A Burning Day: Blog Rebirth Underway

Hello y’all! (nope, I haven’t moved to the South–but I did meet a charming gal at residency who is from South Carolina, and now I can’t seem to help myself :-P)

For you dedicated subscribers (all three or four of you) who have followed my blog religiously the past couple of years, I am sorry to say that the blog you have come to know and love is now on its last leg. Like the mythical phoenix, my blog will soon burst into flames so that it may be reborn from the (metaphorical) ashes.

My new baby phoenix blog will be focused more on my experiences as a writer than my experiences as a psychologist. But fear not! I will surely find ways to work psychology into some of my posts, as it is still a strong interest of mine.

However, my posts will primarily now relate to (1) my life as an MFA student (I’ve just started the Writing for Children and Young Adults program at the Vermont College of Fine Arts) and (2) craft issues for writers (specifically children’s authors). I will continue to add books to the Bookshelf, and I will also continue to post links and other tidbits of information that I find interesting, even if they are not always relevant. (If you have any suggestions for my future post topics, please let me know.)  Cheers!

(Click Fawkes to visit the Harry Potter Wiki)

More Must-Read Books

Check out the new Bookshelf shelf (ha, awkward), stocked with miscellaneous book recommendations from yours truly. 🙂

I’ve been reading a lot lately, but I’ve been disappointed with some of my latest YA fantasy selections. So, for a change of pace, I picked up a few books outside of my typical niche, and I was very pleased to find that both Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher and The Girl Who Chased the Moon by Sarah Addison Allen were great reads. They both made me want to sit around in my pajamas reading the day away, which, to me, is the mark of a “must-read.”

Take a peek at their synopses on the Misc. shelf!

After a long hiatus…

I can’t believe I haven’t made a post since November! Time really flies during the holiday season, I guess. It’s now 2011…another year full of opportunities and possibilities. (And snow–that seems to be a theme so far this year. How does the weather affect your creativity?) 

The new semester is underway, and I’m hard at work on my Master’s thesis. Posts may be sporadic this spring, but the blog is going to get a facelift once I graduate in May. I’m undergoing a personal transformation of sorts–viewing myself as a writer first and psychologist second, now, as opposed to the other way around–and my blog will reflect that change as I move forward.

Until I’m able to finish another research post, I’ll at least try to share a few thoughts here and there on the books I’m reading, the projects I’m working on, writing tips I come across, etc. Here are a couple of quotes to lead things off:

On Writing:

“I grew up in this town, my poetry was born between the hill and the river, it took its voice from the rain, and like the timber, it steeped itself in the forests.” ~Pablo Neruda

“A line will take us hours maybe; yet if it does not seem a moment’s thought, our stitching and unstitching has been naught.” ~William Butler Yeats

On Creativity:

“The men of experiment are like the ant; they only collect and use. But the bee . . . gathers its materials from the flowers of the garden and of the field, but transforms and digests it by a power of its own.” ~Leonardo DaVinci

“I do not seek, I find.” ~Picasso

Climb Up to the Treehouse: New Book Jacket Summary Added

To read about my creative works-in-progress, or for a list of cool (and kid-friendly) links to author/book series website, visit the Treehouse!

Update Your Summer Reading List With Spells and Secrets

Check out the Children’s/Young Adult Fantasy page of The Bookshelf for a couple of new additions (or ‘editions’! har har). The Magic Thief series by Sarah Prineas will be especially appreciated by the younger end of the 9-12 spectrum, while The Black Book of Secrets by F. E. Higgins is a darkly satisfying read for older kids, teens, and even discriminating adults! These titles have enriched my summer reading list–entertaining me during my recuperation from two separate neck surgeries–and F. E. Higgins has even earned herself a place on my list of go-to authors.

Next up on my reading list is the (aforementioned) seventh book in the Artemis Fowl series, followed by Falcon Quinn and the Black Mirror by Jennifer Boylan. Falcon Quinn may be Jenny Boylan’s first children’s novel, but she is widely known as the bestselling author of the memoirs She’s Not There and I’m Looking Through You, both of which captured my interest with their anecdotes and humor and moved me with their honesty and authenticity. Jenny Boylan resides in my home state of Maine and is an English professor at one of the finest colleges in the country, so I cannot wait to read Falcon Quinn. Stay tuned for these upcoming reviews.

Thanks for reading, as well as for your understanding regarding my lack of research posts this summer. My medical leave will end in September, and then it will be back to the thrilling world of academia for me! So don’t fret–more discussions on the intricacies of the relationship between psychology and creativity will inevitably follow…

Sweet Summertime

Hello readers,

Sorry for the long stretch of inactivity. I allllmost finished my Master’s thesis before the end of the semester, but unfortunately there was just too much to be done and not enough time to do it, so I had to postpone my defense until the fall. Oh well! I guess that will give me plenty of time to make revisions… 

The end of the school year was very busy, but now I have the summer off. I had my first neck surgery on June 8th (to relieve some nerve/artery compression), and I’ll be having a second one at the end of July if all goes as planned. So, this summer will be dedicated solely to rest and relaxation so that I can recover in time for the beginning of classes in September!

Since my first surgery, my computer usage has been limited, but I’m finally starting to feel better and will make posts here and there before I go under the knife again. For now, check out some new additions to The Dictionary page.

Thanks for reading, and come back soon!

The Treehouse

Another new page has been added to the site–check out The Treehouse!

Yup, the site’s still active!

It’s been much too long since my last real post–I apologize. This semester has shaped up to be a busy one, as I’ve been working on my Master’s thesis and am hoping to defend it at the end of May (wish me luck!).

I’m currently working on another research-related blog post, though, on how the time of day might affect creativity. So stay tuned!

In the meantime, here’s another good quote I recently came across:

“Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep.”
~Scott Adams

Alex the Parrot

Check out my newest book recommendation on the Psychology page of the Bookshelf! It’s a New York Times bestseller and a great read–I finished it within a day.

Alex & Me by Irene M. Pepperberg is the true story of “how a scientist and a parrot discovered a hidden world of animal intelligence–and formed a deep bond in the process” (book cover). It’s the amazing, heartwarming, and often comical story of Alex, an African Grey Parrot who challenged the definition of “bird brain,” and his caretaker, Dr. Irene Pepperberg of Brandeis University. More than three decades ago, Dr. Pepperberg entered a pet store to purchase a parrot that she could train in an ambitious–and, at the time, underappreciated–research study investigating language acquisition in birds. She left the pet store with Alex–a little bird with a big personality that would change the way scientists think about animal cognition.

Alex’s accomplishments over his lifespan exceeded even Dr. Pepperberg’s expectations. Not only did he learn object labels, the names of colors, and various types of material (e.g. paper, wood), he was also able to count and understand concepts such as “same vs. different.” What’s more, Alex demonstrated creativity–the ability to combine labels and concepts in novel ways, in the absence of any training–previously thought impossible for a creature with a brain the size of a walnut.

Alex was the most intelligent (not to mention head-strong, bossy, and wry) one-pound ball of feathers that the world has ever seen. This book is a must-read, and if you aren’t convinced yet, watch the clip below. It’s a tribute to Alex that aired on Good Morning America after his premature death at the age of 31:


Though Alex is gone, Irene M. Pepperberg’s study of avian cognition is ongoing. To learn more about her work and the ways in which you can help fuel this groundbreaking research, visit The Alex Foundation website: www.thealexfoundation.com

New Page

Check out the newest addition to the blog, “The Dictionary.” It a just-for-fun page where I’ll post definitions for cool words that I come across. It’s not directly related to the psychology of creativity, but I figure it might be of some interest to my fellow writers.

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