Fear, focus, and the future. Here, C.M. Humphries writes about whatever.
The Importance of Introversion
In a high-demand world, preferring to work alone or in private is considered a sin. Between media and work, the introvert has been considered the loner outside of the circle, rather than part of the group within.
There is a question that begs to be answered in all of this: Why is it, in a world that claims to value character over personality, that we covet the loudest and the most blatant? In a world of being loud, where can someone more reserved fit in, or more importantly, find a time and a place to be alone?
In any form of art, it is almost essential to be largely introvertive. There needs to be that swamp time in which we can get shit done.
Yet there are so many myths about introverts (not that anyone is 100% intro- or extrovert).
One of the most prominent false perceptions of introversion is the implication of being anti-social. From a personal standpoint, I would argue this is very unlikely. Someone anti-social doesn't contribute due to an overwhelming fear of rejection or failure. No artist could be 100% antisocial, or after that first saddening rejection, they would all call it quits.
When did these two traits become synonymous?
The moment we all started working together without any separation. Many suggest their place of work doesn't allow social interaction, but they are dead wrong. Consider the office: Though you may never speak with your co-workers about anything personal, there isn't really anything to stop interaction. You might have to work together with them, or if that's not the case, most cubicles really only have three walls. The worker is always on display.
Now take into consideration the loathed retail position. As a worker in retail, socializing with co-workers may come with its consequences, but social pressures still exist. Much negativity exists within these places of work because workers emulate those on display. If the workers who are always the center of work-related gossip say the job sucks, then the job sucks.
It is the extrovert who often demands full control and silence many great ideas in the workplace, whereas an introvert is more of a listener. While introverts may spend sometime, in private, working out an idea, it seems more important to be strong, outgoing, and loud. Introverts are often deemed anti-social for not placing everything on display.
But why do we feel the need to put ourselves on display?
"Integrity is what we do, what we say, and what we say we do."
– Don Galer
Perhaps the celebrity argument has been beaten to death, but it may be the most obvious answer. There was a time when someone was judged by what they did even if no one was looking, but now the world has become a platform for people to shout out what they have done today, whether it's the humanitarian that wants you to know they're a humanitarian, Kim Kardashian talking smack about Kris Humphries, or simply Ashton Kutcher tweeting about lunch.
"Social Media" is term which sets the best example of our new world.
We live in a world of personalities; no longer a place for subtle character. Celebrities are always before us, and it's only natural to follow their ideologies, actions and reactions, and façades. Charisma is valued above good nature.
It's rather difficult to be introverted at all in this world, for it is highly stigmatized and often the most extroverted types mingle well with others and reap the benefits. Writing, especially, has been diluted by such down-talk. Almost more important now is the ability to "sell" a book by "networking" with others in the publishing world than writing a masterpiece to be handled delicately.
The argument here isn't you should an introvert or an extrovert; rather there's an evident importance to maintain a balance. This world requires you to be able to work with groups and work with noisy environments, but the best ideas are developed with heavy concentration, alone. Then they should be projected by your extroverted side. Introvert has nothing to do with being anti-social any more than extrovert has to do with being a town drunkard.
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Ever had someone tell you not to stress; something will come your way? Me too, and these sorts of people are real kibitzers as far as I am concerned.
It's one thing for someone to give you bad advice or to intentionally steer you in the wrong direction, but when Fatefools and Fullofits say, "There's no need to worry about it. Something will come your way," they are either moral klutzes or passive-aggressive bullies.
I'm all for a rounded view of things, so let's pretend these jerks are innocent for moment.
Fatefools are the most ubiquitous form of moral klutzes out there. To clear things up, a fatefool believes in the natural order of things and, if you want it bad enough, you'll get it. Moral klutzes are people who try to do the right things, but end up causing more damage than was being done. You can see how these two types of jerks might intertwine.
Fatefools strongly believe in a type of fate in which things . . . just happen. Forget writing, to be a writer all I need to do nothing else but really, really want it. This is a very shortsighted viewpoint. Luck and writing alone will not make you a professional writer.
So when a fatefool pats their sweaty palms on your back, chuckles, and advises you to relax, they could be doing more harm than good. One, they are filling you with false confidence, which could result in tragedy later on. Two, if you actually listen to them, you will accomplish nothing.
You've gotta feel sorry for fatefools, for they know not what they do. They don't mean to harm you or not take the situation seriously enough. Their aim is to be soothing, although they might as well shut up to being with.
Fullofits, on the other hand, deserve no sympathy. These are passive-aggressive little bastards who would love to see your self-destruction. They come off as fatefools, but only because they want to see you crash and burn.
They tell you not to worry because it'll work out on its own, knowing that it won't and the longer you take to act - really act - the sooner you will accomplish nothing in your life.
They chortle with warm hands on their bellies, somewhere off in a foreign lair. For all we know, they want you from an evil crystal ball that's black instead of clear!
What can any of us do about it?
For fatefools there's hope. Tone it down a bit when you're giving advice. Instead of suggesting things will naturally play out, maybe suggests some hard work, discipline, knowledge, traveling, networking, marketing, foresight, close attentiveness to the field and even a little schmoozing.
As for fullofits, there's not much to be done. If we all stop listening to them, they will have to start giving bad advice to each other and in the end, nothing will come of them. They will be the ones to self-destruct.
But what is the best answer for all this?
Nothing. You should just relax, and something will work out.
Ever wonder why you like fiction?
As a writer evolves, questions such as "Why do you like to write?" or "Why do you like fiction?" become more common. The first time a writer is asked such a question, they are overwhelmed with seemingly perfect reasons, although they all become scrambled and lead to a spill of garble over their lips.
Even more interesting is writers will often over-analyze the question, suggesting maybe one life experience or concept generated a certain stream of ideas they find interesting, or they speak of being inspired by specific individuals or mentors, when really they could answer, "I don't know. Because I do."
The left sphere of the brain is the same part that stops someone from answering the question and may be the same reason they enjoy fiction.
With nonfiction becoming increasing popular as each year moves on, why do so many people still prefer fiction? Cognitive Neuroscientist Michael Gazzaniga suggests fiction may generate a certain way of thinking which connects the fiction to real-life situations. For instance, if someone reads about a couple frolicking in the woods, they may be incline to emulate what they read and act it out in a real-life situation.
The aforementioned provokes the question, "Why is fiction important?" Many naysayers concur that fiction is no longer viable to our society. The video and this blog suggest otherwise. Perhaps a rationale and realistic mindset depends on fictionalize scenarios from which people can draw information from and apply it to their everyday lives.
Why do you like fiction?
I haven't blogged about my activities in awhile, so I figured I'd let you know what I'm up to.
In addition to Excluded and His Daughter, I am hoping to put together a short story collection titled No-Injury Policy: Chase County Stories.
I've decided to sell eight stories for 99 cents. Yep. 99 cents if you purchase the eBook. A limited edition hard copy also seems to be in the cards, as in paperback or hardback. The price of these puppies is in the works.
So what you think? Good idea? All of these stories take place in different towns of Chase County. "Lovely Weather in Long Brooke" will be the reprint in this collection, and perhaps "No-Injury Policy" might be too. More to come.
Entry 5 of the Common Jerk is double-edged to swipe at 2 of the worst a-holes - probably of all time - and how they might relate to each other.
To makes things a little clearer, a curmudgeon is someone who hates everything. There is rarely an instance during which they can let things go. For instance, a curmudgeon would appose festive decorations or the way the sun shines. See Curb Your Enthusiasm and most of the people around you.
Now "Idle Hands" is the name of a syndrome known as having nothing to do or an extreme case of cabin fever. I'm sure you've heard the adage regarding idle hands before. If you have nothing better to do with your time, you make dramatic accusations about yourself and friends, trying to stir the pot, although it's more like spontaneous combustion. And idle hands have a bit of business with curmudgeons.
they are so ubiquitous it's alarming.
Nobody wants to prolong their stay around a curmudgeons. Unfortunately, their first impression can often be alluring.
See, they come off as intellectual, informed or as realists. They seem to have truer grip on what's really going on, and they share their stories with others, trying to dismiss all naivety . . . and really about everything else.
After too many rendezvous with curmudgeons, however, their friends all begin to realize they are nothing more than negative. Everything sucks today, and tomorrow nothing is as good as yesterday. Snow, rain, wind, sun, clouds, blue, green, animals: they're all a real pain in the ass according to curmudgeons. No binary is better than its counterpart. Once the hangouts are over, the friends are stupid and never as good as those before them. Says the curmudgeon.
Ever wonder why Facebook is saturated by depressing statuses? FML. ______ sucks. Men/women need to ________ and so on.
It's because these types of "friends" have far too much time on their hands. They need a hobby. They need to go outside or take up drinking. Just something.
The worst of it is, when these people are left to their own devices and vices, hell ensues. Fire burns on either side of them as they walk. At work, they serve as the catalyst of conflict. Moreover, they let everyone know how shitty everybody else, how things should be, how they were and how they never will be again.
Dun, dun, dun . . . The Curmudgeon.
Consider this my PTA: Please, stop being and asshole. Suck it up and move on. Find joy underneath the rain. Make a friend. Have a hobby. And have a nice day.
From grocery stores to facebook, I collide with the same unbearable conversation: The End of the World in 2012.
I'm not here to debunk all the Armageddon myths; rather to point out the most commonly misconstrued concepts of the end and how they are perpetuated in their full faulty form, day in and day out through the loudest of mouths:
3. The Heat Haters
2.The Galactic Geniuses
1.The Mayan Racists
3. The Heat Haters
One often repeated concept of the end involves super solar flares reaching Earth, destroying human communications, and then ultimately compromising any life on the planet.
Believe it or not, the Sun has already shot out massive loads of its warm goey heat - every 11 years or so.
But the idea is the Sun will eat our tiny little planet. It's highly unlikely even at the simpliest of levels. For example, the Sun is never on a true cycle - that is, it's not going to release said flares on any specific date or year.
In short, this ain't likely to happen, but there are those who believe there should be concern. One of those people is Michio Kaku.
2. The Galactic Geniuses
Any pseudo-genius you meet in the local diner, laundromat, bar, or store is gonna blab about this idea. It's sounds pretty fancy-smancy and it has a lot of misunderstood science behind it.
Some people believe if the planets align for the first time in approximately 26,000 years, there will be polar shifts, climate changes, failures in communications, or the revealing of some massive black hole that could devours us all, so says the Mayans or Romans,unknown physicists, aliens, Greeks, Nostradomus, or some chubster on YouTube.
I don't have to tell you it sounds like a lot of B.S. NASA already did that for me.
Yet there are millions of morons flapping their gums about some science no university will teach you, using misnomers and misplaced sesquipedalians (get it?) to explain it all. And as for the mystery planet theory, forget about it.
Now on to my favorite:
1. The Mayan Racists
In junior high we all learned little to nothing about the Mayan culture. There was something about their Long Count Calendar and some kind of food. Because of all this, people recognize the word "Mayan" and think they know what they are talking about.
What baffles me is, how can people remain so wrong after so much information has been placed on the web, shown on television, and taught in classes?
In fact, I've started unsubscribing to anyone on facebook boasting some sort of Mayan-based humor. It doesn't make people think any more of you when you can insult the Mayans for "being dumbasses who believe the world ends in 2012" or for "being to stupid to finish a calendar."
Look, the Long Count Calendar hasn't predicted as many events as people think. Why people confuse the Mayans for Nostradamus is far beyond my comprehension.
Here's one I hate:
Time starts anew with Mayan beliefs. Oh, but this too difficult of a concept for many to grasp. Inside, we have some weird, aimless racism when it comes to Mayans. We are making fun of the Mayans simply because they are Mayans.
So please, get the gist and leave the Mayans the hell alone. They're pretty annoyed with all this.
And as for the rest of you, you're pissing a lot of us off too (the other "us"; not Mayans). Quit being a jerk, learn the facts, and go back to misquoting the bible. The best way to be a Common Jerk, is to be under the radar.
Oh, and there's this theory:
Fair Exchange or Clever Scheme?
There's a man who wants to translate every page, every article, every video, every file, and every thing else on the worldwide web.
His name is Luis von Ahn, which might ring a bell for some people. He is the CEO of ReCAPTCHA and one of the brainiacs behind CAPTCHA to authenticate accounts by determining whether a user is a crafty program or a true human being.
If you've ever gone through one of these things, you know it can be excruciatingly tidious to prove you're a human being.
While ReCAPTCHA is always to working to make sure its random letter system doesn't go wrong - like this
- von Ahn is busy devising a way to translate EVERYTHING on the web.
Such a feat has been attempted by such groups as Google (who coincidentally procured CAPTCHA), but the results have been . . . Well, unintelligible. The weak transalations hardly convey the original message or content, and even some of the most fluent bilingual individuals have a hard time comprehending the loose translation.
The solution is either a) hire truely bilingual professionals to translate the web, which is far too expensive or b) devise another program to be 100% accurate, which is near impossible.
What von Ahn has come up with is a a trade-off.
A new group will soon be offering free eduacation in exchange for some work.
To be fair, language education is expensive is sometimes a waste of hard work and time.
So is translating web.
While this may be an honest exchange, it does feel as though the company may be able to turn some serious dimes without paying any of its contributors.
I'm torn on this idea. What do you think?
Some people say you're born a writer. Some people say those people are full of it.
Some writers constantly argue who's pencil is longer. I hope I'm not one of them.
There aren't many questions that infuriate me, but the ones that do, I hear all the time.
Question one is "When will your novel be out?"
Answer: I'm as anxious as anyone else, and as soon as I know, it'll be the most-promoted book on the web. Or at least I'll try.
The second question is, "What made you want to become a writer?"
Many writers answer this question as though their sexualities are on the line, with comments like, "When did you decided not to be a writer" or "I didn't choose, I was born this way."
The latter makes me sick. Born a writer? Did you hop out of the womb with pen and paper? I've never seen a newborn scribbling on a laptop or iPad, still covered in mommy-goo.
During the 9-month process, fetuses do acquire a lot of information. Certain songs played while they're nothing more than a baby-bump are recognized by the babies later on, and so on.
Here's a long video explaining what scientists have discovered regarding what we learn before we are born. If you've got 17 mins to spare, give it a look-see. If you don't, no one will hold it against you.
While there are dozens of things we can learn before we are even born, I'm pretty sure writing isn't a possibility, unless your parents listened to dozens of audio-books out loud. Then I suppose there could be some sort of word recognition.
Though I argue you cannot be born a writer, I do agree some people are writers from a young age. Well, I mean storytellers. Writing is a craft. I think storytelling is the art, and I've been a storyteller since I was a wee-one. But could I have picked up story structure in the womb?
So then, when do writers start being writers?
What's it matter? All that matters is that a writer writes.
Maybe I was a junior high loser who had so much time to myself I became introverted enough to scribble out full novels.
Maybe anger pushed me to jot down all my emotions.
Maybe I just liked reading a whole hell of a lot.
In tenth grade, Elaine Chase inspired me to write in one of her English classes. She even used a bit of my dialogue to show other students how they can write dialogue between multiple characters. Was that enough to turn me into a writer?
At this point, I wrote for fun until someone said, "Hey, you should keep doing this."
All I know now is I really, really, really like writing. I love when my stories are picked up and shared through websites and magazines. I love that one gatekeeper decided Excluded would be a good story.
The only thing important to me, isn't why I chose to be a writer, but that I continue being a writer. And to all those who say they were born that way, I ask what's your evidence?
And I'll Sell You Beach-Front Property in Colorado.
"Action is the last resource of those who know not how to dream." ~Oscar Wilde
After a holiday hiatus, the Common Jerk is back to single out kibitzers and their false sense of wisdom.
There are many people who abuse adages every day, such as "It's always darkest before the dawn" and "Absence makes the heart grow fonder", but most of them are untrue. I mean, sometimes it's darker before 6pm in some regions, which is far too early to be "before the dawn." And perhaps it should be "Absinthe makes the heart grow fonder."
There's a whole slue of cliches, but the one that pisses me off the most is "Actions speak louder than words."
The aforementioned phrase can be traced back to as early as the 1600s by J. Pym, or to 1856, when Abraham Lincoln said, "Actions speak louder than words is the maxim . . ."
To be fair, it's not the phrase that causes so much distress; it's the people ignorant or arrogant enough to use it. The way we interpret the phrase today is far from its original intent, and doesn't consider what "to act" really means.
For instance, an explosion is much louder than someone screaming "at the top of their lungs", but what can an explosion convey?
A country wants to blow up another country, but why? What happened before? Can a weapon of mass destruction speak the mind of every citizen within a nation? Not really. It's just pure frustration.
Almost any situation can be handled without brute force. Whenever violence is displayed by one individual, it often trendsends to everyone else around them. If a fight breaks out at a Burger King over the way one employee treated another, but everyone decides to fight and stay silent, then what happens? The news picks the story up as a brawl inside of a public restaurant.
If one employee discusses the treatment, maybe something else can solve the dilemma. In the event words lead to actions, it's important to realize actions only emphasis the words.
An embrace can bring truth to "I love you."
A punch can emphasize anger, distrust, or frustration.
But none of these actions can speak on their own.
If bombs keep exploding and words aren't used, no one would know what the hell is going on. It takes words to convey the idea of "actions speak louder than words," doesn't it?
More than likely, whoever chooses action before words is a complete jerk. Go ahead, ask their reasoning and tell me you aren't shaking your head and thinking, Oh, how juvenile.
So if you only justification for violence is, "actions speak louder than words," you are this week's Common Jerk.
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Make a Goal.
Safe habits, I'm sure.
What better way to start of the new year than discussing goals?
Many of us have already broken our New Year's Resolutions, but there's a perfectly good reason. See, in order to truly meets your goals, you have to set them realistically. Quitting cigarettes, for instance, can be done, whereas other scenarios cannot.
Don't worry: The dots will connect shortly.
One scenario which always leads to failure is the weightless concept, and I think it's a great metaphor for this topic.
Define What the Goal Means.
I wonder if this cat wishes he could lose weight.
All too often, the weight-loss New Year's Resolution is made. This is a promise to lose a ridiculous amount of weight within a year's time. The goal, however, is often misguided.
What does it mean to lose weight? Say you're 400lbs and want to reach 340lbs by the next year. Not impossible, but the goal implies many sub-goals.
Sub-goals are like tropes to genre. You say the word "horror" and "blood" immediately follows. To lose weight, in this instance, one needs to change their exercise and dietary habits. Change in exercise implies when, where, how, with whom, and to always remember why. To diet means changing what you eat, when you eat it, how you eat, why you eat, who you eat with, and all the things you do before and after you eat.
Then there are sub-goals of confidence. To lose weight, you have to remain confident through moral support, self-loathing, new clothes, and so on.
Never Let Your Goal Get in the Way of Who You Are.
Who lives in a pineapple under the sea?
The aforementioned goals are unique in the fact that they do not necessarily define you. The guy trying to lose weight isn't "the fat guy trying to lose weight." He can be anyone, anywhere trying to improve himself.
And the woman trying to kick the butt for good is not known as someone who solely tries to quit smoking. She does other things.
Yet when goals refer to work, somehow this identifies a person, although I would argue losing weight and quitting smoking are better determining factors of character.
For instance, I want to publish a new novel by the end of the year and keep writing. This makes me a writer. And in the public eye, everything I do has to be based upon the idea of me being a writer.
What about the fry-cooks? Does every choice made reflect the fry-cooks? Of course, not. Hell, they might prefer to bake all their food.
For whatever reason, certain goals in life are described as "purpose". Is my purpose in life to be a writer? No, of course not. I'd say it's to live, be happy, and share the intrinsic wealth. "Write" is a verb, something that can be done by a human being. Same with work, play, sleep, eat, and fart. All if you take any of these things away, it will change my personality, but won't necessarily define me. Unless I'm the guy who never farts.
So my resolution this year is to be myself and have my goals, but never confuse the two. Let's not allow verbs to determine everything about the content of our characters. They say actions speak louder than words, but didn't someone have to conceive the idea of the gun before it was made?
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Fear, focus, and the future. C.M. Humphries talks about writing, horror, and whatever.