Week 3 – Exploring your core beliefs and opinions
by Jean Knighton-Fitt
The most convincing writers are those who created out of their originality. They saw the world in a certain way and set out to describe what they saw with the sort of honesty that came from the roots of their personality, without ‘fixing’ things to stop people from judging them or thinking them crazy. That is not a bad goal to keep your eye on. It involves a journey – sometimes a bit scary and challenging – but a freeing one.
If you can discover what you are like and what you truly believe about most of the major matters of life, you will be able to write stories that are original and unique. But it may take some digging. Do set out on the journey … and do keep your book safe if you need privacy with this exploring.
Rita Mae Brown, the humorously appealing author of a book on writing says that every writer starts from the foundation of his or her physical life; and that each of us carries beliefs formed in childhood that are so much a part of us as to be defining. She then expresses her own views on life.
“I believe all literature started as gossip. I believe self-pity stinks. I believe that a hen never cackles until she’s finished her job. I believe we often disguise pain through ritual and it may be the only solace we have. … I believe in a lively disrespect for most forms of authority. I believe every change any word has ever undergone probably originated in ignorance. I believe life is a grand spectacle of foolishness and that every generation must find its weapons for the old battle of good versus evil, life versus death, the trivial versus the profound. … I believe in serenity not passivity. I believe that after exhausting all other alternatives, I’ll behave reasonably.” 
This week try to keep up your short daily record – but start also to work more deeply on your views and feelings about life. Include your reasons so as to explore why you feel the way you do. Here are some suggestions. You don’t have to be as dramatic as Rita Mae Brown!
Day 1: What is the greatest happiness you can think of? And the greatest disaster?
Day 2: Concerning the daily unfolding of your life, do you believe in free will or that your life is determined by some force outside of yourself? Give some reasons for your ideas.
Day 3: In our often very secular-thinking society, what do you think of God?
Day 4: What do you think and feel about men … women … children?
Day 5: What is your idea of and view on romantic love?
Day 6: What is your philosophy on marriage? And your expectations of it?
Day 7: What do you think of and feel about alternate sexual relationships?
Brown, Rita Mae. 1988. Starting from Scratch. Bantam Books. New York