Thoughty Thursday: Things that made me go hmmmm on the interwebz, July 22-28, 2018

It’s time to pop your mental corn, get those creative connections established, and generate awesome ideas for your craft.

Brain scans show four different types of depression. Kate Horowitz for Mental Floss.

Brenda Knowles explores avoidant attachment in adult relationships: the truth behind our need to be alone. Space2Live

SciShow Space stops video production to report on the underground lake on Mars.

 

Linda Webster tells a dog tail: my dog is teaching me to be resilient. The Globe and Mail

Those forest fires I posted about last week? Stephanie Johnson introduces us to Shawn Rae, a fire rescuer who’s saving people’s cottages from the French River fires. Parry Sound North Star

Adele Peters: the four-day work week is good for business. Fast Company

Abby Sewell and Stephanie Gengotti invite us inside the magical life of Europe’s family circuses. National Geographic

Dave Lucas explains what it is to love an old dog. Made me weep. Literary Hub

Stephen Dowling: the complicated truth about a cat’s purr. BBC

Sadie Dingfelder tells the story of the crane who fell in love with a human. The Washington Post

Moar Ze Frank: true facts about ducks (and their spiral genitals—seriously weird shit).

 

Watch a black bear take a bath.

 

And that was your Thoughty Thursday for the week.

This weekend, I’ll be composing my next chapter update for the month of July. Come back for a visit and see what I’ve been up to.

Until then, be well!

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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.

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Thoughty Thursday: Things that made me go hmmmm on the interwebz, May 21-27, 2017

Time to get your thoughty on!

Brian Resnick reveals what the science really says about mindfulness in the classroom. Vox

John Cleese is offended by political correctness.

 

Emma shares her thoughts on what’s really going on when your partner says, “you should have asked.

Bill Chappell reports that Taiwan’s high court rules same-sex marriage legal, a first in Asia. NPR

Asia Kate Dillon makes a mark as “they.” Leigh Nordstrom for WWD.

Indigenous Motherhood states that energy is wasted on the battles of appropriation and racism: Indigenous systems are resistance. The best revenge is living a good life? Yeah. That.

Rich Larson unpacks the impact of Chris Cornell’s death: it’s not what you think. The First Ten Words

Foz Meadows: what depression is. Shattersnipe

Resilience is about how you recharge, not how you endure. Shawn Achor and Michelle Gielan for The Harvard Business Review.

Jonice Webb lists ten things emotionally neglected kids grow up believing—that aren’t true. Yahoo!

Yudhijit Battacharjee explores the science behind why we lie. National Geographic

Josh O’Connor tells the tale of the women who pioneered computer programming before men took over. Timeline

David Kohn: when scientists saw the mouse heads glowing, they knew the discovery was big. New breakthrough in Alzheimer’s research. The Washington Post

Bec Crew reports that the brain literally starts eating itself when it doesn’t get enough sleep. [On that note, I think I’m going to bed …] Science Alert

Alexandra Sifferlin explains why your diet isn’t working. A long, but fascinating, article. Time

Lauren (Cough into my open mouth on Tumblr) shares her latest batch of gryphons.

I hope that got your mental corn popping!

See you again on the weekend.

Be well until then.

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Thoughty Thursday: Things that made me go hmmmm on the interwebz, May 1-7, 2016

CBC covers of the Fort McMurray wildfire and evacuation. Heart-wrenching.

Before you get teary (all over again), the answer to this somewhat sensationalist headline question is yes. Quite a bit, actually. Meagan Campbell asks, is there hope for the pets of Fort McMurray?  MacLean’s Magazine.

In fact, West Jet made it possible for evacuees to take their pets with them. This feel-good piece from Buzzfeed.

NASA names a facility in honour of Katherine Johnson, the mathematician who calculated astronaut trajectories. Collect Space.

Jon Mooallem reports on the amateur cloud society that (sort of) rattled the scientific community. New York Times Magazine.

Alex Newman shares the story of a nurse who helps the homeless die with dignity. The Toronto Star.

Jerrold C. Winter examines what the reporting on Prince’s death reveals about our understanding of pain management. Slate.

Depression is a disease of civilization: hunter-gatherers hold the key to a cure. Return to now.

Maria Konnikova explores how people learn to become resilient. The New Yorker.

Being vulnerable is one of the more important things to master in our lives. Jodi Fraser for Elephant Journal.

More western doctors are prescribing yoga therapy. Susan Enfield for Yoga Journal.

Steven Pace reviews a study that finds trees are linked to the reduction of psychological stress. PsyPost

Terri Windling shares some May Day love 🙂

Linton Weeks looks at female husbands in the 19th century for NPR history.

I didn’t know where to put this. Something to keep in your back pocket for your next trivia night? Opium soaked tampons were the Midol of ancient Rome. Atlas Obscura.

Melissa Wiley shares stunning photos of Africa’s oldest trees, framed by starlight. The Smithsonian Magazine.

Hefty shares 20 pieces of ingenious street art.

Hope you got a few inklings from this.

Now it’s time to go write 🙂

This weekend: The Ad Astra 2016 reportage begins.

Tipsday

Thoughty Thursday: Things that made me go hmmmm on the interwebz, October 4-10, 2015

I must have been a little light-headed last week . . .

Last week, Margaret Atwood had her say. This week, Joseph Boyden takes on Stephen Harper. MacLean’s.

A real nation would not let this happen. Why we need to care more about our First Nations. MacLean’s.

The rise of the teaching class: how the learning landscape is changing, by Simona Chiose for The Globe and Mail.

Arthur B. MacDonald shares the Nobel Prize for his work on neutrinos (done right here in the Sudbury Neutrino Observatory – SNO)! CBC.

People can do some crazy things when they’re asleep. Psychiatric Times.

Tommy Walker explains why hope is not a valid social media strategy. ConversionXL.

What Dylan Thomas’s seminal poem can teach us about resilience. Forbes.

i09 shares the ten most excellent nicknames in history.

This song was just on Quantico this evening, and there I was, boogying in my seat. Beck – Dreams:

See you Saturday!

Thoughty Thursday

Thoughty Thursday: Things that made me go hmmmm on the interwebz, March 1-7, 2015

How gardening, and specifically the microbes in soil, can make you happy. Gardening Know-How.

How healthy gut flora (bacteria) can also have an antidepressant effect. Scientific American.

Empathy might lead to social anxiety. Spirit Science and Metaphysics.

Adverse childhood experiences (ACE) affect your health. Includes an informative self-test. NPR.

More about your ACE score and a resilience quiz (as a bonus). ACES too high news.

And a supporting article from IFLS: childhood trauma affects the brain.

Surrender doesn’t mean defeat. OM Times shares the seven habits of surrendered people. It’s related to resilience.

How physicians and psychiatrists are medicating women rather than treating the underlying issues. Some of us don’t need prescriptions. Or we don’t need the prescriptions they think we do . . . The New York Times.

For the other side of the story, Emily Landau states that she has been helped immeasurably by prescription medications and that she doesn’t believe they’ve affected her adversely. CBC.

Eleven things introverts want you to know. Elephant Journal.

Last week, I shared the Desiderata text. For those of you who were curious, here’s the version set to music by Les Crane:

 

Stop procrastination by asking one question and considering the answer for three minutes. Inc.

Most consistently successful creative people say ‘NO.’ Business Insider.

The strange world of felt presences links Shackleton, sleep paralysis, and hearing voices. The Guardian.

Did the human alliance with dogs drive the Neanderthals to extinction? National Geographic.

New human fossil offers more detail for our family tree. National Geographic.

Here’s what scientists think methane-based life might look like (if they find it on Titan). From Quarks to Quasars.

Ancient Mars may have had an ocean. The New York Times.

Scientists have discovered another earth-like planet. Higher Perspective.

More on what’s coming up for Neil deGrasse Tyson. The Wall Street Journal.

Cats see things that are invisible to humans. Higher Perspective.

I’ve shared posts or videos about the rabbit island and the fox village in the past, now The Atlantic features some great pictures from a Japanese cat island.

I love crows and ravens and so this story about crows gifting the girl who’s fed them since she was four made me #furiouslyhappy.

This video shares an important message about equality and diversity.

 

It was a thoughty week!

Hope you find something to exercise your grey matter.

Until Saturday, be resilient 😉

Thoughty Thursday

This is what we do: On gatekeepers, rejection, and resilience

Once again, a writer friend has inspired this week’s post. So indebted. Many thanks.

Gatekeepers

I’m using gatekeeper in the Campbellian/Hero’s Journey sense, here: the Threshold Guardian archetype. At the point where the hero/ine stands at the threshold, ready to cross and gain the object of her or his quest, someone or something pops up and prevents the hero/ine from passing.

These gatekeepers must be defeated or circumvented, removed or converted to allies.

Mel’s note: To find out more, please read Joseph Campbell’s The Hero with a Thousand Faces, Christopher Vogler’s The Writer’s Journey, Maureen Murdock’s The Heroine’s Journey, or all of them.

Every writer I know has at least one.

It might be a teacher who tried to shape either the young writer or her work in an inappropriate way. It might be the friend or friends who ridiculed the young writer out of jealousy. It might be the mentor who is not equipped to truly help the writer and rather than admitting his gap in knowledge or ability discourages the writer from pursuing his calling.

More insidious is the above mentioned variety of mentor who continues to encourage the writer, praises the writer’s work, but sympathetically explains that the writer’s work will never find a market. They do this as a kindness, to spare the hapless writer the agony of further rejection.

It could be an editor who likes nothing the writer submits for review. It could even be someone who sets herself up as an expert but only misguides the writer to justify the fee the writer has been charged.

This is not an exhaustive list. Explore your past and you will discover your gatekeepers.

If you’ve had to face them before you were truly prepared, you may have failed to pass the challenge and reach the threshold.

Don’t despair. You haven’t lost your chance. The door remains. The gatekeeper leaves. Another may take her place, but on the next attempt, armed with your experience, you have a better chance of succeeding.

I was turned away repeatedly as a young writer and because of my introverted nature, it took me a long time to understand the ultimate lesson of the gatekeeper.

Mel’s note: If you want to find out more about my struggles, you can read my posts under the category, My history as a so-called writer. If you go back to the earliest post, Three Blind Mice, and read forward, it will all make much more sense 😉

What is the ultimate lesson of the gatekeeper? I’m so glad you asked.

The gatekeeper only has the power we give to them. If you do as I did and internalize the lessons of the gatekeepers in your life, you become your own worst enemy, your own biggest, baddest gatekeeper.

Don’t let that happen.

Even if you retreat from the gatekeeper at the time of your confrontation, keep your eyes on your goal and the reasons it is important for you to achieve it. Yes, you’re allowed to hurt, to grieve, to lick your wounds if you need to, but don’t lose sight of your dream.

Find a true friend, you know, the kind of person who would tell you if you have spinach stuck between your teeth, or if the outfit you chose to wear was absolutely hideous? Find your person (and yes, that’s a Grey’s Anatomy reference). Tell them about your struggle and the reasons it hurts so much to have backed down.

Then, tell your person about your dream and the reasons why it’s so important to you.

Even if they just listen, you will feel so much better afterward, but you will have reminded yourself, in telling your true friend, exactly why you write in the first place and exactly why you can’t give up.

Then you pick up the pieces and try again. Because that’s what we do.

Rejection sucks

There’s no way around it. Rejection sucks.

Rejection, particularly when it arrives as a form letter, is just a specific example of a non-human form of gatekeeper. Yes, there’s a human on the other end of that letter, but you don’t know them, and they don’t know you (most of the time).

That rejection has kept you from being published or winning a contest.

And it hurts.

Another writer friend, Nina Munteanu, has just completed a two-part post on the subject of rejection. In part one, she discusses how to accept rejection, and in part two, she discusses how we can learn from rejection.

In fact, a lot of writers have posted about it. Just Google it. You’ll see. A number of them counsel the writer to develop thick skin.

I’d like to call shenanigans on that.

No offence.

Resilience, not rhino-hide

Suck it up, buttercup, they say. Really?

If it was that simple, we’d all just grow ourselves a fine second skin of rhino-hide and the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune would mean nothing. Less.

Telling someone, anyone, to toughen up after suffering a loss (no matter how insignificant it might seem to others) is telling that person to shut down their feelings. That’s not a good thing. As writers, we kind of need those. Hell, as human beings we need our emotions.

We have to learn to acknowledge our feelings, to accept them, and process them. We can’t deny them. That way lies madness. Literally. It’s called depression. I know what I’m talking about here.

We have to figure out why it hurts, what’s at the root of the problem. Once we understand that, we can work, through reason and by respecting our emotional well-being, to heal the wound.

Rejection, as many writers have pointed out, isn’t personal. It’s a matter of subjectivity and timing.

Usually a rejection means not right for the publisher, for the project, for the theme of the anthology or issue, for the other stories that have already been accepted. And it means not right now. It doesn’t mean never.

Timing and subjectivity.

It’s not personal.

Why does it hurt then?

Because of how we react to it. Because of the insecurities and doubts we harbour about our ability, our craft.

The good news is this: we can control the way we react to rejection. Not right away, but with time and practice, by understanding and honouring our emotional response to rejection, it gets easier to process.

More good news: if the reason we get rejected is because our craft and skills are not at the level they need to be, we can control that too. We keep practicing, we keep learning, we keep moving forward.

That’s the real danger of rejection: that you let it stop you.

You have to continually connect with who you are as a writer and the reasons you write. You have to, at the core, be completely okay with not getting published. It’s kind of Zen. Let go of your desire.

Write because you’re a writer. Commit to being the best writer you can be. And yes, the work is hard, but you can do it if you’re a writer. You can’t not do it.

So the key is to develop, not rhino-hide, but resilience, the ability to bounce back. It’s something you can learn to do.

This might help. Or not.

This is going to sound like cheese. Like some really old, smelly cheese, like Limburger, or Roquefort.

Writing is like falling in love.

See, the biggest risk of falling in love is that you open yourself up and you become vulnerable. You risk getting hurt. But that’s the only way to love is with your whole heart plastered on your sleeve. It’s the only way love becomes anything lasting or good or true.

Writing’s like that.

Writing is that.

So just like you know that any relationship requires work, and sacrifice, and time, know that the thing you love to do requires the same.

You’ll get your heart broken, sure, but breaks heal.

The other great thing is that every great protagonist is wounded. Pour your learned experience into your writing. It will be amazing.

“The world breaks everyone, and afterward, some are strong at the broken places.” ~~Hemingway.

Weirdmaste (the weirdo in me recognizes the weirdo in you), writing geeks.

Now go hug your words. Get romantic with your words. Create beautiful bouncing baby words.

Because this is what we do.

Muse-inks