Thoughty Thursday: Things that made me go hmmmm on the interwebz, Oct 6-12, 2019

It’s time, once again, to get your mental corn popping.

Brené Brown is doubling down on love. A guiding light, this woman.

Shannon Odell looks at your brain on music. Inverse

Sara Barnes shares gravity-defying photos of determined dogs catching Frisbees in mid-air. My Modern Met

Maria Goodavage reports on the tech helping dogs learn to “talk” with humans. Wired

Researchers reveal that losing a dog can be as hard as losing any human loved one. Power of Positivity

Nathaniel Dove: bee populations recovering due to regenerative farming. Global News

Rebecca Seales researches tebori: the eye-watering art that thousands cross the world for. BBC

Lindsay J. Smith: envisioning and designing the floating future. UnDark

Ed Finn: algorithms are redrawing the space for cultural imagination. MIT Press Reader

Rob Stein shares how CRISPR therapy may help treat sickle cell disease. NPR

SciShow Space news reports on how the black hole at the centre of our galaxy “woke up” about 3.5 million years ago and the latest evidence from Cassini about the possibility of life on Enceladus.

Emily Chung announces that Saturn has just beat Jupiter for the title of “moon king” with 20 new moons confirmed. CBC

Thank you for visiting. I hope you found something to fuel your ongoing creative efforts 🙂

Until next time, be well, be kind, and stay strong. The world needs your stories.

ThoughtyThursday2019

Thoughty Thursday: Things that made me go hmmmm on the interwebz, June 23-29, 2019

Happy Independence Day to my friends south of the border! Take some time to feed your brain and get your mental corn popping!

IndependenceDay

Robin Hammond presents Stonewall at 50: stories of resistance and resilience. National Geographic

Mia Jensen interviews Cathy Mulroy about her career as a woman miner and her upcoming memoir. The Sudbury Star

Ahem. Yeah, I shared one of the cited articles (the BBC one) a couple of weeks ago. Here is the awesome debunking of that study on how technology influences the human skeleton and all the reportage it received. I am duly reminded that correlation is not causation. Thank you, SciShow. Seriously.

Simon Makin: better memory through electrical brain ripples. Scientific American

SciShow Psych discovers that alcohol may enhance your creativity in some respects, but not others.

Joyce Cohen: for those with hearing impairments, restaurant noise isn’t just an irritation. It’s discrimination. The Washington Post

Brene Brown talks to Oprah Winfrey about the six types of people who don’t deserve to hold space for you.

Jill Paider lists 20 sublime retreats you need to visit for creative inspiration. Dwell

Bryan Bender: a new moon race is on. Is China already ahead? Politico

SciShow answers the question, what makes soft things soft?

Dr. Suzanne Hoffmann and Professor Manfred Gahr have discovered that the brains of birds synchronize when they sing together. How did the do it? With transmitters weighing 1 gram that recorded the brain waves of the birds. Max Planck Gesellschaft

Katarzyna Nowak reveals the daunting task of wildlife crimefighters in the Alaska-Yukon wilderness. National Geographic

John Nova Lomax reports on the flight of the Texas fireflies. Texas Monthly

And that was thoughty Thursday.

This weekend, I’ll be assembling my next chapter update for June 2019. Until then, be well!

ThoughtyThursday2019

Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, May 12-18, 2019

And here is your latest curation of informal writerly learnings.

Sophie Masson talks big publishers, small publishers, and contract negotiations. Jim Dempsey wants you to tune out your self-doubt. Julie Carrick Dalton praises the power of writerly kindness. Porter Anderson considers the place of place in our writing. Writer Unboxed

K.M. Weiland shares five ways writers (try to) fake their way to good storytelling. Helping Writers Become Authors

James Navé and Alegra Huston stop by Jane Friedman’s blog: how to plan a book reading that delights your audience.

September C. Fawkes offers story structure in a flash. Then, Sacha Black wants you to nip and tuck your saggy middle with conflict. Writers Helping Writers

Jeanette the Writer covers the stages of editing grief. Later in the week, Gabriela Pereira interviews Sam Sykes about the emotional weight of storytelling. DIY MFA

Jami Gold wonders, are you a pantser, a plotter, or something in between? Click through to the original tweet by Cheyenne A. Lepka—it’s AWESOME! Warmed this old gamer’s heart 🙂

Jenny Hansen shares Brené Brown’s top ten tips for success. Laura Drake follows up on Jenny’s column with this: dare to be vulnerable in your writing life. Writers in the Storm

Chris Winkle wants you to understand exploitative plots. Mythcreants

Guy Gavriel Kay offers some writing advice: don’t take writing advice. Literary Hub

Thanks for stopping by. I hope you found something to help you with your latest creative project.

Until Thursday, be well, my writerly friends!

tipsday2016

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

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, Dec 4-10, 2016

Time to get that mental corn a-poppin’!

Viola Desmond is chosen as the first Canadian woman on the ten dollar bill. CBC

Rossalyn Warren lists seventeen badass women that made a difference in 2016. Buzzfeed

Brene Brown on the importance of boundaries:

 

Recent grads share their college experiences on NPR.

David Amsden tells the tale of the gridiron gangster: how a vigilante gambler took down an alleged crime boss. Rolling Stone

Prince EA: Everybody dies, but not everybody lives.

 

David Szondy reports on how diamonds can turn nuclear waste into nuclear batteries. New Atlas

Nicola Davis reports on the feathered dinosaur tail preserved in amber and what it’s taught us about evolution. The Guardian

Erin Ross: pets help people manage the pain of serious mental illness. NPR

With that in mind, here are some lazy cats:

 

Meet Radamenes, the caretaker cat:

 

Juniper Foxx befriends Moose, the dog:

 

And that’s your edutainment for the week 😉

See you Saturday!

thoughtythursday2016

Thoughty Thursday: Things that made me go hmmmm on the interwebz, September 6-12, 2015

Making up for last week (!)

And happy Friday (yeah, I’m posting this late . . .)!

Brené Brown writes about the physics of vulnerability and what resilient people have in common. Brainpickings.

How Katrina turned a psychiatrist into a coroner. The Atlantic.

Why some people are left-handed. Brainpickings.

Upworthy presents a comic that accurately sums up depression and anxiety and the uphill battle of living with them.

You are home. The Bloggess offers a lovely video and message in honour of World Suicide Prevention Day.

Bianca Sparacino explores how we ruin our lives without realizing it. Thought Catalog.

Everyday fantasia: the world of synesthesia. The American Psychological Association.

Your brain is particularly vulnerable to trauma at two distinct ages. Quartz.

Brainpickings shares Carl Sagan’s thoughts on the meaning of life.

Tornados on the sun? Yup. As long as they’re plasma tornados 🙂 IFLS.

The Daily Dot presents the twelve best science shows on YouTube. I follow several of these 🙂

Here are a couple of them now.

Is body shaming helpful? ASAP Thought.

And SciShow answers the question, why don’t spiders stick to their own webs?

Why people’s opinions of you aren’t real:

Homo Naledi, a new species in human lineage, is found in a South African cave. The New York Times.

The White Wolf Pack shares ten fascinating facts about ravens.

And my musical find of the week is Iron & Wine – Boy with a coin:

Have fun, and I’ll see you on Saturday.

Thoughty Thursday