Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, Mar 10-16, 2019

Another week, another bunch of informal writerly learnings 🙂

There’s not as much as usual, because last week’s Facebook outage sacrificed a whole day’s worth of curation. Sorry, but it’s still the easiest way for me to track my online reading.

Nina Munteanu explains how to stoke the scintillation of inspiration.

Julianna Baggott offers three clues that you may be a more productive writer. Kathryn Craft tells you when to let go of your original inspiration. Writer Unboxed

Christina Delay wants you to invite creativity through meditation. Writers in the Storm

K.M. Weiland says that plot, character, and theme are the greatest love triangle of all time. Helping Writers Become Authors

Elisabeth Kauffman answers a question about character description and POV. Stephanie Jo Harris shares five tips for fearless writing. DIY MFA

Chris Winkle answers a writing question: how do I keep my non-productive immortal race from becoming problematic? Then, Chris teams up with Oren Ashkenazi: five ways your characters can acquire magic. Finally, Oren tackles five more underpowered antagonists. Mythcreants

Jami Gold talks about story threads and fixing the rips in our stories. Victoria Mixon explains how to layer character for believable fiction. Writers Helping Writers

Alexa Donne tries to help you figure out if you’re a good writer.

 

Mary Hynes: when hope is “punk” and grudge is forgiveness. “Tapestry” on CBC.

Ben H. Winters wonders what the make-believe bureaucracies of science fiction say about us? The New York Times

And that was Tipsday. Come back on Thursday for some fuel for your thoughts.

Until then, be well, my friends!

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Thoughty Thursday: Things that made me go hmmmm on the interwebz, Dec 2-15, 2018

Last week, I had two skimpy links to offer. As I said, my brain refused to brain in the week following NaNoWriMo. This week, the neurons mustered, and so I have a reasonable selection of stuff to pop your mental corn 🙂

The Guardian editorial staff shares its view on editing human DNA: a bad idea, and badly executed.

This “city” for people with dementia is the future of memory care. Katherine Schwab for Fast Company.

More neuroscience with Shannon Odell. Your brain on hangovers. Inverse

 

David Paul Kirkpatrick is breathing in the light. An instruction in the “Golden Flower” meditation. Better Humans/Medium

Matt Novak: how did Mary Queen of Scots send her secret messages? Paleofuture

Lizzie Philip takes a close-up look at the most influential medical book of the 16th century. Atlas Obscura

Robert Iriondo: differences between AI and machine learning and why it matters. Data Driven Investor

Brandon Specktor reports that Earth’s mysterious “deep biosphere” harbours millions of undiscovered species. NBC

Johnson & Johnson knew for decades that asbestos lurked in its baby powder. Lisa Girion for Reuters.

Christine Ro: the psychology behind stalking. Vice

And on that disturbing note, that was thoughty Thursday.

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

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Thoughty Thursday: Things that made me go hmmmm on the interwebz, May 20-26, 2018

Happy Friday eve, everyone! Please enjoy these resources. It’s time to get your mental corn popping!

Philip Bump: 2018 has been deadlier for school children than for service members. The Washington Post

Jim C. Hines thinks too many men can’t handle being told no.

Kat Eschner says, sleeping in on the weekend might be good for you, but it’s not going to solve all your problems. Popular Science

How is ADHD different for an adult? Kati Morton

 

Inverse: your brain on meditation with Shannon Odell.

 

Charlotte Ahlin lists eleven real life inventions inspired by science fiction novels. I wasn’t sure whether to put this in Tipsday or here in Thoughty Thursday, but the thought won out. Bustle

Kevin Sieff profiles a 21st Century Noah’s ark in Malawi that strives to repopulate animals that have been wiped out. The Washington Post

Is this the beginning of the end for bees? Mind Foster

Guy Winch: why we need to take pet loss seriously. Scientific American

Tomorrow’s Friday. I hope you have a good one, and a great weekend to come! Looking forward 🙂

Be well until this weekend’s next chapter update. Yup, another month will have passed. Time marches on, but so do we.

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Thoughty Thursday: Things that made me go hmmmm on the interwebz, Feb 4-10, 2018

Thought Thursday is here, and you know what that means … tomorrow is Friday! Happy Friday eve!

This is why Uma Thurman is angry. Maureen Dowd for The New York Times.

Gemma Hartley says that the equal distribution of emotional labour is the key to gender equality. Harper’s Bazaar

Author Roni Loren writes a personal post about hormones, stress, and sneaky depression.

Ed Yong studied his own articles to improve the gender balance of his reporting. The Atlantic

John Pavlovitz: no, you’re not tired of being politically correct.

The Economist is thinking about natives in an era of nativism.

Hannah Devlin reports on the DNA analysis of Cheddar Man and the revelation that the first modern Britons had dark to black skin. The Guardian

Cleve R. Wootson: Maya civilisation was vaster than thought, as thousands of newly discovered structures reveal. The Washington Post

Phil Plait shares Mike Olbinski’s time-lapse storm video, Breathe. SyFy

Whistler Deep Sky II – David McColm Photography

 

Ashley Hamer: yes, a donut-shaped planet is technically possible. Curiosity

Tariq Malik reports on the SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket’s historic maiden voyage. Space

Andrea Morris introduces us to the woman teaching artificial intelligence about human values. Forbes

Rafi Letzter examines how an ancient virus may be responsible for human consciousness. Live Science

World War II spitfire pilot Mary Ellis from the Isle of Wight turns 100. BBC

Dangerous Minds profiles the Victorian woman who drew pictures of ghosts.

The astonishing science of what trees feel and how they communicate. Peter Wohlleben’s The Hidden Life of Trees. Maria Popova, Brain Pickings.

Hooria Jazaieri points out three things we still don’t know about meditation (and how to read studies critically). Mindful

Steven Parton explores the science of happiness and why complaining is literally killing you. Curious Apes

Mohammed Al-Mosaiwi: people with depression are more likely to say certain words. Quartz

Truth Potato tells it like it is. Bored Panda

Piper, a short film by Disney Pixar.

 

I hope something in this mix got your mental corn popping.

Be well until the weekend.

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Muse-Inks: Weird mood stuff

So here’s the (first) thing: I’m freaking out inside (about my upcoming trip), but I’m trying not to freak out. I’m so excited I can barely stand it, but … if I let either of those two particular cats out of their respective bags, I won’t be able to function.

And I have to function. I have to be able to work. I have to be able to write. I have to be able to do normal, day to day stuff like laundry. And I have to be able to organize my shit and pack for the trip. Which, of course, loops me back around to freaking out.

Can I tell you that all this restraint is exhausting (and not have y’all think that I’m a whiny baby)?

Anxiety is real.

I may appear calm. I may speak quietly. I may smile.

Meanwhile, my heart’s beating a hundred miles an hour, I feel like I’m having hot flashes (and I’m of the age when some of them may be legitimate), I’m dizzy and feel like I might faint, and sometimes my extremities go numb. All of these reactions are the result of adrenalin release. Though I’m not actually experiencing anything that justifies fight or flight, my anxiety triggers the hormone cascade.

It also messes up healthy sleep, which means I’m perpetually tired.

Most of my effort centres on remaining clam. If I can prevent the cascade from happening in the first place, I’m good. So at the day job, I’m laser-focused until breaks and lunch and then I dive into one of the several novels I have on the go and I immerse myself in words.

I avoid talking about the trip, because that, in itself, can be a trigger. I can’t be rude, though, and once the topic comes up, I try to focus on the practical, the logical, the real. I’m not always successful. And once my anxiety kicks up, I can only ride it out, go for a walk to burn off some of the nervous energy, or focus on my breathing until my hands stop shaking.

An anxiety attack passes. That doesn’t mean it’s not hell while it lasts.

So, yeah. That’s the first weird mood thing going on.

The second is introspective weirdness.

I’ve written before that I used to dream vividly when I was young. I had nightmares and night terrors, somnambulism, and somniloquy (talking in your sleep). I’ve had out of body experiences, near death experiences, and other experiences of the universe that would be considered uncanny.

I’ve delved into meditation of various stripes, wicca, and European shamanism.

From my mid-twenties into my mid-thirties, I was what I would call a seeker.

After all the reading and the research and the exploration, I ended up settling on the uncertain ground of the agnostic. My experience of the universe defied definition. I didn’t want to force-fit it into a category. I let it be what it is, tell me what it wanted to, and I’d respond accordingly.

The problem is, as I get older, I’ve heard, or felt, those universal nudges less and less. And I don’t know what the cause is.

Have I, like Susan Pevensie, outgrown my sense of wonder? Recent events have led me to believe that this is not the case. Am I close enough to where I need to be that I don’t need those universal nudges anymore? Possibly, but why do I feel so … lost, then? Have I shut down my intuitive side? Again, it’s possible, but how can I tell?

I’ve been working on the assumption that all of the uncanny stuff has channelled itself into my creativity. This part of my life continues to blossom, but it’s a flower in a private conservatory. What’s the point if no one gets to see it?

I guess that’s what everything comes down to. I know what it is I need to do, and I do it. I write. I study craft and literature and story of all kinds. My life revolves around that central principle, sometimes to an unhealthy extent.

To date, however, I haven’t been able to produce a lot of objective evidence of the work that I’ve done.

I know that the writing is its own intrinsic reward. I will still be writing for the rest of my life, regardless of what does, or does not happen. I just keep missing, or messing up, opportunities to get my words out there, or my efforts proceed without significant results.

They say that when the student is ready, the teacher will appear. The universe seems to be out of lessons. I need to find another way forward.

Maybe my big Baltic adventure will provide some answers.

In the meantime, I’m going to make the effort to remain open, to recognize a universal nudge if I get one, and to act on it accordingly.

There you have it: I suffer from mental illness (depression and anxiety), and I have an unorthodox view of the universe. Maybe one leads to the other? Or coaxes it along? Who’s to know? Unless the universe is interested in sharing … ?

I shall leave you on that ambiguous note.

This is my last weekend post until after Helsinki WorldCon.

I don’t know how active I’ll be on social media, though I’m sure I’ll be posting a scad of photos 🙂

As ever, be well, be kind, and stay strong. The world needs your stories!

Muse-inks

Thoughty Thursday: Things that made me go hmmmm on the interwebz, Jan 15-21, 2017

Another small curation this week. With all those #alternatetruths out there, I guess the world isn’t feeling too thoughty 😦 Or maybe that’s just me.

Timothy B. Lee gets a bird’s eye view of Women’s Marches all over the US. Vox

Sarah Kaplan reports on the astonishing science behind fairy rings in the desert. The Washington Post

Rae Paoletta interviews Dr. Chandra Prescod-Weinstein about the importance of Hidden Figures. Gizmodo

Nunavut’s 96 year old seamstress models her clothes and advocates for traditional design. Priscilla Hwang for the CBC.

Emma Young: Iceland knows how to stop teen substance abuse, but the rest of the world isn’t listening. Mosaic

Phil Plait offered this lovely astronomical metaphor to those saddened by inauguration day: if you need strength, be like Daphnis. Slate

Katy Koontz considers fireflies: a surreal synchronized wave of light. BBC

Emily Laurence: what to do when meditation doesn’t work for you. I must admit, I’m not a good meditater. Well and Good

Samoyed sings while squeezing toy. #sammytude

 

All the best.

See you on the weekend for more WorldCon reportage!

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Thoughty Thursday: Things that made me go hmmmm on the interwebz June 15-21, 2014

I think I have to declare this the week of TED. A fair amount of TED talk here. All excellent, as TED talks tend to be.

Just a bit of politics here. The Northern Gateway pipeline is that other pipeline, but it’s a Canadian thing, so some of you may not have heard. Here’s an interesting article about the lies that have been told in an attempt to push the project through.

Kudos to the UK where teaching creationism is now banned in state-run schools. I Fucking Love Science.

A man dedicated to fighting woo: The Huffington Post interviews James Randi (The Amazing Randi).

Just to offer some balance, a post on meditation from one of the woo-pitchers Randi debunks. Actually, I don’t think Randi has an issue with meditation, or its potential benefits, just all the other stuff that tends to get glommed in with it.

More IFLS: How neurons decide whether you cope or become stressed.

TED talk from David Anderson: Your brain is more than a bag of chemicals.

And related, from the Wall Street Journal: Our brains are made for enjoying art.

A TED talk from Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi on the secret of happiness, flow.

Another TED talk from Steven Johnson: Where good ideas come from.

TED talk from Colin Stokes. What are today’s movies teaching our kids? This kind of goes with the article on strong female characters from this past Tipsday. Hint strong doesn’t equal pew-pew-pew!

Jim C. Hines responds to a blog post entitled “The naive idiocy of teaching rapists not to rape.” Read to get the goods.

An interesting article from Irish Central on the black Irish and their history.

Entertainment Weekly interviews David Benioff and Dan Weiss about the season 4 finale of Game of Thrones.

And Maisie Williams on her character, Arya.

One of my favourite pair of singer/songwriters: Dala 🙂

 

And just for laughs: What do you Poupon?

It was a fairly thoughty week! Enjoy, my friends 🙂

Thoughty Thursday