cafenowhere: coffee cup with sugar packets that read WTF (coffee wtf)
Just finished: Hallucinations by Oliver Sacks. Reading this book, I realized what I've loved so much about previous Sacks books I've read. I've never sensed any judgment or disgust from him regarding his patients' symptoms and behaviors, regardless of how bizarre they might have been. In this book, specifically the chapter "Altered States" but also sprinkled throughout the text, Sacks recounts the various hallucinations he himself has experienced, some of them intentionally conjured from experimentation with recreational drugs, others due to his habit of "self-prescribing" drugs as a young doctor, and still others resulting from the contingencies of life. Perhaps it's been first-hand experience that's kept Sacks humble and compassionate.

This is not my favorite of Sacks' books, but it was enlightening, especially his observations on the geometric auras associated with migraines, how they reflect the patterns built into the architecture of our brains' visual systems.

"Perhaps such experiences are at the root of our human obsession with pattern and the fact that geometrical patterns find their ways into our decorative arts....Migraine-like patterns...can be found in Islamic art, in classical and medieval motifs, in Zapotec architecture, in the bark paintings of Aboriginal arists in virtually every culture, going back tens of thousands of years. There seems to have been, throughout human history, a need to externalize and make art from these internal experiences....There is an increasing feeliing among neuroscientists that self-organizing activity in vast populations of visual neurons is a prerequisite of visual perception....Spontaneous self-organization is not restricted to living systems; one may see it in the formation of snow crystals, in the roilings and eddies of turbulent water....[T]he geometrical hallucinations of migraine allow us to experience in ourselves not only a universal of neural functioning but a universal of nature itself."

Now reading: Border Boom Town: Ciudad Juárez since 1848 by Oscar J. Martínez. This book is a researcher's dream come true. Terms defined at the beginning of the book, photos, tables, detailed endnotes, extensive bibliography, critical analysis of sources in that bibliography, well-organized chapters, intros and conclusions. I want to make sweet, sweet love to this book. I know it will be useful for present novel and I will probably turn to it again for a future project. Big score!

Also reading: A Rope of Thorns, Book 2 of the Hexslinger series, by Gemma Files. I laughed at the book's dedication to Files' husband. I cooed over the epigraphs, and then I quick-slipped back into this 'verse I absolutely LOVE. In the wake of the Sacks book, I can't help but marvel over the hallucinogenically elaborate images spilling from the pages. So many awe-inspiring details. The gods and monsters will gobble you up while you stand in slack-jawed wonder at their terrible beauty.
cafenowhere: coffee cup with sugar packets that read WTF (hammer head)
I have depression. It's worse in the winter. It's especially bad around the end of the year, when I start seeing "Best of" lists and begin taking stock of my own accomplishments, "or lack thereof!" as my brain weasels are eager to interject.

I always feel like I haven't written enough, I haven't published enough, I haven't submitted enough, I haven't whatever. You might think that having a collection released this year from a publisher I deeply admire would assuage the self-doubt--after all, it's a physical thing in the world I can touch; I didn't have to bribe or murder anyone for it--but oh how wrong you'd be!

(Er, about the self-doubt being assuaged, not bribery or murder.)

For the fucking record, in addition to The Haunted Girl, I had five poems published this year:
"Teratoma Lullaby" in Stone Telling
"Una Canción de Keys" in Strange Horizons
"Backbone of the Home" in Mythic Delirium
"Golden Age" in Devilfish Review
and "Love Letters for the Itinerant" in Liminality

Earlier, I thought it was only three poems, because depression is an unjust editor or a stuck delete key or something.

I don't know how many poems I wrote, but I wrote one novel and three short stories. (Doesn't matter that the book needs major revisions, it's drafted and that's nothing to sneer at. Doesn't matter that one story is an utter failure. It was also an experiment. Shut up, brain weasels.)

I am bad at keeping track of subs, but I'm pretty sure I made at least six, and four of those were to new-to-me markets. I'd forgotten some of those, too, before I checked my sent emails. [Update: managed 2 more subs before year's end!]

I put together an author website (which needs to be updated) and created author pages on Amazon and Goodreads. I did a Goodreads giveaway.

These are just the writerly things I accomplished (and can remember). And writer is only part of who I am. But next time I feel crummy about what I did or didn't do professionally in 2014, I can look at this entry and tell the brain weasels to fuck right the fuck off.

cafenowhere: coffee cup with sugar packets that read WTF (abby)
I don't know how scary a movie Oculus is, but it's definitely a horror movie. The premise is pretty basic: two adult siblings try to determine how/why their parents died and whether it had anything to do with a creepy mirror. As soon as you see the failsafe device one sibling has rigged, you pretty much know what's going to happen, and that predictability is why the movie isn't scary.

But it is a horror movie, insofar as the flashbacks portray two children helpless to stop the complete meltdown of their family unit. It's the middle of summer, they just moved into a new house in a new neighborhood, and the preteens are very much captives, at the mercy of adults who have gone totally batshit. Suffice to say, I can identify with kids who know their family has gone completely off the rails, and their bewilderment that no one on the outside even notices. In that sense, the movie reminded me of Stephen King's IT (specifically the girl and her abusive father) and The Girl Next Door by Jack Ketchum.

FWIW, mental illness is important to the story, and I thought the treatment of it was respectful. I recognized the defense mechanisms each sibling adopted, and I felt for the characters when they realized how flimsy those defenses were against a supernaturally stacked deck.

Also, while this movie is not a found-footage film in the strictest sense of the term, I thought it was interesting to note how easily it could have been. And how inescapable that storytelling method has become.

I really liked From Dusk Till Dawn when it first came out as a movie. Now director Robert Rodriguez has turned it into a tv show. (Scream, Fargo, Hannibal, Teen Wolf, 12 Monkeys…I guess that's the thing to do these days? Turn movies into tv shows?)

The pilot and second episodes follow the original movie opening pretty closely, visually and script-wise. To my great relief, however, Rodriguez (or the network) seems to have ashcanned the "edgy" excesses of the original Tarantino script. I actually whooped when I realized one of the most cringeworthy bits of dialogue got cut. Rodriguez is also retconning in some backstory for our would-be hero, Texas Ranger Freddie Gonzalez, a character original to the series, and for the speculative elements, which I won't spoil.

DJ Cotrona, as Seth Gecko, seems to have taken George Clooney's performance for gospel, but Zane Holtz is more nuanced in his portrayal of Richie Gecko than Quentin Tarantino was—which probably goes without saying? Tarantino is not subtle, ever.

Mental illness is a theme in both versions of From Dusk Till Dawn. But whereas Richie's delusions were rendered with hyper-realism in the movie version, on the television show his psychosis is "marked" for the viewer. The result is that the viewer doesn't experience the delusions with Richie so much as watches and thinks, "Wow, reptilian monster ladies. Really?" So, kind of judgmental. I would've preferred not to have that distance imposed between viewers and Richie. On the other (heavy)hand, the show telegraphs quickly and often that Richie may be attuned to powers his no-nonsense brother simply doesn't understand. In addition to being mentally ill. And strangely obsessed with horchata.

I was reading both Cotrona and Holtz as Latino, but they're not. I might keep pretending they are, just because it's such a pleasure to imagine a majority Latin@ cast. Texas Ranger Freddie Gonzalez is definitely Latino, as is the actor portraying him, Jessie Garcia. Sadly, Freddie is probably the least engaging character of the show, his character arc one we've seen a thousand times. Close second for most milquetoast character is Jacob Fuller, retired pastor and grieving husband. In the movie he was played by Harvey Keitel, which gave him some instant gravitas, but Robert Patrick seems to be struggling to make something of Jacob.

A few female characters are Latina, but they are minor characters so far, with little screen time. The only female leading role in the first two episodes is Kate Fuller, a white teenage girl trapped on a family trip with her father, Jacob, and her passive brother (who, we are told, was adopted from China).

It's too early to call, but I fear my breaking point with this show will be in its portrayal of women. Which, given its source material (much of the original takes place in a strip club called the Titty Twister), wouldn't be surprising. But I will hope that, like the ableist insults and racist vulgarity, the misogyny will be toned down, if not dismissed altogether.
cafenowhere: coffee cup with sugar packets that read WTF (silver teapots)
When summer gives way to fall, and winter to spring, I dream a lot. I dream so much that when I wake up, I want to go right back to sleep because whatever I'm doing in my dreams seems so much more important than what I'm doing in the "real" world. This is so established a routine, I feel like I must've mentioned it before, but when I told this to JJ over dinner last night, he gave me a genuine What the Fuck look. Which is unusual, seeing as he almost never curses, in word or gesture. Whereas I have even given up on withholding motherfucker-laced rants in front of Tweetie.

But yes, I'm dreaming thick and often, and I really feel as if I'm doing some kind of work over there, and I have to get back to it. Then things happen that heighten my sense of (ir)reality. Last night, for instance, an alarm of some kind went off and woke both me and JJ. He wandered the house seeking the source of this alarm we'd never heard before, pero ni fu ni fa. He trudged back to bed and I asked if there had really been a siren or if it had been in my dreams. When he confirmed it had really happened, I wondered aloud if it had been coming from outside the house, since we have the windows open. That seems the most likely scenario now. But for the rest of the night, JJ had bad dreams (which is what happens when you are startled with a WARNING but have no idea what the warning could possibly mean: your brain helpfully offers up all the sordid possibilities) and his restlessness seeped over to my side of the bed.

In the real world, I finished reading The Drowning Girl, but that did nothing to improve my sense of a firm dividing line between dream and reality. What a wonderful surprise, though, to see so many familiar names in Kiernan's acknowledgments at the end! And now I am reading about post-revolutionary Mexico for a future novel. Which actually doesn't help anchor me in the real world, either, with the authors' recursive spirals of storytelling and history's meandering spirals of cause and effect. "The past is never dead. It's not even past."

Something that delights me though: one of the most militant of unions in 1930s Mexico was the BAKERS. Even though the bakers weren't geographically concentrated and weren't considered a vital industry to the state, they had the organization to be heard and appeased. Personally, given my love of baked goods, I would never want to piss off the bakers. Imagine--no brownies! no pan dulce! no strudels or sourdough or rye! My kingdom for a loaf. Let us eat cake!
cafenowhere: coffee cup with sugar packets that read WTF (whiny Cas)
Taking my sertraline before bedtime seems to be making me queasy lately, which complicates my already borked sleep schedule and other "nocturnal activities." Ahem. So I have moved my medicine time to morning, with my coffee, and I'm hoping for the best. Today (Sunday) was the second day of the new dosing schedule. I've been moody the last couple of days, but that's probably a result of sleep dep and not related to the medicine. Since I'm not changing the actual dose, I don't expect much change to my mental health, aside from a little "brain blurping." (which feels kind of trippy, but doesn't hurt) I should be functioning at my normal by Readercon.
cafenowhere: coffee cup with sugar packets that read WTF (hola)
1. I am finally starting to feel human again, though I keep overestimating my ability to remain awake and upright. The fortunate thing about having been so inarguably ill...

leave me alone to die

is that I was forced to cede control over a number of things I thought were important (and which may have well been) but that were diminishing my resources without sufficient payoff. 

castiel I quit

2. Winchester Wednesday! A new episode of Supernatural airs tonight, and though I don't love it the way I used to, it's been surprisingly entertaining as of late...

sam and dean in the batcave by huntercest

and it gives me an excuse to be alone for an hour on a weeknight. (Tweetie is allowed to watch it but prefers not to. And JJ keeps Tweetie company and keeps her on task with her school night routine. (Except for when something happens to the Impala and I shriek in horror, at which point he rushes in to ask, "Are you okay?") Win-win? I think so.)

3. My first winter women's retreat was successful. We all agreed it wasn't quite long enough, and I spent most of it sick, but it seems to have done the trick for me, jogging me out of some unhelpful patterns. I really enjoyed tromping around in the snow, following deer tracks, trying to figure out where the land ended and the snow-covered river began, eating pristine snow, finding still-verdant streams, lying in the snow and waiting for the stars to materialize, listening for coyotes...

4. Banana Joe. I love that name. I say it just to smile: "Banana Joe."

5. Stoned corgis. Corgis in mailboxes. Floppy-eared corgis

6. Only half an hour before I can take more medicine.

cafenowhere: coffee cup with sugar packets that read WTF (sad panda)
On Saturday I had a marvelous art date with my buddies. We made monsoon paper.

photo (51)
monsoon paper 12-15-12

We also experimented on huge canvases with all manner of ink and acrylics and wet leaves and pine needles. We talked about politics and family. And I was reminded that people worry about me. I have been somewhat a-verbal lately. I get tired or feel glum or just empty, and I really can't think of anything to say. Also, since I'm doing poem-a-day again, I post fairly regularly on LJ, but under a poem filter, and I don't say much other than to introduce the poem.

Which brings me to the PROMPT, or rather, a REQUEST for prompts. You may leave me a word or image prompt in comments, and I will incorporate each into a poem. If you're not on my poem-a-day filter, I'll email you the poem inspired by your prompt.

And now for the RANT. )
cafenowhere: coffee cup with sugar packets that read WTF (sad panda)
Yesterday was really rough. It was the kind of day I had in mind when I decided to do poem-a-day again: I needed a reason to get out of bed--or stay out of bed, since I did go back a few times when nothing else was working. (and the poem project was helpful, I did some research and got down half of what I consider a substantive, if not significant, poem)

I think I'm back on the mental-health wagon, but I figured I should mention the spike and dip in my mood, lest anyone mistake the abrupt change as somehow related to a conversation or interaction we were having.

And now, just for fun, I offer the gifs I have labeled "crazy."

crazy cat in car 

crazed deer head 

dean proves crazy works 
cafenowhere: coffee cup with sugar packets that read WTF (hola)
I am slowly recovering from my holiday hangover. This morning I woke up on time, courtesy of two alarm clocks and a superheroic act of will, and I got my child to school on time, although it wasn't til we were out the door that I realized I'd totally blown off her homework of the night before. In my defense, last night we were on a secret mission, so whatever academic demerits Tweetie receives should be offset by karma points. I am forcing myself to sit in the sunlight to recharge my batteries before printing out a snail-mail sub and preparing other mail. I have already broken up a cat fight and had two cups of coffee. I haven't been posting many poems in the poem-a-day filter this week, but I have managed to write one every day for over a month now, and I've even liked some of them! It is possible I am a little manic right now, but I'll take it after feeling like a run-over slug for several days.

Speaking of...I would love to hear some good news and happy thoughts! Even if you think I've already heard/seen your good news, tell me again in comments! 
cafenowhere: coffee cup with sugar packets that read WTF (neon sign)
Tweetie had the day off, and the weather was good, and I had a few extra spoons, so we went downtown.

1. Yarnbombing. Although we ran a few errands at local shops, our real reason for heading downtown was to check out the yarnbombing-palooza that [ profile] diatryma participated in. I didn't think to take a pic of her sexy little "corset" sweater, but eventually I remembered my phone has *other powers*:

tree sweater

2. Pianos in public. The city has several pianos in its ped mall area, with protective covers for night-time and weather. 

pianos in public

3. History peeking through the cracks. I'd heard about these awhile back, but didn't think I'd get a chance to see them before they were covered up again. These bison are what's left of a much larger mural. They were uncovered when workers started construction on a new building.

bison mural

4. Yotopia! This time, I managed to convince Tweetie to eat frozen yogurt for lunch. This is my cup, with a pumpkin-pie and cake-batter swirl, Molly's Cupcake crumbs, peanuts, and banana chips.

yotopia creation

5. Random acts of kindness. A complete stranger walked by with a balloon and asked if it was alright to give it to Tweetie. 


cafenowhere: coffee cup with sugar packets that read WTF (boondock saints smoke)
1. My beta readers! I am so grateful that such talented writers are willing to help me improve my work. I hope my progress is sufficient that they continue to think the arrangement worth their time.

2. Supernatural Wiki! It's been down a lot lately because it can't handle the demand, but even the cached pages have been integral for my research over the last two weeks. It's been especially helpful to be able to compare my transcripts to the ones there. 

3. Speaking of Supernatural, this gif makes me happy in my pants:

Dean ripping off tie

Gosh, I could just look at that all day.

4. I get to have lunch with hubby today. It doesn't much matter what or where, just that we get to spend time together. (and I'll be away from the computer, which has been sucking out my very soul)

5. This episode of Autumn in Iowa--Yesterday it rained pretty much all day. JJ and I walked over to the school to pick up Tweetie. On our way back, J remarked that Tweetie should roll in the leaves, because they'd stick to her clothes like velcro. She was disgusted and said her clothes would be ruined! Clearly it only made sense to take off all her clothes BEFORE rolling in the leaves. I laughed at my little hedonist, while J made special note that she was not allowed to play outside naked.

cafenowhere: coffee cup with sugar packets that read WTF (studying)
Answering the interview questions about Blood in the Streets and Blood in the Works reminded me of some of the research I'd done about architecture. One of my main characters is an architect who has gone from building office plazas to biker bars and battle barricades. I read The Architecture of Happiness by Alain de Botton and really loved his idea that what we look for in a building is what we're looking for from ourselves and our companions, a reassuring but also ambitious kind of psycho-echolocation. (Below, emphasis mine.) 

"Our sensitivity to our surroundings may be traced back to a troubling feature of human psychology: to the way we harbor within us many different selves, not all of which feel equally like 'us'...

"We depend on our surroundings obliquely to embody the moods and ideas we respect and then to remind us of them. We look to our buildings to hold us, like a kind of psychological mold, to a helpful vision of ourselves...

"We need a home in the psychological sense as much as we need one in the physical: to compensate for a vulnerability. We need a refuge to shore up our states of mind, because so much of the world is opposed to our allegiances."

I'm heading out to run errands, so I will just note that my architect struggles to articulate what de Botton encapsulates so elegantly in the second quote. Identity became a huge theme in my second book, specifically that sense of having multiple selves and needing to rein them in to suit your primary goals. And the interplay of structures and allegiances is at work in books 1 and 2, but will be even more important in the final book of the planned trilogy.

cafenowhere: teacup brimming with mysterious violet liquid (psychedelic tea)

Thanks to [ profile] asakiyume' s post about shouting into the ears of the dying and [ profile] shadesong sharing this link about evolution and synesthesia, I've come to a new understanding of the weirdest aspect of my recent aphasic episode. What I considered a brain glitch that swapped a nearly kinesthetic experience for the words I wanted, may actually have been my synesthetic tendencies trying to compensate for my lack of words. 

First, look at this beautiful diffusion tensor imaging scan of brain connections, from the National Geographic article:

Now here's the quote that brought about my realization: "We worked with a novelist years ago who swore that her synesthesia helped her pick metaphors...She said she would know what color a word should be even before she knew what the word was."

This is so much like when I could see the physical shape of the paragraph I needed, could feel the rhythm the words should take, could practically hear the cadence of the words, but I couldn't summon the actual words. I think my synesthetic tendencies were trying to compensate for the aphasia. And then, when I almost caught a poem, I felt the same flare of inspiration, but since my verbal centers were blocked, my brain tried to shape the poem in physical space rather than verbal space.

I'm probably not making sense to anyone other than myself, and the differentiation is slight, but it makes me feel much better about my brain. It wasn't so much a brain glitch as my brain's workaround attempt. And so I will feel more kindly toward my brain, and perhaps even try to cultivate the synesthesia so the workaround works better in the future.


cafenowhere: teacup brimming with mysterious violet liquid (psychedelic tea)
I am thankful for my lime-green, knee-high, chenille socks.

I am thankful for sunlight. Not the blue Close Encounters stuff that radiates from my light box, but real sunlight, golden-white and bright.

I am thankful my husband is coming home from his business trip today.

I am thankful for my brother. Though I complain about him an awful lot.

I am thankful for the squeak of my right shoe, which kept me company on my walk this morning.

cafenowhere: coffee cup with sugar packets that read WTF (hola)
Hi! I feel crummy, and have for about a week now! But I don't want to talk about that because it is BORING. So instead I offer five happy-making things, with LINKS!

1. Pontypool. I'd been wanting to see this movie for a long time, and it finally appeared on my Netflix streaming queue. Here's the trailer. (Incidentally, the DJ's tirade against the winter weather is about twice as long as what you hear in the clip. I could identify.) Pontypool is an ambitious little horror movie uniquely suited to writerly audiences. It takes place almost entirely in a small-town radio station, over the course of one day. The three main characters (two of them women) gradually piece together the nature of a viral outbreak turning their town into babbling psychos. There's little gore (though what there is, is effectively distressing) and it comes maybe three-quarters of the way in. Almost all the suspense depends on storytelling: the DJ tells stories, people who call into the station give reports, messages come in via internet and disembodied military announcements. I found the premise imaginative and quite disconcerting. 

2. "Girls on Film: The Battle between Feminism and Horror". This essay does a super job of conveying both feminist successes and remaining challenges for portrayals of women in horror films. And note that the title itself is not careless. The central females in these movies are usually *girls*, not women. And that in itself is something to think about...

3. Gross bikes! You know those people whose reaction to smelling something truly heinous is to try to make YOU smell it? I'll admit, I'm being kind of like that here. I was looking up customized motorcycle gas tanks and I found, in addition to copious breasts--including some pneumatic examples on the Mona Lisa--this really disgusting bike that squicked me out, maybe even more so after I'd seen the smutty ones that give a whole new meaning to "crotch rocket." Because on this one, the gas tank looks like a human heart. The bike cost $120,000.

4. shared a youtube video by Caitlin, a fun, friendly mortician willing to answer random questions about death and funerary practices. In the posted vid, Caitlin explains rigor mortis and how long it lasts, as well as what does and does not happen during the cremation process. And she shows off her pet python.

5. I've been rewatching "Twin Peaks" (that's the happy-making thing) and I'm intrigued by its portrayals of characters with mental and physical handicaps (not happy but thoughtful-making). For example, Donna's mother uses a motorized wheelchair. A reason has not been given (I'm on ep 2.5 or 6), and it's not really relevant. There's a handsome young man who's a shut-in due to agoraphobia. The Log Lady, although she can be taken for laughs, is no sillier than any other character. As much credence is given to her log's eyewitness reports as to Agent Cooper's dream visions. There's a one-armed man who remains suspicious, and Nadine's bipolar behavior is over-the-top, but a lot of the characters are over-the-top. It's a soap that pokes fun at soaps. Still, much to think about...

cafenowhere: coffee cup with sugar packets that read WTF (whiny Cas)
...but they will not, because Tweetie has strep. I've already been having trouble processing info--I have this sense of implications looming just beyond my mental capacity--so this does not bode well for my spoonage. Just FYI.

Rough Night

Oct. 1st, 2011 11:33 am
cafenowhere: coffee cup with sugar packets that read WTF (morning)

It started well enough. Last night's episode of Supernatural was surprisingly good in the last half hour. Got to bed early.

And then, the dreams. I don't understand how I can sleep so hard and dream so bad. I mean, I wake up feeling like I was buried under ten tons of rock, but I'm dreaming hard too, like digging up every bit of id-tastic angst and terror I can find.

I feel like I've lived three days in the span of one night. O__O

cafenowhere: coffee cup with sugar packets that read WTF (book)
A Mind Apart, Travels in a Neurodiverse World by Susanne Antonetta

I'd heard of autistics who embrace their neuroatypical traits and refuse to think of autism as an illness, but I'd not realized some folks with bipolar disorder feel similarly about their atypical traits: p. 89 [quoting from an online forum] "I choose not to look at bipolar as an illness at all. In fact, I couldn't imagine myself as not being bipolar, nor would I want to be. The bipolar is a strong component of who I am, and I do not wish to be anyone else but me."

I've spoken to friends about how/when to disclose our illnesses to new people in our lives. One friend advocates secrecy until the new person gets to know and love us. I prefer to tell early and often. Part of our disagreement has to do with preconceptions about certain illnesses--that is, folks might be sympathetic to someone with depression, but flee from someone with dissociative identity disorder. But also, I've recently decided my illness is so much a part of me, that it's akin to withholding the info that I'm brown or a woman. If a person cannot cope with my skin color or heritage, then there's really no basis for communion. Likewise, if a person's going to bolt because I'm depressed, then better to get them gone before the going gets rough. Whereas some of my friends insist they are not defined by their illness, thus the disclosure should be a moot point.

So I suppose I've come around to the quoted sentiment. My depression is currently a huge part of who I am, even though I medicate and wouldn't discontinue medication without clear evidence of change in self or situation. That said, it's hard for me to imagine choosing my default neurochemistry, if I could instead be "typical."

p. 76 "Art by manic-depressives pulls hard at the neurotypical human soul: Vincent van Gogh, Sylvia Plath, Georgia O'Keeffe, Blake, Rossini--ironically, the artists people are least likely to find incomprehensible. It may be that the hyberbole of this disease...leaves a clearer imprint when displayed artistically..."

I think it's more likely that it's easier to appreciate someone's insights when one doesn't also have to cope with the day-to-day eccentricities (or disabilities) of the artist. A case of good fences (in time and/or space) making good neighbors. When fences are insufficient, the typicals tribe is apt to ship off the oddballs:

p. 106 "...some European countries began...turning their mentally ill over to boatmen, who promised to take them a certain distance away and sometimes carried a ship's worth of such cargo....Often the ships' purpose was simply removal, but they also took the mad on pilgrimages to holy sites with cures specifically for the mind...Of course, uncured lunatics didn't sail back to their homes, so villages like Gheel ended up forming colonies of the insane...the mad needed to be distanced but also purified, baptized almost."

Beyond the friction inherent between tribes, Antonetta also considers problems of consciousness more generally:

p. 226 "...our present lasts about two to fifteen seconds, according to Merlin Donald and other consciousness theorists..." 
p. 232 [quoting Donald] "How could a person stitch together a meaningfully conscious existence from an endless series of two- to fifteen-second samples of experience?"

Persistence of identity despite impermanence of consciousness is the same problem considered in the movie Memento, which I loved. (and btw, director Christopher Nolan has come a long way, hasn't he? in terms of commercial success if not depth) 

I'd heard good things about this book for a long time. I'm glad I finally got around to it.

cafenowhere: coffee cup with sugar packets that read WTF (misunderstood)
Recently I mocked my dreaming self for proposing a story development that my waking self found utterly ridiculous. [ profile] asatomuraki  suggested this in-your-dreams storyline was my subconscious daring to touch the taboo, 'cuz dreaming Lisa is "just that hardcore." Which made me laugh but also made a lot of sense to me, especially because I'd also been feeling the stress from compartmentalizing my work self from my feeling self. (Gosh it's crowded in my head!)

Then,  I read this "Fresh Air" transcript of Terry Gross's interview with neuroscientist and author David Eagleman (link courtesy of [ profile] yourlibrarian ), about the stress we feel from keeping secrets...from ourselves. [emphasis mine]

Eagleman: ...there's a group at UT Austin that's been looking at this for a while. When they have people write down their secrets, even anonymously, or even just in a journal, their stress hormone levels go down. Their number of doctor visits goes down.

So there's a large literature on this, about how bad it is to hold a secret. But I just got interested in thinking: What is a secret, actually? And, you know, it's - because you have competing populations in the brain, if you have one part that wants to tell something and another part that does not want to because of maybe the social consequences of revealing something like this, that's a secret.

If both parts want to tell, then that's just a good story, and if neither part wants to tell, then that's something that's, you know, not terribly interesting...
Of course, the stress comes when one part (or more) wants to tell and another part (or more) doesn't. Which makes the suggestion (from both [ profile] asakiyume and [ profile] asatomuraki ) that maybe I'm in the process of grokking something important, seem all the more logical. 
If the secret turns out to be really big, like Secret of NIMH big, or "Who put the bomp in the bomp-bah bomp-bah bomp" big, I'll be sure to let y'all know.

Deja Vu

Jul. 21st, 2010 05:05 pm
cafenowhere: coffee cup with sugar packets that read WTF (Default)


lavender strong with bees
moonlight limning the trees
mice nibbling petits fours...
I've seen these things before

stop-motion words in books
kids who age between looks
the clock flashing four twos...
All my "you're dreaming" clues



cafenowhere: coffee cup with sugar packets that read WTF (Default)

August 2017

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