Thoughts

Acceptance (Or Something Like It)

Having recently read Bessel van der Kolk’s The Body Keeps the Score, I’d decided soon after finishing the book to try one of the recommended readings.  I chose Jon Kabat-Zinn’s Coming To Our Senses, mainly because van der Kolk discussed some of the collaborations the two of them used in studies.  I haven’t put it up on my Goodreads, partially because the book has a weird dual thread of (Kabat-Zinn’s) self-promotion & actual insightful commentary on human perception that bothers me.

But there is one concept that I’ve been stuck on for the past few weeks that I keep playing with mentally.  Kabat-Zinn mentions the Kanizsa triangle, an illusion where three circles suggest a triangle at their center due to their shape.  He presents a scenario where a Zen teacher shows this figure to a student & says something like, “If you say there is a triangle in the center, I will tell you that you’re wrong.  If you say there isn’t a triangle in the center, I will tell you that you’re wrong.”

My initial reaction was a fear where there is no right answer, meaning (for my people-pleasing self) that I cannot make the other person happy or content or solve the problem they present me, meaning a frightening (but purely hypothetical) situation where I can’t solve their problem or get away from their scrutiny.  The idea that ambiguity resides outside of my attempts to understand or create order was terrifying.  Ambiguity means unassessed threats means I might get hurt means run away run away run away NOW.

(And if I wasn’t trying to be honest & make a point here, I’d link to Courtney Love’s “Mono” where she screams those last few words.)

All of that was my traumatized brain.  And now that I’m healing, I’m facing this idea of ambiguity, where things do & do not exist at the same time, & thinking that I might be able to learn to be ok with it.  At least, that’s the skill I want to have moving toward.  I’ve left behind the over-used survival instinct & the chronic exhaustion it causes.  I’m struggling now with the remaining traces on my reasoning, where categorizing past experiences as either all good or all bad seems like an easy solution.

But that’s not what I want.  I want to accept myself & my place in the world & grow stronger from that purposeful knowledge, not from the reactions to the ghosts of the past & the wolves at the door.

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Thoughts

Bookmark Monday (II): DragonCon Freebies

With nearly a year gone by since my last Bookmark Monday post (way to stick new habits, self), I thought I would share the freebies I brought back from DragonCon.  Bookmarks are a great way to spread the word about yourself at a con, especially one for sci-fi & fantasy readers!

Bookmarks & Con Badge
Pretty Souvenirs!

Continue reading “Bookmark Monday (II): DragonCon Freebies”

Thoughts

Poems for April

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Hello readers!  We’re just a few days away from the end of National Poetry Month.  I’ve added two more personal readings to the public Dropbox folder I’m sharing here.  This week, we’ve got “The Garden of Love” by William Blake & “Organist” by Claudia Emerson.  I’m trying to keep the two that I put up related some way, so I hope you enjoy these new readings!

Thoughts

Poetry Reading Time!

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Poetry Month is winding down & since I had been reminiscing about Thursday Poems at my college recently, I thought I would put up a few readings.  Right now, there are just two poems in this Dropbox folder: “When All My Five and Country Senses See” by Dylan Thomas & “This Is a Photograph of Me” by Margaret Atwood.  But I’ll be adding to it over the next few days & posting updates here for those who are interested.  Enjoy!

Thoughts

Daydream Playlist (English Major Mix)

When I was at Mary Wash, my English department held a weekly poetry reading during the semester.  The series was simply called Thursday Poems & was an excuse for us lit & linguistic majors to get together & soak in some beautiful words.  Sometimes it was well-attended, sometimes the crowd was spare.  It might even seem to you, dear Reader, that it was a silly, over-serious kind of thing you do in college.  But to me, it was time to take a break & re-familiarize myself with the subtle play a piece of creative writing does to our ears.  Not unlike taking a few minutes to sit quietly & remember the rhythm of one’s breath.

I miss Thursday Poems & thankfully I have a few supplements & replacements.  I’ve been fortunate enough to go to readings & conferences where people share parts of their work.  I instruct my writing group to read a portion of their draft aloud before we move to critique it.  And there are some really great podcasts, like Selected Shorts and The New Yorker Fiction Podcast that focus on reading & enjoying a performance of the written word.  So I thought I’d simply collect a list of readings & post it here–a sort of personal playlist of actual & imagined performances that I return to in my daydreams:

Sweet Reads Are Made Of These

(ok, I’m seriously corny)

Side A – The Actual Words (I’ve actually heard)

Side B – Daydream Believer (Readings I wish existed)

  • John Hodgman reads Jorge Luis Borges’s “Death and the Compass.” (Hodgman is a fantastic reader as evidenced by the Coraline link above & he’s obsessed w. Borges.)
  • Julianne Moore reads from Hannah Kent’s Burial Rites. (I love what Moore does with her voice & her interior monologue in Vanya on 42nd Street proves she’s more than up to the task of performing Agnes Magnusdottir.)
  • Neko Case reads from Darcy Steinke’s Sister Golden Hair.  (Virginia girls have to stick together & Case’s reading, I imagine, would lend a knowing, looking-back maturity  to Jessie’s coming-of-age story.)
  • Steven Ogg reads from Jim Thompson’s Savage Night.  (Go watch any Let’s Play of GTAV & tell me that Trevor isn’t a character from one of Thompson’s books.)
  • Brad Dourif reads from Flannery O’Connor’s Wise Blood. (This is something I’ve wanted since finding out Dourif once played Hazel Motes.  I want this reading to become a real life thing so badly.)
  • Tom Amandes reads either David Foster Wallace’s “The Soul is Not a Smithy” or Hawthorne’s “Young Goodman Brown.”  (A bedtime story told by an actor whose typecast as straight-edge & suburban–when in reality both are more than meets the eye.)
  • Mary Kay Place reads from Claire Vaye Watkins’ Battleborn.  (Honestly, I just think Place’s accent is perfectly suited for the no-nonsense, tough stories about living in the desert.)
  • Lenny Von Dohlen reads either “The Fisherman and his Soul” or “The Snow Queen”.  (This last is really just an excuse to resurrect the character of Harold Smith from Twin Peaks.  I loved Harold’s boyishness, vulnerability & cryptic illnesses.  So I thought that since he grew up in books, not Boston, that I would try to find a story equal to explaining his perspective.)