Tag Archives: writing

If you are Ginger

 

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Here in the UK, if you have ginger hair, you learn at an early age, to approach strangers gingerly.

Until they’re confronted with a head of glowing copper or titian locks, their faces don’t show whether they are gingerphiles, gingerthropes, or cringing gingerphobes.

Few folk are ginger-indifferent, so some try to knock the gingers down, deflate them, break their self esteem; and they often succeed.

Not many people know that I’m ginger, since the brightness faded away many years ago, leaving only hints of it between the blonde. So you could  accuse me of being a ginger in disguise — although that would be unfair, since I don’t deliberately hide my ginger status.

Do my blonde tresses make me acceptable to the gingerthropes of the world, or would they consider me subversive for hiding my true colours? Should I dye my hair to reveal the truth about myself, even though by doing so I would be lying about the current condition of my hair?

And why should anyone care, anyway?

Gingerphile – my word for someone who loves ginger hair.
Gingerthrope – my word for someone who hates ginger hair.
Gingerphobe – my word for someone who is afraid of ginger hair.

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©Jane Paterson Basil

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Dem Bones

Although we have a few days left before the ghosts come out to play, in the spirit of All Hallows Eve, I’d like to present a short Disney animation from 1929, the year after Walt Disney created the immortal Mickey Mouse. By the time I first saw this surreal film, it must have been around for about thirty-five years, but it didn’t seem dated, since our TVs were still in black and white. Even now – almost ninety years after it was made – it still holds its appeal for me.

©Jane Paterson Basil

My First Thought

Joan Baez. That’s the first thought that comes to mind when I see or hear the word Overcome.

I could write a poem, or confess to the way I’ve been feeling lately, but the thought of Joan Baez makes anything I write about myself insignificant. She didn’t write the song, We Shall Overcome, and she wasn’t the only one to sing it – it’s been recorded many times, by many artists, and millions of people in audiences have added their voices, but she sang it for the crowd gathered on the Mall during the Civil Rights March on Washington, D.C., on August 29th, 1963, and she was still singing it in 2010, notably to Barack Obama, at the White House. After 45 years and countless repeats, this incredible woman still sang it with conviction.

I couldn’t choose between a 1965 recording and the White House one, so I give you both of them. When I listen to the first one, her voice makes me feel as if I’m going to melt, while the second one gives me goosebumps and brings tears to my eyes every time.

©Jane Paterson Basil

That Shrinking Feeling

Fly-ride

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“Mum!”

She told me it would be dangerous to use my power lightly, but when I saw the insect just standing there in the park, I couldn’t resist shrinking so I could take a ride on the back of the fly. It was exciting, like the best fairground ride, but without the predictability. It was fun watching mum wondering where I was, and getting scared.

“Mum!”

She can’t hear me. My vocal chords are too small, and although she’s frantically looking for me, I’m too tiny to see.

I wish I’d listened when she said I was not experienced enough to reverse the effect without her help.

“Mum! MUM!”

Mum, please come and set me free, before the spider reaches me.

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Written for Michelle’s Photo Challenge #101. Click the link to join in.

©Jane Paterson Basil

Colour me

colouring

Today, I’ve been wasting time looking for answers to questions that don’t matter much to me. I found an oojamaflip called colorquiz. on the interwhatsit.

In the site’s own words, “ColorQuiz is a free five minute personality test based on decades of research by color psychologists around the world. There are no complicated questions to answer, you simply choose colors with a click of the mouse!”

Apparently, this test is based on the work of Dr. Max Lûscher and is used worldwide, most notably in Europe, by psychologists, doctors, government agencies, and universities to screen their candidates. Since the 1950’s the test has been given to hundreds of thousands of people.

How could I resist?

My results describe a combination of the way I used to be and the way I’ve been since certain events in my life sent me crashing to my knees.

Thank you for asking; yes, my knees have recovered, although I still get the occasional twinges in other parts of my body.

Without further ado, here’s the analysis…

Oh – first I should tell you a couple of things:

1. They’re wrong about my sexual activity; these days I carefully avoid that messy occupation, and all involvements which may lead up to it. 

(Ha! My results touch on that point in the section titled “Your Stress Sources”) 

2. I have no idea why the analyser repeats that section. Maybe it’s trying to lead me astray by awakening my curiosity concerning sexual activity. 

(No chance, pal)

Here’s the analysis. I copied and pasted it, and therefore take no responsibility for any small errors.

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Your Existing Situation

“Craves change and new things, always looking for new adventures and activities. Becomes restless and frustrated when she has to wait to long for things to develop. her impatience leads to irritability and a desire to move on to the next project.”

Your Stress Sources

“Not a team player and is unwilling to be involved in most activities. In the past she was over involved and now emotionally drained. Due to her fear of over involvement, she now chooses to remain uninvolved with the activities around her. “

Your Restrained Characteristics

“Although she feels isolated and alone, she is afraid of forming deep, meaningful relationships. Is conceited and is easily offended.”

Current events have her feeling forced to make bargains and put aside her own desires for now. She is able to find satisfaction and happiness through sexual activity.

Current events have her feeling forced to make bargains and put aside her own desires for now. She is able to find satisfaction and happiness through sexual activity.

Your Desired Objective

“Highly optimistic and outgoing personality. Loves to learn new and exciting things, and craves new interests. Looking for a well-rounded life full of success and new experiences. Does not allow herself to be overcome with negative thoughts or self-doubt. Takes life head on, with enthusiasm. “

Your Actual Problem

Is afraid she will be held back from obtaining the things she wants leading her to act out with a hectic intensity.

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I’d like to run through a couple of details with which I have issues:

1. “Not a team player and is unwilling to be involved in most activities.”
If they’re going to take that attitude I can do without their help, thank you very much. I’m perfectly capable of figuring out my personality all on my own. When I finish writing this post, I’m off for my weekly game of one player, one sided hockey, and I bet I’ll win. I always do.

2. “Is conceited and is easily offended.”

Conceited? How dare they suggest such a thing. While I know I’m the most intelligent, compassionate, brave, beautiful, intuitive and considerate person on the planet, I’m also humble, and grateful to my incredible brain and my delectable body for providing me with all of these qualities. I think the analyser is jealous of me. What’s more, I’m not easily offended.

This is my honest appraisal of the analysis:

There are a couple of glaring innaccuracies. There’s the bit about sexual activity – which I’ve always tended to  find intrusive and disempowering, and this:

“Does not allow herself to be overcome with negative thoughts or self-doubt.”

Wrong! I wrote the book on self-doubt – but I didn’t have the confidence to approach a publisher.

Other than that, I can relate to the results, which suggest – quite rightly – that I’m a solitary sort.

I’m itching to try the test again, just to make sure it gives the same results – I can remember the exact order in which I selected the colours in both parts of the test.

I wonder if the compilers were/are sexist, and whether the results would be the same if I ticked the man box.

Heh heh heh…

I’m an analyser’s nightmare, and proud of it.

If you want to try the test yourself, here’s the link to colorquiz. I’d love to know how it goes.

©Jane Paterson Basil

And finally

OK, so I know I should leave it alone now -and I will – as soon as I’ve posted this.

Some of you will know that yesterday I wrote a post about an app that claims to be able to analyse your writing. This app. is called I Write Like, and I’ve had a hilarious time with it.

Today, inspired by a comment from my friend Pat, over at imissmetoo (you should check out her blog – it’s beautiful, intelligent and often thought provoking), I threw this at the analytical robot which lurks, waiting eagerly to chew up our words and spit out whatever it pleases:

Jane Basil
Jane Basil Jane Basil
Jane Basil Jane Basil Jane Basil
Jane Basil Jane Basil Jane Basil Jane Basil
Jane Basil Jane Basil Jane Basil Jane Basil Jane Basil
Jane Basil Jane Basil Jane Basil Jane Basil Jane Basil Jane Basil
Jane Basil Jane Basil Jane Basil Jane Basil Jane Basil Jane Basil Jane Basil
Jane Basil Jane Basil Jane Basil Jane Basil Jane Basil Jane Basil
Jane Basil Jane Basil Jane Basil Jane Basil Jane Basil
Jane Basil Jane Basil Jane Basil Jane Basil
Jane Basil Jane Basil Jane Basil
Jane Basil Jane Basil
Jane Basil

This is the result I got:

I write like Agatha Christie

Really?

Not being one to skimp on my scientific experiments, I changed my poem slightly, thus:

Jane
Jane Paterson
Jane Paterson Basil
Jane Paterson Basil Paterson
Jane Paterson Basil Jane Paterson Basil Paterson
Jane Paterson Basil Jane Basil Paterson Jane Paterson Basil Paterson
Jane Paterson Basil Jane Paterson Basil Jane Paterson Basil Jane Paterson Basil Paterson
Jane Paterson Basil Jane Paterson Basil Jane Paterson Basil Paterson
Jane Paterson Basil Jane Paterson Basil Paterson
Jane Paterson Basil Paterson
Jane Paterson Basil
Jane Paterson
Jane

Guess what?

I write like Bram Stoker

I rest my case. Forever.

Thank goodness that naughty Robert Mitchum has agreed

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to stay out of this post.

Phwoarr…

©Jane Paterson Basil

 

I Write Like Everyone

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Image of a mandelbrot set

This evening I’ve been messing around with ‘I Write Like’, an amusing tool that I discovered a year or two ago. At the top of the page it says:

Check which famous writer you write like with this statistical analysis tool, which analyzes your word choice and writing style and compares them with those of the famous writers.

So I did. In the box provided by the site, I copied and pasted an angry rap that I’d written, clicked ‘Analyze’, and waited. The result came quickly. It said:

You write like Shakespeare.

william shakespeareWell! I did a little dance, patted myself on the head and waited for Instant Fame.

(Just a side note; he has a nice face, but he’s not exactly Robert Mitchum, the man who made even cigarettes sexy…)

I was in for a long wait, but I like to keep myself busy, so I maintained all those essential tasks that shake the top layer of dust off my body and keep me in tip-top physical condition – you know the jobs I’m talking about; making lists of all the lists I’ve made, checking down the back of the sofa after a guest vacates, in the hope that they’ve dropped some money, designing a shaky cushion for them to sit on the next time they come, doodling pictures of my favourite aardvark in a wedding dress, dropping water bombs on folks below my window, counting the empty milk cartons in my recycling to make sure none have been stolen, practicing my x-ray vision (still a long way to go with that), inventing a recognisable letter to replace the word ‘carapice’ – and not before time.

Oh, yes, I keep myself busy.

After a few months, fame hadn’t even made ot to my front gate, so I thought I’d better check to make sure I still wrote like Shakespeare. I posted another poem – or maybe it was a story. The analyser said:

You write like Stephen King.

So, not quite Shakespeare, but I figured Stephen King had a moderate amount of success for a writer, and I reckoned that any day a host of agents would find my blog and come Robert Mitchumknocking at my door, begging to represent me, offering me loads of money and sexual favours. Robert Mitchum – the only man for me, (although our timing was all wrong) so I’d turn down the sexual favours. I’m only in it for the dosh anyway. I’d probably go for the highest bidder.

I’m still waiting. I assume some kind of technical difficulty is keeping the agents from seeing my blog, but this evening I experienced a hint of uncertainty, and I went back to the analyzer to make sure that I still write like Stephen King.

Apparently I don’t. The next result told me:

You write like Charles Dickens.

I tried another poem and got this:

You write like Arthur Conan Doyle.

The next:

You write like Anne Rice.

I didn’t even know who she was, so I tried again, and again, and… you get the picture; I submitted 41 poems and short pieces.

What?

So, this is research, OK? I resent the suggestion that I’m obsessive. At least once a week for the past eight years I’ve done an online a test to see if I’m obsessive, and every time it tells me I’m not.

And stop trying to change the subject.

My research told me I write like:

Rudyard Kipling, Arthur Clarke, Agatha Christie, Jack London, Mario Puzo, Daniel Defoe, Arthur Conan Doyle, Chuck Palahniuk came up twice, Stephanie Meyer (x2), Vladimir Nobokov (x 4), David Foster Wallace (x 4), Margaret Atwood (x 5), James Joyce (x 5), Anne Rice (x 6),Charles Dickens (x 6).

The more poems I had analysed, the more confused I became. In many cases, I saw little correlation between my work and what I knew of the given authors’ writing.

You may also have noticed that the analyser doesn’t even mentionRobert Mitchum. I think the fact that he wasn’t a writer is a poor excuse, since he was so sexy.

I decided to conduct a few carefully monitored experiments:

1. I deliberately wrote a bad piece about a childhood experience. I included mis-spellings, poor grammar, a proliferation of ands and buts… it was terrible. The analyser told me I wrote like Raymond Chandler. Sorry about that, Ray.

2. I copied and pasted the poem that the site had originally stated was like Shakespeare, but it now says that it is like Stephanie Meyer’s work.

3. I copied one of Shakespeare’s most famous love sonnets (“From fairest creatures we desire increase…”) and discovered that the bard of Avon writes like H.P..Lovecraft.. Well done, Shakey.

4. I copied and pasted one of H.P. Lovecraft’s poems. It turns out that he writes like Mary Shelley.

My conclusions:

1. The analyser has it in for Raymond Chandler.

2. The writing which used to be like Shakespeare’s is now it’s like Stephanie Meyer’s. I haven’t read Twilight, but according to reviews her writing is dreadful. How can this be so? Both Shakey and I are rather good writers.

3. To complicate matters, Shakespeare has now taken to writing like HP Lovecraft, and HP Lovecraft writes like Mary Shelley.

4. Ideally, all of these authors should go back to writing like themselves.

5. My brain was less scrambled when I wrote like Stephen King.

6. In a perfect world, Robert Mitchum would have been born in the 1950s, grown up to be a literary agent, and lived next door to me.

If I take one thing from all this, it’s that I have finally achieved my dream – I choose to wave aside 37 of the analyser’s efforts with my work (not that I’m dissing the writing of those authors), and take heart from the remaining five, thus:

You write like Margaret Atwood.
You write like Margaret Atwood.
You write like Margaret Atwood.
You write like Margaret Atwood.
You write like Margaret Atwood.

Margaret Atwood writes as if she was born with the perfect words inside her, already in the right order. I find numbers beautiful; they ask questions which (although there may be several methods of calculation) can only be answered in one way. They have beautiful symmetry. To me, Margaret Atwood’s novels are like the mathematics that exists within nature; a complex range of words that are arranged perfectly. Not a single letter need be changed. They make a shape as lovely and exact as a mandelbrot set.

N.B. I hope my silly post will raise at least the hint of a giggle here and there, but I ask that you take the last paragraph seriously. It’s the only sincere passage in this piece. Margaret Atwood is a literary giant.

And Robert Mitchum was the sexiest thing on legs. It was a bit sneaky of him to barge into this post – Robert Redford would not have been so rude – but better late than never.

©Jane Paterson Basil