Current Research in Speculative Fiction Liverpool, UK, (CRSF) Conference was June 27, 2016

Current Research in Speculative Fiction Liverpool, England, UK (CRSF) Conference was Monday, June 27, 2016, at the University of Liverpool!

CRSF logo

Here is their report:

CRSF 2016 Post-conference Report
Posted: 04 Jul 2016 05:26 AM PDT
The sixth annual Current Research in Speculative Fiction [CRSF] conference was held last week on Monday 27th June and was a great success.

As usual, the papers delivered were of a high quality and a diverse range of topics from D&D bestiaries to feminist utopia, ecological disaster to Harry Potter, medieval English horror to Japanese dystopian YA and far more besides. As usual huge thanks go to those who presented a paper: thank you for the enthusiasm with which you approached the task and for the hard work you did preparing for the conference, a conference – no matter how the organising goes – is nothing without its delegates.

CRSF 2016 represents a record year for number of delegates, with non-presenting delegates outnumbering presenters for the first time. This was in no small part thanks to the excellent Science Fiction Research Association (SFRA) conference also held in Liverpool on the 28th-30th June, a number of whose delegates came along to see CRSF in action. There were, however, a number of non-presenting delegates, including former presenters from previous years, who made the trip to Liverpool especially to see CRSF, I cannot think of a better endorsement for the atmosphere and organisation of the conference than for those who have been before to want to come back, even if they’re no longer eligible to present.

In total we had fifty-six attendees and thirty papers presented, over three parallel streams, by delegates from institutions throughout the UK, as well as Ireland, Belgium, Germany, Finland, Spain, Russia, Israel, Canada, and the United States, among others.

Thank you to all who attended. Additional thanks to all those who engaged with the conference on social media. I’m a firm believer in the Twitter back channel for conferences, and CRSF performed ably in this regard too. If you’re not on Twitter and you want to (re)discover the tweet-by-tweet coverage of the conference it’s been conveniently archived on Storify here for you.

Thanks also to our wonderful keynote speakers: Dr. Caroline Edwards (Birkbeck University of London) and Dr. Pat Wheeler (University of Hertfordshire) who not only gave fascinating and insightful keynote lectures, but also attended numerous panels, asking insightful and constructive questions throughout, and offering many a kind and supportive word for delegates in the breaks and more informal moments of the conference. Caroline’s paper opened the conference and was entitled ‘”But there is still such beauty”: Post-Apocalyptic Fiction and Eco-Eschatological Time in the 21st-Century’, it took us through such post-apocalyptic novels as Emily St. John Mandel’s Station Eleven and Maggie Gee’s The Flood, highlighting the pastoral beauty often found in these texts and the implications of that for our vision of the apocalypse and the future (if any) of humanity’s role on the Earth. Pat’s keynote was entitled ‘”She can’t love you, she’s just a machine’: Metal-fevered Boys and their Passion for New Eves’, which challenged how we should read gynoids in the twenty-first century: as either challenge or constriction to women’s agency.

Thanks as ever to the University of Liverpool staff who provided support both in the build up to, and during, the conference: the Rendall Building staff, and Filomena Saltao, the Administrator of the School of the Arts, and Siobhan Quinn. Thanks also to Andy Sawyer, academic librarian for the Science Fiction Foundation collection at the University of Liverpool’s Sydney Jones Library, for once again arranging for all delegates to receive free copies of Foundation: The International Review of Science Fiction. Thanks also to the staff at Il Forno, our traditional restaurant of choice, who once again dealt with our large numbers with aplomb.

As always we welcome your feedback on CRSF 2016, all comments are useful and appreciated. Please leave a comment on our website’s post at http://currentresearchinspeculativefiction.blogspot.com, or e-mail them to us at crsf.team@gmail.com.

CRSF will return in 2017….

Glyn Morgan,
Molly Cobb,
Leimar Garcia-Siino,
Chris Pak

I wish I could have been there.

To refresh, if you missed my explanatory pre-conference post, read below:

CRSF is a postgraduate conference designed to promote the research of speculative fictions including, but not limited to, science fiction, fantasy and horror.

Our aim is to showcase some of the latest developments in this dynamic and evolving field, by providing a platform for the presentation of current research by postgraduates. The conference will also encourage the discussion of this research and the construction of crucial networks with fellow researchers.

The planned schedule was as follows:

9:00-9:30: Registration and Refreshments

9:30-10:30: Keynote Lecture #1: Dr Caroline Edwards,

“But there is still such beauty”: Post-Apocalyptic Fiction and Eco-Eschatological Time in the 21st-Century

10:30 -12:00: First Round of Panels

1.1: Press START to Play
Andrew Ferguson – Clipping Out of Bounds: Reading House of Leaves Through Portal

House_of_leaves

  • Britanny Kuhn – [Awaiting Title]
  • Ivaylo Shmilev – Oppression, Warfare and Transcultural Memory in the Complex Post- Apocalyptic Environments of the S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Game Series

    STALKER game image

1.2: Horrific Narratives
Travis Gasque – The New Cosmic Horror: A Genre Molded by Tabletop Roleplaying Games and Postmodern Horror
Matthew McCall – “My manez mynde to maddyng malte”: Tracing Horror in the Middle English Pearl

Pearl_Poet

  • Selena Middleton – Climate Collapse and the Uncontained Body in James Tiptree Jr.’s A Momentary Taste of Being

    Momentary taste (in the 1975 anthology, The New Atlantis and Other Novellas of Science-Fiction)

1.3: You’re Only Young Once
Lan Ma – Censorship and Resistance: Information Control in Japanese Dystopian Young Adult Fiction in the 21st Century
Alison Baker – Protocols for the education of young witches and wizards
Arunima Dey – The Grotesque in the Harry Potter Series

Potter box set

12:00 -13:00: Second Round of Panels

2.1: Beasts and Bestiaries
Rob O’Connor – “The History of All Hitherto-Existing Societies is the History of Monsters”: The Bestiary and the Depiction of Monsters as Social Commentary
Sandra Mänty – Representation and function of animals in the world of Harry Potter

Potter collection cover

2.2: The Greater Good
Maxine Gee – “If something stinks put a lid on it, don’t see it”: Self-censorship and the brave new world of Psycho Pass

Psycho Pass

  • Jonathan Ferguson – Crimes Against The Greater Good are Victimless Crimes?

2.3: Character Studies
Beata Gubacsi – Monstrous Transformations: Becoming posthuman through art in Vandermeer’s Ambergris novels

Ambergris 1

  • Matteo Barbagallo – Do we have a deal? Petyr Baelish, Varys, Rumpelstiltskin and their role as Doppelganger

13:00 -13:45: Lunch Break

13:45 -14:45: Keynote Lecture #2: Dr Patricia Wheeler

“She can’t love you, she’s just a machine”: Metal-fevered Boys and their Passion for New Eves

14:45 -16:15: Third Round of Panels

3.1: Revenge of the Film
Pablo Gómez Muñoz – Greening Apocalypse: Eco-Conscious Disaster in Twenty-First Century Science-Fiction Cinema
Josephine Swarbrick – Monstrous Men and Masculine Monsters: Gender and the Cyborg in Paul Verhoeven’s Robocop (1987) and José Padilha’s Robocop (2014)

Robocop

  • David Contreras – Gothic Surrealism in Mexican Cyberpunk Short Film: The Borderlands Strike Back

3.2: Theoretically Speaking
Jo Lindsay Walton – The Dystopian Glimpse
Artem Zubov – Science-fiction studies and genre theory
Pascal Lemaire – Fans of history first, fans of S-F more distantly ? Alternate History as a form of History’s fan fiction

3.3: Tell Me a Tale
Kanta Dihal – Science and Religion in Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time and Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials

Wrinkle coverPullman box set

  • Rina Jean Baroukh – “Your Light Has Come” : Fantasy and Reality in Shimon Adaf’s Sunburnt Faces

    Sunburnt faces cover

  • Laura-Marie von Czarnowsky – Re-Defining the Bildungsroman: Traumatic Journeys as a Trend in Contemporary Fantasy Fiction

16:15 -16:30: Refreshment Break [YES: English Tea Time!]

16:30 -18:00: Fourth Round of Panels

4.1: Perceptions of the Female Self
Sonya Dyer – aPOCalypso: Janelle Monae and (Science) Fictional Black Feminisms
Sarah Lohmann – “Solar Loyalties”: The Utopian Ethics of Posthumanism in Naomi Mitchison’s Memoirs of a Spacewoman

Spacewoman cover

  • Mylène Branco – The Construction of the Female Self in L.P. Hartley’s Facial Justice

    Facial cover

4.2: Alternate Beings
Tom Kewin – ‘A Society of Screens’: The State of Digital Surveillance and the Repercussions for the Humanist Subject
Mattia Petricola – From mesmeric trance to living avatars: Rethinking consciousness and death after Mr. Valdemar

Valdemar

4.3: Dystopian Time, Resurgent Space
Gabrielle Bunn – Future Ruins: The intersection of nature and culture in the post-apocalyptic landscape of J. G. Ballard’s The Drowned World (1962)

Drowned cover

  • Hollie Johnson – Anarchy, Nostalgia, and Resistance: The Role of Nature in We, Brave New World, Nineteen Eighty-Four

    We cover1984

  • Thomas Connolly – “There was a thing called Heaven”: The end of time in Huxley’s Brave New World

    Brave New World cover

18.00 -19.00: Post-Conference Wine Reception and Official Conference Group Photo

Download a PDF of the entire schedule here: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B4DNnD_AmJQmeWdEREJfemd1YWs/view

Want to present or attend next year? The “Call for Papers” usually occurs in early December for the following June’s annual conference. Check out past conferences/calls and get more information here and visit their
website: http://currentresearchinspeculativefiction.blogspot.com/
or contact their team (the team members’ list has not been recently updated, yet: CRSF.team@gmail.com and follow their Tweets: ‎@CRSFteam

Their website is not very “interesting,” IMHO, but the topics ARE. Here is a sampling of Q & A from their FAQs…

FAQ

What is CRSF?
CRSF is short for Current Research in Speculative Fiction, an annual conference organised by postgraduate students for postgraduate students. The conference was first held in 2010 at the University of Liverpool and has been held annually since, attracting an international selection of speakers from as far afield as Turkey and the USA. The conference aims to provide a welcoming and friendly atmosphere for researchers who are at the very beginnings of their fields to test ideas, network with others, and gain valuable conference experience.

What is Speculative Fiction?
Simply put, we consider speculative fiction to be the collective name for the non-mimetic genres of science-fiction, fantasy, horror, and their related sub-genres. Essentially, if it’s a bit weird, it’s probably eligible. If in doubt, feel free to run your idea by us. At this juncture, it’s probably also worth us pointing out that the conference doesn’t discriminate among media: papers on television, film, video games, music, fan culture, etc., are as welcome at CRSF as papers on literature.

I’m an undergraduate student/ university faculty member/ speculative fiction fan/ author, can I attend?
We welcome non-presenting delegates from all aspects of speculative fiction whether you be a non-academic fan or a professor at a university.

How much does CRSF cost to attend?
Since CRSF is funded entirely off the delegate fees we can never be 100% sure of our budget until we know how many papers we will be accepting for the conference. As such, confirmed fees are not available until after abstracts have been processed and invitations to present accepted. However, as a guide, past conferences have charged £30 (about $44 USA) for the day with an early bird discount available for those who register early. This fee includes lunch and refreshments.

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“Crowdcreators” wanted: Research Topics Included in the The Spanners Series

logoAuthorsDen

Below is a somewhat complete list of the research topics included in my sci-fi/ romance/ utopian series for Youth, New and older Adults, below.

I plan to include some excerpts from already-published Volumes that relate to many of these topics over the next several months as I keep writing (working on Volume IV of X right now).

Will this entice some collaborators for Volumes VIII and IX, I hope? I’m experimenting with “Crowdcreating” these two Volumes!

Volume VIII (YA-oriented: youth writers and those writing for youth) Remaking Ourselves: Change Comes from Within, the Youth Speak [expected release, June, 2019]

The Many Worlds Collective (MWC), a consortium of planet and star systems all around the multiverse, includes Earth in probationary membership (The Transition) since December, 2012, and full membership since January, 2018. Over a thirty-year, increasingly utopian period, Earthers who survive are adapting and adjusting. Although many changes in politics, climate, government and safety are obvious, the most important and significant changes are within each individual Earther, human and non-human.

Volumes VIII and IX share the individual stories of “everyone”―–ordinary people, primates, cetaceans and cephalopods―–as they learn to live in this forever-transformed and transforming multiverse.

Remaking Ourselves: Change Comes from Within, the Youth Speak focuses on stories from young Earthers (ages 11 – 25).


Volume IX (NA/Adults: New and older Adult writers and those writing for NA/Adults) to “Crowdcreate” those two Volumes with me.
Remaking Ourselves: Change Comes from Within, the Adults Speak [expected release, Dec., 2019]

The Many Worlds Collective (MWC), a consortium of planet and star systems all around the multiverse, includes Earth in in probationary membership (The Transition) since December, 2012, and full membership since January, 2018. Over a thirty-year, increasingly utopian period, Earthers who survive are adapting and adjusting. Although many changes in politics, climate, government, and safety are obvious, the most important and significant changes are within each individual Earther.

Volumes VIII and IX share the individual stories of “everyone”―–ordinary people, primates, cetaceans and cephalopods―–as they learn to live in this forever-transformed and transforming multiverse. Those who barely avoid Sequestering are possibly the most interesting of all.

Remaking Ourselves: Change Comes from Within, the Adults Speak focuses on stories from Spanners (ages 26-over 100 years old).


Deadline for responding to me about wanting to write, co-write, or contribute to a Chapter or more in either or both Volumes is January 31, 2017.

Research Topics Included in the The Spanners Series.
What are you particularly interested in or know a lot about already? Comment here: http://www.sallyember.com/blog

Alternate/Parallel Universes and Timelines
Anthropology
Archaeology
Astronomy
Black Holes
Buddhism
Christianity
Cognitive Dissonance
Cosmology
Cultural Anthropology
Dark Energy
Dark Matter
Death/Afterlife
Dreams
Epigenetics
Exoplanets
Gender Identity
History
Human Biology
Judaism
Materials Science
Meditation
Morphic Resonance
Multiverse
Mushrooms
Mysticism
Neurobiology/Neuroscience
Neuroplasticity
Neuroscience
Nonlocality
Ontology
Physical Anthropology,
Political Science
Postcognition
Precognition
Psionics
Psychology
Quantum Physics and Entanglement
Reincarnation
Relationships
Sexual Orientation Identity
Social Change
Sociology
Sono-pictography
Space Travel
Sufism
Telekinesis
Telepathy
Teleportation
“The Butterfly Effect”
Wormholes
Xenobiology

Excerpt from This Changes Everything, Volume I, The Spanners Series, CHAPTER THIRTY-THREEClara Explains Human Relationships to The Band: The Romantic Paradox

Excerpt from This Changes Everything, Volume I, The Spanners Series, CHAPTER THIRTY-THREE

Clara Explains Human Relationships to The Band:
The Romantic Paradox

by Sally Ember, Ed.D.
Copyright 2013, revised 2015 Sally Ember, Ed.D.
St. Louis, MO

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July 14, 2013

This-Changes-Everything----web-and-ebooks

“You want to know something no one wants to know?” I ask Led, whose bluish-gray, ovoid, bouncing hologram is hovering around and “on” my 5′-round table in my living/dining room in Kirov. “You have extensive knowledge of modern, Western literature and are familiar with movies, television programs and song lyrics as well, right?”

Led is visiting me today, July 14, 2013, to check in, something he or one of the other members of The Band do periodically when we don’t have a training session for more than a day or so. Six months ago we start my Excellent Skills Program and CC trainings, but we’re not exactly on a regular schedule because of all of my public appearances, interviews Espe has to do with me for her ‘blog and formal articles, and what little time I can grab to catch up with friends and family. Also, some sessions require more extensive practice to be done on my own before the next training can occur.

My most recent session focuses on the intentional manipulation of matter. Mainly, I practice causing something (usually the size and shape of a large book) to manifest and disappear at will. Or not. The stubborn refusal of this volume on my table to disappear starts me thinking about stubbornness in general and the recalcitrance of one man, in particular.

Yes, my dear Epifanio.

The book I practice removing from and returning to our timeline is a compendium of romance-genre novellas by a little-known author that my mom and I enjoy. In every one of these stories, the female protagonist spends most of the plot in a state of suffering from unrequited love. Then, very near the end (triggering the end, in fact), the object of her affection realizes/ discovers/ announces that he, too, loves her. They embrace passionately, usually leading to perfect sex (e.g., simultaneous or “ladies -first” climaxes, exceptional technique and rapport, fireworks, etc.) and/or engagement leading to marriage and the promise of perfect sex. Since the novellas (and almost every other story of this type from any Western author or film/TV writer) all follow this format, it sets me to thinking about the way authors stop the stories too early.

This starts a chain of thoughts that leads to the above question I pose to Led. “Led,” I go on, “you, I and the rest of The Band all know that Epifanio and I do not work out together as a couple. No matter how many ways I timult us, or how many Re-sets you or I establish in which our relationship happens to change, the alterations in the timelines do not result in our being able to stay together, if we get together at all. Do you know why that is?”

“Clara,” Led starts to respond, but POP POP POP POP: here are the rest of The Band.

Ringo extrudes one light orange, upper arm-like appendage and wiggles his “fingers” at me. I wiggle mine back in greeting. His pyramid-shaped, top part opens slightly, the shinier side facing me.

Mick angles his turquoise blue flat-top toward me and his lights blink. If I had blinking lights, I’d blink back; but, lacking those, I say “Hi” to Mick.

Janis—Diana move toward me. Their pickle-body holos “bump” my upper body, twice. I angle my shoulder toward them and “bump” back, three times, in our established greeting.

“Are you ready for your next session?” asks Mick. He’s the one tracking my ESP training most closely.

Janis answers before I get a chance to: “No. Clara is going on about Fanio, again. Really, Clara? What, now?” her tone is teasing and affectionate, so I am not offended.

Diana jumps in, again, preceding my response: “Don’t be so hard on her. You know humans love very differently than we do and her heart is corroded. Right, Clara? Corroded?”

Diana often gets our slang incorrect and I hide my smile so as not to offend her..

“Um, well, not ‘corroded,’ exactly,” I start to explain the incorrectness of Diana’s term, but Ringo interrupts.

“Clara and Epifanio have a complicated set of timelines. Perhaps she is ready to examine a number of them today?” Ringo wonders.

Timulting personal stories is not on this week’s schedule nor is that part of Level 5-A,” Mick declares.

Diana intercedes, “Clara doesn’t want to timult the timelines. She needs to grieve, to worry, to anguish, to obsess. Maybe play some music that makes her cry. How about this?” She speaks in a sympathetic tone, then I hear “Love Has No Pride.” Linda Ronstadt’s soaring vocals fill my living room.

The music for desolation, not consolation.

She must “hear” my dismay, because now she plays Lonestar’s “Not A Day Goes By.”

I start to laugh. Right on target, but somehow not helpful.

“That’s not necessary,” I say, through my laughter.

Diana fades out the tear-jerking lyrics on “Baby, Baby, Oh, Baby…”

“I want to explain some cultural paradoxes to you. That’s the reason this conversation begins the way it does.”

Led bounces closer to me and says, “Go on, Clara.”

I know Led likes to be aware of the nuances of Earthers’ thinking, so I continue, despite Mick’s increasing frequency of blinking lights. “It’s like this; at least, it is for me. I fall in love (or so I tell myself) with someone who isn’t at that time in love with me or even considering me as a lover. We know each other in some ways and have contact, but per is not interested in me in that way.”

“Like Epifanio,” Janis offers.

Diana bumps her but Janis continues.

“He keeps saying he doesn’t feel ‘that way’ about you.”

“Yes, Janis. Exactly. So, unable to accept ‘No’ for an answer, I persist. I try to become necessary, irreplaceable, important in that person’s life. I seduce, I persuade, I sometimes ‘succeed.’ I become a trusted friend, a good companion, a significant colleague, a confidante, a part of cos extended family or inner friendship circle. We spend more time together, all so that I can become indispensable and irresistible to co.”

“Does that work?” asks Led.

“It often seems to,” I say. “But that’s exactly the problem I want to discuss. It depends on the way we define ‘work.'”

Ringo is getting interested, now. “What do you mean? How could something work and not work at the same time?”

“Therein lies the paradox!” I exclaim. “Human feelings and psychological conditions aren’t like machinery. They can operate in both the ‘on’ and ‘off’ positions simultaneously in this metaphor, as you soon learn.”

Now, Mick is intrigued, “Like a photon can be both a particle and a wave, but not when observed, because then it must be one or the other?”

“Very like that, yes,” I concur. “But, human love, passion, choice and autonomy are the contradictory occurrences, here. This is the way I understand it all, now. With my previous lovers and Epifanio: they believe that they do not love or want me, sometimes for many years. They are close to me in other ways, however. Then, at some point, they believe they do love me, want to be with me. Since that is what I want, anyway, we spend some time being together. It’s great, it’s wonderful, it’s amazing wish-fulfillment, for me, and, seemingly great for them, too.”

“So, what’s the paradox?” prompts Led.

“Endorphins and romance fade and real life takes over. The ‘honeymoon’ of new passion and excitement end, causing oxytocin to recede to normal levels. Or, it might work in reverse: perhaps oxytocin’s diminishing causes the feelings to change. My ‘lovers’ then begin to recall the traits or behaviors they do not like in me, the original reasons they do not want to be with me.”

I pause, considering all my important relationships and know I’m on the right track, here. “Whatever attracts them to me or ‘changes their minds’ about me is no longer accessible. They decide–―no, they believe–―that they don’t love or want me any longer, all in the space of a few months or years. Plus, they’re angry, resentful and withdrawn toward me.”

“But, you do not change or trick them at all, do you?” asks Janis. She sounds appalled.

Diana adds, “That is so unfair! That must be the reason your heart corrodes to the breaking point!”

“Exactly!” I say. “Instead of taking responsibility for those alterations in their feelings and for their own ever-changing choices, they blame me. They actually tell me they believe we got together because I use ‘magical’ seduction, deception and other methods to convince or even coerce them into falling in love with me and become my lover.”

As I recall specific incidents of this in my life, I am getting a bit intense. I take deep breaths to calm myself, then continue.

“One of them says I ‘put him under a spell.’ Another one tells me that I ‘took him for a ride.’ They claim, one day or several months or years later, when they then believe they no longer want or love me, that our relationship’s demise is all my fault, somehow. They refuse to take any responsibility for the way we get into this situation.”

I pause. Yes, The Band is with me.

“They tell themselves and me that they get involved with me without their complete consent or understanding. From their perspectives, they ‘never wanted to do that,’ so, I must trick them into doing it, to being with me.” I can feel the pain of hearing those things from my former lovers as if it were happening right now.

“This makes no sense, even for human Earthers,” Ringo says, tilting his pyramid away from me. “What is their major maladjustment?”

I laugh. Ever since I first say that in front of Ringo, he chooses to re-use that phrase repeatedly. Always appropriately, though.

“Yes. Please explain, Clara,” Led requests.

“Okay, ” I continue. “First, you all remember what ‘projection’ means and how it manifests, right?”

Mick responds, “Of course. Humans often put another person’s ‘face’ or their own inner characteristics, ‘on’ someone else, like, on you. But they do not realize that they are doing this. They then react to that person, not to you, as if those other person’s traits or their own traits are yours. Usually these projections are negative but they can also have positive identity confusions. Yes?”

“Oh, I get it!” Janis exclaims. “Epifanio projects his mother, his first wife or some older sibling or teacher or some other contentious, powerful person from his past onto you. Or, he projects the insecurities, fears, worries or dishonesty within himself onto you. He then feels inferior, threatened, invaded, betrayed or otherwise unhappy due to his original relationship issues with that person or to his struggles with his own inner demons that seem to be playing out with you.”

Diana picks up the thread: “Then, he attributes his reactions to you and your interactions with him. Talk about unfair! He shouldn’t do that to you!”

“That’s right,” I respond. “That is ‘projection.'” I feel sad remembering all the times this happens in my timelines with others and with Fanio. “He can’t help it, though. No reason to be upset with him.”

I realize as I hear myself say that to Janis–—Diana: I am not angry with Fanio or any of my other lovers anymore. It surprises me, but I’m so glad. Many years of therapy and intensive contemplation during meditation actually help with these issues.

I continue with my explanation. “It works both ways, anyway. I’m sure I do it, also. Most humans project onto one another until we don’t. My projections onto others are usually more positive than they deserve, but they are nonetheless projections: not better than theirs onto me, just different.”

I feel a familiar rush of certainty, mixed with shame. “When I make others ‘better’ than they actually are and relate to them as if that is who they are, I generate an inauthentic relationship just as they do. My ‘positive’ identify confusions are every bit as unhealthy as their negative ones.”

Mick interjects, “Your projections, Clara, are a bit more complicated, though, because you see other versions of some people when you timult. Because you prefer those versions to this one, you unconsciously favor the ‘better’ one. Also, ‘unfair,’ right?” He says this last part to Janis.

Mick nails it. I do that with Epifanio and many others. I timult from when I am a teenager. When I find what I believe to be better versions of them, I relate to those instead of the people who are right in front of me.

“Yes, that is unfair. Completely. To all of us,” I admit. “I am doing that with Epifanio, every day,” I add. “I would rather have another version of him here, with me, than the one who is here. I’m trying to stop. At least I don’t blame Fanio, anymore.”

“I’m still not understanding the paradoxical part,” persists Led.

“Yes, Clara. Go on about that, please,” requests Ringo.

“Well, I start out talking about one kind, but Mick points out another. In my original paradox, it goes like this: the romance authors want us to believe that, once someone is finally ready to love someone else—–after days, weeks, months, or even years of resisting, insisting they do not love that person–—suddenly, they perceive this new-found love and ‘everything’ is going to be great. The writers call that ‘living happily ever after’ in human fairy tales. But, that’s not really how it works out.

“The authors don’t show the later months or years, when it all falls apart. The negative projections wear off or get superseded by the positive ones, at first, but they’re all still having projections. No one includes the part of the story showing when the positive projections fade away and the negative ones return to prominence.”

“Once the projections depart, does the relationship continue with more authenticity, then?” Diana asks, hopefully.

“No one is actually loving or desiring the other person the way they truly are. Once the partners realize that, they can’t be happy together any longer,” I explain. “Unless, once the projections all recede, they can find their ways to respecting, knowing and loving each other as who they are. That is very rare with current, Western humans.”

“It doesn’t happen with you and Fanio, does it?” Janis asks, sadly.

I feel my heart clutch and my stomach tense. “No, Janis. I do not think it does. But, to be fair, that’s as much my responsibility as it is Fanio’s.”

Led says, “If I understand you correctly, Clara, the human romantic paradox is that two humans may both love and not love one another simultaneously without realizing that. And, projections onto others may be both positive and negative at the same time as well.”

“Yes,” Ringo continues, “Human relationships are fraught with unrealistic expectations, feelings based on fantasies, and other neurotic tendencies playing out in interactive experiences. Many species are like this in the Many Worlds Collective.”

“They are?” I ask. “I hear about none of these. Please, go on.”

Led bounces closer to me, then hovers. “Clara, this is very educational. Thank you. We must depart and leave you to your practice.” He bounces over the book, then POP he’s out of sight.

“Okay,” I reply, but he’s already gone. Janis–—Diana, Mick and Ringo POP out immediately afterward, giving their good-bye gestures as they go. I return the gestures, but they’re gone before mine can be seen by them.

Typical.

Back to this Level 5-A, disappearing objects. This stubborn book. Gey avek, please? I exhort in Yiddish to the book. And take my projections with you, while you’re at it!

To my utter surprise, POP and it’s off my table. Wow! I have no idea what I am doing right, but I better do it again!

I get up to find another, larger book. This time, an old Atlas. Fewer distractions that way.


This-Changes-Everything----web-and-ebooks

Dr. Clara Ackerman Branon, Ph.D., 58, begins having secret visits from holographic representations of beings from the Many Worlds Collective, a consortium of planet and star systems in the multiverse. When Earth is invited to join the consortium, the secret visits are made public. Now Earthers must adjust their beliefs and ideas about life, religion, culture, identity and everything they think and are.

Clara is selected to be the liaison between Earth and the Many Worlds Collective and she chooses Esperanza Enlaces to be the Chief Media Contact. They team up to provide information to stave off riots and uncertainty. The Many Worlds Collective holos train Clara and the Psi-Warriors for the Psi Wars with the rebelling Psi-Defiers, communicate effectively with many species on Earth and off-planet, eliminate ordinary, elected governments and political boundaries, convene a new group of Global Leaders, and deal with family’s and friends’ reactions. 

In what multiple timelines of the ever-expanding multiverse do Clara and her long-time love, Epifanio Dang, get to be together and which leave Clara alone and lonely as the leader of Earth?

This Changes Everything spans the 30-year story of Clara’s term as Earth’s first Chief Communicator, continuing in nine more Volumes of The Spanners Series.

Are YOU ready for the changes?

Sci-fi/romance/utopian/multiverse/psi/paranormal for adults, new adults, young adults, now in ebooks and paperbacks, Volumes I, II, III:
PAPERBACK on CreateSpace: Volume I, $17.99 https://www.createspace.com/5837347 

Ebook of Volume I is PERMAFREE:
AMAZON: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00HFELTG8   
SMASHWORDS: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/376197

And on ibooks, Kobo, nook: look right, scroll down for all links for Volumes I, II, III, interviews, book trailers, reviews, more:
http://www.sallyember.com

final cover print

Spanners - volume 3 cover final

logoAuthorsDen

All art for The Spanners Series by WillowRaven
http://www.willowraven-illustration.blogspot.com/

How I use Science Research in my Science-Fiction Writing for The Spanners Series

How I use #Science #Research in my #Science-Fiction #Writing for The Spanners Series

First, Some #Tech History

Typewriters to Word Processors
I am old enough to remember learning to type on a manual typewriter whose action was so “hard” or difficult that I had to slam each finger onto the keys to get them to hit the ribbon with enough force to get sufficient ink to mark the typing paper. If I were trying to make carbon copies, I had to hit the keys even harder or the copy wouldn’t be impressed with the keys enough for the carbon paper to work properly.

Luckily, I was already a piano student (from the age of 9) by the time I started typing (age 10) and I took my only formal typing class the summer I turned twelve. By then, my fingers were very strong. I do not know how others learned to type and made it work without being pianists. Even with my hours of piano playing every week, I still found it tiring and challenging to type with enough force on these typewriters to make the keys impress the carbon paper, especially when making more than one copy.

manual typewriter
Keys on a Manual Typewriter

The first revolution was the IBM “Selectric” (invented in 1961, but got to me and my part-time jobs in St. Louis, MO, in the late 1960s and early 1970s), which had a spinning ball rather than key action. This made the typing of the letters cause the ball to spin, putting the typed letter in contact with the ink ribbon without having to use as much force. My days of a typewriter jam were almost over (I became an extremely fast typist, but the machine could not keep up!).

The early 1970s brought further great relief from typewriter drudgery with the electric typewriters (soft-touch, less force-required) and then the amazing automatic carriage return. Remember that lever we had to yank on at the end of every line? Gone!

typewriter_jam
Typewriter Jam
image from http://ecocatlady.blogspot.com

Finally, the best invention for writers and secretaries: the correction key, which worked by back-space-erase-retype action. Before this functional key existed, typists had to use special typewriter erasers (those round ones with the feathery ends so we could brush off the eraser dust from each part of the page) and carbon paper erasers for any mistakes, OR (usually) retype the entire page for one mistake! For larger mistakes or the carbon copies, we newly could use “Liquid Paper” or “Wite-Out”(THANKS, Bette Nesmith Graham, who invented this in her kitchen in 1956!), which also was a revolution in making typed pages appear mistake-free even when they were not.

Liquid_paper_products_Womens_Museum
Liquid Paper display at the Women’s Museum
image from http://en.wikipedia.org

Card Catalogs and Index Cards
Along with these trips down memory lane for typists, which brought us to word-processing/computer-like typewriters and, finally, word-processing software for home computers (the BEST!), we have the trajectory across the last fifty years for researchers. Remember those little pencils that were ubiquitous in libraries for use near the card-catalogs?

I used to spend hours or days or weeks cross-referencing, by hand, with my fingers and tired eyes, to find authors, titles, types of printed works, or microfiche/ microfilm copies of materials. Then, some were not allowed to be “checked out,” only used “in-house.” Or, some had to be requested via Interlibrary Loan, which could take months.

The photocopier was an electrifying (LOL) invention that allowed us to take home pages we wanted to study or read. We could mark them up and use them to take further notes on when items couldn’t be taken out of the library, but they cost a lot per page for my budget. I invented my own shorthand to take copious notes very quickly, a system I learned to use in lecture classes as well. I could quickly crib information from precious materials I couldn’t afford to make copies of in the large numbers of pages I needed for a project.

I am a speed-reader, fast note-taker, and quick thinker. Still, this type of research was slow and laborious since I had to read each page to determine what I wanted to notate, photocopy or ignore. Every resource also had long lists of their own resources which I usually had to follow-up on (and was grateful for the “trail”), but many items were one-of-a-kind and not available when I needed them.

Index cards, notebooks, looseleaf binders, photocopies, smudged ink and so much paper, paper, paper: I was drowning in it. We had to ORGANIZE: color coding, use of tabs, physically taping-moving-retaping the cards or notes on large pieces of paper or a bulletin board, wall or floor. It is at this point I would notice the gaps and have to trudge back (often through snow and ice; not kidding) to the library.

floor outlining
Floor Outlining
image from http://fairfieldwriter.wordpress.com

I was SO excited to use removable tags and “post-it” notes when they came into our lives: 1968, serendipitous discovery by Dr. Spencer Silver at 3-M, of the reusable glue; and Arthur Fry, mid-1970s for the mass-market applications, like “post-it” notes and removable tabs. If I only could keep it all straight and remember my own process. For example, was I using blue for my thoughts or quotations…?

Art Fry oppfant Post-it-lappene og forandret måten vi kommuniserer på. Gul lapp på pannen med lys idé tegnet .
Arthur Fry, inventor of the “Post-It” note
image from http://en.wikipedia.org

Research Access and Writing, First Major Innovations
Fast-forward to the 1990s and (thanks to Al Gore…), the World Wide Web, or as it’s now known, the Internet. At first, not a lot was available to “laypeople.” Research didn’t change for me much during my graduate schools years (1991-96, for my Master’s and doctorate). The scanning interfaces were horrible: grainy and hard to read, with many odd mistakes and quirky formatting problems. Plus, most items weren’t scanned in and scanners were still prohibitively expensive and large, so not widely utilized. Professional journals, esoteric sources and other materials still needed to be found and used at libraries or in person.

The biggest boon and the one I still praise daily is the word processing personal computer. Best parts of that: copy, cut and paste functions. Gone forever are the days of using actual scissors (although I love that the “cut” icon is a pair of scissors). I no longer use sticky tape or post-its to move text around and it’s easy to create outlines that I can change quickly.

First-time, ever: specialized software programs that allowed us to create bibliographies as we write, using sources freely in our properly-positioned footnotes and endnotes, all automatically formatted to the chosen “style” guide, if we were clever enough to input the data correctly. Incredible!

endnote foot note dialogue box
Endnote/Footnote Dialogue Box

Using Science Research in my Science-Fiction Writing

A Researcher’s Paradise!
Now, in the mid-20-teens, the Internet is alive, well, thriving and chock-full of information. Google, Yahoo, MSN, Wikipedia and other -pedias, specialized news sources and wikis along with nonprofit organizations’, professional associations’ and corporate websites populate the web with more facts than anyone could gather. I can capture and bring them to me via my home computer’s browser with the entry of a few simple search terms.

I am now overflowing with science breakthroughs, breaking news and older sources, with accompanying images, data and video/audio files. I am in a researcher’s paradise!

Word-Processing Software’s References and Resources
We have our own dictionary and thesaurus right within our word processing programs, with grammar and spell-checking functions operating within our own preferences and parameters. We can change these, add words and terms, personalize it all at will.

We can also become completely autonomous as bloggers, authors, producers of content of all sorts. We can independently research, write, edit and format an entire book in electronic or print format from our homes or offices: this is the true revolution of “desk-top publishing.”

My Evolving Research and Writing Process
Best part, for this sci-fi writer: science information on any topic, any time, at my fingertips. I have changed the way I write because of what is available and how I can use it in my books. I used to be an avid outliner (remember the notecards and color-coded tabs?), but usually, now, I mentally sketch out what I want to write about and what characters to include.

Then, throughout the year, I gather tidbits of information that I believe I may want to use. I get links to articles from organization’s or group’s pages’ and friends’ posts on Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Twitter and other social media sites.

When something piques my interest, I don’t have to go anywhere to read it. I don’t have to take notes or pay to copy the entire article. I don’t have to carry backpacks filled with heavy books, research journals and articles home.

Oh, no; I do not!

Instead, with a few “clicks,” I travel online to the site to copy and paste part or all of the article and its URL to a word processing document. It is then stored in my research folder with a specific title and date. I review it in its entirety or portions of it later, usually on the day I plan to consider using it.

Screenshot (28)
Screenshot of my research folder’s contents

When I’m ready to write, I begin to mine my research folder for its gold and other ores. When I find something I may want to use (for its facts, explanations, ideas or announcements), I copy and paste parts or all of each article right into my story or book draft. Sometimes, early on in my writing a book for The Spanners Series, I’m not sure what I’ll use, exactly, so I paste them all “at the end.”

When I’m ready to place items by subject somewhere in the chapters set-up, I move the paragraphs or entire articles to that chapter, by topic. As I write, I read more carefully to learn from the parts I’ve captured.

BUT, I am careful NOT to not use these authors’ exact words or do much paraphrasing. Instead, these snippets become my “notes,” acting like outlines, as guides. The sections I’ve pasted show me where I want to take my characters, my plot, or even my series by providing me with the science and facts to back up the next part of the world I’m building and the story I want to tell.

Once I’ve utilized this chapter’s store of ideas and facts (of course, attributing and giving credit in my Appendices when I use any part more literally than conceptually), I put each accessed article into my “USED” folder in my computer. Then, as I write, I delete the “notes” from the copied-pasted nonfiction/research articles’ sections of the draft.

All that is left in each chapter are my own ideas, in my words, with my characters, my plot. I then move on to another source or chapter section.

Summary of All the Changes: Pros and Cons
This process sometimes wreaks havoc with daily word counts, but I’ve learned how to distinguish consistently the “notes” sections separately from the written portions. What I love about this evolving process is how time- and resource-efficient and budget-friendly it is. There are only a few steps, with nothing to photocopy or borrow, no handwritten notes and bits of paper to misplace, fewer or no pieces of paper.

Plus, when I find out I’m missing something crucial or want to go in a new direction, I can open a browser tab and find a new information source in about one minute on my computer, from where I am already sitting. When inspiration strikes, I can “scratch” my creative “itch” immediately. Right away, I can find out if my new idea is feasible by setting the data up right within my draft, look it over, consider it all, then resume writing.

I can easily and quickly re-arrange entire sections, chapters, and themes, distributing ideas and information among my draft volumes as I write each one of my 10-book Spanners Series. For each of the three Volumes I have completed and the one I’m currently midway through, I have re-organized the chapters multiple times. I have changed sections, moved paragraphs and altered the events in timelines (my series includes multiple timelines) so that the chapter sequence changes almost weekly for a while.

I keep track of all these events, data and movement by using header dates for each chapter. I list them in my series’ spreadsheet by chapter and title. I also include some of the chapter’s content, characters and its current Volume number in the cell.

Screenshot (27)
The Spanners Series’ timeline spreadsheet, screenshot

Given the fluid nature of ebooks and self-publishing, it would not surprise me to find out, years from now, that I want to re-arrange the sequence within or of the Volumes I’ve already published significantly! Doing that wouldn’t even be difficult, since self-publishers can withdraw and resubmit Volumes for distribution whenever we want.

Of course, there is one big problem: too much sitting! I have to remind myself to take breaks, get up, walk around, go swimming 5 – 6 times each week, take naps, go outside and walk around. The temptation to stay inside and keep working is so much greater than in the past because everything I need is “right here”!

I also have to be careful not to have another incident of RPI (Repetitive Stress Injury) to my arms, fingers, hands and wrists, which I had severely in my first semester of graduate school. I learned exercises, ways to sleep, the use of ice and NSAIDs to avoid overusing my home computer as I transitioned from relying on an electric typewriter. When there is no paper to load, no carriage level for returns, no ribbon to change and no carbon paper, we don’t move around physically enough.

We have to remember: raise our eyes to look out a window to change our eyes’ focus from near to far, remove our hands from the keyboard to stretch our arms, shoulders, necks, backs, fingers. We need to get up and actually (HORRORS!) leave the keyboard and screen for frequent breaks, or we will ruin our bodies.

Many (like my son, not pictured, but his set-up is similar) now use standing desks and ergonomically designed keyboards with vertical access to prevent the worst harm and future injuries. However, exercise and frequent “away” periods are the best ways to avoid physical problems from developing due to computer overuse.

ergonomic desk set up
Ergonomic Desk and Keyboard Set-up
image from http://www.instructables.com

However, I would not trade the convenience of this era for all the manual typewriters and liquid paper in the multiverse. Thanks to all the inventors, developers, creators, scientists, researchers and writers who made/make this all possible for the rest of us!


This Changes Everything, Volume I, The Spanners Series, by Sally Ember, Ed.D., Permafree

This-Changes-Everything----web-and-ebooks
Volume I cover

Dr. Clara Ackerman Branon, 58, begins having secret visits from holographic representations of beings from the Many Worlds Collective, a consortium of planet and star systems in the multiverse. When Earth is invited to join the consortium, the secret visits are made public. Now Earthers must adjust their beliefs and ideas about life, religion, culture, identity and everything they think and are.

Clara is selected to be the liaison between Earth and the Many Worlds Collective and she chooses Esperanza Enlaces to be the Media Contact. They team up to provide information to stave off riots and uncertainty. The Many Worlds Collective holos train Clara and the Psi-Warriors for the Psi Wars with the rebelling Psi-Defiers, communicate effectively with many species on Earth and off-planet, eliminate ordinary, elected governments and political boundaries, convene a new group of Global Leaders, and deal with family’s and friends’ reactions. 

In what multiple timelines of the ever-expanding multiverse do Clara and her long-time love, Epifanio Dang, get to be together and which leave Clara alone and lonely as the leader of Earth?

This Changes Everything spans the 30-year story of Clara’s term as Earth’s first Chief Communicator, continuing in nine more Volumes of The Spanners Series.

Are YOU ready for the changes?
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00HFELTG8 </a
https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/376197

This Changes My Family and My Life Forever, Volume II, The Spanners Series, by Sally Ember, Ed.D., @$3.99

final cover print
Volume II cover

Intrigued by multiple timelines, aliens, psi skills, romance and planetary change? Clara and the alien “Band” are back.

Now as Chief Communicator, Clara leads the way for interspecies communication on- and off-planet. Fighting these changes are the Psi-Defiers, led by one of the oldest friends of the Chief of the Psi-Warriors, its reluctant leader, Rabbi Moran Ackerman. Stories from younger Spanners about the first five years of The Transition fill Volume II.

How would YOU do with the changes?
https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/424969  
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00KU5Q7KC

This Is/Is Not the Way I Want Things to Change, Volume III, The Spanners Series, by Sally Ember, Ed.D., planned pre-orders 11/1/15 – 12/7/15 @$1.99; planned release 12/8/15 @$3.99; Cover Reveal 10/26/15!

logoAuthorsDen
The Spanners Series logo

Clara, Moran, Espe, Epifanio and the alien Band of holos are back. Psi-Defiers launch increasingly violent protests during this five-year Transition, attempting to block Earth’s membership into the Many Worlds Collective. To join, Earth’s nations and borders must dissolve and Psi-Warriors must strengthen in their battle against the rebels.

Clara, continuing as Earth’s first Chief Communicator, also juggles family conflicts and danger while creating psi skills training Campuses to help Earth through the Psi Wars. Clara timults alternate versions of their futures as the leaders’ duties and consciences force them each to make difficult choices across multiple timelines while continuing to train and fight.

Will the Psi-Warriors’ and other leaders’ increasing psi skills, interspecies collaborations and budding alien alliances be enough for Earth to make it through The Transition intact? If there is no clear path for Clara’s and Epifanio’s love, does she partner with Steve or go it alone?

What do you do with wanted/unwanted changes?


LINKS

http://www.sallyember.com  main website
http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00HEV2UEW  author page
https://www.twitter.com/sallyemberedd Twitter: @sallyemberedd
https://www.facebook.com/TheSpannersSeriesbySallyEmber Spanners Series’ page on FB
https://www.facebook.com/sally.ember
http://www.pinterest.com/sallyember
http://goo.gl/tZKQpv Spanners Series’ page on Google+
https://plus.google.com/u/0/+SallySueEmber/about/p/pub Sally Sue Ember on Google+
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCqnZuobf0YTCiP6silDDL2w/videos
https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7237845.Sally_Ember  

More purchase/free links on Kobo, ibooks and nook as well as reviews, book trailers, author interviews and readings, blog posts, research, series updates and more on Sally’s website: look right, scroll down. http://www.sallyember.com

Cover art and logo by Aidana Willowraven: http://www.willowraven-illustration.blogspot.com/

Proven, Long-term Effects on Physical Health of those who suffered childhood Trauma, Abuse, Neglect and Bullying

In case you’ve been unaware of the last several years of research from all over the world, with children, adolescents and adults, some after 40 years since the trauma, they all come to the same conclusions: those who suffer childhood trauma, whether through abuse, neglect, witnessing domestic or neighborhood violence or being bullied by siblings or peers, have observable, lifelong negative consequences to not only our psychological but to our physical health. Traumas include war and threats of warlike activity, sudden natural disasters, neighborhood or school-site gang warfare and violent encounters of other types that children and teens experience, even if “only” as witnesses.

consequences of childhood abuse

image from http://www.acestoohigh.com

Is there any “good news”? Only a bit.

  • When responsible adults who have the power to act curtail or stop the abuse or trauma early on, some of the effects may be reversible.
  • If adults whom the victim/survivor encounters treat the traumatized child, teen or adult consistently and appropriately by supplying effective psychological therapy and immediate environmental improvements, an almost-complete recovery is possible.
  • When the child reports the bullying or abuse or reveals that domestic violence or parental neglect is occurring and the listening adults immediately take the child’s reports seriously followed by taking obvious supportive, preventive and/or protective actions, these responses also improve the child’s chances of developing fewer problems later in life.

Links to some of the research articles recently published are below. My favorite points are in this post. Thanks to all the researchers, reporters/journalists and participants in these studies who made these understandings possible.

May all abuse, neglect, bullying, domestic violence and other causes of childhood trauma CEASE in our lifetimes.

May all children grow up and be educated in safe, healthy environments.

20_circle_TLG network model_Lives of Children_24_07_08

image from http://www.earlytraumagrief.anu.edu.au

Sources and quotes:

I. Abuse Casts a Long Shadow by Changing Children’s Genes

By Eleanor Nelsen

July 2014

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/next/body/epigenetics-abuse/?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=pbsofficial&utm_campaign=nova_next

“For abused children, that trauma is just the beginning. Most will likely struggle well into adulthood.”

trauma to early death pyramid

image from http://www.ascd.org

“Living with an abusive parent has increased their risk for depression and other psychological problems while decreasing their chances of successfully maintaining close relationships. Even physical ailments, like type 2 diabetes and heart disease, are more likely in adults who were abused as kids. Early abusive experiences can leave a stubborn imprint on those children’s brains and bodies, and Seth Pollak, a professor at the University of Wisconsin and head of the study, wanted to know how, exactly, abuse was changing these children’s bodies on a cellular level.”

“… people’s experiences exert a strong influence on their biology by silencing genes or turning them back on, significantly changing the way a cell functions without changing its DNA sequence. It’s a phenomenon known as epigenetics.”

“’Epigenetics makes the genes tick,’ explains Moshe Szyf, a professor of genetics and pharmacology at McGill University. Epigenetic changes modify DNA to keep genes from being expressed, and they can explain dramatic differences between cells with identical DNA—for example, how stem cells can turn into either liver cells or heart cells, or why only one of a set of identical twins gets cancer. It’s also, Pollak found, why children who grow up in abusive homes have physical and psychological problems that haunt them well into adulthood.”

“‘… something like parenting, parental care, was flipping the switch.’… trauma might be turning this stress-management gene off…”

“…for children in abusive homes, who are in threatening situations every day, having more cortisol floating around isn’t necessarily bad—at first. ‘You may need to remain vigilant more often. You may need to flip into vigilant state more easily. That’s keeping you alive under harsh conditions, but it’s also making it really hard for you to function.’”

“…The long-term results are the chronic psychological problems like anxiety and depression and chronic physical problems like heart disease and type II diabetes, which often surface years later in victims of childhood abuse.”

“… Having too few receptors for cortisol keeps the immune system from learning to manage inflammation and infections, helping explain why children in abusive homes seem to get sick more often, and are at a higher risk for chronic health problems.”

“’The idea that these things aren’t fixed is really encouraging,’ Pollak says.”

II. Bullying affects children’s long-term health, study shows

February 2014

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/272762.php

“In the first study of its kind to assess the compounding effects of bullying over 5 years, researchers have found that a child experiences more severe and lasting health implications the longer he or she is bullied, suggesting that early interventions could reverse the “downward health trajectory” that victims of bullying may experience.”

“At any age, bullying was linked with worse mental and physical health, more depressive symptoms and a lower sense of self-worth. And students who reported chronic bullying also experienced more difficulties with physical activities like walking, running or playing sports.”

“‘Our research shows that long-term bullying has a severe impact on child’s overall health, and that its negative effects can accumulate and get worse with time,’ says Bogart.”

“She calls for more intervention around bullying, ‘because the sooner we stop a child from being bullied, the less likely bullying is to have a lasting, damaging effect on his or her health down the road,’ she adds.”

“…recent events may be more important than distant ones to a child’s health, but the team notes that health consequences “compound over time” and may stay even after the bullying has ceased.”

“… their findings emphasize the importance of stopping bullying early and continuously intervening to help with the lingering effects.”

Sally Ember wholeheartedly recommends the nonprofit USA-based organization, Community Matters, for their advising and trainings for improving school climate through research-based and clinically-proven effective bullying prevention and education programs, “Safe School Ambassadors,” for youth, school staff and parents.
Contact them (they offer programs around the world): 707-823-6159 or http://www.community-matters.org

Medical News Today reported on a 2013 study published in the journal Psychological Science, which suggested victims of childhood bullying fare poorly in adulthood. Findings from the study showed that individuals bullied in childhood were more likely to have a psychiatric disorder, smoke, struggle to keep work and had difficulty maintaining friendships.”

III. BULLYING BY SIBLINGS ANYTHING BUT HARMLESS

compiled in 2013

http://www.elementsbehavioralhealth.com/behavioral-health-news/bullying-by-siblings-anything-but-harmless/

While other forms of bullying are commonly taken seriously and relatively well-researched, bullying between siblings often gets ignored or minimized. However, two recent studies call attention to the potential pitfalls of discounting the effects of sibling bullying. One of these studies indicates that children who bully their brothers or sisters take this activity less seriously than other bullying behaviors, while the other study indicates that sibling bullying can cause just as much mental health harm as other forms of bullying.

Risks associated with childhood trauma

image from http://www.psychiatrictimes.com

“…childhood bullying substantially increases the chances that an individual will develop a diagnosable mental illness during adulthood. These same risks also apply in magnified form to bully-victims, a term used to describe bullying victims who go on to perpetrate acts of bullying on others.”

“… more siblings (85 percent) actually identify themselves as bullies than as bullying victims (75 percent)….[T]his finding points toward a widespread childhood acceptance of sibling bullying as a non-consequential behavior that has no meaningful impact on the well-being of affected individuals. This acceptance also almost certainly reflects the attitudes of the larger culture toward the seriousness of sibling bullying.”

“…both relatively moderate and relatively severe bullying produce a decline in mental health marked by things such as anxiety, depressed moods and uncontrolled outbursts of anger. Moderate physical bullying by a sibling has a greater mental health effect on younger children than on older children. However, the authors found that all other forms of sibling bullying have an equally negative effect on both younger children and teenagers.”

“… current social tendencies to downplay or dismiss the importance of sibling bullying contribute to the problem and seriously increase the chances that sibling bullying and other forms of bullying will continue to diminish the psychological/emotional well-being of large numbers of individuals.”

“…pediatricians can help decrease the impact of sibling bullying by looking for signs of such bullying in their patients on an annual basis.”

IV. The neurobiological effects of childhood maltreatment: An often overlooked narrative related to the long-term effects of early childhood trauma?

by Jennifer Delima and Graham Vimpani

http://www.aifs.gov.au/institute/pubs/fm2011/fm89/fm89e.html

“… some current societal dysfunction may well be an overlooked significant consequence of childhood maltreatment, with its associated trauma effect upon the developing brain. These changes prevent and impair the ability to remediate disadvantage and its effects through purely social policy and justice measures.”

Acts of commission (actions against the child)
Physical– The child is subject to disciplinary action by his/her caregiver(s), with resultant bruising, severe pain, temporary loss of mobility, scars, burns, shaking etc. This may lead in some cases to more serious and life-threatening injuries, including inflicted brain injury.
Sexual – This involves the sexual abuse or exploitation of the child and /or exposing them to sexual acts.
Emotional – The child is subject to repeated verbal abuse, being sworn at or receiving hurtful and demeaning comments about his/herself. This form of maltreatment also includes the child hearing about violent acts perpetrated upon a significant attachment figure for the child.

Acts of omission (actions of failed care)
Witnessing family violence – The child hears or watches aggressive verbal altercations and/or physical violence.
Neglect – This type of maltreatment ranges from failing to provide basic food, shelter, clothing and care (including relevant medical care) to exposure to harmful substances. This is often labelled as “environmental circumstance”, but studies of documented behavioural features and neuro-imaging tests demonstrate that the resultant brain injury patterns are similar to those seen in children exposed to acknowledged trauma and maltreatment.
Sources: Chrousos & Gold (1992); De Bellis (2002); MacMillan et al. (2009)

“Neglectful acts have also been extended to include the exposure of children to cigarette smoke when they are motor vehicle passengers, although this does not yet apply to the unborn foetus. Exposing foetuses to harmful agents (teratogens) could also be regarded as neglectful when there is a known causal relationship between the substance and resultant structural malformations to the developing foetus (e.g., continued thalidomide use despite knowledge of its effect on foetal limb growth, or continued alcohol use with knowledge of its causality in foetal alcohol spectrum disorder). Such actions are neglectful regardless of the intent of the child’s parent, caregiver or other responsible adults.”

“The common factors in trauma or maltreatment that adversely affect early brain development appear to be those events and conditions in which the child experiences or repeatedly experiences, in a prolonged and uncontrolled manner, circumstances that they perceive as being likely to be significantly life threatening for themselves.”

They can use “non-invasive static-scan neuro-imaging tools, such as MRI (magnetic resonance imaging), DTI (diffusion tensor imaging) and SPECT (single-photon emission computed tomography). More recently, assessment with ‘functional MRI’ (fMRI) has provided even further evidence of the impact that maltreatment has upon a child’s brain, including the assessment of not only structural changes but also the dynamic processes occurring within the brain as the child recalls or listens to an account of the varying types of maltreatment to which they have been previously exposed.”

“Maltreatment that comprises severe, prolonged and uncontrolled life stressors activates a prolonged biological stress response. This response is mediated through the limbic-hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis, a system that describes the brain’s interaction with the peripheral body through neural (sympathetic nervous system) and hormonal (adrenal gland) tissues that regulate the body’s response to perceived longer acting stressors (infection, trauma, neglect, substance exposure, etc.).”

“The developing brain is particularly vulnerable to stress, especially with respect to the pre-frontal cortex, hippocampus and corpus callosum. Through prolonged activation of the biological stress response system, structural and functional brain changes occur. The behaviours resulting from chronic stress include poor self-regulation, increased impulsive behaviours, and emotional responses such as high levels of experienced anxiety, aggression and suicidal tendencies and, in some, a learned helplessness from the constant impairment of self-regulation.”

“…the response to chronic stress impairs the function of noradrenaline and dopamine within the limbic system and that this may account for the typical post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms of persistent hyper-arousal and hyper-vigilance that continues to occur after the trauma, despite resolution of the initiating experience. These neurotransmitters also interact with the serotonin system to modify mood and anxiety symptoms.”

“The impact of maltreatment on the brain – structural, functional and behavioural – has been shown to worsen the longer the duration of trauma experience and the younger the age of onset of the trauma experience.”
Substance misuse and dependence

“Early onset adult depressive, suicidal and personality disorders have also been shown to be significantly increased in those with documented histories of childhood maltreatment….This has been postulated to be the outcome of cortisol hyper-secretion.”

“… ‘antisocial’ personality disorder is a more frequent occurrence in those with a history of physical abuse and/or neglect, whereas “borderline” personality disorder is more frequently associated with childhood sexual abuse.”

“Cognitive development and academic performance are also adversely affected by childhood exposure to violence. MRI studies show that exposure to violence is associated with children having smaller intracranial, cerebral and prefrontal cortex volumes, with particular effects on prefrontal white matter, temporal lobe volumes and the corpus callosum….these children have been found to suffer increased levels of depression, dissociation and both externalising (aggression, self-harming) and internalising (depression, anxiety) symptoms.”

“…male children are more vulnerable to the consequences of maltreatment, and this is reflected in changed brain structure….The corpus callosum volume in males is especially decreased in the isthmus region of the corpus callosum, which appears to facilitate more externalising behavioural symptoms of aggression and suicidality.”

“A similar decrease in volume is noted in the superior temporal gyrus and hippocampus, with a resultant observed deficit in executive function ability and sustained attention and focus, a limited verbal response ability, and poor short-term memory and capacity for future planning. Also observed has been a decreased ability to learn through both motor and non-motor means. Further, the cerebellum is generally decreased in volume in these children, with an observed attendant behavioural pattern of having difficulty sleeping, poor concentration and general irritability.”

“Maltreatment in early childhood has also been shown to result in adverse adult onset physical health; in particular, chronic disease and reproductive and adult sexual health problems….childhood abuse and exposure to domestic violence can lead to numerous differences in the structure and physiology of the brain, which affect multiple human functions and behaviours.”

“…not all children are adversely affected in this way. Some of this resilience may be attributed to the ‘neuroplasticity’ of the brain; that is, the ability of neural tissue to modify brain function and response, so enabling a different response to an experienced memory. Neuroplasticity occurs as a result of some synaptic pathways being enhanced rather than others following activities that stimulate specific sensory, motor and language development. This is especially seen in children under the age of 7 years and continues to a lesser degree into the mid-teenage years, but it decreases significantly around the third decade of life, when the brain has reached maturity with completed myelination.”

“…appropriate and early remedial therapy provided to children who have suffered maltreatment (either in utero, or during their childhood), may mitigate many of the adverse behavioural, learning and cognitive effects of the maltreatment.”

“Early identification of such affected children would permit the implementation of remedial social supports, education and behavioural treatment measures to enhance the modifying mechanism of neuroplasticity to reduce the functional neurobiological effects of child maltreatment. Additionally, early modification of the child’s environment to decrease the biological stress response may also assist the expression of the child’s genetic make-up (epigenetics).”

“Elevated cortisol biological stress responses in children and adolescents reflect the prolonged stimulation of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis, which normally is an acute stress response system. This prolonged stimulation in turn adversely affects physical and mental health and wellbeing, resulting in conditions such as reduced immune function, cardiovascular disease, dysthymia (persistent mild depression), major depression, oppositional defiant disorder and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Furthermore, persistent exposure to stress results in damped responsiveness to new stressors.”

“…females tend to express their responses to maltreatment through internalising symptoms such as depression, anxiety and eating disorders, compared to males, who express themselves more through externalising symptoms such as aggression, harm directed at others and suicidality.”

” [However], the younger child tends to display a similar level of distress regardless of the magnitude of stress to which they are responding.”

“…not all children are adversely affected by maltreatment, and this is hypothesised to reflect their access to appropriate environmental and familial supports at the time of the event. Additionally, differential epigenetic responses to environmental circumstances may also play a part. If the biological stress response is rapidly curtailed through appropriate support, and safety and security measures are instigated, then structural changes within the developing child’s brain are likely to be minimised, along with the adverse behavioural consequences.”

“The effects of maltreatment on children extend further than the children and their respective families to affect the wider community. The learning and cognitive deficits observed in these children are then reflected in their poorer educational and life skills development, particularly their capacity for self-regulation. This in turn affects the community’s ability to control violence and ensure an environment that promotes individual safety.”

“Child maltreatment eventually also affects the broader society with which the child’s community articulates. When adults in these communities have also been affected in their own childhoods by significant and chronic maltreatment, and witnessed or experienced personal, family and community violence, as well as engaging in chronic alcohol misuse, the intergenerational “cycle of poverty and community dysfunction” continues; the adults who would normally be responsible for providing the leadership, supervision and caring roles are themselves limited by their own reduced cognitive capacity and executive function ability.”

“Identification of these children through early and appropriate screening … and targeted remedial treatment has the potential to mitigate some of the cognitive, learning and behavioural difficulties that may arise, such as poor literacy, unemployment, incarceration, childhood pregnancy, or substance dependence.”

“Where brain injury results from maltreatment, current social and justice strategies, often introduced relatively late in the individual’s life, are by themselves of little benefit in achieving remediation, as the damage to neuropsychological functioning may be too entrenched to be overcome. This is especially so as most of the remedial programs available commence after the age of 7 years, thus missing the most sensitive ‘neuroplastic developmental’ period.”

“Providing a safe environment for children and their families will enable the next generation of children to achieve their maximum adult potential through normal neurobiological development.”

V. Impact of childhood bullying still evident after 40 years

April 2014
This study was funded by the British Academy and the Royal Society.

http://www.kcl.ac.uk/iop/news/records/2014/April/Impact-of-childhood-bullying-still-evident-after-40-years.aspx

“Dr. Ryu Takizawa, lead author of the paper from the Institute of Psychiatry at King’s College London, says: ‘Our study shows that the effects of bullying are still visible nearly four decades later. The impact of bullying is persistent and pervasive, with health, social and economic consequences lasting well into adulthood.’”

“Individuals who were bullied in childhood were more likely to have poorer physical and psychological health and cognitive functioning at age 50. Individuals who were frequently bullied in childhood were at an increased risk of depression, anxiety disorders, and suicidal thoughts.”

love should never hurt

image from http://www.firstcovers.com

“Individuals who were bullied in childhood were also more likely to have lower educational levels, with men who were bullied more likely to be unemployed and earn less. Social relationships and well-being were also affected. Individuals who had been bullied were less likely to be in a relationship, to have good social support, and were more likely to report lower quality of life and life satisfaction.”

“…’what happens in the school playground can have long-term repercussions for children. Programmes to stop bullying are extremely important, but we also need to focus our efforts on early intervention to prevent potential problems persisting into adolescence and adulthood.’”

My #Writing Process: Revealed!

“Where do you get your ideas?” is the most-asked question of creative people. I’ve been paying attention to my own #writing process since people started asking me that more often. I now know I have three distinct phases for my creative process, but they are not entirely linear in sequence.

Without even consciously knowing I am in it, I am often in the incubation period, phase one for all creative endeavors. This assumes ground zero is pre-phase one, the part in which I determine I’m open to creating and what I want to create, in a general way.

For me, the incubation period is highly receptive. I am like a sponge; I am seemingly almost indiscriminate in my voracious appetite for information, as in Short Circuit‘s Johnny Five’s demands for “more input.”

Short Circuit need input

Phase one includes: getting cognitive but silent input from reading fiction and nonfiction books and magazine or ‘zine articles and blog posts; visual/emotional/audio content input from watching films/TV, TED talks and videos via Facebook, youtube, Google+, blogs and other sources; musical inspiration gleaned from radio, Spotify and other online music players, playing piano, singing; conversing with friends, family, strangers and acquaintances. All of this sparks thousands of ideas.

Next comes the internal percolating, still incubation, from all input and other connections being made. Percolating occurs while: dreaming, meditating, thinking, contemplating, swimming, walking, driving. I love this part: although most of it is invisible, it is palpable. I feel buzzed: re-routed, re-programmed, inspired, electrified. I often feel as if I am in a remembering or retrieval mode, recalling and almost hearing or seeing what I’m about to write as if it’s already written.

Inevitably, I get woken up from sleep or can’t fall asleep because these first gems of ideas are starting to surface and I MUST write them down. I hear them narrated or see them in paragraphs. I make lists, gather URLs and quotes, write down remembered dreams and conversations, make mini-outlines, generate summaries and plot intentions, describe characters and do many other cultivating things with the seeds already planted.

I have to move quickly; these deliveries are clear and sharp at first, but the longer I wait or the longer it takes to put them into form, the weaker the connection or recollection gets. This phase is very exciting but also quite frustrating. I feel as if I only get to write down or collect about half of what I receive.

I am now in phase two: full writing mode. I’m generating and composing my ideas into text. Organizing, whittling, deciding, creating connections are now dominant. Characters, plots, dialog, events, circumstances, facts and conflicts all converge in seemingly random and chaotic ways until I can sift through and wrest them into some order. It feels as if I’m gathering spiderwebs, tantalizing aromas and musical notes and transforming them into particular words, coherent paragraphs, comprehensible stories.

spiderweb fog

Once I start writing them down as lists or collect ideas into documents and folders for later use, I am compelled to follow clues, leads, research trails. These lead to more input and ideas, and those lead to further incubations, more percolating, etc.

These first two phases loop many times until the ideas erupt from me, birthed into existence as writing. I hate to be interrupted when I’m on a trail.

However, I love and crave, even make my own interruptions in the next part, the testing period of writing. I reach out to people to talk things out, hear ideas or dialogue aloud for the first time, getting first bounce-back reactions and more ideas from these interactions. I call certain people many times: my son, my mom, my sisters, a niece, some friends. I post questions and comments online and get responses from strangers/acquaintances. Suggestions, critiques, future-use ideas all welcomed, here.

social-sites

Eventually, the input receiving slows down and the output starts to take precedence. I spend more time writing than researching. This is the highest output part of the process, generating most of the writing. Much of what I generate may not get used, or not used for this immediate project, but I keep it all.

I have dozens of drafts, pieces, drafts of chapters and whole volumes for The Spanners Series in folders that may be mined for future Volumes if not used for the one I’m currently writing. I leave myself gifts and find them later. When I was ready to write Volume II, I was shocked to discover that I had already written large chunks of it while writing Volume I and didn’t even remember having done so much writing for that Volume!

Phase three involves combining, rewriting, generating, refining, selecting, drafting and completing the work. I spend more time revising than creating, which means I’m in the third phase. I do get new ideas and do more research during this final phase, in many of the same ways, but the proportions reverse from the earlier phases.

Some people call these three phases Prewriting, Writing, Revising. Works for me.

writing process three parts

Steven Johnson’s TED talk from 2010: Where good ideas come from, in which he ends with “Chance favors the connected mind,” describes a lot of what I experience. I love that quote.

http://www.ted.com/talks/steven_johnson_where_good_ideas_come_from.html

Good luck with your writing!