Thursday, December 11, 2014

We Are All Different

A question that plagues my thoughts everyday is, 'Why should I bother writing? Who is going to read what I have to say, anyways?' I was thinking about it today, and it brought me to some interesting thoughts and ideas that I'd like to share. Hopefully you can relate and you find some inspiration to keep going from where my thoughts brought me.  

I've seen a lot of writers, or artists of any kind for that matter, who when discouraged say things such as, 'There's probably someone else out there doing the same thing. Why should I bother to compete?' I think it myself, somedays. Why should I try competing? I'm new to the writing/blogging world. No one knows my name. There are numerous people who do the exact same thing that I do. I will lose the battle to someone who is more established than I am. 

I am aware that is a narrow way to think, but let's be honest, we've all been there and we all go there every now and again. It's that shadow of a doubt that brings us there. 

Now, while there may be numerous other writers or artists out there, we are all different. Why else would there be so many people who do the same thing? If we were intended to think one certain way and be entertained or learn in the same way, if we all thought the same way there would only be one person who does any one thing. There would only be one writer. There would only be one artist, one chef, one teacher. There's a reason we don't all like the same kind of food. There's a reason some of us learn by reading while others learn by doing. We are not all capable of the same things, but amongst us are people who are capable of what we are not. You are capable of what someone else is not. 

One person is only one perspective. We all have a different perspective.  And we all see other peoples perspectives differently. If there's only one person doing one thing, not only is the unemployment rate going to go through the roof, but there will be people who don't care for that person's take on things. There will be people who just don't understand. There will be people who can't draw any inspiration from it. There will be people who act out and rebel against a broken system where there's only one person allowed to do specialize in any one thing. 

So the next time you think that no one will care, no one will read or like what you have to say, no one will see what you do, remember that there are so many people that do the same thing for a reason. There will be at least one person who understands you and where you are coming from. There will be at least one person who walks away from your creativity with something. 

Feeling Intimidated?

In my previous blog postings, I spend a lot of time, or at least a significant amount of time exploring the definitions of words. I say exploring because it truly is an adventure if you enjoy words as much as I do. If you haven't experienced this, or you're reading my blog for the first time, I define a word. I do this in real life all the time. I've realized that I'll say words and I don't even really know the real meaning. I'm not saying I'm uneducated, but nobody really spends their time making sure they know the exact definition of a word, word for word. 

For example, I was having a bad day a couple of days ago and I couldn't figure out why. My frustration was coming from how much I had changed and how I acted around certain people. I am very quiet and not very outspoken. I'm extremely timid, which has not been the norm for me in my past relationships. I'm usually very comfortable, talkative and fun to be around. Lately I've been content to sit very quietly and go along with whatever. I'm also very quiet and unresponsive when I receive compliments. Part of this, I realized, is because my new relationship is, honestly, with an incredibly good looking guy. I realized I was intimidated

When the word intimidated surfaced, I said to myself, 'Is that really how I feel? Am I honestly intimidated by the looks of this man?' Not to say that this is a bad thing, because he is just gorgeous, but was that really what I was feeling? Whenever my curiosity is peeked in this manner, and I'm not exactly sure if that precisely describes how I am feeling, I have a system to determine if I am using the correct word. When faced with uncertainty, turn to the dictionary.

Intimidate means to frighten or overawe someone. So again, I asked myself, 'Am I really frightened?' The answer was no, absolutely not frightened, but overawe was another word where I wasn't exactly sure what it meant. 

Overawe means to impress someone so much they become silent or inhibited. Well, now that made a whole world of sense to me. I was definitely impressed by him, and as I thought about it, yes, I was often silent. I felt a little better after reading and putting together these definitions, but I still wasn't satisfied. I still wasn't quite convinced that there want more going on that was causing me to feel this way. There also was still a word in there that didn't quite make sense to me. 

When I hear or read a word that I don't quite know what it means, I get a feeling. I instantly relate that word to a feeling, and what I felt when I read inhibited was rigid. So I looked up inhibited; meaning unable to react in a relaxed or natural way because of self-consciousness. 

Let the revelations begin, folks! 

I was, and am so full of admiration and respect for this man that I have become silent and am unable to react in a natural way because I am self-conscious. 

'Who needs a shrink?!' 

This definition, once broken down and put back together, was exactly how I was feeling! It perfectly described how I felt when I was around him. Now, don't get me wrong, these moments of inability to react due to self-consciousness are not frequent. It was just that day where I felt a little intimidated. Though, if I had stopped at defining my feelings at intimidated, if we look back, I was so unsatisfied and my situation was so unresolved

It was incredible how much better I felt after putting all that together. Not only had I sorted out how I was feeling, but I had fed the side of me that enjoys doing that, enjoys sticking her nose in the dictionary and coming out with a better understanding, all around. I felt so much better, that I decided to define one last word, just for fun. 

Again, I know what the word self-conscious means, but as I've said in previous blog posting, we only really commit the shorthand version of definitions to memory. We have so much information in our brains that we can't possibly hold anything more than a fraction of it all. So I know that being self-conscious means that I worry about how I look or sound, and I definitely am self-conscious. Imagine my surprise, my intrigue, when I read that self-conscious truly means to experience a feeling of undue awareness of oneself. 

More revelations! 

I am so full of admiration and respect that I have become silent and am unable to react in a natural way because I am too aware! 

That is what we call nailing it right on the head. The undue awareness was what really made me feel better. It made me feel like I didn't need to be so hard on myself, because let's face it, when you're in a relationship with a good looking guy, you spend a lot of time worrying about how you look and what they think and so on and so forth. Just the understanding, a full understanding of how I was feeling made me feel so much better about the situation. 

This process is more than me going around trying to absorb as much information as possible. It isn't about me wanting to know more than everyone else, or having the knowledge to correct someone when they use a word incorrectly. I say this because I do this in real life, not just when I'm writing. Someone will use a word to describe how they're feeling, and I'll say, 'Do you know what that word actually means?' Or I'll be having a heated discussion with someone, (usually my mom because she is a word junky as well,) arguing over the use of a word in a sentence and I'll ask the same question before looking up the word to settle the argument. Now while all of that sounds awfully arrogant, I really just enjoy it. I truly enjoy seeing the pattern, the connection between words. Plus it helps me feel better about whatever is bothering me. 

The next time you use a word, a single word to define what you're feeling or experiencing, I want you to look up the definition. Even if there is a word within that definition that you are positive that you know what it means, look it up anyways. Make a list down a piece of paper, with the first word at the top and define as many words as you can in order. Then put all those broken down words into a sentence to explain how you're feeling. Instead of saying, 'I feel intimidated,' say 'I am so full of admiration and respect that I have become silent and am unable to react in a natural way because I am too aware!' Sure, it's much more wordy, but it gets the post across in a more understandable way. And it means so much more. Post your findings in the comment section. I would really enjoy reading through your feelings. 

As always, thank you for reading. Happy Thirsty Thursday! 

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Inspiration

Inspiration comes from many different places. It comes to us when we read, listen to music, have a conversation. Inspiration is the process of being mentally stimulated to do or feel something, and when we use the word process, we are talking about a series of actions. Inspiration is a series of actions that result in mental stimulation, stimulation meaning the encouragement to develop or increase activity. 

See, I don't know about any of you, but I am just infatuated with looking up the definitions of words. You can't just define one word; that only gives you a hint as to what that word really means. We hold so much knowledge in our brains. Sure, we know what process means, we know what inspired means, but we really only know what our brain has grasped, and usually it's only a fraction of the definition. It's the shorthand version. 

When you define a word, there are usually words within that definition that are foreign to us, even though we use and hear these words on a daily basis. I find it fascinating to sit and define a word, and then define a word within that definition, and so on and so forth until I have a huge list and I fully understand what that word means, and every word that came from within that first word. 

That, is a process. That is my process, my series of actions, that results in the encouragement to develop, to grow, to continue on and on until this one word, and all of the ones that follow make complete and utter sense to me. That is my addiction, but it is a process. It is the process of inspiration. 

Inspiration does not just happen. Not the way that many people think it does. An artist down on his luck may look at a painting and think that whoever made that piece had it so easy; that the inspiration to paint just came to him. I do this from time to time; I look at all the other writers and think, 'If only I could do that. If only it was that easy for me.' It takes time and dedication to become inspired

Now, sometimes, inspiration also means that it comes to us in a sudden brilliant, creative, or timely idea. However convenient that may be, it still takes time, it takes a process, it takes steps to turn that inspiration into a reality. I have ideas, brilliant and creative ideas that come to me all the time. Only a fraction of those ideas actually make it from my mind to my keyboard. And then only a fraction of those actually make it past my scrutiny and onto anywhere useful. 

An artist can have all the inspiration in the world and it won't matter. I have a wealth of inspiration, all the time, and sometimes it just doesn't matter, because I can't get past whatever obstacle, whatever mental barrier I have put up and actually act on that inspiration. You have to be willing to put in the time to make inspiration into something real. You have to endure the process, no matter how many steps are involved

It takes patience to be an artist, of any kind; a painter, a writer, a musician, etc. It takes steps. My inspiration for this post today came from a friend on Facebook. My post from yesterday was pretty narrow and she reminded me that everyone goes through a struggle; not just writers. So it inspired me to write a bit more about it the struggle involved in being creative.

I hope you enjoyed. As always, feel free to leave a comment and share. I hope you are inspired by my inspiration. Happy writing! 

Monday, December 8, 2014

The Struggle Is Real

The struggle of writing is real, folks. 

I say this, because the word struggle, when broken down, is exactly what I have been dealing with when it comes to writing. Struggle; to make forceful or violent efforts to get free of restraint or constriction, to strive to achieve or attain something in the face of difficulty or resistance, to have difficulty handling or coping with something, engage in conflict. The definitions go on and on, though these are particularly relevant to my personal struggle

I'd like to define a few more words within that definition, because the definitions further deepen my own understanding of my struggle, and therefore I hope to deepen your understanding. I also hope to help anyone else who is currently struggling with writing. 

Restraint; a measure or condition that keeps someone or something under control or within limits. In this particular case, and in the case of many writers, my restraint is myself. I am my own struggle, my own barrier, my own limitation. I limit myself when it comes to writing. Therefore, I am making forceful and violent efforts to get free of my own limitations set forth by myself. 

Difficulty; a thing that is hard to accomplish, deal with, or understand. I strive to achieve and attain great writing even in the face of my lack of understanding, my inability to deal with my own exceptions, and my frustration to understand my limitations. I am unable at times to cope with the difficulty that comes with trying to accomplish writing. 

I know this is something that all writers will understand, because we all go through it. We all put so much pressure on ourselves as writers; to be great, to make sense, to stay consistent and relevant. We want to make sense. We want to be heard. We want to be understood. The biggest question I ask myself is, why is someone going to understand what I'm trying to say when sometimes I don't even understand what I'm trying to say? 

Sometimes I don't even understand the point I am trying to get across, or what my motive is. Sometimes I let myself sink into that dark place. You all know what I'm talking about... That dark place where we doubt everything about our writing; we doubt our motive, our ability, our patience. We wonder why we should even write because who is going to read what we're writing anyways. 

It's been at least six months since I have posted to this blog, and it has been a few months since I have written anything that counts as constructive. Every time I thought of writing, that doubt would creep into my mind; why bother? 

I was planning to participate in National Novel Writing Month. I had an amazing plot, which I was in love with. I had my characters all planned out, my story line was great. I had mountains of ideas and I was so proud of myself. Though, when it came time to start writing, the pressure, the struggle, was so real. It was overwhelming; the pressure I put on myself because of my brilliant idea was pressing, suffocating even. I wanted to do this idea justice, and every time I started to write, I felt like a failure. I felt like I wasn't putting out the quality that I felt this idea deserved. 

So I spent the whole month of November at rock bottom, the lowest point of writing I have experienced. The idea for my novel stared me in the face with utter disappointment. I was just baffled and depressed by anything that I could possibly come up with. Nothing met my expectations of greatness that I intended for that novel. 

About halfway through November, I gave up, which is something I have regretted everyday since. I surrendered to my disappointment and let the idea go. I stopped logging in and staring at my computer screen. I was done trying to fight against the struggle I had set forth for myself. 

A big part of it, I've come to realize, is that I am lost. I have lost my plan, somewhere in the midst of life. I no longer have an end game, and this has been bothering me, lingering in the back of my mind and reminding me how lost I am. I finally confronted this feeling. I sat and thought long and hard about it; why was I feeling so lost? What was my plan? What was I going to do with the rest of my life? These are all legitimate questions. 

Though, the more I asked, the more defeated I felt. I didn't have the answers. So finally, I asked myself, do I need to have the answers? Do I need to have a plan? And as I asked myself that, I realized, I do not. The pressure of needing a plan caused such a great deal of stress. As I asked myself if I needed to have all the answers, I felt a weight lifted off my shoulders. As I realized that I do not need to have all the answers, I felt even more weight fall away, and my mind was freer. It began to welcome the inspiration that was all around me, all along. It began to wonder and think about writing. It began to long for writing. Most importantly, I began to long for writing. 

So here I am, finally feeling ready to get back to writing; finally ready to free myself from my own limitations and throw myself back into writing. 

I know a lot of my viewers will be or used to be writers, so I hope you all read this and can relate. I also hope you will comment and share your own struggle. Happy writing friends! 

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Why Should We Settle for Small Words?

When you think of the word 'smart,' what do you think about? 

Do you think of intelligence? "That guy is really smart!" 

Or do you think of pain? "My knee really smarts!" 

The word 'smart' can mean many different things. It's a very universal and flexible term. To smart can mean to be a source of sharp or superficial pain, such as a wound. Though, the word smart as I intend to use it means to have or show quick intelligence or ready mental capability. 

The list of synonyms that go along with the word 'smart' is endless; acute, alert, brainy, bright, brilliant, canny, clever, genius, keen, knowing, nimble, and many more. 

Though, all these words, do they all mean to have quick intelligence? 

My brother and I will often argue about words. He is a couple of years younger than I, therefore he has not experienced as much of the world. He is incredibly bright, but can be naive at times. 

I used the word 'exponential' and he wasn't sure what it meant. I told him it meant 'rapidly increasing' and he quirks his eyebrow up at me. "Why wouldn't you just say 'rapidly increasing'?" 

I looked at him and I paused for a moment. Why didn't I just use the phrase 'rapidly increasing'? I had to think about it before I answered him but finally I resolved that it was because the word 'exponentially' sounded better and less wordy and it also was more powerful. 'Rapidly increasing' gets the message across, but the power behind 'exponentially' is far greater. 

'Exponentially' brings back mathematical terms. An exponent, which we said as 'to the power', multiplies by multiples. There can multiple exponents, and as you multiply, the number you are multiply grows rapidly. If you think of the number 10 to the exponent or power of 10, that's ten multiplied by ten, ten times. And if you take the shortcut, you just add ten zeros to the original number. 

Now that is much more powerful than simply 'rapidly increasing.' 

Another question crossed my mind when he asked me this; why should we settle for 'rapidly increasing' when there are words like 'exponentially'? 

If we revert back to the word 'smart' and its many synonyms, 'smart' is the equivalent to 'rapidly increasing'. Why should we settle for 'smart' when we can use words such as 'brilliant'? 'Brilliant is a far more powerful way to express someone being smart. Brilliant means to have or show great intelligence, talent or quality. 

Brilliant has it's own place, but it is probably better suited elsewhere, rather than explaining someone's intelligence. 'Shining brightly, sparkling, glittering, lustrous.' This is how brilliant should be primarily used; not to describe someone's intelligence. This particular word should be used to describe a ring or a piece of jewelry. 

Now, someone who is smart and someone who is say clever are two different people. 

Why? 

Someone who is smart simply has quick intelligence. 

Someone who is clever? Someone who is clever shows inventiveness or originality. They're also ingenious. Now that is a lot more powerful and descriptive than smart! 

Far too often, we are willing to settle for the smaller, less powerful words. We are willing to settle for less rather than reach for more. Why would there be all of these others words if we weren't meant to use them? There cannot simply be one word for everything. There simply cannot. We cannot use smart to describe everyone who has an ounce of intelligence. There are varying levels of intelligence. We cannot use one word to describe emotions. 

There is an exponential amount of known words, and the numbers grow everyday. I learn new words everyday. You learn new words everyday, too, even if you don't realize it. There are new words being made everyday. We cannot possibly keep up. There is no way for a single person to know every word, but we can at least strive for more. 

As always, thank you very much for reading. I feel that my more personal postings have freed my mind and made me more focused. I have found my center and purpose for this blog again and I hope you enjoyed this posting. 

Happy blogging. 

Thursday, May 8, 2014

What is Blogging?

When you think of a blog, how would you define it? How would you define your blog?  

When I think of blogging, I find myself conflicted and often intimidated by the freeness of it. 

I am writing this entry, after several weeks of absence. I haven't found the time to write lately, and in part, this entry will explain why. 

While I have been extremely busy with my business these past few weeks, I have also been avoiding writing. Every time I move to touch my keyboard, I am conflicted and, quite honestly, frightened. I am intimidated by the keyboard and what it holds the key to. The keyboard holds the key to a world of creation and complex thought. It is the passage which the words of a writer takes. 

'Intimidate' means 'to make timid or fill with fear,' 'timid' meaning to be 'lacking in self-assurance.' I am not very self-assured when it comes to writing. A lot of times, I feel like anyone can write. There's a whole host of people who write; what makes me any different? This is where I back down and run away from my keyboard, busying myself with other things that don't involve writing or making a post to my blog. 

I read a blog posting by a friend of mine, named Jeff Goins. I met him through Twitter right around the time I started writing my blog and I found his postings very interesting and inspiring! There was a particular blog posting that really related to how I feel most of the time when I write; "A Writer's Biggest Struggle." (I'll insert a link at the bottom of this posting.) The posting began with this one sentence, and it struck me hard; 

"It's one little thought that threatens to destroy their (writer's) message before it ever leaves their fingertips; what I say doesn't matter." 

This is the battle that I constantly fight, as I know many other writers fight. 

This blog also intimidates me. The freeness and limitless bounds of blogging daunts me. I mentioned in an earlier posting about how free writing intimidates me. There is too much room and not enough structure, and I tend to back down from such writing. This blog is a huge step for me and 'freeing' my writing. It takes a great deal of mental power for me to write, freely and unconstructed. 

By definition, a blog is a website containing a writer's own experiences, observations or opinions. 'Observation' means 'an act or instance that is perceived. An opinion can make for a hot or touchy topic, but it means 'a belief or judgment that rests on grounds insufficient to produce complete certainty.' 

This definition made me think, a lot. My thoughts on this happened so fast, almost like popcorn going off in my head. Writing about the definition of the true meaning of words is a lot like expressing an opinion. No one can know exactly what a word means or was meant to mean. Not everyone uses the same definition of the same word. The connotations, 'connotation' meaning 'the associated or secondary meaning of a word', that go along with other words are a lot like opinions. Our belief of the meaning of a word does not have sufficient grounds and is not completely certain when perceived by others. Not everyone knows in what way we are using all words. 

This, in its entirety, intimidates me. 

Though, when I sit with my computer, or my iPad, or my iPhone, and I write out a blog posting like this one, and I share it with my followers, and I watch and see all the hits it gets, I feel free. I feel relieved. I feel rejuvenated and glad that I took the time to sit and force myself to write something, because even if no one ever thinks anything of it, at least I did it. 

I would love it if you would share your thoughts in the comments! 

If you are a fellow writer who fights the same battles, or if this strikes you in any manner, please share it with me. Share your struggle, your success, your secret to overcoming, even if momentarily, and the battle. 

Thank you for reading, and happy blogging! 

Jeff Goins - http://goinswriter.com/biggest-struggle/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+GoinsWriter+%28Goins%2C+Writer%3A+On+Writing%2C+Ideas%2C+and+Making+a+Difference%29


Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Déjà Vu and Lacan...

When I think of déjà vu, the Real concept by Jacques Lacan comes to mind. The psychological term means to have the illusion of having previously experienced something actually being encountered for the first time. The only word that needs further defining to understand this definition is 'illusion'; something that deceives by producing a false or misleading impression of reality. When we experience a misleading impression of reality that presents itself as an experience we have already lived, although we are experiencing it for the first time, we are experiencing déjà vu.

I pulled this definition of the Real concept by Jacques Lacan from the CLA Purdue website;
"The state of nature from which we have been forever severed by our entrance into language. Only as neo-natal children were we close to this state of nature, a state in which there is nothing but need. A baby needs and seeks to satisfy those needs with no sense for any separation between itself and the external world or the world of others. For this reason, Lacan sometimes represents this state of nature as a time of fullness or completeness that is subsequently lost through the entrance into language. The primordial animal need for copulation (for example, when animals are in heat) similarly corresponds to this state of nature. There is a need followed by a search for satisfaction. As far as humans are concerned, however, "the real is impossible," as Lacan was fond of saying. It is impossible in so far as we cannot express it in language because the very entrance into language marks our irrevocable separation from the real. Still, the real continues to exert its influence throughout our adult lives since it is the rock against which all our fantasies and linguistic structures ultimately fail. The real for example continues to erupt whenever we are made to acknowledge the materiality of our existence, an acknowledgement that is usually perceived as traumatic (since it threatens our very "reality"), although it also drives Lacan's sense of jouissance. The Real works in tension with the imaginary order and the symbolic order."
I experience a moment of déjà vu every once and a while. My moments of déjà vu are always similar to a dream I have had previously, though I don’t know that I have dreamed of it until it happens. When I wake up, I often cannot remember the concept of the dream, but I can remember that I have dreamed. I am usually speaking when it happens, and as I speak, I get this tingling feeling in the back of my head. I begin to think of a dream that I have had. As the situation unfolds before me, I am no longer speaking. I have finished what I have said, and my moment of déjà vu is always when someone else is talking, or when nothing is happening. I can feel it coming. The tingling grows as the fast-lived scene happens and I can remember the dream and it is exactly like the moment I am seeing.

The part about this that makes me think of Lacan, is the fact that I am never speaking when déjà vu happens to me. I cannot speak; I am dumb struck as I sit and watch. I feel almost as though I am watching the scene outside of my own body. It feels unreal. I sometimes can't even speak after the fact for a few moments because what I have experienced is so unnerving. I am expressionless. I am speechless. 

I learned of Lacan’s concept in a literary analysis class where we connected our texts to different theories. I understood Lacan’s concept of the Real as that we do not live in the Real. We spend a very minute amount of time in the Real. We spent a great deal of our time in two different stages; the Imaginary and the Symbolic. Those two stages are not important here, though these are the stages we primarily live in.

I digress. We do not spend much time in the Real, and the Real is understood to be moments separate from words. It is understood that we cannot equate words to our experience of the Real. The Real moments are when we experience extreme pain, or pleasure, or shock. When we burn our hand or we experience extreme bodily pleasure, we do not form coherent words. Lacan’s concept says that “we cannot express it in language, because the very entrance into language marks our irrevocable separation from the [R]eal.” I understand that déjà vu is a moment that we experience in the Real, and these moments of the Real are not regularly attainable. We cannot force these moments. 

Do you ever experience déjà vu? Do you realize you are experiencing it? What are some experiences you have had with the Real? 

As always, thank you for reading. Leave your thoughts and responses in the comments. Happy blogging my friends. 

<http://www.cla.purdue.edu/english/theory/psychoanalysis/definitions/real.html> (Here is the link to the full definition of the Real.)

Why I use this approach...

When people are trying to get an idea out of their head, whether they be writers, readers or students, they try many different things. Some do free writing. I find that when I am writing fictional pieces, this is the most beneficial. Others do listing or mapping and neither of these have ever really worked for me.  

Today, I had to write another critical engagement essay for my film class. I knew I was going to do my essay on Band of Outsiders, but I had no idea on what. I was stuck. I watched the movie, twice, but sitting there, watching this movie that didn't make any sense to me, I couldn't think of the slightest thing to write this paper on. 

When I am stuck, I don't use free writing or mapping. I go to the dictionary; I define words. Whether I am writing a paper for school, writing a post for this blog or trying to find the right word to use in everyday conversation, I consult the dictionary. The dictionary is my very best friend. 

Even if I know what the words I am trying to use mean, I look them up in the dictionary. When I think I know what a word means, it's usually because I've used it so many times and I can just remember the context in which I've used it in before. I go, "Oh yea, I used it like that so it will work here." I fear this is what a lot of people do, and no one looks back at the first meaning. 

It reminds me of a game of telephone. When I was a kid, I went to a summer camp. One of the games we played often was telephone. Everyone sat around in a circle. Sometimes there were fifteen of us who sat around, criss-cross applesauce and waited for our turn. One person started by whispering a phrase or a sentence into the ear of the person next to them. Then, that person would listen and try to figure out what the previous person had whispered, and you only had one chance to hear what they said. Then, that person would try to whisper the sentence into the next person's ear. Sure, at first the sentence still sounded like what the first person had said. Though, as one person tried to repeat what one person thought they had heard, eventually the sentence got back to the first person, and it sounded nothing like what the sentence was. 

This is exactly what happens with words today. One person says a word and uses it in a sentence. Then, someone else who hears that person use it uses it in a sentence and they sort of get it right. Then the next person tries and eventually, the context that surrounds this word sounds nothing like what the first person said! 

No one sits around and reads the dictionary anymore. A small portion of people pride themselves on knowing definitions and using words properly. Too many times I've argued with a friend or a partner about the use of a word. They argue me to the death, because they have used this word so many times and they remember what it means. Too many more times I have pulled up the definition of the word and showed them that they are using it wrong. 

While it's nice to have the ability to commit the definitions and the contextual surroundings of words to memory, sometimes it's better to get back to the basics. I don't seem to have very many good examples, but I hope you understand what I mean when I talk about the true meaning of a word. Anyone can go to the dictionary and look up the definition of a word, but do we understand what that means? 

Sometimes, when we define a word, there are more words that we need to define. The definition holds more words that we think we know the definitions of. This, right here, is the part that I absolutely love about words. I love that you can look up one word and it will lead you to another one. You can look up words all day and each one will lead back to the first one that you looked at. This is what I love to do and it is what I want to do in this blog. I want to share with you, my readers and audience, and hopefully friends, the words that I find. I want to share the chemical reaction that goes off when we look up one word. 

The 'popcorn' effect that happens when looking up a word is almost like mapping when you think of it. One word is in the middle of all of your other words and they all lead back to the main word. They all lead back to the initial explosion that occurred. 

In reality, there aren't people walking around with their noses in a dictionary, yelling at people who don't know the "by-the-book" definition of a word. Though there are a lot of people who do, and I strive to find those people. Those like minded people who sit around with their nose in the dictionary are the people I want to connect with, along with anyone who shares the common interest of words! 

When was the last time you looked up a word in the dictionary that you think you already knew the definition to? 

I do this a lot. I do it almost everyday. Technology has made it so simple for us to grab our phone and look up anything with a couple of clicks on our mobile keypads. I have the Dictionary.com application on my phone. I have an iPhone, so when I'm texting I can just highlight a word and bring up the definition of the word I'm using with a single touch. 

How do we come to learn the definitions of so many words? 

We house a vast majority of words in our small brains. We memorize so many definitions. We remember the context in which a word was once used and use our brain power to decipher what that word actually, supposedly means. Our brain is a beautiful piece of machinery. 

I have some homework for my readers. The next time you go to use a word that you think you know the meaning of, look it up. Google it, Yahoo it, pull out the good ol' hard-cover dictionary; however you want to find it. When you do, go ahead and comment below with your word and the definition. I am so curious to see what you find! 

Until next time, and happy blogging! 

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

The True Meaning...

You will often see me refer to the true meaning of words. You will see me ask if we know what the true meaning is of a word. I will ask, time and again, what was the true meaning of a word. What was this word meant for or to be? This is what I strive for, mainly, in this blog; the true meaning of words. 

What do I mean when I say true meaning? 

When I refer to the true meaning of a word or words, I mean to ponder what a word was intended to mean when it was first used. The true definition of the word 'meaning' is what is intended to be expressed or indicated. To intend, is to design or mean for a particular purpose or use. Thus, the meaning is to be designed for a particular purpose to be expressed or indicated, indicating mean to be assigned. 

The word 'true' means being in accordance with the actual state or conditions, or conforming to fact. I want to focus on the word 'fact' first, which means something that actually exists- fair enough. The word 'conform' means to make similar in form; having a likeness or resemblance (similar), which then means to be like or similar (resemblance), and then 'like' means to be of the same form. Form means a particular condition in which something appears. 

I could go on like this all day, because each word in a definition can be defined further. The domino effect is incredible when defining words. It's almost like a piece of glass exploding into a million pieces, and each one is another word with another definition. It's beautiful, really.

Anyways, we can establish that the word 'true' means being in agreement (accord) and having a resemblance (similar) to the condition in which the word actually exists (fact, form).

Thus, when I want the true meaning of a word, I want exactly what the word was designed for and I want it to be in agreement with how the word actually exists, or rather existed. Usually, we do not use words, or know, how words were intended to be used. There are all of the connotations (associated or secondary meanings of a word or expression, in addition to its explicit meaning) that go along with words today; connotations that are not similar to how the word exists.

The word 'purpose' was in the definition of the word intend. It comes to mind now; the reason for which something exists. To exist means to continue to be, and to be means to continue or remain as before.

For example, the word 'pretty' is not usually used in accordance with the reason for which the word exists. The reason that the word 'pretty' was created, was to express cunning or gallant. It means, first and foremost, that something is pleasing or attractive to the eye, as by delicacy or gracefulness. Sometimes, pretty is meant to describe the state of something, such as "my wound is pretty big." Well, a wound is not pretty. It is not pleasing to the eye. It is not graceful. It is repulsive and rough.

How often do you hear someone use the word 'pretty' to express someone's beauty? 

My thoughts often ponder why this happens. I find myself wondering how the meaning of words became what they are today. What happened that changed the meaning of the word 'gay'? Or rather, what changed the knowledge of this word? What has occurred that has made people think first of this word's secondary meaning, rather than it's first meaning? Did we even have knowledge of this word's true meaning when we began using it? Is there anyway to know? As I think of words that are similar to this situation, I ask myself all of these questions.

I digress. In this blog, I plan to pursue the true meaning of words, and I hope you will follow me on this journey that I take. I hope it inspires you to pursue the journey, as well! If throughout this post, you thought of a word that you would like me to provide the true meaning of, please comment below and let me know. I would be happy to engage with my readers, and I look forward to the possibilities. I want to hear your thoughts!

As always, thank you for reading and happy blogging. 

Monday, March 31, 2014

The Title... Intelligent and Cognitive Processes...

The title of my blog has been a phrase that I have used for many years. I have written many things over the years, and when I had a different blog, I used that phrase as my 'catch phrase'. When I tell the people that I know what my blog is titled, I tend to get a quirked-up eyebrow. When I show the title to my friends, they look at me like I have shown them a foreign language. It's true; these words can look very foreign. Even though we know what these words mean, as is the purpose and focus of my blog, we do not know the true meaning, and the true meaning of words is important, especially in this case.

When you think of the word 'intelligent,' what words come to mind? Certainly, the word smart comes to mind. An intelligent person is smart and they know a lot, but what does the word 'smart' really mean? The word smart means to show quick intelligence or ready mental capability. The definition does not really clarify, though, does it? It brings us back to the word intelligent.

Intelligent means having good understanding or a high mental capacity. It also means quick to comprehend or understand, but importantly, it means to display or be characterized by quickness of understanding, sound thought or good judgment. If not more important, the word intelligent means to have the faculty of reasoning.

Then, there's the next word; 'cognitive.' When we think of the word cognitive, we think of the brain. I think of brain functions and thoughts. The definition is really powerful; of or pertaining to the act or process of knowing, perceiving or remembering. That definition is perfect. There are a lot of ways to define words, but that definition does not leave anything left unsaid.

The definition of cognitive leads us to the last word of my title; process. Processing means to handle something by systematically organizing, recording or making notations. In there is the word systematically, which, when broken down, the word system means a combination of things or parts forming a unitary whole. Thus, with all of this new found information, we can thoroughly define the title of my blog.

My blog and I display a good understanding of words, and have the ability to organize the parts used in the processes of knowing, perceiving and remembering words.

Thank you again for visiting and reading about my blog. If you have any thoughts, please share them in the comment section. If there is a word or series of words that you would like me to break down and define, please ask in the comments or email me! I would be so excited to do so for you! Share my blog with your fellow logophile friends; I would appreciate the exposure! Happy blogging.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

My Inspiration... From Vertigo

The inspiration for my blog came from my Film class. My professor asked us to write an essay on one of the films we had viewed in class. The assignment called for a 4 page paper, and it needed to be a critical assessment of the film. That was all we were given as far as what was needed, required or wanted for this assignment.

As an English major, I have taken mostly general education courses in my first two years, not leaving much room for major specific classes until just recently. I have never heard of an essay being referred to as a critical engagement. I wasn't sure if that made me uneducated, but the professor was a little bit off to begin with. 

Safe to say, I was frustrated and confused. When I am presented with an assignment that does not have much structure, I am intimidated. I spend a lot of time worrying about what exactly is expected. I worry that my interpretation of the assignment is not going to be what the professor's idea is. I spent a great deal of my time while preparing for this paper spinning my wheels and running in circles- I was flailing. 

After a few hours, I finally had an idea... I decided to define critical engagement. I didn't even bother Googling the phrase; I went straight to 'dictionary.com' and punched the two words in, one at a time. I was amazed at how simply defining the word gave me a better understanding of what I needed to do.

We all know what the word critical means. When we think of something critical, we think of something important, something pressing, but we mostly think of a critical condition or a critical issue. The word 'critical' originated in the mid 16th century, and was used how we usually think of it today; relating to the crisis of a disease or issue. Though, the word have evolved and has many more meanings.

The world critical can pertain to a person's health, meaning they are in critical condition or extremely ill. The word critical also can be used to describe a critical situation, which has the potential to become dangerous or turn into a crisis.

Though, the main use of the word is used to express adverse or disapproving judgments. It also means to conduct an analysis of the merits or faults of a work of literature, music or art piece, but the one that brought it home for me was this; incorporating a detailed and scholarly analysis and commentary. 

At this point, there was no need for me to define the word engagement. If you remove the suffix, there's just engage. I needed to use a detailed and professional analysis of the good or bad of a movie to engage my professor. 

I could feel the ground beneath my feet begin to stabilize as a dam cracked inside my head and ideas upon ideas began to flow through. I had to take a moment to sort out all that was going on in my head in order to concentrate on one idea. With the flood of ideas, I knew which movie to do my paper on; Alfred Hitchcock's Vertigo.

I quickly grabbed my notebook and began to spill my ideas onto this poor, defenseless piece of paper; it didn't stand a chance. As I began to write down my ideas, I focused on one main point; the meaning of the word 'vertigo.' For those of you who know the movie, I don't need to explain what a great and moving film this is. It is beautifully thought out and carefully put together, in order to create a roller coaster of a film!

Vertigo means to experience a sensation of whirling and loss of balance, associated with looking down from a great height. This sensation can also be caused by a disease of the inner ear. The sensation can also be defined as 'giddiness,' which means a tendency to fall or stagger. The word 'vertigo' also originated from the Latin word 'vertere,' which means "to turn." As I looked at these words, I realized there were a lot of words that I did not know the true meaning of, so I began to dig deeper.

The word stagger meant to tilt within stable surroundings or being within tilting or spinning surroundings. I connected this with balance and drew 'loss of balance,' which means the instability of one's mind or feelings. While I was looking up the meaning of this, I found the word disequilibrium, a synonym, which meant lack of stability. I continued and looked up the word stable; not likely to change or fail, or firmly established. Then I looked up the meaning of unstable; prone to change, fail or give way. Finally, I was satisfied. I wrote down all of these definitions and began to connect them to part of the movie.

At first, I did not appreciate this film, but as I wrote this paper, I saw what everyone else saw. One of the thing's that bothered me about the film were Scottie's vertigo symptoms, or lack there of, during the film. He experienced symptoms, and we were made to see these symptoms, during the beginning and very end of the film. I felt like the film was named after the disease, so why shouldn't he experience these feelings of whirling and loss of balance throughout the whole film!

That's when it hit me; Scottie's entire existence in the film is plagued by a 'state of vertigo,' as I coined it. While he does not experience the physiological symptoms of vertigo, the events and characters of the film are him metaphoric symptoms. My excitement over my revelation was through the roof! I could not contain it and had to focus my entire paper of this finding;

"Without even the basic knowledge of the word vertigo, one cannot comprehend the contextual concepts behind the film. The film utilizes vertigo throughout the entire movie; a state of vertigo, the illness and symptoms of vertigo, as well as the metaphysical vertigo. Vertigo is personified throughout the film in more than one character, thus carrying the underlying symptoms. The surface of Vertigo cannot be scratched without a thorough analysis of the word and its meaning." - Tresa Strohkirch. 

The work that I put into this paper was ground breaking for me. It was clarifying. I am constantly sticking my nose into my phone, defining words, looking up the true meaning of a word that I want to use, in order to make sure I am using it correctly. I also do this because it is exciting for me! It is fun for me to look up a word and look back on how a word was used back when it originated. I'm constantly curious to see how this or that is used in daily life and how it has evolved from what it was meant to be used for. I love finding a new way to use a word, in different context.

Thus, here is my blog, where I intend to go on and on about the words I find and what they mean and how they're used. I imagine the bulk of my followers will be those of similar mind, but I am so very excited to share this with everyone! Please, if you think of anything while you read this, or it inspires anything inside of you, or you see a word that you would like me to define in this manner, email me! I am excited to do it.

Thank you for reading, and I will see you next time!

Friday, March 28, 2014

Intro & About Me

This is a little expansion on my About Me section and an introduction to my blog.

I will start off with saying that I am new to blogging. I have never blogged. My time as a writer has been spent writing novels, short stories, co-operative writing, fiction,... the list goes on. I have heard a lot about blogs in the last year and up until now have not had the time to dedicate to a blog. Though, I have an easy semester right now, as well as summer coming up. I figured now was the best time to start learning the ropes!

Before I began my English and writing education at UW-Parkside, I was at Gateway Technical College. I began there at the age of 16. I graduated high school early and was able to do so thanks to homeschooling. Before college, I had been writing for a long time. I can remember at age twelve, writing stories on the computer with friends. Before that, I kept journals and wrote to myself. I have always had an interest in writing.

When I began college at Gateway, I was not aware that writing was what I wanted to do with my life. Back then, I was neck deep in photography; my first year of college was nothing but electives in photography and graphic design. After the initial high from that wore off, I realized it didn't speak to my heart like I thought it did. I wasn't as invested as I could have been, or as the people who were around me. Having realized my love was not where I had spent the last year of my love, I took on a more diverse class load; business, marketing, and English classes. This is when I found out my life needed to be about writing!

My plan for my blog is to thoroughly examine the definition of words and relate to how these words are used in normal life. I analyse words on a molecular level everyday, and I plan to share my thoughts on these words here. I may from time to time write about psychology or philosophy, but mainly words. I also may post something that I have written in my English courses, or other courses, such as my Film class, which requires 3 critical engagements.

I hope this blog is everything and anything my followers are looking for. If there is ever a word you would like me to define in the way that I define words, I take requests. It can be very interesting to learn the definition of a word in the way that I look at them.

Thank you for scrolling and wandering through my blog! I hope to make a connection with all of you!