Brain Drain

Another day, another writing exercise. It’s the middle of the week and you know what that means: it’s a great time for the mind to slow down and speak for itself. Time to get some tea, your favorite coffee and sit in a comfy nook with a fresh page. A stream of consciousness exercise can get you into relaxation mode or it can help you release the many thoughts running through your head every day. All you have to do is scribble every thought, feeling and perspective that pops into your head without filtering it out. This kind of writing can help you find perspectives, ideas, and innately human emotions you can eventually use for your next imaginative story or for the foundations of a new book.

If you’re a lover of James Joyce, Virginia Woolf, or Proust then you know exactly what a stream of consciousness can look like in a novel. Writing in a stream of consciousness monologue may seem easy, though, unless you’ve mastered the writing style using your own monologue, attempting one with a made up character can be difficult. Mastering this kind of monologue starts with you. How can you start practicing non-stop mind splurging on the page? 


You can sit in a quiet place outside where there is earthly activity influencing your thoughts. While you are on public transport, listen in to people’s conversations, write how you feel in that moment, what’s going on. Put all feelings, perspectives, emotions and quick thoughts down on the page. It may not make sense at all, but when you look back, the scribbles could be helpful toward your next story. Don’t second guess yourself, even if it is a terrible thought, get it out on the page. Using Stream of Consciousness writing has proven useful for stress, anxiety and depression, and a nice additive to draining your brain are the stories, characters or ideas that come from the exercise. Seize the moment and allow all thoughts to fall through the brain drain without redirecting them to the trash.

Once you’ve gotten this activity down, using a stream of consciousness exercise with a made up character can help you get in their heads and portray their traits, actions and thoughts in an accurate and straightforward manner to your readers. Before you use SOC (Stream of Consciousness) on your character, think of the situation they’re in, what traits you’d like them to have, think of their history and why they may function in the way they do. As I said, it may seem easy, but writing in a SOC with a made up character can be a challenge. The more you get in their head and challenge yourself with a variety of situations the character may face, then the more realistic and relatable a character will seem. 

Get ready to stumble, trip and fall through the crazy, funny and wild parts of your brain. This writing Wednesday, challenge yourself to a stream of consciousness exercise. you’ll get more out of it than solely writing practice, you may even find your truest feelings and thoughts on a situation, or find a new perspective your brain has been waiting to reveal from your subconscious. Open your brain and drain all those uninhibited thoughts and feelings with your favorite notebook and pen in hand.  

Put It On Paper – A Reading Journal Guide

I am more of a put it on paper kind of person. I can visualize what is going on in my head better once it is written down. If you are the same, keeping a reading journal can be helpful on your literary journey. 

Here are a few starting tips and ideas!

First, picking out your journal. There are of course so many options! Choosing between having a bullet journal or a regular lined journal will probably be your hardest choice. Bullet journals are currently very popular because they allow the writer to be more creative and offer more of a DIY layout. Having a lined journal will still keep things organized in a more structured way and will help you maintain your journal in an orderly manner. 

Other things to consider when making your journal

  • Do you want to stick to one writing utensil
  • Use color coding
  • Will you include hand drawn or printed pictures
  • Where will you keep your journal – will you keep it with you to write thoughts and ideas throughout the day 

I recommend starting your journal with a list. Those are my favorites! Lists, lists, lists. What you are currently reading, what you want to read- and the doors open from there. Having a clear list of where you’ve been and where you want to go will help you in the long run. 

From there the opportunities are endless and you can start creating reading goals for yourself. It’s a good idea to start with some basic goals. For example, how many books do you want to read in a month or year? Once you have an idea of where you are going, you can start to plan how you are going to get there with more specific lists or different categories. You might have a list that focuses on specific genres of books that are going to be featured on the big screen. 

Remember this is your journal and it is there to help you in what you deem important. Some other reading journal ideas can be keeping a reading log.

  • Write a short summary about what you read
  • Write what you liked about the book
  • Log your favorite pages or quotes

Once you get the hang of what you like to log and what you don’t it really becomes your own. 

Get inspired. Go on Pinterest and Google and get ideas of your own. My personal favorite spot for inspiration is #bujoforbooklover on Instagram. There is a whole world out there dedicated to journaling. 

This is a space for your own thoughts and ideas, go crazy!

Foot Traps

caltrops.jpgCaltrops

 

  • This was a weapon used to maim or kill infantry, and/or others not shielded with armor. Caltrops specifically had two or more sharp nails. In the past, caltrops were used against foot troops and cavalry. Today, caltrops are used against wheeled vehicles. We’ve all watched high speed chases!
  • The name of this device if from Latin. The original meaning is “foot-trap.”
  • Caltrops have been used in heraldry. Mainly as charges in the shields!

Top Tier Polearm

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Glaive

  • It is a European polearm. It’s decorated with a single-edged blade at one end of the pole. The blade is similar to that of an axe head – not a straight blade or as curved as cutlasses or swords.
  • Some of the blades were crafted with a small hook somewhere on the blade-end of the pole. Sometimes on the opposite end of the blade. This was used to catch riders. (This is a running theme in our weapons of choice!)
  • The glaive was a highly rated weapon in the polearm class/other hand-to-hand combat weapons of the time. This rating occurred in 1599.

A Ceremonial Club

What is so incredibly special about the weapon we are talking about this week is…it’s still in use! Maybe not for battle, but for ceremonial purposes and the pictures found online are of these traditions! Carry on…


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Rungu

  • This weapon originated in East Africa. It was used in battle and in hunting originally.
  • It also serves as a ceremonial tool for male warriors of the Maasai culture. The ceremonial rungu are decorated in beads sewn in by the local women.
  • It’s similar in shape to a club, mixed a bit with a baton. The end of the club was typically a heavy knob or a heavy ball.

The Iron Claw

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Zhua

  • Zhua literally translates to claw. And this weapon represents that entirely. It is an iron claw attached to a 6 ft. pole. Sometimes it bears a weight at the bottom to be used as a bludgeon.
  • Some of the better reasons to use a zhua in battle is to disarm someone of their shield or grabbing riders off their horses.
  • This is an ancient Chinese weapon and was a known weapon of Sun Tzu, a warrior and general.

Whipping a Blade

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Urumi

  • It’s a sword. It’s a whip. It’s very easy to hurt yourself when wielding this weapon.
  • Before dabbling into the art of the urumi, one is supposed to have knowledge with a sword. It’s meant to be the last weapon learned in a certain type of martial arts.
  • This originated in South India/Sri Lanka in the Sangam Period, or the 3rd – 5th century BCE.
  • The Urumi is best used against multiple enemies, if swarmed in battle.

Hand-Wood

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Macuahuitl

  • If you couldn’t tell from the pictures above, the macuahuitl is a club with blades made from obsidian (okay, we didn’t expect you to know that.) Obsidian was used in creation since it was known to produce a sharper blade. It came in two different sizes: a larger club and a smaller.
  • The name is derived from the Nahuatl language (a native tongue of Mesoamericans.) It can be translated to “hand-wood.”
  • Clubs are usually a close-combat weapon, so this weapon falls in that category as well. It was distributed throughout Mesoamerica. Aztecs, Mayans, Mixtec, and Toltec were some of the civilizations who utilized this weapon.
  • This weapon could inflict a fatal laceration. Or used in ceremonial matters.

Daggers of Nobility

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Katar

  • The katar is considered a push dagger. It has a hand grip shaped like an ‘H’, forcing the wielder to clutch the blade above the knuckles. Sort of like Wolverine from X-Men. According to fighting styles, its compared to boxing a lot. Anyone using a katar aims for slashing the head or upper area and puts their whole weight into it.
  • Believe it or not, these daggers were used in worship from time to time. More importantly, they were used as symbols of Indian nobility. Katars utilized as decorations such as this were dressed in enamel, gems, or gold foil. They even could bear figures or scenes.
  • Mentioned briefly, this weapon was first crafted in India. Many speculate it was done so in Canada or England, but nope…India! Interesting enough, because of the weather of India, sheathes were not made of usual sheathe material, they were made from silk or any other soft material.