Excitement and Danger

Lightning

Lightning

I’m thinking about feeling disappointed. And feeling grateful at the same time.

You see, in the last three days, Germany has been hit by many, many thunderstorms. Continuously.

Except where I live.

And I would have liked some celestial fireworks. Because thunderstorms are exciting.

So I have been watching the radar online, I had a page with weatherwarnings open, and they all told me on thing: You are not getting anything. Not you. Nope.

Boooo.

And yet, I’m grateful.

Because excitement is one thing, damage is something entirely different.

Because four people died on Sunday alone, during those storms. Towns were devastated.

And it feels very weird to want excitement, and yet see how it can go badly wrong.

This time, it was „just“ the weather. And my pleasure in thunderstorms is harmless and doesn’t cause any trouble, since I cannot conjure any. I can just sit and wait until one happens. (I suppose I could move to a place where they happen more often.)

Some people, however, seek excitement in dangerous ways. And risk not just their own death but that of others. Racing in streets. Balancing on railway waggons. Drifting into crime…

And that’s when excitement becomes truly dangerous.

Let’s keep that for the books, okay?

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I Can Fly

I can fly

I can fly! (Pixabay)

I spread my wings and jump. The world drops away underneath me, as I catch the breeze and soar. I wheel, wings wide, marvelling at the landscape spread out below, stretching into endless distance.

Birds cry, flying with me, white specks at the corner of my eye. They are the fellows of the air, sharing this effortless moment where all weight disappears. The breeze caresses my face like the gentle fingers of my love.

And I can actually feel this, see it in my mind.

With just a simple, mental flip, I’m something else.

Something tiny. Tasting the world around it, just able to distinguish between light and dark. Sensing salty, sweet, icky and yummy. I turn towards yummy, extending a part of myself, engulfing it. The yummy becomes mine, and my body feels good.

Another flip, and I’m under water, coasting along with gentle sweeps of my flippers. I rise, break through the waves and breathe – first out, then in. I let myself sink back, into the blue, where the sun paints the world in its rays.

And I can sense all this, in my mind.

There are people who cannot.

I found out yesterday that a few percent of humans have a different brain structure that prevents them from holding images in their minds. Any images. It shocked me.

The one thing I have a very hard time imagining is not being able to imagine. I live so much of my life in my mind, after all, creating people, dragons, even whole worlds.

I do this with my mind. I can fly in my mind.

But there are people who cannot. Never could.

There’s a name for it: Aphantasia.

And I don’t know how to feel about that. My mind enters a dead end when I try to. This is unimaginable.

So help me. Comment, if you have any thoughts about this.

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The Aware Author – Kindness

Red van

Red van – pixabay

It was just a little thing, really.

You see, this morning, I walked to work, as usual. It was just a normal day, no rain, no wind, overcast gray sky, and with normal temperatures. A day so normal that it was almost painful.

I cross quite a few streets on my walk, too. Some are big, with traffic lights, some are small. And there is a small one where the sidewalk just continues across that street, making it so that pedestrians tend to simply walk on and that drivers almost automatically give them the right of way.

While I got closer to that point in my walk, a man in a large van pulled out of that street and stopped right in the middle of the sidewalk, for a left turn across a four lane street. Of course, he had to wait for the cars to pass, and then for a bunch of bikers.

All that time, I was getting closer. And behind me, someone with a longboard was catching up to me. I started to wonder how this would play out. (And honestly, I hate it when I have to wait for a car to get out of my way on a sidewalk.)

The guy in the van threw in the reverse and pulled back, to let us pass. And I gave him a grateful nod and a smile, and he nodded and smiled back.

That’s all.

But it made me feel happy. It created a momentary connection between me and that driver – a good one. The next time I see that particular van, which is likely, since it’s a delivery guy for an old peoples‘ home in that street, I’ll probably smile again.

And this is exactly the kind of random encounter that makes stories believable. That can lead to much more, and even serve as introduction of a new character.

A little moment of kindness on a normal morning.

And so much more.

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Musings – Meeting People

We writers are a solitary bunch.

And that’s normal. I even suspect that most writers are HSPs, and that means we need rest and silence and quiet time on our own. What better way to spend that time than writing stories?

But even we need social contact. We need to go out and talk with people. And feel the wind, listen to the birds and soak up the sun. But yeah, we need people, too.

Even though we often don’t want to admit it.

So I met another author yesterday, and it was very cool to find out we share a lot of opinions, and even similar experiences. But we had to cut our meeting short because the location filled up and got really, really noisy.

Which simply means we protected our nature. And we’ll continue our talk another time.

This is actually an awesome compromise between our need for quiet, and our need for companionship: Find a place that works well for meeting one or two people. And you’ll enjoy it more than you expect.

Who are you going to meet this week?

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Spoon Theory

You may have seen people saying things on social media like: „I ran out of spoons.“ or „Sending you extra spoons.“

And maybe you thought that this sounds strange and like some insider joke. Actually, it isn’t a joke. In fact, it’s something rather serious that’s being communicated in a joking way.

You see, spoon theory describes the realities of life for chronically ill people or people with low energy.

The whole idea goes back to Christine Miserandino who is suffering from Lupus. She coined the term „Spoon Theory“ when she tried to explain to a friend how that illness affects her life.

All attempts failed, until she grabbed all spoons from their table and some from other tables (they were out for lunch), handed them to her friend and declared that the number of spoons represented the energy she has available for the entire day. And then she explained how simple, every-day tasks cost a spoon each – because they take energy, thought and planning for someone who is ill.

Her friend soon ran out of spoons, even though her hypothetical day wasn’t over yet.

And that experience brought home the fact that many people in our society need to be careful of how they spend their energy, because the supply is limited. It means they have to make choices – and sometimes that means not seeing friends or not looking their best or missing deadlines or simply not being online.

So now you know what it means when someone talks about spoons and running out of them. And please don’t judge them.

Read the original article here: The Spoon Theory

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HSP

Aron, The Highly Sensitive Person

E.N. Aron, The Highly Sensitive Person

HSP stands for Highly Sensitive Person, a term coined by Elaine N. Aron in 1996 (that’s the cover of her book over there). And at the core, it simply means we have a highly sensitive nervous system, compared to „normal“ people.

About 15-20% of a population are HSPs. That number may surprise you, because a lot of our society is about noise, constant distraction and exciting entertainment. And it doesn’t fit HSPs at all.

That sensitive nervous system actually gives HSPs an advantage in some things. According to Aron, HSPs are:

– better at spotting errors and avoiding errors
– highly conscientious– able to concentrate deeply
– especially good at tasks requiring vigilance, accuracy, speed and the detection of minor differences
– able to process material to deeper levels of what psychologists call „semantic memory“
– often thinking about our own thinking
– able to learn without being aware we have learned
– deeply affected by other people’s moods and emotions

And our bodies react differently, too. We’re :

– good at holding still
– more affected by stimulants like coffeine unless we’re very used to them
– more „right-brained“ (less linear, more creative in a sythesizing way)
– more sensitive to things in the air (yes, that means more hay fever and rashes)
(„The Highly Sensitive Person“, pages 10/11)

And of course, there is a downside to all those goodies.

We get more „excitement“ out of given situations that most people.

Too much excitement is unpleasant. It can gives us a headache, make us shake, get tired really quickly, and send us away from parties and crowds. It can totally sap away any energy we have, especially because we sense moods so easily.

Personally, I have to schedule how many difficult things I do in a day, and how many people I meet. I no longer watch TV, for example, because even the news were too much at times. And when I want to follow a show, I can’t ever binge watch. A single episode can leave me drenched in sweat. (Which means I usually don’t bother with shows, either.)

People often think we’re introverted because of that kind of behaviour. But that’s not necessarily true. It simply means we are careful about the amount of excitement we allow into our lives.

I think many, many writers are HSPs, btw. Because we notice so many things, we’re empathic, we think deeply, and we are creative. And usually, our books are about a little more than just entertainment. Think about it.

As Terry Pratchett said: „Writing is the most fun one can have by oneself.“

And just so you know… a day or two without any excitement can do wonders for us. So don’t be angry if we don’t come to your party. It’s not about you. It’s about protecting ourselves in a society that’s too loud, too intense and too exciting for our kind.

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My Bed is my Castle

Today, I spent a lot of time in bed.

Yep, that lazy.

Except I had a good reason.

I’ve been fighting a nasty, lingering cold. And I was still frazzled from a week with many demands and actions.

And I decided that getting a lot of sleep and being in a comfortable, soothing and warm environment would be very good for me.

And it was.

If you’re worn down – go ahead and try it. Just curl up in your bed and give yourself permission to relax. It’s very, very soothing, and the surge in mood and energy is amazing.

Even my characters are talking to me again after that day in bed.

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The Thing about Energy

Yesterday, I had no energy left to do more than think of blogging, and then disregarding the idea. Because it was a really busy day.

Now, you could argue that every day is a busy day for authors, and you’d be right. But for me, it isn’t writing or editing that zaps my energy.

It’s being out and interacting with people I don’t know, dealing with noise, crowds, things to organize and making on the spot decisions. It helps when people are nice (and they generally are), and it helps when I go out at a time when it’s less crowded. It also helps a lot when I’m familiar with where I’m going. But it’s still exhausting.

And to be honest, it has gotten worse with age. (Ahem.)

Now, there are at least two things at play, and I will talk about them more later on, beause I believe they apply to many, many authors:

  1. Spoon theory.
  2. HSP

For now, it is enough to say that it was another lesson about how far to push myself, how to schedule things better, and how to take better care of myself.

I can see a lot of naps in my near future. A LOT. Thank the gods it’s a long weekend.

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Some Thoughts About Magic

As you know, I write fantasy. Which, of course, often contains magic. (Yes, there is magic in The Cloud Lands Saga. It’s just not very obvious.)

And I have argued often with other writers who insisted that I had to map out a magic system (often they were role players, too), or that I needed to finish creating my world before I could write stories in it.

I prefer a more relaxed approach.

You see, I like to step into my world and discover it through my stories. That is a never-ending adventure. After all, we’re still discovering new things right here on Earth.

And I’m the same with magic.

I like discovering what my characters can do – sometimes, they even surprise themselves!

I just think that magic has a price. Just like learning any skill has a price. And like doing anything with focus and concentration, magic takes energy. Big magic takes big energy.

You see, I like things simple.

And I trust my instinct for writing and world-building.

So go and enjoy magic, either by writing it or by reading about it. It does exist even here on Earth, in its own special form, after all.

 

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Musings on Birds

It is pretty much accepted nowadays that birds evolved from a branch of dinosaurs. And that most dinosaurs had feathers. And that some of them were quite intelligent.

Personally, I think it’s fascinating.

You see, my family used to have geese. Geese are fairly intelligent, too. They certainly can distinguish between people and they very quickly learn routines and where they are safe.

The Canada Geese in our local park don’t panic when a small dog comes running. They barely move aside for people. They have learned exactly how safe they are, and what few dangers to avoid.

Corvids are among the smartest breeds of birds. And I love observing crows on my walks. They get really creative when it comes to getting food and having fun. In fact, I once watched a crow deliberately provoking a pair of seagulls and outflying them.

And yet…

To me, birds feel really, really alien.

I’m learning to read their body language. I can usually tell what geese are thinking by reading their movements and voice. I can recognize the calls of many, many bird species.

But they are alien.

Unlike mammals. There’s a kinship with mammals that I feel clearly.

It’s not there with birds. At all.

And deep in the back of my mind, that starts a „what if…?“.

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