As the author of the Picaresque of Ímagine Purple, I have a few characters that tend to go blithely into a positive mindset about everything, often without caution or critical thinking. I’m torn between remolding them or giving them free rein. Responsibly handling characters is quite a balancing act. Selah.
When I was in the 7th grade, I remember going downtown to shop with friends. The store windows there always had the most fashionable clothes displayed. One time I went with two friends. One girl had an independent mind, and her choices often differed from mine. That didn’t matter to me. We would ooh-and-ah at whatever we liked. The other girl, who was by far the most beautiful, strangely lacked confidence in her own judgment. She would wait to see what we both said first before committing herself. She had every right to have an opinion; but instead, she agreed or accepted whatever we both liked as if she had to seek out approval by being positive toward our choices.
Even as a kid, I found that trait irritating, unattractive, and even shallow. Lately, having begun to hear that same trait expressed by public figures has caused me to ponder the use of Positive Thinking and/or automatic agreement as a mode of operation.
So far my curious meanderings have not gelled into some grand wisdom or logical conclusion. Even so, I wanted to open a discussion with myself to find out how I think and feel about this right now. I plan to use a key writing principle: “Write through to the truth.”
Positive Thinking -> Persuasion -> Poignancy -> Penetration -> Punctiliousness -> Persnicketiness -> Prejudicing -> Prevaricating -> Poisoning -> Punishing
My initial questions to myself:
- Do I risk honesty in my attempt to sound positive just to keep the peace?
- Do I unwittingly risk hurting another or thwarting his maturity by fudging on the truth?
- Could I poison the pot by using flattery to urge another to like me or to side with my argument?
- By prevaricating as a technique of persuasion, do I court an eventual payback?
- Am I misreading the dauntless positivity of some acquaintances?
- How can I be poignant to the point of penetrating as the “kindest cut of all”?
In my last blog, I used worldly wisdom and platitudes to help my character Ima understand criticism which to her felt like bullying. This time on the matter of positive thinking, I decided to search scripture for wisdom and to juxtapose the commands and freedoms presented there to help me find a conclusion.
A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger.
Faithful are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.
He that rebuketh a man afterwards shall find more favour than he that flattereth with the tongue.
Agree with thine adversary quickly, whiles thou art in the way with him; lest at any time the adversary deliver thee to the judge, and the judge deliver thee to the officer, and thou be cast into prison.
If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.
Strive not with a man without cause, if he have done thee no harm.
Salt is good: but if the salt have lost his saltiness, wherewith will ye season it? Have salt in yourselves, and have peace one with another.
Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another.
Happy is he that condemneth not himself in that thing which he alloweth.
Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift.
Good grief. It may take me years to come to a satisfying conclusion on the topic of positive thinking. Ferreting out the truth has grown much more difficult than I previously thought. I had no idea what I was getting into when I began this innocent search. So, I will seek a myriad of advisers and get back to you later. TBA