I Can’t Think Like Steinbeck without My Coffee!!

By on 6-21-2015 in Writing

I Can’t Think Like Steinbeck without My Coffee!!

Beethoven, Gustav Mahler, Francis Bacon, and the legendary coffee drinker and author Honore de Balzac all could not begin to get their creative juices flowing without coffee. Balzac drank, on average, 50 cups of coffee per day or he could not write! He even wrote about how coffee was part of his daily morning ritual before he even picked up a pen and wrote anything:

“Coffee glides into one’s stomach and sets all of one’s mental processes in motion. One’s ideas advance in column of route like battalions of the Grande Armée…Were it not for coffee one could not write, which is to say one could not live.”

Johann Sebastian Bach actually wrote a short opera about his obsession with coffee entitled, “The Coffee Cantata”. In it, he tells the story of a young, energetic woman, named Aria, who loves coffee so much she pleads with her father, who is against her drinking the caffeinated devil, and tells him it is, “…more delicious than a thousand kisses.”

Benjamin Franklin hung out at coffee shops centuries before it was popular with millennials. He carried out political meetings, played chess, and even sold his own coffee beans! When he stayed in London, he instructed his sister to send all of his mail to one of his favorite coffee shops there where he would be doing all of his writing and other correspondence.

And if coffee alone doesn’t seem to give an author enough energy to get their creative juices flowing, think about Soren Kierkegaard who added thirty sugar cubes to each cup of coffee he drank.

Those are some seriously committed coffee-drinking authors!

A Lesser Vice

Caffeine is considered one of the “lesser” vices for authors compared to many who chose much more potent alternatives such as alcohol or Benzadrine for the authors Jack Kerouac and Jean Paul Satre.

The Atlantic Monthly published an article in June 2013 that debunked the idea that coffee had an adverse effect on creativity. It talks about the molecular makeup of caffeine and one of its main ingredients, cyclic AMP, which gives your body energy. Phosphodiesterase, an enzyme our body manufactures, breaks cyclic AMP down. Caffeine blocks this enzyme, thus allowing the cyclic AMP to stay around in our system even longer. Hence, more creative juices for a longer period of time the more caffeine we drink.

You can check out the entire article at: https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2013/06/caffeine-for-the-more-creative-mind/277069/

Slight Drawback – Nothing that Can’t Be Fixed

If you follow this advice, and coffee becomes your author’s vice of choice, you will need to be extra diligent in your oral hygiene. Coffee’s “extra juices” also include more opportunities for your teeth to succumb to dental issues.

According to the American Dental Association (ADA), flossing daily is one of the best ways to alleviate oral hygiene problems caused by excessive coffee consumption and tooth-decaying bacteria. Most dentists have found that people do not use the proper technique with string floss, so, they have found better results with water flossers. Water flossers can reach areas where tooth bristles can never reach. Water flossers also help remove plaque and food particles from under the gum line that brushes usually miss. I personally prefer a water flosser over airfloss and string floss.

The ADA also discusses how many of us are improperly brushing. They say that this specific part of our daily oral hygiene needs to be done twice daily, (morning and bedtime), and with the proper technique for the best deterrent to tooth decay. The motto of the ADA is “Two minutes, two times daily”.

A Perfect Pair

Authors and coffee have a history together. Some authorities have tried to disprove the creative element that coffee contains for a writer, but many great authors, passionate about coffee being the foundation of their creative juices, seem to count among them an overwhelmingly successful group of authorities as well. Who would argue with the coffee-driven content of Balzac or Beethoven? Would you?

Change Your Scenery to Find New Ideas

By on 6-21-2015 in Writing

Change Your Scenery to Find New Ideas

Looking for inspiration for your writing? Getting out of your comfort zone is a great way to find what you need in order to truly find your inner voice. One my favorite places to go when I’m looking to get my writing on is the great outdoors. Something about sitting under a tree or by a lake or river really gets my creative juices flowing.

When getting out into those far-off places, though, you’ll want to have a few things. Electricity can be scarce, so you’re probably going to be better off taking a writing utensil and something on which you can write. A laptop can work, for sure, if you’ve got a way to charge it in your vehicle, but that limits your ability to go where your inspiration takes you. On top of that, there’s something incredibly satisfying about writing directly onto paper.

Lighting

If you typically write at night, you’re going to need some sort of light source. For the full natural experience, you can definitely start a campfire and write beside it. In an area where you can’t have a fire, or if you just don’t want to deal with it, an electrical light source can work. A lantern or even a lightbar on your car could be helpful for your needs. Lightbars are especially interesting as they can provide a great amount of light over a large area. You can learn more about them at lightbarliaison.com.

Water

Creativity can come from situations you may not expect. Letting the world around you influence your writing is a great way to find a story. For instance, if you’re leaning against a tree, watching the river flow by, you may catch something special. Someone may go by on a boat or something could float along to inspire your writing. Suddenly, you’ll be writing about the mysterious spy who rowed down a backwoods river to get into some villain’s hidden forest base.

Fire

Or, if love stories are your thing, sitting by a campfire could inspire tales of love between two people. They may have found each other on a rainy night and, as they sat beside a campfire to warm themselves, they fell in love. Your story can start anywhere, it just takes that initial spark. If you sit in your office at all hours of the day waiting for writing inspiration to strike, you may find yourself waiting far longer than you’d like.

Conclusion

The great outdoors doesn’t have to be your source of inspiration, of course. Sometimes just going anywhere new can provide you with what you need. Writing at the library or at a coffee shop among other people can bring thoughts of stories never before written, which is the goal of every author, I believe. You don’t ever want your writing to feel like somebody else’s, so do everything you have to do in order to find those ideas which can be uniquely yours. Feel for your inspiration. Get out of your comfort zone. Go on an adventure, even a small one, so you can tell the world all about your story.

Writing About War

By on 6-21-2015 in Writing

Writing About War

War makes up most of the content in history books everywhere. It can be tough to write, talk, and read about war, especially if it plays a significant part of a person’s life. The very first war noted in history was the battle between Sumer and Elam in 2700 BCE in Mesopotamia. From then on out, war seemed like a frequent occurrence up until today with the most recent and escalating conflict with ISIS. As the years progress, weapons and strategy change, so let’s take a look at what has been used in past and recent conflicts.

Red Dot Sights In War

As technology advanced, guns advanced. One of the attachments for certain types of guns were the red dot sights or reflex sights. These sights illuminate the target through the reflecting glass to give an accurate target. They were used in WWI to bring down fighter aircraft, they were commonly found on guns in WWII and are still used on different kinds of head-up displays. They are mainly used in war to acquire a target on a fast moving person or vehicle such as tanks and aircrafts. Today, they are used for target practice and people can save a large amount of time looking for the best red dot sight for the money if the look on Gun Gods so they can always be as accurate as possible when shooting.

World War I

 

World War I or better known as The Great War, was centered in Europe and lasted from July 28, 1914 until November 11th, 1918. Over 9 million soldiers and 7 million civilians perished as a result of the war. Now, we must ask, what made this war so deadly? Well, here is a short list of who used what kinds of weapons:

  • Germany- Germany had the most powerful weapons which included 150 mm & 210 mm Howitzers and Austrian 305 mm & 420 mm guns.
  • France- France had less powerful weapons which included 75 mm and 105 mm Howitzers.
  • British- They used less powerful weapons such as the 152 mm Howitzer. Although their weapon was smaller, it was so heavy that it had to be assembled in the field.

 

This was one of the deadliest multi-conflict wars in history which ended in a stalemate with the help of machine guns, trench warfare, air reconnaissance, barbed wire, and modern weapons with fragmentation shells.

World War II

World War II was the deadliest war in history with 60-85 million casualties which spanned from 1939-1945. Involved were most of the world’s nations which included all of the great powers. Eventually, it was split into two alliances which were the Allies and the Axis. Since it was the most widespread war in history, there was definitely a wide array of weapons that were used:

  • Rifles- M1902 Springfield, M1 Garand, M1917 Enfield, M1941 Johnson, and the M1 & M1A1 Carbine.
  • Shotguns- Winchester M1897 Trench Gun, Winchester M12, Browning Auto-5, Winchester Model 21, Remington 31, and the Ithaca 37.
  • Machine Guns- Browning M1917A1, Browning M1919A4/A6 and family, B.A.R, M1941 Johnson Light Machine Gun, and the Browning M2HB.
  • Sub Machine Guns- M3/A1 Grease Gun, Thompson Submachine Gun, M50/55 Reising, M42, M2 Hyde.

 

These are just some of the weapons that were used and there are so much more. This is one of the reasons why this war was so deadly. Almost every area had their own group of weapons, one being stronger than someone else’s. There were also tanks used and armored vehicles.

Pursuing A Career As A Writer

By on 6-21-2015 in Writing

We live in a generation where living is so fast-paced, it is very difficult to keep up, at times. The times has also become so modern, almost everyone can be anybody, in seconds.

When you are sick, you check the Internet and you become a “doctor” in an instant. When you need to repair something, you turn on your computer and search how to do repairs, easy as pie. When you want to sing a song and sound good, apps are available to edit your voice and bring it to perfect – instant singer!

There are a lot of things that people can do now, but despite the easy access, it does not mean that the performance and expertise of a person instantly becomes at par with those that actually gave time and effort to be in the profession they are in.

When you check Google for answers to your medical situation, you can never classify yourself as a doctor. This is also a dangerous practice because misdiagnosis is very possible when you do this kind of self-diagnosis. It is still always best, and proper, to consult a real doctor.

When you can edit your voice, it does not make you an instant singer. Even if you get a shot at fame, sooner or later, that edited voice will sold you out and you’ll lose fans even before you get them.

This situation is also drowning real authors and writers. With a lot of applications that allow free publishing of written works, it becomes difficult for those writers with actual talents to penetrate the writing industry. There are a lot of amateur writers that still need a lot of work when it comes to writing, but their books are getting more hits than those that actually have great content and flawless grammar.

This implies not just a bad possibility for aspiring writers, but also for the readers. Children love reading books, and if they read low-quality books, their perception of high quality will be changed because of the notion that published works are “great” “number 1” “the best.”

Published works equal great books, but that was yesterday. Now, not all published books are great. Hence, writers have to double their efforts to make their books reach their target readers.

Image Credit: usabilitygeek.com

Image Credit: usabilitygeek.com

I have no idea how we can weed out the unworthy books circulating the Internet that should not be wasting people’s time. The answer just lies in the hands of the readers. They have to be more careful and critical in choosing the kinds of books to read, especially if they plan to give a particular book to their children.

Writing About Things That Have Not Happened

By on 6-21-2015 in Writing

When you are a writer, you tend to think about a lot of possible scenarios. You have to be able to envision with clarity, how something would happen, so that when you write it, you can write it in a way that your readers could imagine the same way. This means, writers have to write about things that have not actually happened in their lives, but they have to write it in such a way that makes it very realistic, even if its fictional.

Angela Dennis writes about fictional scenarios and fictional characters, not just in the sense that the story is made up, but also in the sense that the nature of the characters are made up. Wolves? Vampires? Other mythical creatures? They’re not exactly in existence, right? I mean, that is why they are called mythical, in the first place? (Now I’m starting to worry if they really are NON-EXISTENT).

So, when a writer writes about unrealistic things, how do they go about it? I mean, they say you can never really know about anything unless you experience it. And I would like to believe that Angela Dennis has never really encountered any vampires, right? So how does she do it?

Well, I could never really ask her in person, because I might just stutter and faint, given the fandom that I have for her. So, I went out and asked other writers that I know. Amateur writers that are inspired to write and try their best to be acknowledged by the craft that they love.

One writer friend told me that the key to it all is research. Reading is a form of experience, and when you read something, you get to imagine it. It is through reading other information about a certain mythical creature or event that some writers get their inspiration from. They may have not experienced the actual scene, but because they read on it, they have the idea on how it goes, and so from there, they write their own.

My friend also shared with me that the first time she wrote a funeral scene, she did not know how to go about it. First, it was a scary scene to imagine, and she felt scared because she was talking about the death of a person. While it may not be an actual person in her life, the idea of death and funeral made her scared because she was made to embrace the possibility of it happening to her or her family.

She was able to finish the book after a few days of choking up on that specific scene. What made her relax and move on from the scary feeling she felt? She went ahead and searched for funeral insurance info that she can use for the write-up, as well as avail for her and her family. She had her parents think about the information she got and presented them, and the whole family decided to get insured.

This did not stop the idea of the possibility of death, but at least it got her whole family securing their futures. The whole point of it all, is to demonstrate how sometimes, even the stories get to the authors too, and it also makes them deal with physical and emotional stress. However, these instances makes them more inspired to write, making their books very engaging to readers as well.

 

Preserving Arts and Literature for the Future

By on 6-21-2015 in Writing

Image Credit: sarahmaclean.net

Image Credit: sarahmaclean.net

One of the greatest and most valuable possessions of any person who is passionate about arts and literature are his or her creative stories, poems and narratives, which are compiled in what we are known to call as books.

Writing a work of art in the form of a book is not an easy feat. Writing the story itself needs motivation and inspiration. Then, when a book is indeed created there is still the process of editing, revising, publishing and all the works just to have your book cater to the world, and these all need a lot of time and patience.

For Sophie, a fellow amateur, writing a book has taken a different meaning for her. She writes books and keeps them to herself, for now. She has a collection of books already that are unpublished. She has forgone publishing because she says she writes not for others, but for herself. She compiles them, because she wants that in the future, her children will be able to read the books and she wants them to be the judge of her works. After all, some of the greatest classics in the world of literature are those that were written for pure art, not for the purpose of publishing and earning money.

She shared that someday, she will have the guts to publish her work, just as her idol, Angela Dennis, has taken the courage to do so. She finds inspiration in Angela, and she hopes that one day, she will be as successful as Angela is.

Though she likes the work of Angela, she likes them as reading materials, but she never really found herself writing in the genre that Angela writes in. She is more into romance novels and books on life and learning.

It was even weird for her when she found herself hooked on the books written by Angela Dennis. She never thought she would learn to fall in love with books in this genre. She always just wanted to write stories that were more “realistic” and does not involve any form of magic, sorcery, and what-have-you.

Now that her mind has been opened to the beauty of Urban fiction and Science-fiction, she is also attempting to write along this genre. Again, she is not sure when she will be

Image credit: jenningswire.com

Image credit: jenningswire.com

Maybe, is she gets a chance to have a one on one conversation with Angela and she gets to be the first to read one of her books, then maybe she’ll have the courage to send it to an editor for publishing.

However, right now, she is just happy that even in her own little way, she is contributing to arts and literature through her writing.