Monday, July 24, 2017

Craft of Writing: Bullet Journal stuff (again)

Hi there, everybody!

I hope you have all been doing quite well (or at least are at a place you can tolerate and find some enjoyment on a regular basis). I have been all over the place of late. There's been things happening on the health front that has given me a new perspective on things. (That depressive episode that started in the fall last year is finally gone thanks to Wellbutrin, but now I'm hypomanic and cleaning/organizing everything. It's been interesting.)

Among the new perspectives is a change to how I approach the Bullet Journal method. I had started using a kind of fancy layout for a weekly thing. It did not help me get anything done. So, I stripped all the fancy bits off and turned it into a single page. It is nothing super fancy, but my focus was to be utilitarian with the whole thing right now. Because I need less distractions right now with my attention span being a bit short.

The first line has the week noted (I used the format of : July 23 - 29  2017.). Beneath this there are two boxes with my tasks noted. On the left side is my daily tasks. As you may be able to see in the picture, I have listed only four things as stuff I MUST do everyday. This actually takes a lot of pressure off of me. On the right side is the box with my weekly tasks. Each day of the work week has two lines. The tasks for each day is noted in my own style of short hand.

Beneath this, there are two additional sections. On the left is the running tally of my daily word count for a handwritten manuscript that I started back during NaNoWriMo last year. On the right side is my tracker for the work I'm doing as I reboot (again) doing the Artist's Way exercises. My goal is to get through all of the exercises for the week. It doesn't feel like it is a super ambitious goal and I am devoting a specific time block for working on it. (It's when the kids have their 'homework' time for their summer school stuff. They hang out in the living room reading books as I sit in the kitchen and to my writing. It seems to be working well.)

I have my reminder to do my planning on Thursdays for my writing stuff as well as my regular day planner and calendar stuff. I also am going to try to keep track of my average word count on my blog posts.

At the bottom of the page in an entirely different color (so it grabs my attention), I have written down two reminders that I keep applying in other areas of my life because I tend to be a perfectionist.


  • Imperfect work is still GOOD work!
  • Goal = progress not perfection
I'm trying to be realistic in how I approach this stuff. We'll see how successful I will be this time next week. In addition to all of the writing stuff, I still have things to do like getting ready for my youngest's birthday party on Saturday and the usual work of being Mom. The kind of fun thing, honestly, about the Bullet Journal, is how the really useful parts about notation are creeping into my day planner. Which helps me stay on top of everything. So, I think I like the Bullet Journal concept. Now I'm just trying to figure out how it works best for me in multiple areas.

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Book Review: Angels: An Endangered Species




    Title: Angels: An Endangered Species
    Author: Malcolm Goodwin
    Publisher: Simon and Schuster Date: 1990

    I've signed out three book and I'm tempted to try the trick of reading all of them at once, but it would make it difficult to keep a log on each of them. The first one I am reading is prompted out of a combination of curiosity and a desire to understand these beings I have seen in visions.

    I've finished nearly half of this book and it really is rather useless to me. So I'm just going to stop reading it.

    [Note: I had forgotten entirely about reading this book. It really made a poor impression on me if I can't even remember it.]


    Originally Published on Livejournal on 3/25/2006.

    Book Review: Universe in a Nutshell

    Author: Stephen Hawking
    Title: The Universe in a Nutshell
    Publisher: Bantam Books Date: Nov. 2001

    The introduction repeats Hawking's amazement at how successful his first book, A Brief History of Time, was. It carries a simmilar feeling that is in the introduction to his previous work, Black Holes, Baby Universes, and Other Essays. The layout of the book includes alot more graphics, so it is like the illustrated reprint of A Brief History of Time. 

    The illustrations are entertaining and informative. It helps make the book more accessable. Hawking's change of written formant and being less dependant on front loading and sequential development makes the book more engaging.

    Hawking's discussion on Einstein is refreshingly free of hero worship. He treats einstein and his work with a sense of humanity and warmth of an old friend remaniscing. Also, the description of Einstein's work and it's impact is wonderful.

    While I can appreciate the EPR paradox and I can see how the apparent result is governed by the Heisenberg Uncertianty principle, I find it difficult to accept that the pair of particles in a conjoined (entangled) system which are indentical can't give information about each. I find myself thinking that if one measures something on the particles, different qualities at the same time, that it would be possible to work around the Uncertianty principle. I also question how such a system has issues with that principle.

    The argument that time and space are essentially the same dimension is one that I'm forced to disagree with. The reason why is because it is possible for a body to remain at the same point in space but not for it to remain at the same point in time while doing so. I believe that time and space re two separate dimensions. I suspect that space and time are ... correlated and that there can be interplay between the two. I do not believe, however, that the motion of a body within time is the same as those of a body within space. One can not move laterally in time, except possibly on the quantum level if bi-location is what I believe it to be. Clearly, we do not have any experimentally recorded evidence of backward motion in time.

    I believe, however, that time has a dynamic effect on space and it is possible for space to have sucn an effect on time. These effects would be identified as forces. Also, I can not argue that time is a function of energy or some interplay between forces or quantum particles. Time is fluid. I believe it can fold, loop, and act in many different ways. Space, however, is not as fluid as time. Space is close to the rubber sheet analogy of Hawking's. Time... time is independent of this. It can have an apparent reaction to physical objects, gravitational forces, and space. The apparent effects observes are due to the interactions between space, matter and the forces at play. Time, however, is not impacted, the measurement device (matter) is.

    What is needed is a method to observe (or measure) time with a method not influenced by forces that act on space and matter. The photon cloc is the beginning of an appropriate device, with the exception of one thing. A proton has mass, a very small mass, but there is mass. I suspect that if corrections were made for all the Lorenz contractions and the impact of said contraction of mass on the wave form of the photon, one could develop a clock that is dependant on pure energy.

    Originally published on Livejournal on 3/25/2006

    Book Review: In Our Time, a Memoir of A Revolution

    I have been reading a book titled In Our Time: A Memoir Of A Revolution, written by Susan Brownmiller. As I have read this book, I find myself inspired by their activism and the explosive energy of their movement. I also find myself disagreeing with some of their political views and thinking that some of their focus was/is in the wrong areas and that these activists have ignored the major needs of women. Women's Liberation and Feminism are not the same thing, I recognize this. As I learn more about these movements through my research, this book, and the information I'm given by my instructors, I find that I have more to think about.

    Brownmiller's prologue and her first chapter, entitled The Founders, was both interesting and educational. I enjoyed how she provided character sketches and her warm, intimate style. The way that she transitions from this seemingly personal introduction into the nuts and bolts of the movement makes it feel as though you're sitting in conversation with her. She raises several very interesting and valid points, suggesting that the needs and the social status of women has been ignored for far too long. In the lingering after effects of these movements, I think that we've reverted back to that same state of ignoring women.

    I find myself asking, where has the Women's Liberation movement served to liberate us? It seems to me at this point in time to have given us a state of confusion. This state of confusion is questions of our status in society, the validity of our needs and experiences, and what our roles are in society. The blank response from the government makes sense, because the government can not really influence social issues. These issues... they're social, not legal. Women's Liberation and Feminism did act to present solutions to some of the legal issues that were an outgrowth of these confusing and painful problems that we women face. I can't help but ask, however, are we truly better off then we were at the beginning of the Women's Liberation movement?

    I can't help but wonder, if the Women's Liberation movement acted to raise the consciousness of the nation and the world to the needs of women, then why are we still blamed when we're victimized? Why are we still treated as though we're second-class humans (or worse, depending on where you are in the world)? This is but a small part of the problems that still haunt us, and in many respects the highly militant activism of various groups in Women's Liberation seems to have presented additional blockages. Now, when women gather to discuss women's issues, we find ourselves quick to shoot down our activism or our anger at various issues because we don't want to make waves and there by make things worse for ourselves. The fear of being labeled a feminist is so great that we police ourselves for any slight deviation from the role that we're expected to have.

    This fear has killed the activist spirit of the Women's Liberation movement. And it was fermenting within the movement, from what I can see thus far in Brownmiller's book. They didn't focus on the fundamental issues, the core perspectives at the base of these surface issues. These women worked to ban pornography, not to challenge the attitudes behind it. Where did these women challenge the social view that nudity was forbidden and that the human body was some how impure, the woman's especially? Where did these women challenge the cultural attitudes that said it was alright to degrade women and to hold them down because they were some how flawed for being born female? The attack on pornography could have been a start to that, possibly even the attacks on advertising that encourage this attitude. But the focus shifted and became heavily suggestive of the superiority of women.

    The abortion issue looks like the culminating point for this. As I've been reading about it in this book, I find the wide range of views all unified by one thing. That single unifying point is that women are superior because we can give birth. The sexual physiology of women is the most visible aspect of their feminity, but this is just ridiculous. They claim to be experts, but how can they be if the ignorance of their bodies is encouraged? How can they claim to know the value of their sexuality if they continue to insist that there's something wrong with the acts of sexuality? It troubles me to see this under current in a movement that I once thought had resulted in the abilities that I now have to attend college and be successful in the workplace. Where Brownmiller's work would have been inspiring, I find that it doesn't so much fill me with a sense of wonder for their successes, so much as it fills me with anger. The glaring points where the feminists ignored the vital issues and continued their pet projects, the points where the Women's Liberation movement backed off of some major issues after making some form of minor success, and how there is a high handed air of superiority by virtue of their sex angers me.

    This post originally published on Livejournal on 3/5/2006. Text presented exactly as it was on LJ.

    Monday, June 26, 2017

    Mild rant: Writing schedule?

    Hi everybody!

    It's me, your favorite procrastinator writer at large and I have another confession to make. Since school went on summer break last week, my writing schedule has been shot to the outer darkness if not worse. I am trying to juggle kids and activities for them, my typical household stuff, and my own appointments and whatnot. It is really frustrating me. I have been trying to ascertain just what the best solution is to this matter.

    It is somewhat sobering to realize that last year when I was doing all the things at the same time, I was clearly in the grip of mania (or is it hypomania, it's hard for me to understand the difference in the terms). At the time, I just thought 'hey, I can finally do stuff like I was before I got sick.' and laughed off my therapist at the time's amazed response that I was doing ALL THE THINGS. Now, however, I am realizing that I need to schedule things. That is proving a lot more challenging than I anticipated.

    I still have that bullet journal I started. I also have the planning stuff that I started before. My piles of planning materials, however, are not equating to getting planning done or acting on that planning. I know some of my problem is the fact that there has been a major household shift in how our days go. And I know that some of my problem is the fact that I am still dealing with a depressive episode. (I am contemplating attempting to write 'emo poetry' in an attempt to break this creative block. It is warring with the thoughts of just doing pages in a coloring book. Sloth is presently winning this whole rage and nothing is getting done except for my anxiety knitting - a mitered square washcloth that I'm not sure I am doing correctly but can't tell until I have it off the needles.)

    Something's got to give if I am going to make any forward progress here. I just can't figure out what.

    Anybody else in the writing world dealing with tricky schedule problems? I'm trying not to sacrifice my time with my husband at the end of the day and not to drop any balls I've got in the air during the day with the kids. I'm stumped. Any suggestions? (I'd consider boarding school but I don't think that would work out well for anyone involved. LOL)

    Friday, June 23, 2017

    Book Review: The Heart of Buddha's Teaching (Dec. 2002 entry)

    Title: The Heart of the Buddah's Teaching
    Author: Thich Nhat Hanh
    Publisher: Broadway Books Date: 1999

    The easy demeanor of the author makes this very plesant to read. The introduction is quite... different from what I expected. Thich Nhat Hanh presents the basic beliefs of Budhisim as a more life affirming view then many other authors. Very interesting... also, this is an easy read with the structure and choices of font.

    The first truth of Buddhism is that al life is suffering. Thich Nhat Hanh expresses this bleak concept differently from the general expression I've encountered. he states that suffering is an inheirant part of life and should be welcomed as such. He also speaks strongly of being aware of the absence of suffering. The practice of Right Mindfulness, as the author describes it, could be beneficial to me. Simply, the author asvises the reader to be aware of the present. I beleive that he makes a very good point in stating that wea are all too frequently inattentive to what we are doing due to our thoughts being elsewhere.

    I believe if I apply the practice of Right Mindfulness and I practice it with diligance that it can be of some psychological good to me. Many of the meditative practices that are used in the world's religions have multiple benefits. Some are physical and others are psychological. It is true, those who are in clergy must act as healers in all area of the parishioner's lives.

    There are other practices that I just think are being over simplified, but the practices of Right action dosen't appear to be one. Looking honestly at what the author has been presenting, I'd have to argue that there are three major themes. Compassion, responciblitie, and benevolance are what comes to mind as the major themes. At the same time, I am beginning to have a sense of the nihilisim crisis in the text.

    I'm just going to have to see if more appears in this. If this proves to be turning into the sterotypical "Life is an illusion, we must trancend this illusion to the reality of non-being," I'm not going to read more.

    My concern seems to be justified. The author is becoming icnreasingly focused on the concept that reality is as we percieve it and our perceptions are flawed because they are perceptions. I can't accept that. There is a base concept of reality that we all operate in. This is not a perception or something of an illusion. It is fact.

    [Note: I realize now that concept, in the last sentance isn't the best word to use. But I suspect that you get the idea I'm trying to present.]

    ~*~*~*~*~*~*~
    This is the first of a list of posts that are going to be transferred over from my LiveJournal. I am going to be shutting down that blog when I complete transferring stuff. Please forgive massive typos and grammatical errors. I'm debating starting another blog where I can put this. I'm not decided on it yet. While the typos make me twitch, I am going to leave them there, as it is part of the original text. The post here was uploaded to my LiveJournal March of 2006. It was written in my paper reading journal in 2002.)

    Monday, June 19, 2017

    Brutal honesty, in one shot.

    Imagine, if you will, a scene. You are ready to sit down to your work. You have all of your tools at hand. You have all of your plans ready and well documented. You literally have everything you need to engage in the task. When you move towards your work, someone puts a hand on your shoulder and tells you that your work is worthless before you even begin.

    Most days, this person is just making snide comments about how you are 'pathetic' and that your past or present success is a case of 'dumb luck' and that you are not really as competent or skilled as you know you are. These comments don't just come at you when you sit down to do your work. They also arise when it comes to things as simple as personal care, doing household chores, or just paying the bills. This person never leaves your side. They never shut up. They are always there telling just how 'bad' you really are.

    Now, here is your plot twist. (Because every story needs a plot twist, right?) That person lives inside your head. Go to bed, they will show up in your nightmares. You can't go away from them. You can't stick a gag in their mouth and lock them in a closet. There is simply no escape. And, as time progresses, they just get more sly and creative in their attacks on you. (And these are clearly attacks upon the person suffering from this sort of nonsense, look up gaslighting. It's a quaint term from a theoretically more civilized age, more like the time where it was acceptable to lock people in the garret and forget about them as much as possible.)

    This is what I suffer with on a daily basis. When I'm in a depressive episode, that 'person' is loud and generally decries anything that makes me feel good as bullshit. When my depressive episodes get really bad, things go from that running mental commentary to I start having auditory hallucinations of someone standing at my right shoulder (because irony) saying these awful things. It wears on me. I've been told that I'm a badass because I'm battling my own mind all the time. I don't feel like one. I feel tired and a good heaping amount of despair because this isn't going away.

    (Yes, I am working with my doctor. Yes, I have a psychiatrist I am working with that seems pretty competent. And I have just started working with a new therapist who seems to have a good idea about how to approach my case. And, no, I am not contemplating self-harm or anything else of that variety. I just feel awful and it is making everything harder than it really should be.)

    So, please accept my apologies for not posting much of late. I am still quite unwell. I am medicated, but it is being adjusted which makes things challenging on a good day. I have plans. I have my notes. But I can't quite seem to manage the confidence or mental cohesion to put them down in something resembling the established pattern of posting. It is going to be a few more weeks before I really know if these changes in treatment are taking effect and having positive results. Please bear with me, for I am trying.



    Addendum: If you are suffering from mental illness of any sort, seek help. There is no reason why you should be suffering. And there is no shame in getting help. It is one of the hardest things to do, but it is completely worth it. ♥