Sunday, October 8, 2017

A Return to Writing

Some time between my last post and this one, Blogger did a thing. It changed some stuff, combined my blogger account with my gmail, youtube, and whatever else Google saw fit. In the process, it appeared to lock me out of the original account I used to run this particular blog. (It used to be linked to a non Google owned email.)

I kind of moved on from blogging.  Plus things changed. I changed. I moved out from my grandma's place to my own one bedroom apartment.  (since Autumn 2012)

Some hobbies had to be put on hold because of space-time issues. (African Violet hybridizing - lack of space and lack of time). Other hobbies that I had previously put on hold I picked up and took on full steam. (painting and lifecasting)

Real leaf vs polymer clay casting I painted.
Selling my stuff at local art shows. (Spring 2017)

I still do photography but lately it's been kind of taking a lesser seat. Lately I've been using it to get a feel for what I desire to do with my art and writing.

I like to visualize being one of my bug folk roaming across landscapes such as this. 

Looking at the ground this way gives me a better feel of setting. Disney and Dreamworks had an idea when they did their movies, but reality is a lot more impressive and fascinating. The dirt we walk on? To an ant it must look like hills and piles of rocks, bark and moss everywhere. Grass blades and plants: They must tower over like trees. On sunny days the shadows may seem like going from night to day. 
Sand to an ant folk must look like walking through a landscape of rocks everywhere. Small rocks to us would look like a hill to them. Boulders as mountains. Rocks can have holes, pits, and cracks. To a bug these would be caves. A space between two boulders, a grand canyon. A creek would be a raging river. A river or a pond would appear like an ocean.

Just for fun, try looking at something small. Think about how it must appear to a bug. Visualize yourself walking on that item or around it. What does it feel like? Would you trip? Fall? Would you be able to sleep on it? Inside? Texture? Smell?

I've been taking these details in and trying to make something out of it with my writing. Some time after I moved in 2012, I had put my writing on hold and the project went into hiatus. I was left wondering what I wanted to do with my Bugfolk series. Up to then it was a series of fun little short stories but nothing more than that. I had to brainstorm and sort out things. What did I want from my series? What was the goal of each main character? The plot? Theme?

Finally having figured those things out and what I want out of my series, this has made the process a lot better. Though I still am a long ways away from a finished written series I feel a lot more confident with the direction I am going.

Anyways, the blogger issue seems to be fixed. I might not be able to access some things linked to my old account but I can access what I need to post and view comments. (This particular blog: Ramblings from a Detailed Thinker is one of the blogs I started with my old account that blogger seems to make more difficult for me to find and manage.)

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

A Dream I had some time ago

Okay I was skimming over some comments I had on my blog. One was to share more dreams. Agreed, I need to get back into writing my dreams.  But I get too busy. The dreams I had get forgotten in the daily mess of stuff I get involved with. Work. Eat. Chores. Hobbies. Time wasters like surfing the net.

One dream that stands out to me right now, came after a day of just feeling stressed and beaten down.  I  felt kind of lost. Quite a bit lost.  What had me down I don't remember. Just the sensation.

I was climbing up a steep hill. The sky hazy with thin wispy clouds. Vines and and all kinds of plant life loomed over me. Blocked my view.  Some were thorny. If anything I felt confused. What was I doing on this hill? What brought me there? Walking around in circles, I tried to make sense of the scene around me. Rolls of fog set in.

  Finally at the point of frustration, I couldn't take the climb any longer. The vines were too thick. There was no view of the other side. Or any sign of anyone out there.  Feeling hopeless, I cried something like, "Where am I?" and wondering who am I at the same time. Why am I here? What am I doing? What brought me here? Could have easily gone through my mind at the same time.

 I'm not really a believer of guides or spirit animals in my dreams. They never really appear when I want. It seems once in a year or more if I get anything that could be remotely interpreted such a way. Knowing this, I was well assured, this struggle I'd have to figure out on my own. With a sense of dread, I prepared to be stuck in another BSoD type of dream. (a dream that seems to be just like the computer error). Such an example would be like the repeating stairway type dream I get where I can climb up or down all I want, but never find the door.  Or get trapped in a building with endless hallways and no exit. This hill too could easily turn into such a dream.  Never getting past the circles I made, seeing the same stuff over and over...

Eventually I collapsed on all fours and sat down. So tired, and lost, there wasn't much I could do. I had given up whatever I was trying to do. Then, out of nowhere, A wolf appeared. Her shadow visible behind the vines and trees. A pack followed behind her. I couldn't see them in the fog, but I could sense their presence. Normal people would likely start to feel afraid. Very afraid. Like sort of doomed, right now. I think? I mean carnivorous animal coming in for a kill against a poor defenseless person, right? Right? I guess not this time. I didn't even flinch. It was as if I saw a person. Someone harmless. Someone who could help me. Someone who seemed to have wisdom beyond time.

A voice. A strong female voice in my head whispered softly, "We are here." Instinctively I knew the wolves were watching me. The voice was her, the alpha one, speaking telepathically.

I felt comforted, oddly.  I seemed to have known her before. Her pack seemed familiar. Had I met this wolf in a past dream? My mind goes back to a scene where I was made into a small child. (Someone other than myself.) The child, less than 5 years old got lost in a snow covered forest. A wolf appeared and laid down in front of me. She. That wolf? Her body kept me warm, saving me from the frost that night. When I woke up in the dream, the wolf was gone. I wasted the rest of the dream trying to find her and follow any tracks I could find.

There was another dream where I was sitting on top of the alpha wolf. I couldn't remember if they were leading me or I was leading them.  But we were trudging through deep snow and struggling through a blizzard. At the end of the struggle, we made it to see one of the most awesome dream scenes I can remember. Gigantic mountains, beyond any realistic proportions.  I can still remember them vividly. Were those the same wolves?

 I listened and waited for the wolves to howl.  They did. Somehow I didn't feel as alone as I did before.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

The Nerve Some People....

Knowing when to speak up and when to keep silent has been an ongoing struggle.  For someone with autism, it can be dangerous.

I don't know if I made the right choice by standing up for myself. But if I didn't stand up for my self, I would have still been upset. I'm doomed either way; regretting that I spoke up when I shouldn't or regretting that I didn't speak up when I should.  At least this time I am not regretting I didn't speak up.

The situation:  I was just about ran over by some rude person in an SUV at a busy intersection.  the light was yellow, just turned red. The guy was practically running a red light. He made eye contact. I made eye contact. He saw me and I saw him.  Rather than slowing down so all the pedestrians, including the people behind me could cross, he purposefully sped up. His truck just missed pulling me down by less than a foot.

This is where I felt in a quandry: Do I just stand there all shaken up, letting him go on his merry way? (regretting I didn't speak up) Or do I stand up for myself? This time I chose to let him know that he came close. Dangerously close to hitting me. I lightly thumped his truck with my hand. No damage done. I just wanted him to hear me.

I don't know what I expected. I guess I was hoping for some Minnesota Nice.  Maybe an apology or something. Well no. That wasn't quite what I got.  He stopped his truck in mid traffic, just at the end of the intersection, opened his door and started yelling at me. At this point I wondered,  Do I just slink away shyly or stand my ground?  I chose to stand my ground. As calmly as I could and as loud as I said he could have hit me and he needs to be considerate for pedestrians. Angerly he yelled back that he didn't need to stop for pedestrians.

As I finished crossing I spoke softly that he really needed to be considerate. The pedestrians behind me nodded quietly in agreement.

Then  the unexpected. Some lady came out of nowhere, asking me questions.  At this point I wasn't sure what to do, but react as calmly as I could. I restated that he should have been more considerate and could have hit someone.  In return I got called strong names and shoved.  I didn't fight back. I just continued walking, leaving the lady behind and the man to drive off and yell some more harassing comments.

I wonder what if they had hit me, what they would have done? Would they have been more upset to have blood on their car and possible charges and jail time to contend with? Or worse, if there was an old lady in my place? Would they have stopped for an old lady? Would they have ran her over?

The nerve some people have.  I just had to vent. A little bit of consideration goes a long way.

That all said, I still don't know if I did the right thing. I don't know if the situation could have been handled any better.  I guess if I had risen up my hand and waved a single finger salute rather than lightly thumping his truck, I would have most likely still have gotten the same response. If I didn't speak up, I'm sure they would have done the same to the next person crossing the street.  Well they probably still will try to run over pedestrians. I don't know. I guess I'll have to pick a better time to cross the street, but it was broad day light and I still really need to get to the bank before it closes.


The last I heard of my mom was that she's in a woman's shelter. I hope the best, that she will be open to help and not return to said abusive relationship.  But I remain skeptical how long it will last.

Monday, April 16, 2012

The best cure for autism

I work at the Mall of America. Ever so often I come to work to find people involved in various autism walks throughout the year.

I read their shirts and messages.  One was "beating autism one peace at a time."  Another was "I am a teacher to someone with autism and I have autism too."

Somehow that got me into thinking questions I would answer if someone were to interview me. For the most part people could argue that I've been cured. I don't appear autistic. No one would really guess, besides say a few awkward moments,  or people living with me.  No I haven't been cured. I still have autism, but I've found ways to adapt.

So what is the best cure to autism?

Self awareness.

If one can become aware of limitations and triggers, then they can take steps to reduce it. Even head off meltdowns before they get to crisis.

But self awareness isn't something that can be taught. It's a process.  It starts with learning how to communicate.

Communication is another "enemy" to autism.  If one can communicate what they are thinking, it eases a lot of stress.  Trying to keep everything inside one's head is tiring to say the least.

Anyways these were a few thoughts. It's a bit of an over simplification. For those with the more severe forms, getting here may be really difficult, but it is my hope that some day everyone with autism will be able to communicate.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Jungle Gremlins of Java

Years ago my mother was encouraging me to watch videos of Slow lorises being tickled. She wanted me to look up photos. She wanted me to see just how cute they were. To me the video looked like either the poor thing was being stupidly cute or something had to be wrong with it. Neither got me excited. I couldn't share my mother's joy.

Watching this video has changed my opinion of them.
Slow Lorises aren't just stupidly cute fuzzballs, begging to be tickled and cuddled. They are carnivorous, can eat things larger than them. They are active only at night. Their mouth and armpits contain toxic venom. This venom makes wounds that fester and won't heal. They are fast moving animals that cover a lot of ground in a single night. They scare away bears and kill leeches.

Now that's an animal I can enjoy.

It is sad just how the pet trade is driving this amazing animal to extinction. Tragic. And we never even got to know them. Really.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Writing Dilemma - 1st or 3rd person

Though it wasn't always a simple decision whenever I started a story, I used to think I had it figured out.
It sort of came natural to get inside a character's mind and share the narrator's limited viewpoint. As a result I used to enjoy writing in 1st person. I still do.

However as I got to developing other characters and a more complex story, it no longer became a cut and dry decision. I tried to compromise by switching between viewpoints (splitting off on chapters) and a 3rd person voice to bridge the gaps.

Now in 2011, as I'm rewriting parts of the story, I'm contemplating if it is worth dropping off that 1st person cliff and using 3rd person for most, if not all of the stories. I'll greatly miss the 1st person voice, but the 3rd person voice may work out better in the long run. It's a trade off as with any decision.

When I am unsure of something , I turn to the web and do a search. I like to see what other people have to say on the same matter. This posting helped push me over that cliff.

That said, I'm trying it out. I've conducted a few trial stories using 3rd person limited to a character or a couple of characters. I've done it before, various years. So far the results have been pleasing with most attempts. It may not be much of a loss to make the switch from 1st to 3rd person narration. I'll see.

So far I notice these differences with my own writing:

1st person: easy to get into the thoughts of a character. I can write what the character is thinking. What the character is feeling, not so much. I can write what the character thinks he or she is feeling. Things like body language tend to get dropped off. It's hard to see what the narrating character is doing when they are talking or thinking. At least I find it harder. The narrator becomes an "existence". At least that is my best attempt at describing the experience of living as a sentient being taking in all the outside stimuli and making sense out of my environment.

3rd person: Body language of the character becomes much easier to describe. What the character is feeling also becomes easier to describe. It is easier to break through situations where the character doesn't know what they are feeling or think they feel one way but really feel another. (unless the character's internal confusion is something I want to play off, then that effect seems to get lost easier than in 1st person) But getting into the thoughts of the character seem to be trickier. I can do it, but it feels more distant and doesn't make as much sense. But this distance may not be a bad thing. Just takes getting used to. Limiting to one character at a time helps to keep some mystery about other characters as well as the whole plot (something that is nice with 1st person). I also get the "existance" without having to be involved in the story (so to speak).

I'm interested to see what your viewpoints are on 1st and 3rd person narrated stories? Which do you prefer to read?