An idea for anyone interested …

I love to hear about new books as much as the next person.  And I’ve noticed that some of my readership is comprised of writers.  And a simple fact of life is that some have more and others less readership than I do.  Certainly it’s a given that we all have different readership.

I’ve heard of blog tours, guest bloggers, etc.  And this isn’t so different as that; but a little bit, yes. Continue reading

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Mental health, medication, and creativity

So, apparently (read: according to my wife), it’s a Thing (read: trending a bit on Twitter) to claim that untreated mental illness is a font for creativity.

Holy wow.

Okay. To be fair, sometimes it very well may be. There are those whose art IS their mental illness, or more precisely their illness is the inspiration for their art. For these folks, I suppose, it’s reasonable to assume treating the illness may hamper their art. Would Stephen King write the horrors he does if he were medicated to cope with his nightmares? (Is that even possible?!) I mean, obviously, until he ran out of the memory of any not-yet-written nightmares … but after?

A frequent example is Van Gogh … no idea why. For one, in some respects he WAS medicated. Not well, but he was. And even modern meds … well … in some ways there’s no difference between using opium and using Xanax besides the side-effects. But never mind that he blows the argument that way, which can be counter argued that booze and getting high aren’t medicating, how about the fact he painted such beauty and life in spite of his “tortured soul”? I’m pretty sure his depression didn’t create his work, it just cut it off at the age of 30.

My wife, is less creative unmedicated. Without meds she can not write. She’s also arguably not a functional adult or even a strictly function hominid lifeform, but she can’t write for her anxiety issues.

Me? I can’t actually say. I mean if my oestrogen levels sink below some threshold it triggers depression (this is a woman thing … cis/trans doesn’t matter … men suffer similarly for low testosterone … fun fact for the day) so I suppose my HRT is medication for depression, but my depression is far more complex than that. I don’t medicate, though. Not really because I l’m afraid I couldn’t write without depression. If I’m depressed I avoid writing, after all … partly because it goes in dark directions and I’m not into goth fic so generally hate what I write, but also because I can’t seem to get the motivation and focus to. But when depression isn’t dragging me down I quite enjoy writing. So, arguably, meds would be a Good Idea. I just look at the side effects of anti-depressants and figure I’d rather cope because they would make me depressed.

I’m not going to take a side in the argument. There shouldn’t be sides, nor should there be an argument. Mostly, I think, the ‘illness is art’ are quite mad and part of a group I wrote about before who feel Art Must Be Torture! (Load of bollox).

Thing is, we’re all different. Maureen in Ready or Not has very firm opinions on not taking meds for her depression. Because for her they are more torture than benefit. She knows her little sister enough to advise her against them as well because it’s a likely point in commont betwixt the siblings to hate the sensation of being confined to a certain parameter of mood; it’s too suffocating. Now, trial and error with other medicines, other doses, may have been good but she couldn’t tolerate the way they left her feeling until that magical cocktail is discovered. She does actually use medical marijuana for insomnia and her depression it’s later revealed (uh … spoiler alert?)

The flip side of the coin are people “meds are why I’m alive now! Meds are miraculous and everyone should medicate!”

No. As is my wont I’ll stay right here in the realm of reality and rationality. Each human is unique. That uniqueness is important. Nothing works universally. Some people should definitely medicate, some definitely oughtn’t, still others can take it or leave it. Let’s chill and let it go.

My single point of firm belief is that some drugs are over prescribed. Many psychiatrists and psychologists do feel too many GPs will see someone seems stressed or down and give them a psych drug with no further evaluation, no actual attempt at therapy. Some GPs and psychologists alike are a little too happy to give Timmy and Suzy a Ritalin script … even when they don’t need it and thus a creative child becomes a zombie. But this is not a mental illness thing, this is a modern western (especially the for-profit American) medical profession thing and pathologicalising and medicating everything & sundry. So, ultimately, I suppose it comes back to moderation.

It’s amazing. Nothing is good in extremes. Change for the sake of change can be as terrible as holding onto tradition too strongly. Even rights have an interesting point of moderation: your rights and mine should not impede each other. Thus laws against theft, murder, wanton discrimination … these are sensible. Your right to religion shouldn’t impede my right to service BUT my right to service shouldn’t impede the rights of a church or church affiliated service (but that service shouldn’t get anyone’s tax dollars either, it’s only fair after all).

I ramble. If you haven’t caught on to this you’ve not been paying attention. But really, this is one of the internet’s more colossally asinine arguments. Let artists medicate or not. And if an artist may be in danger for their mental illness, let’s recommend they may want to seek help … conversely those suffering for their treatment should be encouraged to cease or reevaluate said therapies. It’s balance, baby.

Goodnight.

P.s. I can’t concentrate to go back over this for proofreading, so hopefully my recent bouts of extreme dyslexia this week won’t have impacted this too badly.

More Sports Journalism!

I tried to live-tweet a hockey game tonight. It was, unfortunately, actually the lead up to a hockey game that started after I was ready to go. But I did my best.

Tumblr

So, Tumblr is instituting a rather draconian adult content ban.

Some examples?

A blogpost from Tumblr suggesting its ban is actually on female bodies.

https://twitter.com/sketchshark/status/1069719613041078272?s=21

So some may be wondering if I will remove/abandon my Tumblr. An excellent question. No. Mostly because I don’t and never have exactly used my Tumblr in the first place. 99% of its content is links back to this blog automatically generated by WordPress. So while I’m ethically opposed to what they’re doing, I shouldn’t think my content there is contributing much to them in any capacity.

Now, that isn’t to say I won’t change my mind. For example, if they don’t get this algorithm under control and – as the first example above speculates – keep flagging any pictures of women then I will absolutely delete my Tumblr and ne’er return to that desolate wasteland. But if they sort themselves out to actually only exclude porn and nudity … 🤷‍♀️ … I certainly don’t condone the decision because I support the idea of people who wish to use their beauty as a source of income or merely as a source of pleasure by its sharing then that’s their right and I certainly am a vocal advocate that nudity isn’t sex and therefore the outright topless/nude ban regardless of context is horrifying.

That was probably a lot of horrible runons and atrocious sentences that even Tolkien would say go entirely too far, but to hell with it, I’ll edit this post later.

So, tl;dr: Yes, Tumblr are wankers. No, I haven’t immediate plans to abandon ship since I’m actually following in a tethered dinghy anyhow, but if they’re bigger wankers in future I will drop them in a trice.

Cheers

In other news

Book 3 needs a bloody title! 😩

So I’ve rather got back into writing of late! It’s crazy, I don’t have a lot of time for it because of work but I’ve been getting some squeezed in, even a little at work! (Thank you tiny quiet offices!)

Sadly little of it has been book 3. Three side project quirky … I don’t even know what they ares … have been eating at my attention instead.

One is a quirky telepathic girl from another galaxy meets a young space rat (think street urchin but on starships, in spaceports, and on space stations) orphan and … it’s a very weird pile of twists on the old princess falls for the poor street waif sort of story. Along with a sort of reverse Cinderella or Annie if you twist your brain into a tasty pretzel 🥨.

Another is a young half-human and half-not girl from Earth and her family fleeing the world and it’s social hostility to her existence, that of two other of their children, and none too kindly to the parents either … it’s poignant but it’s relatively happy and funny despite that.

And a young alien girl from an alien world joins a student exchange program by the Terran government to come to one of their worlds and attend school there for a term. I’m worried she’s going to try to start a revolution 🤭.

But my steam for those has waned so perhaps I can concentrate on Book 3 again soon.

I know how late it is. Exhaustion, Depression, and … Time … I work 6 days a week and at times am 13hrs or more a day spent working + commuting for said work.

But I have an interview Thursday coming for a promotion! That will mean MORE time. It’s also going to mean a chance to buy a big beautiful house (a specific one I have my eye on, to clarify), and other niceties.

And … bollox … how does one categorise and tag posts in the WordPress App these days?!

Oh found it … the the three dots, Post Settings. Makes sense.

Whoa … I’m …

So, there’s a Thing that’s a bit viral on Twitter.

Seems a young lady in a Minnesota school found herself assaulted by staff of said school.

Oh, yeah, see, there’s video evidence. One mo, and I’ll fetch that for you dears:

So … yeah, I mean I suppose that in some ways it could be argued it’s not assault … using a dictionary. Legally, however, there’s a few child sex crime kind of laws in violation by the adults seen. To say nothing of a little thing called psychological assault in violating her privacy like that and by misgendering her so thoroughly.

I kid you not, this has created an uproar. Twitter seems to actually be in consensus about it (only other time Twitter was in consensus about something Joffery had been poisoned). I mean never mind any trans rights debates, everyone is enraged about treating a child that way. Oh and maybe because they didn’t issue an apology, they issued a statement and were then suddenly worried about ‘privacy’.

So I had a little something to say to such a non-apology:

As did the amazing Amanda Jette Knox (this one a thread):

And hundreds more with thousands of reactions that basically come to ‘I’m with you, mate!’

Ready for my new career in sports journalism!

Last night I live tweeted a football game.

I think I did really well!

Someone start a letter writing campaign to ESPN, I’m totally ready for that journalism salary.

(Psst it’s a whole thread for those unfamiliar)

The wrongness is strong …

So much absurdity 😱[

Okay folks, this is a thing that was found on Pinterest. It has so many wonderful things so tremendously wrong with it I think I’m going to have to break things down and enumerate them.

I think, for starters, I should be literal and actually break that graphic up.

No. Just … no.

Look, I grok, some folks plan. Some people construct. But this is not the way to present writing to new writers. This is a method (frankly a completely mad looking one at that, but some folks juggle geese) but it’s presented with a tone of absolution.

No. In fact I can think of no successful writer I’ve encountered who has a process like that. So that’s a suggestion it might even actually be a bad method, but no method is good or bad if it works for you. All methods come to “write your story”. That’s the method that matters.

Whether you prepare by complex world building or by trying to wrest the pen from the kitten the only step that matters is “write your first draft”; prior to that is only so much extemporaneous detail.

Personally I shudder at these kinds of lists because, unless you build it through your own trial and error it merely represents a barrier to writing. It’s these things, often quite unpleasant or unfun (for most people) things. Things that, if you feel you must do them before you write likely means you will never write because you’ll be years or eternities at steps 1-8 and “unable” to proceed to 9. To say nothing of the likelihood that such chores would suck the joy out of the creation. I mean … if you’re someone who is glowing at the prospect of using these 9 steps (or any of their infinite variations available on Tumblr, Pinterest, et al) ask yourself “how many people have I met who would agree this sounds great?” Not many? Yeah. You do you, sure, but trust me … statistically this is like inverse Literature Class which has been studied to indicate likely impairs love of reading and of literature. Food for thought.

Surprisingly this part isn’t bad. But it isn’t good, either.

Again with absolutism. This works for an organised, scheduling person. This works for someone who, if they don’t make a literal to-do list that they mark things off of, do nothing without the external motivation of the check mark.

My wife is such a creature. Even she is wont to start cursing at this kind of list. Apparently it goes to far and makes her OCD (or maybe it’s the Anxiety) itch really bad.

Look. Trust me, you don’t have to do anything to be a writer but write.

To reiterate, if it works for you, that’s swell, but no one will revoke your literary license if you don’t.

This is the meat and gravy of the horror of this “infographic”.

Class, this is not a list of questions to ask you publisher. This is a list of questions to ask of a vanity press company that will print your book. In this scenario you, my sweet, are the publisher and the other guy is just someone you’re going to pay to produce (and possibly distribute) your book. How kind.

A publisher of whom you feel the need to ask these questions is a “publisher” you should collect name and url, run away from at full gallop, bolt the doors behind you, and report them to The Authorities.

This one stands apart. While it ignores the option of self-publishing, it is relatively accurate if a touch outdated. For example I can’t recall the last time I saw an agent or publisher for whom stamps and envelopes would come into play. True, the publishing industry is still trying to decide how it feels about the printing press, and a committee is being formed to assess this “moveable type” notion they seem to have discovered that there’s something in the universe called “email” and some more avant-garde ones even use website submission forms. It’s pretty wild.

Seriously, this sort of stuff steams me. It’s never made by a writer. Or if it is, they’re an example of why fanfic or self-publishing have bad names (well, they’re a writer … they wrote … they maybe need things like an editor and/or talent … but they put words on a page b’gum!).

If anyone says anything about writing other than “well, what I do is …” or “have you maybe tried …” preferring instead “you really should …” or “a write must …” just back away slowly and don’t make eye contact. They’re criminally insane or something, I’m sure.

That was fun

It looks like the amusement is wearing off but I seem to have attracted the attention of some sort of men’s … thingy. For want of a word, movement.

So that’s the Twit I made that got their attention.

Yeah, it wouldn’t have if I hadn’t made it a hashtag but I honestly didn’t really care. I think part of me held out hope it might spark conversation.

The first replies were pretty typical apemen on Twitter fodder so I sassed.

I will provide the context to my introduction to the term too because, frankly, Ursula Vernon has a remarkable way with words (Castle Hangnail is a favourite of mine)

Anyway … I’m probably going to mute the thread soon because I’m getting bored with it. But who knows 🤷‍♀️ maybe it’ll get fun again.

Make America … what?!

So I have a Twitter again, for now (possibly longer, the new character count limit makes it less annoying). Anyway I asked a question there and would sincerely love an answer.

The thing is, really, looking over history The United States has spent an awful lot of time being pretty self-righteous about how great it is, but how great was it ever … really?

Let’s start with the beginning:

During the colonial era there was how horribly the colonists and the colonisers themselves treated the natives. Not my definition of greatness, though I suppose at the time European attitudes were grotesquely barbarically and such things were deemed a demonstration on greatness. So, do we look back on what our ancestors called “greatness” and declare ourselves great for it? Or do we look back in shame at such things, vow never to repeat them, and trudge forward in hopes to become better? And if we choose the latter can we, until we’ve become better, call ourselves “great” any longer?

Forward to the Revolutionary War. Now, depends how you want to look at an act of high treason. Arguably it was for a good cause so we’ll let it go, never mind that Canada got its independence more peacefully about a generation later, and possibly losing the lower colonies had some influence on that; I haven’t delved deeply into that chapter of history. So noble origins! This is greatness! The birth of Democr—what? Oh, Athens? Hmmm … Rome?! Oh but … “All men are created eq—” well not slaves, of course not slaves they’re created only ⅗ of a … I said men not women … yes I know about Abigail Adams … okay … fine.

We’ve got freedoms, like “of the press, et al”. Okay, yes, some of those were taken from the Magna Carta. And I guess every other democ—wait even some of the monarchies… what about … oh, some of those too … is it only dictatorships that don’t … mostly? Okay, fine.

Every step of the way the only thing America has been a true societal leader in is: populous uprisings. We seem to have had a profound influence on the French Revolution, for example. That’s a pretty grisly thing to have on the old Collective Karma 😖🤢.

The scary thing is, if the greatness that is desired is being demonstrated by the GOP & Trump policies and actions then the America they want to recreate, the America that was so great in the first place … is Nazi Germany.

Look over a history of Hitler’s rise to power and the founding of the Third Reich. I’m sorry, but the past few years especially but even some of the past decades with regards to general Republican efforts (and more than a few Democratic Party items too, they’re hardly innocent … if nothing else guilty by complacency) all of it is checking off a bullet list of “How to form a fascist empire • By Chancellor Adolf Hitler, Fuhrer. It’s horrifying.

But how is that Making America Great Again? I mean, I suppose, if you’re a fascist you would want to be punched in the … I mean shot … I’m sorry, to recreate the Germany of the 1930s and early 1940s but that wasn’t America. This would be your idea of Great In The First Place. True, it’s hardly catchy, but why “again”?

And why so shy about answering? I’m hardly the first to ask, though I tend to phrase the question a tad differently, but it’s been asked: Make it Great in what manner? Relative to what era and ideology? Why so reluctant to answer? If you want a return to slavery and a reversal of women’s suffrage just say so. If you’re anxious for fascism then own that.

Admittedly some do. The “alt-right” (henceforth spelled n-a-z-i-s or a-s-s-h-o-l-e-s or p-u-n-c-h-i-n-g-b-a-g-s) do, some directly and others by being opposed to anti-fascist groups. And sure the Republican party primaries are starting to contain a lot of open nazis and the establishment is often praising nazi actions. Trump seems to think that there’s some fine people in the nazi half of The Charlottesville Thing. So I suppose they’re being coyly open about it? Is that a thing?

Anyway, yeah, if there is some actual greatness we’re supposed to be returning to, I’d be interested in knowing it. And if the greatness in question, whether return or aspired, is fascism and it’s subsequent oppression then I’ll thank you to please fuck off to the nearest airless world and take a long walk without a spacesuit.