Poetry: Sleeping Poetic Genius

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Sleeping Poetic Genius
By: Maranda Russell

I wrote a poem
in my sleep last night.
The words, colors, and images
now blur in my mind.
I try to pin them down,
only to have them
wiggle away
like a puppy
desperate to escape
a confining embrace.

The poem was grand,
of this I am sure.
A masterpiece of language,
now shriveled and dried up
like an unlucky worm
laying dead
after a rainstorm.

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I am an Emotional Writer

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I am an emotional writer. I write from whatever my current point of view and mood dictates. Often my writing may be entirely contradictory or may not even represent my general consensus on a given subject, but is instead a snapshot of a moment in time.

Reading through my journal entries and blog posts may appear to be a debate between various personalities – and in a sense, perhaps it is. No, I do not suffer from some sort of multiple personality disorder, but I use writing to discover and decipher my own jumbled thoughts and feelings. When I start writing, I often don’t know exactly where it is going to go, what the end result will be, or what I will learn along the way, but that is part of the magic of the creative process.

Please keep in mind when reading this blog, that what is being presented is often unfiltered, barely edited, stream-of-consciousness prose that represents only a momentary glimpse of my overall experience of life. If you dislike what I write today, stick around, because you just might love what I write tomorrow!

A Female Aspie’s Thoughts On Jordan Peterson

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Lately I’ve been listening to a lot of interviews and lectures with controversial thinker and psychologist Dr. Jordan Peterson. This Canadian bloke is a rather interesting mix if you really listen to his thoughts and beliefs. Many on the left, especially those on the social justice warrior side seem to hate his guts and believe he is sexist, racist, abusive, and a number of other unpleasant adjectives. I don’t believe he is actually as far right wing as many seem to think, but he does definitely have some classical views on innate gender differences and he certainly has a hatred for what he sees as newfangled pronoun madness.

As far as the whole pronoun thing goes, I do agree with him in many ways. I have seen the charts of all the new pronouns that supposedly exist now and I just don’t see how using all of those in common vernacular will ever really catch on. How many people will bother to memorize such a chart as the lengthy ones I have seen online? I see no issue with people wanting to be referred to with particular existing pronouns (he, she, they, etc.) as long as they don’t expect people to be able to read their minds and know which pronoun they prefer. I believe if you ask people to call you a particular thing, most will agree and try to do so, as long as it isn’t too hard to remember or seemingly insulting.

Aside from that whole controversy, what I really find interesting about Peterson is his obsession with Nietzsche (one of my personal favorites), Jung, and his love of archetypes. He sees a story arc in everything apparently, and usually a metaphor-laden one at that. I do find it interesting how he likes to deconstruct pop culture favorites, be they movies, tv shows, books, or other works of art, using Jungian thought. I have heard complaints that he entirely misconstrues Nietzsche’s work, but I’m not sure I’ve seen too much of that personally. Sure, his personal views bleed into his interpretation, just as everyone’s does, but I’m not sure it is to any greater extent than most philosophical analysts.

I do think his latest book “12 Rules for Life” sounds fairly simplistic and seems to lack much deeper introspection, instead almost falling into the common self-help book market. “Clean your room”? “Stand up straight”? Thank you, Grandma. I hear his earlier book, “Maps of Meaning”, is far more thought-provoking and deep, so maybe I will give it a try at some point.

Lastly, I just want to comment a bit on Peterson’s personality and the impression I get from him. Dude does seem awfully angry and easily provoked over nothing at times. Maybe this is frustration at feeling constantly misunderstood and misrepresented, but it still makes him look a bit snowflakish himself, which I’m sure isn’t the impression he wants to give. I also often wonder if he ever appears happy or genuinely smiles? He almost seems very depressed to me…and I would know as I struggle with the same beast. He talks a good game about finding meaning in life, but there is a big part of me that thinks deep down he struggles constantly with the seeming meaninglessness and absurdity of life and is resentful of it. But perhaps I am projecting a bit there.

I have also heard him accused of using “word salad” or droning on and on without making much of a point. I’ve seen a bit of this myself, but I think part of the issue is how many tangents he seems to wander off on while making a point. I feel his lectures could definitely benefit from some streamlining and sticking more closely to each point until its conclusion.

Many have suggested that Peterson seems to have a bit of a “savior complex”, which I do see signs of now and then. My antenna especially went up when he talked about how if he went to prison for refusing to use someone’s pronouns and pay the fine, he would go on a hunger strike. Calm down a little! Is it really worth all that? Why not just set yourself on fire on Main Street? I think someone so famous going to prison over something so stupid would be enough in itself to garner attention.

*For an interesting look at the difference between a therapist and a psychologist, check out this article by BetterHelp!

May 2018 My First Reading Club Subscription Box Review!

This month I did the May 2018 My First Reading Club unboxing and review on my YouTube channel (Maranda’s Toys & Books), so I figured I would post the video here in case anyone wanted to see which children’s books I got this month for only $9.99 plus S&H! This box is always SUCH a great deal! Definitely recommended for families!

 

PO Box Opening Fun! Cute Sloths, Favorite Anime Series, and New Books!

I recently received a wonderful assortment of goodies from a friend and blog reader named Brian via my PO Box! Most of the time when I receive mail via my PO Box it is either books or products that companies or authors would like me to consider reviewing, but once in a while I do get something just for fun and that is always awesome!

The first item in the box I received was this adorable Easter sloth dressed up in bunny ears! Isn’t he the most adorable thing? I love sloths in general, and Brian knew that since we had exchanged cute sloth videos on Facebook in the past.

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The second gift in the box was this awesome Death Note anime dvd set! It has the complete series, which is awesome since Death Note is my favorite anime series of all time (which is saying something since there are a number of other anime series I love as well)!

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Lastly, since he knows I love books, Brian sent me a cool Batman graphic novel and an art book. The graphic novel is called Hong Kong and starts out with a weird murder plot involving a snake which drew me into the story right away. The art book is called The World of Rubens 1577-1640 and is a compendium of works by the artist Peter Paul Rubens. I was familiar with some of Rubens’ work, but this visual guide definitely widened the scope of his work for me.

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I want to give a big “thank you” to Brian for sending all this neat stuff! I’ve really enjoyed it so far! If anyone else ever wants to send anything via PO Box for me to consider sharing on my blog (or to enjoy privately), here is the address:

Maranda Russell
PO Box 14
Englewood, OH 45322

I am always happy to feature children’s books, toys, candy, cute stuff, and anything related to subjects I blog about frequently, such as mental illness, autism, chronic pain conditions, etc.

Goodbye Freelance Writing Career

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I’m at the point I think I’m going to have to make peace with the fact that my freelance writing career is over in many ways. Now, don’t get me wrong, I still plan to blog and do this kind of personal writing when able, but over the past years I also supplemented our income a bit by taking freelance writing gigs from various clients. I covered a wide variety of writing assignments: reviewing books, writing promotional materials and press releases, writing children’s books, editing and proofreading, and many other oddball writing jobs.

Now, I find I just can’t do it. Partly due to physical health conditions (particularly my back/neck pain, chronic fatigue syndrome, and fibromyalgia), but also due to my mental health conditions (depression, anxiety, bipolar type 2, etc.) Sometimes I’m not even sure which condition is really at fault. Is it the CFS making it almost impossible for me to get out of bed and function at all, or is that the depression? Is my back pain causing me anxiety, or are the panic attacks causing me to tighten up and the back pain to worsen? Which came first, the chicken or the egg? Much of the time, I really don’t know. But I do know I can’t go on like this forever, and I definitely can’t take the additional stress of taking on freelance writing jobs anymore.

* Art by Maranda Russell

Belief in Hell Dies Hard

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Recently I read an excellent poetry book entitled “Shit House Rat“, written by Daniel Crocker (a fellow bipolar writer). The poetry in this collection is brutally honest, gritty, and humorous, and even engages some of our favorite characters from Sesame Street in a way that is unique and really outlines the harsh reality of adult life “on the street” .

One poem that especially triggered some thought on my part is one called “A Dream of Siblings”, in which the poet has a dream about his deceased brother being trapped in a sort of hell. Like me, the author no longer believes in a literal hell, at least not of the Christian theological kind, but as the following lines from the poem show, he still struggles to let go of that old belief in a fiery pit of torture:

“Even though I gave up
believing in this shit
years ago, I still wonder

Maybe I never gave up believing

Maybe, once having faith, no one
ever gives up believing

Even if the things we believe in
are horrifying.”

Writing Prompt: Message in a Bottle

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Today’s writing prompt: If you were to write a message in a bottle, what would it say? Who would you hope finds it?

My response: “To whoever finds this, I was here. I lived. I loved. I hurt. I laughed. I cried. You will too. Enjoy the ride.”

I would hope it was found by a thoughtful young person who was just starting out in life. Someone who isn’t too cynical or jaded yet, but is mature enough to appreciate life for what it is.

Writing Prompt: $1,000 to Spend

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Today’s writing prompt: If you were given $1,000 to spend right now and you had to spend it, what would you buy?

My response: If someone gave me $1,000 to spend right now and I couldn’t save any of it, I would go on a fun shopping spree! The top things that come to mind to buy are books and toys of course! There are a bunch of books on Amazon I have been wanting to get for a while, so I’m sure I would grab up a bunch of those. Lately I have especially been interested in getting some of the poetry collections written by people who have bipolar disorder. I would also do quite a bit of shopping on Ebay, getting certain toys and collectibles that I have been wanting for my collections. The Funko mini Heroes series comes to mind since I have been collecting those recently.

I would also likely grab some new agey or pagan stuff. There are some t-shirts put out by The Mountain company that I would love to have that feature all kinds of cool designs. I would probably buy my husband that 3-D Star Trek chess set he has always wanted too. Pretty much, I would buy the stuff I always buy, just in greater quantities! Oh! And I would pick up the new Halloween candle at Bath & Body Works! And do some shopping at the PINK store at the mall! And Hot Topic! Man, now I really wish I had that $1,000!