Puffins, Pebbles, and Prattling On

Today I delivered a lecture on the steps to becoming a certified evil genius.  Of course, I know nothing of this.  After half an hour of thinking up obvious tests, I was out of ideas.  Donning a professor-style jacket, I found a suitable audience and lectured them.  Laser pointer in hand, I explained to my stuffed puffin all the ins and outs of becoming an evil genius, hoping it would spark the creative inferno I needed to char-broil the short story simmering within me.

It didn’t.  But I gained an appreciation for talking.  And puffins.

Though I say a lot on this blog, I don’t tell you everything.  Myriad ideas pop into my head every day, and in paroxysms of paranoia, I usually refrain from telling them to you.  If I can’t write enough about a subject, I don’t post it, so most of my sentence-long ideas don’t get published.  Unfortunately, to become real, those ideas need the opposite.  Repetition fleshes out ideas.  Sometimes you must slow yourself down and clear your mind.  You must become one with the harmony of the universe and all that stuff.

Not really.  But it is important to slow yourself down and think about your words.

For the Teens Can Write, Too blog chain eight months ago, the prompt was “Why do you write?”  The last paragraph of that novel-length post says this:

[Writing] is a way to clear thoughts.  It has the same capacity to aid you as talking to yourself does.  Both things help get your thoughts into orderly fashion, and thus will help you think about them better.  I’ve had ideas floating around in my head for days and weeks at a time, during which period I don’t progress at all in their development.  Then I write them down and new ideas flood in.  I suppose I could also just go around talking to myself all day, but my friends think I’m crazy enough already.

I have only two things to add: What friends?  And who says you have to talk to yourself in public?  My puffin is an excellent audience.  My whiteboard is an excellent whiteboard.  My laser pointer is an excellent laser pointer.  What more do I need?

Some people have living dogs, cats, or mutant hippopotamuses.  Some people have friends that stand their ground when you explain time travel.  (Personally, I can’t imagine running away from any time travel conversation.)  But in the end, it doesn’t matter who you speak to– the act of speaking clarifies your thoughts, whether you have a live audience or a pebble.  Speak naturally, though– introduce yourself to your audience, explain things in depth as if your pebble actually has the brains of a pebble, and make jokes at your audience’s expense.  If you feel like you’re talking to a pebble, your imagination is pathetic.

Try it sometime.  Get an audience and explain to it the most complicated concept in your thoughts at the moment.  If you do it in a different accent, I shall salute you.

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121 Comments

  1. Robyn Hoode

     /  March 11, 2013

    You tell us to speak naturally then say speaking in a different accent is a good thing?
    Talking to your self is nice. I personally am fond of roleplaying my work in progress scenes. I think it helps me flesh out my charries. I hate being caught doing though.

    Reply
    • I never said speaking in an accent was a good thing, just that I would salute you for doing it. Good catch, though.

      Reply
      • Robyn Hoode

         /  March 11, 2013

        *tosses back the ball* Who’s up for baseball? 🙂

      • *takes a swing, slices baseball in half* Whoops, that’s a broadsword, not a bat.

      • Robyn Hoode

         /  March 11, 2013

        Time to find a new baseball… and to take that sword away.

      • I like this sword!

      • Robyn Hoode

         /  March 12, 2013

        Sorry, but your sword is against baseball regulations, chapter 86, paragraph 8. Hand it over.

      • *clutches sword*

      • Robyn Hoode

         /  March 12, 2013

        *holds out hand* Liam… you can have it back after the game.

      • Robyn Hoode

         /  March 12, 2013

        *sighs* You’re hopeless!
        Oh, well. If you can’t beat ’em…*whips out her own broadsword*, join ’em! Batter up!

      • Who’s pitching?

      • Robyn Hoode

         /  March 12, 2013

        Um… self-pitch. Be careful not to swing too soon.

      • Not me. I see enough of that around here. (All the brothers love baseball)

      • I would join this game of broadsword baseball if it weren’t for the fact that I’m deadly afraid of slicing off one of my appendages. So instead, I shall cheer from the sidelines with my stuffed moose.

      • Robyn Hoode

         /  March 12, 2013

        I’d hate to be the catcher…
        Still missing a few players… if no one else signs up, we’ll have to break out the minions.

      • You have a stuffed moose too? *delighted squeal emits from a prepared speaker on the sidelines*

      • Robyn Hoode

         /  March 12, 2013

        I think we need more gear for this… since it is broadsword baseball how about… gauntlets for gloves and knights’ helmets?

      • No, let’s rejoice in the thrill of potential maiming!

      • Robyn Hoode

         /  March 12, 2013

        Remember about maiming in The Lightning Thief? You’ll lose your s’more priviledges.
        Actually, forget it. Potential maiming it is! You bat first.
        Hey, batter, batter…

      • *swings hard and lets go of sword, which goes whirring toward Robyn*

      • Robyn Hoode

         /  March 13, 2013

        WHOA!!! *ducks just in time, sword almost hits the moose in the bleechers* LIAM! Strike One!

      • No, I hit the ball, didn’t I?

      • Robyn Hoode

         /  March 13, 2013

        No, you didn’t, but you about lopped off my head! Batter up! Good luck pulling your sword out of the bleechers.

      • Bleachers! With an A!

      • Robyn Hoode

         /  March 13, 2013

        Are you sure? Wouldn’t that mean we were bleaching something?

      • Robyn Hoode

         /  March 13, 2013

        AHHH! I HATE IT WHEN SPELL CHECK IS RIGHT!!

        Anyway…*clears throat*, batter up!

      • Nope, I’m done. Gimme my broadsword back.

      • Robyn Hoode

         /  March 13, 2013

        You’re done?! How can you be done?! All you did was try to behead me and then criticize my spelling! (Please, don’t say anything about the word critcize… I’m fairly certain I’ve spelled it wrong.)
        Go get your own sword! You’re the one who got it stuck in the bleachers!

      • Hey, hey! Easy! You nearly beheaded my moose (who’s name is Fatty Lumpkin after that pony of Tom Bombadil’s in LotR)!

        Speaking of LotR….I HAVE FINISHED THE SERIES!

      • Robyn Hoode

         /  March 13, 2013

        Hooray! Huzzah! Some other exclamation of jubilee that starts with ‘h’! That is an accomplishment and a mile stone and … drinks all around! How do we feel about miruvor? I have some Arwen sent me…

      • *glances around, then leans in to whisper quietly* (SPOILER)

        Robyn…..Arwen’s not exactly alive anymore. How old is that stuff?

      • Robyn Hoode

         /  March 13, 2013

        It’s Elvish alcohol– it doesn’t go bad… that I know of.
        Something about a very good year and almost as old as I am.

      • Arwen lives at the end of the Trilogy! What are you talking about?

      • Robyn Hoode

         /  March 13, 2013

        Yeah, I thought something was wrong about that. Seana, what are you talking about?!
        Miruvor, Liam?

      • No thanks, I’ll stick with this Green Dragon stuff.

      • Robyn Hoode

         /  March 13, 2013

        Ah! The only brew for the brave and true!

      • Yes indeedy! I got a pint.

      • ….the Appendix? Anyone read that besides myself?

      • Robyn Hoode

         /  March 14, 2013

        I didn’t think she died even then. I thought she went into The West, on the ships.

      • Robyn Hoode

         /  March 14, 2013

        It comes in pints, Liam? I’m getting one!

      • No, I don’t believe she did. Hang on, I’ve got the book right next to me. Let me see if I can find a direct quote from the Appendix.

        AHA! FOUND IT!

        “But Arwen went forth from the House, and the light of her eyes was quenched, and it seemed to her people that she had become cold and grey as nightfall in winter that comes without a star. Then she said farewell to Eldarion, and to her daughters, and to all whom she had loved; and she went out from the city of Minas Tirith and passed away to the land of Lorien, and dwelt there alone under the fading trees until winter came. Galadriel had passed away and Celeborn also was gone, and the land was silent.

        There at last when the mallorn-leaves were falling, but spring had not yet come, she laid herself to rest upon Cerin Amroth; and there is her green grave, until the world is changed, and all the days of her life are utterly forgotten by mean that come after, and elanor and niphredil bloom no more east of the sea.

        ‘Here ends the tale, as it has come to us from the South; and with the passing of Evenstar no more is said in this book of the days of old.'”

      • Robyn Hoode

         /  March 14, 2013

        I stand corrected… or sit corrected, actually.

      • Now, Robyn, I have a question for you. Is your profile picture of Galadriel?

      • Robyn Hoode

         /  March 15, 2013

        Yep. 🙂
        Galadriel is my favorite girl in LOTR… possibly my favorite character, period.

      • I was always quite fond of Eowyn. She and Faramir are my favorite LotR couple.

      • Robyn Hoode

         /  March 15, 2013

        My favorite couple is Sam and Rosie. 🙂

      • Mine is the Witch King of Angmar and his mount.

      • Robyn Hoode

         /  March 15, 2013

        *rolls eyes*

      • Robyn Hoode

         /  March 15, 2013

        How do I even respond to this?

      • You don’t have to.

      • But you may as well, because it’s no fun if you don’t.

      • Robyn Hoode

         /  March 16, 2013

        Indeed. 😉

  2. magicandwriting583

     /  March 11, 2013

    I tell my dog a lot of my problems. It doesn’t seem much like she’s listening, ’cause she’s always asleep, so most times I end up being my own audience. I think it works quite well.

    Reply
    • It works well for characters, too. I had one of my characters talk to a potted plant once. It was helpful.

      Reply
      • magicandwriting583

         /  March 11, 2013

        Oh yes, that it does. I’ve never used a potted plant before, but one character talked to the river she was crossing, and another just started randomly spouting out things because he couldn’t figure out a problem—and neither could I. It worked better than I had hoped.

      • I like the technique a lot, though it makes your characters look crazy.

      • magicandwriting583

         /  March 12, 2013

        A lot of my characters are crazy, so that’s no problem for me. But some of those scenes do get edited out, to make them seem at least a little sane.

      • The conversations and infodumps make sense of the story, however, don’t they? I’ve found that to be true.

      • magicandwriting583

         /  March 12, 2013

        True.

      • It’s all good stuff, though not all important to the story.

  3. OOOOOOOOOOH. YESSSSSS.

    Sorry. One of the main reasons I love writing is because it helps me sort out my thoughts. I have a problem? I write. Just experienced something awesome? I write. Feeling particularly passionate about something? You guessed it.

    And talking to myself? Uh…*coughs* I may or may not do that. And I may or may not do it all day long. Although I do agree with Robyn; it’s very odd when I’m doing it and someone walks into the room. It’s particularly horrid when I’m talking about something that really needed to stay in my head…

    And I am SO SO SO SO glad that I have writer friends that not only sit and listen when I’m talking crazy writer stuff, they join in the discussion. LOVE YOU GUYS!

    *Coughs again* speaking of novel-length posts/comments…

    Reply
  4. My computer is getting annoyed at me for refreshing.

    Reply
  5. Emily

     /  March 11, 2013

    I’m glad to know I’m not the only one who talks to myself. My life is an endless monologue comprised of random nonsense that mostly makes no sense to anyone but me. Most people probably think I’m insane by now… but there are perks to that.

    Reply
  6. Here comes another potential novel-length comment.

    *clears throat* I have established a theory about your blog, Liam. It seems that the posts are simply jumping-off points for the discussion that occurs. My hypothesis is that the real learning and awesomeness is what happens in the comments.

    (Please note, this is not to say that the posts themselves aren’t genius themselves, because in my opinion, they are.)

    Which is very sad for the people who only read and don’t comment. My mom always says, you haven’t really learned something until you apply it. Which is what we do down here. Well…at least at the beginning, because then it moves on to things such as spoon heists, Yoda invasions, and that horrid group of singers known as “That Which Shall Not Be Named,” or something like that.

    Which is awesome in itself. 😉

    SO THERE YOU HAVE IT. Congratulations for running a blog in which the comments are the best part.

    Reply
    • Robyn Hoode

       /  March 12, 2013

      There is some learning in the comments (after all, we all did learn this and this and this.) 🙂 There is definetly awesomeness in interaction and plenty of fun connected randomness in the comments. We comment like this because Liam replies to our comments (Thanks, Liam!) and because we, as previously mentioned in these comments, enjoy making Lewis Carroll sound sane… and I could probably add Dr. Frankenstein, too.
      And yes, the posts are genuis!!! Amazing genuis! I know you write them for yourself, Liam, but they help your readers too… or give us a springboard so we can move on talk about baseball with a broadsword (the weight of that didn’t feel a bit off when you swung that, Liam?).

      Reply
    • You’re conceited.

      But you’re right. I blog for the feedback because without it, I don’t know if I’m on the right track. I talk to myself here, let you listen in, and then let you tell me what you think about it. That is my favorite part, and that’s why I hate it when people read without commenting.

      Reply
  7. Miss Quill

     /  March 12, 2013

    Today I explained to my sister the finer points of mermaid politics. Does that count? 😀

    Reply
  8. Be warned, I can – and will – use this to justify talking to myself. You have been warned.

    Reply
  9. I appreciate the references to Lewis Carroll, but no one is as insane as him, or his characters. That being said, I personally prefer to address myself in the way that Alice does herself. I’d introduce an idea to myself, then immediately shoot it down in scorn, saying, “Silly Meredith! You know better.”
    Then I would proceed to try to box my own ears.

    Reply

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