To my fellow writers…

Without Boundaries

Yesterday, my sister and I started a writing challenge and I forgot to tell you. Sorry! We are writing about something for 5 minutes, then 10 minutes, then 90 seconds, provided by a book titled “Songwriting Without Boundaries” by Pat Pattison. Go to the library or click the title to buy the book from Amazon to join us! The book consists of four challenges each one 14 days long. The first challenge is Object Writing. I plan on posting the results. 😀

Here are the first two paragraphs of the Introduction to “Songwriting Without Boundaries”:

This is a book on writing. And it is a book for writing. For writers of all kinds: songwriters, poets, playwrights, novelists, bloggers; anyone who loves the taste of words. It challenges you to take a journey into yourself to discover not only what you have to say, but also to discover an authentic voice to say it with.

Finding your voice as a writer is a lot like finding your voice as a singer. If you can carry a tune, you can learn to do it better. You can find, by exploration, where your voice feels strongest, where it feels the most like you. You try different styles, different timbres, different approaches and, slowly for some, more quickly for others, the real you emerges. The feeling you get when you hit that bulls-eye is like no other feeling. You’re incredibly alive and centered, like you’ve pushed your roots deep into the earth’s core. But committing to a journey to find that unique voice takes work; it takes practice.

Pat’s website is: http://patpattison.com.

Below is what I wrote yesterday and today for the first challenge.

Day 1: “What” Writing

5 minutes: Sky
The sky can be whatever it pleases- serene and peaceful or hazardous and terrifying. It all depends on whether or not nature has a score to settle. The wind will whistle or howl; the sky will either be blue or grey. People will either be relieved by the cool summer breeze or slammed by a harsh tornado. Blue, grey to possibly black, a storm wrecks, pillages, plunders, destroys and desolates. Then, nothing. No sound.

10 minutes: Crash
BOOM! CRACK! Nothing. The smoke settles, people stop gasping and screaming out of fear and instead out of concern. There are children crying, not understanding the commotion. Out of one car, blood pours while they scrape themselves off their seat and out of the car. The other has no sound. Not until someone notices no one is in it. There is a plank of wood on the gas pedal. It broke upon impact. This was planned. This was deliberate. It was successful. The man dies before the ambulance arrives. The bystanders scatter one by one until all that is left are the investigators and crash reconstructors, not that it really needs reconstructing. We know what happened; why is the better question. Did this man have it coming or was this a random incident? Did this man get in the way of the true target or was he the target for whatever reason? Why be obvious about it? Granted, using a wood plank allows the offender to slip away, but now they must be on the run if they are connected to the dead man. Unless

90 seconds: Lily Pad
Nothing really comes to mind as I think of a lily pad. I don’t recall ever seeing one before. Are they green and big or can they be small? Are they even green at all? What shape are they? How do they feel?

Day 2: “What” Writing

5 minutes: Bathroom Mirror
The bathroom mirror is a reflection of the room, an exact replica. You can see behind you, to the left of you, the right of you just by looking up. You’ll never miss a beat. You’ll never miss a sound as you look round and round. As you watch what you see, how happy you could be. Unless it’s first thing in the morning before the sun has touched sky. Before light has even hit your eye. You might not want to see what is in your mirror. You might not like what you find. It could mess with your mind. But the mirror doesn’t judge, doesn’t see. The mirror just lets you be. Be your best, be your worst. The mirror is your friend.

10 minutes: Dentist
The cloth seat sticks to legs as they want to be seen. There are things to read, a television to watch and some dazzling artwork on the walls. None consoles the heart of one that has a cavity and knows it. They couldn’t eat on that side of their mouth for days and endured it for fear of the needle. Can’t stand the disappointed looks or the lectures. They hear the click of the door opening and jump. They shrivel when their name is called. The internal bellow is unbearable. Nothing is audible as they cross the threshold. Hardly anything is visible as they take their seat. The light is blinding for a few blinks of an eye. Palms are sweaty and clammy as they are laid pack, paper wrapped around their neck and clipped. Breathing through their open mouths is painful, but necessary. The dentist takes a metal hook and mirror so as to have a look. He picks at the tooth and pulls something away. The dentist’s eyes are clear as day. As much as they want to take a look, they close their eyes and wait for the verbal noose.

90 seconds: Screwdriver
The metal is heavy, to be expected in a child’s hands. He gives it to his mother as he watches her fix the thing in the sand. She takes the tool and

Tomorrows entries will get their own post.

The Dragonfly Effect

Some of you have been asking me questions about blogging.

I went to the library yesterday and found a book called The Dragonfly Effectclick here to get a copy. It contains “quick, effective, and powerful ways to use social media to drive social change”. For those who are interested, here are the first few paragraphs of the forward:

Everybody feels tremendous pressure today to master social media, but most people haven’t quite figured out how to do so. Nonprofit directors are told they need a social media strategy for engaging volunteers. Journalists are encouraged to blog, tweet, and whirl. Marketers feel they’re required to have a Facebook strategy. That’s unfair to the poor marketers- heck, Facebook doesn’t really have a Facebook strategy.

People who face serious problems have a long history of grasping for a technological fix. The 8-millimeter film was going to revitalize education… then the IBM PC. The Internet was going to usher in an era of political transparency. And for sure, positively, the magazine industry is going to be saved by the iPad. And today everyone feels that social media tools are a solution to the problems they are facing. (Except for those who are worried that someone else will figure out how to use them first and gain an enduring competitive advantage.)

So suppose you really could do something with social media. Well, The Dragonfly Effect points the way.

Again, if you’re interested in getting The Dragonfly Effectclick here to get a copy. And I hope you enjoy!

ten poems to set you free- here’s one.

Self-Portrait

by David Whyte

It doesn’t interest me if there is one God

or many gods.

I want to know if you belong or feel

abandoned.

If you know despair or can see it in others.

I want to know

if you are prepared to live in the world

with its harsh need

to change you. If you can look back

with firm eyes

saying this is where I stand. I want to know

if you know

how to melt into that fierce heat of living

falling forward

the center of your longing. I want to know

if you are willing

to live, day by day, with the consequences of love

and the bitter

unwanted passion of your sure defeat.

 

I have heard, in that fierce embrace, even

the gods speak of God.

 

FANTASTIC poem! It sums up the message I have been trying to spread; trusting yourself, just like the poem The Journey by Mary Oliver.

And I bring up this poem in particular because it is the first in a series of ten, as the title of the post suggests. It is contained in a novel named ten poems to set you free (click the title to purchase on Amazon) written by Roger Housden. FANTASTIC book! The very first poem got me hooked!

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ten poems to change your life- here’s one.

The Journey

by Mary Oliver

One day you finally knew

what you had to do, and began,

though the voices around you

kept shouting

their bad advice-

though the whole house

began to tremble

and you felt the old tug

at your ankles.

“Mend my life!”

each voice cried.

But you didn’t stop.

You knew what you had to do,

though the wind pried

with its stiff fingers

at the very foundations,

though their melancholy

was terrible.

It was already late

enough, and a wild night,

and the road full of fallen

branches and stones.

But little by little,

as you left their voices behind,

the stars began to burn

through the streets of clouds,

and there was a new voice

which you slowly

recognized as your own,

that kept you company

as you strode deeper and deeper

into the world,

determined to do

the only thing you could do-

determined to save

the only life that you could save.

 

FANTASTIC poem! It sums up the message I have been trying to spread; trusting yourself.

And I bring up this poem in particular because it is the first in a series of ten, as the title of the post suggests. It is contained in a novel named ten poems to change your life (click the title to purchase on Amazon) written by Roger Housden. FANTASTIC book! The very first poem got me hooked. If you go and seek out the book (which I highly suggest) you’ll know it from the blue cover with the white pitcher and the inside cover:

This is a dangerous book. Great poetry calls into question not less than everything. It dares us to break free from the safe strategies of the cautious mind. It opens us to pain and joy and delight. It amazes, startles, pierces, and transforms us. It can lead to communion and grace.

Through the voices of ten inspiring poets and his own reflections, the author of Sacred America shows how poetry illuminates the eternal feelings and desires that stir the human heart and soul. These poems explore such universal themes as the awakening of wonder, the longing for love, the wisdom of dreams, and the courage required to live an authentic life. In thoughtful commentary on each work, Housden offers glimpses into his personal spiritual journey and invites readers to contemplate the significance of the poet’s message in their own lives.

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Everyone Has Issues

Everyone Has Issues

Men have issues, too. Not just women.

And I’m not saying that from a negative standpoint like someone would say, “Men are dogs,” or anything of the sort.

I’m saying it from a feminist standpoint. While in college, I found a book called Assessing Male Body Image: Development and Validation of the Appearance Inventory for Men (AIM) by Daniel Agliata. Many feminists don’t give men the attention they deserve. Well, here I am trying to give the men a hand.

I also have to share with you, for the topic of Feminism, some additions to the recommended reading list:

Here’s an interview from Mint.com that I thought I’d share:

Here’s an interview from Mint.com that I thought I’d share:

Robert Kiyosaki is the bestselling author of Rich Dad Poor Dad and the Rich Dad book series. A couple hours ago, he posted a portion of an interview from Mint.com to his FB page, and it is worth reading.

‘In the U.S., things aren’t looking good for the middle class. Life and the goods we need to sustain it are becoming more and more expensive; meanwhile wages have been stagnating for decades, says personal finance guru Robert Kiyosaki. To make matters worse, the housing market — the one source of increased wealth for many families — suffered a devastating crash.

‘Today, most middle class families live from paycheck to paycheck, or worse, with very little in savings or invested for retirement,’ says Kiyosaki. ‘At this point, the middle class might become the working class in that they’ll have to work their whole lives.”‘

For the complete article, click http://ow.ly/sdnpX

Numbers don’t lie.

Numbers don’t lie.

Steven D. Levitt is an economist. Stephen J. Dubner is a writer.

Steven D. Levitt is an economist. Stephen J. Dubner is a writer.

Upon reading the book, Freakonomics by Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner, I found this interesting quote:

‘I’d like to put together a set of tools that let us catch terrorists,’ Levitt said. ‘I don’t necessarily know yet how I’d go about it. But given the right data, I have little doubt that I could figure out the answer.’

It might seem absurd for an economist to dream of catching terrorists. Just as it might have seemed absurd if you were a Chicago schoolteacher, called into an office and told that, ahem, the algorithms designed by that skinny man with thick glasses had determined that you are a cheater. And that you are being fired. Steven Levitt may not fully believe in himself, but he does believe in this: teachers and criminals and real-estate agents may lie, and politicians, and even CIA analysts. But numbers don’t.

– The New York Times Magazine, August 3, 2003

Reclaim Your Mind- Terence McKenna

Are Anime and Manga Art?

Are Anime and Manga Art?

Are Anime/Manga Art?

Anime has been a part of our lives for a WHILE. Dragon Ball Z, Sailor Moon, and Yu-Gi-Oh! are perfect examples (Sailor Moon and Yu-Gi-Oh! are better as Manga in my opinion). And the question of whether or not Anime/Manga are art has been part of debates for as long as I can remember. That and the “Anime is anime, not cartoons,” but that’s another story entirely.

To help me answer this question, I’m going to bounce off another popular debate; are video games art? I discuss this, “along with” the Nostalgia Critic in another blog post (basically, I took the Nostalgia Critic’s video on the matter and expanded on it): click here to see. In the video, he gives the definition of art as:

  1. The expression or application of human creative skill and imagination, typically in a visual form such as painting or sculpture
  2. Works produced by such skill and imagination

If you look at the definition, why wouldn’t Anime and Manga be art?

You have to draw the characters.

You have to draw the setting.

And if the only complaint you have is, “all the characters look the same,” that is the fault of the artists the industry not Anime/Manga themselves.

Anime/Manga is an artform and I have added 4 books to the Recommended Reading List to assist those who wish to improve.

Cone of Learning

Cone of Learning

Cone of Learning

I took one look at this and everything made sense.

I first saw this picture, ever, in the book Increase Your Financial IQ by Robert T. Kiyosaki on page 183. I HIGHLY recommend this book.

People learn differently, everybody knows that, but not everyone knows why some people have difficulty. I have always been good at art because it was something we learned as we worked. Also, the teacher didn’t just talk; they talked and demonstrated.

I never really did well in a class that had us talk and take notes. Participation was key, depending upon the class and whether or not I cared about what I was learning.

But lectures bored me and I only remembered what I read if I was interested (which is how most people are, I would think). To the people who can remember whatever, kudos.

But, a word of advice, I found, adding a picture to the words tended to help. Here’s the math I have in my head: we remember 30% of the pictures we see and 10% of what we read. If you have a picture next to the words, that’s a 40% chance you’ll remember what it is that you are looking at.

I mean, it makes sense.

They have a combination on the list: we remember 50% of what we hear and see, which is why many people are able to remember the words in movies and why I did so well in art classes. Why I still do well in art classes.

I was, am, good at English because I love to read and the more interesting it is, the more likely I am to remember.

What do you all think? Comment!

A New Addition to the Reading List

A New Addition to the Reading List

Allow me to introduce to you Jane Smiley’s 13 Ways of Looking at the Novel. I was trying to make it a habit to only post books I had read, but I felt this book could be an exception to the rule.  It was a book recommended to me by my college professor, but I didn’t get the chance to read it because, to be completely honest with you, I forgot about it. I have decided to put this book into the Improving Your Own Writing section of the reading list and the Become Empowered Bookstore, in case you’re curious.

I found this book’s title written in the column of my old college notes. It was written beside my notes for novel writing (which I put into a post called 10 Tips for Novel Writing).

If you read it, let me know what you think!