GeeksnBarbells Podcast Ep.2-Creativity and the effect environment has on it

At GeeksnBarbells, we delve into the creative world and how healthy living and mindset can maximize our potential, as well as just geeking out on gaming, anime, books, art, and the world of fitness and nutrition.

In this episode, we explore the concept of creativity, and how our external and internal inputs, such as work spaces, personal life, and how we eat and move can effect our brains and our creative output.

Little Joys Ch. 37

This post is part of an ongoing challenge to share a little joy I have found each day of this year, and perhaps for the rest of my life. I hope you enjoy it!

February 6th, 2020

Passion is a fascinating thing. When it hits someone, or a group, it can help create the most beautiful, weird, awesome works that we have had the pleasure to see and hear in our lifetimes.

As I was re-watching whisper of the heart yesterday, one of studio Ghibli’s films, I was caught up in how beautiful every scene was, the attention to detail, the care put into each characters development, even if what they did or said was quite silly.

It was a double hit to the soul really, as the main characters of the film are two young children who are embarking on separate journeys in which they are discovering their passions and what they enjoy doing. For one, that is going to Italy to learn to create violins, for the other, it is becoming a writer, and developing her own story for the first time in her life. Intertwined through it all is a focus on discovery, on pushing themselves to see what they can do, to see whether what is in their head and hearts is real.

For many of us, passion ebbs and wanes. It is hard to maintain sometimes, because of the monotony of the daily grind, issues with family and friends, relationship woes, sickness and fatigue, the list goes on and on. We forget all about that joy of discovery we had when we were younger, when it was all about the journey, about testing our limits, seeing what we were capable of.

Part of my leaving home and traveling around has been a giant test run. To see if I was able to do this writing thing. And it’s been a roller-coaster ride of ups and downs, moments of furious creativity, followed by weeks and months of listless energy and a void in my mind so vast I felt like I was falling without end.

But then I come across something like whisper of the heart, and I remember why I started this, what the whole point of it all is. It’s the discovery, the journey, the beauty of trying to find a light in all this chaos.

One step at a time.

One little joy at a time.

 

 

Question of the day: Can book series get too long?

As the years have come and gone, I have had the pleasure to read a wide assortment of series. From fantasy to sci fi, action to philosophy, I have read and read.

I sometimes wonder if authors get a little carried away sometimes. They fall too deeply into their stories, and a series that should have been five books ends up as 13.

We all hear about this in relation to tv series, and films of course. But the same case can be made for a variety of book series that simply lose themselves in the minutiae of the world and forget the reason the story came into being in the first place.

Probably the best example I can think of is a series that I have to say is in my top five favorite novels of all time, and that is the wheel of time series.

Robert Jordan’s books are one of the greatest stories to ever be written down, ever. That being said, around book 8 it really, really starts to drag. Characters that serve no purpose start getting dragged into the light, main characters are pushed aside or simply put through similar situations that do not cause any significant character changes or development. Robert became too invested in the world, and got stuck.

Now as I said, I still consider the series to be one of the best there is, so it isn’t like there was anything particularly bad about what he delved into in the later books, but at the end of the day it did detract from the focus of the main characters, who were already quite numerous and needed a lot of time to develop due to the complexity of the story line. So adding more detail to other people and aspects that added little value to the overall plot became annoying, and I found myself skimming through parts on my second to third readings of the series because they seemed like nothing but filler.

I find this to be a distinct issue in series that have more than 2 or 3 main characters. Once you start expanding past that point you get really bogged down, and there are very few authors who have the capacity to handle so many perspectives, much less for 15 novels, each over 500 pages long.

Being in the process of writing my own novel, which at this point only has two central characters, I am truly amazed at how Robert was able to handle so many, so I don’t want this to come across as thinking I can do better, I definitely know I am nowhere near that level.

But I really wish that other authors would take this into account, more is not always better. I love complexity, I love deep, fleshed out stories, but slogging through an extra book or two that really didn’t add much to a story is not the best use of creative talent.

I am not sure exactly where I wanted to go with this rant, except to say that as a book lover, I am sending all the good juju vibes I can to authors out there and I hope anyone reading this takes it as constructive criticism aimed at making a big undertaking like a series of books and making it a little easier by adding more simplicity.

A minimalist approach often works wonders for big projects because our brains can get a little windy in their old age.

Food for thought.

Little Joys Ch.30

This post is part of an ongoing challenge to share a little joy I have found each day of this year, and perhaps for the rest of my life. I hope you enjoy it!

January 30th, 2020

Throughout my life I have struggled to connect what I enjoy doing with how I make money to survive.

Most jobs I have worked in, and there has been a lot, have been jobs that slowly withered my spirit and yanked every creative urge out of my ass and threw it out the window.

Working online these last two weeks has been a strange experience, making money through my writing and looking forward into a future where perhaps this can be a way to actually live has been confusing and a bit frightening.

I am not sure where this is going to take me, but it makes me appreciate the opportunities that have been presented to me, the chances that people have taken on me.

When my employer first connected with me, I had zero experience with writing professionally, yet she gave me a shot, and kept motivating me while also correcting the numerous…numerous…numerous mistakes I have made while creating content for her.

And now due to her effort and patience I have improved, and she has offered me higher paying work due to that. It won’t last forever, but it’s an opportunity, a chance to challenge myself and learn, something I have run away from in many aspects of my life.

It is something I am working on improving.

I guess I am just happy to have someone who barely knows me take a chance on me, happy to be blessed with an opportunity to do better, be better. Happy that I have people who care within my friends and family, people  who motivate me and worry about my health and safety and are just glad I am doing something that suits me.

Little joys can be found in every moment of every day.

Keep your eyes open for them.

 

Little Joys Ch.29

This post is part of an ongoing challenge to share a little joy I have found each day of this year, and perhaps for the rest of my life. I hope you enjoy it!

January 29th, 2020

With the Tet holiday still in force here in Vietnam, as well as everyone going a bit crazy over the corona virus, finding a place to eat and relax has sometimes been a bit difficult.

A few days ago I came across this sweet little restaurant called Breco, which is run by a brother and sister. I am not a fan of restaurants in general, but sometimes you find these perfect spots, where price and quality and just great atmosphere combine to make you feel so zen and at home.

I have been coming here every day since, working and reading and just letting the calm just wash over me. It is a sanctuary of sorts, a way to just tap into my inner happy place and let the creativity come out.

For anyone wandering in to the city of Da Nang, you should definitely check it out!

 

The power of books

“I have lived a thousand lives and I’ve loved a thousand loves. I’ve walked on distant worlds and seen the end of time. Because I read.”

-George R.R. Martin

 

Books are portals through which imagination can soar through uncharted skies, skies the likes of which we who live on this floating ball called Earth can never inhabit in the flesh, but can dig our hands into through the mind of another.

One of Humanities greatest gifts to itself was the written word. We can never truly grasp how much of an effect it has had on our society, the ability to pass on information from one generation to the next, expanding our minds through the years.

When it comes to fiction, which holds a special place in my heart, I cannot even imagine what my life would be like if I had not grown up with the stories I was blessed to read.

Who would I be without Robert Jordan, J.K. Rowling, Brandon Sanderson, Philip Pullman and the host of other amazing authors who blessed my mind with their many worlds.

A lesser person, with much less capacity to envision other lives, other perspectives.

My ability to connect with others is so strong because I have connected with thousands of people through their stories, real and imagined.

We need more stories in this world, more inspiration, more beauty and art and wonder.

To those out there doing their best to create, keep on giving, the world needs you.

Words worth hearing Vol:8 Education, wonder and creativity

Wonder, that immense feeling of connection we feel when we come upon something suddenly that touches us in a way we simply cannot express in words is a profoundly healing experience.

It is an experience that many schools and places of learning have destroyed in our society. Some few places remain faithful to their creed to expand the minds of the youths under their care, but for most, it has become simply an administration that needs to pump out B and As to look good in the hopes of getting more prestige and money.

It is our generations task to rekindle that spirit of awe and inspire a new journey of discovery in a world that has been built up to put out the fire that we all hold as children.

 

When longing dies, creativity ceases. The arduous task of being a human is to balance longing and belonging so that they work with and against each other to ensure that all the potential and gifts that sleep in the clay of the heart may be awakened and realized in this one life.

-John O’donohue

To the degree that one is able to approach learning as a task of discovering something rather than “learning about” it, to that degree there will be a tendency for the child to work with the autonomy of self-reward,or, more properly, be rewarded by discovery itself.

-Jerome Bruner