Q:I'm sure you're taking plenty of slings and arrows for calling out the Queen of Passive Aggression herself, but I'm sending you high-fives through the net. Coelasquid's thing of accepting piles and piles of praise, likes and reblogs per post only to then whine, complain and pick on the one or two people who respond in a way that doesn't attempt to placate her ego really wears thin after a while.
Actually, I haven’t gotten any hateful asks sent my way, which is something I have to give her and her sycophants credit for. (Although after having looked through the comments on her response, I can’t see how calling her out makes me a Nice Guy™. It’s not like I’m the one trying to be friends with her under false pretenses.)
Anyway, thank you very much for the kind words! I’m really happy to know I’m not the only person who thinks that way. She spends way too much time fishing for sympathy over people not commenting on her stuff the way she likes, and I wouldn’t have said anything to her if I didn’t have respect for her on some level. (Sadly, people like that don’t change unless it really blows up in their faces. Still, it never hurts to try, right?)
Q:Jesus, thank you. It's about time someone told coelasquid to stop being such a massive ass to everyone.
You’re very welcome! As someone who usually likes her, her work, and what she posts on Tumblr, I just about had it with her passive-aggressiveness. Looking back on it I did get a little too angry and aggressive at her, but I’m glad I said something anyway. Thanks again for the support!
SO, I have been seeing a lot of posts about URLs recently and I think that I want to try something like this…
What I’m going to do is if you reblog this post, I’ll catalog your URL in this notebook and send you a message giving you a suggestion for a good book, song and show based on what I can tell from your blog.
If your blog’s awesome, I’ll follow and maybe send you all three.
Also if you don’t reblog this by December 10th then you will have to wait until 2013 for me to restart this notebook cataloging cause I do need to catch up with all the stuff. THIS POST’S DEADLINE IS DECEMBER 10TH! but I promise I will start it up again once it’s 2013.
OH MY GOODNESS PLEASE I LOVE RECOMMENDATIONS
This is an awesome idea! :)
cute idea! :)
Breaking my Tumblr hiatus because sure, why not? XD
(Though with over 50,000 notes, I doubt this person will ever get to me. Still, it wouldn’t hurt, right?)
Bat For Lashes, “Oh Yeah”
Respect your characters, even the minor ones. In art, as in life, everyone is the hero of their own particular story; it is worth thinking about what your minor characters’ stories are, even though they may intersect only slightly with your protagonist’s.
The Hollow Men
Mistah Kurtz—he dead. A penny for the Old Guy I We are the hollow men We are the stuffed men Leaning together Headpiece filled with straw. Alas! Our dried voices, when We whisper together Are quiet and meaningless As wind in dry grass Or rats’ feet over broken glass In our dry cellar Shape without form, shade without colour, Paralysed force, gesture without motion; Those who have crossed With direct eyes, to death’s other Kingdom Remember us—if at all—not as lost Violent souls, but only As the hollow men The stuffed men. II Eyes I dare not meet in dreams In death’s dream kingdom These do not appear: There, the eyes are Sunlight on a broken column There, is a tree swinging And voices are In the wind’s singing More distant and more solemn Than a fading star. Let me be no nearer In death’s dream kingdom Let me also wear Such deliberate disguises Rat’s coat, crowskin, crossed staves In a field Behaving as the wind behaves No nearer— Not that final meeting In the twilight kingdom III This is the dead land This is cactus land Here the stone images Are raised, here they receive The supplication of a dead man’s hand Under the twinkle of a fading star. Is it like this In death’s other kingdom Waking alone At the hour when we are Trembling with tenderness Lips that would kiss Form prayers to broken stone. IV The eyes are not here There are no eyes here In this valley of dying stars In this hollow valley This broken jaw of our lost kingdoms In this last of meeting places We grope together And avoid speech Gathered on this beach of the tumid river Sightless, unless The eyes reappear As the perpetual star Multifoliate rose Of death’s twilight kingdom The hope only Of empty men. V Here we go round the prickly pear Prickly pear prickly pear Here we go round the prickly pear At five o’clock in the morning. Between the idea And the reality Between the motion And the act Falls the Shadow For Thine is the Kingdom Between the conception And the creation Between the emotion And the response Falls the Shadow Life is very long Between the desire And the spasm Between the potency And the existence Between the essence And the descent Falls the Shadow For Thine is the Kingdom For Thine is Life is For Thine is the This is the way the world ends This is the way the world ends This is the way the world ends Not with a bang but a whimper.
As for discipline—it’s important, but sort of overrated. The more important virtue for a writer, I believe, is self-forgiveness. Because your writing will always disappoint you. Your laziness will always disappoint you.
Statistically, the probability of any one of us being here is so small that you’d think the mere fact of existing would keep us all in a contented dazzlement of surprise.
1) Don’t try to give them advice. I know this is coming from an owl who gives depressed people advice! But I only do that for people who have asked for it. Unless they specifically say to you, “What do you think about all this?” or “What do you think I should do?” then advice is not really what they’re looking for, and you don’t need to feel like you have to come up with any.
2) Don’t try to guess what they’re feeling, or why they feel that way. The best case scenario is that you are right, but they didn’t figure it out for themselves, so it probably won’t sink in! The worst case scenario is that you are wrong, and you have inadvertently shut them out of the conversation. Either way, you haven’t really helped. Of course, if they ask for your insight, that’s a different story!
3) Ask questions! And then be quiet until they are done talking. Give them just a little bit longer to go on than you would in an ordinary conversation. There is a good chance that they have things they need to say, but are reluctant to talk about. Maybe you feel awkward during silences, but they need those silences to work up the courage to keep talking.
4) Maybe you know something about their condition. Maybe you even share it! But you are not talking about their condition (unless for some reason you are); you are talking about their feelings, and their experiences. Empathy is very powerful, but don’t let the conversation become about you or what you know.
5) They might try to deflect the conversation by bringing your feelings into it: “Sorry for bringing you down,” “I don’t want to make you worry, I’m fine,” “This must be really boring, let’s talk about something else,” that sort of thing. They are probably not doing that because they really want to change the subject, but because opening up is hard, and maybe they feel like they don’t deserve to. Gently reassure them that you are fine, their problems are not boring, and that you want to help and you are still listening. If you do that, and they still try to deflect, you can just ask them, “Do you really want to change the subject? It’s okay, we don’t have to keep talking about this if you don’t want to.” But make sure it’s clear that that choice is about their feelings, not yours.
6) Things that are obvious to you are not obvious to them. You know that they are fun to be around! You know that it’s okay for them to make mistakes! You know that having a bad day doesn’t make them a bad person! But they don’t know that. These are good things to point out.
7) You are going to have to repeat yourself a lot. This is because their thoughts are repeating themselves a lot! Depression is at least partly fueled by self-destructive thought patterns, which means they are falling into the same thought-traps over and over again. Please try not to get frustrated. They are not doing it on purpose.
8) It is important to establish boundaries. Being around depressed people can be very draining. And if you make yourself constantly available to them, there is a good chance that they will start to rely on your support in an unhealthy way! That is not good for you, them, or your relationship. It is okay to say, “I love you! I wish you weren’t feeling this way! But I can’t really deal with this right now. Please do something nice for yourself, okay? I will talk to you tomorrow!” They might be a little hurt to be turned away at first, but ultimately it is for the best.
9) Understand that you do not have the power to break them out of their destructive thought patterns. Only they can do that. They will have a hard time internalizing what you say, and they probably won’t take your advice (assuming you even gave them any). And that’s okay. You are just trying to support them! They can do anything they want with that support.
10) Please don’t be disheartened by what looks to you like a lack of progress. I know it can be hard not to feel like you aren’t making any difference. But your kindness and patience are so powerful. People struggling with depression know how hard they sometimes are to be around. The fact that you are trying at all means more than you think.
I just want to say that I am not any kind of therapist; I am just a girl on the internet who draws owls. But I get a lot of questions from people who want to take better care of their depressed friends and family, but don’t know how! So I hope this has been useful to some of you out there!
Advice for someone who wants to start writing
Made rebloggable by request!
Okay, that’s possibly not very helpful. But seriously, that’s all there is to it. If you want to write, I’m assuming you’re a reader—keep doing that. Read the sort of things you want to write. Read things you’d never think to write. Get pissed at how much better you could have written what you just read. Get pissed at how you’ll never be as good as what you just read. And then go write.
Here are some points:
You will suck. I’m sorry, but it’s true. We all do when we start. For some reason, people take that as a reason not to write! Writing is one of those things where we somehow magically expect ourselves to be amazing right out of the gate, instead of allowing ourselves time to learn how to do it. Which leads me to:
Talent is overrated. The more I write, the more I’m convinced that when it comes to writing, ‘talent’ is just an indicator of how fast you move along the learning curve. Some folks have a particular talent for plot, so they get really good at plot, really fast. Other people (*waves hand*) take years to figure out how a plot goes together. The thing about learning to write is that so much of it happens on a subconscious level, that it can seem pretty magical. It’s not. It’s a skill, and you can learn it. It’s just easier for some people to learn than others.
Ideas are a dime a dozen. Hard to believe when you’re staring at a blank screen, but it’s true. This is another subconscious thing at work. Once you get your brain to flip the switch into writer territory, you will start to see ideas EVERYWHERE. You will have more ideas than you could ever possibly write. You’ll have ideas that are terrible, that are amazing, that are frightening. But you will have ideas. The hard part is catching the first one and sitting down to write it.
Finish something. This is possibly the sticking point for a lot of writers, especially new writers. You’ll be writing along on your story, and all will be well, and then… all of a sudden you hate it. It’s hard. The words aren’t coming, the characters are flat, and what the hell made you think this was a good idea to start with?? Congratulations, you’ve reached the Middle. (Or as someone so vividly described it in #innercircle last night, “the Valley of Shame”.)
Here’s a secret: I think EVERY writer does this. You reach a point where the shiny newness wears off of your story, and the initial burst of inspiration is gone and you’re left with the actual work of turning the idea into something readable. And what inevitably happens is this: a shiny new idea comes along, and it’s so much prettier than your nasty old boring idea! So you go off chasing the new idea. And then inevitably, the new wears off the new idea, and writing gets hard again. But see above, ideas are a dime a dozen, so along comes another new one! And off you go after it.
End result? A bunch of unfinished stories. When someone tells me they can never finish a story, it’s almost always because of the Middle, and new-idea-chasing.
The Middle sucks for everybody. EVERYBODY. Your favorite writer? Hates their book in the middle of it. The difference between a writer that finishes things and one that doesn’t is that the former keeps writing anyway. The shiny new ideas that inevitably crop up get written down in a notebook somewhere and saved for later.
Nobody tells you about the Middle when you first start! So when it happens to you, you think “wow, this must have been a bad idea” or “wow, I’m a terrible writer”. And then when it happens again and again, you start to think maybe this writing gig was a bad idea. But honest-to-god, the Middle is all part of the process. Push past it (and that gets a little easier once you’ve been there a few times, believe me), and finish your idea. THEN go chase the new one.
Don’t write alone. I don’t mean always collaborate, I mean, talk to other writers. That’s how you learn about things like the Middle, that everybody goes through it. That’s who you can bounce plot ideas off, and whine about the dialogue you’re writing. It’s how you find your betas or editors, and you end up making some great friends in the process. Tumblr (and the internet in general) can be a good place to start. And finally:
Write. The only way to get better at writing is to write. (And read, but reading’s only the theory.) Even if you hate it, even when it sucks. Writing does something in your brain. It IS kind of magical at times. Like, I’ll be trying to figure out a plot (ah, plot, my old nemesis), and for me, I tend to freewrite to do that. So I’ll be burbling along, asking myself questions like, “What does John think about this?” or “What is Molly doing during all this?” and then something will CLICK and everything will suddenly make sense.
And THAT’S the moment I write for, that sudden whammy of everything making sense, of a character suddenly speaking in their own voice. Because the thing about writing is that once you’ve started doing it regularly, your brain never stops. Even while you’re sleeping or doing homework or at work, your subconscious is still putting pieces together, solving the puzzle. (Which is why writers talk about waking up in the middle of the night with a “Eureka!” moment.) But your subconscious won’t work for you if you don’t do the conscious work.
The trickiest thing about writing is getting past the voices in your head that tell you it’s pointless, that you suck, that the words won’t come, that you won’t have any ideas, etc., etc. Just know that everybody who writes has those same voices, that you’re not alone in that.
Good luck, anon! Now go write some words!