Monday, February 13, 2017

Why Talk About The Matrix Philosophy on Valentine's Day? "Because I choose to."

Happy Valentine's Day! Enjoy your cardstock greetings that come with stickers and chocolates, and your dinner reservations or quiet evenings at home with the ones you care for most. 

Love probably means different things to different people. I can't tell you, coming from the hell I came from, where I learned what love was for sure, but I think a lot of it was from books and pop culture. 

For me, love is not a feeling. It's a choice. It's a decision you make. It's the idea that you will put that person first and care for them. Even when it's dangerous. Even when it's scary. Even when you know you'll get hurt in the process. 

One of the best books I ever came across that explained this very well was "Like a Splinter in Your Mind: The Philosophy Behind the Matric Trilogy" by Matt Lawrence. 

There is a section just picking apart the relationship between Neo and Trinity, which, if you ask me, was the driving force of the series. The idea that we aren't what we think we are has been around since before Descartes, though The Matrix presented it in wonderfully new and thought-out packaging. 

The heavy stuff in it was how do you love someone more than yourself, more than anything, in that absolutely doomed scenario, and is it even possible to do that? 

The answer is yes. If you chose to. 

The book explains that if love were just a feeling to you, it would be fickle. 

Sadness is a feeling. Are you sad all the time? Does it come and go? 

Love can't work that way. Loving someone that much is always a decision. Be careful with that decision. Find someone willing to be heroic enough to make the same decision for you. Because it's not always an easy one. You'll have dark and doom and danger-filled days together. Choosing to really love someone takes perseverance and bravery and vulnerability, and those are all things human beings struggle with on the regular. 

Real love, though, it makes you better. It really does. It doesn't mean it won't be hard, it just means it makes you a person that is better able to navigate those things. That is the magic in it. 

Happy Valentine's Day, and happy reading. 

Friday, February 3, 2017

Babywearing: How My Sling Saved My Toe...

After two ring slings and three babies, I am definitely an advocate for babywearing. You can find it in many cultures because it is useful. One of the things you lose when you have a young baby or toddler in the home is the freedom of your arms. Believe me, they will damn near be constantly occupied. 

The first sling I ever had for my firstborn saved my sanity. It allowed us to go on walks easily and me to be brave enough to take her shopping alone (I was scared of everything back then). It lasted for the next baby, too. My son had to be carried in it by myself or my husband or he would just cry himself into exhaustion. And it helped me spend time with my toddler while keeping my smaller child happy. 
A really cute storybook for kids that shows babywearing all over the world. 

I knew two years ago when I was pregnant I'd be purchasing one again (the one that held up between my older two bit the dust shortly after). The most economical and still safety rated slings I found were at I was lucky enough to grab mine on clearance, too. 

I highly recommend all expectant mothers, whether this is your first baby or your sixth, get some kind of babywearing gadget. And probably not the little dingy ones they have at regular retailers. Those might be okay for some people, but being plus sized it did not work for me at all, and some later had overheating safety concerns. There is a learning curve here, but Maya Wraps and many other specialty retailers will help you through it with how-to's. Mine even came with a DVD on how to use it. 

No, it's not going to change your life, but babywearing really WILL make it a little less aggravating and complicated. 

I felt the need to talk about this today because I was able to visit my primary care physician and have my infected and near falling off toenail that is black and blue from an impact injury drained and wrapped while holding my sleeping toddler in my sling. 

It also helped to keep me calm, as I couldn't see the procedure with a baby in front of me. 

And all I could think of was thank goodness I remembered to put our ring sling in the car. 

Seriously, if you are a busy mom, especially a WAHM, you don't get downtime. Even when hurt or sick sometimes, you won't get it. Having your hands free to get the stuff done that won't wait for you to recover means quite a bit. 

Never had any damn luck getting writing done with it, though. Like I mentioned, baby right in front of you makes doing things like typing hard.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

The Importance of Learning From Someone Who Does What You Do.

One of the things that hit me suddenly was that I, until now, have NEVER had a professor of writing who taught speculative fiction and who wrote it. 

I have had four writing professors in three different locations. Only the one I have now is teaching and writing in the genres I want to be in. 

That. Seems. Bad. 

And it means academically some of us as genre writers are being short-changed. 

Not that I didn't get great professors before. They were great. Lovely human beings. But they taught either non-fiction, or contemporary, or my favorite of them, who played Ernest Hemingway look-a-likes and always came into the room with a sun hat, was a poet. A professional one. 

But, nobody was doing what I wanted to do and needed to learn how to do better. In a difficult profession like this, that's a boat-sinker. 

Mentors can save you a lot of stupid detours in the roads of life. Don't be overbearing or weird about it, just find people teaching the closest thing to what you want to do as possible. This is kind of hard unless it is in an academic setting. I have seen writers tear each other down to stand on the backs of those they've thrown. That wouldn't even be permitted in the gallery sect, where each of us was literally hoping to get some of the same funds. The market is adjusting to indie publishing, and right now, it is kind of saturated. 

That's depressing. But it's a damn good reason to find people who are successful standing in the arena you want to be in. Writing groups are okay, better I think if they feature experts. But, you get a lot more time with an expert if you have one as a professor.  

I'd like to see more genre-specific writers in all their variety as professors in local universities, but right now most of what I have found exists in distance learning specific courses. And so far, so good. My class has covered a lot of material and we are only half way finished. 

And, until now, I hadn't noticed how much I missed by not having that. 

So, whatever it is you write, find someone doing it better who is willing and able to help and inspire. And don't forget how important it is to lend a hand to those who need it once you succeed.