R.L Stine and how he influenced my childhood

Photo credit: Rakuten Kobo

Say Cheese and Die! Is a memorable nostalgic book on my top ten list of the most mysterious childhood books of all time. I didn’t realize how special this book was to me until recently, when I remembered and looked for it. There is always a mystery hidden behind every one of R.L Stine’s books. I haven’t gotten to read a lot of them but the ones which I remember most are, Say Cheese and Die and Monster Blood. I was twelve or thirteen I think when I would frequent the only old and run down library in my village, which had a chalky and frayed secret treasure chest of books marked “discarded” to look for my next adventure. I believe the old, musky, yellow pages in those books were the reason I cannot stop dreaming about books. In fact, I grew fond of the precious elixir coming off of the golden leafs of mostly coverless novels. I love the smell of old books and there is a special place in my brain, which lights up with dopamine every time I close my eyes and put my nose in between the thousand-years old pages of a book that has persevered and matured, like red wine, on a dusty creaky ancestor of a shelf. If ever there was a perfume which smelled like old books I would be the first to buy!

He followed her into the long, narrow dining room as bare and dusty as the other rooms. A low chandelier still hung from the ceiling, so brown with caked dust it was impossible to tell that it was glass.

“Looks like a haunted house,” Greg said softly.

“Boo,” Shari replied…

R.L Stine, Say Cheese and Die

An Ad from Masterclass shows R.L Stine sharing behind the scenes of his fifty something books. I saw him in his element, surrounded by what looked like thousands of books all around him. If it wasn’t for the hefty subscription fee and the negligible range in topics, I would have been too happy to learn from him. I am sure whatever he has to say about his technique of writing is worth its weight in gold!

“This is impossible,” Greg Said.

Making a disgusted face, she handed the camera to him. “Okay I give up. Check it out yourself, Greg.”

He took the camera, started to raise it to his face, then stopped.

Uttering a low cry of surprise, his mouth dropped open and his eyes gaped straight ahead. Startled, Shari turned to follow his shocked gaze.

“Oh, no!”

There on the ground, a few yards outside the first-base line, lay Bird. He was sprawled on his back, his neck bent at an odd and unnatural angle, his eyes shut tight.

R.L.Stine, Say Cheese and Die.

Excuses Begone! How To Change Lifelong, Self- Defeating Thinking Habits by Dr. Wayne Dyer

Dr. Wayne Dyer challenges all of us in his book Excuses Begone when he called our attention to the many excuses we have used to justify why we are choosing to remain stuck in unhappy, unfulfilled and miserable situations. excuses like: it is too difficult, I cannot afford it, there will be family drama, I am not smart enough among others have been our scapegoats to run away from taking responsibility for our own lives and actually changing them for the better.

Remember all the things which you have been postponing until now? The dream you have had for like forever, but which only remained pigments of imagination at the back of your mind but was never materialized because of one excuse or another? How about that habit you just cannot shake off, which both you and I know is not doing you any good and needs to go right now? That can of soda you must have every day or a boss you cannot refuse? These and many others are excuses which according to Dr. Wayne, we have allowed to infiltrate our lives and make us helpless.

Where do excuses come from?

Dr. Wayne opens our eyes to an astonishing truth: that indeed everything that is wrong with us comes from those things and people who surround us in our environment. He testifies that in the life of every adult person, lies a series of ideas which they absorbed from hearing what others think and say about money, for example, there being not enough of it, or abut health, there being so many ways someone can get sick, or for example, in my case, about people, there being no genuine person left on this otherwise beautiful earth. it is these ideas which have become like mind viruses, encroaching on all our dreams and sense of self worth and determination to realize those dreams. He gave an example, where if someone grew up poor, he heard from his parents how money is hard to come by, and it is through this lens he grows up to see the world. This man, no matter how much his financial state improves later in life, he still lives with fear that at any time, he could lose it and be back in poverty again. In some instances, he could feel like he does not deserve to enjoy so much money or feel like he cannot afford the lifestyle he wants and dreams of.

So how does anyone break their habit of excuses?

Dr. Wayne says, with a little bit of passion for your dreams, and imagination, you can break any old habit of thinking which has been harming you until now. He also mentions that our false sense of self, or what we call ego, is the root cause of the many excuses we give ourselves, and if one were to awaken to their higher sense of self, the god within, then all excuses would vanish. Therefore, Dr. Wayne recommends letting go of our egos, and living a spiritually-attuned lifestyle, where we practice self awareness and consciousness so we can get ahead and leave our excuses behind. Most importantly, it is through believing in our divineness, that we are divine beings i.e. souls with a body and not a body with a soul, that we can transcend any limitations brought about by our upbringing, genes, subconscious programming or our environment. To sum up, it is by living a spiritual life where we are in harmony with god within and without, and are driven not by selfish egos, but by selfless compassion for others, can we really live excuse-free lives. And I agree with him 100%.

Thank you note

Thank you Dr. Wayne Dyer for the teachings in your book. I am blessed to have been your student and send you, wherever your soul may be right now, immense energies of love and gratitude for your timeless teachings which will live on and on forever. Thank you so much for having made your life purpose and passion, our growth and evolution into better human beings through your books and lectures. Thank you!

The Surrender Experiment by Michael Singer

I think google got the definition of the word, “surrender” wrong. It is not about just submitting to an enemy or raising the white flag, rather, when it comes to my life, this word means freedom; from worry, stress and overthinking about the future and my problems. This word means to me, that I stay above everything that is going on in my life, and refuse to let it control how I feel.

I believe it is this same idea of surrender Michael was discussing in his book, “the surrender experiment”. In this book, Michael Singer gives examples of the many times he just winged it. He stopped fighting for anything. He let go of the idea that we need to prepare for everything before we do it. He simply just showed up, accepted the flow of his life events without any resistance, met whoever he was supposed to meet, started whatever he felt the urge to start, welcomed whoever was looking to be part of his life. He inspired me so much to believe that there is a system to my life. That my life is not just a random occurrence, but something, someone, is genuinely interested in it and is guiding me to have the best experience from this life.

I would like to make a confession though. I did not finish reading his book. Why? Because, as is typical of our human desire, we wish to experience only good things and are put off by bad or tragic events- whether they are happening to us or we are reading about them. That is why, when it came to the part where Michael’s otherwise positive surrender experiment in his life, started bringing him less than ideal circumstances, I froze and could not read the sad parts. And this is what this post is about. Michael’s book, the parts I did not read, taught me way more than the good parts which I read. I learnt that I have been wanting to believe in these universal laws of miracles, attraction, surrender and the rest which I am not yet acquainted with, only if they bring into my life pleasant things. I would be a believer only if my life became better by practicing them, but the moment my desires don’t come fast enough, or my life keeps disappointing me, I turn away and return to my old belief system which did not serve me before, why would it suddenly serve me now?

All in all, this book is a must read if you want to start seeing the world with a fresh pair of eyes. If you want to believe that your life is not an accident, and that if you decided to surrender to your inner voice and guidance, even when it does not make sense, you would live the best life, no matter what. Granted, the ideas explained by this book might not be for everyone, as most of us are staunch believers of a reality which does not serve us, but we believe in it anyways, since we cannot be brave enough to believe in magic, however, this book could change your life and if unlike me, you can finish reading it to the end, who knows which other secrets you might find hidden in those sad parts of the book which I wasn’t brave enough to immerse myself through?

Final words on this book: let whatever happens happen. Don’t worry, if it is bad, worrying will not stop it, if it is good, you will enjoy it.

The Interview with the Devil by Napoleon Hill

Napoleon Hill authored a book called, “Outwitting the Devil” which caused me to have several “Ahaa!” moments and those where I felt more his victim than anything else.

So first questions first! Did Napoleon really interview the devil literally or was it the typical stretch of a writer’s imagination? Secondly, in the book, the devil seemed to have no choice out of the interview except to reveal what was asked by Napoleon, my curiosity demands to know what trick Napoleon used to subdue the devil in the interview. Did he use a spell? Did he make a sacrificial ritual like those we see in horror movies? Did he perhaps summon the devil by using some strange drawings of geometrical shapes on the floor with goat’s blood? Is my imagination running away from me?

What the Devil says He Is

Now let us see how the devil describes himself. He says he is energy. So, right there, we have been grossly misled by horror movies to think the devil looks like an angry red man on fire with burning eyes and flesh( thank the TV show Lucifer for that one), some go as far as giving the devil props such as the infamous three-pronged spike.( I don’t know if I got the name right). Anyway, at least now we know from the horse’s mouth what the devil’s true nature is: he is negative energy manifested as fear, poverty, illness, hopelessness, and a bunch of other nasty feelings and conditions we battle with everyday of our ordinary life. In short simple words, the devil is that cigarette you cannot stop smoking, that alcohol you cannot stop drinking, those negative thoughts which keep you in the dark, that deadening feeling of hopelessness, those fears of never having enough, and so on and so forth.

What the devil says he is NOT

So the devil says he has an opposition. Think of it like the story of an asian historical drama, where there are two brothers one who became the crown prince and one who fled to oppose his brother’s reign. Now the devil says he is the crown prince here because he controls 98 percent of the people in the world. Imagine his audacity! I could almost see him smirk. Moving on, he says while God is all that is positive and proactive, in charge of making sure all the planets revolve in their respective orbits and the sun rises and sets okay everyday, the devil has no time to oversee such silly stuff. Why you would ask? He is busy making more than half the world suffer from depression, or dividing countries and pitting them against one another. He is a busy fellow who preys on the minds of toddlers, and sometimes corrupts them before they are even born, through their parents and ancestors. And he will not apologize to anyone about it!

What I think caught my attention was the part where he disclosed that he could only affect people he termed as “drifters” which he explained to mean those who do not think for themselves but simply follow stuff they are told. He went on to say it is the chronic procrastinators of the world( myself included) and those who fall victim to the circumstances life throws at them either in their environment or the people in their life. Just when I heard these words, I was laying on my bed and I shoot up like a tree and started finding something to do. He will possess you if you are idle. That is when he gets room in your mind to sow his dreadful seed of misery. So get busy people! Do something!

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