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The Wordsmith's Forge
The Writing & Other Projects of Elizabeth Barrette
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A friend is going through a rough patch, so I put together some resources for what to do when your life blows up in your face.  You can also use these for supporting someone else.

Here are the most basic steps of self-care in the form of question prompts.

Know how to deliver Emotional First Aid for yourself and for others.  Make an EFA kit stocked with things you find soothing. You can even make a portable, pocket-sized EFA kit that fits into an Altoids tin.

Soothe yourself with stress relief activities for the 5 senses.

Explore the categories of coping skills with their pros and cons.  Here is a list of 99 coping skills.

Grounding techniques can relieve anxiety and other unpleasant emotions.

Try some relaxation techniques such as breathing exercises and progressive muscle relaxation.

Many herbs can ease anxiety and promote calm.  Consider aromatherapy or dreampillows if you're not into herbal tea. Note: if you have issues with intrusive memories or a fresh trauma, do NOT use rosemary, which enhances memory.  Save that to study for tests or address lost/fading memories.

Stressful experiences often interfere with sleep.  Take extra care with your sleep.

Acute stress reaction is a normal response to an abnormal event.  Most people will freak out or freeze up for a few days, then gradually recover.  Treatment typically consists of common sense comforts.  The most important point is to listen if someone wants to talk about what happened, but don't pressure  them to do so.

Preventing PTSD is important, but caregivers are just beginning to identify things that help.  First, understand that PTSD is fundamentally a sorting error: the brain can't file traumatic memories properly, so they replay over and over again.  Playing a stacking-and-sorting game such as Tetris can activate the brain's sorting function.  Making a care diary, timeline, or trauma scrapbook can help place memories in context as part of the life story.

Bad stuff happens to everyone sometimes.  You can cope with it.  You can help other people cope with it.  Learn the skills to be a hero.  The world needs more of those.

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ysabetwordsmith
Cute statue.

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 Unicorn cake.  Sort of.

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 ... for different size families, assuming all food is prepared at home.

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Good news includes all the things which make us happy or otherwise feel good. It can be personal or public. We never know when something wonderful will happen, and when it does, most people want to share it with someone. It's disappointing when nobody is there to appreciate it. Happily, blogging allows us to share our joys and pat each other on the back.

What good news have you had recently?

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ysabetwordsmith
 Often it's not about education anymore.  And yet people are still pressured to attend, whether they can afford it or not.

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These are some posts from the later part of last week in case you missed them:
Read "Together We Have It All"
Poetry Analysis
Measuring Trauma
Birdfeeding
Hard Things


Last week's Poetry Fishbowl went well.

Nominations are now open for the 2017 Rose & Bay Awards.  Come nominate your crowdfunding favorites in these categories:
Art
Fiction
Poetry
Webcomic
Other Project
Patron


Poetry in Microfunding:
"Holding Hope and Love" is now complete. Sunny takes Cheersquad to the beach.  "A Hope and a Promise" belongs to Polychrome Heroics.  It has 4 new verses, in which Aidan and Saraphina discover a new toy.  "The Sharpest Dose of Reality" belongs to Polychrome Heroics: Shiv.  Pain's Gray attempts to take care of Shiv and Shiv continues to freak out over the intimacy.  "Become Music Again" is now complete.  Watch Shiv try to figure out how to play a saxophone.  With two of the previous four completed, there is one slot available if someone wishes to open a new epic during the fishbowl on Tuesday.  \o/


The weather has turned colder.  We got a little snow.  This week at the birdfeeder I have seen many sparrows, a small flock of mourning doves, and several cardinals. 

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 The Imperator card is now in crowdfunding for Tarot Apocalyptica by Angela Hunt.

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What you will hear if you click on this link is Mark Hamill, in his best "Joker" voice, reading Donald Trump's New Year's greeting tweet.  Courtesy of my partner Doug.

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ysabetwordsmith
[personal profile] dialecticdreamer is running Magpie Monday today, with a theme of "the limits of villainy."  Are you sick and tired of heroes who act like villains?  Of villains who seem to have no limits whatsoever?  Of stories where all the characters are heinous and unlikable?  Get your alternatives here!

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 [personal profile] aldersprig is writing a new reader-driven webserial, "Marked."

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 [personal profile] dialecticdreamer has posted "Illuminated Gingerblast" in preparation for Magpie Monday.  This session's theme will be "the limits of villainy."

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ysabetwordsmith
This is from the January 3, 2017 Poetry Fishbowl. It was inspired by a prompt from [personal profile] corvi. It also fills the "gods / goddesses" square in my 1-7-17 card for the Dark Fantasy Bingo fest.  This poem has been sponsored by janetmiles.


"Loopholes and Destinies"


The thread of fate is unbreakable,
but it always has loopholes.

Clotho smiles, and pushes her hook
into the burlap backing of her rug.

For every prophecy, there is
some way to avoid it and
get by on a technicality.

For every impenetrable protection,
there is a donut hole it doesn't cover.

For every curse, there is
a means of breaking it.

For every all-knowing program,
there is a glitch in the matrix.

Lachesis winks, and
her silver needle twinkles
as she crochets.

The hero's journey is not
about destiny, self-discovery,
getting the girl, or even
saving the world.

At its heart, the quest is really
about finding the loopholes in fate.

Atropos laughs, and
sharpens her scissors.

* * *

Notes:

The Three Fates are goddesses of life, death, and fortune.

Latchhooking is done by knotting short yarns through a mesh to make a rug. Read instructions or watch a video on it.

Crochet uses a hook to loop yarn into cloth.  This site has all kinds of introductory material. See a video or read a tutorial about this craft.

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ysabetwordsmith
This poem is spillover from the January 3, 2016 Poetry Fishbowl. It was inspired by prompts from [personal profile] janetmiles, [personal profile] mdlbear, and [personal profile] redsixwing. It has been sponsored by [personal profile] janetmiles.


"Heisenbugs"



In the febrile gap between
letters and numbers live
the Heisenbugs.

They bring the déjà vu
of things seen again and again,
a glitch in the matrix; and
the jamais vu of things
never seen before.

They perch on the tip of the tongue
and crunch numbers before
they can be summed,

words before they can be recognized.

They make the misconceptions
and the mistaken readings,
the lexical gaps and overlaps.

When is it fog, and
when is it a cloud?

Oh, wait, the word in the list
was humility, not humidity.

They live in computer programmers,
and thereby get into computers
and programs, far more fatal
than the wing of a moth.

The next thing you know,
December is January and
we're left wondering

how the glitch stole Christmas.

* * *

Notes:

Déjà vu  is an eerie sense of repetition.

Jamais vu  is an eerie sense of unfamiliarity.

Tip of the tongue is a sense of almost knowing something: the query activates the correct memory packet, but it fails to make the transit up to the conscious mind.

The first computer bug was an actual moth.

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 Double-sided blanket.

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I posted "Together We Have It All," which is the giant epic about Turq reuniting with his foster family. DW and LJ are being hinky again.

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This poem came out of the January 3, 2016 Poetry Fishbowl. It was inspired and sponsored by Shirley Barrette. It also fills the "losing" square in my 10-4-16 card for the Games and Sports Bingo fest.

Warning: This poem discusses serious diseases. If that's squicky for you, please consider your tastes and headspace before clicking through.

Read more...Collapse )

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 [personal profile] alexseanchai is calling for poetry recommendations to help with an analysis project.

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While researching for poetry today, I found this amazing page that explains how to measure trauma. It gives a bunch of scales to indicate how much or how long things affected a trauma survivor.  It covers the event, internal experience, and support.  Some factors are static, while others could change over time.  If you don't know why you (or someone else) feel terrible about something, this might help.

EDIT: A later, expanded version is here.

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ysabetwordsmith
It snowed here today.  Also it's much colder.

There are birds everywhere.  :D  Big flock of mourning doves and some sparrows around the fly-through feeder.  Huge flock of sparrows and two male cardinals around the hopper feeder.  Various birds fluttering around the suet cage.  \o/ 

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