"" Rob Parnell's Writing Academy Blog: The Writing's On The Wall

Thursday, May 3, 2012

The Writing's On The Wall

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The Writing's On The Wall

Rob Parnell

I was thinking about this phrase as I woke up this morning...

Where does it comes from? Which wall do they mean, anyway? Who put it there? And since when has graffiti been so prophetic?

Whatever the origins of the phrase, we all know its implied meaning: you have to live by the consequences of your actions. Or - fate has a way of catching up with you. Karma, in other words.

Being a writer at home is one thing - you can be private and most of what you do will have no major effect on the world - until the day your words get published in some form or another.

Fame or some kind of notoriety will often bring you and your words, deeds and actions out into the public eye.

Later, you may have cause to regret some of things you wrote or did - especially when you - and your life - become the object of scrutiny, whether by the media, your fans or your biographers.

Little sins during your youth can become blown out of all proportion by people seeking to find the origins of your appeal - or clues to the ambition that drove your success.

This is why you need to be careful of what you do in private - right from the beginning. Because, if you have guilty secrets, chances are they will be made public at some point later, probably when you least want them to be known!

Of course, people are generally more forgiving of scandal these days.

Celebrities get away with all kinds of mischief. Some of it actually helps increase their star status - their name recognition.

But for the rest of us, a good rule is to live our lives as though we are to be held accountable for all our actions. You'll find this helps when faced with
decision making on a daily basis.

There's some debate as to whether we are born with an innate moral compass - or whether we develop a conscience from watching our parents - or whether it's simply a matter of learning how to do the right thing through experience.

Most of us probably don't have much cause to question our sense of right and wrong. We don't have the power or influence to cause a stir even if we had the opportunity to err on the dark side...

But I've noticed that people talk - and take notice of, most especially,

When you publicly state one thing and privately do things that are in opposition to that stance, you run the risk of losing all credibility - and being exposed as a fraud. And of course, that can lead to all kinds of problems, especially if your hard earned reputation is built on your apparent integrity.

As Spider Man's father said, "With great power comes great responsibility!"

If you have any kind of aspiration to be rich, famous, powerful and influential,
you have a duty to behave with a heightened awareness of your own potential faults. You need to curb your darkest desires - like greed, irresponsibility, cruelty and spite.

Because they may all come back to bite you one day. Hard.

No amount of public spin can undo the damage if your heart is not in the right place. 

The public forgives mistakes - especially when you are obviously penitent and remorseful. But relentlessly holding on to convictions that are patently evil or at the very least suspect, will destroy your reputation in an instant - and have you labeled as 'inhuman'.

Okay, so that's an extreme - but it's worth bearing in mind that the mighty have fallen for some very minor character flaws in the past.

Because the problem usually starts with small things.

A simple decision you made twenty years ago, for instance, can snowball into an horrendous sequence of events and outcomes that undermine everything you stand for in the present day.

And you have no-one to blame but yourself.

It's hugely important to, as my Dad used to say, 'watch yourself'.

Be aware that everything you do and think and justify to yourself will have consequences one day.

That a little bit of theft or double dipping or misrepresentation of facts may not be all that bad in the great scheme of things but...

... it can say a lot about you.

If you do bad and and get away with it - and feel no guilt - it says a great deal about who you are: your moral code (or lack of it!)

Nobody's perfect, that's true. We can't always be pure.

But if you behave as though everything you ever do will be held up for public scrutiny one day, you'll live a cleaner, healthier and hopefully more guilt free existence.

Of course there will always be those sociopaths out there that feel no guilt - they're the ones you need to watch. I know a couple...

But Robyn and I have this credo that the more of us with integrity and a strong sense of right and wrong there are, the more influence 'the good' will have on this world.

It may be idealistic of us - it certainly seems like a curse at times, especially when there are so many self-seeking con artists out there - but we actually think it's right to fight for justice, truth and fairness and transparency - you know, all the normal things that make for a happy and successful life.

As they say, if you want to change the world, you've got to change yourself first. You've got to be good on the inside before you can expect others to see the good you outwardly project.

We know this to be true.

It was written on a wall somewhere.

Keep writing!
 rob at home


"It's a poor sort of memory that only works backward."
Lewis Carroll

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