The Power of Words

What Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is by Myke Cole

by on Mar.25, 2013, under Articles, Culture, The Power of Words, Writing

Myke Cole is an author of books I have never read but heard amazing things about from friends and the internet. I’ve never read anything by him until I read the following blog post about his experience with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, or PTSD. The following are a few excerpts:

I had a hard time admit­ting it to myself. There was a cul­ture in my line of work, that PTSD was the province of the hard oper­a­tors, the door­kickers who got into 2–3 fire­fights every single day. Like most cul­tures, you bought into it silently, it was simply a thing that was, not worth ques­tioning any more than the law of gravity.

I mean, sure I’d sup­ported cer­tain spe­cial­ized units, sure I’d been to some funerals, sure there’d been some danger close indi­rect rounds. Sure I’d had some mis­giv­ings about what I was fighting for, what my actions were con­tributing to. But, I’d seen the ads  on AFN, showing young men with gun­powder still on their hands, often fresh off the bat­tle­field, having trem­bling flash­backs of a fire­fight where their best friend went down right next to them. THAT was PTSD.

Except, it wasn’t.

Because the truth is, I’ve never heard anyone, med­ical pro­fes­sional, spir­i­tual leader or oth­er­wise describe the PTSD I know. What I see are people embracing a def­i­n­i­tion that explains PTSD using the vocab­u­lary of clas­sical pathology. It implies that, like a dis­ease, you can pre­scribe a course of treat­ment and fix it.

But, in my expe­ri­ence, PTSD doesn’t get fixed. That’s because it was never about get­ting shot at, or seeing people die. It was never the snap trauma, the quick moment of action that breaks a person. PTSD is the wages of a life spent in crisis, the slow, the­matic build that grad­u­ally changes the way the suf­ferer sees the world. You get boiled by heating the water one degree each hour. By the time you finally suc­cumb, you realize you had no idea it was get­ting hotter.

Because you kept adjusting.

Because PTSD isn’t a dis­ease, it’s a world view.

Nobody talks about this. Nobody talks about the boredom, the impos­si­bility of finding meaning in 8 hours work in an air-conditioned office after you just spent months working 18 hours a day on a bat­tle­field where your touch altered his­tory. Nobody talks about the sur­real expe­ri­ence of trying to remember how you got excited about a book, or clothing, or even a car or house. On the bat­tle­field, in the burning building, the ground trem­bled, we felt our impact in every­thing we did, until the world seemed to ripple at our touch. Back home, or off shift, we are sud­denly the sub­ject of sym­pa­thetic glances, of silly, repet­i­tive ques­tions. The anonymity of the uni­form is nothing com­pared the anonymity of com­fort. We drown in it, cut off from what makes it worth­while for others, unable to carve out a piece of it for ourselves.

Time helps you to shift back, but you never shift back all the way. You develop the dreaded “cop’s eyes,” where you see the poten­tial threat around every corner, where you ask the waiter for the chair with its back to the wall. Where the trust essen­tial to build rela­tion­ships is com­pro­mised, because in the world you live in, every­body is trying to harm someone.

And if you’re a vet, or an EMT, or a cop, or fire­fighter and you’re reading this, I want you to know that you can’t put the cur­tain back, but it’s pos­sible to build ways to move for­ward, to find alter­na­tives to the rush of crisis. There are ways you can matter. There is a way to rejoin the dust of the world, to find your own space on the dance floor.

I know this.

Because I did it, am still doing it, every day.

Don’t give up.

Source: What PTSD is by Myke Cole [MykeCole.com]

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Comic: 1000 Words

by on Feb.09, 2012, under Art, Comic Suggestions, Comics, Entertainment, The Power of Words, Writing

I stumbled onto this comic wandering through Deviant Art and got permission to host it on my blog:

Source

I know in the past I’ve ranted about the adage “A picture is worth one thousand words” and how it has been used to demean the worth of the written word but here I can see nothing but homage to both image and word both in its medium (comic) and in the story’s telling (the artist’s 1000 words to her parents and the girl’s 1000 words to the artist). Both art and the written have their specialty when conveying thought and emotion and this comic beautifully represents that.

Not to ignore the comic’s other masterfully used techniques and its overall message but that was somewhat I wanted to comment on. Check out Wenqing’s other work on her Deviant Art page, or follower her on Facebook.

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Example of a great title

by on Jul.11, 2011, under The Power of Words, Writing

Click here to see a great title of an actual article. (yfrog.com)

“Merely a Pimple on the Derrière of an Elephant: On Becoming Players in the World of Organizational Consulting

Is that not the most awesome title of an academic paper ever? Okay maybe not but it certainly got my attention and now I want to read it, even though I don’t care about becoming a player in the world of organizational consulting.

 

 

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Creativity: Dealing with Self Doubt

by on Jun.27, 2011, under Articles, Blog, The Power of Words, Writing

Ever had a creative endeavor you’ve wanted to try but just couldn’t get yourself to do it? Or caught up in the middle of your art, or your novel, and realized just how crappy it really is and wanted to stop?

We’ve all been there, believe me. How do I know? Well because often I find articles and blog posts that talk just about that.

Against Creative Paralysis (Starter Edition) [Robin D. Laws LJ]

Against Creative Paralysis (Advanced Edition) [Robin D. Laws LJ]

Robin D. Laws is a game designer. He designed the collectible card game Shadowfist, as well as the RPG Feng Shui, He knows a few things about creative endeavors. The articles talk about avoiding creative paralysis but one line in the advanced edition sticks out to me. It is a quote he likes to say:

“Don’t get depressed about not being where you want to be. This nagging feeling of anxiety is actually called ambition. Ambition is your friend.”

I do love that quote. He cites it as the words of director Atom Egoyan. I’ve never heard of him, but the quote

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Power of Words: Or maybe even grammar!

by on Mar.11, 2011, under Articles, Entertainment, The Power of Words, Writing

xkcd’s Blog: Parentheses

xkcd found a fun write-up in Wikipedia and decided to memorialize it on their blog. I’ll repeat it here for the same purpose.

Parentheses may also be nested (with one set (such as this) inside another set). This is not commonly used in formal writing [though sometimes other brackets (especially parentheses) will be used for one or more inner set of parentheses (in other words, secondary {or even tertiary} phrases can be found within the main sentence)].[citation needed]

I’ve posted this under the Power of Words series because the author commented how it brightened his day to read this. The paragraph certainly made me smile. That is one of the powers of words.

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Everlasting #3

by on Dec.03, 2010, under Articles, Exerpts, The Power of Words, Writing, Writing Group, Writing Updates

Draft Word Count: 53, 879 (Delta: +982 [2])

Ahh. Gone are the days of thousand plus word counts… maybe. If I had just typed for a few more pargraphs! But still. My goal is 800 for now. I might raise it later, but I’m still having to flesh out my outline as I write, and re-write it a bit as I make scenes a bit different. I think I’ve found a good process for me. Make a decently fleshed out outline, then start writing scenes, then edit the outline as I go. This way I have a good track of where my story has been, where it is going, and I have an end in sight.

Writing Group

So we had our first official writing session yesterday. We ended up at our standard coffee house because none of us have scouted any of our possible new locations. Only two of us met but it was a good session overall. Today I’m hoping to scout one or two locations that’ll be reliable for 3+ people meeting regularly for writing with wi-fi, electricity, and allows food in the area.

Everlasting Update

So I wrote a scene that had an outline entry… and the entire scene ended up only following the first sentence of the outline and writing an entirely new action scene. It is going to need a lot of cleaning but it might make it to the next draft. We’ll see! Started on the actual scene that the outline called for. A lot of dialog. It didn’t skew too much from my original idea. I found myself having to keep Leanne’s voice in my head or her speech would become a bit too colloquial.

After I got my word count I went ahead and worked on my outline some more. A new action scene where Carlos finds the remnants of his squad. It is still up in the air if they’re all going to die before he gets to face off with Count Williams, since I’m relying on that to be his primary motivation for killing the man… we’ll see.

Everlasting States

Glossary: 1,390 Words (Delta +0)
World Setting: 8,508 Words (Delta +49)
Character Information: 2,704 Words (Delta +0)
Current Outline: 8,033 Words (Delta +515)
Draft: 53, 879 Words (Delta: +982)
Grand Total: 74,511 Words (Delta +1,546)

Exceprt

“It is not that bad.” Leanne stated firmly, placing her hands in her lap and lifting her head, looking around as well. “We shouldn’t stay here too long. The sun is setting. They will be more active and stronger at night.”

“They? The… what did you call them. Zombies?” Marla asked.

“Yes.” Leanne said.

“That your uncle made.” Marla said, starting to pace around the small wooden bench Leanne sat at.

“Yes.”

“For some insane bid to create a new faction.” Marla said.

“Supposedly.”

“With the help of all the scientists he invited to his party.” Marla guessed.

“Yes.”

“And then somehow spread across the entire city.” Marla continued, her voice even, pausing behind the bench.

“Apparently.”

“Then rounded up every scientist involved and flew them up into the sky.” Marla stated, resuming her patrol, glancing up at the sky briefly.

“Yes.”

“Leaving behind his niece.” Marla said skeptically, glancing down again at Leanne.

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The Power of Words: Stephen Fry says “Language”

by on Oct.21, 2010, under Articles, The Power of Words, Videos, Visual Media, Writing

Originally found at I Should Be Writing by Mur Lafferty.

Below is a small video  you should watch. It talks about language in a very interesting and amusing manner.

I admit to being guilty of this sometimes. The copy editor in me does like to come out, every once and awhile, and correct the grammar of the written word around me. I’m also happy to say that am very much a fan of evolving English. I don’t find nom to be rather funny, although there are some verbings of nouns that I am not a fan of. Language creation is something that has always interested me, despite my lack of talent in picking up any language other than English.

I think though, if you are not a grammar vigilante, something you should take away from this is that it is important to learn grammar and to understand what is correct and what is not, so you can understand how things are changing. And so you can “dress up” every once and awhile. Also everybody should take away from this that the use of words, or your choice of diction, and the elevation of speech, should not be mocked or thought of as pretentious but celebrated and appreciated, when used expertly.

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Girls with Slingshots

by on Oct.11, 2010, under Comic Links, Comics, The Power of Words, Writing

http://www.daniellecorsetto.com/archive.php?today=1012&comic=849

So our first comic link on The Singularity. Expect this to be a fairly common type of post. The above link is to a comic called Girls with Slingshots and is actually a comic I’ve posted before, just not on this blog. But even while re-reading I still find this comic hilarious enough to share. Again.

Remember people, watch what you write, or text.

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The Power and Use of Words, Can vs Should

by on Oct.03, 2010, under Articles, Opinions, The Power of Words, Writing

This may become an ongoing study! Where I fine awesome uses of words and display them to you.

This one comes from a friend of mine who twittered a blog post from the blog The Curt Jester. It appears to be a blog by a former atheist now catholic on the topics of politics, religion, and other items of interest. I’ve only ever read the entry I’m about to quote but from that one entry, I might suppose that this blog is a nice peaceful place for discourse on the above topics, rather than the usual extreme you might find.

But that aside, the is a Power and Use of Words post. The following quote does touch upon a political and moral debate that can quickly aggravate. (Link) I stress I did not pick this quote due to its political content.

“Fighting against abortion is not a conservative thing, it is a protection of the truth that we are created in the image of God and that the innocent can not be murdered.”

The last statement made really caught me eye as I was reading this. Remember the source, this quote comes from a Catholic. So what we are seeing here is a statement regarding a believe held by a member of the Catholic Church.

Here was my analysis/thought processes. Is can the correct word there? Perhaps the writer was mistaken. Perhaps he meant to use the word should. The innocent should not be murdered. I mean, the innocent can be murdered. That is true. It is a statement of fact, in as so much that one believes in the concept of innocence. We agree that a baby is innocent and through some action, I cause it’s life to end, then I’ve murdered it. I’ve heard of no proof that states that babies are immortal until no longer innocent.

But what if it isn’t a mistake? What if it is, instead, a statement of emphasis? The innocent CAN NOT be murdered. Even if one can actually murder, the use of the word can becomes imperative, even more so than the word should, as should implies a choice, where as can implies inevitability.

Now there might be something more to it. An deep understanding of Catholic faith, law, dogma, tradition, or fact that I am not privy to, that sheds better or more light upon this word choice but the above interpretation I found interesting. It is, I think, a great example of how the rules of grammar can be bent or broken in small ways to provide even further levels of communication.

The Power and Use of Words

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The Power of Words

by on Aug.09, 2010, under Articles, The Power of Words, Videos, Visual Media, Writing

Keep watching for at least 52 seconds. Then you’ll see why I posted this video.

Regardless of if you believe this video to be true or not, I wanted to point out the actual literary technique used here. I bet it has a name but I’m not sure what it is. But the primary attention grabber, the thing that makes you go ‘ooh clever!” is not the audio or video, but the words and how they are presented. The music, narration, and video are all superfluous to the words written save that they provide a structure for our society that has grown a little more dependent on video and audio for information distribution, with the exception that extraneous instruction would need to be added at the end of the paragraph to achieve effect or even more words would have to be written.

The power of words is universal and, because of it, sadly under appreciated by the people who wield them, myself included.

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