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Monthly Archives: November 2013

Peace Signs

1 Peace

Hippie Peace Freaks

Funny how things come at you clumps. One day its cute kittens every place you look, the next day its information on vitamin supplements. Yesterday, I had a “peace” day. Signs were everywhere. And many of them were on Facebook.

One of the joys of creating a Facebook page for my collection of novels 46. Ascending has been the way it has given me reason to seek out other people’s pages and to share some of my favorite finds. I’m not sure what the exact etiquette is on sharing posts from the Facebook world on ones blog, so I will ask you to please drop by the wonderful page called Hippie Peace Freaks and kindly give them a like while you are there.

The Dalai Lama

The Dalai Lama

There is no better place for peace signs than the Facebook page of the amazing Dalai Lama, who happily shares his wisdom with those of any faith (or none). Please consider liking his page as well. There may not be anyone more likable on the planet.

Pope Francis

Pope Francis

I am also impressed with much about the new Pope Francis and share this from his Facebook page. He doesn’t have his staff working on powerful imagery to go with his thoughts (yet) but these are thoughts worth liking.

Peace One Day

Peace One Day

Finally, a huge LIKE to the people who get out there and do something to promote world peace. Please visit the page for Peace One Day, where you can view this photo of a meditation flash mob at the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, Germany. A meditation flash mob may sound like an oxymoron, but these participants took off their shoes and meditated for an hour to promote mindfulness and peace in the world. Do such actions make a difference? Do photos of such actions make a difference?

I think we all change just a little when we start to see peace signs everywhere we look.

For more of my favorite signs of peace, please drop by my Facebook page Number 46. Ascending, and look around as well.

 
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Posted by on November 20, 2013 in peace

 

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What did I say wrong?

The process of writing a book about telepathy gave me plenty of opportunity to think about how we as humans provide comfort and support to each other. Or not. In my book I treat empathy as a sort of “baby telepathy” in which the truly empathic can feel the pain of another, as they live one step away from reading another’s thoughts.

heartIn real life, we all know people who are kind of like this.Yet even these concerned, caring types don’t always say the right thing. In fact, sometimes they come out with awful responses, in spite of their obvious empathy, and they often expect to be excused because their heart was in the right place. It seems like it’s not always enough to have a caring open heart. Why? I think that even the most empathic people feel the need to express their own fear, anger, and sorrow or just to make observations or share what they know. Being empathetic doesn’t make you any less human.

ringsI was delighted to come across an article in the Los Angeles Times called “How Not to Say the Wrong Thing” by Susan Silk and Barry Goldman. It describes an approach for how to share your own observations and feelings in a crisis. It’s called “comfort in, dump out”. Basically you getting out a piece of paper and literally drawing rings around the name of a person having any kind of a crisis. Closer rings then get filled in with the names of those closest to the person: immediate family and best friends. Then, coworkers, friends and acquaintances, and distant family members all go in increasingly distant rings by name or in groups. Finally you put your self in the appropriate ring, whatever it may be. Now, the way to avoid unintended ghastly behavior is to say nothing but comforting things to those inward from you. Period. Nothing more. Just comfort. On the other hand, you can rant and rave, or share your fear or knowledge on the subject involved all you want with those in rings further away than you.

This is brilliant. I really like these people.

I came across this article by way of one of my favorite blogs, called Otrazhenie. Please check out the blog article here. There is a lot of interesting embellishment, and the site is well worth a visit!

 
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Posted by on November 16, 2013 in empathy

 

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How to write like a wolf

I wasn’t such a big fan of personality tests when I was younger, but once I joined the workforce I was required to take the Myers Briggs test and it changed my life. I discovered that in spite of a cheerful tendency to smile a lot and a skill for using words well, I was in fact not Miss Congeniality like everyone else thought. I was very much an introvert. Well, that suddenly explained a lot.

wolf

INFJ

They say that a smart person understands others, but a wise person understands herself. The fact is, the more you understand yourself, the better you can make your approach to writing work well for you.

Recently a popular website came out with animals to represent all sixteen of the Myers Briggs types.They don’t all seem to fit perfectly, but they are sort of a fun way to look at it. You can check them out here. I happen to be a wolf, and now I try to write like one. What does that mean?

dog

ENFJ

Clearly there is no right personality for an author, we come in all flavors. However, if you know you are an introvert like me, you can save time by not forcing yourself to make oodles of friends online, engaging in lots of chat about your writing. You know you always hated group projects in school, so you don’t need to turn your novel into one now. The effort to do so will just drain you.

However, if those exchanges fill you with energy, like my extroverted counterpart the dog, then you are a extrovert and would do well to benefit from this free flow of helpful ideas. Just consider getting your author friends to help you set and keep daily or weekly writing goals, lest the socializing fill your free time.

meerkat

INFP

Are you a planner, or someone who prefers to take things as they come? I’m a solid planner here, so I don’t fight my need to work out exactly how I am going to write my books. As a start my fifth novel I have a pretty good idea of how fast I write and how long I want my book to be, and I literally put both word and chapter goals in my calendar to cover the six months or so during which the first draft will happen.

I once had a “wing it” style friend, more meerkat than wolf, tell me he could plan like that if he wanted to, but it would seem to him like working with a dull headache. How funny, I thought. To me it feels like working with a soft warm blanket around me. I do, however, wrestle with the unexpected. I fight my frustrations at life’s little emergencies while he struggles to make sure that his book moves along while he happily takes life as it comes. Both ways yield a novel in the end.

deer

ISFJ

If you are someone who strongly favors their hunches as much as I do, you won’t want to chart out your plot that carefully. For all my planning about when and how much I am going to write, I use the loosest of outlines, with only a few key characters and a basic story line sketched out before I start. I trust my intuition to handle the rest, and it seems to do so just fine. Before I finish a book I know that several characters and plot developments will surprise me, and some of these surprises will become my favorite parts of the book.

Another author I know, more deer than wolf, defines every single occurrence in his stories in a detailed outline. He knows exactly what is going to happen before he starts writing the book. To me he seems highly suspicious of his intuition, but to him he is taking the time to give his story his very best effort. His plots are as imaginative and interesting  as any I’ve encountered, reminding me that there is no right way to be creative, only the way that works best for you.

octopus

INTJ

The final Myers Briggs criteria has to do with whether your mind or your heart steers your actions. Before I began to write full length books, I guessed that the feelers had an advantage. I was surprised to discover how much thought goes into a complex plot, and into ultimately producing a book.  I fall near the middle here, only slightly more led by my heart, only slightly more wolf than octopus. In this arena I think that any author needs to find others to compliment their own tendencies. I rely on three highly analytic beta readers (including my officially-an-octopus daughter) to ferret out the plot holes that are most likely to show up in my most emotional scenes.

I happen to be a wolf, and now I try to write like one. You? You need to write like the honeybee, or lion or otter that you truly are.

(For more thoughts on being an INFJ, visit my y1 blog here.)

 
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Posted by on November 7, 2013 in writing

 

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