www.nanowrimo.org National Novel Writing Month. I’m doing this next month – a 50,000 word novel in 30 days. That breaks down roughly to 2000 words a day. Roughly four pages to type on the screen every day.
And I think I can do it. I wrote most every day in Europe, and that was on tough of traveling around, walking miles and miles around cities, etc. Of course, I do have a job now, but I donâ��t think that will stop me. I’ve been getting home around 5:00 – 5:30 depending on how much time I waste at night browsing the internet and listening to music.
If I get home and go for a nice bike ride loop, I’m pumped.
The interesting thing about this contest is that hundreds, even thousands of people do it. And you can’t start writing the novel till November 1st. I even downloaded a cool spreadsheet that has blocks to fill in for your writing stats. It will calculate how much left, how long it will take at your current rate of writing, and “trends” in the volume output.
I have a feeling I’m going to end up with something completely off the wall, disconnected, inane and confusing. But it will be fun to be a writing fiend for a month.
I recently read some interesting neuroscience lectures here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/reith2003/lectures.shtml
Of course they’ve been linked on lots of the big blog portals (boingboing, plastic, kuro5hin, etc).A lot of the stuff is covered in basic psychology class, reasons why optical illusions occur, basic section of the brain.I thought the neat stuff was about the connotations of new research.
–Free will being an Illusion. In one experiment, the Doctor measured the brain readout of a patient told to move his finger. There are two areas of the brain responsible – the motor cortex and the premotor cortex. The premotor gives off signals nearly a second before the motor cortex, which actually controls the finger. Yet you feel as if you are controlling your finger exactly when you want it. Movements are not delayed by a second. Hence the â��illusionâ�� of free will, or at least conscious control of the body.
An interesting note on this – when I was taking shrooms in Amsterdam, it was if this delay did exist. It felt as though I was operating my fingers via remote control. So I can personally vouch for this observation
–Constants in Art and Aesthetics. This was a very intriguing topic. Is beauty completely arbitrary? Or are there things hardcoded into the brain that make certain visuals appealing? Apparently, there are a few axioms which the brain uses to “group” visuals and give them meaning.
The lecture goes on to explain how artists might have their brains wired differently. There is a certain chunk of gray matter devoted to making abstract connections between completely different areas. Such as linking words with pictures, colors, sounds.
The “nexus” of the abstract brain, if you will. Research has shown how this nexus can get altered through brain damage or genetics, and some really weird results can pop up. For instance, seeing a color whenever a number is displayed. Some people always see the color red when they see a 5. This leads to another phenomenon:
–Synthesesia – A condition in which one type of stimulation evokes the sensation of another, as when the hearing of a sound produces the visualization of a color. The interesting thing is this is very common during hallucinogenic drug use. On acid, hearing colors, seeing music, etc can happen. And while it might just seem like a strange flavor of a drug use, the lecture hints that perhaps this reveals the deep inner workings of the brain.
Anyway, they were interesting lectures, I recommend them for everyone.
Finally, Neal Stephenson has an interview on Slashdot that kicks assWhen I was in Europe I read two Stephenson novels that blew me away: Cryptonomicon and Zodiac. I think the best way to describe his style is “belligerent roller coaster culture clashes.” Stephenson is by trade a science fiction writer, but he tackles culture first and foremost, with technology, engineering and science as his “tools”. In a way, I think Stephenson has a pessimistic view of the human species – full of violence and manipulated by outside influences. A lot of the stuff I struggled with in Europe I wouldnâ��t be surprised wasnâ��t influenced from those novels, along with Conradâ��s Heart of Darkness. And though he comes up with a lot of cool sci-fi shit, characters succeed by their human qualities, not their hardware.
I’ll probably be posting that crazy ass novel in parts next month, or I might just wait for a motherload post of the whole crazy mess December 1st.