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.


121 thoughts on “Puffins, Pebbles, and Prattling On

  1. 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.

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

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

      3. 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.

      4. 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.

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

      6. 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…

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

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

      9. 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!

      10. 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!

      11. 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…

      12. 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.

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

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

      15. 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.'”

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

  2. 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.

      1. 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.


    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…

      1. No one you know. At least…you’d better not…

        One of my friends. 😛 Who likes to say those types of things. Including “indeed.”

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

    1. 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?).

      1. ” . . . and that horrid group of singers known as ‘That Which Shall Not Be Named . . . ”

        Amanda, if you’re speaking of who I think you’re speaking of….

      2. Seana, I started that in the other comments. Not to be mean… you should just go read the comments.

    2. 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.

      1. Yeah, same here…only, sometimes I can spell better than I can pronounce because I learn a bunch of words from books, and books don’t tell me how to pronounce things.

      2. Here’s a helpful hint to whichever of you sees it first: my siblings just use “infinitely” as an adverb. For example, “I’m infinitely more glad.”

  6. 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.

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