For those of you out there that clicked on this because you relate to having mental health issues, I’m so sorry. If you are just curious and maybe want to learn more, you are still welcome here. I will just warn you though, this won’t be a particularly fun post.
When I was originally diagnosed with anxiety & depression, my counsellor told me, “You will get better at managing it, but it will never really go away.” Instead of taking this as a cautionary tale, I jumped back into work. Then slowly, but surely, I slipped into my old bad habits.
What are these bad habits? In a nutshell, I overwork myself. I’m so afraid that any opportunity I get will never come around again, so instead of thinking it through I just say yes to everything. I don’t think about what I already have, I focus on what I still need to do. Which is my bucket list, the arbitrary list of things I want to do before I die.
No one is watching me, or evaluating me. If I don’t get through the list nothing bad will happen, there is no finish line or prise. Yet my ambitious doesn’t just rule me, it screams at me.
My sleep has been destroyed as a result. I lay in bed planning to perfection how I’m going to fit it all in, then have panic attacks in the dark. My body is sore and tired, and it needs a break.
I’m here today to tell you that Thinkingmoon.com will be slowing down for a while. I bit off more of the Moon than I could chew and sent my anxiety into overload.
My priority is and always has been my PhD, but lately, I’ve been overextending myself. Taking extra jobs to pay bills (proof reading), writing this blog, filming YouTube videos and spending waaaaay too much time on Twitter.
I’m not going away completely but I will only be posting once a week, on my original day, which is Friday.
When I feel better and more grounded I will post some extra days again. When the mood strikes or inspiration cannot wait, but this will not be permanent. Not until at least next July 2020.
In the meantime, please use meas your cautionary tale if you are struggling. Your health is more important than anything else. Go rest, then reevaluate. What is important to you?
It’s Dada Moon’s birthday today! Let’s wish him a very happy 62nd birthday. You’re at level 62 now Dad, fair play to you. Pun entirely intended because my father is like a child when it comes to video games. Even before we were born, he loved video games. My mother got him an Atari the first Christmas they were married.
He passed his love of games onto his children, and we’ve not stopped since. Although we all have access to gaming computers, PS4’s and Xbox One’s, I can’t help but yearn for the time when games were 2 dimensional! Oh nosalgia, you cruel mistress, why must you give me these feelings?
Our father had an old dos run computer for many years until he finally got his hands on one that could run windows(computers were expensive in the 90s no judgement!). So he did what any reasonable father would do, he set up the old computer for his children with a rake of old dos games on it.
So I thought as a thank you to him, we would look back at 6.2 of the games myself and my brother played on rainy (and not so rainy) days. Hey, listen we turned out just fine!
1. Alley Cat
Exactly what is says on the tin. You were a little black alley cat and your goal? You needed to eat, as we all do. However because you lived in an alley, and not a forest, the only food you could come by, were people’s pets. So you would climb up on the fence and jump into people’s windows (you little rascal you!!) and try and eat their budgies, fish and other pets.
However, it was not all as easy as that. Many of the houses had guard dogs, and you needed to be as quiet as possible to get around them, or you yourself, would become the food.
2. Commander Keen
Myself and my brother adore Commander Keen to this day. I’m not so sure what was so particularly special about it, but we loved it none-the-less. We played Keen 1 – 3 which had graphics like the gif above. Then when 4 – 6 came out we played those.
Commander Keen was an extremely intelligent young lad, who snuck away from his babysitter one night to go save the galaxy from impending doom. Sure how could you not love him and his pogo-sticking ways?
What a wonderfully simple yet crazy game this was. All while on the back of an ostrich you would ‘joust’ with your opponent (player 2). In the meantime, there were other birds and pterodactyls trying to push you into lava. Maybe this game is where I get my terrific fear of lava? Perhaps we will never know!
The need was too great to include the gif with John Travolta in it. Sorry too funny. This game was both entertaining and good for the brain as it made you engage your problem-solving areas to help save your fellow lemmings. Otherwise, they would keep walking after their fellows and meet certain doom.
5. Dangerous Dave In The Haunted Mansion
I’m guessing from my adult attempt at this game that dangerous Dave was investigating the mansions to gather up some trinkets to sell on the black market. Armed with a double barrel shotgun(my favourite weapon in any dame), and a red baseball cap, Dave wanders on into the haunted mansion. Inside you face Frankenstein-esque monsters and Renfield knife-wielding lunatics.
You have infinite bullets but you do need to reload once in a while, and in order to do that, you need to stand perfectly still.
6.2 Hocus Pocus
Who doesn’t love to play a game where you are a wizard trying to each your wizard strips while performing the many tasks required? You shoot lighting out of your hands to defend yourself against the lizards, mushrooms and flying devils. A game for the ages.
Did you like this list? Might do more in the future, and let me know did any of you play these games in the 90’s?
Q1. You say you’re a rock and roll man. Tell us about the rock and rollers that inspired you to create.
Well, music is a huge part of my life, rock music is just one of the many genres I listen to. My number one go-to band is the Foo Fighters, Dave Grohl is not only a musician but a craftsman and pretty much the spirit animal of rock and roll, man.
Guns n’ Roses were a huge influence when I was younger along with Green Day, Bon Jovi, Nickelback, The Goo Goo dolls and The Offspring but you’ll find a huge array of other stuff on my playlists like Lady Gaga, Lady Antebellum, Pink, Meatloaf, Daughtry, Take That and the Zac Brown Band.
I near enough drive every day so that gives me a bunch of time to not only listen but to think about how the hell I’m going to write myself out of the next story I’ve got myself in. Sometimes to do that I need some serious tunes.
Q2. If you could write a book with anyone, in the fashion of Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman’s “Good Omens,” for example, who would be your top choice?
Without doubt my choice would be Stephen King who is most probably the greatest American storyteller of a generation. I think our genres match and he would do the depraved horror stuff while I do the characters.
Q3. Can you remember the first time you tried to spin a yarn? If you can what was it about?
Way back when I’ll happily admit the kid version of me was a pathological liar. I still suffer from exaggeration syndrome (I mean who doesn’t spice up a story?). My lying days are very much over though and didn’t last that long, my old man pulled me to one side and told me that pretty epic story about the wolf and the lying phase was over… My efforts for that sort of thing are now channeled into creating stories.
Q4. What are your main motivations to write?
My top motivation is the desire to immerse others into stories like I have been immersed. That sounds kind of vague or deep, but there are books out there that have a way of totally immersing a reader to a point where they forget everything surrounding them, it’s sort of a floating feeling, I’ve only had such feeling on a few occasions, that feeling is what I chase when writing.
Q5. What is the best compliment you’ve ever received in regards to your work?
Earlier this year the pantomime play I wrote received a standing ovation after one of the performances. That was a quite a moment, for a little while it was as if somebody was cutting onions nearby because my eyes were watering.
The best compliments I have received (for my books) are in the form of some pretty epic reviews, a couple which you have left!
Q6. Which character is your favourite to write from any of your books?
My books have a tendency to make supporting characters seem better than the main characters. This is apparent in both Open Evening and Darke Blood so I shall have to provide you with two characters.
Twister and Caitlyn; both of which carry the ‘badass trait’ along with having an interesting history. It sure would be awesome if these two characters met… truth is they will, in the Darke Blood sequel! I shall say no more…
Q7. What do you feel is your primary goal in life?
Life goals tend to evolve and change with the person. Right now for me it’s to tell stories and get better at it. Where it will lead is up to luck, fate and how hard one works.
Q8. You are a well-established blogger, what was your reasoning for sharing your thoughts through this medium?
Well thank you. Blogging is a great way of speaking without being interrupted, it is also a great way to gain more attention, followers and a readership. You also get to meet some likeminded fellow bloggers and learn from them.
Some years ago, when I decided to take this stuff seriously I read a self-help book which had some great advice about getting published and building a following by starting a blog. So that’s where it began.
Successful blogging is an art form and to write something with broad appeal, takes time to master; something I am learning constantly.
Q9. Who are your favourite authors to read, and do you have a favourite book?
My mount Rushmore of authors consists of Arthur Conan Doyle, Michael Crichton, Stephen King and Joss Whedon (he technically isn’t an author but his writing has shaped mine).
And as for favorite book; The Lost World by Conan Doyle and where I first had my real immersive experience.
Q10. Your work is very character orientated which makes for good reading. What kind of characters are the most entertaining to read? How do you make a publish-worthy character?
I enjoy a character that develops during the course of a story; I think it’s important to convey the fact that first impressions aren’t everything and the story itself has an effect on every character. The perceived coward becoming the unsung hero is a trope that draws me in. I also have a lot of time for the ordinary person who stands for something extra ordinary.
I find some of my characters by giving them a basis that is taken from a real person; whether that be myself in part or someone I have known or know. Even if it is something as a behavioral trait that I have adapted or what someone has said to me in the past; in essence that’s what makes them real just with the fictional volume turned all the way up and the name changed (that’s important, especially to avoid lawsuits).
Kurt Wiseman (The Teleporter) is probably the closest persona to my own I have ever created but I don’t need a super power to learn what responsibility of power is. And I know when to stop with the booze, most of the time, but in between tequila’s is where my downfall emerges.
Q11. What is your strangest writing quirk?
My strangest writing quirk would be that I very rarely plan what I write. There are writers out there who lay out chapters with spreadsheets and tables, for me that’s way too rigid and constricting. Most readers will want to take on a story for the fact they don’t know where it will go, I like to do that with the writing process also.
I will normally have a few core characters, a story concept, setting and probably the finish. I didn’t even have that (a finish) for Darke Blood hence the struggle to draft it but some argue its my best work.
A true creative writer will be able to take a basic concept, some characters and ride the words to find the rest. That process hasn’t let me down yet.
Q12. What is the best advice you can give to unpublished authors?
If you really want this then put in the time and know that you will have homework for the rest of your life (but that’s a good thing right?). Busy people get things done!
When I first started taking this whole deal seriously I would come home from work at around 4:30pm and write every weekday evening until 9:30pm. I clocked up some serious hours and words, pretty much destroying my laptop’s keyboard. To begin with I would produce probably 30 minutes worth of good readable stuff in that time . That was six years ago. And now when I write for 30 minutes, I get 30 minutes worth of good readable stuff. That leaves a whole lot more time to read which is just as important to writing.
Study the stories you love whether its books, cinema or television. Tap into why you love them and channel that into your own work.
Writing is a craft that cannot be taught. However you can be taught language, plot, theme, punctuation, spelling and grammar, but nobody can teach someone else to write, that is something you must find within yourself. And you can only find that by writing.
There is a book I’m carefully reading this month called “A Life Less Throwaway,” by a lady called Tara Button. I included it in my 2019 sustainability goals which you can read about here. So far I’m really enjoying it and I plan on reviewing it completely once I’ve finished it.
In the meantime, Button offers wonderful exercises at the end of each chapter, and I thought why not share some with my Moonlings? The first one is very introspective, you write an email to yourself. The topic? The importance of non-material things.
“The best things in life, aren’t things.” Art Buchwald.
Now while I wouldn’t go full on Madonna and call myself a material girl, I do like things. Especially now that I’m writing a gratitude list every morning for 3 things I’m grateful for whether they are material or not. I find this helps me appreciate the things I already have and curb superfluous spending.
This opportunity awakened something in me, and rather than email it to myself, I thought I’d share, so here goes.
Warmth and family is not a place. It isn’t four walls, windows and doors. It’s not the couch or the kitchen table, or the framed newspaper cut out of Michael Collins. Neither the ceramic bulldog in the porch or the hum of the computers. It isn’t between the books on your shelves or the clothes in your wardrobe.
It’s your mother’s hug in the morning when you come downstairs for breakfast. It’s the sound of your father’s laments as he loses his video game. It’s your brother sending you funny memes because he wants to share his laughter with you. Sharing with another makes it better, more real, even funnier. It’s the sleep talk of Le’Boo when he is deep in his REM and asks you “terra forma?” (When did he learn Latin?)
It’s the chorus of birds in the morning when you awake again. You remind yourself to be grateful. For a long time, a mantra you repeated to yourself, as you awoke to go to a job you hated was, “I’m awake but I’m not happy about it.” Almost like a joke, you told yourself, but in reality, that was wrong. Even though the job was awful, getting to wake up again was not.
It’s the love in your heart and soul when you make a darling laugh. The gratitude you feel when someone cooks you a meal. The joy of a family gathering, and the sorrow of a loved one passing. When we are old and dying we will not hold onto things. Not the brass doorknob we polished relentlessly, the extra hours put in at work for no extra pay or even the money in your account
It’s the memories, thank you all, for the memories. For the joy of now, and the promise of tomorrow.
*I invite you all to do the same. You don’t have to blog about it if you are too uncomfortable, but you can send yourself an email! If you do try it tag myself and Tara Button in it on Twitter!*
Greetings, all! Welcome to today’s episode of the God’s Grand Game blog tour. Today I’d like to introduce Jenni (also known as Jay C / J.C.) who runs a diverse and very interesting blog entitled Thinking Moon.
Jenni has a background in anthropology and is currently teaching as well as studying for her PhD. She has a Philosophy section on her blog and we have been connected on Twitter for some time, so it was a no-brainer to ask her to be involved with the blog tour. I’m grateful to Jenni for agreeing to review my book.
Before we get into the nitty-gritty of the review I would like to thank Steven Colborne from Perfect Chaos for the opportunity to review his book. Though he and I have different perspectives on the nature of God, our philosophical interests are parallel. My background is in anthropology whose parent discipline is philosophy. Therefore I am no stranger to God and his prevalence throughout human culture.
I need to state firmly my own views on the matter. I believe the God that Colborne knows, is one that billions of humans have known, albeit by different names and experience. However, I do not believe God to be a singular being. This is where Colborne and I diverge.
Do not fret however, this will not affect either my ability to see from his perspective or the anthesis.
*I will refer to God through Male pronouns throughout as so intended in Colborne’s book*
For work such as this, there is no need for worries of spoilers, as rather it is less a narrative and more philosophical. However, I implore you to read the work in-depth as my musings on the subject may be contrary to the views of others. Even that of Colborne himself. However, as he says in his work, this is how God wanted it. Some knowing of his existence, and those of us waiting in the wing for divine interaction.
So Colborne introduces himself first and his story was not an easy one to read. In his contemporary life, he has discovered a type of stasis, however, with illnesses inherent to him, he proclaims this may be taken away at any time. Such is the will of God.
It is also important to me that you do not mistake Steven for a man of blind faith, who have never known anything else. From reading his blog alone you would know this, and in his introduction, he explains his deep interest with all things spiritual since his teens.
In Part 1 we are introduced to the nature of God. Which can be summoned up by His omnipresence. He states his case quite clearly through the lens of scientific endeavours:
“Even scientists, who are very successful in describing how things happen, generally agree that they cannot say why things happen.”
The argument here for Colborne is linked with the philosophical paradigm of determinism. God is all there is, we are a part of God, however, he exists outside of us. Therefore he is all-powerful and knows how our lives will play out.
In Part 2 we are guided through the human experience, in which Colborne is certain is curated by God. Why he is certain of this is simple. We are used to experiencing things in a certain way, through a certain set of laws.
When something outside of these perceptions happened, rather than chalking them down to anomalies or mistakes, Colborne assures the reader that this is through the desire of God. It is because God is a higher being, that we cannot experience everything he does. In certain cases, he allows us a small window into his nature. Colborne asks that rather than dismiss these anomalous experiences we should accept them as God’s outer life.
Scientist have grappled for centuries with the concept of ‘thought’. Where does ‘thought’ come from? How does it arise? Now with modern science researchers have pinpointed the moment the brain sends the signals to, for example, move an arm. They have not, however, pinpointed the decision or the why.
Colborne makes it quite simple, this is God’s will. He is managing our every movement.
“If we consider the nature of God, particularly His attribute of omnipresence, it makes sense that He is controlling our conscious experiences because His being permeates every atom in existence and every cell of our bodies.”
For someone who has studied anthropology and humankind so closely, I cannot help but agree with Colborne to an extent. Although humans have spread ourselves across the planet, we have things that are so unique to us as a species that it appears wherever we are. The concept of God is universal and in favour of Colborne’s argument, this may be God’s own way of showing himself to us.
In our modern world, the war between science and religion has gotten us nowhere. I have often been an advocate for the inter-disciplinary cooperation of scientists and theologians. For many centuries now, scientists have been doing the work philosophers in ancient Greece once had the pleasure of.
Now more than ever we need to listen to, and read about experiences had by human beings such as Steven Colborne. In my opinion, his belief in God is not a dirty secret or an unfortunate quirk. There are many people I love who both believe in God and many who do not. With all the varieties in between.
There is no denying that Colborne has done his homework, and he entertains the philosophies of those who would be considered his opposite. In Part 4 he discusses the American Philosopher Sam Harris, who is a prominent figure surrounding materialism and free will. Harris believes that all we are is physical, and this matter is calling the shots. Whereas of course, Colborne argues this is nonsensical. How can inanimate matter create the diverse realms of thought that humans enjoy?
“How something that is purely material could create awareness of the kind that human beings experience is an area of ceaseless confusion for neuroscientists.”
There is also the espousal of the major world religions, (not discounting the thousands of others he would not have had time to mention). Colborne is not dismissing your version of God. His simple truth is this. God is omnipresent and God is our creator (at birth and each and every moment of our lives).
Colborne wants what I think is lacking in the Christian faiths (among others) of the day. A modern church were a scientific debate is not only welcomed but part of the general practice of religion. A church of God which has thrown off the shackles of the cruelness of human doctrines, and allow only love to flow. An inter-faith dialogue, a safe place for everyone, in which to look at God from all unique perspectives and experiences of the human condition.
There is room for everyone in the debate so I would ask for the comments to be respectful, and I implore you to read this book. There is more benefit here than you realise.
Conclusions & Further readings
For my own piece of mind I would like to point out that while Colborne believes that God creates all human art, I feel that our crazy, beautiful, individual minds produce these things. Also my disposition is to always push back against determinism, however, God may have made me that way.
For those of you who are intensely religious, I mean neither disrespect or dismissal. If there is kindness in your intent, there is room for you in this debate. In reading Colborne’s book I experienced nothing but due considerations for all faiths.
Finally, I deeply respect Steven Colborne, for all he’s achieved even through pain and adversity. Although we don’t always agree, I cannot dispute that his arguments are not only well thought out, but well researched.
As I mentioned in the preamble my anthropology background implores me to mention Sir James Fraser’s, “The Golden Bough.”