Writing is a creative process, but a very long, drawn out one to tackle. The results sometimes takes, months or years to come to fruition. How do we get there? What process to you go through to stroke your muse? Here are 12 famous authors and what they do! Enjoy.
I love this time of year. Leaves begin to change, there’s a bit less humidity here in the South, pumpkins are everywhere and the smell of yummy baking permeates my house! There just might be a few things you didn’t know about this time of year. Care to find out?
- Autumn has been called the “hectic beauty of death”.
- The term “equinox” if from Latin meaning “equal night”. This is because on day it officially becomes fall, there are 12 hours of sun and 12 hours of night.
- Scientific research has shown that during cooler months men are more likely to snuggle with their loves to watch romantic comedies than any other time of the year. Apparently, feeling chilly triggers the desire to be warm with others.
- Levels of testosterone in men and women are higher in the fall. This could be a throwback to ancient mating rituals?
- Autumn babies- those born between September and November- are more likely to live to be 100 than those born any other time of the year. Yay me!
- Males are sexually primed by food which made harvest time and ideal time to find a mate and reproduce. A mix of pumpkin pie and donuts increase penile flow by 20%. Pumpkin pie and lavender increase it by 40%. What I want to know is how in the world do they study this?!?!?!
- People who live on or near the equator never experience fall.
- Americans typically use the term “fall” while the British use “autumn”. Both terms showed up in the 16th century, but before that, it was called “harvest”.
- Facebook also notes changes during this time. It seems more people change their status to “in a relationship” or “engaged” during this time. Summer shows a big spike in the “single” status because breakups are way more common then.
- The good news? 143 countries have signed agreements to ban the use of weapons with anthrax spores. The bad news? There’s around 196 countries in the world- depending on events.
- The word anthrax comes from the Greek word anthrakos which means coal.
- Death in humans and animals caused by anthrax is still not fully understood. Why? Because it happens so quickly and without warning.
- Thousands of anthrax spores are necessary for human infection. Don’t get too comfortable. Those thousands can fit on a pinhead.
- It was first used as a weapon in WW I.
- You don’t want to handle products from infected animals, breathe in anthrax spores or eat under-cooked meat from infected animals. You won’t like the possible results.
- Anthrax can be found globally. It is more common in developing countries and those that don’t have a nation-wide animal health program.
- Anthrax is a serious disease caused by a bacteria called Bacillus Anthracis. It can be found naturally.
- Inhaled anthrax is the most difficult to treat and can be fatal.
- Bacterial spores like Bacillus Anthracis can withstand boiling water, liquid nitrogen, and brief exposure to bleach and other cleansers.
- They are very sturdy and withstand the tests of time too! Spores have been found in Egyptian tombs and in the intestines of frozen woolly mammoths!!! Holy crap!
- Louis Pasteur invented the anthrax vaccine in 1881, but it wasn’t FDA approved until 1970.
Movies, books and campfire tales about vampires have scared the living daylights out of many of us. I, for one, was kept up late into the night by my older brother who told me stories about the moonbeam shining on my closet being a homing beacon for the vampires to find me. I slept under the magic covers with lights on for many years after that!
– The first use of the word “vampire” in English wasn’t until 1734, when it was mentioned in a book called Travels of Three English Gentlemen.
– Some believed that vampires suffer from arithmomania, a compunction to count things. If you threw out a handful of seeds, they’d be compelled to stop and count them, giving you plenty of time to run away. (So Sesame Street’s Count is based on historical fact…..)
– In 1973, a Polish man choked to death on garlic he had stuffed in his mouth. The police found his body surrounded by bags of salt and even the keyholes were stuffed with garlic! Wow.
– According to legend, vampires have no reflection in a mirror. Do you know why? It was believed that a mirror cast back the image of the body and soul so if you have no soul (as the un-dead) then you can’t have a reflection. Also mirrors used to be made with silver and everyone knows that’s pretty toxic to anything not quite alive!
– Being bitten on the neck is NOT the only way of becoming a vampire! Some believed a baby could be born one if the right curse was cast while invitro. Other ways include, but are not limited to, eating lamb that was slaughtered by a wolf, being a Satanist or witch, committing suicide, or by letting a cat or dog walk above someone who just died.
– Prince Charles might just be related to the historical figure known as Vlad The Impaler.
– A group of diseases known as “Porphyria” is very rare but can cause vampire- like symptoms. It has been associated with vampires in the past and causes sufferers to have a severe sensitivity to sunlight. It also causes hallucinations, paranoia, madness and other awful symptoms. Too bad it’s all of the vampires weaknesses but none of its strengths.
– This isn’t exactly a fact, but it was WAY too good to not share with you!!
– A group of vampires has been called a clutch, brood, coven, pack, or a clan.
– The most famous vampire of all time, Count Dracula, quoted the Bible. Deuteronomy 12:23- The blood is life.
Are you a sociopath? You just might be one. The statistics show that one in every 25 people is a true blue sociopath. If your office has 50 people, you work with two of them. Does that mean you are in mortal danger? Of course not.
Let’s get educated and look at the mind:
– Sociopaths can and do maintain eye contact. If fact, they are so good at it, the term is ‘a predator’s stare’. Other people might think it’s a mark of arrogance or conceit when the person is probably unaware that they’re doing it or how it may unnerve others.
– Sociopaths are psychopaths. The term sociopath was coined because of the absolute negative reaction to the word psychopath. Modern psychology has further differentiated them, but they share many traits. They have an antisocial personality disorder and have a “pervasive pattern of disregard for and violation of the rights of others.” Many show overconfidence, lack of remorse, high manipulation skills and no desire to conform to social norms unless it benefits them.
– Here’s a biggie! Not all sociopaths are criminals! Studies have shown that less than 20% of inmates are sociopaths, but they also conclude that 50% of all truly serious crimes are committed by sociopaths. Hmmm, does that mean they are simply smarter than the average criminal?
– If you met one, you’d probably like them. They are knowledgeable about social behavior and smart enough to use it to their advantage. It is a learned behavior for them, not instinctual, but effective nonetheless.
– They do prey on people’s weaknesses. Many things they do are benign like stealing a diary to read it so they better know how to manipulate that person through their weaknesses. Most times they don’t need to resort to that type of behavior because they have a heightened awareness to people’s flaws. ‘Predator six sense’
– Sexual preferences are often gender neutral. Many consider themselves asexual and it’s not the physical attraction that draws them, it’s more a component of the personality that intrigues them. That being said, sociopaths are capable of love and many have long lasting relationships with children. It is a different kind of love but meaningful to them.
– They are usually very successful in their field. They like being top dog. This plays into their survival of the fittest mentality and their willingness to exploit others for their own gain.
– Their actions and relationships are viewed with a benefits eye. What will they get out of it? How will it further their position, social standing etc.
– Because they can change to fit whatever environment they are in, they tend to have very little “sense of self”. They practice this skill all the time, much as a large predator practices camouflage while stalking their prey. Hmmm, there seems to be a common word running through this post.
– So how do you know if you’re a sociopath? M.E. Thomas, an author and diagnosed sociopath, compiled this list-
- You have a lot of friends, admirers and lovers
- You are extremely self-confident
- You are charming
- You use your charm and confidence to manipulate others
- You are morally ambivalent
- You believe in survival of the fittest
- You are great at making decisions on the fly and being spontaneous
- You get restless easily
- You are a daredevil
- You are successful
- You are easily distracted
- You have a predatory spirit
- You are highly intelligent
– If you checked off a bunch of these attributes, don’t run to the nearest doctor for a diagnosis. Go on with your life and don’t worry about it. There is NO cure for this disorder and if you’re happy then forget about it.
– While this is a common disorder and most live “normal” lives, just know they will destroy you if it’s to their advantage.
Since politicians are beginning to throw their hat into the ring for the next election, I thought you might enjoy some facts about past presidents. There’s a couple of doozies!
– George Washington refused his salary while President for awhile, but eventually agreed to take it. He made $25,000 per year. That was a ton of money back then!
– John Adams and Thomas Jefferson were friends, but were very competitive with each other. The story goes that John Adams’ last words were “Thomas Jefferson survives”. What he didn’t know was that Thomas Jefferson died earlier on the same day! (Independence Day 1826)
– Speaking of Thomas Jefferson, he believed that you could prevent coming down with ‘catarrhs’ by soaking your feet in a bucket of cold water. This sickness is also known as the common cold.
– Many of our presidents are fairly tall and rather statuesque. Not so for for James Madison, who only stood 5’4″. He is the shortest president on record.
– To honor James Monroe, a city in Africa took his name. Monrovia is the capital of Liberia.
– SCANDAL ALERT! John Quincy Adams had a fondness for skinny dipping. In the Potomac. In the mornings. (I feel the vapors coming on.)
– Andrew Jackson had a sense of humor. He taught his parrot to cuss and a popular story has said parrot cussing at Jackson’s funeral!
– Who was the first full American president? Martin Van Buren- all the presidents before him were born as British subjects.
– I knew I liked this guy. Abraham Lincoln was a licensed bartender. He was part owner of a saloon in Illinois called Berry and Lincoln.
– Andrew Johnson was a trained tailor. He even made his own suits while in the White House.
– This ranks under the heading- You’ve got to be kidding me! Ulysses S. Grant was given a speeding ticket while riding his horse in Washington D.C. It was for $20.
– William Taft got stuck in his bathtub! He had to call staffers to come help him get out. (I would have died of embarrassment!)
– William Harding had a fondness for gambling. So much so, he lost an expensive set of White House china in a poker game. Hmmmmmmmm
– John F. Kennedy’s own father wrote in a college application to Harvard that his son was careless and lacked application. He still got in.
I’m not sure I would classify these facts as “fun”, but they were interesting to learn. Since I grew up overseas, I had a limited knowledge of this group. My research for this blog post has led me to some interesting places with even more interesting people. Unfortunately, this is not just a historical lesson because the KKK is still alive and well in 41 states and has between 5-8000 members. They call themselves the “Invisible Empire” and are still intolerant of many things. Articles I read state that some of the groups shy away from cross burnings and violence these days, but that element is still evident in many of the chapters. Sigh.
While it’s not a happy topic, it may be a great topic to add to a book. These facts could apply to historicals as well as contemporary novels.
– Dan Burros who was a member of both the American Nazi Party and the KKK committed suicide after he learned his Jewish background was made public. A New York Times article lambasted him as a hypocrite since his heritage was not pure and he spouted such hate. The dilemma then was whether to classify it as suicide or a hate crime.
– Timing is everything. In 1957, a college in Alabama had recently integrated and was in the middle of finals week. The KKK set up a cross burning on campus but didn’t take into account all the students would be in the dorms studying. The kids took up bats, golf clubs and whatever else they had on hand as a makeshift weapon and forced the KKK to retreat!
– The KKK hates Westboro Baptist Church. What?? Don’t they have similar hate points? Why yes they do, except for how they feel about the military. On Memorial Day 2011, members of the Westboro church showed up at a military funeral spouting “Thank God for Dead Soldiers” and members of the KKK showed up handing out American flags. Westboro denounced them for having no moral authority because they were racist and the KKK denounced the church group by saying many soldiers had died for their right to protest. Another big sigh.
– KKK members claim that cross burnings are symbols of their “Christian” faith. How did it get started? Believe it, or not, Sir Walter Scott began the tradition with his poem The Lady of the Lake which refers to an old Scottish tradition of burning a cross to call a meeting of the clans. This was most popular in the South probably because there was such a large number of people of Scotch- Irish descent. Sir Walter Scott’s vivid imagery was especially appealing to the novelist Thomas Dixon, who was an avid supporter of the KKK. He added a cross burning scene in his pro-Klan novel, The Clansman, even though that had never been done. In 1905, the novel was turned into the movie, The Birth of a Nation, and it inspired the founder of the second Klan to kick off the 1915 revival with the first cross burning service in KKK history.
– Unity barbecues and some casual gatherings are called Klonvocations.
– Literary figures played into creating a part of the Klan’s history with cross burnings, it also had a hand in humiliating it. Superman often fought villains such as Lex Luther, Brainiac and Doomsday. Did you know he also fought the KKK in a serial called Clan of the Fiery Cross? Instead of the typical bad guys as the enemy of the Man of Steel, this time he battled racism in 1946. The real-life man behind the story infiltrated the KKK and tried to take all he learned to the cops. Either they were too afraid or were a part of the KKK, but nothing was done with his information. So he took it to the producers of the radio show. When the facts of this particular group kept getting played on national radio, the group switched codes etc., but to no avail. They never did figure out how the show knew their secrets!
– We cherish our rights here in America, but those rights extend to people we disagree with as well. The KKK applied, in 1994, to adopt a section of highway in Missouri. The state didn’t want the KKK’s sign on their highways so they turned them down. The KKK sued and won. After the large sign announcing the KKK adopted that stretch of highway went up, the state congress renamed that highway as “Rosa Parks Highway” after the famous civil rights activist. The KKK eventually lost interest in keeping that stretch of road clean and stopped picking up the trash. This allowed the state to take down the sign.
Have you ever heard of Willard Asylum? Believe it or not, this place was a major improvement for the mentally ill. Take a look at some of the facts:
– The average stay was…30 years.
– 400 suitcases were found in the attic after it shut down. They dated from 1910 to 1960 and weren’t found until 1995. All were still full of the owners belongings.
– When patients died, they were buried. No names were on the tombstones- only numbers.
– The only one with names are those that participated in the Civil War and were furnished by the government.
– There are almost 6,000 people buried there.
– The New York Office of Mental Health has classified the cemetery records as medical records and have sealed them.
– Willard opened in the 1800s.
– It was a 900 bed boot camp or shock camp…the only problem was that it lasted for up to 30 years for many of the patients.
– When it opened, it was not uncommon to keep people deemed insane naked, in chains and locked up 24/7. Willard did try to be different by giving them some freedom and jobs to have a sense of purpose.
– One of the doctors who treated patients there, became a patient!
– Even though this institution tried to improve the conditions of the mental patients, there was much to be desired. Many records remain closed.