A plume with a hue

Archive for the category “Wordy Wednesday”

Wordy Wednesday – Weeks 4 and 5

Writing: Journal

Number of pages written these weeks: 7

Number of pages written since start of project: 31

Reading: To Rise Again at a Decent Hour by Joshua Ferris

Number of pages read these weeks: 63

Number of pages read since start of project: 260

I haven’t been writing as much as I hoped. Sometimes, I just don’t have the time or motivation. My life has major changes taking place at the moment and I have been journalling about them.  It certainly helps to write down and work through the issues you’re facing. Somehow it makes them clearer when they’re on paper, less daunting.  One of my entries was “I want my life to stop being defined by my current situation” as it’s in limbo and my thoughts about it are becoming all-consuming.

I’ve started reading To Rise Again at a Decent Hour.  So far, it’s the musings of a dentist and there seems to be a lot of consideration of religion, which isn’t something that interests me. I’m hoping it will move more into the area of identity, although obviously religion is a part of many people’s identity. I’m not enjoying it as much as his other novel, which I think was called And Then We Came to the End, but it’s still very readable.

Wordy Wednesday – Week 3

Writing: Journal

Number of pages written this week: 5

Number of pages written since project start (25/2/15): 24

Reading: Frozen Music by Marika Cobbold

Number of pages read this week: 63

Number of pages read since project start: 197

The topics I’ve written about this week include a particularly vivid dream I had.  I used to remember my dreams all the time; now, I rarely recall them. I also joined a walking club, where I met a woman who had recently moved to the area after living in another place all her life.  It caused me to consider how a place defines someone and becomes part of their identity, and what the impact of such a move would be. It’s relevant to me as I may be moving to a new area soon.

On Blinkist, I read a synopsis of Steal Like an Artist by Austin Kleon, which makes the point that there’s no such thing as completely original art; a work of art is not created in a vacuum, but comes from the legacy of what has gone before.  We should immerse ourselves in the life and work of an artist we admire; then we immerse ourselves in the life and work of people they admired.  In this way, we create our own ‘artistic family tree’ out of which our own art is born.  This sounds like an interesting read and I’m tempted to buy the book.

I finished reading Frozen Music. Three quotations that spoke to me were:

‘And the worst of it is that in the end you make do with that, with being tolerated rather than loved’ (page 353).

‘Like a dog that had been sent off to its basket one too many times, my emotions refused to come out to play’ (page 374).

‘In the end she wasn’t sure of anything.  She didn’t dare to make any kind of statement’ (page 377).

Wordy Wednesday – Week 2

Writing: Journal

Pages written this week: 4.5

Pages written since project start (25/2/15): 18.5

Reading: Frozen Music by Marika Cobbold and We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler

Pages read this week: 70

Pages read since project start: 134

For some reason I haven’t written much this week. What I did write about was an exhibition I visited at Somerset House in London entitled The Unseen. It contained a variety of items whose colour changes in response to heat. For example, there were curtains that has been painted with a reactive ink that changed colour as the temperature increased.  There was also a headdress that reacted to brain activity. In the future, this idea could be used in the medical profession to ascertain the level of pain a person is experiencing. It is an interesting mix of art and science and was a fascinating exhibition.

I’m reading two books at the moment, which is not unusual for me.  I often have a ‘real’ book on the go, in addition to one that I read electronically when I’m out and about.  I can access the electronic books on my phone, which is useful when I’m stuck waiting unexpectedly as I was this week with the train to London.

Wordy Wednesday – Week 1

Writing: Journal

Number of pages written this week: 14

Number of pages written since project start (25th February 2015): 14

Reading: Frozen Music by Marika Cobbold

Number of of pages read this week: 64

Number of pages read since project start (25th February 2015): 64

I discovered a brilliant app, Blinkist. It gives a summary of a non-fiction book. You can read one overview per day without incurring a subscription charge. I read the summary and make a few notes about the interesting points, which I then respond to.  An interesting one this week was The Upside of Your Dark Side by T Kashdan and R Biswas-Diener. It explores the idea that painful emotions, despite being considered negative, can have a positive effect and shouldn’t be ignored in the pursuit of happiness. Do I think that anxiety, anger and guilt are good?  My immediate reaction is no but perhaps they can be positive if we look to understand where they are coming from and why. The authors, citing psychological research, suggest that anxiety heightens perception and makes us more vigilant and alert.  Anger increases creativity and guilt leads us to avoid or repair damage. I also find the idea that we should be mindless, and follow our intuition when making decisions, rather appealing.

Other Blinkist summaries I’ve read include Venture Deals by Brad Feld and Jason Mendelson.  I didn’t know anything about venture capitalism; at least, I now have a basic idea of what it is. 10% Happier by Dan Harris looks at managing emotions through meditation and is as persuasive as The Upside of Your Dark Side, despite having an opposing viewpoint.  Economics: The User’s Guie by Ha-Joon Chang gives an overview of the Neoclassical and Keynsian schools and explains their theories.  The Art of Influencing Anyone by Niall Cassidy does what it says on the box, particularly with reference to sales, but the theories can be practised and applied in other situations.

Other topics I’ve covered in my journaling include some musings on the benefits of keeping a journal. I’m keen to explore this topic in more depth and also to read other people’s journals.  I read back through some of mine and as I’ve been going through a challenging time over the past few years, it was interesting to see how much stronger I’ve become.

In Frozen Music, I was drawn to the exploration of certainties in life, as the following quotations (p246-247) show:

“There are no rules and there are no certainties, we live in the kingdom of randomness.”

“You’re trying to work out a way of living your life receptive to the changes and the uncertainties, willing to adapt and learn.  That’s all you can do.”

“I think it’s wrong, too, to say there are no certainties.  There might not be any external ones, but you can have your own.”

Perhaps we crave the security that certainties appear to provide but are they just an illusion?

Wordy Wednesday

In my ongoing attempt to read and write more, and on a regular basis, I thought I’d have a weekly post to track what I’ve been reading and writing during the preceding week.  Wordy Wednesday is born.  Each week, I’ll post an update on how much I’ve written and read, together with an outline of the topics I’ve covered. The week will run from Wednesday to Tuesday, and the first post is scheduled for Wednesday 4th March.

Well, that’s the plan; let’s see how it goes.

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