Friday, November 17, 2017

COUNTING MY BLESSINGS

What do I want to say...?


I'm not sure.

I doodled this spur of the moment.

Occasionally, when I'm not sure what's on my mind, doodling helps me, reminds me of this-and-that, a bunch of things... yes, there seems to be a mish-mash of things, growing things in a sort of bouquet.

 Our son JD's in a play in LA; he's got a new project, a lovely girl friend -- that he's okay, doing well, better than ever is definitely one of my blessings.

My husband's in a show on a schedule that gets him home late while I'm working on things that get me up early, but that's a blessing -- that we're busy, committed to work, able to do things that we enjoy doing.

Our home-sweet-home -- every morning when I wake up and cross the bright green floor and see garden furniture, plants, and light pouring in from the skylight -- that's a blessing.


Okay, there are other things -- it's lucky, wonderful, a lifetime blessing that my husband's talent made us enough money to live safely and well.

Big biggest blessing -- we have each other and cherish each other.





Hey, spur of the moment, click -- enjoy my video.  

Monday, November 13, 2017

WRITERS--MEET SIR HAROLD EVANS

Have you heard of Sir Harold Evans?  He is one of the greatest editors alive, according to the New York Times, and The New Yorker.

What he knows is in his new book:
Illustrated. 408 pp. Little, Brown & Company.
From 1967 to 1981, Evans was the helmsman in London, of The Sunday Times till he clashed its purchaser, Rupert Murdoch, and moved to America. By the nineties, he was head of Random House, editing books by distinguished authors such as Norman Mailer and Henry Kissinger. He married Tina Brown, former famous editor of Vanity Fair and The New Yorker. As a distinguished author himself of a few books on American History, he is uniquely qualified to instruct us on how to write well.

Harold Evans tells us: "What really matters is making your meaning clear beyond a doubt. And the key to clarity, is concision."

In his book, he offers edifying and entertaining “Ten Shortcuts to Making Yourself Clear,” for instance, No. 7 is “Don’t Be a Bore.” Influenced by 19th-century American reformers who wanted written sentences to be shorter and easier to understand, Evans invites us into what he calls his “sentence clinic.” There we see him in editorial action, applying his surgical tools to specimens of "bloated, dull, euphemistic, incomprehensible prose"-- specific newspaper articles, academic writing, and finally, brilliantly -- the entire 2010 White House report on the underwear bomber.

Evans analysis/reworking of the bomber occupies nearly 50 pages. He even operates on a passage from “Pride and Prejudice,” asking, “What is Jane Austen saying?”

You may have to force your eyeballs to get through this as you are learning to do what Evans does.  Writing is hard work. Often, starting a project, you're relaxing and enjoying rambling around until you find the idea, and dig into it. Later, you'll need to diligently revise clumsy, turgid, bits and cut what's excessive.

Reading and studying Harold Evans will give you ways to cultivate your own inner editor who can skillfully, even efficiently, help you shape a "good" book -- one that will successfully find an audience.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

SLEEP

For umpteen years, as a poor sleeper, trying over-the-counter remedies and doctor's prescriptions -- Ambien, Valium, Benadryl, Valerian, Melatonin, various homeopathic  remedies, warm milk, liquor, gone off caffeine, counted sheep, counted chimpanzees, reviewed lines in a play, reviewed steps in choreography -- I still do not fall asleep.

I fall awake.


My current routine: After tucking pillows under my neck and knees, I mutter "Sleep that knits up the raveled sleeve of care," repeat the Shakespeare words, counting as I start with the left leg, "One Ten Thousand, sleep that knits..." while sensing the flow of blood in 10 toes, then ankle, calf, knee, thigh, hip joint before concentrating on the right leg, and its toes. I repeat this 15 to 30 times, till my mind rebels, and a loud awareness that I am wide awake drives me out of bed into the kitchen for a snack and some TV.

There's a relatively new process called transcranial direct stimulation (tDCS) that zaps the brain with electricity, and keeps people up for as much as 30 hours. Caffeine lasts two hours, tDCS currently lasts six. There's Modafinil, a stimulant that Wall street-investors use. I am not going to try them. 

Sleep experts are now saying we just need five hours a night. Most millennials (people born after 2000) are into five hours). The latest talk about sleep says "sleep less, do more." They say the Internet, email, and social networking are giving us shots of dopamine, a chemical the brain releases to simulate pleasure. We get this from caffeine, and now we're sold caffeine's in toothbrushes, stockings, soap, bath bubbles, beer, marshmallows, lollipops, coke, red bull, and bottled water. And of course, we continue to be told over and over, that caffeine keeps us awake.

So don't drink coffee? Do drink it? Drink it less? Golly, we're flashed a lot of facts -- re coffee, saccharin, eggs, cholesterol, omega 3, belly fat, dental hygiene, bacteria, calories, carbs, exercise -- but I put most of this into my BB pile (bullshit baloney), where major life and death important facts seem to fade like smoke rings.

After a not-enough-sleep night, or a moderately good night, I do my work -- how well I do it depends -- not on sleep -- but on whether or not the topic excites me.

Therefore I do my "raveled sleeve" routine and occasionally I sing this to myself.  Try it, it might work for you.

Sunday, November 5, 2017

GET A CHIP IMPLANTED IN A HAND

"Three Square Market," a company in Wisconsin, is giving employees an option of being implanted with microchip. "This is the future," said the company's CEO, Todd Westby.

A microchip the size of a grain of rice is easily injected under the skin. Suddenly, the touch of a hand, a wave of your hand can do a lot of things for you -- open doors, turn on lights, start the coffee machine, lock or unlock your cell phone, car, even your lock box.

The microchips are radio frequency ID tags, the same technology widely used in things like key cards. Chips have been implanted in animals for years to help identify lost pets and now the technology is moving to humans. Tech start-ups have sold tens of thousands of implant kits for humans in Europe. In some cities there are even implant parties where people bond, and celebrate getting chipped together.

“This is serious stuff," said an executive editor at CNET. "We’re talking about a connection to your body. You can’t turn it off, or put it away. It's in you. Each 'touch' leaves a digital footprint which can compromise one’s privacy. It’s easy to hack a chip implant."

CBS NEWS reporter, John Blackstone said, "It could put your privacy at risk," and referred to implants as a dystopian vision, ala "Brave New World," Huxley's novel about people in the future living dehumanized lives. Coincidentally, the movie channel has been running the 2004 film, "The Manchurian Candidate," about a human who's chipped and controlled, and ordered to kill a candidate at an election -- some ads are even juxtaposing pictures of Trump.

So would you get a chip implanted? This video about a Swedish company will help you decide.