That’s what my friend suggested when I told her I was doing some administrative stuff on the Fourth of July. But doing it while out and about still felt like just playing outside. When your office desk is a park bench, it is hard to think of what I’m doing as work….
... Unless there’s a deadline attached or something like that. I took the last two years’ weekly organizer sheets that I’ve meant to cull for names, notes, addresses and other miscellania that I write temporarily on there (meaning to transfer them somewhere more permenent at some point) and brought them with me on the bus on my way to lunch with a friend. It didn’t feel like work at all to transfer all that stuff. Just play.
...I was too busy with other cool projects to install it, but I’m looking forward to the inspiration and momentum it may provide for this project.
...when I talked to him on the phone yesterday. He’d just read a dozen phrases I had come up with to include in the book, and he couldn’t read one of them without cracking up. This was both funny and gratifying, because I don’t think he’s actually read much of my book nor does he realize its humor. And it was gratifying also because, well, getting people to barely be able to finish a sentence because they’re laughing so hard is really what this goal is all about… :-)
...means that sometimes I work hours nonstop on the many minutiae that go with launching a book. The fact is that unless you have wide name recognition publishers do not invest in publicity and it falls on the author’s shoulders. And that’s where I am now: website design as the first step. Which is both engrossing (the way play isb and a lot of work… :-)
...and I’m looking at the life enrichment catalog of my local university… And thinking… Wouldn’t it be great to learn to draw? To learn to waltz? To learn Photoshop? I’m intrigued to see if I can fit these in my schedule…
We seem to have a happiness set point, according to researchers. They have found that people who win the lottery are about as happy a year from now as they are prior to winning the lottery. Likewise, people who go through a tragedy are about as happy a year from now as they were prior to the tragedy. This even includes circumstances of loss of limbs.
Things that change our happiness set point: psychotropic drugs, such as prozac. Unfortunately they only work for a while and have side effects.Cognitive therapy. If you are able to uncover and discard the thoughts and beliefs that make you unhappy, your happiness will increase. Finally, meditation. Apparently, in meditation the prefrontal cortex part of the brain is actually able to generate the exact same chemicals that psychotropic drugs attempt to generate. except there are no side effects.
... I think it’s time for cleaning the apartment, kicking back, watching films, and personal hygiene… :-) Because, writing over 50,000 words of a novel you’re discovering as you write leaves precious little time for anything else… Cheers to everybody who wrote a novel during the National Novel Writing Month!
Having spent the majority of the month struggling with catching up with the word count (you know, 50,000 by the end of November, all duly apportioned), it feels fantastic to have finally caught up, to be about 80% done and to finally have a sense of what the book is really about and seeing it taking shape.
I need to remember that every time I undertake something like this, it truly is an epic journey for me and requires me to reach deep inside me for resources that I didn’t know I had. NaNoWriMo is truly a transformational experience. It’s fun to come out on the other side with a novel written (or with the skeleton of one written, anyway, to be fully fleshed out later), but while I’m going through it it often feels like I’m lost in the woods and floundering about… Here’s wishing a lot of inspiration to everyone else working on this goal!
Is a part of the brain not quite working.
Normally, when a highly stressful/dangerous situation happens, the amygdala releases a flood of chemical signals to the rest of the body, preparing it for the flight-or-fight. There’s also a brain path that is etched in response to the situation-nature’s way of making sure that we pay such supreme attention to this that the next time it happens, we’ll know what to do and how we survived this.
After the incident is over, of course memories can trigger intense emotions and the equivalent body response, but the pre-frontal cortex will interfere, saying, “Okay, that was then, but now we’re not in danger. That’s past.” And hence tone down the stress response in the body.
PTSD is where the frontal cortex is unable to override the instinctive response: it may send the signals, but the body continues to behave exactly as if it were facing the situation again. And, the more that it happens, the deeper that that “groove” gets marked in the brain.
They’ve found that the use of beta-blockers as soon after trauma as possible helps to prevent the establishment of PTSD.
... and feeling like, “Okay, something needs to happen soon. Something needs to gel. Because I’m 2,500 words behind, I’ve exhausted my inspiration for today and I seriously don’t know how I’m going to write 25,000 more words.”
Ah, welcome to the NaNoWriMo blues. I seem to recall I had the same experience the last two times around, and somehow something came through. Which doesn’t mean that my current cluelessness doesn’t feel any less real… :-)
... and seems to be a combination of things, between the mis-development of the pre-frontal cortex (something that’s not usually completed till age 25) and the greater space in the parts of the brain that hold fluid – they’re larger in people with schizophrenia, which suggests that there’s something else in the funciton of the brain that has been taken away…
The voices they can hear can be as real as real sound from the outer world….
Took me longer ot get here than I thought, but still within the framework of the 30-day schedule. Now we come upon week 2 of the writing, where you go, “Holy Shi’ite! These characters are loose and running around! Now they should do something! Pertaining to the plot! And advance it! But how do I get them to go along with this plan?”
Ah, the joys of writing a novel without a safety net… :-)
... it starts to get localized to a part of the brain. Your first language usually winds up in your left brain’s language center. But a subsequent language or languages are actually much more diffused – they get accessed and stored both in the left and in the right brain. This may explain for some of us who are multilingual how come each language “feels” differently from the others and some feel closer to your gut whereas others feel much more heady and yet others playful or even more emotionally charged…
... that my characters have for me. I’d like to crack 10,000 words by then end of tomorrow, which may be doable with a good writing spurt and few distractions…
...to a sense of connection, to meaning and spirituality. It’s also highly correlated with compassion and care for others’ suffering. I saw a documentary on a man who had epileptic seizures in this part of the brain and upon coming out of them, felt at one with the earth, felt very intense feelings for others’ suffering, and often had the sense that he was God. Is religion and spirituality a quirk of the human brain… Or are some people underdeveloped in this area and others overdeveloped?
But I am at 5743 words. I may be slower than you speed maniacs who’ve written tens of thousands of words in 3 days, but I do go the distance… Still with no idea what I’ll write tomorrow or the day after…
... it used to be said that we get a gazillion brain cells at birth and then the ones we don’t use die off… and we can only get smarter by generating new synapses between existing brain cells. Well, turns out that it’s been proven that new brain cells are actually created, even in elderly people, and that the best way of creating them isn’t so much doing crosswords and all those things we’ve been told to do… but by exercising every day! Kettlebells, here I come! :-)
... and a little over 4000 words into the new novel. Woo-hoo! (Never did quite manage to finish editing the last one I was hoping to finish before nanowrimo, so I’m editing that as well while writing the new one. Kind of a mind-shift…)
... and the fact of the matter is, rather than trying to play more, it’s about the attitude of playing: everything I do can take on that context, if I choose it consciously. Not having fun right now? Well, what can I do to go back to feeling like this is play?
Thus is erased the dichotomy of work vs. play. And thus might I reach the end of the day feeling not like I need to play more because I haven’t gotten around to doing so today, but feeling like thinking back on the day brings me a smile… and waking up tomorrow is filled with the expectation of more play…. all day long.