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29
Jan

Dreaming about a BUFFALO?

One of my most recurring dreams is called “The Farm.” The theme, or plot, of this dream is loosely built upon farm property that my late husband and his parents worked for decades. But of course this is a place in the realm of dreams…and not based on anything even remotely real.

Last night’s episode combined elements of two basic dream scenarios. One was the basic farm market theme, the other involved a very old house which is a staple of another of my nocturnal destinations. In the dream here under discussion the two-story building was more like huge barn than like a house.

I was called to the back of the building to see, at the second story window, a very large stag with a huge rack of horns.

The animal softly uttered a sound that for all the world sounded like “MEW…” I said to him, “OK–I’ll get you out.”

The problem was one of logistics, getting the stag to come down the stairs of his own volition, without trampling any of the people who had gathered, apparently finding the situation more interesting than browsing the vegetable market.

The stag proceeded to come down the stairs and make a dash for one of the open areas leading outside. At least one female deer, in a panic, crashed about and escaped unharmed. Two fawns were leaping about like ballerina dancers.

My concern was for the frantic animals, and the foolish crowd milling around as if at a circus. Then there was a ruckus at the stairs, and I yelled “WATCH OUT FOR THE BUFFALO!”

The poor BUFFALO was huge, and had the prerequisite curved horns. It was frightened by the crowd , which by now was as scared as the buffalo.
At this point our neighbor’s big chocolate lab, Princess, had moved between me and the buffalo–which both of us greatly appreciated.-

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26
Jan

Rise of the Machine

Back in 1983 my life changed when a shiny, very high-tekky, computer showed up on my doorstep. Well, I admit someone must have put it there, but for me… sigh… love at first sight!

It was a KayproII, a one-piece wonder that had its keyboard tucked up and buckled in against the monitor. There were two 5 1/4″ floppy disk drives: A and B. The A drive held the operating system, mysteriously known as CP/M, which took up part of the disk which also held what we would now call “content”; the B drive was for disk files. There were several manuals, mostly written in some completely foreign dialect resembling English but with words I had never seen before. To be fair, there were a few sections of one of the manuals that hinted at how to operate the computer. Very few. There was also a collection of programs, (soft wear) including a word-processing program called WordStar.

Speaking of word processing… every time one system becomes familiar, they change it. WordStar was quickly nudged out by WordPerfect, as that became the “industry standard” for huge businesses. For me WordPerfect 4.5 was my first, back in the day when WP was the standard before Microsoft introduced Word. Which of course as everyone knows, became THE word processing system, quickly insinuating itself (ok, pushing itself) into every office in the world. My Luddite heart remained true to WordPerfect all the way up to version 11, when we had to part ways because my computer operating system moved on.

The point of all this is to alibi the reason why my posting to blogging101 has been so spotty. I was going to complain about my printer, but it isn’t really that…it’s more to do with the operating system, i.e. Windows8.1. Yikes! It so happened that the last computer I bought was on the very day that the new Windows 8 had come out. Really…the very day! Amd Windows 8 was the first new system to be completely alien to the previous version…Windows 7, and (sob) the revered WindowsXP.

Well yes, I admit that it would have been better had I let the Geek Squad set up the new computer for me, but I–always in a hurry–insisted on setting it up myself, installing everything. Since that has always been the way I did it, why think this time would be any different? Well, I found out why, apparently I did something wrong. To be fair, no one else that I know has had problems with the new operating system…so maybe its me. Huh!

Oh…now they are saying that Microsoft is going to provide their NEW system, Windows 9, free for us hysterical souls who need it. I can hardly wait, although by then I will have probably figured out what the problem is and have to start all over.

20
Jan

Dealing with Writer’s Block — Just write about it!

Most writers suffer from an ailment called “writers’ block.” I Have given the malady a lot of thought over the years, and I do have some suggestions to offer. Here’s what I suggest to others: JUST WRITE! Sit down and grab your pen, and write something…even if its wrong. Start with a word like “the,” and add a noun… cat, woman, oregano plant…and build from there. Even if it doesn’t make a bit of sense, just get the fingers to work writing. Once a few sentences of jibber jab are flowing across the page, the muse will take over and unlock the channels of deathless prose that are stuck in your brain.

Sounds great, doesn’t it?

Well here is what I personally do when I sit down to write: I sit and stare at the pen, or inspect a fingernail. Then get up and head for the kitchen for a cup of coffee…what the heck, and pop something in the toaster. While away from the writing place I might as well use the bathroom. I try to ignore things like the washing machine beckoning for a load, or plants gasping for the watering can.

If the phone doesn’t ring, or the cat do something bad in the hallway, or the coffee stays in the cup, I head back to the writing place, sit down, and write some words like: “the elephant took a chance on finding a place to park in the busy driveway…” yep, doesn’t make sense, but heck…there just might be a spark of genius in one of the words in the sentence–elephant, driveway, parking… and there we go! Writing at last.

This post is a response to a Daily Prompt post. The post dealt with a wonderful suggestion for creating a sort of “job jar” for writers who often need a boost in creation of ideas to write about. The link is included below, in case readers suffer from writers’ block. And who doesn’t?)

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/2015/01/20/prompt-box/#comments

The problem of the very fleeting nature of brainstorm ideas, like dreams, are such that ideas for clever turn of phrases, a hilarious thing that happened, a flash of brilliance from the brain–these happen all the time. We just need to be prepared to capture these gems and write them down for posterity.

Which brings me to the opposite of writers block–trying to stop the flood once the ideas do start pouring forth. Sometimes I can’t write/type fast enough, and have no way to remember the footnotes and flashes of insight that dash through like those metaphorical calendar pages that zip by in the movies.

Writers’ Block is always a good topic itself to set the writing juices flowing.

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16
Jan

What would I do with 90% more brain efficiency?

The Daily Prompt for today inspired me to break my bad case of writer’s block and get to work commenting on the question: what would I do if I could unlock the 90% of my brain that is closed, according to experts in the field that claim we humans only use about 10% of our brain capacity.

This is a thought that I have actually spent a lot of time thinking about. Half-joking, I maintain that my forgetfulness and absent-mindedness in recent months or years has been due to my brain becoming “full,” and making room by ejecting extraneous information out of my 80-year-old brain. My doctor assures me that my brain is fine, and in no danger of serious brain malfunctions any time soon. But truth be known, certain occurrences worry my writer’s brain.

The thing that bothers me the most is when I cannot think of a word, or a precise word, in the middle of a sentence. I am a fast typist, and have always been a writer, and often the words that I needed just seemed to flow from my fingers through my keyboard. Often I have found that in reading or proof-reading my own words, at times the product has seemed foreign to me–as if written by someone else.

This feeling of detachment from my work, a news article or university student paper, has flowed from somewhere in the brain reservoir. A couple of years I tackled the NaNoWriMo project November Novel Writing Month, in which participants spend the month of November writing a 60,000 word novel. The rules are fairly flexible, except that it is supposed to be an original piece of work that is not a work in progress.

I did not complete the novel that I was working on. However, I did follow the rules of sitting down at my keyboard and writing…no plot, no characters, not even an outline. Although those were not specifically forbidden. My goal was to see if I could do it. In a long stream of consciousness, in which there was no stopping for correcting typos or looking up information or spelling…or even reading it over for cohesive continuity and fact-checking. The thing is to just try to allow the novel to unfold–completely without a plan.

The amazing thing is that the free-form writing system actually saw characters walking onto the copy paper canvas, with story lines developing along the way. As the work proceeded the idea came to me that my novel could be based on my unfinished doctoral dissertation, which did in fact provide a framework of a plot.

The point of all this is that my half-finished novel grew out of information that had been stored in my brain. When it came to a blank-out when it was needed to name a new character, or a town, I used a series of place-holding dots or dashes, parentheses and little notes to self: “…is this location desert or island?” filled gaps both in the story that was unfolding and the breaks of continuity. The point of the “notes” is to provide clues for rewriting the piece later–such as remembering a character’s name.

In the event that suddenly a flash of insight or mechanical breakthrough opened the doors to the vast empty space of unused brain matter, what would I do with it?

Assuming that material such as that which surfaced during the free-writing exercise was stored in the active ten percent of brain capacity–and the consideration of the other 90% which presumeably was blocked off to my consciousness, I would move chunks of information out of the Active storage and into shiny new areas with plenty of room. This theoretical new space in my mind’s eye appears like a well-lit library of rows and rows of filing cabinets-crammed with folders of information.

Wow! Such a scenario would certainly require one heck of a comprehensive zip file!