern grew to include the oyster house next door, the back alley/washroom and the house upstairs.

McGillinFamily1

Abe Lincoln elected president. Although Lincoln visits Philadelphia, we have no proof that he visits McGillin’s. Of course, we have no proof that he doesn’t either.

Abe-Lincoln-President

1880
McGillin’s customer, W.C. Fields, born. “Philadelphia is a wonderful place; I spent a week there one night.”

quote-once-during-prohibition-i-was-forced-to-live-for-days-on-nothing-but-food-and-water-w-c-fields-61767

1901
Pa McGillin dies & Ma McGillin takes over bar. No pushover, Ma has a list of troublemakers who weren’t allowed in. The list reads like the social registry, including some of Philadelphia’s most prominent citizens.

1910
McGillin’s celebrates 50th anniversary with a new façade. Name officially changes to McGillin’s Olde Ale House.

1920
Prohibition enacted. During Prohibition, Ma McGillin hires a chef. Serves food and ice cream and perhaps, a few tea cups were tipped on the second floor.

1930
Philadelphia cheesesteak invented. A top-seller at McGillin’s.

1933
Prohibition ends! Ma McGillin takes the key from her breast pocket and reopens the pub’s front door.

prohibition-ends

McGillin’s Olde Ale House
215-735-5562
1310 DRURY STREET, PHILADELPHIA, PA 19107
Open daily 11 a.m. – 2 a.m.(Kitchen open until 1 a.m.)

IF YOU’VE EVER BEEN THERE, LET ME KNOW IN THE COMMENTS!

Faster Than a Speeding Bullet

I don’t know about you, but I’m always looking for helpful writing advice.

Perhaps you’ve noticed—there’s a blizzard of it out there.  And like snowflakes, no two advisors are the same, in the way they drift their sage words against the fence corralling our own individual genius.

Take a moment to pat yourself on the back for having your shovel handy at moments like this.

In editing my book, Bosses and Blackjacks, I’ve been struggling to decide if the beginning is too slow. But, today I happened upon a mound of advice that I did not have to dig through to understand.

I share it with you now, dear reader:

“Opening a novel with a lot of fast action is like putting your reader on a Japanese bullet train going 320 miles an hour. The landscape outside the window is all blurry.

There’s no reason to look at it because you can’t really make sense of it. You might as well take a nap.”

(By Sally Apokedak, @sally_apokedak
Sally is a literary agent with the Leslie H. Stobbe Literary Agency and is a popular speaker at writer’s conferences around the country.)

I agree with Sally.

No need to change my book’s beginning. Ease into it, so my readers have a sense of my protagonist and the world he lives in, before he goes crashing headlong into a drift of life-threatening hairpin turns.

Do you agree that we all latch onto any advice that fits exactly with what we were thinking in the first place—as I did here? We are vindicated We feel affirmed. We have packed our egos neatly and made it to the station on time.

All aboard! We are on the right track!

Before You Shred It – Read This!

When you feel like you’ve reached the end of your rope (or chain) with your latest manuscript—before your shred it into tiny little pulp flakes—take a moment to read the following writing advice.

Who knows? It might just be enough to rev up your genius motor and get you back to saying: “Type magic fingers, type!”

1. Have your characters avoid asking questions. Instead have them speak in declarative statements. Instead of saying, “What happened to your face?” Have a character make a statement, “Your face looks horrible. I knew going to the bar was a bad idea.”

2. Have characters agree. It’s an easy trap (and a realistic one) to have characters disagree. We tend to think that causes drama. But actually it stalls a plot. Have characters agree and suddenly your plot goes to unexpected territory.

With permission from Patrick Wensink, author of “Fake Fruit Factory.”

Frazzled to Dazzled! (Or, What’s With This Editing Thing I’ve Heard So Much About.)

The editor spent about three weeks doing the first run-through of my book, Bosses and Blackjacks.  She has an incredible ability to pick up on a missed comma or end quote or verb tense consistency, among a myriad of other things.

Three weeks.

So, of course, I thought to myself: If it took her three weeks to plod through my manuscript—writing she had never seen before—certainly, I will only need two to review her edits.

Ha! As Eliza Doolittle sang in My Fair Lady:

“What a fool I was, what an addlepated fool!”

Week two is ending as I type this. Am I finished? No way. I have already sent the requisite email message begging her indulgence for an additional week.

Wish me luck. Please.

Now, if you’ll excuse me—I’ve got some revising to do.

Do you set time limits for yourself when you begin a task—be it writing, a household chore, or a life-altering activity? And, what do you do when you smack face-first into that deadline wall?

Please share your experiences, or advice, or both, in the Comment section below.

Baby Night Heron, by Sharon Zeigler, July, 2014
Baby Night Heron, by Sharon Zeigler, July, 2014

If Wishes Were Horses

Horses running free
Galloping Wishes!

I believe the actual quote is: “If Wishes Were Horses, Beggars Would Ride.”

But, when I was a child, my mother used to tell me:  “If wishes were horses, you’d have a stable full!”

She was right. I was always wishing for something or other. The interesting thing is, nothing has changed. I’m still adding horses to my stable.

My current wish is to get my act together and finish editing my book, Bosses and Blackjacks. I don’t seem to be able to do any serious work on it until after three o’clock in the afternoon. That takes me crashing headlong into dinner time. I know I should be cooking, but I’d much rather keep on working and have someone else spoon-feed me until I want to quit for the day.

Am I being unreasonable? Wishful thinking?

Does anyone else out there have this sort of “particular-time-of-day-when-you-want-to-just-keep-at-it-until-you-exhaust-yourself” issue?

Let me know in the comment section below.

In the meantime, I’ve got to go put some fresh water in the troughs.

Isaac Asimov Knew a Thing or Two

Isaac Asimov on knowledge
A little knowledge is a dangerous thing.

Why have we stopped admiring the brightest among us, in favor of those who are only capable of “bumper-sticker” jargon? I know there are always two or three or twenty sides to every story–but they can’t all be accurate. When, as a nation, have we stopped caring about facts?

This is a dangerous path we are on. I would use the tired term “slippery slope,” if I weren’t so sick of hearing it. We’ve fallen into the trap of trendy terminology and, if we are to advance, we have got to stop.

Every political scandal does not have something to do with a “gate.”  Every problem we need to solve does not have to have a “war” waged against it.

The media has gotten caught up in the Manhattan advertising practice of the clever logo or jingle.  Dumbing down the population makes the population easier to control.

I’m curious about the words or phrases that you, dear reader, are completely and utterly sick of hearing.  Maybe, together, we can create a dictionary of words and phrases from hell.  I look forward to your suggestions.