Archives for August 2009

Our Wonderful Brains

I've always been fascinated by the way our brains work. Whether or not you believe the statistic that most people only use about ten percent of their brains (and I know a few people who use a lot less than that!) it is still an amazing organ we have between our ears.

Recently someone contacted me on a business networking site with the intriguing message 'I would like you to click your Amygdala forward at all times'. I had absolutely no idea what he was talking about but, being me, I immediately researched it on Google. It turns out that your amygdala (pronounced a-MIG-duh-luh)is in your brain's frontal lobes. There are two of them, one on each side of the brain, and they are situated roughly at the half way point between your ear and the corner of your eye, about an inch inside. All kinds of wonderful things happen if you managed to activate your amygdala, or 'click it forward'. Don't just take my word for it, have a look at Neil Slade's site.

To reinforce the brilliance of our brains, I will leave you with this little gem, which I received by email. I've adapted it so as to make it unique for this blog. (You see I can't stop thinking SEO!)

Olny ceelvr poelpe can raed this. Try it. Sikm the txet qckiluy and you
will fnid  that you can aulaclty
uesdnatnrd waht you are rdanieg. Its vrey hrad to blveiee uitnl you try. Aoccdrnig
to rscheearch crraeid out at the Uinervtisy of Cmabrigde, it deosn't mttaer
waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are in, the olny iprmoatnt tihng is taht the frist
and lsat ltteer be in the rghit pclae. The rset can be a cmoeltpe mses and you
can stlil raed it wouthit porbelms! Tihs is bcuseae our mnids raed the wrod as
a wlohe, not ecah lteter  illdidvianuly. How
amzanig is taht? And to tnihk I awlyas tghuhot slpeling was ipmorantt!

The Unquiet Moon

I was reading a book on organic gardening this morning and it mentioned
the effect of the moon on planting. I remembered a feature I'd written
a few years ago for Your Garden
magazine about the Italians' method of gardening by the phases of the
moon. They take it very seriously here and there are even calendars
printed with a planting guide and moon almanac.

It got me
wondering, so I have been doing a bit of research. I discovered that
there is more than anecdotal evidence that crime increases during a
full and new moon. A team of psychologists at the University of Miami
studied fifteen years of homicide statistics relating to Miami Dade
County and found a clear correlation between murder and the moon's
phases, with a sharp increase during a full or new moon and a decline
during the other two phases. they repeated it for Ohio's Cuyahoga
county in case the results werea fluke but found the same thing.

has this to do with writing? Apart from adding a bit of interest to one
of the novels I am writing by adding a bit of crime during a full moon,
I was thinking how the moon affects writing and creativity in general.
Are people more productive during a particular moon phase? Do the words
flow more easily by the light of the silvery moon? (The rhymes
certainly don't, if "moon, June, spoon" is anything to go by!) I am
going to start keeping an eye on my own output and see if the
inconstant moon has any effect.

Wish Lists

I found some old notebooks the other day, ones where I had made a note
of my 'wish lists'. The books dated back to 1999 when I was still
teaching English and we'd been in Italy five years. I was amazed to
find that almost all the things I had on my lists had happened. I
wanted to write full time – check, to restore the house we were living
in then – check, to then move house – check and to find a house which
was 'private and not isolated' on the edge of a village. Check again.

lists are powerful things and have a tremendous impact on your
subconscious, which beavers away in the background fulfilling them in
whatever ways it can. Needless to say I have a new wish list and have
also made a slideshow with affirmations and music which I am watching
when I remember. Pictures are even more powerful than words for your
subconscious (even for a writer!)

Maybe this time I should add a time limit as I got what I wanted last time but it took ten years!

Selling Out?

SEO writing the work of the devil? I read a forum post recently from a
writer who declared that she would rather stab herself in the eyes with
her pen than do SEO writing as it was so 'soul destroying' and
tantamount to selling out. What complete tosh!

Writing is
writing. If you love words then anything that involves shaping them and
working with them is a creative challenge. I get as much kick out of
writing a web article and incorporating key phrases as I do writing a
poem. To me the challenge lies in making the text flow, making it
readable and interesting while also ensuring it contains the words that
Google loves and will rank it highly as a consequence. And why not for
goodness sake? If you have a page of prose and can tweak it to help
your rankings then do it. It isn't selling out, prostituting your art
or anything else.