healing powers of expressive writing: James Pennebaker

I’ve been wanting to write about Pennebaker’s “healing powers of expressive writing” ever since Isobel left a tantalizing link in a comment back in April.

Since my energies and brain-power wax and wane, I’ve been waiting to be ready to write an informative post.  Ain’t gonna happen.  The being ready.  Why wait to share?  (As it is, I am struggling here….)

To get started, go read the short article, please, linked in the next paragraph.   For more information, see below at “more info.”

For nearly 20 years, Dr. James W. Pennebaker has been giving people an assignment: write down your deepest feelings about an emotional upheaval in your life for 15 or 20 minutes a day for four consecutive days. Many of those who followed his simple instructions have found their immune systems strengthened. Others have seen their grades improved. Sometimes entire lives have changed.”

As regular readers know, illness has changed my abilities in reading and comprehension.  The good news is that back in May when I was still mired in bad muck, I could understand the intent and instructions in Pennebaker’s assignment.   No special writing ability is necessary.  Note the wisdom about being ready to write about a particular moment.  Smart.

I printed out the two callouts from that first link to use as my instructions.

callouts

two callouts I used as my instructions
source:  http://www.utexas.edu/features/2005/writing/

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more info

Truly, it is worth wandering through.  (Each link will open in a new tab.)

James Pennebaker’s home page at the University of Texas.  At the bottom, see the links, some of which include online exercises.  A sampling:

Enhanced guidelines for healing writing, still short, but with a little more to think about.

Insight into your own use of language:  http://secretlifeofpronouns.com/exercises.php.

The Online Research Consortium.  University of Texas psych research being conducted online–we’re the guinea pigs.  Questionnaires out the gazoo.  Painless.  Anonymous.  Kinda fun.

The BBC Radio 4 programme introducing Pennebaker’s research.

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I found all those links after I tried the expressive writing.  That’s me anyway–get the gist of something and full steam ahead!

(Here’s a link to the discussion that Isobel and I had.  At the end of the comments.  Thanks, Isobel.)

I’d really like to hear what you think!

power of the word

Apparently, my heart has transported itself to my right side, protected under the clavicle bone.  How do I know that?  Because when the masseuse told me to allow a word to surface from my inner self and then to store it under my heart, I felt the word being stored in my heart on the right side of me.

It wasn’t that weird dyslexic confusion that has been magnified lately.  With calm certainty, I knew that’s where my heart was.

Recovery-time is huge right now, the changes to my brain right smack in my face, like a crack across the cheekbone outta nowhere.  Repeatedly.  Daily.  Hanging on…

To lose my facility with words has been an ego-bashing.  Is this what the Buddhists mean by, to rephrase, flattening the ego?  I dunno.  Don’t care right now.

My words have been a source of power to me, a power that has fueled the Me for half a century, back to the moment as a toddler where I wailed that I couldn’t read.   Even then I knew that words were a power source, that words open worlds.  “Bushels and acres and stars and worlds….”

If I describe this time only as “disconcerting,” I leave out the internal, lonely horrors.   But “disconcerting” suggests a cacophony, a lack of organization, a lack of a unified whole.

Indeed, this moment is disconcerting.

recuperation: bubble theory

Today I am here. Today I am limited. Today, I am not the same as I was on February 12, 2012, the day before my brain and body exploded with heat and pain, and my body’s processes dropped toward zero.

For the last month-plus, I have observed myself coming out of the fog of death-defying illness. The first two months are only a fuzzy blur where I went through the motions of taking care of myself, taking meds on a regimented schedule, staying at home, using every bit of energy to just be, so there were no observations and very little awareness beyond my skin.

When I first came home from the hospital, with its tubes and hard-hitting, life-saving drugs, I did attempt to fall into my daily routine, subconsciously allowing muscle memory to guide me.

In the before-time, part of my morning habit was turning on the CD player and sitting in the living room, drinking coffee, checking email and reading the funnies online, plus checking the (awful) news, both domestic and foreign sources.

In the time after, it became thus:

There was no planning, just doing: arise after dreamless sleep, go to the CD player to have music for my morning as was habit for years, but quickly turn it off. Then, shower, and dress, boil water for herbal tea, fix the same bland breakfast, and read in the bedroom for hours.

The music of my mornings before my descent toward zero was usually Baroque chorale music, or one of my favorite happy guys, Henry Purcell.  In those new mornings, as soon as I turned the music on, I had to turn it off because it immediately used up all my brain cells.  The music evoked a constant sonar pinging against every More

Saturday Sharesday

Note from the Editor who has a better memory than the writer:  the inspiration for this idea came from reading Kathy’s post, Blogging: The Christmas Gift that Keeps on Giving.   _________Back to our program…… ________

Lots of those blogging awards out there, huh?  “Award” may be not the best noun to use, but at the moment I don’t have a good suggestion.  Something along the lines of a Progressive Supper, where we move from house to house snacking on good food and getting to take away leftovers to enjoy later!

The point of the awards seems to me to be to pass the word about blogs discovered.  (It may also be about advertising WordPress, but I’m a little older and cynical now.  Don’t you wonder why they give this capability for free?  Ah, digression.)  Perhaps we could keep the intent and try:

Saturday Sharesday!

Wherein we bloggers who love to share our discoveries take a moment on a Saturday (or whenever–the days were named a long time ago and the gods maybe won’t mess with us too much if we post on Thor’s Day instead of Saturn’s Day!   And here’s a shocker:  not everyone in the world has the same names for the days!).  I digress.  As usual.

Just link to a blog you’ve discovered–no other requirements.  Do several or 1 or 100!  (It doesn’t have to be a WordPress blog!  Gasp!)

Or, share a funny cartoon!  (Which is my favorite, I confess!)

Or, just make a note of the many places your discovered bloggers live:  international enlightenment.

Or, change your blog’s language to a different language and see what happens!   I’m trying to imagine the hilarious translations!

Think of it this way:   circulating good writing and pictures is good for the world.   And it’s a mighty small world and it needs continued help.

I’ll start (and may be the only one, but heck I’m used to dancing by myself!).  They live in the US, Republic of Ireland, and Canada!

Tranquil Space Designs:  cards with personality, some with painful, funny puns!

Dummy Zero’s Blogpad:  Dedicated to the Flash of Original Genius from Creative Thinkers, Entrepreneurs, Inventors, and Tinkerers.   Time to hear the truth about the For Dummies book concept.

That Is Priceless:  Art’s Greatest Masterpieces, Made Slightly Funnier

© No Stealing!  That’s what the little c in the circle means!
© lahgitana and Rockin’ the Purple, 2011. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to lahgitana and Rockin’ the Purple with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Pedro is a cat and told me what to do!

Thank you to Pedro over at Maru Can Kiss My Furry… for including me in the list of Kreative Bloggers!

I’m not always great at following rules, but I would love to share some of the blogs I am enjoying and you may also.  These folks are from:  Republic of Ireland; Scotland; England; Denmark; Brazil; US: Oregon, Texas, East Coast, perhaps Kentucky….

As you can see, it’s quite a diverse bunch–so much out in our world–and I thank you all for sharing your corners of the world!   (I’d keep the list going and going, but I must get out to the workshop!)

The Amazing World of Conifers.

Luachmhor

heretherebespiders blowing through the cobwebs of my mind

3rdculturechildren

hey spammers!

I feel neglected.  Only about 3 of you a day complimenting me on the design for my website, or an interesting post, or the useful information, which will cause you to visit again.

Where did you go?

I don’t miss you, but sometimes you guys are funny because you think I might want to get attached to your coupon codes or software inventions, or even special meds for men!

I’m surprised there wasn’t an onslaught after I did a Press This for that Fiverr site where folks offer a service for 5 bucks.  Later, I roamed around on that site and found many, many offers that will share urls of sites that allow commeunts to be automatically approved.

Wow!  I’m so naive.  I don’t know how spam finds me, but I see there is research involved for those folks.  I wonder if those researchers earn as much money as the companies they represent?   Here are some of those ads:

:

PS.  Change your commenting settings!  (Under the Settings menu–Discussion–on the Dashboard.)  It’s easy to have commenting work for you and the people you enjoy and not easy for THEM!

© No Stealing!  That’s what the little c in the circle means!
© lahgitana and Rockin’ the Purple, 2011. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to lahgitana and Rockin’ the Purple with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer Within

Do you get stuck when wanting to write something that you just know is in your brain?  Try the thoughtful exercises in this book.  Anything to keep writing until inspiration strikes.

I especially enjoy exercises to make me come up with a new way to express a word or thought.  Remember those fill-in-the-blank party books called Mad Libs, where we’re asked for various word forms then somebody reads the story that results?   Was pretty funny when I was a kid; I wonder if it’s still funny?!

Anyhoo, supercharge your descriptive attempts!

A writer’s writer:  Natalie Goldberg, Writing Down the Bones:  Freeing the Writer Within.

Natalie Goldberg's book

 

© No Stealing!  That’s what the little c in the circle means!
© lahgitana and Rockin’ the Purple, 2011. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to lahgitana and Rockin’ the Purple with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Dear Optimists…

The lovely pair over at the blog, Dear Optimists, asked folks to send in happy/optimistic stories.  I sent them a story about Mom and me.   I am delighted to say they published it and Nadia illustrated it!    Complete with my purple hair!

Please cruise around their blog and More

The Mechanic Muse — From Scroll to Screen – NYTimes.com

Good morning!

Rosie Says mentioned this NY Times article about the reading experience in her Sunday Scraps posting.   I am a writer, reader, and wander-through-the-dictionary person, and this article articulated the reading experiences of different formats.

I’m also a student of Roman history, so the “scroll” bit interested me.  I’ve spent time in my busy little head musing over those scrolls–how frustrating to have a volume crumble and tatter before finishing!  Can you imagine the mailman hauling around scrolls?!  Mostly, I’ve imagined trying to store/shelve those scrolls in some kind of recognizable order, because of course, I’d have had a multi-kajillion scrolls everywhere!


© No Stealing!  That’s what the little c in the circle means!
© lahgitana and Rockin’ the Purple, 2011. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to lahgitana and Rockin’ the Purple with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Copyright discussion, redux

I’ve been thinking about this copyright/thievery issue and WordPress is helpful.  I do wish placing a copyright were an automatic setting, a widget, so we could set it and forget it.  (Oh gee, just before the cursor was hovering over the publish button, it occurs to me that a custom/text widget would do the trick.  I’ll check later.  Yep.)

One further protective mechanism caught my eye and it’s a good one to consider–how the RSS feeds display our posts: here , the 3rd item in the list.

I keep meaning to do the Creative Commons licensing the way Hyperactive Inefficiency did — look in the lower right corner.  My eyes have glazed over every time I read the Creative Commons page and I don’t know what to do next.  It took me 3 months to choose the fabric for my sofa, and this is really important!  Yikes!

Help, anyone?  A place to start?

And good morning out there.  It’s gonna be a scorcher here (for me!)–about 82 deg F, about 27 deg C.  My Mom gave me a portable air conditioner for my 50th birthday and I am quite happy to use it!  I know when to tough things out, and sweating in my own house ain’t it!  I’m just sayin’.

© No Stealing!  That’s what the little c in the circle means!
© lahgitana and Rockin’ the Purple, 2011. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to lahgitana and Rockin’ the Purple with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Where do you write?

Is it a place that inspires you?  Is it wherever you happen to be?

Here’s where I write most frequently:

not really--no room here

Once upon a time, My Peeps at work gave me a tiny keychain sock monkey for my birthday.  With a twisted twist:  they had tied his arms together and blindfolded him and left an honest-to-god ransom-style note propped on my office chair, complete with letters cut out from magazines(!), saying:  “Have a happy birthday or the sock monkey gets it!”  (I need to scan that, huh?)

Pee-Wee Herman speaks for himself.  Literally.  He has a pull-cord.  I also have a tiny Chairy.

two sitting places the cats haven't stolen

One of the times we were broke, we found that red-checked chair at a yard sale for very little $$$.  I try to ignore the kid-spit-up and just remember that it’s comfy and I can lounge with my legs thrown over the arms!  The rocker came from one of the times I had $$–it was the second grown up sitting device I bought.

have to wrestle the cats for this one sometimes

recovered those kinda old chairs (maybe 90 years?) just in time to be adopted by Cosmo, who is a very long-haired, sheddy kind of kitty.

ah, my outdoor sanctuary under the pergola

the fountain bubbles… the birds go tweet-tweet-tweet, and the breeze moves the hanging walls…

The atelier, which is in a corner of a huge and messy garage.

Kind of cracks me up, using the word “atelier” to describe my workshop because from the Middle French origins, it means woodpile!  Also, I expect an atelier to be light-filled with tall ceilings!  We do have the tall ceilings!

(This writing thing is exactly why there is no time in the day.  It ain’t my fault!)

If you have time, show-and-tell me where you write!

© No Stealing!  That’s what the little c in the circle means!
© lahgitana and Rockin’ the Purple, 2011. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to lahgitana and Rockin’ the Purple with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Creative Commons License

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