“Artists are people who are not at all interested in the facts—only in the truth. You get the facts from outside. The truth you get from inside.” --Ursula K. LeGuin

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Writers, Scientific Evidence, Writing is Good for You.

We knew writing was good for us didn’t we?
Writer Natalie Goldburg, Writing Down the Bones, said it long ago, “Writing will take you where you want to go.”
Julie Cameron, The Artist’s Way, championed the cause of “Morning Pages,” a process of writing for a few minutes as a mind dump to pour out extraneous garbage. A period at the end of a sentence does wonders to stop the endless mind chatter.
See, we knew it. Now researchers are jumping into the fray. “No matter the quality of your prose,” wrote Rachel Grate*, “the act of writing itself leads to strong physical and mental health benefits, like long-term improvements in mood, stress levels and depressive symptoms.” *Science Shows Something Surprising About People Who Love to Write,” September 15, 2014­­).
We don’t even have to be good writers to reap the rewards, unless of course, the pain of rejection becomes too excruciating to bare.
My friend who sent Grate's article and I both have an intuitive nature as well as scientific. We both learn from our own experiences and do not need data to support them, but evidence is always fun.
In a four-month study, researchers found that just 15 to 20 minutes of writing three to five times during the study was enough to make a difference in the physical and mental health benefits of the writer
Writing of traumatic events helped participants. They had fewer illnesses, and if hospitalized, they spent less time there.
Apparently people who write out their trauma have lower blood presser, and their wounds heal faster than those who don’t.
New Zealand researchers monitored the recovery of wounds from medically necessary biopsies on 49 healthy adults. The adults wrote about their thoughts and feelings for just 20 minutes, three days in a row, two weeks before the biopsy. Eleven days later, 76% of the group that wrote had fully healed. Fifty-eight percent of the control group had not recovered. The study concluded that writing about distressing events helped participants make sense of the events and reduce distress."
What can I say except, writers, keep on keeping on.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Be A Proud Cat

My thought for the day:

“Don’t wait until you have reached your goal to be proud of yourself. Be PROUD OF EVERY STEP you take towards reaching that goal.”

I would be proud of you if I had anything to do with your progress, but guess I can be proud anyway. I’m proud of people who are writing and people are reading, and proud, too, that you are here, reading this.

They say that writing doesn’t make you a better writer; it makes you a better person.  You begin to think better. You learn about yourself, you become more organized. Although I think writing does make you a better writer, unless, of course, you are repeating the same mistakes over and over.

Put something on paper every day. And better yet write something in your journal in cursive, yes, cursive—you know the old fashioned way--by hand. I read recently that writing in cursive increases cognitive activity in ways typing doesn’t.

This was driven home to me last Saturday at a family reunion. An aunt who is now retired, but had taught school for the last 30 years, the last few teaching handicapped children, taught me a valuable lesson.  She told me that schools who no longer teach cursive are making a grave mistake.

In teaching reading she would begin to have the student make lazy eights on their paper—remember those from school, making the old infinity symbol over and over? As the student’s hand began moving she would ask them form a letter. The easiest is a “c” she said. The “c” can easily be transformed into an “o.” Move into an “a” a small "a," for if one adds a stem up to an "a" it will become a ”b.” Add a stem down and it becomes a “q.”

This was revolutionary to me.

Second thought for the day: Listen to your elders.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Write drunk; edit sober

I am driven to comment on this:

A few minutes ago I read a writer’s blog and in it the writer took offence at the above quote stating that this quote was erroneously attributed to Hemingway. (Your guess is as good as mine.)

Second, the blogger said that Hemingway didn’t write while drunk. He wrote in the mornings before he drank. (Again, who knows.)

“Get a Grip!” It’s tongue in cheek. And it’s funny.

The point is: Write when you are uninhabited, when you are loose, free, and willing to put anything down on paper. Then when you are clear headed go back and edit.  This is sage advice.

Bottom line: I don’t care if Hemingway wrote upside down, naked or drunk, the world was made better (literature-wise) because he lived.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Do's and Don't's for Success

Here are some do's and don'ts of success from the inventor of Twitter, Jack Dorsey:

·                Stay present

·                Be vulnerable

·                Drink lemon water and red wine

·                Six sets of 20 squats and push-ups every day

·                Run for 3 miles

·                Meditate on this list

·                Stand up straight

·                Spend 10 minutes with a heavy bag

·                Say hello to everyone

·                Get 7 hours of sleep

Jack also recommends you don't do these things:

·                Don't avoid eye contact

·                Don't be late

·                Don't set expectations that you can't meet

·                Don't eat sugar

·                Don't drink hard liquor or beer during the weekday