lights of aha, maggie mcreynolds blog

The Power of Ah + Aha

Really powerful, evocative writing—the kind that reaches out and grabs you by the heart—starts with that “Ah!” of recognition. It’s that delicious moment when one soul reaches across time and space to another and tells a truth that is as familiar as one’s own face in the mirror.

But great writing doesn’t stop there. Ahs of recognition feel good, but if that’s all that’s on offer, they move rather quickly to “and…?”

An Ah without an Aha—“Don’t like the weather? Just wait 15 minutes and it’ll change!”—is just a cliche. It takes your unique spin on the familiar, the Aha, to transform the Ah into a new thought, a fresh idea, something magical. Something, in other words, that illuminates, that teaches, that matters.

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What I Learned from Bill Murray

billmurray, maggie mcreynolds blogDid you watch “Groundhog Day” on Saturday? I did. I do every year. Some people love it because it’s Bill Murray at his funniest (and Andi McDowall at her cutest). Some people love it because it’s an annual tradition to watch it. Me, I love it because I learn from it every single time, the lessons I thought I’d learned and mastered on the last viewing. This isn’t just a basic story of a jerk who gets put on hold until he learns not to be a jerk. It’s a metaphor for the human journey itself.

The lessons?

I have little to no control over my circumstances.

Try as he might, Bill/Phil can’t change anything: the inevitable blizzard, the tray of dishes that gets smashed at the Tip Top, the ice cold shower at his bed-and-breakfast—or the fact that every day, his life is exactly the same as the day before (and set to the tune of “I Got You, Babe”).

I have little to no control over the actions of others.

No matter how many details Bill gleans over time about Andi/Rita, he still can’t force her to love him. In fact, the harder he tries, the worse it gets. In a delightful montage, she slaps him—over and over and over again.

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