Friday, 8 February 2008

what was I thinking?

I don't read self-help books. I don't sneer at them; in fact I care deeply about a lot of the things they talk about -- living well, doing the right thing for myself and for others, healing my hurts, losing those stubborn pounds and getting the man of my dreams (all right, maybe I snicker at the books a bit) -- but I don't read them. I'd rather find my own answers than someone else's. Emotional plagiarism, I call it.
Which may be a mistake, because I now find myself in the embarrassing position of not knowing what I was going to say when I started. Here I am in the middle of my -- I don't know, two or three times weekly -- entry, and the idea at the top of my mind when I poured the coffee and began to type has vanished like smoke on a windy day. I am sure there are books out there, in the section of the bookstore I don't visit, that would tell me how to hang onto my memory. If only I had thought to buy one of them, I'd be able to continue. (Funny, how we treat memory and water so differently. Water retention is bad, memory retention is good. And yet water is essential to our life; and memory is often very painful. Sorry, just a little sidebar.)
Back to my vanishing memory. I don't think my topic today was self-help, per se. As far as I can recall, I was going to use self-help as a driveway to bring me up to the door of my topic ... and yet here I am several miles up the driveway, and for the life of me I can't see the house (I guess my topic is one of those stately homes).
Hoo, boy. This is awkward. So .... what do you want to talk about? Anything bugging you? My son Ed was trying to write an essay for Religion class, and the topic was Who am I? He hated it. I don't know what to say, he complained. I don't want to be the kind of guy who talks about himself. The idea of a self-help book for guys is tricky, come to think of it. Not that we don't need help; or want help; but we don't want to ask for it. We don't want to be the guy reading the self help book.
Maybe that's what I should write: a self-help book disguised as something guys read. Stock Portfolio Analysis it'll say on the cover, with maybe a graph or pie chart, and then, inside, Hello there. Are you feeling scared? Has your heart been broken? Have you lost your memory? Do you want to lose those stubborn pounds....


Anonymous said...

Oh, you are dismissing an entire genre of fun! I love self-help books, not for the advice, but to pick apart the brain of the writer (does that make me somehow sadistic?) Take Dr. Phil. A real study in narcissistic egomaniacal thinking. If you're looking for, say, I'm Not Too Bright, But I'm An Expert at Being a Person, try his wife Robin's book.

Richard Scrimger said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Richard Scrimger said...

Sure you read self-help books to poke fun. And I read Playboy for the articles ... RS

Anonymous said...

You read Playboy? Who'da thunk;)

Anonymous said...

Sat Night mag (before it went under) did a great piece on "The BS List"-best seller list. Did you know that most books on the BS list have nothing to do with actual sales but the hidden agendas of conglomerates, indie book stores and publishers?

Anyhow, the article mentioned that most people secretly have self help books like the Purpose Driven Life on their bedside tables, men and women alike . No body admits to reading these books and they are hidden from the "coffee table books" and Truss' books that are so called best sellers.

Look at Eckhart Tolle's new book, nine million people have already signed up on the Oprah website to read it.

A good way to make a million bucks or a few multimillion is to write a self help book. In fact a self help book disguised as otherwise but openly touted as primarily for men would sell off the shelves. Just like the recyclable burlap bags from a year ago "I'm Not A Plastic Bag".

In the end, self help books preach little more than what forms the primary foundation of most religions, living by the golden rule etc., and that has been written about for centuries.

The only differnence now is that self help is part of our narcisstic Me culture rather than for the betterment of a society-we culture for surival.

Maybe that's why self help movement is still failing us. Despite what books like the Secret state: Visualize the ten million dollar cheque on your ceiling, tape one up and visualize it on your dream board...maybe if we focused more on We Help versus Self Help we'd see progress.

Richard Scrimger said...

So once again I am too late. My idea for a guy's self help book is old news. Sigh. Maybe if I concentrated real hard I could visualize a new idea. Then I could tape that to my ceiling... RS

Anonymous said...

There's a joke in there somewhere, Richard. How many men does it take to tape a visualized idea onto the ceiling?

Maybe they'd even need Holmes on Holmes so they could stand around wearing toolbelts while they visualize it.

There's your self-help book! Men With Tools, Hammering out ideas.....


Marilyn said...

Memory is overrated. I'm sure you'll remember what you're writing in the next blog.