Saturday, October 13, 2007

In Which There's Lots to Say But Because I Feel Sick I Don't Have the Strength to Write

So rather than write, I'll share a picture of my messy desk. I know. Very interesting, I'm sure. Perhaps tomorrow I'll have the strength to write more.


Friday, October 12, 2007

In Which I Finish Another Book on Writing


I finished James W. Pennebaker’s book Opening Up: The Healing Power of Expressing Emotions. This is the book on which Louise DeSalvo (Writing as a Way of Healing) draws much of the suggestions she makes in her book so I was enthusiastic about reading this book. I was not at all disappointed and much of what I found interesting can be found in my other blog.

On a more personal note, I don’t know that I necessarily learned much from reading this book. I knew most of this from my own experience. I have used writing so often to work my way through understanding things that I frankly consider it a cliché when I hear myself encourage someone else to journal. I enjoyed reading how Pennebaker’s personal experiences helped him come up with ideas for his research. It was fun for me to see how creative the act of research can be. Life hands you a question and now you have to find a way to answer it by creating a test that will produce a reasonable answer while being as balanced and thorough as possible.

On a purely academic level, this is a good book. Not quite as dry as some academic books can be. Not nearly as dry, in fact, as it could have been. It is remarkable that Pennebaker was able to lay aside his academic voice and make this information so inviting.

With that said, for the average person, DeSalvo’s book is perhaps more accessible and easier to read than Pennebaker’s. However, depending on the reader’s reason for wanting to learn more about the subject of writing as a means of healing, I would still recommend Pennebaker’s book. Perhaps I would recommend it for the person who is academically inclined anyway, who is not convinced that writing matters, or to the individual who has been writing and doesn’t see that it makes a difference. Both books are excellent resources. Pennebaker’s, however, is more provocative in my mind and the one to which I would turn for encouragement while DeSalvo’s is more practical. Me? I get off on both so I love them both and I think most people would enjoy both but would probably prefer one more clearly than the other. It all depends on what your questions are: “Why write?” or “How write?” Neither focuses only on How over Why but Pennebaker does fall more on the Why side of things while DeSalvo more on the How.

So what is the question that would motivate you to read either of these books? Let that be the pivot of choice.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

In Which One Girl Cries and One Girl Says Goodbye



Well, I can honestly say that I could have predicted who would be gone but who would cry came as a surprise. Not because I had expected anyone in particular not to cry but this was the first year I felt sad for the one who was crying. In years past, whenever they do the make-over episode, the girls squeal with delight. They can’t wait to get their hair done over. And every year one or more girls is shown bawling over how her hair has been shaved or cut severely short.

So when they had to cut off all of Bianca’s hair, not because that is what would look best but because her hair was so damaged that was literally all they could do, her tears had a pathos that I had not seen in previous seasons. And in the end, she looked amazing. They arranged for her to have a wig so that she would not be forced to make the shorter hair work, so that she could have more flexibility with her look at a photo shoot but in the end, the very short hair just looks better. Much better.

As for who went home . . . who didn’t see it coming? Victoria didn’t have the personal drive to be a model, admitted herself that she hadn’t even thought seriously about modeling until a few weeks ago, and then had to mouth off to the judges whenever they tried to offer advice.



And her pictures were not mind blowing. If you went by looks alone, I think she would have and definitely could have lasted longer because she has that kind of quirky look at that the camera loves. But she had to open her mouth and, what’s worse, mouth off to Twiggy. Not cool. And not at all like Natasha from last year’s cycle who, when hearing even the most harsh statements made about her performance, would take it all in with a smile and a charming acceptance.

Truth is, I think Victoria will be happier now doing something else. What else? Who knows! She’s a teenager. She has years to figure it out. In the meantime, she’s gone from the show and now it is just the usual. I personally am most interested in the make over show (which is now behind us), the first going to a new location episode (which, if I were to go online I could probably find out where it is but I’d rather be surprised), and the go sees. Otherwise, the rest of the show is just a blur of whatever and waiting to see who is going to come up as the biggest bitch of the season.

So far, there is none and I have to admit that I am liking that far more than the usual cattiness. I’m guessing that this makes for dull television but not for me.

And barely and Lisa or Heather this episode. *sigh* At this rate, we’ll never have another lap dance or hear some bizarre geek wisdom.

Aries Horoscope for week of October 11, 2007

I'm not necessarily recommending that you read Stanely Seigel's book The Patient Who Cured His Therapist. But I do think you should regard the title as a suggestive metaphor for your immediate future. It's possible that you'll be helped by a person you've been helping, or be given gifts by person to whom you've given gifts. Could it be that you'll be healed by someone you imagine you're superior to, or taught a beautiful lesson by someone you don't understand? Meditate on the ways you might be the beneficiary of a role reversal.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

In Which I Participate in a Writing Group So let’s see . . . I belong to a novel writing group that will be meeting on the 27th. We are not yet swapping chapters from our novels which is a good thing because I’m still not sure what I would swap if we were. This novel focused group I found through meetup.com and the group leader said that she would like to have smaller groups meet all over the metro-Atlanta area which is how I ended up coordinating another writing group that will be meeting for the first time this Saturday. We do not yet have a focus for the group, meaning we could be doing write-ins and trying to break through our writing block or another critique group focusing on novel writing or short stories or anything else for that matter. This first meeting will determine what our theme will be. Then there’s zoetrope.com where I have posted two poems already and critiqued 20. I had at least three critiques within two days of my posting my first poem. My second poem has not received any critiques in the same amount of time. I am revising the third poem I plan on posting and once I do, it will go up whether I have critiques on the second or not. Which is how I ended up at a writing critique group that is already established and meets Tuesday nights not too far from where I live. I don’t know for how long this group has been meeting but it was nice to meet with some fellow writers, all of whom take their writing seriously. We read one another’s work and responded with comments. I received some advice for the already mentioned third poem and am thrilled to say it was dead on perfect! So there is a lot happening as far as finding writing support goes. Now if only I could figure out 1) what I will be writing for nanowrimo and 2) what I will be sharing with the novel writing group that meets in two weeks.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

In Which I Am Feeling Rather Silly It helps, when writing a blog entry, to actually post it rather than merely save it as a draft. Sheesh! So if you are thinking that there seems to be a sudden flood of posts, you are right. There are. Sorry about that. Also, on our way to acupuncture today I told Rob that I should get a video camera and create a video blog, start uploading the random things that trigger my vertigo. I could take video of my moving my head left and right to show when I start to feel the dizziness hit me. I could take video of traffic merging in front of the car I am riding in or even merging into the lane beside the car because that also causes my vertigo to flare up. I could take video of scenes in movies that make me close my eyes and of the head rolls I can’t do when I do my belly dancing. Then I could take requests to do things to see if my vertigo reacts to whatever the request is. I mean, obviously there’s no point in seeing if riding a tilt-a-whirl or spinning around where I stand would make me dizzy. Obviously these things make anyone dizzy. The goal would be to find things that don’t make me dizzy. Rob thinks the idea is amusing. I figure I’m just trying to get some fun out of something that isn’t much fun at all. Still, I am feeling a little better again. Not a lot better but enough for me to not be stuck in bed all day long. And Rob assembled my recumbent bike so now I can exercise on it. Oh . . . btw . . . using my recumbent bike makes my vertigo flare up and after 30 minutes I was so nauseous I had to lie down. Seriously, if I were to make a video blog of all the things that aggravate my condition, I could update it for months and still not get to the end of this endlessly growing list. *sigh*

Monday, October 08, 2007

In Which I Finish a Book and Go to a Reading Group I finished reading Orlando by Virginia Woolf and I may have to put Woolf into the category of “writers I know I ought to like but only appreciate.” There is a difference. There are some authors whose work I technically appreciate because the writing is wonderful even if I don’t especially like what I am reading. There are also those writers whose work I can appreciate contextually, appreciating what they wrote as being important when it was written but which now isn’t as excited or interesting to me. There are good writers, even great writers, who fall into this category. Joyce Carol Oates immediately comes to mind. And Henry James. So why did I bother reading it? Because I belong to a book group and it is one of the books on the list of books from which we can choose. I thought it would be interesting. I was mistaken. Blah. I’ve no desire to read anything else by Woolf and I am debating now whether or not I should give away her journals, the ones I have not yet read. But the book group was fun. I enjoyed the discussion although we didn’t spend a great deal of time discussing Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic by Alison Bechdel (about which I have already raved in a previous post). I think that other members were disappointed that we didn’t talk more about the book. I didn’t mind the frequent digressions into other thoughts, ideas, experiences. I like that we all rambled all over the place. I also liked that the next book we are reading is Tipping the Velvet by Sarah Waters. Oh boy! The leader said that this book made her blush. I’d be surprised, even delighted, if I were able to say the same when I’m through reading the book. We shall see soon enough.