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To everyone who joined these forums at some point, and got discouraged by the negativity and left after a while (or even got literally scared off): I'm sorry.

I wasn't good enough at encouraging people to be kinder, and removing people who refuse to be kind. Encouraging people is hard, and removing people creates conflict, and I hate conflict... so that's why I wasn't better at it.

I was a very, very sensitive teen. The atmosphere of this forum as it is now, if it had existed in 1996, would probably have upset me far more than it would have helped.

I can handle quite a lot of negativity and even abuse now, but that isn't the point. I want to help people. I want to help the people who need it the most, and I want to help people like the 1996 version of me.

I'm still figuring out the best way to do that, but as it is now, these forums are doing more harm than good, and I can't keep running them.

Thank you to the few people who have tried to understand my point of view so far. I really, really appreciate you guys. You are beautiful people.

Everyone else: If after everything I've said so far, you still don't understand my motivations, I think it's unlikely that you will. We're just too different. Maybe someday in the future it might make sense, but until then, there's no point in arguing about it. I don't have the time or the energy for arguing anymore. I will focus my time and energy on people who support me, and those who need help.

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Writing and Creativity Psych Shop
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xcriteria Offline
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Writing and Creativity Psych Shop

I'm branching this discussion from DoA's One-Stop Psych Shop about walls of text, creativity, and related topics.

In summary, I posted several walls of content about psychology, therapy, and the like. vonunov posted a comment distinguishing "walls of text" from long, well-structured posts. This led to a further discussion about creative addiction vs. stagnation, and different forms of writing.

(See that thread for the details.)

Now I'll respond to vonunov's last comment there:

(12-29-2013 08:05 AM)vonunov Wrote:  xcriteria:

I think one of the more important parts of the Wikipedia article on hypergraphia is where it mentions that "most patients do not write things with substance." It mentions such things as writing pre-existing content repeatedly, and going into extreme detail in description of dreams, the day's events, and surroundings. Is this the sort of thing you've done? I'm not sure what you mean by word lists, if they were done just for the sake of writing or for a purpose, etc. In any case, exactly what it is isn't as important as whether it gets in the way of your life.

I could upload photos of some of it, but basically it doesn't really fit the definition of hypergraphia. It doesn't look like it has substance, but the substance to me was mostly in the process of following the creative impulse and trying to write something, even if incoherent... in search of something substantive.

In 2011, I did quite a bit of that, and the writing evolved into arranging papers, books, and the like and photographing them. I was basically trying to find ways to produce maps of knowledge or information.

Those photographs of physical layouts evolved into totally computer-based layouts, where I just took screen caps of book covers, YouTube videos, titles of articles, autobiographical details, and so on. It was rough, and strange, but I found it interesting, and I kept trying to evolve the process.

Over time, I started making very large layouts, as well as writing text where I tried to explain them. But, by mid-to-late 2012, I started finally succeeding at another goal, connecting with a wider circle of people online, who were interested in all this transformation of education stuff. And, I started focusing more on those interactions.

But, I wrote a lot of long comments that were pushing the bounds of FB and G+. One of the people I'd met through G+, Mark Poole, introduced me to Rizzoma, a collaborative editing platform based on code from the discontinued Google Wave. This gave me lots of space to "play" with writing extremely long lengths of text-and-content, and Mark was able to find worthwhile bits in all of that, as well as produce his own.

Between that and my interactions on G+, I think I improved the coherence of my writing, and I also built up confidence that some of what I was putting together was worth sharing. I started posting more long replies on School Survival as 2013 played out, and as in other places, that generated a mix of responses from people.

During the summer of 2013, I started making a few layouts again, but I used a new platform, Prezi, instead of Illustrator. This allowed me to actually embed videos, and I had more material to work with, including the various conversations I was having on G+ and elsewhere. (Here's one example of a large Prezi I started putting together, attempting to map out various bits of content, concepts, and conversations.)

But, just like with long text-and-content posts, or even worse, the layouts tend to overwhelm people. But, the way I see it, most of my experience with school and trying to learn has involved a lot of time when I didn't have much new, substantial learning going on. And all of these efforts, from writing random lists of words that come to mind, to producing complex layouts, to writing large lengths of text, are partly motivated by a desire to build better learning environments, that are more signal and less noise.

A key part if this, though, is that for most of my life, I found it hard to have the creative spark to do any of this, except at rare moments.

(12-29-2013 08:05 AM)vonunov Wrote:  I don't have much to say about this, and I think the reason is that I'm in the opposite position to that described in the video. I don't have anything that pulls me out of bed in the morning, at least until I would feel worse for staying in bed any longer. I want that, though. I want something that makes me lose sleep, stop talking to people, forget to eat, and jeopardize my career (and I don't mean meth). It would even be nice if it were worth it, but honestly, I just want that hunger again. I have just landed a job, though, so I might soon find myself without so much time to feel aimless.

Yeah, I can relate. At many points in my life, I've wanted that hunger, motivation, and flow, but haven't had it. Sometimes video games have provided something like it, but my interest has always faded out, and it's not the same as creating or just doing something out in the world.

All that is a long story, but basically, in 2010-2011, I got caught up in a complex programming project and related startup company (just two people) building a student information system for a charter school. As that all fall apart in 2011, and I was starting to find so many more people talking about what's wrong with factory-model schools, I had long periods of free time, major life problems and uncertainty, and a sense of focus and inspiration to do something very "out of the box" in terms of what next in my life.

And, I knew I needed to both develop my mind further, and meet a broader range of people, and figure out ways to do both, with only a rough sense of how.

(12-29-2013 08:05 AM)vonunov Wrote:  I keep a journal, and I try to go off on tangents about things so as to get the mental mechanics going, but I tend to do it before bed, when I'm already super tired and don't really want to deal with it, so it doesn't go as far as it probably should. I'll try doing it in the morning instead and see how that changes things. I've been playing with that Vipassana meditation recently, though I tend to get distracted with little things and forget to do it regularly. It is refreshing and an interesting way to see how the metacognition goes, though.

Those are all interesting steps. In 2011, I started recording video journals, and I found that to be an interesting twist on traditional journaling. I let myself go off on tangents, talked about my decision conflicts and ideas about what to do next, summed up what I'd been doing, and all that. I'd say that's been a good learning process, including watching the videos and learning from that. But, text has its own value as well, as does image-based things like layouts.

I'm interested in mediation, and mention it a lot based on research and reports of its effectiveness, but I haven't done much actual meditation myself. I do a lot of metacognitive reflection, but that's a bit different.

I watched a good portion of the CreativeLive workshop, Meditation for Everyday Life when it was live-streamed for free, and I found that to be an interesting introduction to what meditation is about (now, you have to pay for most of the content.)

Anyway, there's a bunch more text. There's so much more to say on all these topics, but, does that answer your question?

And, any more questions?

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(This post was last modified: 12-30-2013 04:42 PM by xcriteria.)
12-30-2013 04:39 PM
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vonunov Offline
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RE: Writing and Creativity Psych Shop

Quote:It doesn't look like it has substance, but the substance to me was mostly in the process of following the creative impulse and trying to write something, even if incoherent... in search of something substantive.

Yeah, maybe that's an important distinction to make. If it has no substance at the moment, maybe that's okay as long as it has some direction.

That Prezi you linked to is a bit overwhelming, at least in that a hierarchy isn't quite apparent at a glance, and it doesn't seem easy to see quite how everything relates. I could be letting the interface issues get in the way, though. Anyway, I can see how this medium could be useful. Maybe not in Flash though.

Do you find much time to review your video journals? I've thought of doing audio journals, which could cause problems if I don't feel isolated enough not to be self-conscious, for one. But, that aside, it doesn't seem like it's as easy to scan as a written journal. I look at my old entries sometimes, but only because it's easy to flip through the pages and glance around for the topic I'm looking for. If I typed them, I could grep. Audio and video seem tougher in this aspect. Metadata might be useful but you'd have to remember to write it at the time.

Can you say more about the metacognitive reflection and how it contrasts with meditation?

Quote:mediation

Meditation, mediation, om, ombudsman. Conspiracy? You decide.
12-31-2013 05:48 AM
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xcriteria Offline
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RE: Writing and Creativity Psych Shop

(12-31-2013 05:48 AM)vonunov Wrote:  
Quote:It doesn't look like it has substance, but the substance to me was mostly in the process of following the creative impulse and trying to write something, even if incoherent... in search of something substantive.

Yeah, maybe that's an important distinction to make. If it has no substance at the moment, maybe that's okay as long as it has some direction.

Right, and some intention. Sometimes even insane ramblings have seeds of something worth exploring further.

(12-31-2013 05:48 AM)vonunov Wrote:  That Prezi you linked to is a bit overwhelming, at least in that a hierarchy isn't quite apparent at a glance, and it doesn't seem easy to see quite how everything relates. I could be letting the interface issues get in the way, though. Anyway, I can see how this medium could be useful. Maybe not in Flash though.

I think it makes more sense if you're familiar (like I am) with a bunch of the references. But I'm sure there's a better way to introduce the references in the first place.

One person I know suggested building these layouts in physical space, as in, an art installation. I'm not sure about that. But part of the goal is, build better maps to content, than say, a college syllabus or degree program.

My goal is really to figure out better ways to present large amounts of information in navigable formats, though, so any suggestions are welcome. I just feel like so many presentations of information, like classes, often have too many noise and not enough signal, and there must be a way to do it all better than waiting to be spoon-fed, or looking through a set of bookshelves with hundreds and thousands of books... whether paralyzed on how to proceed, or diving in and only being able to read so many words per minute.

(12-31-2013 05:48 AM)vonunov Wrote:  Do you find much time to review your video journals? I've thought of doing audio journals, which could cause problems if I don't feel isolated enough not to be self-conscious, for one. But, that aside, it doesn't seem like it's as easy to scan as a written journal. I look at my old entries sometimes, but only because it's easy to flip through the pages and glance around for the topic I'm looking for. If I typed them, I could grep. Audio and video seem tougher in this aspect. Metadata might be useful but you'd have to remember to write it at the time.

I've spent some time reviewing them, both soon after recording, and long after the fact. But, yes, it's time consuming to re-listen to them. One advantage of video over audio is that it's easier to scroll through footage, and get a sense of things with video. At least with my videos, I've recorded them in different places, during different times of day, with different expressions, and all of the visuals provide clues. Sometimes I've somewhat randomly looked through past videos. Sometimes I've transcribed them.

But, whether video, audio, text, or visuals... and whether done privately or shared on forums or other recorded chats, it's time-consuming to dig back through it all.

This is the challenge of the documentarian, often looking through hundreds of hours of footage with the goal of making a 1-2 hour film. The key question is, what's the story here?

(12-31-2013 05:48 AM)vonunov Wrote:  Can you say more about the metacognitive reflection and how it contrasts with meditation?

That's a very good question. I'll think about it and come back to it. Honestly, I'm still trying to figure out meditation, while I feel more comfortable with metacognitive reflection.

(12-31-2013 05:48 AM)vonunov Wrote:  
Quote:mediation

Meditation, mediation, om, ombudsman. Conspiracy? You decide.

Hah, typo, or "Freudian Slip?"

But, that's the kind of word association stream I've sometimes done when listing or diagramming words or phrases.

Playing with words, word association, and concepts can be a useful creative game. Then comes the reflection stage of making sense of them.

On that note, I wonder how I could better present visual arrangements (or sequences of text-and-links) that make more sense to people. If you have any thoughts on that, feel free to make suggestions.

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12-31-2013 12:31 PM
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Writing and Creativity Psych Shop

This honestly sounded like a good concept.

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