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Frozen Pizza Is A Very Bad Bargain

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We will limit this thought experiment to an average $4 or $5 frozen pizza to be had at the local rialto. This pizza will weigh in at about 1 pound. Let’s not complicate matters right now with talk of delivery and takeout style pizzas, which are really just magnified versions of the average cheapo monstrosity from the frozen food aisle.

For your 4-5 bucks, you get one stodgy pound of food with anywhere from one to two thousand calories. On average this pizza will have five ingredients: crust, sauce, cheese, and a meat or two. These are empty calories! The large amounts of fat and sodium insanity make this it an inefficient and poor quality source of protein.

Compare this with the scores of whole natural foods to be had for roughly a dollar per pound or less! Lentils are $1.08 per pound near me. Cabbage, squash, onions, and more can all be had for $1 per pound or less.

I’ve heard the argument that, of course, people only eat pizza because it tastes good! Which isn’t really true. America’s dietary habits say otherwise. I had a housemate once in the most liberal, hippie city in my state, and he ate a pizza almost every day. It seems to be the combo of succulent flavor and high calories that makes pizza so satisfying.

It all comes down to this: should the problem of malnutrition be solved before the issue of taste is considered? It takes a certain kind of weltschmerz to say no to that question, the same kind which instigates the purchase of cigarettes and lottery tickets every day. It’s probably the cigarettes which cause the ageustia which causes the need for such strong flavors anyway. Hellfire!

I wanted to make a snarky comment here about how ironic it is that I’m blathering about the basics of the produce section of the grocery store, but honestly. . . I don’t know enough about the produce section or the iron contents of its foods to do so. You don’t like my puns? Well maybe if you donated, my puns wouldn’t be so horrendous, and my logic so specious.

Photo Mar 18, 8 48 30 PM

One Ambrosial Pot Of Butternut Squash And Lentil Soup For Not A Lotza Motza

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Not too long ago I documented the process of preparing one of my favourite frugal meals: green lentil, onion, and olive oil chow. After a few astute gastronomes commented on my Reddit link that I’m using way too much olive oil, I did a little research and decided that indeed I was using way too much olive oil. Like perhaps unhealthy amounts.

Ever dedicated to healthy, tasty, and wallet-friendly eats, I emended my gastrology in pursuit of a truer gastronomy. This time around, I’ve diversified my dietary investments to include a greater quantity of wholesome, natural ingredients without sacrificing quality or price. And you won’t believe the production values!

One to two bowls per day of this dish will make the pot last me 3-4 days. You can make it more or less watery or quaggy in keeping with your personal preference. For one pot, you’ll need:

  • 1 pound of green lentils (you could probably use red if you prefer)
  • 2 onions (I like yellow, but color probably doesn’t matter too much)
  • 1 bulb of garlic
  • 1 butternut squash (I’ll be experimenting with other squashes like spaghetti and acorn in the near future)
  • Some cabbage (I alternate between green and red)

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Here are the ingredients in all their resplendent glory.

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First we let the lentils soak in a pot of water while we cut up the squash. The soaking will help the lentils cook better and more evenly and you’ll digest them better. Only after the squash is cut and added do we heat the pot.

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Squashes make me think of a mix of oranges, carrots, cantaloupes, and pumpkins. Cut off the top and bottom, and then carefully cut it in half the long way down the middle. Scoop out the nasty stuff and the seeds and throw it in the trash.

Next comes the denudation of the squash, during which process of integument removal you must be very, very careful. Peel off the outer layer with a standard issue vegetable peeler, but don’t cut yourself. I am generally never lacking in solicitude around knives sharp objects, but I haven’t cut a squash yet and not feared for my fingers. This is why you cut it in half before you peel it.

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Once the squash is peeled and halved, you can cut and dice it into little chunks and squares. Larger or smaller is up to you.

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Add the squash to the lentils which have been soaking in their little wading pool by themselves this whole time. They may have bloated a little bit, so add more water if necessary once the squash is in there.

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With the squash and lentils now commingled, heat the watery mixture on high until it boils. You may proceed with the rest of the preparations while it is heating, but don’t forget to stir occasionally.

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The funny thing about this part of the recipe, the garlic preparation, is that my girlfriend was simultaneously working on becoming a vampire master in the Skyrim Legendary edition not ten feet away. To properly cut up a garlic bulb, you will need to separate the individual cloves which constitute the bulb. Put the “tail end” of the bulb facing down on the counter and push down with your palm (which with your fingers will inevitably get sticky) so that the bulb busticates into a bunch of cloves which separate from one another. You’ll be able to feel it.

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Once you peel away that soft outer rind from the cloves, you’ll reveal yet another layer of defence on each clove to penetrate before you get to the meaty bits.

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Here’s a picture of one garlic clove from the bulb before I removed its hard outer shell.

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No, that is not my foot on top of the knife. It is my hand. This is straight from Harry Potter kiddo. Put one clove onto the cutting board, and place the flat side of the knife blade over it. Put some pressure on it, and the tough outer skin on the clove will break.

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Peel away the tough outer skin from the garlic clove, which you can see right above my thumb nail, and find the tough dark end of the garlic clove, which you can see between my fingers.

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Cut off that tough dark end part from the clove and discard it.

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Finely mince or chop the garlic clove into pieces. Proceed to repeat this whole process with every other clove in the garlic bulb.

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At this point, the pot of lentils and squash was boiling for me, but it might be unrealistic for you to expect to have the garlic bulb all chopped up by this point if you’re doing it yourself or never did it before. So time your own onion and garlic chopping endeavours accordingly. Don’t put the garlic into the pot yet.

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Instead, just turn the heat down to about half of what it was before and let the lentils and squash simmer by themselves for a while. They’re not finished with each other yet, so just settle down. Set the timer for twenty minutes and try to finish dicing/slicing/cutting the garlic bulb and two onions by the five-minutes-to-go mark.

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Cutting onions is pretty easy. Cut up two onions for this recipe. Slice off and discard the two polar ends of the onions.

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As a matter of habit and OCD I always remove and discard the outer layer of the onion. This might be a waste to you, but whatever.

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Slice and dice the thing! Remove any nasty, discoloured, or soft bits.

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Alas! these pungent bits and pieces of the whilom whole garlic bulb and onions are ready to be thrown into the stew. I usually put the sliced onion and garlic in the same bowl and then add it to the simmering lentil and squash mix when there is only five minutes left on the timer, continuing to stir the stew.

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I tear off somewhere around one to two leaves of cabbage bit by bit into the water about the same time that I add the onions and garlic to the mix. I alternate between red and green cabbage when I go shopping.

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The four horsemen of the apocalypse. Behold, the white horse and rider named Basil wearing the Crown of McCormick astride it; and he goes forth conquering, and to conquer your tastebuds. And behold again, the red horse Paprika, whose rider hath power to take peace from the earth, and whose inhabitants trip over one another in discord and fight over this ambrosial seasoning. And behold again, a black horse emerges from the ground named Pepper, who should come with a pair of balances because you probably won’t want to overdo this one. And behold at last, the pale horse of Oregano, which ironically carries not the power of death but life and healing. These four horsemen come at the very end.

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Once the timer goes off, it’s done cooking. Set it aside for a few minutes to cool, and then enjoy!

If this post and the dish described within it enriched your life, consider donating to my own little lentil, onion, squash, and vegetable fund! Believe me. . . if Paypal took these food staples I would take them ;-) . Thanks for reading!

Photo Mar 18, 8 48 30 PM

One Dish Of Lentil Chow, 800-900 Calories, For $1.20 Or Less!

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Here’s a step-by-step photo how-to documenting the process I go through daily to cook the frugal and tasty and healthy meal that has come to represent almost 50% of my diet. This dish saved me from my college culinary life which was dominated by fish sticks, ramen, and popcorn! I call this dish lentil chow, and it keeps me hale and hearty. It’s based off of a “rice pilaf” recipe I found on Jacob Lund Fisker’s Early Retirement Extreme blog. I got sketched out while reading about arsenic in rice online once though. Maybe it was BS but I haven’t had rice since. Yes, I have tried this dish with bacon, and let it be said that it was good.

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I get my green lentils at Wally World near my house because they’re the cheapest around at $1.08 per pound. You can also order them online at Sam’s club by the big-ole-bucket. Red lentils are harder to find, and in my experience they can get a lot mushier when you cook with them. You have to be sure to sift through your lentils with your fingers and examine them because once in a blue moon you might encounter a pebble or something. . . it was alarming when it happened to me, but you get used to that sort of thing when you’re eating cheap, earthy foods. I’ll use about one and two thirds of that little cup of lentils you see there for this recipe.

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I like sweet yellow onions. Onions are cheap and pretty good for you, and they’re probably even better for you if you don’t cook them so like I do. I use one each time I cook this. I always discard the outer layer after cutting off the ends, chop it into about 5 cylindrical slices (not from pole to pole as some people do), then slice off little wedges from those larger slices until the whole onion is chopped to bits.

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I put those bits of onion into a pot or pan and add a good amount of extra virgin olive oil. Pompeian claims they don’t rest on their laurels, and I do like the price and decent taste.

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That’s where I set my burner for cooking the onions in the olive oil.

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This is an alternative and by no means mandatory little sub plot to our cooking story that you are living out vicariously through me. The vegetable you see here is Bok Choy. Use one stalk for a dish as an alternative to an onion or simply to add to the onion.

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Bok choy tends to be dirty so I rinse it under running water and rub off all the dirt with my thumb. I rip off the green, leafy parts before chopping the stalk up as the green parts are edible but don’t fare so well in the boiling oil. After it’s chopped cook the pieces with the onion slices in the olive oil.

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Once the onions (and perhaps bok choy) are looking this colour after cooking in the oil a while, you’re ready to progress to the next stage.

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I add about one and a half or more of these glasses of water to the olive oil and browned onions.

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Then I add one and a half (or more if I’m especially hungry) of these little cups of lentils to the water and stir it up a bit. Let the stuff simmer/bubble for a while, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking and uneven cooking.

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Meanwhile, the cats and I cast lots to determine how exactly I shall season my dish. Just kidding about the molasses.

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This is not done.

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This is where I consider it done and cut it off. Sometimes if I’m lucky I’ll get the bottom layer to crisp a bit. . . I like the texture it gives to the dish. You can let it go longer and add more water if you keep stirring the stuff in order to let the lentils get softer.

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Then I pop it into my favourite bowl with my favourite seasoning and use my favourite spoon to chow down.

I did some rough calculations, and here’s what I figured for the calories and prices of a bowl of the stuff like you see above:

  • Lentils: 40 cents, 420 calories
  • Water and electricity: 10 cents
  • Olive oil: 25 cents, 360 calories
  • Onion: 25 cents, 50 calories
  • Bok Choy Stalk: 15 cents, 50 calories
  • Seasoning: 5 cents, 5 calories
  • Total: $1.20, 800-900 healthy, toothsome calories

If this post and the dish described within it enriched your life, consider donating to my own little lentil, onion, and olive oil fund! Believe me. . . if Paypal took lentils I would take them ;-).

Photo Mar 18, 8 48 30 PM

How to Really Be a Better Writer: A Meta-Method of Learning and Playing with Words, Figures of Speech, Rhetoric, and Tropes

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ImageThe author of How To Be Charismatic: The Movie Method of Social Skill Development is back with another gasser of a how-to text. This natty tome is more adroit and mature in its treatment of another topic related to the subject matter of the previous book: writing.

There is no shame in wanting to be a better writer and communicator and acting on that desire, but so many people go about it in ways that are, well… shameful, given the current state of learning technology and methodology.

Dave hopes to provide what you might not be getting out of a traditional English or Humanities curriculum, plain and simple. We are in search of a meta-method of learning and playing with words, figures of speech, rhetoric, and tropes. We’ll talk about flashcards, spaced repetition, and other processes that you can use to supplement such practices.

Learn how to cultivate your literacy and vocabulary using many sources. This book will show you how to take advantage of both pop cultural, web-based, and traditional academic resources get better at what it is you love to do. Just as in the seminal How To Be Charismatic book, this method is like a video game: you can stop and save your progress at any time, switch to a different game, and come back whenever you want.

This method is at once practical, effective, and fun. No gimmicks. While there is an almost seductively concrete plan for daily action laid out in this text, it remains remarkable in its ability to help you construct and internalize a unique character with a body of traits and social skills differentiated from those of everyone else.

Unleash the bard within!

Price = $9.99 USD plus shipping if applicable (obviously… you’re not gonna be shipping an eBook in the traditional sense… but I prolly don’t need to tell a soigné feller like yerself tha'; okay… the pretentious and conceited humor stops now). Prices in other currencies are based on the US price.

Le Conte de Fées

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Howdy.

Rest assured… I haven’t given up yet. As if you were losing any sleep over it.

I’m working pretty hard on my paragraph-by-paragraph analysis of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, but in the meantime you can enjoy this simple fairytale I wrote for a French class in college. There might be a few, minor errors… but it was college ;-)

Il était une fois…une princesse habitait dans un château avec ses parents. Depuis qu’elle était une petite fille, elle aimait beaucoup les contes de fées avec les sorciers, les licornes, les fantômes, et les personnages comme ça. Elle voulait devenir conteuse ! Mais à cause de ses parents méchants, elle ne pouvait pas raconter les contes de fées ; ils voulaient qu’elle étudie le loi.

Une nuit, elle s’est décidée d’aller en ville pour raconter les histoires. La ville était à côté d’une grande forêt. En ville, elle a trouvé une taverne, et elle y est entrée. Avant qu’elle pouvait commencer un conte de fées, les hommes ont tous remarqué, « Voyez ! Une belle fille ! » Et puis ils se sont disputés à cause de la princesse. Rapidement, un jeune homme a fait sortir la princesse sous escorte au forêt.

Il lui a dit, « Vous êtes si belle ! Qu’est-ce que vous faites dans la taverne ? »

Elle lui a dit, « Merci beaucoup pour me sauver, Monsieur ! Je ne voulais que raconter un conte de fées. Qui êtes-vous ? Et qu’est-ce je peux faire pour vous rembourser ? »

« Je suis un prince en vacances. Et après demain, il faut que je parte. »

« Mais je suis une princesse ! S’il vous plait, laissez-moi faire quelque chose pour vous rembourser, Monsieur Le Prince! »

« D’accord. Demain soir, faites un rendez-vous avec moi ici à minuit, dans la forêt. Pour me rembourser, racontez le meilleur conte de fées que vous connaissez. »

Et le prochaine soir, elle est venue dans la forêt à minuit pour lui raconter l’histoire. Mais quand elle est arrivée, il n’y avait pas d’un prince. Après avoir attendu une heure, un diable avec six bras et huit yeux est apparu ! Il a kidnappé la princesse et lui a amené à une grotte.

« Je suis un diable ! » il a dit. « Je ne mange que les princesses, et j’ai beaucoup faim ! »

« Attendez ! » elle a dit. « Je suis désolée, Monsieur Le Diable, mais je ne suis pas une princesse ! »

« Eeeh !? Ce n’est pas vrai, je pense. Si tu n’es pas une princesse, qu’est-ce que tu es ? »

« Je suis une conteuse ! Je connais les meilleurs contes de fées au monde ! »

« Alors, » il a dit, « si c’est la vérité, je ne te mangerai pas. Maintenant, il faut que tu racontes le meilleur conte de fées au monde ! »

Mais avant qu’elle pouvait commencer l’histoire, la diable a entendu un bruit à la entrée. « Quand je retourne, tu vas raconter l’histoire ! » Il est allé, mais, après dix minutes, il n’est pas revenu. Le Prince est venu !

« Monsieur Le Prince ! Oh mon Dieu ! Soyez prudent ! Il y a un méchant diable ! »

« Oui, je sais. Je l’ai tué avec mon épée. Encore une fois, je vous ai sauvé la vie ! »

Et puis il l’a amené chez ses parents au château, et ils se sont mariés. Le prochain jour, elle est allée pour habiter avec le prince dans son château.

« Maintenant, » le prince lui a dit, « je pense que c’est le temps pour le meilleur conte de fées au monde que vous m’avez promis, n’est-ce pas ? »

« Monsieur ! Je t’aime beaucoup, mais je ne pense pas que mes contes de fées sont les meilleurs au monde !

« Je savais que c’était une histoire à dormir debout… »

Et puis elle a compris. Le Prince EST Le Diable. Enfin, le diable a mangé la princesse, et il n’avait pas faim encore.

Fin

Photo Mar 18, 8 48 30 PM

I’m only accepting francs for donations this time… just kidding. No francs please. I mean if your name is Frank that’s okay, but frankly francs are useless to me as a currency.

Lesson, The Seventh: Repetition As A Vice

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Some would cast aspersions regarding my lifestyle—- I mean writing style, especially pertaining to practices of repetition. I do harbor a penchant and affinity for simpler figures of speech and rhetoric which fall under the more general category of “repetitio.” It’s funny how all of my attempts at pronouncing Latin words come out sounding like the spells in Harry Potter.

These detractors also entertain animadversions concerning the broader, meta practice of spaced repetition with flashcards. This criticism isn’t an historically new form of criticism. This criticism has been around since ancient times.

Certain flavors of Christianity have it out for vain repetition in prayer. Current criticism of repetition is just a new manifestation or form of the old criticism. Please note that I’m not making an historical, evolutionary argument here. This is just a convenient comparison. Religion was a major predecessor to science as far as understanding the world. Therefore, as prayer was and is a way of practicing those understandings, so SRS flashcarding is in some ways a similar form of practice, but for science and other kinds of narratives.

My point is that spaced repetition is like private repetitive prayer, but not in vain! Does it feel like I’ve gone off the deep end with this one? I hope not. It’s not similar in the emotional, superstitious, wanting senses. It is similar in the sense of calculatedly engaging with a broader culture in private, and it allows you more precision as to how and which cultures and language you wish to practice.

I took my work, cut it down into this bite-sized, abridged version, and have decided to make it freely available in various places o’er the Interwebz. Permit me to be blunt: I worked really hard on the full version, and it will soon be is available in sundry formats in various places including Amazon, Smashwords, and Udemy. Especially since a lot of good stuff got cut out in order to make this abridged version possible, I urge you to give the full version your serious consideration.

Photo Mar 18, 8 48 30 PM

Lesson, The Sixth: Style Analysis

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Let’s talk about creative processes above and beyond spaced repetition and reference list-making. I don’t know about you, but I’d like to go down in the annals of spaced repetition as not just another sarcastic know-it-all but a sarcastic know-it-all who actually created something beautiful other than his autobiography and spaced repetition deck.

The first rule is never pollute your main reference lists with ideas relevant only to a particular creative project. You may fill out and add to a version of those lists created a la copy and paste, but never adulterate your main, home base reference lists, as tempting as it may be. The fill-in and add-concrete-details-to copies are very useful near the beginning of a creative project. Each abstract item on your list, be it a rhetorical term, figure of speech, trope, or even vocabulary word has the potential to infuse a part of your work with value.

Another thing you can do with fill-in-and-add-concrete-details-to copies of your original reference lists is use them to analyze other people’s works. You could go through a novel for example and with your epic list in hand, keep track of two things.

1) The frequency of usage of different tropes, figures, etc. How often?

2) The flow and “how” or higher order of usage of these things. This is stuff like, how are such elements used independently and in tandem?

By asking such questions, you can essentially create a deductive blueprint that helps you come to a greater understanding of other creative works, which will in turn socially inform your own endeavors.

This is where you will reap the benefits of drawing your education from diverse resources as opposed to one specific source. Some works will resist analysis by certain ideas or types of rhetoric, so the more ideas you have at your disposal the more you can potentially understand.

I’m going to completely depart from this discussion and talk about something else right now. The following is a personal thesis based on an idea that to my knowledge originated within the works of The Handsome Blogger, His Majesty, Khatzumoto.

Don’t ask me for a page number, but out of deference we’ll call this Khatzumoto’s Law of Exposure Count: the believability or verisimilitude of any idea or thought is rooted and based for humans in how often they have been exposed to it. This obviously applies to propaganda, but it goes far, far deeper than that. The deepest of the deep.

The argument here, if we are being realistic, is not that humans are entirely incapable of logical deduction. That’s just stupid. The point is that humans are not infallible, and this a cognitive keystone.

I say cognitive keystone instead of key cognitive weakness for a reason. Calling this element of our psychology a weakness is too narrow an appellation. This determinant of our thinking patterns is manipulable, so within the ambit of human social interaction it is a potential weakness (think fast food commercials on cartoon channels), but not a necessary one. You may use this to your benefit!

In case you haven’t guessed at this point, one of the things I am hinting at is spaced repetition.

But there are more uses, and that is what I am getting at. The main theme of this whole, macrologic rant on rhetoric and words and ideas is, let’s be honest, vanity. You, we, I are, am interested in influencing other human beings with our words and ideas — and there is a hazy boundary, to be sure — and we have so far awkwardly circumvented one of the most important parts: humor.

More importantly, that pleasurable emotion behind humor. We want to experience it and aspire to cause others to experience it. A strange breed we are. We love this feeling so much that we even want our pets to experience it. Anyone who owns a fairly frisky feline knows what I am saying!

And how shall we service our non-serious emotions without an understanding of their nature? Many do so in ignorance, but methinks it will please the audience if we pontificate a smidgen of meta-insight. Wallace Chafe, a respected, academic linguist sheds light on the subject in his book, The Importance of Not Being Earnest. His thesis revolves around an emotion that gushes forth in circumstances appropriately termed believable, or even persuasive, illogicality. Something that is 100% insane may not provoke so much as a giggle, but if such an insane idea bares even a slight modicum of semblance with rational human thought, it may trigger an eruption of euphoria and cacophony in all those within earshot. Khatzumoto’s Law is applicable here because, especially for verbal humor, a major determinant of “semblance with rational human thought” seems to be exposure count, which really makes you wonder how our culture of mass media has affected our senses of humor.

It is not just this emotion. You need other types of emotional euphoria and activity. World building in the context of fictional literature is a noble task, but so often people populate their fictional worlds with everything but the emotions that people so want to experience. Trust in your reader’s empathy, that they will be able to connect with the feelings of your characters and narrators.

This is the great thing about rhetoric and tropes. Many rhetorical devices describe and give a name to prototypical circumstances that are familiar to most human beings regardless of native language. These circumstances often reliably elicit a similar kind of feeling, emotion, sentiment in people, and so a catalog of rhetorical terms and tropes is as much a listing of certain situations, circumstances, and behaviors as it is a listing of human emotions.

I once read in the book Impro by Keith Johnstone and a commentary on that text on the online learning community LessWrong that people are constantly in a battle of sorts with one another over self-esteem or status. People are constantly trying to raise and lower each other’s self-esteem, and of course we all want to feel some sort of esteem pertaining to ourselves. In many ways, a catalog of rhetorical devices and figures of speech is like a catalog of different ways to engage with and participate in this endemic, human struggle over esteem.

Socrates said you must be both knowledgeable about your subject and benevolent. I like to think this has to do with the similarity between the words author and authoritative, the latter of which means having the weight of authority; peremptory and dictatorial. The reason why writing with a good style is hard is because, as the author, you have pretty much unchecked power over your reader’s perceptions, whether you like it or not. Since you’re a dictator no matter your natural disposition, it pays to think things through thoroughly and craft your benevolence.

Consider for a moment the mathematics of imagination for the purposes of art and storytelling. Let us use the example of a fictional, well-written series that takes on average 40 hours for the average adult reader to complete. We have already spoken of a novel as a set of instructions for someone’s imagination, and that concept will aid us here.

Compare the arbitrary 40 hour figure with a rough estimate of how many hours of raw imagining you have put into your own work. On top of that, consider the fact that not every second, minute, hour of raw imagination directly translates into a second, minute, hour of experience for a reader, especially if you yourself are not one of the muses. On the contrary, it is likely that the final 40 hour figure is a small percentage of the original amount of raw imagination that was required to provide that experience for a reader. And since this isn’t an exact science, who could really pinpoint the exact conversion rate? Maybe it’s 1 part experience to every 4 parts raw imagination, or maybe it’s more like 1 part experience to every 100 parts raw imagination.

Clearly, I am not a math teacher; the goal isn’t to get you to start taking such inane calculations literally. This line of thinking is just a tool to help you understand why your own story might suck, a suspicion with which many (myself included!) are beset in the early stages of a creative endeavor. The exciting thing about spaced repetition is that it has the potential to fuel both the imagination and writing parts of the creative process.

There is an abundance of material on how to write, but understandably little has been written about how to imagine. This is a fundamental faculty and tool of the human mind. If you think you don’t know how to, then that means you’ve just forgotten. The commonly expressed difficulty of putting the breaks on the wandering mind for the purposes of meditation is evidence of this. Sit quietly, alone, and try to escape your initial state of mind or circumstances with whatever psychological flights available.

Populate your imagination with people, places, emotions, and more. If you take a look at the task of creating a work of art that allows people feelings of pleasure and escape from the earlier expressed mathematical perspective, it is likely that the form of your imagining doesn’t matter so much as the quantity. You often hear creative writers speak of world-building, but few are probably willing to spend several hundred or even thousand hours in a world entirely of their imagination. If you look at it like that, it seems like your goal isn’t to keep trying to imagine something wonderful so much as trying to imagine something that you don’t get sick of.

A word on the actual practice of writing. Let us imagine that a random person in the street found your writings or audio recordings (I have affectionately – some would say pathologically – dubbed my unedited ones “The Author Files”) or notes whether or not they were edited and before you ever intentionally showed them to other people. What would be your reaction if that person started to disseminate your texts? In various places on the web; Facebook? Reddit? Torrents? Quoting it all over Twitter? Random blogs? If they mailed copies to your parents, grandparents, in-laws, aunts and uncles, cousins, friends, your boss, even to your favorite writers that you respect most, naming you as the author, how would you feel? What if it ended up being quoted in court or during some kind of political campaign – how would you feel? This line of thinking is the ultimate way to test whether you are ready to release your text into the wild.

Someone said (there’s that damn amnesia again!) books aren’t completed by their authors, but gotten sick of and abandoned. I’d like to extend that metaphor… writing ages like wine before you start giving it away to people. At first you might be excited but it still probably sucks. Then it gets better, and if you’ve got the patience to wait a good while, eventually it’ll taste really good. Of course, you don’t want to hang onto it so long that it grows stale.

I took my work, cut it down into this bite-sized, abridged version, and have decided to make it freely available in various places o’er the Interwebz. Permit me to be blunt: I worked really hard on the full version, and it will soon be is available in sundry formats in various places including Amazon, Smashwords, and Udemy. Especially since a lot of good stuff got cut out in order to make this abridged version possible, I urge you to give the full version your serious consideration.

Photo Mar 18, 8 48 30 PM

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