littlewonder2

Little wonder we stumble in life.


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Anxiety Cracks.

The last few days have been muggy. And I’m not just talking about the humidity.

Monday, I had a sudden thought. It was a realisation that I didn’t know when I had written last, and that it had “been a while”.

Uh oh. That’s not good. How did that happen?

It was around 2pm. I hadn’t written all day. In fact, I hadn’t done anything all day, didn’t even realise I was meant to do anything. And when mum came home a couple of hours later, I heard about it.

“You didn’t do the laundry today like I asked, you didn’t do the dishes. What did you do today?” This, after I had been forced to admit I hadn’t written much today. (Couldn’t even focus enough to write for more than fifteen minutes, which I didn’t mention.)

The only thing close to productive I could admit to was being here on my blog that day. She was okay with that, though I was hesitant to admit it first, as though it wasn’t good enough (things like that rarely are to her).

To be honest, she’s rather unpredictable. One moment, I thought she’d yell at me, the next she was relaxed. You can never tell with her. She can be difficult to live with at times.

The following day was little better. I woke up around ten, half an hour earlier than the previous day. I knew I had things to do today. I was supposed to do at least two hours today, as a makeup from yesterday (and where did that come from? This is the first she’s mentioned making up work since…when?)

Plus, there was dishes… and laundry? I couldn’t remember. Either way, I didn’t see a way into either jobs, since dishes were stacked and laundry was a grey area. I visited wordpress around midday or one, after having lunch. I became distracted from my writing afterwards, but eventually cracked on.

I had to put my music in to focus with the noise around me. It helped, for a short while. But I managed little more than yesterday before I fuzzed out. I hoped a short break would help.

And before you know it, Kristi (little sister) is telling me mum called telling me to be ready as she was almost there. Damn, I forget. What was this for, again?

Off goes the TV. And there goes me, rushing around looking for my tennis shoes. It took a frazzled three searches over before I found them besides dad’s sofa chair.

I was pulling them on when I heard the beep. I tried to hurry out, and hesitantly strode up to the car and opened the door.

That’s not good enough, was her first reaction. “Change your shirt,” she said. So I rolled my eyes, and closed the door, striding back.

Beep. Sighing, I turned back and opened it again. “What?” I breathed.

“Go back and change your shirt.”

Yeah, I heard you the first time. “Okay…” I closed the door and moved a little faster.

Beeeep. What, again? Anything new this time?

“Hurry up.”

“Okay!” I jogged back, almost making it when —

BEEEEEEEEEEP.

I freaked out. It was bad enough I had done diddly squat the last two days, something she was likely to bag on me later for. I was sure this time it was some cruel, fucking unfair joke, because I know how insultingly ignorant she can occasionally be to where the line is.

“WOULD YOU STOP TEASING ME!” I cried as I stormed back to the car and threw open the door.

“We have to be there in ten minutes!” she shrieked. “Run in there, change your shirt, and get back out here! It’s not hard!”

I didn’t bother to answer her; I was too mad. I ran in, banged the door hard behind me, ran upstairs and changed into my ‘Island Girl’ shirt, and ran back. So I don’t like to unnecessarily stress myself out by running around like a maniac too much. Sue me.

When I got back to the living room, Kristi was gone, and I could hear her outside. She must have been worried from my door slamming (all the way up to my room from the car, matter of fact). Slowing down, I walked back out.

I was right. There she was talking with mum with the door opened. Soon, they finished talking and mum said, “Get in,” calmer now.

I remained mostly silent while she just complained and questioned all the way there. In the parking lot then, she asked if I was okay now. Yeah, I was great, I thought angrily.

After a moment, she encouraged me enough to make a sarcastic grin at her… which soon turned into a genuine laugh. Thinking I was fine, she continued to talk about it, which made me feel worse about it, but I was quickly coming out of it.

She made me hug her and make up, and I did. I was better by the time we walked to the gym, headed towards our appointed tour (as that was what it turned out to be, in the end).

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Again, a reminder of my story with my main character, Dawn. The empathy my audience should feel for Dawn, and the showing of her character, is something that needs to be remembered.

Further, the fact of the above is something that really is positive. But it makes me wonder whether my subject matter, or if the subject matter across the board would make a difference. If the written fiction shows a dark side of the human psyche, how would it be interpreted by the audience, especially considering the depth that the readers who get that into it can get involved with the characters?

As writers, we’re always going to be in the minds of our culture. And this study certainly seems to make that apparent. But if it really made a better society, or just keeps society decent, is another question. And how, if this study was only designed for compassionate writings, does the whole of fiction affect society?

A relative recent time ago, I saw a documentary called How Evil Are You? (or something along those lines; it was a Curiosity feature by the Discovery Channel). They retested an experiment from the 50s, in which a number of subjects would be sat down at a switchboard which would apply increasing amounts of pain to an individual, and then encouraged to keep going, despite the screams of anguish. If they went past a certain point, they failed the test.

The pain wasn’t really being inflicted on the individual; it was an actor. But in the 50s, and likewise with the retest, it was found that a number of subjects went up to and past the barrier. Occasionally, there would be subjects who refused to participate. This matched closely to the 50s test, with slight differences in the numbers here and there (to the negative on our side of the time gap).

The point is that the same social aspects of the human psyche, i.e empathy, peer pressure, can be swayed so easily by such things as an evocative fiction piece or an insistent instructor, and neither of those things change society; they rather reveal society.

And that, as writers, is our job. Although changing society for the better would be a nice thought (even idealistic), it isn’t likely to be so strong. Unless I simply didn’t understand the article well enough, which is possible.

Individuals who experienced higher levels of empathy were also nearly twice as likely to engage in pro-social, or helpful, behavior as individuals experiencing low levels of empathy.” How exactly did they come to that conclusion? And what does it mean when they compare the individuals to having higher empathy in the test and lower empathy later?

Reading. Writing. Spying.

“200 subjects read a five-page fictional short story written specifically for the experiment, designed to elicit compassionate feelings for the characters and model pro-social behavior. The subjects then participated in exercises to measure the impact of the reading.

Based on the results of the post-reading exercises, Johnson concluded that the more immersed the readers were in the story, the more empathy they felt for the characters. In addition, he found that the heightened empathy led to an enhanced ability to perceive subtle emotional expressions such as fear or happiness. Individuals who experienced higher levels of empathy were also nearly twice as likely to engage in pro-social, or helpful, behavior as individuals experiencing low levels of empathy.

“An interesting component is that it really seemed to be a lot about the imagery and visualizing the face of the main character and the events they experienced,” said Johnson. “Those who experienced more…

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Touched by your deep, painful questions
I wonder
Has anyone touched the centre of their sorrow?
Is it possible?

Or maybe someone’s done more than that
Wrapped it around themselves
Like a blanket
Hiding from joy
Thinking the sorrow of life is its great adventure

But the soul of a person is so deep
That if someone would
They’d fall into depression
Hate themselves
Hate everybody
And adventure would turn to bitter ashes

The adventure of life, and all its
rollercoaster emotions
Its betrayals
Its joy
Can be one of two things
It can be beautiful (and unpretty)
Or it can
shatter a person apart

The soul of life can be painful
(though there are those who live dull lives)
And that soul has power and influence
against strong and weak alike
Many people
today
can’t stand the inner silence
the truth
I don’t know why
(though I’m one of those who live dull lives)

But there is still pain
And I can’t escape it
Sometimes, I just know I’m hiding in the silence
where others run from

“What are you thinking about?”
There are no answers, never are
Because I could never share my inner mind
And its cruel
for anyone to expect that level of deepness
from me
Because I’m so afraid of myself
that I always expect judgement
of even the smallest
miniscule things

Inside, I’m strong
Outside, I’m weak
Or is it the other way around?

I’m too self-deprecating
to appreciate
the life and times been given to me

That’s all you need to know.

The free verse poem in its original form is posted in the comments at the link above.

De La Seor

“It doesn’t interest me what you do for a living
I want to know what you ache for
and if you dare to dream of meeting your heart’s longing

It doesn’t interest me how old you are
I want to know if you will risk looking like a fool
for love
for your dreams
for the adventure of being alive

It doesn’t interest me what planets are squaring your moon
I want to know if you have touched the center of your own sorrow
if you have been opened by life’s betrayals
or have become shriveled and closed
from fear of further pain

I want to know if you can sit with pain
mine or your own
without moving to hide it
or fade it
or fix it

I want to know if you can be with joy
mine or your own
if you can dance with wildness
and let…

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The Consumption of Hate

The Consumption of Hate.

The link above is to a free verse poem that describes my novel-in-progress’ main character, Dawn, to a tee.

It’s sad, really. But the funny thing is, I was hoping to make her sympathetic in the beginning, as a way to prove a point; that however easy it is to relate or sympathise with someone who has had nothing but hurt in life, there’s a thin line.

But then again, it’s the consumption of hate. She could start out perfectly innocent, couldn’t she? Well, not perfectly… Dawn isn’t exactly pure of heart, but she has convictions, and she sticks hard to them.

Perhaps that’s the most dangerous thing about her; the strength of her convictions, and where they lead her to.

I considered it a challenge to my writing ability, as with so many other things; can I evoke that emotion in someone, to make them root for the wrong person?

They do it all the time in popular fiction. You go step by step; as with any plot, you raise the stakes. Of course, it’s hard when it’s the main character and not the villian you’re mystifying, a character whose every thoughts you’re meant to see.

Even if you could, would it be justifiable considering her level of deep bitterness over her unjust life?

The real point here is the line between a call for justice and the deliverance of unjust cruelty. I feel like I’m writing a cliche here. If I was honest, the real reason I want to use the plot is that when you’re looking at things from your own point of view, everything looks just, all your motives, actions and logic. It’s a home chord that I really want to illustrate over a range of viewpoints, highlighting the true falsehood of that thought no matter who you are, or what your reasons.

In the past, I have hated people for no other reason than that I felt offended by them. I’ve always been an outcast before, and I’ve resented the people who rejected me; that is a given. But the people I hated, I felt singled out by and somewhat attacked by.

In at least one circumstance, though, I suddenly found myself in a situation where that same person (half of a double collective) broke from their usual routine and encouraged me and uplifted me. At the time, I had been so focused on how I felt that I’d wanted to back away from, when it had suddenly hit me.

Despite the relative fear at what I was trying to do, that kind of turn around helped inch me towards taking the plunge. (This wasn’t anything to do with water, despite that pun; I was about to sand-surf down a gigantic slope.)

It’s that sort of situation that I wanted to reveal through Dawn, only without having her come to that self-awareness. I wanted to show how far gone that kind of mentality could lead a person…

…To a consumption of hate.


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100 Words – Flash Fictioneers

Image

He had bones in his backyard.

His plot of land was huge enough, out here in the bush, and private enough for no one much to notice. But every morning, he got up, went through his daily routine, and ventured out into his backyard looking for more.

His land was rich in tiny fossils, and he thought they must belong to something. Every morning, he would settle against a certain rock, big enough and flat enough to act as a table, take in his surroundings, and search.

He always found hundreds of tiny bones and fragments in a morning’s work.

I call this piece, “The Search”. This was a Friday prompt from Madison Woods‘ blog.


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An Apology in Stone: The NJAM

An Apology in Stone: The NJAM.

In high school, I studied the Shoehorn Sonata, a play about two women who were captured by the Japanese in WWII. Throughout the play, I felt both sympathy for the women who told their war stories through the play, and slightly indignant at the way the Japanese were portrayed.

At the time, I was studying Japanese, and was already a general fan of Japan. So I was suddenly faced with this side of Japan that wasn’t so positive, and I had to find my own opinion about it.

In the end, I decided that though the Japanese in this play did horrible things (and seemed to enjoy it), that could very well be the same of any country, in any war. It’s not a fault of Japanese people alone, and there’s no excuse of thinking that all Japanese are that way.

I have read in Hokkaido Highway Blues, too, about Japanese opinion in the war. The book, written by Will Ferguson, was about the author who was living in south Japan when he decided to hitchhike up north, following the cherry blossoms as they bloomed progressively up the country.

While hitchhiking, he stayed with one Japanese person who had been around during the war. It became apparent that the Japanese who were, were still bitter about the Hiroshima bomb. This person, at least, held a grudge. It should never have happened.

So imagine my surprise at this new piece of information; about the Japanese American war memorial in Washington DC, at the legislative apology to Japanese Americans, about the fact that Japanese Americans actually fought against their own Japanese people on America’s side of the war.

Japanese people (rather than Japanese Americans) could well be told that “you shouldn’t have sided with the Nazis, then”, but I would rather say that Hiroshima shouldn’t have happened the same as war in general. Everyone loses in some respect, and no one loss should be seen as any less than any other.

Obviously, I disagree with the Nazis, as I do with any other hateful propagandised philosophy. Hatred is not worth lives, and yet it cost so many. Even today, there is a separate hate-filled conflict corrupting our world.

War is a waste of innocence, just as much as hate corrupts enlightenment on any level. Even as an atheist, enlightenment is still something we need to continue towards, and forget all the propaganda that dirties the minds of so many people.

In ending, here is George Takei, who I feel is an all-round delightful person, though I’ve never seen Star Trek.

http://www.allegiancemusical.com/video/never-forget-never-again


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Writing websites of Wonder

http://oneword.com/word/loss-2/comment-page-2/#comments

Have you ever been to oneword.com? I love it; it’s one of my favourites. Recently, I wrote the third comment at the link above.

Try it; just press the logo at the top of the page, then press go.

http://www.wordcounttool.com

I like to use this website whenever I don’t have NaNoWriMo to rely on, or the doc type I’m using doesn’t have the tool. I’ve been using it recently.

http://iwl.me/

Late last year, I used this link and, based off the novel I’m currently attempting to write, got Vladimir Nabokov. I quite agree.

Today, mum took me to Typo, and they had some Penguin Classics there. The first one in particular I noticed was The Picture Of Dorian Gray, which I started reading once (and LOVED) but never got to finish.

While mum was still standing around, I kept looking around that section, just to see what else was there. I looked up, and then I saw it: Lolita.

After visiting the second link above around November, December last year, I googled him, as I’d never heard of him. What I found was a page of him on wikiquotes. What I found was Lolita.

I had found a number of quotes from that book, which I’d taken a special liking to, as it reminded me of Japanese Gothic Lolitas, as the quotes were beautiful, as the style was attractive to me and, as I later read in an article, the character and the viewpoint was particularly twisted.

Of course, I had to have it. I’ve already started reading it. And wonderfully, the start of it began with the first Lolita quote I read on wikiquotes:

Lolita, love of my life, fire of my loins. My sin, my soul. Lo-lee-ta: the tip of the tongue taking a trip of three steps down the palate to tap, at three, on the teeth. Lo. Lee. Ta.

She was Lo, plain Lo, in the morning, standing four feet ten in one sock. She was Lola in slacks. She was Dolly at school. She was Dolores on the dotted line. But in my arms she was always Lolita.

Love the illiteration on the third line of the first paragraph; only noticed it as I was copying it down, and it was clever, and I do so love alliteration.

The really twisted part about this relationship though, that I read in the article, was that Lolita, in some way that I haven’t reached in the book yet, was the main character, Herbert’s, step-daughter.

It is perversion at its best. It’s disturbed, shocking, yet beloved. That’s the thing that’s really perfect about it. Written 50 years ago, and still beloved, in fact.

In Herbert’s words, “You can always count on a murderer for a fancy prose style.”