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Monthly Archives: January 2013

From zero to three novels in under two years: was this a good idea? (Part Two)

brain cellOn my blog for the novel y1 I shared a few thoughts last night about finishing my third book and what I though of each of my three novels. The introspection was promoted, I think, by the vertigo induced by going from no creative writing at all (except what goes on naturally in my head all the time) to writing three novels in two years. I’m still not totally sure why I was suddenly compelled to write so much so fast.  An aging body and new sense of mortality? The added free time that suddenly comes with grown children and no living parents?  A letting go of my career ambitions in my “day job” as a geophysicist?  Probably all of the above. But mostly, I had this story to tell and all of the sudden I was compelled to tell it while I still remembered it all. (That’s a picture up there of my brain cell trying to remember.)

writingLast night’s thoughts prompted me to ask myself two questions. 1. Would these have been better books if I had spent more time writing them? 2. Would the rest of my life be better if I had taken a more laid back approach?

To the first, I think the answer is only marginally. Writing fast and obsessively is clearly my way and I can’t create using someone else’s style.  I suppose that I could have edited more, but frankly I’d gotten to the point where I would change words and then change them back again, so any added improvements from those last bouts of editing were barely incremental. The books might have benefited from sitting on a shelf for a couple of years and then being looked at with fresh eyes, but there isn’t a universe in which Sherrie Cronin behaves that way.

saladAs to the second, I am a lucky person.  I share my home and my life with a partner who is not only supportive of this effort, but who thinks it is kind of cool and who brings me plates of healthy food so I won’t live on cereal and popcorn. My children are remarkably independent people, my sister drops her own work to help me with cover ideas, and my job seldom infringes on my free time. It’s true. I’ve been dealt a great a hand. My biggest issues are lack of sleep and lack of exercise, both of which I swear to handle better for the next three novels.sleep

Oh yes, there are three more coming. I’m already so excited about the next one, and I really want to start it tonight, but I promised myself I would get more sleep.  So I start it on Saturday. I can’t wait.

 
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Posted by on January 28, 2013 in writing

 

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Understanding compassion

At the Mind and Life XXVI Conference-Mind, Brain and Matter: Critical Conversations Between Buddhist Thought and Science

At the Mind and Life XXVI Conference-Mind, Brain and Matter: Critical Conversations Between Buddhist Thought and Science (click to visit CCARE Facebook page)

“If you want others to be happy, practice compassion.
If you want to be happy, practice compassion.”
–– His Holiness the Dalai Lama ––

My empathic hero of xo finds that the more she understands how others feel, the more compassionate she becomes. As a young woman, she hopes that someday her empathic gifts will be studied and understood every bit as well the physical sciences that she also loves.

I was surprised to discover today that Stanford University has a Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education and they are trying to understanding empathy. According to their webpage they are ” striving to create a community of scholars and researchers, including neuroscientists, psychologists, educators and philosophical and contemplative thinkers around the study of compassion.” They also have a facebook page filled with fascinating links, photos and art.

As Lola makes the transition from empath to telepath, she is concerned about whether she will be able to maintain her concern and compassion for others with the barrage of suffering now coming at her.  She worries that maybe a true telepath can only survive by becoming cold and isolated.

handsImagine my surprise at finding a link on the CCARE website to an interesting article by C. Daryl Cameron called How to Increase your Compassion Bandwidth.  It comes from the University of California at Berkeley’s Greater Good Science Center and it deals with the exact issue of compassion overload, and the ways to cope with it in an age of electronic communication that sort of makes us all psudo telepaths. Also please note in the photo above the wonderful mixture of technology and humans striving for wisdom. I love to see how the two can indeed go hand in hand. 🙂

 
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Posted by on January 21, 2013 in telepathy

 

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The opposite of anger

From the blog "Caged by Freedom".  Click image to visit.

From the blog “Caged by Freedom”. Click image to visit.

Would it be harder for a real telepath to to hate someone? To kill someone? These are premises I explored in my novel x0, and so I was delighted the find the quote below.

The opposite of anger is not calmness, its empathy.  Mehmet Oz

Indeed.

 

 
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Posted by on January 14, 2013 in empathy

 

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A Believer’s View of Telepathy

Writing x0 took me down the path of researching telepathy and in October 2012, I posted about the skeptics point of view.  I offered the most compelling arguments I encountered against the existence of any sort of extra sensory perception.  I also pointed out that while writing x0 I had come to appreciate both the the desire for truth and the effort to help others avoid scams that appears to compel telepathy’s strongest detractors. The fact is that a wide variety experiments, conducted thousands of times over decades, have failed to produce convincing evidence that telepathy exists. And some of these folks have really looked.

From Crystalinks.com

From Crystalinks.com

And yet …… according to a 2005 Gallup Poll, about one third of Americans believe telepathy is real.  These believers are more or less evenly divided among age, gender, race, income, education and region of the country. Don’t believe me? Check it out here. This prompts me to wonder whether we are such a wishful species that some of us will accept an appealing idea as true even after multiple experiments appear to disprove it, or whether many of us choose to ignore massive amounts of data because our own experiences suggest a different truth. Websites such as Crystalinks suggest the latter.

Part of the problem, I think, is that tests for telepathy tend to center around conveying information.  What color of dot am I thinking of? What number between one and ten? Quick. Concentrate. Answer. Yet no one I am aware of claims to have ever had a mind to mind transfer of this kind of information. Rather, telepathy is a gentle nudge, an added awareness that involves feelings, not facts. It speaks in symbols, like dreams. It whispers of primal sensations, leaving you sure of the essential emotions, but vague about the rest.

So it did not surprise me to learn that the one test for telepathy that has shown statistically significant positiveganzfeld results is the “Ganzfeld” experiments in which one person is shown photos and film clips and tries to send a sense of the feelings behind these images to the receiver. The receiver has four choices, and after 6700 tests receivers made the right choice about 28% of the time.  This is instead of the 25% one would expect. Impressive? Frankly, no. Not to you or I.  But to a statistician, it is. In fact, if you assume, like the book x0 does, that everyone can project their feelings but only a telepath can receive them, these results suggest that about 3% of the population is somewhat telepathic.

But how? The human brain is a complex electrical and chemical device.  Companion book y1 discusses how  neurotransmitters travel through the brain carrying thoughts and feelings with a precession that is astounding. Might it not be possible for another brain to detect some of this activity? We smell each other. Our eyes can detect light from a star a billions of miles away.  Our ears hear a whisper that corresponds to a pressure variation of less than a billionth of the current atmospheric pressure. Are we so that sure we know of every type of sensory receptor that every one of us has?

How contagious is the fear felt around a campfire where ghost stories are being told? The anger of a mob, the exhilaration of sports fans, and the growing confidence of a group on the path to accomplishing something great all give testament to the idea that we catch feelings from one another.

From Wired

From Wired

A researcher in Sydney recently finished a five-year study monitoring brain activity during therapy sessions and used electrodes placed around the head to investigate how two people can become physiologically aligned. And  according to an article in Wired, the U.S. army is investigating ways to wire brains to communicate “pre-speech” thoughts. And in spite of the fact that we all know that we pick up countless tiny clues from each other that can be misconstrued as telepathy, sometimes the feeling that there is more to it than that is overwhelming.

Other work has suggested that after two people spend years together, their brain waves become more similar. It’s late, and I’m about to go curl up in bed with the man I have slept next to for the last three decades. I know him almost as well as I know myself, and as I drift off to sleep I sometimes have a sense of knowing how he is feeling.  Am I picking up some of those those tiny body language clues? Of course I am. Am I using my knowledge of him and of the kind day we have had? Certainly. Is there something more?  Maybe ….  just maybe.  I’m open to the idea, anyway.

 
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Posted by on January 6, 2013 in telepathy

 

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Wow — I made a top 10 of 2012!

Wahoo  — here’s one thing I can check off of my personal bucket list!new year

Shedrick Pittman-Hassett  is a writer, blogger, librarian and book reviewer par excellence and was kind enough to review x0 way back in May of 2012 on his blog Serial Distractions.  He just came out with his personal “Top Distractions of 2012” and — yes — x0 by Sherrie Cronin came in at 10 of 10.  (Hey, that is still making the list :). )

For nine other great reviews and nine additional interesting reading recommendations, please check out his blog here. And have yourself a wonderful New Year’s Day.

 
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Posted by on January 1, 2013 in x0 elsewhere

 

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