REaD HANDED short/short fiction by (me!) sandra, tvgp
have you ever accidentally left something behind in a hotel room? Like, flip flops or expensive shampoo, a phone charger, or, like Mr. Room 456 did last night: 1 XL black cotton stretch boxer brief.
Well, I have the pleasure of logging all such forgotten items inside a binder during my night shifts at a popular hotel. I don't find the items myself, thank God; that's another one of those jobs housekeepers are severely underpaid for. My job is just to place each item inside a clear plastic bag, fill out a report and then enter all the details in our computer system. I bet you didn't know there is a cloud
in the sky that contains an e-list of every personal massager, flashlight, feather earring, chapstick and toothbrush ever left behind at our hotel. And may I brag? Because we have a 100% found and returned rating again this year. Everything from dentures to wallets and watches are ultimately returned to their -writeful owner.
Not so at the hotel 30 miles west. Thirty miles west, and if you accidentally leave something behind, -anything behind for that matter; it's gone forever. Won't do you a damn bit of good to call and ask or report it stolen. Thirty miles west the police are too busy with car-jackings and drive-by shootings to give a shit about your 2 year old's favorite pacifier. And isn't that somethin', how two hotels can exist on the same county map but different moral universes at the same time.
I couldn't imagine stealing anything; ever. For one thing, I am filled with the Holy Spirit, and for two: what would I want with someone else's acne medicine, or Cowboy hat with brown leather band.
Truth is, prior to March 17 of last year, I had never been tempted. Up until then, my record was "so clean it squeaked." What good is grace and forgiveness and all that if you never need it.
I rationalized as follows: If it is not logged in, maybe it was never found. How could they be sure they left it in the hotel room vs. on the airplane, or a coffee shop? Also, if the owner does not call back within three days, -scratch that. If the owner does not call back by midnight tonight, March 17! My lucky day! -this book is MINE. and i'm cashin' in one forgiveness card.
Way I figured it, the book could not be worth more than say, $18; tops. And since I didn't hesitate to return the diamond ring that was worth more than i'll make in three years, maybe I've built up a type of heavenly credit.
Plus! it's a very popular book. millions of copies have sold all over the world. maybe the owner already bought a new one, or doesn't even care, or, ... maybe, i'll read it, and then log it in, and give it back. borrow vs. steal. anyway, how could the owner know this
copy is his when so many copies are floating around?
that's when I opened it for the first time. decided I should at least check the pages for any handwritten notes in the margins, any dog-eared pages, highlights, that kind of thing.
no good, no good... darn it! it's signed.
Oh my God... "It's signed! It's numbered!"
According to my research, I held in my hands #48 of only #510 books personally signed by Ernest Hemingway. Turned out - my
- $18 book was worth over $18,000!
Happened March 17, about a year ago today. since i'm irish and Christian.. well, I concluded I had just been blessed with some incredible luck
is this the only fiction story on my entire blog? I think so.
it was inspired by npr's three minute fiction contest
criteria: under 600 words/fiction
theme: finders keepers. -something you found but did not intend on returning.
the contest is over -winner's story posted; and as it was not me...
reason 25! I love my blog. I can post the story here.
"MAKE THIS 24! REASONS I LOVE MY BLOG" by (me!) Sandra, tvgp
Three times I've tried posting my comments on leonardstegmann.blogspot.com today and THREE TIMES even though it all looks good.. Even though I type in the word verify and it looks -as if- my comments have posted... Actually the whole thing disappears and loops back as if I never wrote a thing. -fine. I'll just come over here then, and type in what I wanted to say over there. In response to your post today called TWO NIGHTS. -a great post! ...but reminds me of a dilemma I faced long ago in a math class in college. Because the professor that stood before me was.. Passionate, knowledgable, a long time lover of numbers and formulas, a number one fan of equations, etc. -and there I was among the struggling students.. In an area which was not my strength.. And yet, I knew something the professor had just explained was..-in error. Wrong. And as an insecure, and less knowledgable student I questioned myself of course.. Gave the benefit of doubt to the professor.. And yet.. No. I went over it in my head.. Did some additional research.. And sure enough.. I was write. He was wrong. Now, -it was " just a technicality" as they say.. But, should I point it out? And if so, how? Politely after class is over and all the other students have gone? Shout it from the back of class? Raise my hand, and gently suggest it in the form of a question even though I was certain? Pretend I don't know and move forward? -you'll have to let me know how you think I should handle this professor SQUIDMANN.. My passionate, knowledgeable, long time lover and number one fan of Beatles music... Happy monday! -s.c.
DANIEL LIBESKIND ON OVATION TV as seen by (me!) sandra, tvgp
ORIGINAL POST 02/05/2007:
on my growing list of great programs
: ARCHITECT on ovation tv
(here, channel 270/comcast
fabulous/wonderful/powerful in every way
it did take me several minutes to acclimate
myself to -seeing him. hearing his voice
i had only read (and fallen in love with) his book, breaking ground. -and until this show did not even know how to pronounce his last name. in my head i was saying, lib is kind. on the show, it is: lee bis skin
i am a huge admirer. i know little -nothing really- about architecture; building buildings
so make here a layman analogy from a writer/reader perspective:
sometimes when i read a biography, it feels like what is revealed is the author's talent/ego over the actual goal, which is to share the life experiences of a given person.
and sometimes, even though the talent of the author, the biographer, is indeed magnificent -i'm
lost (engaged lost, not lost/lost) in the ultimate goal, which is the life story of the given person
this is what i find true in daniel libeskind's
he really, honestly, beautifully takes in, understands, and communicates the life experience, the history, the trauma, the triumph, the despair, the hope
and lends his talent to it -but it never seems his ego usurps the purpose of the building -even though his buildings contain his ego
among the people very disappointed (and confused) as to why his buildings were not chosen for ground zero in new york
although this program helped explain some of that for me...
and then i just smiled, smiled, smiled
because his freedom tower
-well, it's like we so often here/read in church about how God works
how a "no" seen in the moment can be very disappointing; even devastating
but given time
can turn into an even bigger, better, yes.
i don't know that i will ever get to experience any of libeskind's
buildings from the inside
but i sure am grateful for his book, his work, his contributions, -and to all the people who put this program together
and what a great quote:
"if you're not in love -you're dead." ~daniel libeskind
"you're worried about (me?)" by writeousmom
My son goes, "i'm getting worried about you," and kind of chuckles. I knew write away it was because I was sitting really quiet for a while, and then suddenly laughed, and got quiet again. -laughter out of nowhere, for no reason... Is mom going crazy? So I explained out loud what I was thinkin' about quietly.. Which was how when Rick asked me to fill this one end cap with home decor I kicked into merchandising mode immediately. Grabbed some pretty table mats from over there, some pretty flowers from here, a riser... And was so joyfully arranging each little item just so... According to height, color, style... And Rick walks by while i'm in the middle of my mini-masterpiece and he goes, "Sandra.". I'm like,"mmm hmm" and he goes, "just put the product on the shelf.". -which just made me laugh again! -there is a constant tug of war... Getting products out of boxes, inventoried, priced and "on the shelf.". Vs. "-makin' things look pretty and desirable for the customer!" and when time is limited.. And space is limited... And both time and space are always limited... You have to kind of sneak... But if I've ever enjoyed anything more I don't remember it. and it is exactly because it is a discount/bargain store and not a high end everything-has-to-be-perfect store.. Or a chain where the merchandising is pre-determined and you just follow a map store... It is the very casual, laid back, atmosphere but non-stop product shuffling that is a perfect fit for (me!). So much opportunity to be creative, to experiment.. To live with the imperfect and in progress..add the eclectic, artsy, darling, charming and beautiful decor! we get to merchan.. I mean, that we get to Displ...I mean, that we put on the shelves. I can't remember a time or job before this I actually looked forward to.. Time flies! And what a variety.. Of products and people and responsibilities. Makes no difference to me whether we are unloading a truck, pricing, shuffling, cashiering, breaking down boxes, or spot cleaning the helpless floor.. I'm just glad to be there. learn a ton every shift from my manager and co-workers.. Extraordinary merchandisers! When they are not forced to be practical product placers. ..so many ideas... Ways to combine, hang, display that I never would come up with on my own... Oh! It increases my desire significantly to have a new place to decorate that we can call our own. A home. My ENTIRE ... I'm sorry..I mean, OUR home will be furnished and decorated exclusively with all the things I fall in love with at ricks picks. That makes me laugh out of nowhere also... When I envision someone asking me about my decorating style... "Victorian? Modern? Austere?". I just tilt my head and smile..."al la ricks picks." I say with delight.."our entire home...
***. ***. NEW PAGE/SAME DAY: not too long after I explained my unannounced laughter to my son, did I see HIM carrying on the longest one way conversation with the dog. Looking write at the dog and talking and asking questions as if it could understand English and might respond any minute... Of course I couldn't resist the opportunity anymore than if the dog were handed a bone..."are you under the impression the dog understands English? Honey, I think I should be worried about you..."
FOR THE RECORD by (me!) Sandra, tvgp
My computer, which served me well for several years; crashed. Dr Larry Robinson offered to repair it... Upon return it appeared healed, but after uploading valuable photographs and unrepeatable paragraphs; it crashed again. He had saved a large percentage of my files but new things were lost. A second time, the computer appeared repaired again, and again I entrusted valuable one of a kind photographs and paragraphs to this computer and it crashed again. It is devastating to lose this information. When he offered to repair it again, I declined. All of his efforts were out of generosity and for free. I've not had the budget to pay for repairs or a new computer, but I did always thank Larry with cookies, flowers, cards. Since that time, I've been borrowing computers from either, my handsome prince, or carol, who I rent a room from, or I'm at the Pleasanton library. FOR THE RECORD: marios I pad allows me to blog, but it squishes my paragraphs together and does not allow me to scroll down for editing. I am limited to editing only what appears within the initial window, even if the story is much longer. -frustrating beyond description. Oddly, it allows me to comment on Leonard's blog and space as I choose; -go figure. /perhaps a better catch phrase might be.. Go code. Anyway.. The iPad allows me to LOOK AT BUT NOT REPLY to emails. To actually respond to an email I need carols computer or a computer at the library. And none of the aforementioned computers allow me to upload pictures.. That can only happen on handsome prince's other computer which is rarely accessible. And I do not have a fancy phone which takes/uploads/emails pictures. Now.. Because at some point I was losing my mind trying to respond to emails and send resumes which were never on the hard drive of the computer in front of me and always somewhere else.. I thought "now! I understand the value of google.docs! It won't matter what computer I'm using if my resume is in their cloud.. I can access it from any computer! -write? No. My new work schedule which is in google.docs is not accessible from the library computers because they
Are not upgraded yet... I must get back to carol or marios computer... & i would just like to say "thank you Jesus!" for the years I got to sit down at ONE FULLY FUNCTIONING! FULLY ACCESSIBLE! FULLY CAPABLE! computer and blog, upload pictures, create brochures,...anything I wanted, needed or imagined. Without hassle. -that was a great stretch of time in my life.. And... Can I please get back to that beautiful time again.. Please Jesus! Thank you again and amen."
SELF PORTRAIT photograph of (me!) Sandra, tvgp
So, once again.. I have the picture, but no computer which will allow me to upload it here for you. I'm forced just to describe it again... My hair is a mess! My make-up is from YESTERDAY. (I never wash my face before I go to bed) im wearing nothing but a smile and when i get dressed my clothes will be from YESTERDAY... because once again I have run out of time to go to the other house where my clothes are.. I have dogs to walk and work to get to.. My legs are unshaven (I get sexier by the minute, don't I)... and I'd like to call this photograph I took of myself that you can't see: "writing is more important than a shower". Or "cleanliness is next to empty page-ish-ness".
Identify!Identify!Identify!Identify!Identify! By (me!) Sandra, tvgp
Oh!mark this as the first (and perhaps 2nd time) only I am actually grateful for the way this borrowed iPad squishes my words together. It is great! For capturing the PTSD thoughts that at one time consumed my mind. They were squished together. No breaks. Non stop. Day in, day out: identifying people. Please remember.. This is always the first question: can you identify the man who... Broke into your house. Can you identify the man who kidnapped you? Can you identify the man with the gun? Can you identify the bank robber? Can you identify the person in this line up. Let me tell you, by the time I reached age 21 I did not who I might have to identify next. My brain would non stop try and lock things in: height, weight, facial hair, or not, what clothes, shoes, shape of eyes, color of eyes, size of ears.. Were his ears visible? Tattoos, things in pockets, what side hair was parted on, voice, things/ways of talking. Getting in and out of a grocery store could be as exhausting as.. Because, that man who just parked next to me.. He looks suspicious: add on what car, license plate, color, is he alone? And that man who just passed me too close in the produce aisle... He looks suspicious.. Lock in his height, weight, skin color, teeth,.. If you could have looked inside my brain like you can look at this blog post writing, it would have read something like this: SUSPICIOUS! 5,8,dark hair,covers the ears,khakis,blue,running shoes,short steps,160,something in left back pocket SUSPICIOUS!6'2,175,red sweatshirt,beard,sunglasses,polished shoes,birthmark on side of face SUSPICIOUS!(insert height/weight/clothes/car, etc. Here) ad nauseam. Non stop. Everywhere. Anywhere. All the time. But a submarine. On the surface: "good morning. How are you? Please. Thank you. Have a great day" and all that. Of course there is no way for any human being to keep track of that many people or details, but I couldn't shut my PTSD submarine brain -off. When it wasn't identifying suspicious people, it was trying to memorize cars and license plates. how long did this last? Too long.. I know it was going on during my Jr. College and college years, and I marvel now that I made it through... Almost fits into split personality: on the surface, working full time to put myself through college. In the submarine, perpetual preparation for another attack. Another visit to the police station. Another mug shot. That question: "can you identify..." -when I review my own writings, I notice the absence of all that. It's hard to find me saying' how tall a person is, or their weight, or facial features. -sometimes a picture, so you can just see for yourself. -but it's very generic coming from me... Maybe, or maybe not, the roots of that are found in that part of my history. In any case.. Over the years I've learned how to turn it off or on. There are still occasions I realize it wouldn't hurt to be able to identify: -that person in that car over there. And I'll lock in a few pertinent details on the in case. But it is rare and I can also go long periods of time and places without any concerns at all. How refreshing! To just live! See. Visit. Explore. Without being surrounded by suspicious people and having my brain work over-over-over-over time on trying to identify people in a line up or mug shot album. "thank you Jesus!". Amen.
NO DEADLINES BUT YES FINAL DECISIONS for (me!) Sandra, tvgp
..this took place while in the background I'm -slowly- and -at my own pace- working on "21 reasons I love my blog"... During one conversation with Chris, he mentioned having to meet a deadline.. I was write away like, make that 22! Reasons. Deadlines are like cerebral boulders for me.. I have no internal peace until the mission is complete. Ultimately, for me I realized it wasn't worth it. Deadlines require a talent and disposition I do not have.. As a consequence.. Chris gets paid and I learned I'm better off writing at my own pace for free, and finding some other type of employment. I have a huge respect though for people who succeed at living/writing with repetitive deadlines weighing on their hearts on minds.
FINAL DECISIONS... Final editorial decisions. I'll be adding this too... Part of this interview included a photo shoot at the firehouse art center... When we glanced at some of the pictures, the photographer Doug and I agreed on the same ones we liked. He explained to me that he can submit what he likes bit editors make the final decision. I was pissed off for him. The man is a professional photographer, so is his wife. He's been taking photographs for 20 something years, he told me... And yet he does not get to decide? That seems insulting. But guess what... Doug is getting paid. I don't get paid to take pictures for my blog. But I do take a lot of pictures and am pleased I have the final say on what I do and don't post. -another solid reason I love my blog. And guess what... Not 1 picture was used with the story anyway? -somethin' doesn't seem write about the current system; just sayin. -and sum it up with how I've learned for me personally autonomy = peace, pleasure, joy. Not perfection.. Are their editors who could improve my writing; yes. But I have no interest in seeing it in it's best and culturally conformed state; I like it flawed.
***. BEHIND THE SEENS: I DID NOT KNOW this was going to pop out of my mouth as or when it did, but when we took pictures on the railroad track.. To this photographer man, I had only just met.. I started to say.. It came out of me in his presence.. How God was at work again! Because railroad tracks were yet another formerly horrific memory trigger and now here I was so comfortable and at ease dancing on them.. I walked on each plank (are they called planks?).. Said out loud, "thank you" to God for healing me..
I wish I could better articulate where I'm at..emotionally. But there is NOT ONE former horrific memory trigger than holds any power over me anymore. Period. I'm not numb, nor am I sensitive.. What analogy van I provide? I suppose it is like when you go on a scary ride at Disneyland as a young child.. And it really is scary. Then the exact same ride as an adult just kind of makes you smile.. It has no ability to actually scare you anymore. -but.. When he asked about the railroad tracks, as I unintentionally set him up to do, as i must repeat, I did not know that was going to come out of my mouth.. I said to him, "I was kidnapped.". ..and I abbreviated everything else so we could stay on task... Same way you should when someone asks 'how are you?'. Social manners dictate not to trap people into certain conversations.. I think I did a pretty good job exiting out of the potential quicksand pool.. Anyway.. I thought about it later: how what came out of my mouth was 'kidnapped.' -how I never said 'and raped.'. 30 somethin' years later and I've decided that word will never roll off my tongue. But yes.. It appears to want out now. -not that it has never been let out before. It has.. In a mess! As verbal vomit. And all the inappropriate times to nothing but inappropriate people.
But yes.. After being kidnapped and covered up and raped.. I was uncovered and forced back in the car. Me in the driver seat, and the serial rapist terrorist guy in the passenger seat with a cocked gun on my temple so I could not look at and be able to identify him. I could look forward only. And he debated out loud whether he should kill me or not. And he threatened me with I know where you live.. Where your boyfriend lives... And all the while we were driving.. Skip some details here to share, that at some point..in the black of night, after him telling me when I could turn left or -write, we ended up on halcyon in San leandro and it is there he told me to pull over. Far as I was concerned this is the part where I get yanked out of the car and shot to death, but that's not what happened (obviously). -what happened was that I pulled the car over and he -in less than a second, hit the rearview mirror with his hand on purpose so I wouldn't be able to look in it.. And side view mirror too? And he threatened me if I went to the police and he ran off into the darkness... Down a path of railroad tracks.
-now.. We don't have an amateur here do we? It breaks my heart to think about his history.. Where, how, under what circumstances did he -learn- how to be such a clever criminal.. What to wear.. How to position the gun.. How to make sure I never saw him. The foresight to hit the rearview mirror up... Had he learned from mistakes made along the way? Does someone give a class... Do's and don t's of being a serial rapist? Honest to God... How does a human being become capable of this level of evil? And to dodge police another 9 or 11 times IN THE SAME NEIGHBORHOOD?! And claim that many more victims?! He was highly skilled at his evil work. -anyway.. I was left in a state of shock as you can imagine. I needed the rearview mirror back down in order to drive off.. But my hands would not unlock themselves from the steering wheel. My hands would not touch that rearview mirror because even though he ran off... My brain said that if I moved the mirror, suddenly his face would be write in it.. Terrorizing. I did not know what to do. I did not know where to go. I did not touch that rearview mirror it stayed exactly as he shoved it. I did manage to get my foot on the accelarator and drive forward.. I could not go back to the lakeside apartments because he would be there.. Because I could not physically get out of the car.. I knew I couldn't get out of the car and walk any distance by myself.. I couldn't do it. My mind raced for solutions.. And it popped into my mind, how at my moms house, there was gravel all the way to the front door. That's what I needed. To land at a front door. I was incapable of walking 3 steps alone outside of that car.. I drove at the highest speed toward my moms.. My hands had a death grip on the steering wheel.. I hoped police would pull me over.. I had no rearview mirror to look in to see if any police were even around.. I just gripped that steering wheel and drove fast in one direction, and drove the car all the way to the front door just shy of driving it write into the house itself. I'm going to ask my mom and brother to pick it up from here...
ANOTHER IMAGINARY CONVERSATION WITH ERIC KANDEL and (me!) sandra, tvgp
ORIGINAL POST 10/30/2010. Can't you just hear him laughing.
anyway.. "eric.. my layman term for it, is "there~memory" -that is, recently i wanted to remember who told me they had dated a certain person
and i can go show you where i was sitting
"i was sitting write -there- when i had the conversation, and the person i can't remember was standing write here."
so, i locked in the "where & what" part of the conversation but not "the who" i had the conversation with, know what i mean? and i do this often. what can you tell me about this, where~memory -which is especially ironic to me, because i have a broken geographic compass when it comes to understanding where i am, what direction i'm headed in, as i drive around...
[eric provides wonderful clarification here.. and i thank him]
and while we're on the subject, ...
i recently used the word cauliflower in a conversation with my son, (after seeing a picture that reminded of a cauliflower), and then my son, lit up, and ran to his science book, saying, "i just read something about a cauliflower" -and i lit up as i watched him search for where
he read it, because like me, he employs what i will call again, in layman terms, there-memory too
that is, we both remember about -where- in the book we ran across this word.
here is the important distinction: we do not necessarily remember, -where- in the story
we remember, -where- in the tangible, book. i.e.,
somewhere near the middle of the book, left page, top paragraph.
so! fun to see my son do this exact same thing, but! let me tell you..
the kindle messes me up BIG TIME! because all my life -bk- before kindle, without my realizing it, my brain was locking in -where- i could find a favorite passage or quote, or funny line
3/4 way through the book, write page, last paragraph..
and my brain has not been nearly as interested in -where- in the story. not what chapter..
so, with the kindle.. there is nothing tangible, you see.. no pages to touch, no place for my mind to land in terms of left page, or write page, or first paragraph, or last paragraph. all the pages are just the same one page.
do you know what i mean? i'm lost again.
books then. real books.. books with pages, and thicknesses, and this ability to "flip" and dog-ear, and distinguish between left page, and a write page, a top, or bottom, or middle, or 3/4 paragraph
well, real books, are my first choice, and e-books, a beloved second.
[he is so interested.. smiling, listening.. and provides great clarity once again]
let this also serve as my "thank you" to eric kandel and charlie rose, and all those wonderful guests who participated in the 12 part brain series. "encore!"
don't stop. we need you. we need this information.
I AM LIKE A MATHEMATICIAN (me!) ORIGINAL POST 10/13/2010
to be sure, i am a strange loop is both over and inside my head. but even though the number talk eludes me, the truth and beauty and pattern talk, is exactly m,y language.
and it is no secret what a time i've
had with math & numbers throughout my life.. not an area of strength,
so, well, -how can i describe?
says here: location 1692 [kindle, not paperback]Mathematicians are people who at their deepest core are drawn on indeed, are easily seduced by the urge to find patterns where initially there would seem to be none.
"that's me!" i'm
like a mathematician of human behavior. let me share my most recent example:
because i am all the time, not just living day-to-day life, but kind of observing myself living day-to-day life also, and often those self-observations create graphs/patterns/maps in my mind
one of my patterns looks like this
LOW LEVEL OBSTACLES = CREATIVE SOLUTIONS
HIGH LEVEL OBSTACLES =
and here i determine whether i should try harder or surrender, based on whether or not it feels within my control.
HIGH LEVEL OBSTACLE OUT OF MY CONTROL = STOP. SURRENDER. PEACE. MOVE ON...
that is, i won't stay upset, or keep banging my head against the wall, or pray for.. wish for, try to work around or pre
-occupy myself with thoughts of defeat, injustice, or anything along those lines.
but this took a while to figure out.
the thing is -it seems a pretty predictable pattern for me now, and it doesn't much matter what the desired object and/or experience is -that's a variable
and it doesn't matter what the low level obstacle is -another variable /but longer map appears for determining low level vs. high level obstacles. i don't need to go there to make my point
and so, having observed this in myself, of course! i look for & find patterns in others. it's fun.
quite struck by hofstadter's
"where there's a pattern, there's a reason" -i know it's true. i know it's as true for human behavior as it is for prime numbersi'm
a HUGE ADVOCATE for INTERDISCIPLINARY RESEARCH & STUDY -he's not the only one to point it out, but eric kandel
gives great testimony for how valuable it is to have psychologists AND neuroscientists
AND biologists AND psychiatrists all working TOGETHER. sharing their insights, knowledge, discoveries, wisdom, -sharing their questions, dilemmas, stuck places... -let us add mathematicians, historians, artists
and keep adding.
let us not segregate
letters and numbers.. religion and science... let us, each specialized group, dare to leave our specialized labs, and -commune
working together i think we can move forward and evolve with much greater momentum. -and there are so many areas that overlap...
i watched via podcast, hofstadter's talk on analogies as a core cognition. a wonderful presentation..
no doubt about it. and he does a great job of demonstrating "what" our minds do -this ongoing analogy-triggering process we all seem to do
but no discussion of the why or how.. (we just do
i turn then to "where there's a pattern, there's a reason' -and am confident, the neuroscientists coming up today -in collaboration, of course, with other disciplines
will be able to provide the why & how to hofstadter's what.
CAN SOMEONE GET ERIC ON THE PHONE... ORIGINAL POST 2/10/2010
i woke wanting to call eric kandel -or at least re-look at his book
but almost all of my books are in the garage in boxes -who knows which books in which box
but i was going over in my head, the distinctions between habitization and sensitization
his interview on the charlie rose show, quite a while back
and it struck me
that when he was striking the table, -when he was explaining about how when he struck the snail
well crudely speaking
habitization = a trauma, where the aftermath, the result, is a toughing up,
if you will
so that if you could measure the severity of the trauma -and measure the severity of the reaction
well, with habitization
you would have to increase the severity of the trauma now to get the same reaction.
so, say if someone hit you monday -that hurt.
when they hit you again tuesday, with the same force as monday -hurt, but not as bad as on monday
wednesday, they hit you with the same force as monday/tuesday, -and now it hardly hurts at all
by friday, in order for the pain to match monday... they would have to really whop you one!
and the opposite is true of sensitization
someone hit you monday... -that hurt
hit you with the same force on tuesday "-THAT HURT!"
and they even lessen the force of the hit on wednesday, but the reaction is even more ~sensitized ~
so by friday, with barely a tap now, the reaction is tears, great pain... "you're killing me"
and when i watched this interview with eric kandel and charlie rose the 1st time, it was my understanding that it was the severity of the initial trauma
that determined whether the result was habitization or sensitization
but! i woke up realizing that the severity of the trauma is only a contributing
factor -not the determing
the status; the state of well being, so to speak, of the organism experiencing the trauma is probably the greater factor
i think when i first saw this interview, and read his book -the experiment was communicated where the severity of the trauma was the variable, but the organism on the receiving end of the varying degrees of trauma was presented as a constant
so, all things being equal -initial severity of trauma = habitization or sensitization
all things are not equal
unless we can also measure/identify the state of the living organism on the receiving end of varying degrees of trauma
if you applied the same force -keep the level/force of the initial trauma constant
but vary the state of being of the organism... infant; youth; adult; infant/healthy; infant/ill; youth healthy; youth weak; adult healthy/adult sick...
you get the same result, i imagine -habitization for some; sensitization for others
but now add on, that both always vary
because in actual, practical day to day life with human beings, not snails
no two people, and no two traumas are exactly alike.
this gives me peace of mind! -because so often, two people experience a similar trauma, and one thrives, while the other one struggles
then you hear, "but so n' so figured out how to move forward...heal -why can't you?"
and i think the answer to that question has to do with realizing it is not just the severity of the initial trauma which results in habitization or sensitization -it is quite a combination.
and it is really worth the time and effort to communicate this to the public at large, because there are so many traumatized people
many of them ~sensitized~ but treated as ~bad habits.
and it could very well be that in his book, eric kandel already covered this and i either missed it; or didn't retain it /can't find the book.
but i've got it now
so can go have breakfast and get the kids ready for school.
HOUSE CLEANING for (me!) sandra, tvgp ORIGINAL POST 11/18/2009
need to get a few things out, so i can write my spider scream story
first.. i am reminded, in the exchange of a few paragraphs on facebook w/my 1st ex-husband, how time puts all human editors to shame.
fascinated with how we can summarize decades of our lives in just a few sentences...
the one lesson of value, from my 1st marriage, in regard to PTSD.. is that at the time, word from therapist was.. " ignore her fears."
my husband was told to ignore my fears, so the fears didn't win. (years later i learn... while he thought he was helping... i thought he was an incompassionate asshole)
let me scatter about to make a point. it is
confusing after all.. when to override fears, and when to honor them
eric kandel's work explains this best -the difference between habitization and sensitization (somewhere in my blog archives)
so for example..
and this is a true story. long ago and far away, i was water skiing. during my ski, i went wrong somewhere.. over a wave? over the wake? i don't know. what i do remember, is whatever i hit wrong, i hit wrong hard. i went into an immediate spin.. the rope nearly strangled me, the ski nearly killed me
i returned to shore battered and bruised and quite shaken
the next morning, my uncle, and family/friends insisted i ski again.
good call. it was, under those circumstances, very important the fear didn't win. and reluctantly i did ski again.. and regained my confidence.
but the complete opposite is true when it comes to being kidnapped at gunpoint and raped, and threatened with a cocked gun at your temple...
it turns out, under this circumstance.. to re-expose yourself to an environment similar to the one in which the trauma took place
well, it does not grow your confidence. rather,
it is like taking a sun-burnt person with blisters on their skin, out into the direct sun, to "toughen up their skin"
i don't recommend it.
i always, always, return to the oprah show, where there was a family who had adopted a traumatized dog
i'm slippery with the details, but the dog had been traumatized in a cage? left in a cage?
in any case.. there is a direct correlation for the dog between trauma & cage.
so the family.. rather than flying to the oprah show -which made sense time/money wise
did not want to re-traumatize the dog by putting it in a cage, and so drove i don't know how many miles instead
i think it is safe to say EVERY SINGLE PERSON in the oprah audience agreed the family did a compassionate and great thing
no one seem to think that if the dog was put safely in the cage by a loving family... it would overcome the trauma... grow its confidence... change its mind... transcend the trauma
people do this to traumatized people all the time...
get back out there! don't let the fear win!
which is stupid.
and very counterproductive. but the knowledge was not available 20+ years ago, so i hold no one to blame.. hold no grudges, etc.
i'm just very happy we are smarter about this today.
BRAIN SERIES ON CHARLIE ROSE just for (me!) saORIGINAL POST 10/31/2009 ndra, tvgp
brain series on charlie rose, co-hosted by eric kandel. doesn't get better.
i'm fascinated by every guest, every word, every discovery, every question.
but i always want to remind the great neuroscientists of our day..
as they hold brain models; show brains on display on whiteboards, or tv screens
i want to remind
that our brains/minds do not function on popsicle sticks
every synapses is taking place within the brain yes, but more importantly ~ the brain living within the larger, complex human body ~
and more importantly still ~ the brain within the human body living within social structures: families, community, culture, etc.
so i think it is healthy and helpful, that any time you take a micro view of anything, but especially our brains
you pull back the camera -the perspective- and see the whole too.
and of the greatest interest to me, in the 1st program of the series,
-some discussion about what genes do (ability to see color or not) which we cannot think or behave our way out of
and what capabilities we have (like language) which are more flexible.
because for a long time
i've known ~ realized ~ observed. witnessed. experienced:
we have some of this backwards in our society. people thinking they can "will" their way to do things, which is in conflict with their physical/biological abilities
and the reverse
people underestimating what they have the power to change -without medical intervention.
truth in this area will put an end to a lot of frustration and unnecessary heartache.
but cause quite an uproar for our individual & collective psyches.
"eat, write & exercise" yes! that's (me!) sandra, tvgp ORIGINAL POST 4/2/2009
the past couple weeks i've been dropping off flyers about my upcoming book at a starbucks here, or a tully's there
and i happen to bring 5 or 6 over to the firehouse bistro & books in livermore; set them down on the counter next to all the other pamphlets re: literary events. -that was last week.
yesterday when i stopped in for lunch, the waitress (and i'm upset i did not get her name), she said, upon seeing me at the door,
"eat, write & exercise"
and it just surprised me to no end to be a) recognized/remembered, and b) "by my book title!"
my impulse was to reach out and squeeze her. give her a big, loud kiss on the cheek. ask her to repeat loudly what she just said so everyone in the restaurant could here it
but instead, i just said, "thank you. it's very nice to be remembered."
then (not usually a name-dropper), but then, i sat down with lee strasberg and enjoyed a nice cold beer and a perfectly delicious burger. three ladies at a table near us were enjoying champagne and fancy, gourmet salads.. and a gentleman not far from them, the chef's famous, butternut squash ravioli (please don't use me as a barometer for what delights are on the menu. i'll link so you can see)
it really does feel like i was sitting with lee strasberg, listening to his wonderful stories.. soaking up his insights on the creative process
i ordered the book, lee strasberg, a dream of passion
, after hearing people talk so highly about him on inside the actors studio
i gathered from listening to these interviews/conversations, that he had great wisdom to offer, not just to actors -but to any/all creative people
on the cover, is this quote: "a must for young actors, for old ones too, for that matter." -- paul newman
i would argue that this book is a must also for writers.. painters.. artists of any kind.
the creative process itself is a common one, with specific naunces for specific arts, no doubt.. but still..
i'm finding it VERY EASY to apply his thoughts/lessons/ideas to writing even though he is addressing actors
i've also learned a great deal about writing and creativity from great architechts, great scientists, great elementary school teachers
and whereas in days gone by, i stuck to reading exclusively books by writers/for writers (natalie goldberg, stephen king, anne lamott... long list here).. today that seems silly and narrow to me
today i would suggest, that in addition to books by writers/for writers -it is imperative to read lee strasberg, malcolm gladwell, eric kandel, daniel libeskind (another long list here)
the greats in any field; many fields. from architechts to composers to spiritual leaders. to note the common denominators for creativity and excellence and originality across the spectrum of arts AND sciences. to note the way greats in any field connect with their mentors, peers, audience, students...
-which- back up just a moment - i must point out, no longer feels write either: arts AND sciences. as if they are two separate things. art is a science; and science an art. -this is closer to the truth.
anyway.. after i visit with lee, i plan to visit with stella adler. according to many, many, people i've heard during interviews on inside the actors studio, she is one of the greatest acting coaches of all time
and i'm sure her lessons can be applied toward writers also.
here's the link i promised earlier: http://www.bistrobooks.com/Menu4.html
In Search of Memory, Eric R. Kandel ORIGINAL POST 5/27/2006
The Emergence of a New Science of Mind
.this is going to take me a long time to re-re-read. especially if i have to stop every other page to write my thoughts
... pg 6
: ... It was then that i began to think about exploring the mystery of learning and memory in biological terms. How did the viennese past leave its lasting traces in the nerve cells of my brain? how was the complex three-dimensional space of the apartment where i steered my toy car woven into my brain's internal representation of the spatial world around me? how did terror sear the banging on the door of our apartment into the molecular and cellular fabric of my brain with such permanence that i can relive the experience in vivid visual and emotional detail more than half a century later? these questions, unanswerable a generation ago, are yielding to the new biology of mind.to which i can only say -YAHOO!- and -IT'S ABOUT TIME!- god, for years, i've known intuitively, that psychoanalysis is an inappropriate treatment, in fact, maybe - a complete waste of time, when it comes to certain traumas, mental illnesses, odd behaviors. i've known it... i know it right now! and when i grow up, i want to be a molecular biologist! -just like eric kandler! (but, if i may let off a little bitter steam here, when "i" -me- when I, wrote to some experts in the brain/memory field, explaining my curiosity about the brain, the biology of post trauma stress after rape, they write me back saying, "i'm sorry, but i am not a counselor, or therapist.." when clearly in my correspondence i did not express any interest in "talking" to someone. i wanted to learn more about my BRAIN (you dickhead!), but when i write my questions/curiosities -they think they have the making of a new therapy patient - but when eric kandler says he's curious... when eric kandler wonders... when eric kandler asks, "how did terror sear the banging on the door of our apartment into the molecular and cellular fabric of my brain with such permanence that i can relive the experience in vivid visual and emotional detail more than half century later.." -oh, so now we have the making of a nobel prize winning neuroscientist!
okay. i feel better now.
writing. -good therapy- back to point:because, i am always, constantly, non-stop like, wondering about my brain! what does happen during traumatic events to our brains?... what is the root cause, biologically speaking, of post traumatic stress disorder, what is happening -in the brain- during, "out of body" experiences? terror? shock? why do some people love to smoke, have addictions, lose the weight battle while others don't struggle at all with weight, alcohol, nicotine or sex addictions? i don't think it is nearly as related to "family lifestyle or stress, or poor choices" as it is a biological pre-disposition... brain default. (or, de- fault of the brain!) and i wonder lots and lots about motivation... yes, fascinated by motivation, lots about action vs. inaction, and i wonder, silly things, like today... i wanted some chocolate... not uncommon pre-period time, (pms time as it is more commonly known), and i had it in my head to go to the mall because i still have a gift certificate for see's candy, but then a flash went in my head on my way... a flash of trader joe's, and the chocolate covered orange and raspberry sticks... and then i headed right for trader joe's instead.. why? i haven't been there in a long time.. not a place i frequent.. what is going on in my brain when i have a thought, a desire, head in one direction, and then.. out of nowhere (but really out of somewhere in the brain... which is the whole point!), a very specific picture flashes and then i'm at trader joe's. i'm soooo curious about these common occurences!not to mention the curiosities born from having so many people in my life i love, suffer from, "mental disorders," - tourette's syndrome, alzheimers, parkinson's, alcohol addictions, and myself, 10 years + with post traumatic stress disorder. what is going on in our brains!!?? in the molecular and cellular fabric of our brains?!? (come to think of it, perhaps i was not as poetic about it as mr. kandler... in my inquiries to the brain/memory experts )
and i'm sure if i could stop thinking and read more... i'll get some up to date answers...but this is so exciting! pg 7: ... in the 1970's cognitive psychology, the science of mind, merged with neuroscience, the science of the brain. the result was cognitive neuroscience, a discipline that introduced biological methods of exploring mental processes into modern cognitive psychology.thought bubble: now, when a person suffers physical pain... the doctors will prescribe pain medication, and, okay, sometimes there's nausea, but for the most part, the person's pain subsides substantially. the doctor does not say... well, if you do this, and that, and think this, and relax that, etc., etc., you can make your pain go away BUT with emotional and behavioral struggles, people are adverse to medication... like it's a big no, no. stigma.. if it is emotional or behavioral, you are supposed to be able to go "talk" about it, and "work through it" and it will go away... and okay, for some things yes... but for many things... too many things; no.for many things it seems as stupid to me, for emotional/behavioral changes, to suggest counseling as it does for the dentist who accomplished my root canal, to tell me, to talk about the excruciating pain afterward with a counselor. no. no. no! medicine is good. medicine can help. i think we need more of it, not less, to improve the lives of human beings across the globe. -not "control the lives of" as political phobics will have us believe -improve the lives of-if i had time, i would also become a pharmacist, or research person... i'd love to know how all the medications currently on the market do their job? so many of them, saving lives, improving lives, increasing life-times...why still, 2006 for goodness sakes, with all we know, do we not blink an eye when we see someone take medicine for physical symptoms, but freak-out and judge so harshly, when it is offered for mental/emotional/behavioral matters? this drives me nuts!"people are avoiding the human experience, the human condition, drowning themselves, numbing themselves with antidepressents" or "government just wants to control societies by medicating them... " i've read and heard ignorant people write and say...and i think, i had an epidural when i gave birth to both my daughter and son.. a positive experience.. and i had anesthesia when i had my tubal ligation.. and anesthesia to have my gallbladder removed, and having these things was WONDERFUL, a GIFT, and i in no way feel like these advances in medicine rob me of an authentic human experience! and i don't think i'm trying to be controlled by the government!i say.. let's study the brain, yes! cell by cell.. let's understand how these medicines work for physical symptoms, how they reduce pain, improve peoples lives. and bring on more drugs!! let's manipulate our brains with pharmaceuticals and/or surgeries so everyone has a great life...can you imagine?!? why are people resistent to enjoying a great life!?!? health, happiness, energy, vitality, curiosity; hunger for knowledge, the ability to retain it and pass it along! inner peace for everyone might accidentally result in peace across the globe? what if anger and violence can be prevented with medication!?!? should we ignore that? oh, i want to know everything about the brain!! every little thing... every tiny detail, cell by cell, oh, i am so jealous of you eric kandler!! and now i will shut up and continue reading...but first, i'm thinking now about the initial resistence to birth control (so against nature!), and in vitro-fertilization.. (a crime against god!), and, stem-cell research (freak-out!)...but look at the results!! look at the results when we allow ourselves to explore and discover our own amazing human bodies ... and more, the capacity we have as intelligent, sentient, human-beings to over-ride the default bodies/minds we are born with...have we not over-riden our default life-spans through manipulation with this knowledge to our own delight? vitamins, medicines, innoculations, surgeries, diet and exercise, -love- marriage, or divorce but pets! ( i think single parents with furry pets outlive married people by the way.. i hope) once, if you made it to 30, that was considered "a long life"
, now my children, they may easily live to 125! i recently read, with all the advances and knowledge we have today and expect to see in the near future...i'm all for exploring, learning, knowing -cell by cell- everything! and i'm all for over-riding the default systems in the human mind/body (really one, i believe), i'm all for manipulating through science, medicine, pharmaceuticals, whatever... technology included, cyberbrains, bionic body parts, you name it... i'm for it! if it equals a better, more fulfilling, rewarding, life experience.. bring it on!i do not fear the good life! the good life for one and all!okay now, really... back to the book.. pg 8:but one, make that two more things: i wanna know why i have to write all the time! why am i compelled to blog my favorite book passages and share my thoughts here? my neighbor would rather have a root canal without anesthia than write one paragraph... why? and how can she cook 3 hot meals a day? i only use the oven to make shrinky dinks! why?why? why? why? how?
TO ERIC KANDEL and sweet aplysia. ORIGINAL POST 4/2/2006
one of the many questions keeping me awake at night is this: when is immersion therapy/desensitization therapy successful vs. when it is the stupidest thing in the world permanently damaging and fucking up an innocent person's life for good.
i watched recently a program which showed people with panic attack and agoraphobia disorders who participated in counseling and immersion/desensitization therapy with great results.
returning to locations where panic attacks occurred; re-creating stressful situations; purposely going to places like crowded malls, over bridges, to great heights... and w/couselor, step by step, they are desensitized to the environments/situations that once alarmed them, until the fear dissipates and their lives return to almost normal.
now, from my own experience.. and from what i've read, when it comes to post traumatic stress disorder, this is the exact opposite of what you want to do.
in fact, returning to the environment of the traumatic event does not desensitize, but instead, results in the exact opposite: the person becomes even more fearful, more paralyzed, more depressed, more debilitated.
with post traumatic stress disorder, the healing comes from getting as far removed as possible from locations, environment and memory triggers; for as long as possible too.
the brain should not be immersed, but completely removed from stressors which then allows the brain to return to normal activity levels. immersion/desensitization in fact results in brain chemical spills.. chaos... shock; permanent damage. i equate it with oil spills in the ocean... when there is a big oil spill - you want to act quickly to remove as much oil as possible, as quickly as possible to avoid seeping and loss of life. -you do not want to pour more oil in to solve the problem... and maybe, if we only put a little bit of oil in, in small increments, spread out over varying periods of time, marine life would eventually adapt and thrive...BUT I DON'T THINK SO.
- anyway - immersion therapy is helpful for some brain disorders and i am bothered not understanding when and why.
i just know the answer lies with eric kandler and sweet aplysia
. (in search of memory. the emergence of a new science of mind).
- with aplysia, the giant marine snail, kandler demonstrated the following:
: a weak touch resulted in an initial retraction of the exposed gill, but once repetitive touches, equal in level of intensity, were determined as non threatening, aplysia would no longer respond to the same touch by retracting. the touch went ignored.
: the inverse is true. but, here, what seems important is the intensity of the initial touch/stimuli. when the initial touch was nocuus/severe and aplysia was startled -not just retracting, but shocked
-then subsequent touches -less intense even- would result in an even more powerful reflex/retraction/startle response.
3) classical conditioning
: when neutral stimuli and shock were paired, this resulted in classical conditioning. (pavlov).
-so, the answer is in there somewhere... and i look forward to reading his book because there is also important information it seems, when it comes to differentiating between innate fears and learned fears. entirely different wiring.
but it is interesting to me -people who experience panic attacks describe their experience as sudden terror and the feeling that they are about to die. and there are interesting stories about phobias to bridges, heights, crowds, flying...
as horrific as these experiences are, they must be experienced in the brain quite differently than trauma/shock, although they seem similar in many respects.
but, look at that... panic disorders definitely fall in the habituation category, and can be treated successfully as a result.
but post traumatic stress disorder, the sensitization AND classical conditioning category. can't and shouldn't habituate
(which begs the question... what experiments/research is being done to learn how to undo or reverse the effects of sensitization?)
-what's a girl to do with these thoughts, this information? i have no idea.
what i realize, is that for many years i remained living in the same environment where my trauma was experienced, and it was a pretty awful life internally/emotionally/behaviorally
(is that a word? behavior - a - ly)
and then once i moved away, almost completely removed (significantly removed) from any reminders, visual triggers, etc. my brain started to heal and so did i. slow but sure.
i would venture to say i healed 99.3%
and now, and why not really, my mother is moving back to the place i'm so glad i left behind. of course i want to be happy for her. of course i want to visit, bring her grandchildren. -but one short visit and BAM!! what a wreck i became. and for several days.
i was jealous (correct use of that word here) to see the people with panic disorders who could desensitize themselves and return at some point to the places they once feared without consequence. -that must be very nice.
but i know from years of experience and from this recent experience, and from my intuition, that to keep returning to this place would not just be counterproductive to my healing -it would drown me. like aplysia -with even less intensity (shorter visits), an even greater negative response/shock results.
thankfully, my mom seems to understand. -but it frustrates me to explain this in layman terms. to know intuitively but not factually.
- somewhere in there... with kandler and aplysia lies the cure for ptsd.
so thank you - i'll stay tuned.
another ImAgiNArY conversation with Eric kandel by (me!) Sandra, tvgp
"...and Rick says to me, 'you better write that down or you'll forget.' and I look write him, and I go, 'I won't forget that.". -and I KNEW I WOULDN'T forget that (where the light switches were) because it had to do with -place. And I stopped for a sec and was like... Isn't that kind of wild how I KNOW IN ADVANCE what things I will and will not remember. Almost with 100% accuracy I know what I do and do not need to write down in order to remember things. And there are three main categories. 1. What I can and will remember. 2. What I'm sure I will forget. 3. What I can and do remember, but won't come out organized unless I write. It is stuck/tangled vs. Forgotten. EXAMPLES. 1. Kerry told me only 1 time what colors she liked... Locked in my memory for good, and I can without mentioning it for years, repeat it back to you now or 5 years from now, etc. -and by the way, there was no big emotional event tied to this memory. The whole 'fire together/wire together' thing is true, but doesn't come remotely close to explaining the other 99% of things we remember from day to day life. I've always been fascinated also with how I always remembered how to say the alphabet backwards. Again, no big emotional event tied to this occasion. My uncle taught me as a child.. It was not something I repeated often or thought about with any frequency, but only once or twice a year maybe, and sometimes less frequently than that, it would somehow come up in conversation... And without practice or struggle I could still, and can still, say the alphabet backwards. 2. I know IN ADVANCE I need to write down anything number related. Letters stick. Numbers slip. So when Rick rattled off a cost and a MSRP, even though they were short digit numbers and prices, like, 20.00 and 9.99.. Because it was going to be a few minutes and I might get a customer before I could make the tag, I KNEW to write that down because those numbers would be gone... Not tangled or stuck; forgotten. Gone. -this is my internal experience. Of course maybe they are still in there somewhere write? But it feels like they're gone. VS.! 3. Things I read.. Eat, pray, love, for example. A masterpiece memoir! It is in me! Not forgotten. -but no way I could, or can write now, reiterate verbally what I read. I'm happy a video exists of me verbally discussing this memoir. Because in order to verbalize it, I first had to do A LOT of writing and rewriting trying to find a way to organize my summary of this huge masterpiece and organize it in a way I could remember... Once I was able to divide it into two separate journeys: physical/geographic travels AND spiritual travel.. The rest fell into place, but that sure did take some doing. Anyway... Tell me your birthday; gone. Tell me your favorite color; cemented. -interesting. I think this is true for a lot of people... We know in advance what we can and can't remember.. Which brings me back to my favorite question of all: "how do we know -we know?" And close with how, for the life of me, I can't remember which it is on this one street.. Am I heading north or south when I drive toward the hills? I've been told a million times.. I tried to lock it in with a variety of those memory association tricks.. But even write now if you asked me.. I would be GUESSING if I'm write or not; I don't KNOW.. it's another very slippery one..."