I Am Anomaly

Guilty of not writing for a while, but I’ve returned to a project that’s started up again. Should have something of a preview again soon. For now, here’s a little something I wrote about myself, the nature and origin of creativity.


I am anomaly. I never fit the norm of most of my peers growing up, nor in my adult life. I suppose at least half of that is due to my genetics. Both sides of my family have had numerous creative people, and creative people are usually odd in some way as a general rule. There are idiosyncrasies here and there, almost like a small selection of obsessive compulsive traits. For myself it might be that I can identify most of the animals in my local region from memory, but I have trouble looking people in the eye when talking to them. I have the ability to completely catalog groups of animals and names in my mind, but when it comes to some social interaction I falter.

I have never been an outwardly social person, and I enjoy my solitude, but there are moments when I feel less than human. I’d like to be able to have closer relationships with people, but the truth is I don’t think I’m very good at it. Perhaps I’m too quiet, or not cheerful enough. I’m always thinking, absorbing information, and drawing it out to create my work.

I can understand how someone so silent and still might frighten others away. I reflect sometimes on how our minds work, and how thousands of thoughts are never given voice. We are constantly talking to ourselves on the inside, and no one has any idea what anyone’s really thinking. All the decisions we make, all the thoughts we do voice have been run through the check valve first. No one knows the first draft of a thought you had, or how you carefully chose to articulate it. I guess in a strange way, looking in from the outside gives a different perspective to human interaction. It’s a thing that begs the question, does anyone really know who another person is?

I often look at myself in the same light as a cheetah (not that I’m that fast, or cat-like). They are specialized hunters built for speed and endurance. Their own evolutionary process selected for those traits. However, their otherwise beautiful physique has also given them a great disadvantage. They’re fragile, and should lions or hyenas come to steal their kill they have little choice but to run. Some very creative people are so skilled and involved in their work that they seem to perceive nothing else. This is the catch 22 of the cheetah, being built for a singular purpose at the cost of functionality elsewhere. It is nearly like savantism in some people. This doesn’t apply to every artist, but some have dealt with this issue.

I find myself wondering if some of the same applies to humans with creative traits. My best guess is that whatever genes the ancestral cave painters, carvers, etc. passed down also went through its own specialization process. Though not so overt as to be expressed in the whole of the human species. This way, creative individuals could do their thing, be odd, and maybe contribute something unique to the species without damaging the population by passing on qualities that might increase mortality rates. Think about it, an early human working at some odd primitive craft, so concentrated he doesn’t hear a lion sneaking up on him. There are people who lose track of time, and forget to eat during painting, drawing, sculpting, etc. That couldn’t have survived well back then. Either some of these individuals were smart enough to do so within safety of their family groups, or they were killed off. Little by little, we built better shelters in which to live, and developed better tools for hunting and fending off predators. In the modern age, we no longer face threats from large predators hunting us, and most of us live in relative safety. We got away with it in the next several thousand years of civilization, and that is when these traits likely started flourishing even more.

When you look at things like spider webs and termite mounds, you understand why they were built. At their root is a single purpose, to survive. The spider traps its food in the web it weaves anew every night, and the termites house their growing colony. For advanced primates, creating things like music, visual art, sculpture, and architecture has no relevance to survival. It could almost be likened to peacock feathers. And that is the thing primates do, we display. We are in essence displaying to each other, whether to imply meaning, a sense of power, or beauty. It does leave me wondering how it all became so damned elaborate. I could say that it’s possibly because humans get easily bored, and that some can’t resist the challenge to go further. It would be easy to assume that humankind’s penchant for endless creative forces is somehow alien, but I don’t think it is. It’s all very likely that some weird genes got to have a bit of fun in the pool once civilization began.

So where do I fit in all this nonsense? I don’t know really. I only know what my odd compulsions drive me to do, and that I really want to achieve those things. I don’t know that I’ll leave work unique to my species when I die, or if it will impact just the small amount of people I know in my lifetime. For all I know an asteroid could smash into the Earth and render everything to dust before I get to leave a mark. But still, something is driving me to try anyway.

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Latest Goings On

Before I get into the latest on me, let me take a moment to thank those of you that read, and have started following me. I’ve noticed a bit of higher traffic even though my posts are sporadic. I appreciate that some folks can put up with that.

On to the latest.

Firstly, you may notice a change to the website theme, and that it is no longer so dark. I had to realize at some point that reading light colored text on black background isn’t easy on the eyes. So, I switched to a much clearer and crisp layout to help avoid that.

In the meantime, I have been reworking and fleshing out a longtime project that really needs to be finished sooner than later. I found this site to be very helpful in fleshing out plots, characters, and acts in a story.

Writing A Novel Using The Snowflake Method

There is a book being sold on the subject as well at this site, but I found using just the outlines on that page to be helpful enough. I definitely recommend using this method, since it has greatly helped me get my ideas straight.

Besides writing, I have also been reading a great deal again. Just recently got into British author Neal Asher’s work, and I can’t get enough. The Polity novels have been my favorite. I really found myself loving the Transformation series. Dark Intelligence, and War Factory were amazing reads. I’m awaiting the third installment, Infinity Engine, when it releases in the US. I strongly recommend this author for those of you who love aliens, A.I.s, and far advanced tech.

The Transformation series of books is the only book I’ve ever done fan art for. I love the war drones, and a few of the alien creatures. I’ve only done two so far, but I plan to do others soon.

This one is of the war drone ‘Riss’. She was deliberately designed like a parasite that once plagued the ruthless Prador species. Just so happens that said parasites resemble a Terran snake.

riss2
“Riss, The War Drone”

 

The second piece is of the monstrous ‘Hooder’, and bio-mechincal war machines designed by an ancient alien race. They are like a horrible version of a millipede, with a front end with slicing/dicing ‘manipulators’ that pretty much dissect prey alive. I doubt I added enough of the appendages that do all that work, considering the scenes I read. It’s pretty brutal.

"The Hooder"
“The Hooder”

I’ll not spoil anymore for you. Be back soon.

Non-Human Senses & Other News

Imagine for a minute that you, a human, could see in the Ultra-Violet spectrum, sense the chemical signals of pheromones, store energy from sunlight, or taste and smell with appendages other than a tongue. A rather alien experience it would be, but then that is exactly my point.

This little thought experiment is an excellent way to show and describe the senses and experiences of alien characters, or alien environments. And luckily, we don’t have to travel light years to get some interesting ideas. They’re right in our backyard.

Birds see in the UV spectrum, and even have polarized vision that aids in migration. Only few humans have actually been able to see in the UV spectrum, and it is largely due to eye damage. Occasionally, it happens to people who’ve undergone cataract surgery.

A good article on animal UV spectrum, and the functions it may serve.

http://www.nature.com/scitable/blog/the-artful-brain/alternate_realities  

Pheromones, at least in humans, seem a lot less noticeable than in other species, such as insects. An entire hive or colony is largely controlled by chemical signals. They also communicate a great deal of information through this method, which is probably why there never seems to be a work stoppage in said hive or colony. No unions there. Everyone works themselves until they die.

Luckily, us mammals have it a little easier. Our pheromones are more important when it comes to reproductive status, territorial marking, and sometimes mood.

Reptiles, and to a larger extent, plants, use sunlight to give them energy. A plant can create its own fuel within its own body using the energy from sunlight. Unless your sun was nearing its demise, you’d be set for life.

Reptiles are cold-blooded, therefore needing heat to warm their bodies to an optimum temperature so that they can not only digest their food, but also to fight disease. Instead of getting a fever like a mammal, they have to find just the right basking spot and sit for minutes to hours depending on how hot it is.

Tasting and smelling without the use of a tongue is actually done by many organisms. All manner of invertebrates usually achieve this with pairs of antennae. They are long and whip-like, and even short and stubby, and they are covered with millions of taste/scent receptors. Sometimes they also have bristly hairs growing on them to help catch the scent/taste.

Here’s an article discussing the nervous system an senses of the lobster.

http://www.lobsters.org/tlcbio/biology6.html

In other news…

I need a new writing desk. I had actually bought a used roll-top desk maybe a year ago, but since then realized it needs refinishing. It’s also a bit too large, and very cramped in my apartment. To top that off, refinishing requires that you completely sand the entire thing down to the original wood, and then add a stain or varnish. I have no room to do that here, and I hear it costs quite a bit to pay for it to be done professionally. So, it’s being sold, and I’m still waiting to hear back on one possible offer.

Walmart actually has some nice compact desks that strike my fancy, and the prices aren’t bad either.

Lastly, I have created a sister blog for my artist side of things, where you will be able to see how I do my work and much more. I only have a short intro post so far, but more will be coming soon.

You can check it out at http://pencilsandclay.wordpress.com/

Okay, that’s it for today. Have a good weekend everyone!  Thanks for reading.

~Lynn