Thoughty Thursday: Things that made me go hmmmm on the interwebz, May 14-20, 2017

A little bit of this and a little bit of that, all to get your mental corn popping 🙂

SOS Safety Magazine lists four signs of a person with high-functioning depression. This is me.

How stress changes the brain and body (with helpful TED-Ed video). Mindful

ASAP Science shares seven ways to reduce your stress right now.

 

Wendi looks at the dark side of empathic people. Parhlo

Jesse Menayan shares what he and the Casper research team discovered about how couples affect each other’s sleep. Yeah, it’s a big ole advertisement, but the research is interesting and sleep is important. Medium

Dom Galeon: our brains might be 100 times more powerful than we thought. Futurism

Heidi Priebe profiles the personal hells of each Myers-Briggs personality type. My personal hell? Learning how everything I’ve said or done has hurt someone else, intentional or otherwise. Yup. Writhing already. Thought Catalog

A wee clip from Michael Moore on Finland’s school system.

 

Simon Parkin: teaching robots right from wrong. 1843 Magazine

Etan Vlessing covers the creation of A World without Canada, a dystopian series narrated by Dan Ackroyd and featuring Robert J. Sawyer. The Hollywood Reporter

Richard O. Prum writes of duck sex and the patriarchy. Though it’s hard to tell from the title, this is an amazing article. The New Yorker

Gaze in awe at these colourized photos of Russian women snipers, who terrorized the Nazis in WWII. Julian Robinson for Mail Online.

Alex Tizon tells the heart wrenching story of his family’s slave. The Atlantic

Chris Jones shares footage of how narwhales use their tusks. IFLS

Skandinavian folk on nyckelharpa, by Myrkur:

 

And your kawaii for the week: Ozzy, the desk weasel.

 

See you Saturday for my wrap up post about Writing the Other. Tasty, tasty!

Be well until then, my friends.

thoughtythursday2016

Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, Feb 19-25, 2017

And here we are for another week of informal writerly learnings.

K.M. Weiland shares eight ways to master your story’s pace. Helping Writers Become Authors

Vaughn Roycroft: the significance of small gestures. Writer Unboxed

Jeanne Kisacky shares her experience with post-project depression and recovery. Writer Unboxed

Chuck Wendig says you must write unafraid, without fear of failure. Terribleminds

Jami Gold asks, are there story elements you avoid writing?

Jeanne Cavelos guest posts on Writer Unboxed: the importance of the adversarial ally.

Stephanie O’Brien: how to write a fight scene readers will love. The Write Practice

Kristen Lamb says description is writer’s crack, but you have to find the write balance.

Jamie Raintree: there are no shortcuts. Writers in the Storm

Emily Wenstrom shares five ways to show readers you’re their perfect match. DIYMFA

Dan Blank encourages you to embrace your boundaries. Writer Unboxed

Heather Webb considers what fiction trends say about us. Writer Unboxed

Betsy Dornbusch guest posts on Terribleminds: the new relevance of the fantasy novel.

Veronica Sicoe wonders what happens when “professional writing career” isn’t your end-all goal?

Sara Letourneau joins the Writers Helping Writers resident writing coaches: using text-to-speech software as an editing tool.

Gabriela Pereira interviews Brian Meehl on DIYMFA radio: the only way forward is back.

Chris Winkle offers six tips on how to challenge bigotry in your work. Mythcreants

Oren Ashkenazi explores five underused settings in speculative fiction. Mythcreants

Pixar and the Khan Academy team up to produce The Art of Storytelling. And … it’s FREE!

Colleen Gillard wonders why the British tell better children’s stories. The Atlantic

Jason Daly reports that ancient Egyptian stories will be published in English for the first time. The Smithsonian Magazine

Michael Livingston shares the tales of his favourite five medieval women warriors (including Lagertha!). Tor.com

Space says that Mary and the Witch’s Flower captures the spirit of Studio Ghibli.

Brain full? Good. Now get writing!

See you Thursday!

tipsday2016

Thoughty Thursday: Things that made me go hmmmm on the interwebz, Jan 1-7, 2017

It’s quality over quantity this week.

Charles Foran wonders if Canada is the world’s first post-national country. The Guardian

Wab Kinew: there is room in our circle for Joseph Boyden. The Globe and Mail

Matt Ayton asks, why don’t we stand with Turkey like we did with Orlando and Paris? The Independent

William Deresiewicz: how to learn how to think. Farnham Street

Medievalists.net explores the sleeping habits of the Middle Ages.

Jo Marchant digs into this 3,500 year old Mycenae tomb and how it changes what we know about history. The Smithsonian Magazine

George Dvorsky reports on the discovery of a stunning new type of galaxy. Gizmodo

Maddie Stone shares the most detailed view of black holes in the universe. Gizmodo

Lauren Jarvis-Gibson lists eleven things people don’t realize you do because of your anxiety. Thought Catalog

On the Hearty Soul: how complaining rewires your brain to be anxious and depressed.

Daily Health Records lists fifteen things you’ll notice when you’re in the presence of an empath.

Here’s hoping something got your mental corn popping 🙂

On Saturday, I return to WorldCon 2016 reporting.

Be well until then!

thoughtythursday2016

Thoughty Thursday: Things that made me go hmmmm on the interwebz, Dec 25-31, 2016

It’s a right mix of edutainment this week, but I hope it still pops your mental corn!

A Sudbury teen, missing since December 20, is found on Christmas Eve. Sudbury Star

Petula Dvorak: the Hannuka/Christmas convergence couldn’t be more symbolic of the light we need to embrace. The Washington Post

Oliver Burkeman reports on why time management is ruining our lives. I might argue that this would only apply to those for whom the skill does not come naturally. The Guardian

Feeling less than grateful? Some people are just wired that way. Katherine Hobson for NPR.

Emily Hartridge talks about her top four anxiety challenges.

 

Depression is all in your head—and now, doctors know where. Second Nexus

Alan Yu explains how a diet high in fat and sugar affects your memory. NPR

Becca Martin hates to break it to you, but you are the reason your life sucks. Thought Catalog

Madeleine Davies: becoming ugly. Jezebel

Bec Crew reports on a new Alzheimer’s therapy that fully restores memory function. Science Alert

Antonio Regalado: everything you need to know about gene therapy’s most promising year. MIT technology review

Phil Plait shares a fabulous photo of a lunar fogbow. Slate

In England, you can camp in abandoned medieval churches. David Wilson for Atlas Obscura.

I’m all about Immie (Imogen Heap) this week. Lifeline:

 

Canvas:

 

You know where to find me:

 

Neglected space:

 

Coming up on the weekend: I’ll be looking at December’s writing progress and wrapping up 2016.

Be well until then, my lovely people 🙂

thoughtythursday2016

Thoughty Thursday: Things that made me go hmmmm on the interwebz, Dec 11-17, 2016

If your brain’s already gone on holiday, have some thoughty fun with these offerings 🙂

Saw last week that Alan Thicke has passed away, too. It’s been such a sad year for performers and artists 😦 And political unrest. And Syria . . . Take heart. Here are 99 reasons 2016 was a great year. Medium

Christopher Dickey shares the tale of angels of the resistance (and one serial killer) in Nazi-occupied Paris. The Daily Beast

UN Women takes a stand against gender-based violence.

 

Eugene Soltes explores the psychology of white-collar criminals. The Atlantic

Matt Blitz tells the real story behind the myth of Area 51. Popular Mechanics

Annalee Newitz investigates the lost city of Cahokia under the St. Louis suburbs. Ars Technica

Amanda Gefter interviews Donald D. Hoffman: the case against reality. One of my favourite bits: “… we have evolution itself to thank for this magnificent illusion …” The Atlantic

Peter Dockrill: cellular reprogramming has been used to reverse the aging process in animals. Science Alert

Simon Oxenham explains why bees could be the secret to superhuman intelligence. BBC

Peter Brannen examines a possible break in one of evolution’s biggest mysteries. The Atlantic

Chris Jones reports on Sara Seager, the woman who might find us another Earth. The New York Times Magazine

Watch this cool BBC video about how one woman with Parkinson’s regained the ability to write and draw.

 

Robby Berman reports on filmmaker Adam Rosenberg’s hilarious video in which he shares some of his nocturnal musings. It’s called Somniloquist and you have to watch it. Nearly peed myself laughing. Slate

Olga Khazan explains how magic mushrooms help patients with severe anxiety and depression. The Atlantic

Lauren Vinopal lists the 18 best houseplants for cleaning the air, according to NASA. Fatherly

Julia Shaw: I’m a scientist, and I don’t believe in facts. Scientific American

George Dvorsky reports on what the brightest supernova ever seen really was. Gizmodo

Natalie Wolchover: quantum gravity research could reveal the true nature of time. Wired

‘Tis the season, so here’s sommat from Grimfrost on Vikings, Santa, and Christmas 🙂

 

Honest to Paws introduces us to the Akhal-Teke, the most beautiful horse in the world.

Hope your mental corn’s a-poppin’ fit to see you through the holiday frenzy 🙂

Have a good one, everyone!

thoughtythursday2016

Thoughty Thursday: Things that made me go hmmmm on the interwebz, Oct 2-8, 2016

Thoughty Thursday’s all over the map!

The Vintage News reports that Amelia Earhart’s remains may have been found on an island.

Gabriel Samuels reports on a piece of engraved wood that suggests a Persian taught math in Japan 1,000 years ago. The Independent

Medievalists.net compiled this comprehensive list of online resources for researching the Black Death.

Medievalists.net shared this entertaining piece on Viking nicknames. My favourite? Eystein Foul-Fart 🙂

And, for the hat trick, Medievalists.net explains why cats were hated in medieval Europe.

An oldie from Barbara G. Walker of Church and State (2008!): local wise women who carried on ancient traditions were exterminated by Christianity.

Margaret Rhodes invites us to obsess over this infographic about the history of alternative music. Wired

Jonathan Jones looks at the legacy of painter Artemesia Gentileschi. The Guardian

Azeen Ghorayshi reports that transgender children as young as three are getting the help they need. Buzzfeed

Katrina Schwartz wonders why we’re so obsessed with teaching kids cursive handwriting. Mind/Shift

America is obsessed with happiness and it’s making everyone miserable. Ruth Whippman for Vox.

What it’s like to have “high-functioning” anxiety. The Mighty

 

Baby Boomers may be more susceptible to treatment-resistant depression. Anna Gorman for CNN.

Myke Cole writes about PTSD. This is from a few years ago (2013) but it’s still relevant.

Dominik Parisien shares his experience with Alice in Wonderland Syndrome. Uncanny

Justin Gammill lists ten things to keep in mind when loving a highly creative person. I heart intelligence

Paul Stamits talks about how fantastic fungi can save the world.

 

Bees are demonstrating problem-solving and transmission of knowledge. Daily Science

Scientists declare the dawn of the human-influenced epoch. Damian Carrington for The Guardian.

AI and deep machine learning are changing your life. Roger Parloff for Fortune.

What Emma Thompson learned from spending a week in the arctic. Time

Beware of dog, indeed. Upshout

Adieu until Saturday.

Be well until then 🙂

Thoughty Thursday

The next chapter: August 2016 update

Let me tell you a story 🙂

Dark season

Over the last couple of years, August has been a bad month for me, emotionally speaking.

I’ve been down. Living with depression, if you do it consciously, means that you can see the signs and take action, or not, whatever is most appropriate for your mental health at the time. Trying to barge through rarely works. For me, anyway.

Last year, I was away from home, delivering training, for two and a half weeks in August. I thought London was a lovely city, and I did enjoy myself to the extent I could—I even went shopping (!) and if you know me, you know I hate shopping of any kind with a passion—but it was too far away for me to go home on the weekends, and I had discovered earlier in the year how much more difficult it was for me to write or blog while travelling. So except for curation, I gave over.

Writing on the road isn’t undoable, and I have put on my big girl panties and done it since (I started NaNoWriMo while travelling last year), but, at the time, I was at a low ebb, and sometimes you have to be kind to yourself.

This year, I went to Kansas City for WorldCon and stayed an extra day or so to visit with a friend who’d moved down there several years ago. More on WorldCon in a bit. The bottom line is that health issues and my introvert nature (exacerbated by my emotional low) conspired to rob the trip of some of its joy.

Remembering what had happened last year, I had even planned for the dog-day doldrums. I figured I’d have the first run-through of all my drafted novels done by August (and I did) and that I would need a little break (and I did).

My plan to turn to other projects, though, didn’t work out as well as I’d thought. I worked on some short fiction, made a few submissions (a rejection from one of which was returned within a week), but I never touched the poetry collection or the non-speculative short fiction collection. I just didn’t have the heart.

I journalled, trying to work out what my plan for the rest of the year would look like and trying to find my way back to what is, for me, normal. I also participated in a Nelson Literary Agency workshop on first pages with Angie Hodapp.

Though the initial review of my first five pages wasn’t horrible, I wanted to try something completely different for the revision, see if the advice of the readers would work. It was a spectacular failure, but I learned a lot from the experience.

You really do have to fail to learn, even if it’s painful 🙂

I’m now delving back into Initiate of Stone, working long hand in a notebook. Sometimes you just have to write it out. I find that writing long hand helps give me the time to examine the words and sentences, and get a fresh perspective.

I can now also disclose that I did not succeed with my application to #PitchWars. Reality Bomb was the project I chose for that experience. I didn’t expect to get in this first year of applying, but one pair of mentors, Michael Mammay and Dan Koboldt, was very supportive. They asked for additional materials, a synopsis and first 50 pages.

Our email exchanges in that first week or so were productive and illuminating for me. I now have some great ideas to return to that manuscript with. So, ultimately, #PitchWars was a win.

This brings me to another realization of why this year has been a difficult one for me.

Last year was the year of almost. I got on several long and short lists in contests, had my work set aside for second readings for anthologies, and while it didn’t result in any publications, the nature of the responses was reassuring. I also had a couple of stories accepted into the Sudbury Writers’ Guild anthology, which should be coming out this fall.

This year, with the exception of #PitchWars, has been the year of no. Form rejections all around, whether from querying or from short fiction submissions. Though I have, to some extent, found a way to turn rejection into a positive, when so many pile up, it becomes disheartening.

You begin to question your worth and skill as a writer, to doubt the kind things that have been said about your work (because there are so few of them, relatively speaking, that they must be the flukes, you reason). You begin to look for those opportunities to confirm your negative bias, blow small faux pas into huge incidents. Reasonable lapses in communication become the occasion for self-blame and recrimination.

Fortunately, since my return from Kansas City, I’ve been coming across the most wonderful articles and posts that have given me the encouragement I’ve needed, some of which you’ll see in this week’s curation. Between that, and the long hand work I’ve been doing on IoS, I’m making my way back to the page.

WorldCon

I’d left with the best of intentions and wanted to practice Gabriela Pereira’s method of networking with a number of authors I’d only ever seen online. In the moment, though, I was so nervous, I basically blathered.

I did get to meet and have a couple of nice, brief chats with Mary Robinette Kowal, met Cat Cambo and Foz Meadows at their Literary Beer sessions (informal chats), but otherwise, I just did my usual and took notes in panel discussions.

I was within three feet of George R.R. Martin, but as he was just coming out of the second of two autographing sessions in which fans lined up for the better part of an hour to see him, I just couldn’t bring myself to be that fan. Instead, I smiled, nodded, and moved on without harassing the poor man.

I had gone to the Tor Party with the intention of meeting John Scalzi, but several people seemed to be running interference and by the time I was able to politely make my excuses, Mr. Scalzi was monopolized by other Tor authors and friends. After that, he turned his attention to his beautiful wife and, again, I could not bring myself to interrupt just to say “hi, and thank you for writing wonderful books.”

Maybe it’s because I’m Canadian, or an introvert, or both, but I just couldn’t.

I’m also a total newb and have no clue with regard to what’s appropriate and what’s not in which context.

The Hugo Awards Ceremonies were wonderful, though, and the sad puppies were soundly trounced.

N.K. Jemesin won best novel for The Fifth Season, Nnedi Okorafor won best novella for Binti, Hao Jingfang and Ken Liu (translator) won best novelette for Folding Beijing, and Neil Gaiman (who wasn’t there in person) had a special message for the sad puppies when he won best graphic story for The Sandman: Overture.

Really, you can just go to the Hugo Awards site and check out all the winners. Diversity was the word of the evening.

It was a great event, but at the end, I felt like I needed a vacation to get over my vacation 🙂

I returned home with a whopping case of imposter’s syndrome, though. I’d met and seen and learned from all of these authors, many of whom I read and respect. Who am I, with my two publications in what the Science Fiction Writers Association (SFWA) considers “token” markets, to think that I can get a traditional deal in a market that’s more competitive than ever?

When I confided my doubts to Phil, his response was that print publishing was on its way to extinction and why would I want that, anyway? So not what I needed to hear, but I forgave him instantly. Though he is very supportive of me and my creative calling, he, like most non-writers, will never understand what it’s like to be in my neurotic wee skull.

But, as I said, I’m surfacing now. I have no further conventions I’ve committed to (having used up my budget for such things) and the only challenge I’ve set for myself is to get through another revision of IoS and Apprentice of Wind before I tackle the third novel in the series for NaNoWriMo.

I still want to get back to the poetry collection and the non-speculative short fiction collection, but neither is a big priority for me at the moment.

I’m taking my time with the short fiction. Some of my stories are actually the seeds of novels. I have to set those aside in their own project folders for the future, and then get on with revising and submitting what I have. Who knows? I may even surprise myself and write some more new stories. It has been known to happen.

In the meantime, I’ve applied for my winter leave at work and am crossing my fingers.

Persistent payroll issues may affect my application for another leave with income averaging. Until things are sorted out, the powers that be may recommend against such special considerations. I may have to defer again until next year.

It won’t be the worst thing that’s ever happened, but Phil and I are ready to look for another furry dependent. I need the five weeks for acclimatization and training. We’d rather it be sooner than later, but we’ll be patient if we must.

Having a new puppy in the spring would probably be more convenient (she says, mentally willing leave approval).

And then there are the renovations to consider, but that’s another post. Probably several 😉

The month in writing

August was sparse as far as writing goes. Aside from the blog, from which I took a vacation for WorldCon, the only writing I did was to finish off the one short story I was working on.

AugustProgress

6,451 words on the blog and 901 words on the short story. 7,362 altogether. That’s literally all she wrote.

I didn’t revise a thing. Fortunately, because I met or exceeded my revision goals in every other month so far this year, I’m not that far behind.

I didn’t count the minor revisions I did to the stories I submitted, or any of the journalling or long hand writing I did.

Besides, I wasn’t anticipating (until part way through the year) that I’d return to IoS, so I don’t have a column for that on my spreadsheet. I could make one. I have the skill, but I don’t want to take the time to do it now. Yes. I know. Lazy Mellie.

I’m getting my mojo back. The writing’s the thing.

Science fiction is the literature of ideas. It is the great “what if?” that leads us into the future. Fantasy is the literature of (im)possibility. It longingly wonders “If only . . .” and whispers in our dreams. I write both and I think I’m pretty damned lucky.

And that’s it until next month.

I hope you’re all experiencing great creative breakthroughs and are satisfied with what you’ve done. In the end, that’s all that matters.

Be well!

The Next Chapter

Thoughty Thursday: Things that made me go hmmmm on the interwebz, Aug 7-13, 2016

Canadian Olympic news:

I’ve shared articles to Facebook that later turned out to be erroneous. I’ve curated some of them here with their debunking articles appended. As a public service, I’m sharing the Snopes’ guide to fake news sites and hoax purveyors. You’re welcome.

80,000 Hours explores the qualities that make a job a fulfilling career. High income isn’t the main consideration. Follow the links at the bottom of each part through to part six and map out your career path (aimed at 20-somethings, but everyone can assess, or reassess, their careers using their quizzes and tools).

Sudbury writer Laura Stradiotto shares a personal story that every woman needs to read: I was happily married with kids and I made the decision to have an abortion. Chatelaine

Eckhart Tolle: You’re not your Facebook ego.

 

Allie Brosch’s Hyperbole and a Half is amazeballs awesomesauce. Read about her adventures in depression. It doesn’t end on a happy note, but there’s more to read on her site, and in her book. For my money, there’s no one who describes what it’s like to have depression better.

Anna Lovind muses on what we are called to do when our hearts are breaking. She also writes about how people use the excuse of not having enough time to skimp on self care: that’s the most ridiculous thing she’s ever heard.

Kimmy Dee reports on five scientific reasons our idea of happiness is wrong for Cracked.

Brother Devid Steindle-Rast recommends five small gestures of gratitude that counteract violence. Uplift

Jennifer Wolkin shares more about the brain-gut connection. Mindful

Last week, I shared an article about how scientists have discovered a new kind of light. This week, it’s a new kind of fire that may be useful in cleaning up oil spills. Andrew Liszewski for Gizmodo.

A new trans-Neptunian object (TNO) is making the solar system look a whole lot weirder. Shannon Hall for New Scientist.

Kivi Park will become Sudbury’s largest outdoor recreation space. South Side Story

Archived photos of Sudbury will change the way people see our city. Up Here

And here’s the mural Ella and Pitr were commissioned to create for the Up Here festival. CBC

In honour of International Left-Hand Day, BrainPickings reviews David Wolman’s book A Left-Hand Turn Around the World.

The theory of how North America was populated is wrong. Emily Chung for the CBC.

Paulette Steeves, an Indigenous anthropologist, is challenging the origin story of First Nations peoples. Denise Ryan, The Vancouver Sun.

Alan Yuhas reports on a recently uncovered Mayan tomb that sheds light on the “Snake Dynasty.” The Guardian

John Vidal examines how millions of trees brought a broken landscape back to life. The Guardian

Okay, tourists. Stop stacking rocks at Hanakapiai beach. It’s not pono (right). Christine Hitt, Hawai’i Magazine

Maddie Stone reports on the Greenland shark, which may hold the cure to aging. Gizmodo

The White Wolf Pack reports on a couple of heroic beavers from Ogden, Utah, who stopped a fuel spill with their dam, but had to be taken to a wildlife rescue for rehabilitation as a result.

A cockatoo freaks out a bunch of cats by meowing at them. Daily Kaos

That should get your mental corn a-poppin’.

With any luck, I’ve tracked Mary Robinette Kowal down and delivered the decoded phrase 🙂 So looking forward to meeting her (among others) at WorldCon.

See you on the other side (that’s the 27th)!

Thoughty Thursday

The Canadian Writers’ Summit 2016: Achieving your dream: the shadow side

Disclaimer: I am not perfect and neither are my notes. If you notice anything that needs correction or clarification, please email me at melanie (dot) marttila (at) gmail (dot) com

Panellists: Suzanne Alyssa Andrew, Carrie Snyder, Maria Meindl, Heidi Reimer, Sarah Henstra (Moderator)

theshadowside

SH: Everyone talks about the struggle that precedes publication, but what about what happens afterward?

[Panellists introduced.]

What’s been your experience with the shadow side?

HR: I’ve been thinking about this because I achieved my creative goals and felt things nobody I knew had ever mentioned. I finished my novel and I felt depressed rather than elated. My spouse is an actor and he’s experienced in the art of letting go. In his world, it’s a recognized thing that all actors experience. It’s not in mine. When I won the Chatelaine contest, I was elated, and then terrified. I looked up their distribution and readership on line. That amount of exposure made me feel vulnerable. I physically recoiled. Something intensely private was about to become public. I talked to friends about my distress.

MM: I feel like I’ve confronted the connection between success and darkness in my life. My grandmother was Mona Gould. By the time I was a child in the 60’s, her poem, “This was My Brother at Dieppe” was everywhere. When her success faded, she turned to alcohol and became bitter. What I learned from that experience is that success is harmful. It can destroy you. When she died, I received boxes of her materials. It took me five years to sort through it. She started promoting her work at the age of eleven. Her poem was sponsored by an arms manufacturer, but she was a pacifist. She didn’t feel she could object. Now I understand that it’s not success that’s destructive, but the lack of a forum and the means to use it.

CS: I always wanted to be a writer. As I was driving in from Waterloo, I tried to figure out what that seven-year-old girl’s impulse was. I focused everything on becoming an author. I published by first book at the age of twenty-nine. It was written when I was twenty-six. It was another eight years before I published my second novel. In 2012, The Juliet Stories came out and was nominated for a Governor General’s Award. It was a huge moment for me. I embraced the high and I rode it. I wasn’t prepared for not winning, though. I mean, I knew I wasn’t going to but knowing it and experiencing it are two different things. They informed us ahead of the public announcement and I sat with the secret for a week. I felt ashamed. I was afraid of disappointing my kids and everyone else who’d been so supportive of me and my book. I didn’t know how to cope with it. I am so grateful for my blog because I was able to get my experience out there. I almost changed careers. I had my acceptance to McMaster’s midwifery program in one hand and the offer for The Girl Runner in the other. I thought I’d made a mistake in pursuing my dream. Now I’m making a living as a writer. It’s wonderful and it’s amazingly difficult at the same time. It’s hard to be here and to be vulnerable in front of you.

SAA: Everything you’ve all said resonates. I’ve just published my first novel and I, too, have always wanted to be a writer. I went on a book tour and it was the first time my family had heard me read my work. I play bass in a band. It’s a group, a community. We share. In literary circles, I find there’s a lack of transparency, especially about publishing in Canada. I think the reality’s worse than any of us realize. There’s a lot of pressure to market your own book. I invested in promotion. I’m a freelance writer. I don’t regret making that investment. At the time I figured, I’ll worry about it later. Well, it’s later and I’m feeling the financial impact. I have second book paralysis, knowing how hard it was promoting my first. Musicians are open and honest about the challenges. They offer each other advice and strategies. Authors in Canada don’t talk about these issues. We’re worried about seeming ungrateful. It’s very isolating. We need to be more vocal as a community.

SH: Can any of you comment further on shame and vulnerability?

CS: You’re novel is something you’ve worked on for years. It will be judged. There will be reviews. I’m a private person. I work through things in writing. It doesn’t feel right to be so exposed. To create anything of value, you have to go there, though. I was terrified of being changed by success. I can deal with rejection, but I have no experience in dealing with success.

SAA: It’s about being a creative person in the public sphere. You can get so involved in the persona you adopt for the media that you can start to feel schizophrenic. We don’t express our real feelings on social media. Everyone else seems more successful, happier. You compare yourself to others and find yourself wanting. There’s another reality to the one presented on Facebook.

HR: When I was published for the first time (I wrote an essay about the experience) I suffered anxiety and panic attacks. If it’s not discussed openely, everyone thinks it’s only them. I have a novel on submission. I received a rejection and felt relief. I know what to do with rejection. A ‘yes’ involves a whole other world. I was happy to stay in my identity as a rejected writer. You have to redefine yourself in light of success.

SH: Is this a question of gender? We’re all women on this panel.

MM: There’s a line between the inner and outer worlds of the author. There’s a free-floating shame still attached to being a woman and a woman writer in particular. Hélène Cixous once asked, “write? With what right?” We’ve internalized this social message. It’s about taking charge of the narrative. Take hold of the narrative. Be heard. It’s a gendered issue.

CS: Are there any men authors in the audience?

Aud: Yes. When the questions was asked, all the women were nodding and the men were shaking their heads. We don’t talk about the shadow side.

MM: The word authorship, etymologically, it means leadership, mastery. As a woman, I didn’t feel welcomed into that world.

SH: Many authors speak of their novels as their ‘book babies.’ There’s a stigma to post-partum depression. You’re not allowed to feel down after having a human baby. Have you found anything that helps?

SAA: Being someone who had this dream, I had high expectations. Being in a band dialled those expectations back. Check your expectations. Talk about it with other authors. What does success mean to you?

CS: Create a safe, private space in which to create. Don’t get down on yourself if you can’t create while you’re doing publicity. It’s not what I thought the job was. I have to remember why I write. I have to turn off all of my expectations. I’m still a writer, even if I never get published again. I wanted to make a living as a writer. I have. But there are worse things than not making a living as a writer.

HR: I did a releasing ritual. I needed to get all of that stuff out. Society says you should be happy. I felt loss. I had to write it out. I had to acknowledge the feelings and affirm what I wanted.

SH: How do you not miss the moment because you’re rushing on to the next fifty things you have to do? You have to celebrate your successes. Ania Szado says you also have to honour your losses.

MM: When my book came out, my Rabbi did a blessing over the book. It was a wonderful thing, on the Sabbath, so, no selling, no pressure. We were just honouring a life event.

SH: Do you want to say something about your definition of success?

MM: The more I thought about it, the more I realized how much others define success for us. We also internalize those definitions and move the bar.

CS: My ‘word of the year’ was success. It terrified me. To everyone else, it looks like success. To me, it doesn’t feel like success. It has a lot to do with what we expect.

SAA: Amy Winehouse’s definition of success was to sing. That’s it. When she got big, she imploded.

Q: What issues turn you on to writing?

CS: I write because I have something to say. Later, the issues grow out of what I’ve written.

SAA: Despite all the challenges of writing, we all have something to say. The joy of writing is in expressing something, of speaking to your readers.

Q: How do you relate to your readers and how is that relationship affected by the shadow side?

MM: I used to be more involved in small press publication. A man bought my book for a dollar and then returned later to tell me that he was moved. It was a wonderful feeling.

SAA: I started out on fire about online marketing. Eventually, I felt like I was speaking into the void. It wasn’t until I went on tour that I felt it was real. I could talk to people. Writers are rarefied outside Toronto.

CS: I was at a writers’ festival in BC and a woman gave me an envelope. In her letter she asked me how I had known her so intimately? She felt like I had written for her, to her. It was humbling.

SH: When I launched Mad Miss Mimic last year, a girl bought the book, sat down, and didn’t stop reading all night. My favourite thing is when parents send me pictures of their kids reading the books. It’s old school. One reader can change your world.

Q: What kind of support do you look for?

SAA: I get the best support from other writers. I have a wonderful agent, Samantha Haywood, and she held my hand through the process.

Q: What strategy do you use to deal with criticism?

CS: I bounce back really quickly now. I’m as polite as possible in person. Privately, I allow myself 24 hours of bleakness, and then I get over it.

SAA: A lot of critique says more about the critic than the writer.

Q: Do you get requests for information from aspiring writers?

CS: Yes. I have advice on my blog. I’ll respond to individual requests for advice from friends.

HR: Take me out for lunch and I’ll tell you whatever you want to know.

Q: How do you deal with family stuff?

HR: I write what I write and when it goes out into the world, I panic. The Chatelaine article reveals some personal information about my relationship with my dad. I had to tell him when I heard that it would be published. I was worried, but it was good. It’s best to deal with it directly.

And that was time.

Next week, I’m going to post another book review.  It’s a five-star so you can look forward to that 🙂

Be well until next I post, my friends.

Thoughty Thursday: Things that made me go hmmmm on the interwebz, May 8-14, 2016

Lots of thoughty for your big squishy brains this week!

The Jian Gomeshi case was in the news again this week. Another complainant came forward, but chose not to go to court and accept a peace bond. The agreement? Gomeshi would admit his wrongdoing and apologize publically. Kathryn Borel released this statement outside court after the unsatisfying apology. The Toronto Star.

Sandy Garossino reports that Borel’s counterpunch blindsides Henein and knocks out Gomeshi. National Observer.

The UN champions essential services for survivors of violence against women and girls.

 

Here are a couple of fabulous articles by Lindy West. First, the ‘perfect body’ is a lie. Then, break the period taboo. The Guardian.

Are you a cool girl? ASAP Thought wants you to help dismantle the patriarchy 🙂

 

Latinos are now the largest ethnic group in California. The Los Angeles Times.

You may remember that I’ve mentioned in the past how careful we need to be with media reports of scientific studies. This explains why. Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Scientific Studies.

 

How World War II changed Walt Disney. Time.

Clint Edwards gleans lessons from The Goonies, and from the loss of unsupervised time for kids. The Washington Post.

John Reed tells a tale almost too creepy to believe: my grandma, the poisoner. Vice.

The CDC releases new statistics on suicide in the US.

And on the other side of the death coin: when patients and doctors disagree about end-of-life care. The Washington Post.

Sarah Kurchak shares depression-busting exercise tips for people too depressed to exercise. The Establishment.

Not to be facetious, but Emily Hartridge lists 10 reasons why . . . she’s grateful to have anxiety.

 

BigThink offers proven tools for lifting a bad mood.

IndiHope lists 51 Dr. Seuss quotes on happiness.

This is just cool. The brain dictionary, on AmpLIFEied.

Kepler reveals a new bounty of exoplanets, including nine in the ‘Goldilocks’ zone. Phil Plait for Slate.

It’s okay to be smart. The cosmic afterglow:

 

William Gadoury discovers a link between the constellations and the locations of Mayan cities. YourNewsWire.com

And this is just funny. Ken Ham tried to disprove science using . . . science. Epic fail. Slate.

It’s okay to be smart: the most important moment in the history of life:

 

Weird science: can corpses turn to stone?

 

David Bowie on being authentic:

 

The Buddha Weekly focuses on the consciousness of non-human beings. I’m really sorry. I enjoy the meats 😦

Have a happy Friday, and we’ll see you on the weekend!

Thoughty Thursday