Thoughty Thursday: Things that made me go hmmmm on the interwebz, June 18-24, 2017

Here’s a bundle of stuff to get the mental corn popping.

Cathy Alex introduces us to Autumn Peltier: the twelve year old Indigenous girl who speaks for water. CBC

Ben Chapman looks at Finland’s experiment in universal basic income. The Indepedent

Adam Greenfield introduces us to a sociology of the smartphone. I’ll admit, Phil can be irritated by how much I use my phone, but my addiction’s not that bad in perspective. Longreads

I listened to this interview last Sunday—so good. And so important. Michael Enright interviews Daphne Merkin about staying alive despite her near-constant wish to die. The Sunday Edition on CBC.

Emma Young uncovers Melanie Goodwin’s life with multiple personalities. BBC

Alex Williams: Prozac nation is now the united states of Xanax. How anxiety is taking over as the leading mental illness in the US. The New York Times

David Nield reports: forgetting things could actually make you smarter. Science Alert

ASAP Science explores memory. Can you remember this?

 

Kristy Hamilton: researchers reveal the multi-dimensional universe of the brain. Mind blowing—lol! IFLS

Bec Crew reports: the first filmed DNA replication changes everything we thought we knew. Science Alert

SciShow asks, can you be allergic to sunlight? Oh, yeah.

 

Samantha Masunaga interviews Sue Finley, who was hired as a “computer” in 1958, about her long career at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL). The LA Times

I do not help my wife. Ladies pass it on

Casey Smith: DNA shows that cats domesticated themselves (ahem, or us …). National Geographic

Annalee Newitz shows how cats are extreme outliers among domestic animals. Ars Technica

Elephant conservation is more important than you think. Samburu for The Economist.

This ferret really wants her human to love her babies. Bored Panda

Happy-making music for the week: Walk off the Earth covers Ed Sheeran’s “Shape of you.”

 

Be well until the weekend!

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Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, June 18-24, 2017

The informal writerly goodness was plentiful this week 🙂

Jane Friedman: when you’re successful, lots of people ask for your help. You have to decide who deserves it. Then Claire McKinney visits Jane’s blog to explain the difference between a press release and a pitch (and why you need both). Later in the week, Jane tackles permissions and fair use.

K.M. Weiland helps you make the most of the five stages of the writing process. Later in the week, Kate returns to offer four reasons you should outline your setting. Helping Writers Become Authors

Vaughn Roycroft is heartened by Wonder Woman—making the case for sincere storytelling. Writer Unboxed

Dave King: two coins in the hundred. Writer Unboxed

Dank blank shares four ways to beat frustration in your writing career. Writer Unboxed

Heather Webb says failure is a four letter word (in writing). It’s also a necessary part of the journey. Writer Unboxed

Chuck Wendig offers his signature advice on writing scenes: Aaaannd, scene! Later in the week, Laura Lam visits Terribleminds: I am on so many government watchlists.

Leanne Sowul offers four rules for eliminating distractions and cultivating deep work. DIY MFA

Brenda Joyce Patterson joins the DIYMFA team: opening doors through poetry and short fiction.

Gabriela Pereira interviews Lisa Preziosi about writing a modern day fairy tale for DIY MFA radio.

Janice Hardy shares her brainstorming process in her birth of a book series. Fiction University

Jennie Nash drops by the coaches corner on Writers Helping Writers: how to boost your self-editing superpowers.

Angela Ackerman shares ten ways to show character emotion. Writers Helping Writers

Jami Gold muses on the writer’s heroic journey.

Cait Reynolds takes over Kristen Lamb’s blog and offers you some advice on research for historical fiction. Plus, she’s hilarious!

Jenny Hansen shares five things the family road trip taught her about editing. Writers in the Storm

Oren Ashkenazi lists six ways rapid communication changes a fantasy setting. Mythcreants

Brian Dillon analyzes Virginia Woolf’s wonderful, beautiful, almost failed sentence. Literary Hub

Andrew O’Hagen wonders if social media will kill the novel. The Guardian

The second Game of Thrones trailer has been released!

 

I hope you’ve found something to feed your muse in this lot, or at least something to tame your inner editor 😉

 

Be well until Thursday!

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Thoughty Thursday: Things that made me go hmmmm on the interwebz, June 11-17, 2017

It’s time to get your mental corn popping!

Leonard Sumner: I know you’re sorry. CBC

Ivan Semeniuk charts Canada’s troubled waters. The Globe and Mail

Douglas Fox: Antarctica is melting and giant ice cracks are just the start. National Geographic

Simon Lock explains the new theory of how the moon formed. Scientific American

ASAP Science wonders if binge watching is good for you …

 

Ryan Kost covers one family’s experience with their transgender child: finding himself. An excellent and honest portrayal. The San Francisco Chronicle

Kerri Anne Renzulli looks at how different generations view youth and age. Money

Clementine Morrigan shares three thoughts on emotional labour. Guts Magazine

Kerin Higa interviews Michael Gazzaniga on his split brain research and what he’s discovered. NPR

Timothy Morton is the philosopher prophet of the Anthropocene. Alex Blasdel for The Guardian.

An Aztec temple emerges in the heart of Mexico City. The New York Times

Archaeologists in northern Iceland discover Viking age chief buried in his ship with his sword and his dog. (That’s how this shield maiden would like to go …) Iceland Magazine

Veterinary technician Kelsey Beth Carpenter lists five things you should know before euthanizing your dog (number one is it’s okay to cry). Pup Journal

Sad and Useless (but so darned cute) presents first world cat problems.

Be well until next Tipsday. I’m off to CanWrite! For the weekend and due to my volunteer obligations, I will not be blogging.

Have a great weekend, all!

thoughtythursday2016

Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, June 11-17, 2017

A smaller trove from the Tipsday vault this week.

Jane Friedman coaches you on how to immediately improve your query letter’s effectiveness.

K.M. Weiland shares five ways to write a (nearly) perfect first draft (and why you should try). Helping Writers Become Authors

Later in the week, Kate shows you how to use the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator to improve your characters.

Piper Bayard discusses the art of physical surveillance. Writers in the Storm

Emily Wenstrom answers the question, can Facebook ads really boost your author platform? DIY MFA

Oh yeah. It’s me. Talking about time travel. DIY MFA

And so I had to cram this in here: Natalie Zutter wonders, is time travel is science fiction or fantasy? 🙂 Tor.com

Gabriela Pereira interviews DIY MFA columnist and romance author Robin Lovett for her podcast. Now I have an earworm … Let’s talk about sexy, baby / let’s talk about you and me … 😀

Becca Puglisi demystifies worldbuilding. Writers Helping Writers

Remember that post I shared a couple of weeks ago that Foz Meadows took exception to? Yeah, well Janice Hardy takes on the topic, too: why you shouldn’t write every day. Janice makes some points that I seriously considering. I do work a day job and I regularly face burnout because I write like a maniac when I’m not working. Food for thought. Fiction University

Oren Ashkenazi lists five tropes that make a villain look incompetent (and how to avoid them). Mythcreants

Jenna Moreci: how to choose an editor.

 

Joanna Penn interviews Dan Blank on changes in the publishing industry and launching non-fiction books. The Creative Penn

Claire Light reviews WisCon, the world’s preeminent feminist speculative fiction convention. Literary Hub

Foxy Folklorist, Jeana Jorgensen, explains why the translation of the fairy tale collection you read matters. Patheos

And that, my friends, was you informal writerly learnings for the week 🙂

Come back for some thoughty on Thursday, and in the meantime, be well.

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Muse-Inks: A week in this writer’s life and more lessons in vulnerability

Greetings, writerly folk!

Fun stuff first.

On Tuesday of this past week, the Sudbury Writers’ Guild held its annual picnic on the lovely patio of one of our members 🙂 This is the first year in … several, that we’ve actually had a picnic outside. In recent years, because we’ve paid for the rental space, we’ve held the “picnic” in our regular meeting room.

Though the point is to get together and socialize before our summer break, it was nice to enjoy the lovely weather we’ve had recently.

Also on Tuesday, my latest column for DIY MFA went live. It was on time travel. I kind of gravitated to the topic because one of my works in progress deals with time travel, in a way, and so I’ve been researching the various theories. I’m kind of proud of this one. I’m proud of all of them, really 🙂

On Wednesday, I took part in the quarterly DIY MFA call. Gabriela has a number of new columnists and interns. It was great to get in touch with everyone and meet all of the new additions to the team.

Thursday was the final meeting of the Canadian Authors Association CanWrite! sub-committee prior to the conference. That’s next weekend, and will necessitate a brief blogging vacay. Just for the weekend. Curation will go on as usual 🙂

Then, just today, I participated in my first urban hike, a cooperative event put on by the Rainbow Routes Association and The Greater Sudbury Poet Laureate, Kim Fahner. The poets from the Sudbury Street Poetry Project were invited to accompany hikers on a downtown route which visited the various businesses and organizations where our poems were posted.

PoetryHike

We paused to read our poems at each location, and chatted between. Just after my stop at NISA, it started to drizzle, and then to rain. We ended up at the Farmer’s Market and the drumming circle performing there, where Louise Visneckie crashed the performance and read her work with drum accompaniment 🙂

As I mentioned last week, I was courting burnout and so, I decided to take a break from writing and revision for a while.

In the meantime, writers have continued to post their thoughts about writing every day, especially if the writer has a day job. Even for writers who work on their craft full time schedule days off. It’s important to give yourself space.

What I discovered this week is that even if I’m not writing and revising, I’m still writing and revising. I carry a small moleskine with me all the time and I made a number of notes on my various works in progress. Even when I’m not writing, it’s where my heart and soul live.

This weekend, Phil and I are also pupsitting for Phil’s sister.

Buster

Isn’t Buster a lovely boy?

So, I’d thought that, perhaps, I’d get back into the habit this weekend, but I have to put the final SWG newsletter together, and I think I might defer until Monday.

I’ve been considering giving myself a regular day off. Perhaps Friday.

I am feeling better, though. More centred.

Another reason for this is that I’ve continued to listen to Brené Brown’s The Power of Vulnerability sessions.

Stuff I’ve learned:

I’m addicted to shame. I said this last week, but now, I want to unpack that statement. When things go to shit, it’s always my fault. I don’t think, “It’s unfortunate this happened.” I think, “I’m a bad person because I let it happen/couldn’t stop it.”

That’s the core difference between guilt and shame. In guilt, you’re accountable, you take responsibility but, because it’s the action that was thoughtless or hurtful, you can take ownership and change your behaviour. With shame, it’s not the action, but the actor, who is thoughtless or hurtful. It’s much more difficult to change behaviour when the story you tell yourself is that you’re hardwired that way.

I live in a continual state of low expectation because it’s easier than getting excited about things and being disappointed.

You can’t love anyone else more than you love yourself. This gets people’s backs up, but it’s true. If you don’t have compassion for yourself, how can you ever show it to others?

I overshare as a defence strategy. Brené Brown calls it spotlighting. I don’t know if I do it consciously, with intent, but I’m very open with some parts of my life, sometimes with people who might be classed more as acquaintances, than as friends. It makes people back off and confirms my bias that I’m a bad person. I’m not worth knowing.

I’m not sure what I’m going to do with all this new insight. Yet. I now know that I have these issues and I’m learning some strategies to address them. I’m just not sure how I’ll get from point A to point B.

Mindfulness and baby steps. Like anything else, it’s a matter of patience and practice.

I also think I’m going to start gratitweeting. Blame Brené Brown and Kim Fahner, who is half way through her second year of the daily gratitude practice. I’m not sure when, but I think it’s a way to bring the good stuff to mind. It’s too easy to take those things for granted, and then you can too easily slip into hopelessness and depression.

I don’t expect the transformation to be immediate, but I do expect that it will help me manage my mood.

As always, I’ll keep you informed.

As I mentioned, next weekend there will be no post, and the weekend after will be July 1st (Canada Day!) and it’ll be time for my next chapter update.

Until next I blog, be well, be kind, and stay strong.

Muse-inks

Thoughty Thursday: Things that made me go hmmmm on the interwebz, June 4-10, 2017

And here’s how we get your mental corn popping 🙂

John Campo thinks it’s time to recognize mental health as essential as physical health. Stat

Emily Esfahani Smith: science says lasting relationships come down to kindness and generosity. The Atlantic

Janice Johnson reports on the assault victim who was jailed and had to wear shackles to testify. CBC

Scott Gilmore shows us the Canada most people don’t see. Maclean’s

Rise of the machines: who is “the internet of things” good for? Adam Greenfield for The Guardian.

Phil Plait: Einstein was right (again!). Astronomers watch as a star’s gravity bends light from another star. Blastr

It’s okay to be smart looks at the implications of CRISPR:

 

Ian Sample: the oldest homo sapiens bones ever found shake the foundations of the human story. The Guardian

Kelly Richman-Abdou looks at the ancient techniques and evolution of traditional Japanese tattoos. My Modern Met

Because this addresses Guardians of the Galaxy, volume 2, I’d normally put it in Tipsday … BUT because science is way too geeky for that!

 

I hope you have a few tasty ideas to take to the page.

Be well until the weekend! *waves*

thoughtythursday2016

Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, June 4-10, 2017

It’s another week chock full of informal writerly learnings!

K.M. Weiland wonders, are you a writer, or a storyteller? Helping Writers Become Authors

Julia Fierro guest posts on Writer Unboxed. The three tiers of point of view technique: observation, interpretation, and imagination.

Gwendolyn Womack also stops by Writer Unboxed to write about intuition and writing: what happens next?

Kathryn Craft: early hints of backstory. How to work backstory into your story from the first line. Writer Unboxed

Kathryn Magendie explores mind to muscle focus (self-awareness) for writers. Writer Unboxed

Sara Letourneau shares part ten of her developing themes in your stories series: the act II crisis. DIY MFA

G. Myrthil teaches SCBWI conference 101. DIY MFA

Gabriela Pereira shares her experience at this year’s Book Expo for DIY MFA radio.

Dawn Field shares five ways to improve your verbal imagery. DIY MFA

K. Tempest Bradford writes about WisCon and who is allowed to feel welcome (hint: it’s everyone).

Janice Hardy helps us shift between drafting and editing. Fiction University

Later in the week, Janice wonders, how many settings does your novel need? Fiction University

James Scott Bell explains how to let your characters live and breathe. Writers Helping Writers

Jami Gold explores Wonder Woman as the essence of a strong female character. [For moar Wondy, see below!]

Sonja Yoerg guest posts on Writer’s Digest: how to treat mentally ill characters in your novels.

Fae Rowan lists eleven writers’ survival tools. Writers in the Storm

Chris Winkle examines the four critical elements that make stories popular. Mythcreants

Kristen Lamb shows us how to remain calm when it all goes pear-shaped.

Tanya Huff shares her experience writing a series: what goes around, shoots back. Unbound Worlds

Jenna Moreci shares her self-editing process:

 

Elise Holland visits Jane Friedman’s blog to offer advice on the perfect cover letter.

Nathan Bransford offers a brief but comprehensive guide on how to research literary agents. Later in the week Rachel Stout visits Nathan’s blog to talk about personalizing your query.

Joanna Penn interviews Orna Ross on the Creative Penn podcast.

Kameron Hurley posts about carrying the weight of the world.

Kate Laity explores Finnish folklore: Louhi, the witch of the north. Folklore Thursday

Nathan Gelgud: how George Orwell’s 1984 almost didn’t get published. Signature

Mary Hines interviews Margaret Atwood on how religion influences utopias and dystopias. CBC’s Tapestry.

Wonder Woman takes over Tipsday:

Charles Pulliam-Moore shares the epic Black Panther teaser trailer. i09

And with that, I shall leave you until Thoughty Thursday!

Be well until then, my friends.

tipsday2016

Muse-Inks: My day at Graphic-Con and the struggle for balance

Greetings, writerly peoples!

Before I get to the meat of this post, I’ll give you a little update on the writerly happenings of the week.

This past week, there was just one. The Sudbury Writers’ Guild booked a table at Graphic-Con, which was held at the Sudbury Arena, Saturday, June 10th. While it’s not a huge event as comic cons go, it was big for Sudbury.

Fandom was well-represented. There were cosplayers, LARPers, gamers, table top gamers, RPGers, comic fans, art fans, and television and movie fans (Degrassi actors were in attendance). And there were readers.

SWG co-chair, Andy Taylor, committed to be present for the full day as this was our first year booking a table and he wasn’t sure whether it would be worth it or not. Liisa Kovala helped out from opening to noon. I helped out from noon to 6 pm, Clay Campbell walked over after his CKLU radio show and stayed through to 7 pm, Liisa returned to finish off the day and help Andy pack up the table, Kristan Cannon had her own table (right beside the SWG table), and members John Jantunen and Sabine Gorecki stopped by and hung out for a while. It was a team effort 🙂

GraphicCon

Andy took this picture just after Clay (Rincewind) and I arrived and before Liisa left (noonish).

We had on display various books by Guild members, including a few copies of my wee poetry chapbook, NeoVerse. We sold just about one of everything (well, except NeoVerse—I didn’t expect poetry to be a big seller, though there was some interest), sold out of Creepy Capreol, which our other co-chair, Mat del Papa edited, and sold five of the SWG anthology, Sudbury Ink.

Sales weren’t the purpose of our booking the table, however. Reaching out to the writing community in Sudbury was. In that respect, the table was a total success. We had 19 people sign up to find out more about the Guild. We’re going to try to get together in late June for a special meeting for these individuals. If the timing doesn’t work out, we’ll at least send them a copy of our June newsletter to give them an idea of who we are and what we do.

Which leads us to balance

When I got home from Graphic-Con, I was pretty much bushed. Phil had the moms over for BBQ, but afterward, I decided to forgo my usual Saturday post.

Work/home/creative balance is a recurrent issue for me.

As a writer with a day job, I’ve chosen to devote nearly all of my non-work, non-sleep time to writing. Thus, a lot of other things go by the wayside. Physical fitness, family and social events, friends, support of artistic and professional organizations and events. Still. I can’t shut all of that out of my life. So, I try to squeeze it all in. Therein lies the rub.

When I can drag myself out of bed early enough, I do yoga or other exercises in the mornings. When the weather and other commitments permit, I walk home from work. I spend time with Phil and with my mom. I volunteer for the SWG and for the Canadian Authors Association. I try to get out and do something creative and soul-feeding in the community.

I try to get out and garden, or use my summer office. I try to keep the house clean(ish). My standards have fallen significantly in recent years …

I also try to write or revise my novels and short stories daily, keep up with my blog posts, keep up with my commitments to DIY MFA, read, study my craft, improve, attend writing workshops in person or online … and it all takes its toll.

Add to that my persistent issues with depression and anxiety which I must manage carefully, and a myriad of aches and pains that only seem to multiply the older I get, and there are times when I have to step back.

Phil’s supportive. He does the cooking, the groceries, the heavier household chores, and the renovation on his own. He knows my writing time is mine and, except for the odd hug or kiss—we need a fairly steady supply—he leaves me to do my thing. He doesn’t insist on coming along (he hates travelling and would just be miserable) or that I stay home when I have a conference or convention to attend. He listens when I have to blow off some frustration about work or professional obligations. He’s learned, for the most part, not to try to offer solutions. I’m very fortunate.

The heady rush of positive feeling and energy that returns with the sunlight in spring gives way to my first bout of burnout around this time every year. The second battle with burnout usually hits in the fall. This is why I have usually tried to take a self-funded leave from work every 18 months or so, May into June and then October into November.

It’s how I’ve managed my physical and mental health.

It’s been two years now since my last self-funded leave and the continual issues with our pay system at work have meant that I’ve had to defer my plans to take a leave yet again. I won’t be able to manage much longer if I can’t get a leave this fall. I’ve pushed through before, but never longer than two years. I used to work part time when I was in the call centre. That’s probably a better long-term strategy, but this next leave will involve a new pup as well, I don’t have enough leave aside from the self-funded to house train a pup.

I’m hoping that the larger part of our pay issues will be resolved by then and that it will be a possibility. Even if it’s not, I can’t afford not to make the request.

For now, all I can do is take things easy for a few days, give myself a break, and then get back to it.

I’ve been listening to Brené Brown’s The Power of Vulnerability sessions on Audible. Vulnerability is at the core of a satisfying life, of contentment (which is always my goal, not happiness—I’m pretty sure that’s a mythical beast), and of achieving healthy goals. And self-love is at the heart (lol) of vulnerability.

Unfortunately, I’m kind of addicted to shame and I tend to wall myself off from other people so I don’t have to be vulnerable with them, one on one. Everyone else thinks I’m doing great. I’m that high-functioning person living with mental illness. I can simulate vulnerability on this blog because it doesn’t cost me as much as opening up in person can. All the self-hate takes place in private. I operate from a scarcity mindset. There’s never enough time, energy, you name it, and I am certainly never enough.

I know that none of this is true, intellectually. I know time can be managed, found. A healthy lifestyle can provide me with more energy. I can tell my friends and family that they are enough often, but I can rarely turn that compassionate lens on myself.

So I’m going to goof off for a few days, except for the absolutely necessary stuff, like blogging and housework, professional obligations, and, well, the day job. I’m going to try to be present enough to listen and be kind to myself and to others. I’m going to try to enjoy myself.

We’ll see how it goes and I’ll check in with you next weekend after the poetry walk. The post may go up on Sunday again, but that’s just my way of shifting things to give me enough intellectual and emotional space to recover.

In the meantime, be well, be kind, and stay strong.

And I’ll “see” you on Tipsday!

Muse-inks

Thoughty Thursday: Things that made me go hmmmm on the interwebz, May 28-June 3, 2017

Just a little thoughty this week.

Canada is not 150 years old. Greg and Mitch (ASAP Thought and ASAP Science)

 

Ossie Michelin explains how to talk about Indigenous people. CBC

 

Dan Van Winkle: at Cannes, Jessica Chastain calls out the real problem with how women are portrayed in film. The Mary Sue

Neuroscience reveals four rituals that contribute to happiness. Eric Barker for Ladders.

Bec Crew reports that only half of your friends actually like you. Science Alert

Natalie Zarrelli reveals the knitting spies of WWII. Atlas Obscura

Phil Plait: we thought Jupiter was weird; now we’re finding out just how weird. Blastr

Later in the week, Phil reports how astronomers may have seen a star collapse directly into a black hole. And then, two merging black holes, 3 billion light years away send ripples of spacetime through Earth.

Veritasium covers the two black holes merging, too.

 

Anthony Brooks reports on Brisco the pit bull, who rescued his owner’s neighbors from a home invasion. Good dog! The Miami Gazette

I hope something in that lot got your mental corn popping 🙂

 

See you on the weekend.

Be well until then.

thoughtythursday2016