TV Blackout Poetry: American Horror Story

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Last night while I was watching the 4th season of American Horror Story (Freak Show), I had the idea to write a poem using a similar technique to the “blackout poetry” idea, but instead of using print, I would take a few random phrases or words from the tv show I was watching and put them together to make a poem. It was pretty fun and I do like what I came up with:

American Horror Story
By: Maranda Russell

Laundry detergent commercials
offer their brand of oddity
to the outside world.
Should you hear
sirens call,
remember,
nice don’t pay the bills!

So what do you guys think of my idea? Do you like the resulting poem? It is odd, but I like it.

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Fun 6 Word Story Writing Prompts

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I must admit that I stole these 6 word story writing prompts from one of my favorite WordPress bloggers, Therapy Bits. I’m not sure where she gets these prompts, or if she makes them up herself, but I thought they looked like a lot of fun, so I started borrowing a few of them just to see what I could come up with. Personally, I tend to think of these 6 word stories as a minimalist form of poetry, even tighter and more concise than haiku.

So here are a few of the prompts and what I came up with:

“Curves”
Her curves couldn’t outweigh her personality.

“Belief”
To hold a belief is self-delusion.

“Doll”
One doll, with third degree burns.

“Mundane”
Mundane, but still better than Monday.

“Maddening”
A cat is a maddening creature.

“Offer”
Make an offer, I can refuse.

“Plausible”
Perhaps plausible, but is it infallible?

“Rebel”
Rebel against your own poor expectations.

I hope you guys enjoyed this. Let me know if you did and maybe I’ll do more in the future. If you want to share any 6 word stories you come up with, feel free to do so in the comments!

5 Important Questions to Ask Yourself!

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Here are a few important questions to ask yourself about your purpose and meaning in life! For fun, I have provided my own answers to them as an example! If you do answer these, I would recommend taking the time to write them down, think about them carefully, and be as honest as you can!

  1. What is your life work? My Answer: Writing, sharing ideas and emotions, creating art, advocating for and comforting others with autism, mental illness, and chronic pain/illness.
  2. What is the meaning of your life? What gives you purpose? My Answer: Inspiring others (kids, fellow Aspies, those with disabilities, other outsiders). Loving family, friends, and animals (loyalty).
  3. What is your passion? My Answer: Writing, spirituality, philosophy, psychology, toys, books, animals, art, creativity.
  4. What does the world lose if I wasn’t here? My Answer: A child-like, loving heart and spirit. Loss of inspiration and creativity. The loss of a voice crying out for justice and harmony. Loss of a unique thinker.
  5. What would it take to begin fully living my dreams today? My Answer: Time, the willingness to fail or be ridiculed, the possibility of being proven wrong, unwavering belief in myself, trust in what is meant to be, hope.

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!

A Theory About Personality Disorders

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While I was writing yesterday’s post about personality disorders, I kind of came up with a theory of my own. That theory is that all of us likely fall somewhere on the spectrum of personality disorders – ALL of us. Granted, it is definitely to greater or lesser extents depending on your experiences, personality type, and genetic makeup, but all of us fall somewhere on the spectrum of narcissism. We all fall somewhere on the spectrum of avoidance and anxiety. We all fall somewhere on the spectrum of neediness and emotional dysregulation. We all fall somewhere on the spectrum of eccentricity.

This theory is very similar to theories I have heard that claim we are all somewhere on the autistic spectrum. Some of us clearly fall heavily on the side of autistic traits, some of us fall in the middle somewhere, and some of us fall heavily on the other side of the spectrum, but we are all on there somewhere.

For personality disorders though, I feel that most of us probably do more closely fit one (or perhaps even two) of the clusters overall. In case you were unaware, there are 3 clusters of personality disorders:

Cluster A (the “odd” or “eccentric” cluster), with Paranoid, Schizoid, and Schizotypal personality disorders.

Cluster B (the “dramatic”, “emotional”, or “erratic” cluster), with Borderline, Narcissistic, Histrionic, and Antisocial personality disorders.

Cluster C (the “anxious”, “fearful” cluster), with Avoidant, Dependent, and Obsessive-Compulsive personality disorders.

I don’t know about you, but almost everyone I know fits quite nicely at least into one of those groups when I consider their overall personality traits. Either I know a lot of messed up people…or maybe having some personality problems is just part of being human? Of course, some take it to the extreme. I myself am so highly anxious and fearful that I would consider it abnormally so. I believe most of that has to do with early attachment issues in childhood and a history of trauma and abuse.

I guess what I am trying to say is that people with personality disorders are not monsters or rare weirdos like many tend to think of them. They are just normal, somewhat dysfunctional people like the rest of us, but perhaps they have a harder time coping due to negative experiences and traumas they have endured. Sure, some of them are assholes, but so is a significant portion of the human race in general…

Abstract Paintings Inspired by Toys

The following two abstract gouache paintings were inspired by toys of all things. This first one was inspired by a random grouping of McDonald’s Shopkins toys (sort of like a toy still life painting):

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And this second painting was inspired by a Gingerbread-themed rubber ducky I won from a claw machine at the arcade:

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Both of these paintings and other artworks are currently available at my Ebay store!

Trying out new artistic styles – mixed media collage featuring naive, folk and pop art inspirations

So lately my artistic style has kind of taken some interesting turns. I tend to bore with styles quickly so I try out lots of new stuff, some that works, some that frankly doesn’t. Lately I’ve been playing around with mixed media collage techniques, using my love of cartoons, favorite characters and naive child-like art to create unique and sometimes amusing or slightly satirical works of art. Obviously this style is not for everyone, but I’ve had fun with it. I guess some other people like it too since I have sold quite a few of these little pieces. The materials I’ve used have varied greatly, including pastel, watercolor, colored pencil, marker, paper cut-outs, random stickers and decals, glitter, foam pieces and other odds and ends.  Here are a few examples that I’ve created recently (many have Halloween themes because it was that time of year!):

“Evil Sweetie” My Little Pony fan art collage on paper, 9″ x 12″
“Wake Up!” mixed media collage on paper, 9″ x 12″
“Two Black Bats” mixed media on paper, ACEO size (2.5″ x 3.5″)
“Werewolf Night” mixed media collage on paper, ACEO size (2.5″ x 3.5″)
“Ghost Minion” collage on paper, ACEO size (2.5″ x 3.5″)