Category Archives: Creativity

What’s Shocking?

When I was a kid
We shocked adults
By talking about the weather
Saying, “It’s colder than a witch’s tit.”

Now, as adults
We can’t shock our kids
By talking about the weather
Even when we say, “The glaciers are melting.”

Media Credit:
This video shows a time series of five-year global temperature averages, mapped from 1884 to 2014, as estimated by scientists at NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) in New York.

Published on Jan 16, 2015 by NASA Goddard.
The year 2014 now ranks as the warmest on record since 1880, according to an analysis by NASA scientists.
This video is public domain.
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Mental Health Athletes

I greatly appreciate writers who share ideas for attracting readers, for example, at Twitter: #amwriting #amreading; and at Google+: the Saturday Scenes and Writers Discussion Group communities.

Here are thoughts that I would like more authors to consider when sharing what they write about mental illness.

I often perceive an “us and them” way of thinking, for example when a writer claims, “it’s very easy to tick them off.” I suggest that we all have triggers that are easy to spark; people with a specific issue aren’t unique in that regard. The quote conjures visions of a herd of people with the issue, wound tight like springs, ready to attack. With this image in mind, I can see why some people try to keep a wide berth between “us” and “them.” Remember that all people are people. Attackers attack, resilient people bounce back, doormats are trampled, and so forth, regardless of specific issues.

Attack

Fiction can be better at building understanding than nonfiction. Novels can make challenges and solutions vivid for the readers. I’m thinking of Hamlet and Don Quixote, Sybil, and more recently Cut, and The Silver Linings Playbook.

Mental illness is like cancer, heart disease, and diabetes: all can be addressed with preventive measures and therapies, and all are invisible to most of us.

A person who is not dealing with a mental health issue, but is writing about a character who is, is like a male writing about a female, or a European writing about an Indian. It is like being a real person writing about someone who is not. A key is getting feedback from people who have similar characteristics.

The most enthusiastic readers might be those who recognize something in common with at least one of the main characters. Therefor, reaching out to people who have an illness that is similar to the fictitious condition should be effective. However, main characters have more to them than just one issue. Draw on those other similarities as well.

Consider that the only difference between someone who has a mental health issue, and someone who doesn’t, is that one is seeking treatment. Everyone deals with mental health; the people who are working on their mental health issues are like athletes who are working on their physical health issues.

Healthy-Athlete

We are all working on putting our best foot forward.

P.S. I found more guidelines for writing about mental illness, for people who are looking for more specific advice. What are your favorite resources? Which resources have you discovered recently?

 

Image credits:

Woverine vs. Hulk, by Marcel Trindade.

Fields Squats, Fields Prosthetic, and Fields Runs 200, by Tim Hipps, FMWRC Public Affairs.

All images used under Creative Commons License by-2.0.

Blogging Goals Update

Linda's Anniversary bouquet

Happy Blogging Anniversary Linda! You got me thinking about how my blogging goals have changed since nearly 2 years ago when I established my first one.

I began my first blog to satisfy a Statistics course requirement. The professor asked us to post updates as we explored our statistical analyses.

A dear friend made recommendations for tweaking the blog layout. Although I agreed with her, I felt frustrated and limited by the options at tumblr. She and another great writer friend recommended WordPress. Independent spirit that I am, I stuck with tumblr, and signed up for an account elsewhere; that sat idle as I hoped to figure out how it worked someday.

Then, Leni began a private WordPress site for a group of writers, and made me an Administrator! I got the most comprehensive book about WordPress, and rose to the occasion. I began my own WordPress blog to learn the ropes before I dared to make any changes or suggestions for the group site.

I was in a personal era of writing research articles. The ones that stimulated discussion about social justice moved me to post regularly, so my blogging goal was to aim for publishing an article each week on a social justice issue.

Many people recommend focusing a blog on one topic, but blogging supported my discovery that focusing on one topic is not in my nature. I flit from one to another, as freely as an expert juggler can throw and catch  bean bags. I considered sharing my recipes like PaleOMG, sense of humor like Little Miss Menopause, recommendations for writers like Anne R. Allen, and favorite authors like Chris The Story Reading Ape.

And I have also been writing fiction. My husband enjoyed it so much (and still does — he’s my favorite editor), he asked me to write a story every day for a while, and prompted me with a few items to get me started, like “your grandmother’s grandmother’s diary, a trunk, and an attic”. Eventually, the weekly prompts at Google+ Writers Discussion Group Weekly Writing Exercises replaced his, and I met Ronda.

Last summer, Ronda invited me to join the Google+ Saturday Scenes Community where writers share work that they are developing, and readers give feedback. After I read for a few weeks, I shared a short story that my husband had previously prompted. My commenters asked me about the character and more of the story, and when I discovered that I had answers to their questions, my River Novel began, which I continue to write.

As Linda continues into her second year of her blog, I send her hopes that it will be full of dreamy millionaires who will whisk her off to the French countryside under the stars for orgasmic episodes, as well as more of the same raw insight that she has been sharing. I put the power of my blessings behind her goal,

“May I have another blissful year ahead of me and continue to love what I do every single time I sit at this laptop, with the screen propped open and may I always embrace the feeling of drowning in the emotions that run through my body and it makes me want to type my entire day away just to share with the world what goes on in this almost always crazy, very rarely beautiful, never too broken world of mine.”

Today is My 1 Year Blog Anniversary! | Never.Too.Broken.

Thanks Carrie Bradshaw for sharing your thoughts as you celebrate.

 

Image Credits:
Composite of images from the Public Domain, by Grace Buchanan, Creative Commons license BY-NC-ND 4.0

Family Ghosts by Mike Reeves-McMillan

Happy Day of the Dead!

I like Mike’s sense of humor/horror. This is one of my favorite ghost stories.


I’m haunted by my family.

No, really. All my dead relatives hang around as ghosts. When someone dies, you don’t lose them, they just gain the ability to walk through walls.

It’s been like that for generations. They gradually fade and become harder to converse with, so I can’t ask the original Scoville, but according to family tradition it was some sort of curse. Offended an old homeless woman, you know the sort of thing. We’re always careful to be nice to the homeless these days.

Not that it’s entirely a bad thing. Oral history projects are super easy, and you can go back a lot further, not that anyone will necessarily believe you. And family reunions are especially well attended.

The problem is that they do hang about at inconvenient times. In particular, they’re fussy about us–the male members of the family, since we carry the name and the curse–and who we marry.

It’s a wonder, really, that anyone gets married at all. Though coming from such a large, close family, you do want to carry on the tradition. The girls are lucky; although they see the ghosts, and become ghosts themselves, their husbands and children don’t. But we men transfer the curse to our wives.

That means we have to tell them all this at some point. The coward’s way (I’m looking at you, Great-Uncle Gregory, and you needn’t make that face; nobody’s frightened), is to wait until they see the ghosts, generally the morning after the wedding, and then tell them. The more risky way is to tell them first and propose afterwards.

The problem with that is that it sounds delusional.

You’re backing away, and I don’t blame you.

Um, is it too late to just do the proposal part? See, the older ghosts like it that you dress modestly, and it’s good that you wanted to wait to get, you know, more intimate, because with your family in the room all the time, that just wasn’t going to…

Oh, yes, fair enough. Well, goodbye.

Dammit.


How would  YOU  handle the marriage proposal?

FamilyGhosts

Read more by Mike Reeves-McMillan

 

Photo Credits:

“Family Ghosts” composite by Grace Buchanan. Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

Mom’s Bedroom” by Moto “Club4AG” Miwa. Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License.

Ancestors” by SyliusOwn work. Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons.

Black, Chinese & White Laborers In A Gold Mine In South Africa” by Frank & Frances Carpenter [RESTORED by Ralph Repo]. Licensed by Ralph Repo under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License.

Easington Pit Disaster” from Eastington District Council’s Past and Present Archive. Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic License.

Moise Cherezli and Claire Crespoin wedding“. Licensed by David Lisbona under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License.