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Writing in Valencia: Part Fourteen

I so wanted to call this post “The Dale Carnegie Asylum for aspiring writers”. I got that title from Carolyn See’s chapter “Do Some Magic” in her wonderful book, “Making a Literary Life“(which I cannot recommend enough if you are trying to make a literary life), however as it is part of the W.I.V series I felt obliged to stick to the established brand name. But, just so you know as you read this post that is what I am calling this post when I refer to it.

I thought as I have lately been dreaming of the Magic Kingdom and Magic Mountain that it might be a good time to get out my rabbits, scarves, sequins and top hat and do a little David Copperfield/Doug Henning magic. That said the only thing I can make disappear is a cookie and I can’t do a card trick… gosh, I can’t even shuffle cards. So instead I turned to Carolyn’s chapter,”Do Some Magic” in which she suggests many a magical suggestion for making a literary life that require neither scarves or rabbits.

Carolyn’s #1 magical suggestion for making literary magic is to do affirmations. As this is only suggestion one and I already have a bad attitude about her suggestions I am wondering if I should skip this chapter and move onto the next chapter, “Make rejection a process”. Nah, that title makes magic and affirmations sound like a day at the beach( keep in mind I hate going to the beach unless it is cold and rainy and overcast).

The only person I know who did affirmations every day of their life was my father. Every morning upon rising he would look into the mirror and say “You handsome devil.” The affirmations seemed to work for him. He stayed handsome and even when his looks faded people responded to him( when I say people read that as woman) as if he was Cary Grant and George Clooney rapped in a package of devilish goodness. Well, he did include the devil thing in the affirmation and I assure you that he had bad behavior down to a science. If there is a hell for selfishness, rakishness, philandering and bad parenting I assure you my father is the activity director in that department.

Other than my father I know no one who has successfully used affirmations. I do think I remember reading that it was a French psychologist, Émile Coué de Châtaigneraie, who was the founder of affirmations or what he called optimistic autosuggestion. It was a big shocking to learn that the Father of Positive Thinking is French. Are there others besides me who find this oozing optimism to seem just un-French? Sartre, Camus, existentialism, despair, and ennui or Barthes, Ponty, Saussure, Lacan, Derrida, Focault, Lyotard and structuralism, post-modernism and post-structuralism—these are the French philosophers and philosophies I know and love.

“The Coué method” according to Wikipedia, “centers on a routine repetition of this particular expression according to a specified ritual, in a given physical state, and in the absence of any sort of allied mental imagery, at the beginning and at the end of each day. Unlike a common held belief that a strong conscious will constitutes the best path to success, Coué maintained that curing some of our troubles requires a change in our unconscious thought, which can only be achieved by using our imagination. Although stressing that he was not primarily a healer but one who taught others to heal themselves, Coué claimed to have effected organic changes through autosuggestion.”

The affirmation that Emile suggested for his patients was “Tous les jours à tous points de vue je vais de mieux en mieux“. In French it sounds cool. Well, to me everything sounds cool and glamorous in French even the most banal and boring things like “passez-moi la moutarde” sounds like an erotic and sensual invitation, that said I do enjoy a good mustard. However, in English, Coué’s mantra means “Every day, in every way, I’m getting better and better”. Well, that just sounds plain cheesy to me and I don’t mean a lovely aged French cheese packed with delicious protein crystals but much more like an overly processed Velveeta. A French affirmation I might enjoy along with a glass of hearty Burgundy and a crusty bread is “Every day, in every way, I am getting closer and closer to death so I might as well enjoy life as much as I can and have some more wine and cheese and sex and cigarettes because I am going to be dead before I know it and then it will be too late.”

My literary life adviser, Carolyn See, makes a very good argument in her book for the need for affirmations. When you enter the literary world you will hear all kinds of personal attacks about how your writing isn’t good enough or it isn’t what they are looking for. You will also hear more globalized generalizations, such as:
” No one is publishing memoir”
“It is easier to get struck by lightning than it is to get a publishing deal in this economy.”
“Books are dead. You should just write a screenplay.”

Carolyn suggests using affirmations to counter all the stinking thinking that exists about the literary world. “It’s nice to reassure your timid, frightened brain that you deserve the very best and now it is the time for it.” A few of the affirmations she uses to do so are:

“I am a powerful, loving and creative being, and I can handle it, and I can have anything I want.” Part one I will agree with. Part two is true. Part three is a little much for me to take. Anything? If only it were true.

“I deserve the very best, and now is the time for it.” Ooh, deserve. That is a word I could write a 3000 word post on. But, if the best is coming now would be a really good time for it to arrive.

“My ideas come faster than I can write them and they are all good.” That is a nice one. I do have a lot of ideas and I do think they are pretty good(even if I am the only one who thinks so). Happily, I can write them all down so I don’t think I need this affirmation.

“Everything turns out for me more exquisitely than I ever planned.” No, no, no. Not so true for me. I am pleased as punch that this is true for Carolyn but it is not true for me.

There are several affirmations that Carolyn has in the book that are particularly for writers that do not seem as challenging for my inner skeptic to take. For example, “Up until now, I couldn’t do dialogue, but now I love it! I can’t wait to type quotation marks and see what my characters have to say” or “Up until now, I had some trouble with plot, but now it is my greatest strength. I’m a fiend for plot!” Even though I never see myself writing fiction I do like the idea of autosuggesting my way into getting good at dialogue.

Let me admit here and now that I am not much for magical thinking. I am sure I could benefit from taking Carolyn’s advice on this subject. She, after all, is a very successful writer and I am not, so who am I to scoff at a magical suggestion that has worked for her. But, I am just too much of a realist to believe that affirmations can do much more than self sooth. And, if they are too big and too optimistic like “My income increases daily whether I’m working, playing or sleeping” I just can’t do anything but laugh at them and then my mind immediately starts to freak out and brings forth all the evidence how that isn’t true and how I better get off my a** and g
et to work.

Carolyn does offer this important disclaimer: “Does this magic “work”? Again, I don’t know. I do know it takes you out of this world and into the mystical one, where life is fun and anything can happen; where, when you drive your car, you can say out loud,”I feel like a success; I am a success.” and see what will happen next, wait for your life to unfold with a sense of pleasure and surprise.” Next time I am in my car I will take Carolyn’s advice and see where it takes me.

And, if I was going to move into the mystical world( no packing is required, just a huge leap of faith and an abandonment of my core beliefs) my affirmation would be: “Everyday I make huge piles of money for writing my blog and everyday I am discovered by a big literary agent who loves me and my writing and, everyday and every way, huge publishing houses offer me huge amounts of money to publish my book and, everyday and every way, my book is a huge best seller and it is sold for huge amounts of money to be turned into a huge and wildly successful film and, everyday and every way, I can eat all the cheese, chocolate and bread I want and it just makes me skinnier, prettier and younger.” Or, if you prefer it in French, it goes a little something like this( blame Babelfish if the translation makes no sense): Journalier je fais les piles de l’argent énormes pour écrire mon blog et journalier je suis découvert par un grand agent littéraire qui m’aime et mon écriture et maisons énormes journalières et de chaque édition de manière m’offrent des montants considérables d’argent pour éditer mon livre et journalier et chaque manière mon livre est un best-seller énorme et il est vendu pour des montants considérables d’argent à transformer en énorme et d’une manière extravagante film et journalier réussi et je peux manger de tous les fromage, chocolat et pain que je veux et il me rend juste plus maigre, plus joli et plus jeune.

I admit that my father’s affirmation was more succinct than mine and Carolyn’s are slightly more modest but if “I am a powerful, loving and creative being…and I can have anything I want” then this affirmation ought to work just fine. I’ll let you know how it works out.

p.s. Carolyn See’s daughter is Lisa See. Lisa’s latest book, Shanghai Girls: A Novel is the 45th most popular book at I wonder what affirmations she did?

58 Responses to “Writing in Valencia: Part Fourteen”

  • Truly, the one about getting closer to death as a justification for cheese, sex and cancer sticks is so one that I can relate to (even though it's not exactly PC!). How about "the better I connect the dots, the more I'll see the full picture. And connecting the dots is as simple as one line to the next."? OK, probably totally goofy also. But I think I could say it with a straight face. Straight – get it?!

  • K.line: I love the French for their existential awareness. I am not as in love with French Pollyanna positive thinking. Not my cup of cafe'.

    I like your connect the dot affirmation. That one has enough truth in it that it doesn't bring up my gag reflex. Anything that sounds of Stuart Smiley makes me want to lose it.

  • Janie thinks the photo on my blog today is secretly you. If it is, you've been messing with us all :)

  • Braja: Oui, c'est moi. I have a summer home in Alaska. It is a time share!;-)

  • In my office I have made a "memory" board. It has quotes from women that make me think, make me smile. One of my favorites is, " An essential aspect of recovering our power is for women to speak out on their own behalf. Our passion and energy is tied to our anger. I firmly believe that a woman who is pissed off has enough energy to electrify a small country." Stephanie Marston.

  • LBR, how dare you trash Minnesota's newest Senator. Though you did unknowingly make up for it by your pro-Doug Henningism.

    Coué was on acid. I use my imagination all the time and still churn our chum that even a starving shark would refuse.

    If you start believing in the power of affirmation and tell us so on your blog, I might start doing acid myself.

  • home before dark: Thank you!!! It is my anger, ennui, darkness and despair that fuels my creative life. Happy, peppy and warm and fuzzy do not.

    Randal: I enjoy a little Al Franken( I am sure I have shared my brush with Franken story). Doug Henning was a genius among men.;-)

    Coué was probably not really French. How could he be? I assure you I am not affirming affirmation. No acid is required.

  • This post falls into the category of 'cute' for me. Don't ask why but you sound cute!
    I have not read Carolyn's book nor do I know about Emile but I also do believe in some form of affirmation, more like not being self-critical. I believe achievers always see the beginning in the end and vice versa, and they go from strength to strength. Affirmations and positive thinking are only practices to keep our negative side at bay. I was just at a two-day workshop this past weekend where much was said about the concepts we have acquired in life that are not based on truth and that prevent us from leading happy lives, e.g. this won't work, I have already tried it, or this relationship is doomed, they are different types, and so on.
    Maybe positive affirmations try to convince our self-critical psyche to give up so that we can do sth creative.
    I have faith in you LBR…I do…I do.


  • MrsLittleJeans : Cute? Well thank you!:-)
    I do know that I could say some nicer things to myself. But, if the affirmations are too big and too positive they do nothing for me but make my negative voice bigger( I don't need that).
    Thanks, dear you, for your faith in me. Having friends that believe in me is much more powerful than any affirmation.

  • I know it sounds like bunk, and don’t blame you for your skepticism … but every six months, I write down 5 things I want to enter my life and 5 things I want to leave and put them in a sealed envelope. And lady, you would not BELIEVE how effective it is. It knocks me over every time. I’m yet to attempt daily affirmations, but I bet they work … if for no other reason than they keep us mindful of our goals, back in the dark recesses of our brains. They must influence our daily actions in subtle ways. It’s not magic, really, just mindfulness.

  • Hi!
    I think your blog is fantastic.I'm wating your visit.

  • Sal: I would love it if you did a post about what kind of thoughts you are putting in that envelope and what has happened. I really would love it if you shared that. Mindfulness I believe in. Magic I am less a believer of.

    KINHA: Thank you for coming by and for your kind comment!

  • Gotta love those French existentialists.

    Too much affirmation makes me very nervous. Although it may be true that successful people are always looking for the next positive opportunity, they are successful because they take more opportunities and more risks, by not letting negativity beat them down.

    I don't know any publishers or agents but it seems to be a power game; they think they have it and think you want it. Stick to your guns, I mean keyboard.

  • Mardel: Don't tell He-weasel but I think that I prefer French philosophers to the Greek ones.;-)

    In the past I got beaten down by negativity, now I turn every negative situation and rejection as a sign I am getting closer to my goal. Huh? How is that one?;-)

  • I think that affirmations are complicated things. You can't deny that the mental approach is vital. Whenever I have approached something negatively, of course, the outcome is negative.

    But on the other hand, the sceptical me finds that the best affirmations are impossibly vague.
    'I *can* do this' (can: a verb on the brink of being a conditional)
    'I am beautiful' (what is beautiful?)
    'Everything *will* be fine' (that sneaky future tense)

    Still, I also believe that affirmations from another person's mouth are wonderfully, wonderfully effective. Belette, your writing is wonderful. This post is the most well crafted, well written blog post I have read this past week. I can't wait to read your memoir.


  • Pretty Face: Tenses, verbs, and platonic definitions( what is "is"?) do all get in the way of my using affirmations effectively.

    However, I am rereading your affirmative over and over like a bedtime story I can't get enough of.I am off to read your comment again.

  • I am not much either on magical thinking. I am too much of a truth seeker and realist. However, I do believe that perception is reality, and maybe those little voices and subconciously change how you think and feel. Do let us know!

    My book group read Snow Flower and the Secret Fan. It was a very good read and great for discussion.

  • Print it off 'cos it's true ;)

    (what's a platonic definition?)

  • Pretty Face: Thank you!!!!

    Platonic definitions mean to me, in a less than Platonic ideal of a definition, that there is a truth to a word, a pre-existing perfect meaning of each thing and that if you search enough you will find it. So that "is" would have a perfect ideal of a meaning. Truth be told I tend to have more post-modern definitions of words( as I prefer subjective to objective). But when it comes to affirmations I get all Platonic and *Truth* seeking. "Are the words in these affirmations really true in every sense of the word?" Does this make any sense? I hope so.

    Thanks again for the incredible affirmation!!!:-)))

  • Julianne: I grew up with a mother whose motto was that I could only say happy and positive things, she was free to be negative but I had to be positive. The more she demanded it of me the more negative I felt.

    I find that when I make room for the dark feelings and thoughts they are less likely to take over and rule the show. Or as a friend of mine says, in a very Stuart Smiley like way, "What you embrace you erase. What you repress you bless."

    I do think there are things that feel real and true that I could benefit to affirm and I will practice that more. But, further than that I don't think I can manage.

    I have never read anything by Lisa See. I have her memoir on my must-read list.

  • I can't help but think of SNL's Stuart Smalley when you say "daily affirmations"!

    I am good enough, I am smart enough, and gosh darn it, people like me!!!


  • You are so right: positive affirmations are just not French. That's why they have the other good things you mention (cheese, wine and so-forth): these are the affirmations which benefit everyone who partakes.

    I truly think that your writing could benefit most people as well. So much wit and cleverness; so much wonderfully zingerish phrasing.

    (Personal affirmation is one thing, but I always like compliments better if they come from other people. I know that probably makes me a hopeless case . . .)

  • On the other hand, I met this immaculate woman from Kazakstan (sp?) at a cooking class today. She told me that she absolutely believes in visualizing what she wants/desires . . . and I bet she does self-affirmations as well.

  • Now I want to come up with a personal affirmation that incorporates the word "mustard."

  • Bee: Really well said about the French pleasures being life affirming, truly they are. I do feel inspired by the beauty and devotion of French cheese makers, vintners, and the like. As I eat a pastry that is a work of art I feel inspired to enjoy the moment, savor small pleasures, live fully and take the time to devote myself fully to my art. Much more inspiring than any positive self talk I could muster.

    I can and do take in the very kind compliments. I certainly treasure the one you gave me. But, if I told myself the very same thing you told me it would lack the emotional impact. I think that for me it is like tickling, it really only works if someone else does it to me.

    There are people who have great success with visualization and affirmations. However, I do know people who have horrible self talk and they have achieved great things. I am not suggesting anyone, including myself, say bad things to oneself. But there are times when being a bit hard on myself has really motivated me.

    p.s. I love your life. You are off taking cooking classes with a woman from Kazakstan!! So cool!

  • Wendy:How about: I cut the mustard? Or is the phrase I pass muster?

    I can more easily come up with an affirmation involving other condiments. Relish, for example, is loaded with affirmative potential.

  • I seem to have a severe allergy to too much positive thinking, but I could definitely repeat your version of the French affirmation!

  • I'm sure Lisa just said 'I want what my mum's got!'

    I love the affirmations I'm going to embrace them particuarly the cheese one.

    Really I think it is worth it. I'm going to say 'Make Belette be rich and famous and get me to direct teh film fo her book' Fool proof and brilliant.

    Saw westie lady today in distance but was late for a meeting and have to pedal fast on my bike so couldn't chat to her about the lady westie matters.

  • Iheartfashion: I get hives from anything that sound like it might have come out of 'The Secret'.

    Saying it in French definitely makes it more tolerable!;-)

    Make Do Style: Perhaps I will say, "I want what Lisa's got!";-)

    But, I much prefer the idea that you say affirmations for me and I will say them for you.'Make Make Do be rich and famous and get her to direct my book for me'. Double affirmations have to have double the power, unless they don't.

    Lily says to send her regards to Westie lady and her wee Westies.

  • You know how I feel about your Writing in Valencia posts–giddy! I always get excited to read them.

    The shower might be another good place for affirmations–I'm usually mentally cycling through my closet for an outfit, and I'd gladly exchange that thought process for this one.

    I do sometimes give myself pep talks ("You can do this!!") and lectures ("Why are you petting the cats when you have to run to catch the bus that will be here in 2 minutes? Get moving!"). So I could use a new one…I like your suggestions. I do eat at least one dessert everyday (cookies, pastries, whatever), and often say, "This is delicious and nutritious." Maybe it'll be like the placebo effect…


  • Although I don't do them regularly…my favorite…for you? "The world is a better place because you are in it."

  • Hmmm, very interesting! Ever since I began reading spirituality books by Chopra, etc. I've been experimenting with various sorts of self talk. Along with meditation, daily practice (writing, making art), self evaluation and surrounding myself with supportive people. And, since I didn't solely use affirmations I can't say how much of a help they were.

    In the short term, repeating to myself, Every day, in every way, etc. didn't do a thing for me. It just made me even more aware how habitually negative my thinking was and thus adding to my overall anxiety. But over time…small changes, every day, I guess, equals big change in the long run.

  • Among all the recommendation here, I believe I would prefer the "…. I am going to be dead before I know it and then it will be too late."! But, of course, I have no dreams to become a writer!

    … and when your books will be translated, insist on another translator then BabelFish! :-)

  • The Storialist: You are so kind!!! I was a bit stunned to discover that this is #14. I sure go on and on about this subject!
    I want to know what affirmations you use to come up with your BRILLIANT poems. Yes,they are brilliant!!
    Since I am magically making cookies disappear I would love it if affirmations could make calories vanish just as quickly.

    Giggles: What a lovely affirmation. Thank you, Giggles. I feel the same way about you.

  • Cheryl: I have to thank you for sharing your honest experience with affirmations. I really appreciate it. I am happy to hear that I am not the only one who got more negative and anxious when doing them.

    Peter: Do you hear people in Paris talking about affirmations? I am guessing it is not as common as here in the states.

    Yes, I will demand( nay, I will ask nicely) to have a better translator!

  • OH, I forgot to mention, on iTunes there's a podcast called Write Now, a series of 3 minute writing affirmations. Comforting to listen to sometimes…

  • Cheryl: Thank you!!! I will download them and see what happens. So nice of you to share this with me.:-)

  • I have ordered See's book just on the strength of your regarding her as your literary adviser. I trust ton avis and ton bon goût in this, as you can see (someone who likes red cannot really go very wrong).

    I think I'll skip the affirmations, though. Being prone to Lacanianism, I go for "Là où était le ça, je dois advenir" (where the Id was, I must come into being) and that sort of thing…

  • alice: If you want a literary life I think you will enjoy it. I have gotten a lot out of her book.

    J'adore red and Lacan!!! Did you see a Lacanian analyst? If so I am green with envy!

  • My analyst is Lacanian, yes, but of the moderate kind (i.e. she doesn't kick me out five minutes into the session). I was just now thinking about how to write about it…

  • Alice: I always wondered how often that happens. A 10 minute session would really annoy me and yet I like the idea of the ego not rebuilding defenses once insight has been achieved.

  • I think affirmations only work if they are relevant, reachable and you take some action. Just expecting something to happen because you've said it won't make it.

  • well i LOVE your father's affirmation!!! sadly i am more of a negative reinforcement kind of girl, but that isn't exactly making me a rousing success in any department of my life. humph. i guess i could try this. i guess. humph.

    but i love this part of the post the most: "Every day, in every way, I am getting closer and closer to death so I might as well enjoy life as much as I can and have some more wine and cheese and sex and cigarettes because I am going to be dead before I know it and then it will be too late."

    now THAT is something i can get my arms around right away, except for the cigarettes. i'll put yummy food in there instead. :)

  • haha, this is hysterical….if I were to tell you what was recently told me that I should use as my affirmation, you would keel over dead from laughing yourself that way!! these people with the whole louise hay point of view, I suppose if it works for them, fine, but why make the rest of us nay sayers feel guilty because life sucks and we don't do them so that's why life sucks?? uh uh, nope, I just don't buy it! you can be crabby and pissed off every morning as you stare at yourself in the mirror…I won't blame you one bit.

    sorry to be such an airhead lately!

  • Affirmations embarrass me. As if I don't deserve what might be on the other side of saying them.

    Me: I don't, do I?
    Other Me: What…say them, or deserve them?
    Me: Define deserve.
    Other Me: Like, I am worthy of the best.
    Other Me: You are?
    Me: Yes!
    Other Me: Why?
    Me: Because I SAID SO.
    Other Me: Well, just saying you said so doesn't qualify as an affirmation.
    Me: My point, exactly.

    Hey! "Up until now I couldn't do dialogue, but now I love it!" ;)

  • …Unfortunately, it appears that in my dialogue Other Me has interrupted Me, or stolen Me's next line. Kinda bursts my happy dialogue bubble!

  • You are so sweet… Thanks!

    Now.. I wasn't sure if you'd come back to my place to read my reply to you…. Now you don't have to… I'll give you some of the "bigger" words I've come across… I'm sure you are much smarter and more of an intellectual than I am (although, occasionally I give it a go….) not to mention mcuh more well read….so I'm feeling very insecure about admitting all of the words I don't know…. Have you read "Elegance of the Hedgehog?" It has been a treasure trove of new words for me… I'm having lots of fun with my word of the day…once I shed the shame….

    Lavaliere. Incunabulum. Factotem (in the book, but then I actually heard it on TV, too!! And I knew what it was!!!!!!!!) Loquacious. Autodidact. Importune. Opprobrium.

    You know all of these, right??!!

  • Imogen: Attitude is important. Action, I think, is more iportant.

    drollgirl: My father was full of great lines. He really did say the handsome devil line each a.m. He would smile with glee as he looked at himeself. My affirmation when I looked at myself in the mirror of "ooohk!" is less inspiring.

    I don't smoke either, it just seemed VERY French!:-)

  • linda: I have a dear friend who is forever telling me to reframe my statements into more Louise Hay-worthy ways. I can't do it. I think it is better to get the negative out than to let it fester in a mass of repression.xo

  • Lydia: I am always complaining to He-weasel that life isn't fair. He tells me life would be worse if life was fair.

    Damn, you prove that affirmations work!!!!!!

    Well, I guess it was the other who got the conversation going.;-)

  • Giggles: Thank you!!!!!!
    I am soooooo bad at math that I had to seriously bone u[ on vocab in order to do well on the GRE's, that and I love words.

    I haven't. But, I will check it out. Thanks for the reccomendation!!!

    You are going to be a fierce scrabble by the end of summer!

  • Good Sunday morning again, Belette!

    In my opinion, affirmations are designed to activate the same part of the brain used in spirituality; belief in God, or Allah, Witchcraft, or whatever.
    During times when I've used affirmations, a magical transformation begins to happen, accelerating progress in my chosen area (simplicity and specificity is important, as illustrated by your Father's choice).
    But, during times (like now) when I haven't practiced in quite some time, my gut reaction to common affirmations is "how f'ing ridiculous is that, you f'ing simple-minded jackasses!?"
    As my ultra-religious Mum and Sis always say… It's all about Faith. They use these principles, only it's called prayer. When I went through the toughest time in my life, a divorce, they practiced these "affirmations" with me over the phone for hours on end (me being game out of utter desperation), steadily transforming me into a strong and vibrant soul again, with a world of possibilities at my feet.
    Looking back at journals from that time, I see entries that sound incredibly pathetic and juvenile. But it's really about transformation from the inside-out.
    You've really done me a service here today, Belette… you've prompted me to embark on creating a meaningful set of two or three affirmations… no, that word is too loaded, like prayer… I'll call them beliefs, that I repeat over and over at times like when driving or working on tiles or whatever, and that I never share with anyone. Why not share? Because, no matter how enthused I am at how magically things begin to happen, and how I think sharing this experience with others ("evangelizing" as it would be labeled in Christianity) is my "duty" as a human being, it's really just not the same creature as viewed from the outside. I won't even keep a journal on the subject.

    Thanks for the spark, Belette…

  • David: I am always delighted to spark enthusiasm. I think the spark that was lit says much more about you than about me.

    As I am pretty much devoid of faith I think that is what prevents me from anything akin to affirmations. That said, I would hate to miss out on something that might make a difference.

    So, when you have a success story,of how implementing these new beliefs work would you share then? Truly, with all my heart, I hope they work!!!:-)

  • I'm going to speak up in favour of affirmations.
    It doesn't really matter if it makes you feel stupid – in a way it's good if it does, especially for someone as clever as you who has so many inbuilt answers and reflexes and intellectualized responses to the curve balls life has thrown at you (which I gather, from my short acquaintance with your blog, are many).
    They give you a brief opportunity to reconnect with that very innocent and early childlike belief that anything can happen, the magical is possible and that there might be mysterious forces willing to help you if only you wish hard enough (fairy tales?). They are not always instant. They do not all materialise into exactly what you envision, but it is quite astonishing how frequently the things that you keep on affirming do come to you in some form or other.
    You certainly have nothing to lose by trying except a little fear. Bonne chance!

  • Motherhood The Final Frontier: Thank you so much for your comment.I can't tell you how much I appreciate your affirmative comment on affirmations.

    I do think that my Dad's affirmation worked for him. I know they work for Carolyn See. I think it is fantastic if affirmations work for you. I suppose I believe if the affirmation wasn't too far from my truth I could manage it. I do tell myself a little prayer, even though I am agnostic, that is in essence an affirmation. "All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well." Those words sooth me. But, when I get into affirmations about money and success that I can't manage it.
    You so perfectly say why I think I find affirmations so difficult, "childlike belief that anything can happen, the magical is possible and that there might be mysterious forces willing to help."I am a bit on the pessimistic and Eeyore side and have no faith in magic or mysterious forces. But, I do think positive self talk can never be a bad thing.

    Thank you again!!!!:-)

  • Ok, so I've just read all fourteen installments of Writing in Valencia and love them all! My first reaction was to get myself a copy of Carolyn See's book, but since I'm in Germany and none of the libraries carry it, I decided to just go with the La Belette Rouge Cliff Notes version on it for now:

    1) Start writing every day (2 pages)
    2) I wrote my affirmation on my little Mac post-it and put it in the right hand corner of my screen. In green. A nice serene post-it color.

    And I'm so buying your book once it comes out! I love your writing, your frankness and humor, and have found this series really inspiring. I'm starting my own "Writing in Munich" word doc and am actually looking forward to writing my two pages of crap every day. Because I am a powerful, loving and creative being, and I can handle it, and I can have anything I want. ;)


  • S: THANK YOU!!!!!!It is so amazing that you took the time to read all my WIV posts. I haven't done a Writing in Valencia post in a long while and you make me want to do another one. Thank you for inspiring me. There is more I got from Carolyn and more that she inspired in me. I want to share it with you.

    I cannot wait to read your "Writing in Munich" book.

    Thanks again, S!!! So nice of you to write!!

  • Well, I did it. I sat down at Starbucks today after my class, pulled out my laptop, and wrote my first Writing in Munich installment and really enjoyed it. And enjoyed the start and promise of regular pressure-free (not for a grade) writing. So thanks again for such a great inspiration! (I'm also of the I own a bookshelf full of How To Write books but have yet to do a lot of my own writing variety, so your point about writing NOW and not when you get to your Paris-of-choice really struck a chord).

    I would love to read more Writing in Valencia posts, so I'm excited if my comment prompted any more!

    Thanks again!

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Writing in Valencia: Part Fourteen

Oola:So what was it about, your book? What was the story?

Grady: I don't know.

Terry: What he means's difficult to distill the essence of a book sometimes...
because it lives in the mind.

Vernon:But you got to know what it was about, right?If you didn't know what it
was about, why were you writing it?

Grady: I couldn't stop

I am working on my query for “Thursdays with Igor” and in writing about it I realize I have little idea what it is about. I mean, I know what it is about and yet I can’t seem to boil the story down to a sentence. Thursdays with Igor is the story of my reluctatnt homecoming to L.A. and told through the weekly sessions with Igor.

This scence from the WOnderboys:

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About Me

My name is Tracey, aka La Belette Rouge. I am a psychotherapist and the author of Freudian Sip @ Psychology Today. I blog about psychology, my therapy, dreams, writing, meaning making, home, longing, loss, infertility and other things that delight or inspire me. I try to make deep and elusive psychodynamic concepts accessible and funny. For more information, click here .
These blog posts are informational only and not meant to replace individual psychotherapy, counseling or medical advice. If you are in need of help, reaching out to a professional may help you decide how to proceed or how to find the care you need. For a referral, contact

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