Friday, January 20, 2017

Writer's Block

I usually have great ideas to write about especially if I am not under any pressure. Writer's block is horrible. I've had it at times, especially when I am busy or distracted. It's rare that it happens to me. 

What if I finally published a novel? It became popular and fans wanted a sequel. My anxiety would kick in like a huge block of ice, blocking my flow. What if I disappoint my fans? What if I can't repeat my previous success? Doubt will eventually lead to writer's block. Years go by and I still haven't published anything. Everyday I open up my computer and stare at a blank screen. I distract myself by going to Reddit or Twitter and discuss things like feminism in Star Wars and the worst sunburn I've ever had. 

One day I decide that I need to take my writing seriously. I put on some headphones and play white noise to try to clear my head while walking through a city park. The static masks the sounds of life and I am able to sit on a bench and clear my mind. An hour, two and finally three hours go by with me just sitting on a bench in the park. My mind is clear and focused. Suddenly I hear a faint whisper, mumbled voice trying to tell me something. I open my eyes and see nothing. No one is there. I close my eyes again. I hear the voice again.

 "I can help you!" the voice says. I open my eyes and standing before me is a small old woman, her white hair piled on top of her hair. Her clothes looked like gypsy clothes, her voice was deep and soft. "I can make the words flow again."

I didn't care how she came about or where she came from! She answered my deepest desire. I wanted to be able to write, to have never ending ideas.

"Yes, please help me!" I begged. 

She put her hands on my head and chanted a few words. I closed my eyes and listened to the strange language she spoke, a language that I've never heard before. When I opened my eyes, she was gone. I walked quickly home seeing shadows of strange men in the corner of my eyes. Maybe I was dreaming, maybe I was hallucinating from sitting in the sun too long, maybe it was the white noise?

I walked in my home and immediately sat down in front of my computer, the words flowed and never stopped. I wrote for six hours before I finally stopped. I felt sick as I hadn't eaten or gone to the restroom in all of that time. The words would not stop flowing. As I ate I wrote poems on napkins, when I went to the bathroom I grabbed a shampoo bottle, smeared shampoo on the wall and traced in more words.I sat on my couch and wrote letters, poems, copied the telephone book. I finally collapsed and fell asleep. 

The words kept coming. When I woke up I had to run back to my computer and write more. I wrote for 6 more hours. Ate, rested. I couldn't stop writing. I decided to leave my house. I missed writing. I called my best friend and chattered words and ideas. I couldn't stop. My friend hung up the phone. I didn't drive long and desired to go home and write more. I wrote for 5 more hours when I  heard a knock on the door. I answered and it was my best friend. 

She walked into my home with a surprised look on her face. 

"I was worried when you called me," she said, "I had to check up on you. Are you ok?"

I turned around and looked. I had written all over the walls, on my floor, on my hands and feet. What was wrong with me? I fell on the floor and shook. 

I woke up in the hospital, my friend and my parents were by my bedside. 

"You had a seizure." my mother said. I never received a curse. My brain was sick. 

"Did I write anything good?" I asked. 

"It was all nonsense though you did write some nice letters to me and your family." my best friend said, "the novel you wrote was frightening, I think you should erase it."

I later made it home, I went against my friend's advice and read the novel on my computer. Dark shadows began to appear in the room. I opened up my mind to a bad frequency and let the darkness into the world with my novel. I erased it quickly and threw the laptop out of the window. I left that apartment and stayed with my family using my seizures as an excuse. I later moved back with my family as I never wanted to return to the apartment or the park again. 

My family was worried that I suffered from mental illness and told me to get help. I had to always sleep with the radio for I was too afraid of silence. One night the radio station went off the air and I awoke to static. Before I turned off the radio I heard a faint voice whisper, "I can help you!"

Yeah, the story probably sucks, but I am now tired and want to go to sleep. 

Brown Noise, White Noise

 I only learned about brown noise a couple of days ago. I've heard of white noise. I thought it was a low level constant background noise like a fan or a water fountain. My mother got everyone in my family addicted to turning on  a fan in the background to help us sleep. She always called it "white noise"

I just learned that there are different colors of noise. There are white, brown, pink, blue, black noises officially recognized by the FCC. There are other informal noises like gray, red, and violet. The sounds are useful in masking distracting sounds and are supposed to help you concentrate and sleep.

I've had trouble sleeping lately so I wanted to try it out. I tried using a brown noise video from YouTube. I slept very deep for an hour and then woke up. Turns out I later found out that the video pauses on the hour mark and that is what woke me up. Too bad because the sound did help me out with my anxiety. I get scared at night and every little noise is amplified 10 times. I always fear that someone will break in or that an animal will burst in and eat me. The brown noise helped me to stay calm. It's a little bit deeper than the white noise. The brown noise sounds sort of like ocean waves so I felt like I was back living in Hawaii. I loved hearing the ocean when I fell asleep when I lived there. The only problem was that I kept having tsunami nightmares. 

Pink noise is a bit lighter sounding. It sounds more like a rain storm. It doesn't help me with sleep but it does oddly help me concentrate like I just walked into a cool shower. I feel more alert. It also sort of sounds like a kettle boiling right before it whistles. So maybe for me, pink noise is good for studying. I don't think I could sleep well. Right now I happen to have tinnitus. My ear has been in pain for a couple of days and the constant ringing has been driving me crazy. The brown noise did not help my ear but listening to the pink noise, I feel relief like the noise is massaging my ear drum. So I guess these noises do help with tinnitus. 

Blue noise is even deeper than the brown noise. It sounds like the end of a midnight rain. For some reason this noise is bothering my hurt ear. It starting to sound like I tore a hole in a huge balloon and it is slowly letting out air. This noise bothers me so I will turn it off now. I don't think this noise will help me sleep. 

I really like green noise. It sounds more like an ocean than the brown noise. It sounds like it is raining on the beach. It is a gray rainy day at the beach, the wind is nice. Sadly, I still hear my tinnitus. Otherwise I find this noise relaxing. 

Finally, I am listening to white noise. It sounds like radio static or like a fan running. I can't hear the ringing in my ear and I think this is a good noise to sleep to because it does mask sounds very well. I can't hear the dish washer running downstairs and I am able to focus. The problem is that it sounds too much like static and that raises my anxiety levels. I watched a movie about ten years ago about psychics using radio static to talk to ghosts. One was a very evil ghost who tried to kill people. I really don't remember the name of the movie, So while the white noise is playing, I am terrified that I will hear in a whisper "Hhhhhhhhheeeeeeeeeeelllp meeeeeeeeeeeeee"! I feel the skin on my neck crawl just thinking about it.

In conclusion, I think a brown noise, or ocean noises are the best for me. I will be calm, my stupid anxiety calm down and I might be able to get some rest. I don't think I can handle white noise at night. I heard they can cause nightmares. White noise contains all frequencies. What if it catches an evil frequency? I think I will stick to a fan or an aquarium! If this tinnitus doesnt improve I might just have to get over my stupid fears. 

Next I want to experiment on my kids to see which sounds work for them. I have a son who has sensory integration dysfunction and mild ADHD so it might be interesting to hear which one he likes. 


Wednesday, January 18, 2017

STUFF Clogging My Mind

I haven't blogged in a while. I never made it big in blogging and I never found an audience. I gave up and instead used Twitter as a way to express myself. I primarily used Twitter for about four years and even had my own little community. I had a few major retweets but was never famous or anything. I kept myself anonymous because I didn't want attention. I just wanted to express my feelings. A month ago I quit and it was one of the best decisions I've made.

It was popular last year to say that 2016 was the worst year ever! It was a very strange year for me! I went through many challenges, new baby, c section, deployment, teenagers, a move, and ended the year losing my grandfather, I went into a deep depression and realized that I was spending sometimes 6-8 hours arguing with people on Twitter. I knew that couldn't help my depressed mood so I decided one day to quit. By day three I felt like a new person. I had more energy and I no longer felt hopeless. Instead of wasting my time typing out my thoughts in less than 140 characters, I was writing stories again, keeping notes from books I read, and organizing my family history. 

Since I was a small child I've always felt this need to write or type my thoughts. It isn't exactly hypergraphia, which is caused by temporal lobe dysfunction. I do find it therapeutic (so maybe it does have something to do with the temporal lobe?). As a child, I loved to write little stories, but I would also draw maps and write pages of fantasy pedigree charts. I would write and write and then throw the papers away. I never published anything. I think I have only kept one binder full of my writings that I did in 12th grade. It's a collection of short stories, pages and pages of words in different languages and alphabets, and notes and quotes from books. I spent hours writing Japanese Kanji, over and over in notebooks. I copied drawings from medieval manuscripts and art,. My favorite was my drawing of Henry V of England as I loved the Shakespearean play. All of this I did in secret, after filling a notebook, I would rip it in pieces and throw it away. Maybe I do have a problem?

I discovered blogging in 2006 and greatly enjoyed it. Unfortunately, I wrote about politics which did not endear me to many people. My politics aren't "cool" and my experiences with other cultures has made me very cynical. My blogging never went anywhere because I offended half of my audience, including family members. I tried Mommy blogging but it is difficult to write about my life. I have no problem writing about it in a journal, but to expose my life for all to see makes me uncomfortable. It also doesn't relieve my mind. I can write about my six children, they easily fill a blog with all of their challenges and triumphs, but the "stuff" is still in my head needing to get out. I could talk your ear off and my children enjoy hearing the ideas in my head, but sometimes it isn't enough.

This is the stuff clogging up my brain that I have to get out. I hope you will enjoy this glimpse of my weird mind.

Friday, January 16, 2015

The House of Ephraim and the Book of Mormon

The Bible is the story of the House of Judah. It is important because that the family that Jesus was born into. His mother Mary and her husband Joseph were both of the House of David and carried royal blood. It was important that the Bible be published for all of the world, but they aren't the only tribe. In prophecies the House of Joseph (Ephraim and Manasseh) are listed along with Judah. Ephraim and Manasseh were the major tribes and had the most members. Great leaders like Joshua belonged to the tribe of Ephraim. The Northern Kingdom was called Ephraim as the Southern Kingdom was called Judah. Ephraim is supposed to fight against and then unite with Judah. So where are their records? We have some remnants of their records in the Book of Chronicles.

Before they were taken away to what is now Central Asia (Afghanistan, UZBEKISTAN, and Turkmenistan) by the Assyrians, they were given a chance by King Hezekiah of the Southern Kingdom to come to Jerusalem to worship in the temple there. Most of them ignored his invitation and continued to worship false gods. However, in 2 Chronicles 30:11 it says "Nevertheless divers of Asher and Manasseh and of Zebulun humbled themselves, and came to Jerusalem." 

In 1 Chronicles 9:3 it says "And in Jerusalem dwelt of the children of Judah, and of the children of Benjamin, and of the children of Ephraim, and Manasseh." 

So the Bible establishes that Ephraim and Manasseh had members in the city of Jerusalem. Lehi either came from the first or second waved of settlers into Jerusalem. Since he did not know he was from Manasseh, he probably was from the first group who came, possibly to escape King Ahab's evil or to escape one of the horrible famines. These settlers remained great leaders even in the Kingdom of Judah. 

One of the major spiritual leaders who lived when Lehi was a child was Huldah who was in charge of a school for women in Jerusalem. She was of the House of Ephraim and a relative of Jeremiah, whose mother was from the tribe of Ephraim. 

Facebook Feed Fun

1. A friend posts a video of someone doing push ups while water skiing.

2. Cute dog pic

3. Meme joke

4. Quote from grandchild

5. One of those quiz things

6. Inspirational quote on a picture of a meadow

7. Dog video

8. Comedian video

9. Another amazing video!

10. Cute kid pic taken by phone

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

A Good Nephi Movie?

I admit, I have never seen a good Nephi movie done. The closest is the Book of Mormon cartoons I used to watch as a kid. The episode of Nephi and his brothers going to Jerusalem to get the plates was the best one. There was a clear plot- to get the plates and a clear antagonist. Outside of that a great Nephi movie hasn't been done.

I thought about that and I think the problem is that the Book of Nephi is told from Nephi's point of view. As soon as he prays in the wilderness to know if God spoke to his father and then received his own testimony, Nephi pretty much stayed the same. He stayed firm and obey the Lord. The only time Nephi questioned the Lord was when he was told to kill Laban. Other than that, Nephi is static. Any questions he had, and 1 Nephi 2 mentions that he did have some doubt, were resolved at the beginning of the book. After all, 1 Nephi wasn't written for our entertainment, but rather for our instruction. Nephi wants to teach us how the Lord guides us and blesses us as we obey him. Even in the most difficult circumstances, the Lord will find a way to accomplish His work. Nephi teaches that the Lord is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow. Like he blessed Moses, he blessed Nephi.

That is divine instruction, but not the best entertainment. A better movie would be Nephi struggling to be understood by his brothers, servants, and even parents. He is the rock through each obstacle, sort of a superman without the super powers. Each disaster that unfolds would end with Nephi pushing forward in the name of the Lord, like the story of Moses. In the end, either the supporting characters will grow, like Sam, Lehi, and Nephi's wife, or fall away like Laman, Lemuel, and Ishmael's sons. If only they had faith, they would be as strong as Nephi for Nephi is not powerful and he knows it. It all comes from God. Showing Nephi's fear at times and frustration at his family would help us connect to him. Nephi's "superpower" is his faith in God.

Nephi's companions would be Sam and Zoram. Nephi is batman to Sam's Robin and Zoram's Alfred. Lehi is the wise sage along with his supportive mother. Ishmael's daughter would be his love interest but they shouldn't fall in love instantly. They have to grow together and his wife learns from him. Maybe at first she doesn't understand him? Laman and Lemuel are the antagonists but they shouldn't be so cookie cutter. In fact, I think they should be the characters we relate to the most as their reactions mimics a worldly one. If our father, who was already in trouble with the law, told us to run away to the promised land and then go back to the city to steal priceless plates from a military leader wouldn't we also call him a "visionary man" and doubt him? I also don't think their descent into apostasy should be so extreme. There should be hints of it. Laman should not be shown as straight up evil. He was a good person. He obeyed his father and Nephi after they complained which is more than most would do. He believed that Jerusalem was a great city, blessed by God. He should be shown making bad decisions. Maybe he lies and gets away with it? Maybe he got into trouble with a woman not his wife? Maybe he followed popular customs by dancing to Ishtar. Was that the dance Nephi refused to join on the boat? He was more educated than Nephi and maybe he shows this off. Laman should be shown that anyone could fall if they don't have faith in the Lord. He should be shown as handsome, strong, and worldly guy, not the Jafar looking character we usually see.

What do you think would make a good Nephi movie?

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Who Was Nephi's Audience?

Who wrote? Nephi wrote 1 and 2 Nephi as an older adult after already reaching the Promised Land.

Why? He was writing his testimony and how the Lord has blessed him in his life. His story was not about Lehi, Jerusalem history, or even his brothers. It was his life and what he had been inspired to teach. He was instructing his audience using examples from his own life to teach the gospel and the "tender mercies of the Lord". At least that is in 1 Nephi. It is the Book of Mormon's exodus story. In fact, writers from BYU have compared Lehi to Moses (and Jacob) Nephi even uses Moses as an example. 1 Nephi is the Exodus of the Book of Mormon.

What happened? Lehi was called to preach repentence to the Jews. He did so. Why did Nephi include this? This was the beginning. This is when things changed. Lehi's life and possibly his family was threatened. We know Jeremiah was thrown in prison and tortured at this time. Lehi kept preaching.

Lehi was called to leave Jerusalem. That was not unusual at that time. We know that others left Jerusalem. Then Lehi was called to do something different. After the long journey to the Red Sea and beyond Lehi told his sons to go back to Jerusalem to get the brass plates from Laban. That would be like me telling my sons to go to the National Archives to ask for a copy of the Magna Carta (if it was protected by a corrupt military leader like Laban) That was an exceedingly difficult thing for Lehi to ask his sons but they were willing to do it. Nephi did so after receiving his own testimony. Nephi asked God directly if what his father taught was correct. He received an answer and taught Sam who also believed. Laman and Lemuel did not believe and as far as we know never asked. They were products of their time. They went to synogogue, worshipped and prayed, but it was just a culture thing for them. Nephi got the plates by following God, Laman and Lemuel whined and were violent. Nephi not only got the plates, but he came out with a servant, Zoram. Nephi was very much like the followers of Moses and their successes when they followed the Lord.

Who was the audience? Laman and Lemuel and their followers played the role of the Israelites complaining in the desert. Nephi was like Joshua (who was also of the House of Joseph through Ephraim) or like Joseph of Egypt, who led his older brothers. Ephraim is the Head! says the scriptures. Joseph separated from Israel and later saved his brothers. There is a lot of emphasis on Joseph and Judah in Genesis. Ephraim led the Northern Kingdom and split from Judah, the Southern Kingdom. Judah and Joseph always separate, rejoin, separate, rejoin. So this remnant of Joseph, through Lehi's sons, also separated into a New Promised Land. The gospel was brought my Jesus who was of Judah of the Old Promised Land and restored through Joseph (Ephraim) in the New Promised with a separation of almost 2000 years.

We, of the New Jerusalem, are the audience. Anyone who follows Christ is part of Israel by adoption. The Book of Mormon is for you.