Lifestyle

Do you want to be exceptional, and dead? (Drugs, creativity, manic energy and suicide)

I had no idea what Black Box was about when I started watching, but was soon delighted with it – a brain scientist with psychological issues recounts her last near death manic episode to her psychologist. While I’m writing about drugs and creativity, she makes the opposite point – sometimes we normalize our episodes with drugs. Needing to revamp her …

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Smart drugs for writers (unlock your creative genius, boost your word count and write faster NOW)

I started this post a few years ago when I was working on a book project called “The Creative Brain on Drugs.” I’ve left the original content down below – but more recently I’ve been focused on writing faster and boosting word count: when I searched for “best smart drugs for writers” Google actually showed me this post… so I’m …

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Only Lovers Left Alive vs. The Vampire Academy (Reflections on High and Low Art, Life and Death, and Creative Production)

I underestimated vampires. I thought the trend was mostly dying down. I thought we, as an international culture, had decided to focus more on zombies, post-apocalyptic survivors, and dystopian, authoritarian governments. I thought Johnny Depp in Dark Shadows or Adam Sandler’s Animated Vampire Film Hotel Transylvania signified that the creative juices, the pathos and the emotional thrills of the vampire genre …

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How to learn Mandarin Chinese (or any language) super-fast with language hacking.

I’ve studied Spanish, German and Chinese in both school and immersion environments; in both classroom settings and one on one tutoring. I’ve also been an English teacher to ESL students in several countries. Some things I’ve learned about language acquisition: You have to make it a primarily goal, not a hobby. An hour or two a week is not enough, …

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Why not using your time travel powers is selfish and stupid (a review of “About Time”)

I’ve seen a lot of time travel movies over the years, but none have made me seriously consider the issue of time travel until I started watching “About Time.” I think the charm of the movie is watching the disaster unfold as socially awkward, disarmingly frank but also very creepy and strange “Tim” (Domhnall Gleeson) uses this miraculous, super hero …

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The horrible hidden truth behind the Secret Life of Walter Mitty that’s keeping you from your dreams

On the surface, the Secret Life of Walter Mitty is a movie with values I can get behind. A boring photo-processor daydreams about epic adventures because he’s too scared and socially awkward to actually do anything. He’s made fun of, ignored and taken for granted. He’s supporting his mom and his dead-beat actress sister; a duty he took on at …

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The only New Year’s Resolution you really need, and how to make it happen in 2014

Today I noticed a few posts popping up on blogs I like about doing a 2013 “Year in Review” and mapping out goals and New Year’s Resolutions for 2014. This is something I’ve usually done on my Birthday (Dec. 22nd) or Christmas, or closer to the new year. Setting and achieving goals has been a huge part of my life. …

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Contest winners (2013)

Sometime yesterday my faulty hard drive crashed, so for the past 24 hours I’ve been reinstalling, rebooting, and restoring files – thankfully I recently signed up for an online backup service (BackBlaze), otherwise the loss of data would be devastating. As it is, I’m kind of on a forced leave of absence (I can’t do much “real work” until I …

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Diagnosing Dickinson: Epilepsy or Migraine? (How headaches inspire artists and writers)

I wrote this paper a few years ago and plan to publish it, but since it’s just sitting on my computer, I thought I’d share. I’m a frequent migraine sufferer and early episodes (including symptoms I interpreted as paranormal, like hearing voices and seeing flashing lights) were formative of my creative identity. Understanding these relatively common symptoms of migraine (which …

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