Thoughty Thursday: Things that made me go hmmmm on the interwebz, Oct 7-13, 2018

Here are a few links to get your mental corn popping.

Steve LeVine shows us the state of current space exploration efforts worldwide: the new global race to space. Axios

SciShow Space News covers the potential discovery of the first exomoon and ice blades on Europa.

 

Diane Selkirk encounters North America’s nearly forgotten language. BBC

John Paul Brammer profiles eight LGBTQ+ and two-spirit Native Americans changing the world. them

Neri Oxman, working in MIT’s material ecology lab, has intrigued the likes of Björk and Brad Pitt. Penelope Green for The New York Times.

Samantha Nutt proposes the lessons women are asking men to learn. The Globe and Mail

SciShow takes a close, terrifying look at toxic shock syndrome.

 

I am mine. This is what Alzheimer’s looks like at 41. Shannon Proudfoot for McLean’s.

Jim C. Hines shares his thoughts on mental health awareness day (another post about depression).

Jenna Moreci does a special YouTube episode on mental illness, too (with bonus Cliff notes!)

 

Thanks for stopping by. I hope you found something you can use in your current creative project.

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

thoughtythursday2016

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Thoughty Thursday: Things that made me go hmmmm on the interwebz, July 16-22, 2017

At this moment, I’m somewhere over the Atlantic (I hope) on my way to Hamburg via Reykjavik. And so , yes, this will be your last dose of thoughty for a few weeks.

The CBC takes a look at how the Phoenix debacle has affected Sudbury’s public servants.

Melanie Lefebvre: it’s not my job to teach you about Indigenous people. The Walrus

Yvette Brend explains how Indigenous fire wisdom is the key to megafire prevention. CBC

Willie Drye reports that Blackbeard’s ship is now confirmed to be off North Carolina’s coast. National Geographic

Tom Spender: teleportation of photons today, humans tomorrow? BBC

SciShow: CERN’s new particle and the oldest form of (animal) life.

 

Brenda Knowles offers some tips for coping with social anxiety and how to build resilience. Space2Live

Mark Brown: report reveals that the arts help in recovery from mental illness. The Guardian

Peter Dinklage – light up the night

 

Emily Reynolds reports on ravens and their theory of mind. Wired

Bored Panda lists 50 of the happiest dog memes ever.

I hope to be back on the blogging horse on the weekend of August 19 with a post about the Writing Excuses cruise.

Be well until my return.

thoughtythursday2016

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, March 19-25, 2017

I hope something in this mess gets your mental corn popping 🙂

Pete Mohrbacher has been painting surrealist angels since 2004. I would plaster the house with his work if I could. Angelarium.

Lori Dorn shares a documentary about M.C. Escher. Laughing Squid

Joel Levy shares some vintage photographs of the Toronto Islands. Toronto Guardian

Teodora Zareva: Disney is fulfilling on of Nicola Tesla’s dreams. Big Think

Matt Simon covers the revelation of the crazy-tough water bear’s secret. Wired

Phil Plait reacquaints himself with an old friend that has a new mystery. Is it a planet, or a star? Blastr

Then, a three billion solar mass black hole rockets out of a galaxy at eight billion kilometres and hour. Blastr

Umir Abrar: the big bang isn’t the beginning of our universe—it’s the ending of something else. Physics-Astronomy

Gobblynne provides a great reminder and lovely interpretation of the two wolves mindfulness parable. Vimeo

Tom Jacobs thinks America needs a crash course in critical thinking. I think everyone, everywhere, could use a primer. Pacific Standard

Ever twist yourself into philosophical knots wondering about the nature of reality? That’s okay, Professor Donald H. Hoffman says it probably doesn’t matter because living in a constructed fantasy world is the thing that allows us to survive. Robby Berman for Big Think.

Tori Rodriguez reveals that negative emotions are key to your wellbeing. Scientific American

Lee Suckling lists twelve signs that you may be an extroverted introvert. Stuff

Vicki Hall reports on Clara Hughes’ continuing struggle with mental illness. The National Post

Brian Resnick: if you’re not a morning person, science says you never will be. Vox

Mayim Bialik: girl vs. woman and why language matters.

 

Jim Moodie covers how Shannon Agowissa and Lisa Osawamick are helping to keep Sudbury’s indigenous girls and women safe. The Sudbury Star

Jimmy Thomson reports on the development of new maps that will depict the pre-colonial “Turtle Island” Canada. I’m eager to see these. CBC

Gregory D. Smithers examines the enduring legacy of the Pocahontas myth. The Atlantic

A Medieval abbey trapped by tides and time. Great Big Story

 

I love dance. So you think you can dance is the only reality television I watch. So this hip hop routine by Kyle Hanagami for Ed Sheeran’s “The Shape of You” kind of blew me away.

 

And that was your thoughty for the week.

See you on the weekend for my next chapter update.

Be well until then.

thoughtythursday2016

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, Sept 25-Oct 1, 2016

I’m taking it easy on your mental popcorn, this week 🙂

Katie Hafner reports on the epidemic of loneliness among the elderly. The New York Times

Human trafficking is a hidden problem in north-eastern Ontario (and everywhere, unfortunately). CBC

Nora Caplan-Bricker reveals the risks of sexual assault on long haul flights. Slate

Marissa Fessenden shares how women in the early 1900s dealt with harassment. The Smithsonian

Library worker defends free speech and is arrested for it. The Bill of Right Defense Committee

Ronald W. Pies discusses the astonishing non-epidemic of mental illness. Psychiatric Times

Ivan Dikov reports on a shrine to Demeter and Persephone discovered in Bulgaria. Brewminate

Ria Misra reports on SpaceX’s major milestone en route to Mars. Gizmodo

Phil Plait shares Judy Schmidt’s astrophotography. Slate. Later in the week Phil shares the first photograph ever taken of the sun.

Maddie Stone shares the last image Rosetta captured before it crashed. Gizmodo

Fiona MacDonald reports on a 25 year old PhD student, Shu Lam’s, solution to antibiotic-resistant infections. Science Alert

Julien d’Hoy reports on how scientists have traced society’s myths to their primordial origins. Scientific American

The Vintage News shares the discovery of Britain’s Atlantis.

Medievalists.net lists the top ten scandals of the Middle Ages. Story fodder, anyone? 😉

Uninhabitable 1887 Queen Anne house is restored to its former glory. Laura Caseley for Little things.

Here’s a lovely local piece on NISA’s annual art show. South Side Story

Sad and Useless shares a Twitter stream on how God created some animals. Lolz aplenty.

Two guinea pigs discuss everything pumpkin spice.

 

Teddy Bear the porcupine’s Hallowe’en feast. He sounds like Woodstock from the Peanuts 🙂

 

Sheila Carabine releases her solo album 🙂 Here’s one of her songs: The Oak and the Maple.

 

Hope you enjoyed this week’s offerings.

See you on Saturday!

Thoughty Thursday

Canadian Writers’ Summit 2016: Writing hard truths

Disclaimer: I’m not perfect, and neither are my notes. If you see anything that needs correction or clarification, please email me at melanie (dot) marttila (at) gmail (dot) com and I will action it post hasty.

HardTruths

Panellists: Lorri Neilsen Glenn (moderator), Kim Pittaway, Clem Martini

LNG: So many people are struggling with how to approach difficult topics and hard truths in their writing. Each presenter will have the opportunity to frame their work, each will give a reading, and then we’ll open the floor to Q&A.

CM: In 2010, I wrote Bitter Medicine, which is about my family’s struggle with mental illness. It ends on a positive note, but the story itself is difficult in that it documents our journey with my brother’s schizophrenia and my mother’s developing dementia. When I recognized the first signs of my mother’s dementia, the support structure we’d had in place for my brother collapsed. They were living together, and had been able to take care of each other, with my support, until then. I’m now working on the continuing story, the working title of which is The Book of Lies. Caregiving is a verb. Ideally, it’s perfect, like a spider web, a delicate network of mutual and community support. In reality, it’s more like a spider web that’s been woven by a spider on LSD. It’s full of flaws. My problem now, because I’m writing our story as I’m living it, is to decide what’s safe to write about. What do I include? How far do I go? Those are cogent questions for all writers facing true stories with demanding subject matter.

KP: My current manuscript is about families and unforgiveness. The concept of difficult knowledge versus lovely knowledge is used in curation. Deborah Britzman defines lovely knowledge as easily assimilatable. It confirms what we know, or think we know, about the world. Difficult knowledge does not confirm, or conform with, our reality. How do we curate suffering? Are we showing it?  Are we turning suffering into something productive? How is truth-telling gratuitous? How is it harmful? This is intriguing to me as a writer because most memoirs are full of lovely knowledge. There’s nothing wrong with sweetness and nostalgia, but we have to be aware that everything contains within it, its opposite. Do you face it head on, or obliquely? We have to question our tools, our strategies, and our craft.

LNG: I was reading Martha Nussbaum. She states that the heart cannot change without story. I found myself thinking about readers and readers’ responses. My students ask me why I don’t have any happy stories or poems. It’s a valid question, but it made me think. Writing hard truths forces us to confront our shadow selves as writers and as readers. Despite what you think you’re writing about, the tough stuff is already there. Do we really need those details, though? There is a hunger for stories that get close to the bone. Take a look at the stories that have come out as a result of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission for residential school survivors. Those are terrible stories, but they’re also healing stories. Stories about difficult truths invite us to remove our masks. They can be, and often are, gendered.

Readings ensued, with the attendant and courteous trigger warnings, followed by Q&A.

Remember: I’ll be on blog-vacation, so there won’t be a post next weekend, though this week’s curation posts will be scheduled and should be posted on their regular days. No curation on the 23rd and 25th, though. I’ll be back on August 27th with my notes from Robert Sawyer’s presentation on diversifying your income and regularly scheduled blogging will proceed from there until November.

Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, May 15-21, 2016

Fact and fun, all rolled into one . . . curation post 😉

K.M. Weiland shares strategies for writing faster (and why maybe you shouldn’t). Helping writers become authors. Later in the week she shares her number one tip for writing books readers can’t put down.

Chuck Wendig explodes more writing myths as he invites us to crotch-punch the creative yeti. Terribleminds.

Kristan Hoffman puts forth an argument for letting your creativity rest. Writer Unboxed.

Kameron Hurley writes about fame, publishing, and breakout books: dancing for dinner.

Jami Gold helps us understand how plot obstacles affect character agency.

Dave King continues to explore historical fiction pitfalls with this post for Writer Unboxed: sympathetic characters in unsympathetic worlds.

Carly Watters shares five secrets to publishing your debut novel.

Porter Anderson looks at book prices and writing value. Should we have been careful what we wished for? Writer Unboxed.

Five signs your novel may be sexist – against men. Chris Winkle brings a little balance to the table for Mythcreants.

The establishment has always hated the new kids. Kameron Hurley.

Monica Alverado Frazier wonders, do you know how to use a curandera?

Modern witches are so much more than Maiden/Mother/Crone. Natalie Zutter for Tor.com

Daniel José Older reads from Half Resurrection Blues. This man reads like a poet. I could listen to him all day 🙂

 

John Mullan explores how plots grip us, from Dickens to Line of Duty. The Guardian.

Women swept the 2015 Nebula Awards. Andrew Liptak for i09.

Five science fiction and fantasy novels that treat mental illness with compassion. Barnes & Noble.

This is COOL. Boston’s sidewalks are covered in secret poems. Atlas Obscura.

Lincoln Michel explains why fairy tales are magic for modern fiction. The Guardian.

Dig at the Curtain theatre unearths a Shakespearean surprise. Jill Lawless for Phys.org

Do overused words lose their meaning? Jonathon Sturgeon for Flavorwire.

CBS passes on Nancy Drew adaptation for testing “too female” for line-up (whatever that means). Carly Lane for The Mary Sue.

The BBC shares nine life lessons from Doctor Who.

Two of the shows I liked got cancelled. Fortunately, the end is only the beginning for Supergirl and Marvel’s Agent Carter. Alisdair Stuart for Tor.com

Honest trailers – Game of Thrones, vol. 1 Bewbs!

 

Come back Thursday for your weekly dose of thoughty!

Tipsday

Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, May 1-7, 2016

And we’re still on a roll 😉

K.M. Weiland offers six tips to help you finish your book. Helping writers become authors.

Janice Hardy helps you get your novel to the finish line: staying focused enough to write (part two). Fiction University. And part three: resisting the shiny, new idea.

K.M. Weiland shares how to harness the dark side of your impact character. Helping writers become authors.

Jami Gold answers the question, what’s the difference between plot and story?

Talking yourself down and talking yourself up: the two-headed dragon of insecurity. Ella Joy Olsen on Women Writers, Women’s Books.

Donald Maass: pixie dust, the secret ingredient to adding sparkle to your writing. Writer Unboxed.

Fantasy Faction explores languages in fantasy.

Chris Winkle offers four tips for depicting characters with disabilities. Mythcreants.

Chuck Wendig: Hello, I have anxiety. How are you?

Sarah Selecky is back with part three of her writing retreats for your wish list series: make your own retreat 🙂

Sarah Letourneau offers five reasons to do market research on your work in progress. DIYMFA.

New research explains how the pen is mightier than the keyboard. The Literacy Site.

Mallory Ortberg looks at publishing, weight, and writers who are ‘hard to look at.’ The Toast. This really pissed me off.

Jael Richardson launches the Festival of Literary Diversity. Donovan Vincent for The Toronto Star.

CBC Books lists twelve Canadian novels that describe living with mental illness.

Buzzfeed shares 21 examples of exquisite handwriting.

Gregory Woods offers his top ten landmarks in gay and lesbian literature. The Guardian.

Nicholas Lezard reviews Seven Miles of Steel Thistles.

Book Riot shares this massive list of 100 science fiction and fantasy novels by women.

Wil Wheaton mansplains the Star Wars: Rogue One hate. The Nerdist.

Alisdair Stuart reviews Captain America: Civil War (without spoilers!). Tor.com

Fire and Launch wonder if Brandon Stark is the hero of Game of Thrones (contains spoilers). Tor.com

Norman Descendants explores the historical truth of Ragnar Lothbrock.

This Harry Potter themed wedding was tasteful as fuck. Buzzfeed.

See you with your weekly dose of thoughty on Thursday!

Tipsday

Thoughty Thursday: Things that made me go hmmmm on the interwebz, April 3-9, 2016

I hope you’re all visual learners, ‘cause this thoughty Thursday’s jam-packed with videos!

It’s autism acceptance month 🙂

Photographer, Michelle Marshall, documents Afro-Caribbean gingers. Black Girl Long Hair.

Ten inspiring Muslim women every person should know.

 

Mike Veny: Mental illness is an asset. TED Talk.

 

A psychiatrist thinks the key to happiness might be swallowing the right bacteria. Business Insider.

Things about anxiety nobody talks about. The Mighty.

 

Six reasons why touch is amazing. ASAP Thought.

 

Vi Hart muses on the tools we use.

 

Crash course physics is here! Phil Plait for Slate.

The first photograph of light as both particle and wave. Phys.org

The music of the spheres. Literally. EWAO.

Jessica Cail on NOVA’s secret lives of scientists 🙂

 

WWF Hungary released this amazing video – Paper world. Vimeo.

It’s okay to be smart asks, how do bees make honey?

 

And for your entertainment:

MsMr – Wrong Victory

 

And Florence + The Machine. Queen of Peace & Long and Lost.

 

Enjoy, my friends.

See you on Saturday for an origin story and some anime series discoveries.

Thoughty Thursday