Onesie: Toilet Paper Alternative

Perhaps a more relatable occurance for 2020, in the world of post toilet paper. I bought a bidet recently to counteract the scarcity of toilet sheets, and have actually found it to be an incredible investment. While I can confirm that the pressure these devices can wallop is unnecessary, in the end, they are pretty great. And that fact allows for the sincerity of this particular Onsie.

Why Do We Have Pets?

Chances are either you or someone you know has a pet. They’re cuddly, warm, comforting, and even utilitarian. But why do we have them? When was it that a person decided, “you know what? I am going to keep this dog?” Was the decision originally purely utilitarian, or was there more at play in the minds of early mankind?

It might seem likely that the first creatures domesticated by humans would be farm animals. And that isn’t too far off. Goats and sheep are among the earliest creatures to be brought home to the villages of early humanity, with archeological records going back to 11,000 BCE. However, the dog wins when it comes to who came first to the human family. Earliest records of domesticated dogs go back to 14,000 BCE, the jawbone of a dog found in the Middle Eastern region of Iraq. Having dogs as pets could date back even further, as well.

Humans choosing dogs as their first pets makes sense when you consider the behavior of our species at the time. We were hunters, nomads, and wanderers. Dogs have a strong sense of pack hunting behavior, and would adapt quickly to life with humans. The bonds made back then have sense strengthened, hence the old adage, “dog is man’s best friend.” When it comes to the keeping of animals, dogs truly are man’s oldest, and best friend.

But why keep them as pets? After humanity discovered horticulture and began farming, building cities, and nations, dogs had been so interwoven into human culture that they were along for the ride. Different regions began breeding dogs to fit their own needs, creating new species. They were kept as guardians, trained for war, and still remained excellent hunting companions. But dogs became more than that. As they integrated into the story of mankind, they became loved. This bond, forged through time, eventually leads us to today, where dogs are owned for no other reason than because you wanted one. Many people own dogs that do not hunt, or guard, or are even of such small variety that they couldn’t do those things even if we wanted them to.

Pets, especially dogs, became companions to our species for many reasons. The simplicity of the connection is perhaps one of the greatest benefits. A dog won’t ask you why you are sad, or angry, or lonely; it will simply cuddle up to you and comfort you as it observes your emotion. The purr of a cat, or the coo of a parrot, or the lip smack of of a dog can have deep, comforting effects on their owners, letting them know that they are not alone, and that their efforts are noticed.

The simplicity of the compassion of pets is perhaps the greatest asset they provide to us. While hunting was and is important to many people, the keeping of domesticated creatures is more than for maintaining the needs of the belly. They fulfill the needs of the mind, the heart, and the soul. Many people have derived a sense of purpose from caring for animals. Leonhard Seppala, who ran dogsleds and was a pricniple sledder in Nome Serum Run of 1925, loved his dog Togo so much that he bred a new species, Seppela Siberian Sleddogs, to preserve his memory and bloodline.

No matter the reason, pets have become a major part of the human experience. People of all walks of life keep pets for various reasons, from managing livestock to managing emotions. It is a rich heritage, and one to be celebrated.

Stop Saying One Phrase and Sound Smarter

How we speak is almost as important as what we say and when we say it. Communication at its core is about sharing information, getting the others of our community to feel, see, or think what we are feeling, seeing, or thinking. It is through this substantive process of sharing our ideas that we as a species have been able to accomplish such amazing technological and scientific feats. No one accomplishment in our history has ever been completed by one person; it has always been performed by groups, even if the ideas came from a single being.

However, it is quite easy to speak with the equivalent of popcorn phrases: tasty, but empty. These phrases slip into our language all the time. Words like um or uh. They make for a good sound when you don’t know what to say, but cutting down on those fillers creates in the mind of the listener or reader a sense that you know what you’re talking about. Our brains are hardwired for language, as one article by Lera Boroditsky shows, and by taking time to trim your words like fat from a roast, you can create a more palatable string of thought for others to take in.

Language has not come easy to me. I have dyslexia, a condition of the mind that affects how I interpret information. After years of practice, I’ve turned this into a strength, allowing me to see things differently, think outside the box if you will. While I was serving a full-time proselyting mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I was tasked with speaking with many people on a daily basis. As a missionary, you always travel with a companion, another missionary. And this granted me a chance to see how other people communicated, and how people responded to that communication. Early on, I was awkward. Afterall, I was only 19, fresh out of highschool, and had never been much of a socialite, let alone someone who sought out opportunities to share my thoughts with others on the regular. There were growing pains.

But as time progressed, I began to see how certain words worked better for sharing what I meant to say, while others did not. And this is where I discovered the one phrase that if you never say it, you automatically will sound smarter, and more aware of any topic you are speaking on. The phrase is, “all these different things.” It’s a phrase used most often when you are listing out a number of connected ideas. By dropping this phrase, you change a list of ideas from vague, to comprehensive. You will sound like you are an authority, every time, simply by leaving out this phrase as you share your words with others.

Sometimes you may be tempted to say “all these different things,” rather than making a defined list of what things you mean. It’s easy to avoid being definitive. However, by being specific and naming the things you mean and those things only, you create a setting where you are now in control of your narrative. “All these different things” leaves room for your listener to add to your list. Leaving the phrase out sets a start and ending point for your thought. You set the tone, the parameters, and doing so makes you sound authoritative, and decisive.

Dropping this phrase is a great place to start if you want to clean up your language skills. This doesn’t mean that you are finished once you’ve done so, though. There are more phrases and words that are cluttering your vocabluary, and if you are serious about improving your communication skills, I suggest you do more research into the field of linguistics. A good place to start would be this article by Matthew McCreary.

Take some time to refine what you say. Don’t rely on platitudes to get your point across; they are too vague for others to truly grasp what you mean. There are better ways to speak and write, and in my experience, one of the best paths being better with your words revolves around dropping “all these different things.” You don’t need it.

UNITY: The Lost Conduit

The book is now officially available. Thanks for all of your support along this journey! I’ve worked very hard to get here. As have many others. My spouse sacrificed a ton of time and energy to ensure my book looked it’s best. I couldn’t have done it without her. And now you all can read what I’ve made.

The book is available at this link. This is it! Getting to this point was far more difficult than I ever would have guessed. It took incredible sacrifice, from myself, and those I love most, to get here.

The sacrifice of time, of being with the ones I loved when I wanted to most, is something I regret in the process of getting here. I wish I had not put so much of my energy into getting it done on a particular date. But I’ve learned a lot along the way. Deadlines aren’t all they’re cracked up to be. And me setting my deadline on a holiday was a huge dick move. Past me wasn’t thinking about what mattered most, and it cost today me a lot of good times I can’t get back. I wish I could, but I’m where I am now, and I have to learn to live with it.

Having the book out is a bitter sweet victory. I’m glad I did it. I’m glad you all can read it now. I’m glad to have written it and spent so much time making it right. But the perfectionist trap caught me good in this whole process. I was so obessed with getting it done perfectly that I gave up on all the other good things that could have happened between then and now.

I guess where I’m going with all this is don’t lose sight of what is most important in your life. Career goals are great. But they aren’t everything. So spend plenty of time taking care of yourself and your most important relationships.

Get Your Copy of UNITY

It’s happening! My book is coming out on October 31, 2020. While 2020 hasn’t been the best of years, what with all the calamity going on, it has given me the time I needed to complete a number of projects. In March, I released a book called the Book of Lore. And now, I’m releasing my original scifi thriller: UNITY.

WHAT IS UNITY?

UNITY is a story of the dangers of isolationist ideals. Two star nations hold a tenous treaty established eons ago, marking them as independent and uniquely different in their behaviors. The nation of Unity became totally utilitarian, stripping all forms of individual freedoms and focusing only on the needs of the whole. Outworld turned their sights toward complete freedom and anarchy, leaving only the individual to govern themselves. While both nations had the interests of their citizens at heart, neither has been able to truly deliver a better existence. And now, frictions between the two nations are coming to a head.

The story follows Di Monet, a young and down on her luck aspiring Boss, meets a Unity refugee she thinks will make for an easy payday. But as Monet begins her song and dance, she quickly realizes that this Unity woman isn’t quite the fool she took her for; she calls herself Freya, and she captains a ship of her own, taking Monet and a few of her friends on an adventure across Outworld, in search of wealth, purpose, and freedom.

The book came to me in a dream, as I’ve mentioned in another of my blog posts on this site. When I dreamed it, it only went through the first act of the book; after committing to writing the story for NaNoWriMo in 2018, the last two acts came together as well. Now, after 2 years of working with editors, and getting a cover desgined by professional artists Carol Jane, I’m finally ready to release book one of what will become a series dedicated to exploring the vastness of space, the mind, and reality.

WHERE TO GET UNITY

The official release date is October 31 2020. It will be available on Amazon.com. Look for “A.C. Moore, UNITY,” And you’ll find it right away!

This book has been a major component of my life for the last 2 years. Writing it gave me purpose and direction, and helped contribute to overcoming depression, thoughts of suicide, and my overall self worth. Things haven’t always been easy for me; I have struggled with severe depression since I was 10 years old. Writing was one of my only escapes from the trauma of my youth, granting me a chance to enter into another world, one of my own design, and find stories that could give me respite from childhood difficulties that were common for me.

I hope you find UNITY a thrilling experience. Get your copy October 31st!

Onsie: Rent Past Due

With this short, a new angle using an above shot was tried. I found it an interesting and different approach. We’ve all had those roommates or friends whose honesty might not have been up to snuff. When this comes to financial situations, it can be pretty upsetting; when you’re watching it happen to someone else in hyperbole, it makes for good humor.

My idea with these onsie’s was to explore what could be a single scene from a film. Each short dives into a moment of exploration into what it might look like to write a comedy film in a single take.

Onsie: I Got a Package

With this series, my goal was to create something that was quick and entertaining. One of the best ways I could concieve to do that at the time was drawing on my own experiences that had happened to me; especially ones that were humorous ones.

While I was living with my first roommates in college, a few of the people I lived with were unusual characters. One of them was a person who always had an innordinate number of knives in their possession. Once, when I was opening a package I had recieved, I asked this roommate if they had something I could open the package with. They proceeded to produce blade after blade.

We all have those little weird experiences that make great stories. Drawing on these moments can allow us to tell better stories in the future, and merge them together into fun and creative narratives.

Onesie: Roomate Advice

So a few years back, a friend and I started an idea to shoot single shot short films. We called them onesie’s, since they were done with one angle, in one shot, with no reshoots.

Each little thing we ended up doing was a ton of fun, and brought me a load of laughs. I had planned on doing more, but time ran out for the project and both of us had to move on to new and better things. But the Onsies remain, for all to see and find some laughs in. I hope you enjoy them too!

Fostering Creativity

Writing is an involved process.

How do you keep that creative fire burning in the amphitheater we call our skull? When the spark is burning bright, it’s easy to build up whatever it is you’re writing, and do it well.

What do we do then, when creativity flees from the mind? That happens frequently in the realm of writing, and it can take some writers a while to ‘get it back’ as it were. But the truth is creativity never leaves you, it just gets tired. Like a muscle, you must pace its use, stretch it when it gets sore, and work to improve its longevity in the craft. Here are five tips to help anyone strengthen their creative muscles.

ONE: Read a lot.

Reading is one of the best means of blustering your creativity, whether you are in a slump or feeling at your peak. I find fiction to be the most beneficial form of reading in this regard, but if you are more into the technical side, books about writing can also be immensely helpful. Stephen Kings On Writing is a fantastic place to start for you technical lovers. Kings philosophies held in that volume are great additions to any author’s repertoire, regardless of previous experience. Reading is like the protein shake in your mental work out; while it will help you bulk up on creativity, you should really couple it with the next steps to fully realize it’s potential.

TWO: Write a lot.

It may seem absurd to think that if you are having trouble being creative that you should simply increase your amount of creative activity; but would it feel absurd to think if you want to improve your lung capacity you should run or swim more? Hardly. The mind is not so different. When we were children, most of us, if not all, had great capacity for imagination and creativity. Why do we lose it as we age? Simple. We stop playing. We start thinking that since we’re adults we can’t do it anymore, for any number of fabricated reasons. The truth is you’re simply out of practice, and a good way to practice your creativity is to write a lot. It probably won’t be good at first. That’s fine. The more you do it, the better you will get at it.

THREE: Play a lot.

Not all creativity happens on the paper. In fact, most of it will happen in your surroundings as you do creative things. Playing doesn’t mean you have to go ask if Billy can come play on the see-saw with you before dinner. It simply means play. Play a game—computer or board. I happen to enjoy table top games like Dungeons and Dragons; that will really get your creative wheels turning. Playing games outside with others will help too. Go to a local improve comedy meeting. It may be hard at first to get into playing. Again, that’s normal. You wouldn’t expect to run a mile with ease if the farthest trip you’ve taken is to the kitchen. Stretch those creative muscles and play.

FOUR: Share ideas.

Once you’ve started working that creativity, you should share you creative ideas with others. Whether that’s with a group of writers, a friend, spouse, or your kids, sharing your ideas will help you get them out of your head and in the real world. When you say your ideas out loud, it helps solidify them, and can also help you see holes in the plot, or ways to improve your idea. Sharing ideas will often get you talking about new ideas as well. Keep in mind sharing ideas is something you more than likely do in every conversation. Even if that idea is little more than “hey, have you ever wondered what the heck Disney’s Goofy really is?” it will get you talking. And often, those silly experiences you have with friends around a game of Parcheesi are the ones that will sound great in a story. Remember, not all creative elements rest in the action of the story you’re trying to tell; if you want it to feel real, make it real with actual experiences. Or at least experiences that feel real.

FIVE: Get out of your head.

This is a combination of tips three and four, but it still bears important mentioning. The biggest block to creativity is the fear that others will judge you, or dislike your ideas. So you don’t allow yourself to have any. Getting out of your head by playing games, having fun, and freely sharing your ideas will ensure that you have more ideas more frequently, and better ones too. Letting your mind stew on how you aren’t creative or how your creativity isn’t at its peak ‘right now’ isn’t going to help. That is the path to the dark side. Get into a mood where you feel comfortable doing anything (within reason of course). Go dancing. Start a real conversation with a stranger—not about the weather. And make conversations meaningful. Doing these things will really get those creative juices flowing. Make a goal to have someone new say to you that you’re quick witted. It isn’t as hard as it may seem, as long as you are flexing that brain, and getting a lot of creativity from what you do daily.

Go ahead, give it a try.

I dare you. All you’ve got to lose is your writer’s block — which in essence is the same thing as those extra pounds you gain over the holidays. Who wants to hang on to that? Get that brain flexing, and you’ll be on the path to a more toned imagination and a more refined sense of creativity.