Tag Archives: Humour

Wednesday Weekly Blogging Challenge: Humorous Book Titles

Hosted by Long and Short Reviews.

This is one of those topics I could discuss all day without growing tired of it. Here are just a few of the humorous book titles I’ve seen lately. Have any of you ever read them? I’ve only read the first one so far. It was such an interesting look at neurology and some of the various ways the human brain can adapt to a serious illness or injury.

The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat and Other Clinical Tales by Oliver Sacks

Unspun Socks From A Chicken’s Laundry  by Spike Milligan

I Could Pee on This: And Other Poems by Cats by Francesco Marciuliano

How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe by Charles Yu

Paranormal Dentistry for the Fanged and Friendly  by Jackie Nacht

Bread Sculpture: The Edible Art by Ann Sayre Wiseman

Click here to read everyone else’s replies to this week’s question. The image below is the list of upcoming prompts for this blog hop.

An Exclusive Interview with Spring

It isn’t every day that a blogger nabs a chance to interview any of the seasons, much less one as highly sought-after as spring! I hope you enjoy our conversation.

Spring: Sorry for running a few weeks late there. I lost track of time.

Lydia: Welcome! It’s nice to finally meet you. I was wondering where you’d gone. How was your trip?

Spring: Oh, traffic was backed up like it usually is.  I did take notes while reading your rain review, so I wanted to make a few last-minute changes to this year’s itinerary.  I hope you’ll like those extra thunderstorms I squeezed into Ontario’s schedule this month. They’re fussier recipes than regular rainstorms, but I wanted to give you something special this time.

Lydia: Thank you. They look perfect. So let’s talk about your role as spring. What’s it like to awaken the northern hemisphere again every year?

Spring: Well, every season needs to prepare for transitional periods. You can’t exactly switch from winter to spring in one afternoon! My work is especially interesting because it involves waking up all of the plants and animals that slept their way through the cold season, and that’s not something any of the other seasons need to think about. Winter and I have had to learn how to coordinate that process so that no one wakes up too early or too late. It’s a balancing act, and every year I learn a little bit more about what does and doesn’t work in various climates.

Lydia: Speaking of winter, what is your relationship with them like?

Spring: Frosty. Yes, I’m totally joking there. We have a good working relationship. The world wouldn’t be the same place without a period of rest, and I appreciate all that winter does while the rest of us are asleep. The plants sure do appreciate it, and the insects are learning to see the bright side of it as well. Honestly, sometimes I wish my hibernation period lasted longer than it does.

Lydia: A hibernation period? Interesting! I was just about to ask what the seasons do when they’re not currently in use. What is that process like?

Spring: It’s like flopping into a warm, soft bed after a hard day’s work. Occasionally, I might wake up to take over for winter or summer for an afternoon, but I generally like to sleep through my full rest period if possible. Of course, that hasn’t been happening as often as it used to these days.

Lydia: I hear you there. On a somewhat related note, what are your relationships like with summer and autumn?

Spring: Summer and I get along really well. We have such similar goals that sometimes it’s hard to tell where their work ends and mine begins. We’re not technically supposed to have favourite months, but this is why I like June so much. The busiest weeks of my assignment are finished by then and the humans have started to harvest a few early crops like asparagus and strawberries.  I’ve heard nothing but good things about autumn’s work, but I can’t remember the last time we actually met. Our schedules are simply too different from each other for either of us to stay awake long enough to collaborate. I’d love to see what they do with leaves someday, though.

Lydia: Oh, autumn leaves are beautiful. Have you really never seen them change colour?

Spring: No, I fall asleep long before that happens.

Lydia: What a shame. I know you’re currently in your busiest time of the year, so I won’t keep you much longer. One final question before you go – what are your plans for this year? Is there anything special we should be looking forward to other than those thunderstorms you whipped up for me?

Spring: I was feeling extra creative this year, so you’ll probably see cherry trees blooming earlier than usual. I hope you like them.

Lydia: That’s wonderful. Well, thank you for stopping by, and good luck.

Spring: Thank you!

 

 

The Care and Feeding of Muses

Congratulations on being chosen by a muse! With a little forethought, the relationship you’ve begun with your source of inspiration will provide comfort and fresh ideas for your creative endeavours for the rest of your life.

Here are a few tips to get the most out of this relationship. Remember, every muse is unique. It may take some trial and error to figure out exactly what does and does not inspire you to start writing, singing, painting, or otherwise flexing your creative muscles.

The more often you practice, the better you’ll become at it. There is no better time to begin than today.

Caring for a Muse

Luckily, muses are hardy creatures. While mine has temporarily gone dormant when certain circumstances in my life didn’t leave enough time or energy for the creative process, it has always bounced back again once things improved for me.

Be gentle with yourself if you’re not currently able to create new content or if your progress is slower than you’d prefer to see. Think about the cycle of the seasons where you live. You may or may not know winter the way that us Canadians do, but every climate has its own unique pattern of growth, harvest, and rest.There is no such thing as a plant that blooms forever or a tree that creates bushels of fruit without ever needing a break from that process.

The same things happens with creative endeavours, too. Sometimes you will have an abundance of ideas and endless energy to make them come alive as a poem, sculpture, song, or any other number of things. Enjoy these times when they occur and make the most use out of them you can. In other seasons, your mind and muse may need to lay fallow for a short or long period of time before they’re ready to start creating again.

Feeding a Muse

The most important thing you can do for your muse is to feed it a varied diet. Just like a parent wouldn’t allow their child to eat nothing but candy and a pet owner wouldn’t feed Fido fistfuls treats for every meal of the day, your muse needs to be looked after in a similar way.

I can’t tell you what your muse will find useful, but I’d highly recommend giving it as many different types of stimuli  as you possibly can even if some of them might not be what you’d generally be drawn to in your free time. No, these experiences do not have to be expensive or involve travelling far away from home.

In fact, the vast majority of the things I do to feed my muse are free, and the rest often only require a few dollars for a subway fare if I remember to pack a lunch that day!

For example, you could:

  • Visit a local museum on a free or half-price day
  • Go for a walk in the woods or at the park
  • Borrow books from the library
  • Join a community group
  • Explore a new hobby or interest
  • Watch a local baseball game
  • Strike up a conversation with a friendly stranger
  • Go people-watching at a parade, festival, or other event
  • Browse in a store you’ve never visited before
  • Take a day trip to a nearby city, national park, or other imagination-ticking destination

The possibilities are endless. What matters is that you’re exposing yourself to things you might not normally spend any time thinking about during your regular routines.

Inspiration can come from anywhere. Our job is to give our muses a chance to come up with ideas based on the interesting things you’ve done or learned lately and let them do the rest.

Taking Notes and Photographs

I used to carry around a trusty little notebook and write down all sorts of slices of life in it for future inspiration. Sometimes it was a memorable quote from a book and on other days it might have been a funny throwaway comment a stranger made on the bus.

I’ve since switched to taking notes on my smart phone, but the same basic principal remains. If I see something that piques the interest of my muse when I’m out and about, I’ll pause to take a photo or jot down a quick note of it before moving on with my day.

It’s easy to forget these little moments. By recording them for the future, you’ll have a long list of potential subjects to explore when you’re finally ready to write the outline of that book or start sketching.

Balancing Creative Productivity with Consuming Other People’s Work

I’ve found that spending too much or too little time consuming other people’s work has a negative effect on what I’m able to create as a writer.

As Thomas Merton once said, “no man is an island.” Humans are a social species, and this is especially true for us creative folks. The things that your muse comes up with often inspires my own if I strike an appropriate balance between creating and consuming!

Keeping it Useful

The important thing is to keep your consumption useful and to balance it with things that refill your creative tank.

For me this means spending as little time as I can on stuff that I find distracting like celebrity gossip or fear-mongering news stories. (Your mileage may vary on those topics). It also occassionally involves muting my phone and going off into nature for some quiet time.

Obviously, you’re not going to find too many caves or sprawling forests in downtown Toronto, but we still have plenty of quiet green spaces that are great for clearing one’s mind if you know where to look.

I love sitting on park benches and listening to the birds sing in the trees above me. There’s nothing as invigorating as having those experiences without translating them into words until long after I’ve come home again, if even then.

What do you all do to feed and care for your muses?

Questions That Have Recently Brought New Readers to This Site

This blog has seen a surge in visits over the past two months. Welcome, new readers! It’s nice to meet all of you. I thought I’d answer some of the questions that some people typed into search engines in order to find this site. Hopefully, the things you might have been wondering about will be included in the list below. If not, feel free to leave a comment below and I’ll answer you directly.

Lydia Schoch Toronto

Yes, that is my name and I do live in Toronto. I’ve never met anyone else with this name, so the probability that you’ve found the correct Lydia is quite high.

Lydia Schoch Universalist

No, I am not a Universalist. I’m an Apatheist/Atheist who takes a strong live and let live approach to life, so it’s rare for me to mention it at all. As long as someone isn’t using their beliefs – or lack thereof – to harm others, it doesn’t matter to me what label they apply to themselves. Genuinely good, kind people can be found everywhere.

I’d much rather discuss more interesting things like:

  • Alphabetizing and why it makes lists, and life itself, so much better
  • Anthropology
  • Astronomy
  • Books, especially non-fiction and science fiction
  • Fitness
  • How to properly pronounce the word gif
  • Mindfulness
  • Nutrition
  • Rabbits
  • Reboots and what people think of this entertainment industry trend in general
  • Social justice
  • Writing

Aunt Lydia

I am an aunt, but if you’re a fan of The Handmaid’s Tale I am not and never will be that Aunt Lydia. Based on the fact that I’m also bisexual, the Republic of Gilead would either turn me into a Handmaid or do away with me entirely if they spread into Canada.

Bruce Gerencser

Bruce is a prolific blogger and old family friend.

If you enjoy discussing politics, religion, or photography, his blog might be right up your alley. He’s a talented writer and a good egg.

The ethics of museums

Y’all, I wrote one post about this topic almost nine years ago. I never broached it again, and yet I keep getting hits from people wanting to know if museums should store mummies in them or what these institutions should do when they find out that some of their prize artifacts were stolen from other cultures.

At this point, I’m wondering if I should write a whole series of posts on the topic? People really seem to like it.

The ethics of consuming animal products

This is probably happening as a result of a post I wrote eight years ago about animal products. Once again, it was the only thing I ever wrote on the topic, and I still have all sorts of mixed feelings about what I should or shouldn’t eat.

(I have no opinions about what others do or don’t eat. It’s hard enough to figure out my own diet, so you’ll get no judgement or advice from me!)

While I’m definitely not nutritionally organized enough to claim any sort of label, I do often finding myself choosing bean dishes over meat ones for health reasons.

Beans are full of all sorts of vitamins and minerals that many of us don’t get enough of. Since I have a few food allergies and intolerances to work around when planning meals, this is a nice way to make sure I’m getting all of the calcium and other nutrients I need.

What kind of places are noisy and crowded

  • Anyplace you need to visit quickly to buy or pick up that one thing when you’re already running late
  • Big, urban malls
  • Concerts
  • Emergency rooms, walk-in clinics, hospitals, and medical waiting rooms in general
  • Parades, festivals, and food fairs
  • Service Canada Centres (where Canadians go to renew their health cards, passports, etc.)
  • Some people’s innermost thoughts
  • Sporting events

Is Mama Imelda alive?

This site is spoiler-free, so you’ll have to watch Coco for yourself if you want the answer to that question.

If you’re also a blogger who pays attention to the analytics of your website, what is the funniest or most interesting search term that someone has used to find it recently?

We Should All Have Android Bodies

You might think I’m joking about this, but I’m not. This is how the last couple of days have been for me.

Me: My injured foot is doing better. What a relief. I can’t wait to get back into my normal workout routines again.

Body:  Ooh, look! A shiny illness. I heard they pair perfectly with feet injuries, especially during cold and flu season when you can get fresh, locally-grown sicknesses at every corner store.

Me: Wait, what?

Body: It’s so sparkly. I want to cuddle it, name it Fluffy, and carry it around for a while.

Me: Illnesses do not sparkle and you do not want to touch that one. Trust me. It will be better for everyone if you put it down and go wash your hands with soap and hot water.

Body: Too late! Sorry not sorry, but I’m keeping it. The three of us are going to be besties until your immune and digestive systems figure out how fight back.

Based on how I’ve been feeling these past few weeks, I am beyond ready for humanity to figure out a way to give everyone an android body. Meat suits have some benefits, but they also need far too many repairs and recuperation time when they have accidents or pick up the wrong germs.

Give me a nice, robotic body instead. I’d be quite happy to never have to think about all of the things that can go terribly wrong with flesh, bones, and organs even when you’re only dealing with diagnoses that have an expiration date.

The science fiction genre often acts as though transitioning from having a purely biological form to at least partially existing as a computer program would be a terrible fate, but all I can think about is how nice it would be to no longer get sick or injured anymore.

Would you sign up to have your consciousness transferred to an android body if such a thing were possible?

 

5 Funny Short Horror Films You Should Watch This Halloween

One of the things I love the most about Halloween is seeing all of the creative things storytellers do with common horror, science fiction, and fantasy tropes at this time of the year. There’s something about the Halloween season that seems to bring out the best in writers, filmmakers, and other creators. The films in… Read More

3 Embarrassing Things I’ve Learned From Books

Today I have three embarrassing stories to share with you. Before I dive into them, let me explain a few things about my childhood to the new readers of my blog. I grew up in a series of small towns and rural communities in the United States. I was also homeschooled for the first several… Read More

If Minecraft Was a Fantasy Story, This Is What It Would Be Like

The only thing Steve remembered about his past was his name. His first memory of the land called Minecraft was of standing alone at dawn in an eerie forest whose trees came tumbling down if you hit them. He was wearing a shirt and a pair of pants but was otherwise alone and defenceless against the… Read More

Saturday Seven: Funny Quotes from Books

Saturday Seven is hosted by Long and Short Reviews. If a book contains a funny line, conversation, or passage, the chances of me becoming a huge fan of it are large. Sometimes I will reread a story I’ve already read many times before for the sheer joy of eventually finding my way to that witty… Read More