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bear by san

March 2017



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bear by san

words like violence break the silence

words since midnight: 4140
sleep since midnight: 3 hours
pots coffee: 1
large mugs salabat: 1
pots tisane: 1 (licorice spice)
pots tea: 1 (black dragonfruit)
handfuls of nutritional supplements: 1 (flax oil, borage oil, assorted vitamins)
food: pretzel rod, sticky rice with soy sauce, cheese and rosemary crackers, mushroom chicken steamed bun, olives marinated in bay, greek yogurt and cherries.
alcohol: 2 shots of bourbon

It just occured to me that I've finally figured out many of the ways in which this brain I have been living in for the past 35 years works differently from other people's, and why it caused me so much pain and anxiety for so long.

And I'm learning how to translate.

This is only one of the ways in which writing commercial fiction has saved my life. It's made me learn to talk to people who think differently from me. And I don't mean people who have different beliefs. I mean people whose brains process information in different ways.

(Blood & Iron is the one of my books that most precisely represents my actual brain processes, because it's (in concept) the oldest of the lot. I mean, I put a lot of work into opening it up and making it accessible, and it's still fucking incomprehensible to a good-sized chunk of humanity. But learning to take the thing that my brain calls a narrative and translate it for you linear folks has been really edifying. For one thing, I finally understand, rather than just sort of realizing, that most of you people really do not think like me. Because now I can see what happens when you do not, as truepenny said, follow me around the curve because I failed to signal.)


That's...actually strangely reassuring. Because it means that it's not a failure in my ability to read that I feel like I missed half of what was going on in Blood & Iron.

(which is not to say it was a failure in your ability to write, because I enjoyed it a lot. I just...didn't quite get it.)
No, I have a weird brain. I'm primary-kinesthetic, and something like 90% intuitive.

Which makes me, er, something like a tenth of a percent of the population or some such nonsense. *g*

I'm trying to learn to do both at once now--which means I have to learn to fake a visual/auditory linear/deductive thinking style, so I can translate into it.


I will look forward to your translations!
I'm mostly kinesthetic and tactile, which took me a long time to figure out. My thinking mostly isn't in words -- which took a very long time to figure out.

Synesthesia (which took me less than twenty years to realize I had) is another factor. (In the 1960s, I freaked someone out by explaining I only saw music when I wasn't high.) That's something which has been used badly in sf, and I'd like to be able to write well about it.

I suspect that everyone's brain works in unusual ways, many of which haven't been scientifically studied because the scientists either don't know that they exist or have them and don't realize most people don't.

I also suspect that everyone who can spell halfway competently does it by a different method or combination of methods.
hah! Yanno, I think the synesthesia thing has merit, and it would be neat if you chased that.

I don't have synesthesia, but I'm a moderate picture-thinker, except many of my pictures aren't pictures, they're sensations. When I'm trying to think how to do something, I often close my eyes and move my hands around, letting my body rehearse the steps for me.

I am a much more effective writer than speaker, because I'm far more eloquent with my hands than with my mouth. (I know, it's all words, right? but it's not.)

And my learning style is *very* dependent on hands-on. If you give me theory devoid of context, it slides off like water. Give me context/practicum and then allow me to generalize/intellectualize from that, though, and I am a rapid-fire learner like you would not believe.

This is why, I suspect, I was kind of a failure at academia, but do all right as an autodidact.

Also, I have a learning disability. Like, yanno, many people who have a knack for something else.

I'm trying to figure out what that might say about me since Blood & Iron is my favorite (so far) of your books. I keep shoving copies of it off onto people I know, and no one seems to love it as much as I do (though they do sort of pat me on my head and say, "Yeah, that was okay. Thanks for the book.") I couldn't understand it before, but now, in light of this post, maybe it has something to do with the fact that I'm really not much of a linear thinker either. Maybe this is why I loved the book so much.


I'll be interested to see this new book though I guess it will be quite a wait.
*g* I love that book.

And well, those that love it, love it. And those that don't love it...

...I will write something else. ;-)

Sorry, this turned into a long comment but this revelation you've had has got me all a-flutter and a-twitter.

I find this very, very interesting and I would like to hear more about it. How did you figure all of this out? I have had that thought you just expressed -- the most of you people do not think like me thought -- so many times. This was actually something I thought I would study in grad school, but I didn't go.

In my job (I'm a lawyer) I've had to work very, very hard at presenting things to people verbally in a, um, semi-straight line, so as not to drive them batshit. This is hard all of the time but it is particularly hard when I'm actually having an idea. Some things come easier than others (i.e., come easier in that I can manage to put them into a straight line, point by point a to b sort of presentation without stress). Like certain legal briefs are easy, if there is a roadmap. But I've also now spent four years in undergrad and three in law school beating my brain into submission in some tasks.

But when I'm theorizing or coming up with the rhetorical space I want our case to live in...well, even trying to present to my boss the idea of living rhetorical space (much less what should occupy it), and who's defining it, and atmospheric narrative in the courtroom...!!! He gets a bit tense.

I have a close friend that I work with, though, and with him I'm a bit more uncensored. And I had a bad day, w/the separation and the workload and my house that is like a Chevy Chase movie, and I talked around and about it a bit. And my friend paused, and squinted, and then said, "Is that what it's like inside your head?"

See. When I talk my thoughts out loud I worry that people think I'm crazy. But sometimes, if I don't talk them out loud, I skip some steps. So another thing my friend says frequently, if I make point a, and then point 76, is "Pause a moment and let me figure out how you got there."

And I haven't read Blood & Iron, yet, but I think I need to. Like right NOW. And then I'll tell you if I caught the signals or not.
*g* I learned, unfortunately, by writing two million words of fiction that three people on the planet liked or understood... and then paying attention to where what I wrote threw people off.

In casual conversation?

I talk loops and forks and iterations. It's terrible.

***All*** my processing power (mumble) runs in parallel.

This is actually the secret to how I write books, too. Because while I am writing this one, I am also thinking about the next two.

Or three.

It lets me move from one to the next with less downtime than most writers need.
I'm not linear, and I feel like you're implying that I am (with this post and the comment that referred me to it). One of the things that makes my interactions with you so very frustrating and rewarding (for me) is the fact that we are both non-linear, but there are still some serious differences in our underlying assumptions and thought patterns.

When I have been unhappy with your storytelling, I have never wanted you to be more linear. I love the multifaceted way that you see and write things. While I accept that a great many readers have difficulty with your work because it is very non-linear, that's not my difficulty.
That's not what I meant at all, nor was I implying anything. What I said was that this is a reason it's hard for me to write transitions.

Which was, I believe, the question you asked.
And, just to be plain, I don't expect people who have difficulties with my storytelling to read it.

I'm not here to make people read my stuff, or insist that they like it. The world is *full* of other writers! Find some you like, and support them!

So, yanno. Not everything is about you. And everything in my blog? Pretty much isn't about you.
Oh, I beg to differ. Well, it's all about me, even the stuff I don't understand. I'm curious to read Blood & Iron, if only to get more stuff I don't understand. If that makes any sense.


Oh wait....
Ah, I bow to the power of the ursocentric universe.

Now, linear thinking or not, how the heell do you write so much? I mean, I know you're a pro and all but sheesh. You got output like most people breathe.
I usually write between 750-1500 words a day. It's just consistency.

The Deathmarch today was special. I have been writing since two o'clock in the morning. *g*

And it's because I want a draft of this book by March 1, because it's due April 15, and I want to give it a little sit time before I revise, and I have a novella and a short story due April 1.


Like that.

Also, because once I see daylight at the end of a book I get a little crazy. It's like, you have been working on the damned thing for SIX GODDAMNED MONTHS CAN WE PLEASE BE DONE NOW.
Shoot, lady, I hear that. I've been working on one novel for almost two and a half years. I'm on version two, having scrapped version one as friends said it was... I think "lame" was the nicer word used. This version is better, I hear.

Consistency. Bane of my existency.
So, yanno. Not everything is about you. And everything in my blog? Pretty much isn't about you.

Yeah, I've had that problem before. But when you used the expression "You linear folks" to reply to my comment (which is probably where I should have placed my reply), I felt that there was an assumption of linearity on my part.

And, just to be plain, I don't expect people who have difficulties with my storytelling to read it.

Your frankness on that point is something I have admired about you before, and I admire it now. I'm sure that part of my motivation here is the 'back seat driver' thing that I haven't fully grown out of. I'm willing to be a part of the potential audience that isn't a part of the actual audience, I'd just like to be excluded for the right reason.

The world is *full* of other writers! Find some you like, and support them!

I think you're brilliant, inspirational as a person and as a writer. It seems, however, that I'm not being very successful in being supportive. Picking a pedantic fight with you at a time when you've said that you're under a lot of stress is looking like a pretty poor move on my part.

Is there a sign around here marked graceful exit? I think that's where I'd like to go.
Ah, you see, this post right here? Is not in response to your comment. It is part of my internal monologue while working on the current book.

As I said, not about you.

I directed you here because you asked why I found it difficult to write transitions. One of the things I am talking about in this post is why I find it difficult to write transitions.

Linear is also not an insult. I mean, I'm working my ass off trying to learn to manage data in a more linear fashion: why would I think it was a bad thing? I think it's a DIFFERENT thing.

Different =/= bad.

If you look at the timestamp, I believe that will be evident.

You can't write for potential audiences. All you will do is denature your work, and turn it towards the lowest common denominator.

(That's the first-person you, in that last paragraph above.)

Hopefully this clears up the misunderstandings?
I directed you here because you asked why I found it difficult to write transitions. One of the things I am talking about in this post is why I find it difficult to write transitions.

I failed to understand that. Thanks for explaining.

Linear is also not an insult. I mean, I'm working my ass off trying to learn to manage data in a more linear fashion: why would I think it was a bad thing? I think it's a DIFFERENT thing.

I didn't feel that you were being insulting. I did feel that it was 'wrong', and that the wrongness of it mattered to me. I went through 4 drafts of my first comment here today and still stuffed it up, but my intent was to be helpful and talk about the difference between the difference you seemed to be talking about (linear vs non-linear) and the actual difference (I don't know what the actual difference is, unfortunately). I suspect things might have gone a bit more smoothly if I'd given my comment the hours of work that I felt it deserved.

You can't write for potential audiences. All you will do is denature your work, and turn it towards the lowest common denominator.

That's a very difficult thing for me to hear, and I think it strikes to the core of the apparent differences in our attitudes towards art and writing. I have to say that I really admire your attitude towards art and I'm tempted to label my attitude as 'wrong' - but it seems to me that it would be a mistake to do so. I think I'll be spending a large part of the next few days working out where I (currently) stand on that issue. Thanks.

Hopefully this clears up the misunderstandings?

I think it does. Thank you for your continued generosity and patience.
Dude, everybody's process is different. You gotta figure out and then honor your own.

Your comment about audiences points to a question about my process that I haven't resolved. I care about my audience (who they are and what their experience is) a great deal, but there is a tension between 'serving your audience' and 'saying what you have to say'. Thinking through this is valuable for me, although I think I'll move the rest of those musings to my own journal.

It would probably have helped if I'd remembered the difference between first-person and second-person when reacting at first, but then again, I might have been denied this growth experience.

Difficult != Bad, either :)
what amuses me is that I have no problem following you in conversation or in thought process (even at 4am), and I enjoy most if not all of your writing, but I often find myelf reading your posts and thinking "wow, you're crazier than I am."

Which you are. But only because I'm too lazy to be OCD.

(and it makes mcurry's expressions during dinner prep so much more understandable. He really should get hazard pay for that...)

That's because you are smart. So my random does not scare you.
Oh, and it's not OCD.

It's bipolar disorder.

Hypomania makes you very productive. *g*
I rest my case. I'm too lazy to have extreme mood swings.

"Oh. Time to be manic? But there's this sunwarmed spot on the sofa..."

feline gene-splicing. It explains everything.
Hmm. Blood and Iron seemed extremely clear to me. I may not have understood it, but it seemed clear. But perhaps this is because I am used to folkloric logic.

Wittgenstein, what a boy, eh? It's all about language games.

I have never found you random, but I'm used to both my father and my ex boss. Both are Celts. When my mother married my dad, a friend told her that the Welsh don't think in straight lines: they carry out several conversations at once. Dad usually has about 3 on the go simultaneously. My ex boss carried out 6. This isn't complicated; you just had to keep the threads in mind.
Yes. Yes. Yes.