Flow

November 8, 2014 · 0 comments

flow

Do you have an activity that causes minutes/hours/days to float away without you noticing? Years, even? That is called flow. (Or possibly amnesia or a neurodegenerative disease of some kind, or perhaps even a heavy drinking problem.)

But maybe it’s just because you are doing something you like.

I get in this state while (1) reading something interesting (2) writing something interesting (this post doesn’t qualify) (3) designing things (blog/graphics/website design) (4) listening to music, but only if I’m in the mood, which strangely only occurs in bursts every few months (5) researching stuff online that is interesting (6) in bookstores or libraries; where I am often confused to notice people turning out lights and looking expectantly at me to leave. (I could live in the library or bookstore, by the way… I’ve tried but they seemed to object to my putting up some curtains and stuff… I just thought it needed a little something.)

Anyway, I am not sure what this means to my livelihood but since I’m not really pursuing graphic arts or web design as a career, then let’s hope I can at least manage to have the writing or researching part in there, so I can experience some kind of flow at work. On the other hand, if I do a job that has no flow, my life will feel much, much longer.

 

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kit3 (2)

forget soft drinks and put a kitten inside your glass

I did a google search for my blog name and the first result  was an analysis by “qirina‘ – which had determined in its infinite wisdom that my blog was about soft drinks. Sure. What else? Looking forward to the day when data mining robots are in charge of things. What could go wrong?

softdrink

It went further to suggest that if this wasn’t correct then the owner of the site could probably improve this analysis by doing some SEO.

Ironic this.

I purposely turned off SEO (indexing etc.) on this site because I started to freak out that as people do searches (employers or future clients or neighbours or professors/tutors or, I dunno, stalkers or whatever) that stuff like the following might show up:

seo2

Sure, some people will be fans of the sperm stuff… but perhaps not others.

I guess I need to optimize the site or just take it down. Better to be known for sperm than for soft drinks. (See, I’ve just killed any chance at working for a soft drink company due to that little joke.)

I’ve mentioned this before, but at first this site was mostly so I could learn about WordPress design (check) and publishing (check) but then I started to have a bit of fun. At some point my focus shifted to thinking of how others perceived the blog and then I started to experience this grand case of writer’s block. Well, not so much writer’s block, but more like the sort of self-consciousness that seems to paralyze creativity and fun . Total buzzkill.

I’ve always struggled with how to meld my humour writing (my true passion and one which feels effortless, except for all the work involved in it, and fun) with more traditional work environments and also with more “serious” styles of writing. The moment I started to think “gee, you are nearing the end of your communications program and now future clients or employers may look at this blog and think you are lame” then all the fun went out of it. I froze. I felt I should grow up already. Blog about communications theory or diffusion of innovations or whatevs. Put together a proper writing portfolio and whatnot. Problem is that I can’t bring myself to do something on a volunteer basis (i.e. not get paid) unless it’s interesting, unless it’s fun, unless it’s real and not just for postering. Scuze me for not wanting to blog about Harold Innis or whatever. Oh shit, I did that, didn’t I?

(And again, like with the sperm, some people wouldn’t be a fan of the “oh shit” stuff… you know, boring people.)

I also haven’t been writing here lately because my school work and life as a parent takes all of my time but I MISS the spirit in which this blog started out. I miss that exciting sense that I had back in 2010 when I thought I could find an outlet, finally, for my humorous and tangential style of writing and thinking. An outlet outside of work or school where I could be free to just write as I wish. But the internet doesn’t forget and what if I end up a grown up job and then an article I did about lazy assed grilled cheese sandwiches pops up alongside a serious publication about emergency response during a plemodonaicitc epidemic or something? How will that look? Can I even handle the seriousness of a job where the public relies on me to communicate about plemodonaicitc matters? (Yes, I can. It’s nice that I finally get this now.)

communication

So… yeah… I’m sure after I finish up my courses I’ll be blogging again… whether it will be here or somewhere else… we’ll see. Hopefully it’ll be really fun and make you laugh so hard you can’t catch your breath. Or else it will make you cry so hard because it’ll be about the seriousness of the plemodonaicitc epidemic.

Take care for now.

d

 

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“We are told about the pain of chasing after pleasure and futility of running from pain. We hear about the joy of awakening, of realizing our interconnectedness, of trusting the openness of our hearts and minds. But we are not told all that much about this state of being in-between, no longer able to get our old comfort from outside but not yet dwelling in a continual sense of equanimity and warmth. Anxiety, heartbreak and tenderness mark the in-between state. It is the kind of place we usually want to avoid. The challenge is to stay in the middle rather than buy into struggle and complaint. The challenge is to let it soften us rather than make us more rigid and afraid. Becoming intimate with the queasy feeling of being in the middle of nowhere only makes our hearts more tender. When we are brave enough to stay in the middle, compassion arises spontaneously. By not knowing, not hoping to know, and not acting like we know what is happening, we begin to access our inner strength.”
Pema ChödrönThe Places that Scare You

 

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Totally excellent article by Byron Vincent about spending his youth “in and around “sink” estates.  He argues that corralling the poorest people perpetuates criminality.”

BBC News – Viewpoint: Escape from the ‘sink’ estate

I totally agree. Along the same lines I’ve often thought that corralling a bunch of youth together in school (eg: high school) leads to many of the same sorts of issues. Why on earth would we throw a whole bunch of youth together in a highly artificial and oftentimes stressful (or boring) environment and expect good things. I say mix kids into the rest of the world (along with supervision and the influence of other age groups with more fully developed brains) and  watch many of the problems disappear… dilution.

In any case, read the article. I found it heartbreaking and spot on and very well written.

Of course, the ultimate answer is alleviation of poverty altogether but as the author suggests that would require the “architects of the issues” to do their part… ha, good luck on that one. Ditto with scrapping the school system.

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Preteens who changed schools frequently when they were children are at increased risk of developing psychotic symptoms, a new study suggests.

via Frequent School Moves May Harm Kids’ Mental Health – US News.

As a preteen who experienced a rather unsettling (though pretty run of the mill) move at age 14, I read this article with some interest. I believe I have also read similar studies  in a past psych course about frequent moves being associated with schizophrenia (along with other interesting factors like urbanicity at birth — this is interesting too because there seems to be an association between risk of developing psychosis based on living in urban vs. rural environments.)

So, frequent changing of schools as a preteen seems correlated with later psychotic symptoms and greater exposures to the urban environment are associated with greater rates of later psychosis. Not necessarily a direct cause and effect of course… for instance if you were to look at why the family is moving so much in the first place? Perhaps the moves are because of employment or social instability and that may account for some of the risk… either as a “marker” for other issues and not just as a result of the stress of moving and all the social and other disruption… this may factor into the urbanicity correlations as well… Interesting though… I could think about this sort of thing all day… fascinating.

But as a parent the idea that moving may in some way add some risk to the mental health of my children is worth keeping in mind. Moving at age 14 was one of those experiences in my life that caused me a lot of stress… perhaps it shouldn’t have… my brother and sister seemed to roll with it without issue, but for me I lost a lot of my mojo and I’m not sure I ever truly got it back… which of course is not nearly as devastating as psychosis but still… some of us are orchids and do better without abrupt changes in environment, at least at certain points in their life… some of us are a little more sensitive and ever so slightly less resilient to change.  Or maybe the move made no difference at all but I simply attributed some adolescence angst to this factor when in fact I would have experienced it regardless. Who knows…

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I just watched a moving short documentary about a hairdressing competition for prisoners in Scotland…  http://aeon.co/film/cutting-loose/

It was very well done and so helps us see the prisoners as the human beings they are.

Everyone needs something to do… some way to contribute… some way to make a living… some way not to fall back down the hole… or better yet not to start out in the hole to begin with…

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I came across this quote by Harold Innis (apparently “Canadian scholar of world renown”) in an essay by Rick Salutin (Canadian writer/journalist/playwright and other stuff that makes me really want at least ONE blasted title of my own) and have been mulling it over. (Warning: You will not be interested in this post… this is just me having a study session with myself… as a distance online student I don’t get to discuss my lessons with anyone so I’ve chosen to use my blog for that…. if I had any readers that weren’t related to me I’d feel bad about this but as it is…)

Innis came to the conclusion that “creative thought” was “dependent on the oral tradition.” Writing is too fast, it is too unnuanced compared to the complexity of speech. What it means to be human is to speak and listen, to interact with others—and wisdom and insight emerge in that social context. Writing and individual scholarship are a dilution and “dumbing down” of basic human function; they may seem more efficient, in some respects, in creating intellectual “product,” but at a cost to the human and mental processes involved. (1997, 247)

Harold and I part ways on this. Heh.  I do think that there is a significant difference between writing and speech… between reading and listening… between broadcasting and conversing… but I don’t believe writing is necessarily less nuanced. I’ve always felt that when I read someone’s writings I am hearing their thoughts… the voice inside their head… which is different than the voice they would let me hear if I was face to face with them… I don’t think there is a dumbing down of basic human functions in writing (necessarily)–unless we are talking about most things we read in the mass media or shit that business people write. Heh. I do agree with Innis that there is a lot of nuance in face to face communication that gets missed in writing… non verbal expression and what isn’t said is more readily apparent face to face… the reading between the lines can be easier in person… but in face to face interactions there is a guarding that doesn’t necessarily occur in writing… people are less inhibited in writing and less affected by the emotions of the other person on the receiving end… this is can be bad in some contexts (eg: the sort of meanness we see online)… but it can be good in that that same inhibition is dropped and we may hear more truth… reading someone’s writing can be much more intimate. I’ve often thought my writing voice is most like the voice inside my head. (Or one of the voices… LOL).

That’s my two cents anyway. Back to the books. (Well, back to the digital online materials… see what I did there? That was a little online student humour…. if we were face to face you would get that… so maybe Harold was on to something after all… but then again if we were face to face I might say nothing at all.)

onlinestudent

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