Friday, December 26, 2014

Why, brain... why?

Yes, it's technically Boxing Day (1:32am local time), and y'know what I've been up to for the past several hours?

Google searches.

Yup. This 'thing' which doesn't even have a title.

What am I researching online?

Well, the Rig Veda for one. Yes, I am reading the Rig Veda, and I may read some of the other sacred Hindu texts as well... I've also got a window open with a spoken sanskrit dictionary, something called 'pranava meditation teachings', and 52 different Wiki tabs/pages open.

A few of those Wiki pages/tabs include: Sarama, Helskor, Hermes, Cerberus, Socotra, and every fairytale I can remember/think of involving magic shoes... from Cinderella, Puss in Boots, The Red Shoes, Twelve Dancing Princesses, The Wizard of Oz, The Magic Shoes, even the glowing-hot iron shoes the evil queen from Snow White is making my list... and those are only the fast/basic ones I can recall and can easily search for by name. I know there are a pile of non-western tales, I just haven't gotten that far yet. I've also found a few academic papers, like this one, which should be an interesting read.

If anyone has any other stories in solving magic shoes, I would really appreciate it if you could email me or mention them in the comments. My brain is a little full of... hymns right now... it's more than a little fun re-reading all the ones about Vac that I haven't read since university.

I've also been browsing everything from this to this to this... (that last link I'm kindof in love with) and beyond...

I'm not sure how other writers research, and I think it probably differs, not only for the writer, but for the type of story being written... as an example, I think research for historical fiction would be way harder than an ordinary contemporary story... wow, okay, I got lost on my way to the point..., backtracking swiftly from that tangent, I'm not sure how other writers research, but I do a lot of reading without really taking down many notes. I try to immerse myself in as wide a range of information as possible, and somewhere in the midst of drowning in that flood of data, things just start suddenly clicking together.

That's how I wrote every paper in university... and (apparently) how I research story ideas.

And that's the mode I'm in right now. Skim reading like crazy.

I admit it feels more than a little blasphemous... mixing so much religion/mythology/etc into a giant vat and reimagining it into something new... but I suppose, after reading and learning about so many belief systems over many years, that is how they generally spread... by amalgamating, devouring, or destroying other belief systems. And don't even get me started on hermeneutical horizons... philosophy at 1:30am is probably only surpassed in 'bad ideas' by calling someone on the phone that you're mad at and trying to have a conversation.

Okay, I think I have actually tired out my brain enough to fall asleep. It's been a tough few weeks.

G'night, all.


  1. Hah, yeah. I tend to open and read a crapload of tabs in research mode. And generally to stumble across a lot that kind of fits, though most of it is never saved and just goes somewhere in my head to congeal together; generally all my 'saved' links are hard reference bits, if I'm using a real place.

    If you haven't read it yet, the uses of enchantment is a nicely surreal read. If only for the explanation about girls and horses, which I found saved on my computer...

    For example, by controlling this powerful animal she can come to feel that she is controlling the male, or sexually animalistic, within herself. Imagine what it would do to a girl's enjoyment of riding, to her self-respect, if she were made conscious of the desire which she is acting out in riding. She would be devastated--robbed--robbed of a harmless and enjoyable sublimation and reduced in her own eyes to a bad person. At the same time, she would be hard-pressed to find an equally suitable outlet for such inner pressures, and therefore might not be able to master them.

    1. Also, here's an essay about Bettelheim that mentions slippers and such near the end :)

  2. Interesting, thank you, Alcar! Ooooh, Freud! Of COURSE young girls riding horses are going to be all about daddy issues!

    Psychologists are interesting, but I never have been able to take Freud seriously after reading his studies/theories on eel reproduction.

    Haha, from all the years of writing university papers, I'm pretty hard-core about bookmarking stuff in folders to reference/re-read later ;)

    Also, I think I'm having to bookmark more stuff because I'm trying to keep too many stories inside my head at the same time. If I was just working on one, it would be a heck of a lot easier :)

    It certainly is fun to realize that something in the chaotic mess of your head actually fits together/make sense...

    1. What were his theories? (A quick poke at the net says that he was looking for male gonads, so I assume he figured electric == they were all male or something.) I tend to give a lot of latitude on that stuff since some theories get really, really odd. Not helped by the fact that nature is insanely odd at times anyway :)

      Thinking about Bettelheim did make me think someone should do a meta study at some point on how children raised by psychologists (or even just by child psychologists) turn out.

    2. I can't remember off-hand his exact theory, but I do very much remember that he left the biology world in shame and went into psychoanalysis after that to build a name for himself.

      Essentially, it's his poor reaction to failure that I remember. That since he couldn't make a name for himself in biology by solving one of the biggest puzzles of the day, he quit the field entirely.

      Sounds like you have an idea for your next book ;)

  3. Loved this! The joys of research... And the many, many, infinitely timesucking, pitfalls :D I agree with skimming and little note-taking; it's about immersing your brain in the subject, and the way it will coalesce later is, in part (in large part?), what will shape your story. I take notes only when bits of research spark bits of fiction: dialogue, scenes, cool conflict, whatever. And WOW with your research topic(s)! Will be looking forward to reading :)

    1. Haha, unfortunately this method also seems to propagate info-dumps in my first drafts.

  4. Hmm, can't tell if my comment was deleted or queued...

    I can't think of any Eastern legends involving shoes off the top of my head, but foot binding practices come to mind?

    There's a Ojibwe legend about lady slipper flowers, I believe

    and something about Dutch wooden shoes being made by an elf or fairy or something?

    7 League boots! They let you step 7 leagues or a mile or whatever in one step. That is a story I've heard a few iterations of!

    1. Ohh! Ojibwe legends, AWESOME! (and lady slipper flowers are from the orchid family, so that makes me even more excited to check that out!)


Type me out a line of Shakespeare or a line of nonsense. Dumb-blonde-jokes & Irish jokes will make me laugh myself silly :)