Tag Archives: writing

Moving to Medium

My posts are getting more rare, but if anyone is still interested in what I put out into the world), I’ll be over at Medium from now on. You can find me by searching for Emmaline Soken-Huberty. I just posted my first thing, “Two Birds.” It’s a quick 2-minute read.

Hope to see some of you there!

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Dream Work In Action

A dream is the subconscious trying to communicate. After reading a few books about dreams and hunting around online, that’s the conclusion I’ve come to. I think I’ve always believed that to some degree, but I used to think nightmares were demonic, and I didn’t want to pay attention to them. Now, I’m trying to look at the dreams that scare me as messages from my own soul. There are two recurring dreams I’ve had for years, and I think I’ve finally figured them out.

The book “Inner Work: Using Dreams And Active Imagination for Personal Growth” by Robert A. Johnson has really helped. It taught me the interpretation method I used for my dreams, and maybe it can help you. The first step is to simply list all the symbols in the dreams. Why? Dream language isn’t literal, it uses symbols. That means even if you dream about a person you know, the dream probably isn’t about that person. That person represents something else, most likely within yourself. A symbol can be an object, event, action, color, sensation, etc. Basically anything you can identify.

So, here are my two recurring dreams: 

  1. I can feel something in my throat and mouth. I reach in, and find a long strand or clump of hair. I keep trying to pull it out, but it keeps going on and on. Sometimes it will get stuck and it feels like I’m choking.
  2. I’m covered in pieces of glass, they’re in my ears, eyes, nose, everything. I can’t go on with whatever I was doing in the dream, I have to keep stopping and picking out the pieces.

The symbols I identify in the first dream are: hair, pulling out, choking, and getting stuck. In the second dream, it’s pieces of glass, picking out glass, and getting interrupted. After identifying the symbols, I drew associations from them. According to “Inner Work,” it’s important not to free associate, but keep going back to the original symbol. I made a mind map, with each symbol at the center, and branches for my associations. The purpose of this part of dream interpretation is to come up with as many as you can. My associations for “hair” included identity, sexuality, vanity, and beauty.

How do you know which association is the “right” one? The book talks a lot about following the energy or “the click.” Basically, when you bump up against the correct association, the correct translation for the symbol, your body will react. You’ll feel an energy or gut reaction. For me, with the “hair” symbol, I resonated most with “identity.” I’ve had a lot of different hair cuts and styles over the years, and used my hair to express my identity. That’s true for a lot of people, and even though another important part of dream interpretation is to figure out what a symbol means to you personally, a lot of symbols and their translations are universal. In my case, with “hair,” the association was both personal and more universal.

I did the same process with the rest of the symbols in the first dream and the second one. Here’s a summary of what I translated, with the association I must resonated with in bold:

Pulling out (the hair): Escaping, freeing

Choking: Getting stuck, pausing, voiceless, muted, dying

Glass: Broken mirror, window, reflective, fractured

Picking out glass: Healing, painful healing, preventing infection

Getting interrupted: Getting stuck, pausing, halting

Once the associations are made, it’s time to put everything together. At this point, at least for me, the meaning of the dreams was already pretty clear. This isn’t always the case, and the book actually recommends writing a few possible interpretations. Like the symbols, the “right” one will click.

My two recurring dreams are telling me the same thing. Hair and glass both represent identity. The connection with hair and identity is obvious upon a closer look, while the broken glass is a little more complex. Broken glass, which is closely associated with a broken mirror and fracturing, means my identity is broken into pieces. It’s not whole. As for the hair dream, the hair getting caught in my throat means I’m not able to free my identity. It keeps getting stuck, and it feels like I’m choking on it. With the glass dream, my broken identity is causing me pain and makes me stop going about my life, because I keep pausing and trying to free it. 

How does this apply to my real life? How do I feel about my identity? Pretty lost, honestly, and I have for years, which is why these dreams keep coming up. I’ve never really felt like part of a community. I did for a while in a church, but it collapsed and everyone scattered, the relationships gone forever. Looking back, the community also wasn’t healthy. Ever since then, I’ve been searching, but afraid. I also don’t feel like I have a identity in my work. What I write for work doesn’t represent me in any way, it’s just work, and it doesn’t let me be very creative. The big thing I realized recently, though, is that the novel I’m writing isn’t really “me.” I’ve been working on it for like six years straight, but it’s not actually something I would want to read. I don’t read mysteries or detective thrillers. Why am I writing one?

The last part of dream interpretation is asking the question, “What now?” What do I do about it?” For a community, it’s always a work in process, and it’s slow. I’m sort of going to church again and small group just started, so that will just take time. The biggest change I’m going to make, however, is pausing my novel and adjusting to the possibility that it’s time to put it away. I’m going to do NaNoWriMo this year and write something  I actually want to read. I already have a sci-fi/speculative fiction idea, and I’m really going to let my imagination go wild. That isn’t something I’ve been able to do in my writing before, so I’m excited.

Dreams are powerful, friends. Pay attention to them. They are always speaking.

 

 

 

My book is out!

The company I work for – Gildshire – has released a compilation of my articles! It’s called “The Little Book of Stuff You Didn’t Know: Histories, Mysteries, and More.” Ever wondered how the theory about Hitler hiding in Argentina started? Or what the most dangerous places for tourists are? Knowledge is power, and you can be the most powerful person in the room after you’ve read this book. You will learn a bit about everything that’s strange, unique, or wonderfully-weird.

Articles include:

The Codes No One Can Crack
America’s First Serial Killers
The World Of Body Modification
Most Dangerous Places To Visit As A Tourist
The Four Most Notorious Paranormal Hoaxes

It’s a really fun read of 27 articles, and only $4.99! Click here to check out the Amazon page. If you don’t have a kindle, you can download the free Kindle app on your phone or computer, and read it that way.

what I’ve been into

TV that I’m into: “Playing House” on USA with Jessica St. Claire and Lennon Parham. I’ve been binge-watching this show, and I LOVE it. It’s exactly my sense of humor. It also has the added bonus of having Keegan-Michael Key in it.

TV that I’m looking forward to: “I’m Sorry” with Andrea Savage on TruTV

Books I’ve been reading: I’ve been reading A LOT lately, which is good. Just finished a historical novel called The Ghost of the Mary Celeste. It’s based on a real incident, and pulls a lot from history including the Spiritualism craze, Arthur Conan Doyle, and more. I just started my second Erik Larson book, In The Garden of Beasts. It’s about the American consulate in Germany during WWII and his family.

Work stuff: Just finished a book on Ethereum, which is Bitcoin’s competition. It’s unique in that you can create applications on its blockchain, it’s not just for currency. If that makes no sense to you, look it up, I’m not going to summarize the book again. I usually just get blank stares. Still working on the book for my Gildshire articles, too, just finished up editing and writing the intros.

What I’ve cooked/baked lately: Made no-bake brownies with black beans and dates. It’s more like fudge than brownies, but it’s delicious. Getting out a slice is kind of like digging for fossils, because they have to be frozen, but it’s worth it. I also made homemade tomato sauce the other day. It was a bit runny, but I can thicken it up by just reducing it some more. I didn’t make this, but we tried Ben and Jerry’s “One Love” ice cream flavor, which is banana ice cream, graham cracker, caramel, and chocolate peace signs. Chris says it might be his new favorite.

Fitness stuff: Still using the good ol’ mini trampoline and rowing machine most nights. I take just one day off a week. Also got myself a resistance band, which is very convenient. Looking forward to having the toned arms of my dreams. It’s been gross and hot lately, so haven’t been exercising outdoors as much as I (or Yoshi) would like, but what can ya do. I know weight isn’t the goal here, but I am happy that I’ve successfully went down to about 155 after plateauing at 160 for so long. Paying attention to macros and sugar has made the difference. It doesn’t matter if I’m eating just 1200 calories if way too many of them are coming from sugar.

Novel stuff: Still steadily working on my Harley Gray novel. I filled out one notebook, so I’m on to a new one. That feels like an accomplishment. Been focusing a lot on trying to actually picture my characters moving around in the world I’ve created, so I can convey that to the reader. That means writing a lot of stuff that won’t actually end up in the book. I’m still figuring out how to get that in the story without actually putting it in the story (like a character’s whole marriage, basically), but I enjoy the challenge.

So that’s pretty much it, that’s what I’ve been doing. Small group meets again soon. Chris’ parents will be visiting, which means beach day!

 

 

stress thoughts, folk music, and sweat

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I’ve been getting a lot of stress thoughts at night. These are the unpredictable, persistent thoughts that pepper my brain when I can’t fall asleep quickly enough, which is every night. Yoshi is coming home soon, so that’s been preoccupying me. I’ll start thinking things like, “What if he hates it here and the neighbors complain?” and then, “What if he dies? What if he gets so excited that he has a heart attack?” Then I’ll worry about Baxter, and go lie in his room so I can hear him rustling around, which proves he’s alive. My pills have been acting up and being weird, so if I don’t take the last one with enough food, it makes me sick. That’s a new development, and it’s not fun. They just can’t cooperate, can they?

Penny & Sparrow is my favorite band right now. Chris thinks they’re too “chill,” and that they make him want to fall asleep. He says that like it’s a bad thing. My music tastes have changed so much. I tried listening to Skillet recently, one of my favorites from high school, and I was not impressed. Too loud. I’m old.

It’s been in the 90’s weather-wise. I don’t I’ve ever sweat so much in my life. When I work out, I point the fan directly at myself, and it makes a big difference. Otherwise, I think I would literally die. It would not be safe.

I wish I could work on my novel more. I have a notebook where I scribble a few lines or pages as often as I can, and I need to type that up. One of my characters changed a lot from my first draft. She went from being really sweet and sensitive to kind of a tough cookie. It was not at all on purpose. I guess that’s just what she’s meant to be.

 

Songs For Sad People

To me, music is the antidepressant I know best, and one that is devoid of side effects. While necessary for many, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors frighten me because some artists and authors say they stunt their ability to create. As a writer, that’s unsettling, having my voice muffled or extinguished.

I know I may well have to use them at some point. I may need to find some stability from the ups and downs that characterize my depression, instead of white-knuckling as I have. But for now, I find, tiny instances of relief can be found in the furthest reaches of depression, small reminders that life is worth it.

Sometimes you just have to find the strength to push play.

Full article: http://www.laweekly.com/music/the-music-that-has-helped-me-battle-depression-5014322

I love how this writer described her relationship with music. Music has always been a huge part of my life, from when I first began listening to music on my own, late at night, discovering the rock music of the 1980’s on my Walkman to now, when I create playlists based on specific characters I’m writing about. My main playlist is just called “Writing,” even though I don’t listen to music when I’m actually writing. It’s the music that inspires my writing, and it brings me calm. Kristian Libman listed a few of the albums, bands, and songs that have helped her depression, so I will do the same here.

  • Blue October – I’ve written about them before, and their impact is still true. Lead singer Justin has been through hell and back, and listening through the band’s albums is like hearing his life story.
  • Audrey Assad – One of the few Christian artists I consistently listen to. Her songs are like hymns in their lyrical sophistication, but so intimate and personal at the same time. Every song is a prayer.
  • Ingrid Michaelson – there’s something about the simple strength of her voice that calms me.

Additional artists:

  • Joy Williams
  • Jetta
  • Brandi Carlile
  • Jason Isbell
  • Bee Bakare
  • Greg Laswell
  • Matthew Mayfield

Here’s Where I Admit I Don’t Know What The Hell I’m Talking About

I wrote a book about how to deal with mental illness. It says things like, “Don’t isolate yourself,” “Find a community,” and so on and so forth. Meanwhile, I’m coming off of probably the worst few weeks in a long time, where I had to force myself to brush my teeth, showered maybe every four days, and sometimes slept all day. I also feel like a fraud. I wait to blog until I have something positive to say at the end of the post. Well, I don’t this time. Even writing this is hard work, but it’s important, because it’s important for you all to see the really bad parts, too.

These are the times when it’s nearly impossible to be coherent, when people ask how you are, and you open your mouth, and no words come out. It’s partly because I don’t want to be a downer, and partly because I don’t know how to explain what walking death really feels like. Usually, the best I can do is, “Merrg.”

This doesn’t mean I don’t want to be around people. I really want to be around people, because it forces me to pretend to be a human instead of a husk. I’m performing, and if I do it long enough, maybe it’ll rub off. On the other hand, I’m left feeling empty when they leave, because I want to talk to somebody about the mess I really am, and I’m disappointed and angry and guilty. As hours pass, I start looking out the window, waiting for Chris, like a dog. When he comes and asks how I am, I want to just shake that part off, and move on. Can I press fast-forward on this part? Or will I just be skipping ahead forever?

To The Brokenhearted: Being a Christian with Depression

My first Kindle ebook is now available for purchase on Amazon. It costs $4.99 and is enabled for lending on the Kindle. If you don’t have a Kindle, you can get it on your computer or smartphone using the Amazon Kindle app. Here are some instructions:

http://jeanienefrost.com/discount-ebooks/how-to-read-an-ebook-without-an-e-reader/

I hope some of you check it out!

http://www.amazon.com/Brokenhearted-Being-Christian-Depression-ebook/dp/B013HPUO00/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1440533993&sr=8-1&keywords=to+the+broken+hearted+being+a+christian&pebp=1440533995385&perid=1CJ7SKS136KKVP032WFT

What Ghostwriting Taught Me

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1. I don’t have time for perfection

I’ve never considered myself a perfectionist, except when it comes to fiction. When I first started writing stories, I would frequently write eight different beginnings. I never finished my fantasy trilogy I planned. When we switched computers and I copied all my files over, I would find at least five documents with completely different stories with the same title. Committing to detail outlines has alerted my tendency to write and rewrite, but I still have trouble feeling satisfied with my fiction. Ghostwriting changed all that. On my second fiction job, I had to write a 35,000 novel in a week. For you math folks, that is 5,000 words a day. In theory, that didn’t sound too bad. I had been writing non-fiction at that rate for a while. Fiction is completely different. Your sentences can’t all have the same structure. Characters have to make sense and be somewhat consistent. There has to be action and resolution. To meet my deadline, I had to shrug off perfection and settle for “decent.” I was able to finish that assignment in 8 days, which brings me to my next lesson…

2. Don’t push too hard

A week to write 35,000 words is an absurd deadline. With ghostwriting, I typically set my own schedule. My boss says, “As soon as possible, but as long as it takes,” which is not especially clear, but it usually means I write between 10-20k a week. When I wrote the second half of that particular novel, I gave myself two weeks to write the 35,000. It was a much wiser choice and ultimately made for a better book. I was able to finish a little early and go back to do edits. By not pushing myself, a better product was produced.

3. Letting go is hard

So I technically already knew this. But I didn’t know it applied to writing. I could write one book in a series and someone else writes the others. For my most recent book, I was fortunate enough to write both parts. When I finished the first and wasn’t sure if I would be asked to do the second, I felt weird and abandoned by my characters. What would happen to them? I had ended the book on a slight cliffhanger and had written it so fast, there was no time to process. My characters feel like my friends: I know their likes and dislike, feel their fears and joys, and worry about their families and future. Letting go of them and leaving their fates up to a stranger is not easy. It basically proves that letting go is never easy, regardless of what it is.

4. I’m a good writer

For two of my assignments, I finished what other people started. In reading what they wrote, I realized that I’m a good writer. I pay attention to sentence structure and word choice. I know when something needs to be elaborated on. I don’t really think about myself in comparison to others when it comes to writing, but it is nice to realize I’m better than most people. That’s not an arrogant statement, it just is. I’ve spent years really caring only about writing and written a ton for high school and college, so I should hope I’ve gotten good over the years.

5. I want to own what I write

As a ghostwriter, I don’t have rights over anything I write. My name will not appear on any final products. For most of what I write, I don’t care. I wrote an erotic novel a couple months ago which I’m kind of glad I’m not associated with, not because it’s bad, it’s just not great. But then there’s the good stuff I write. I’ve written TONS of prepping books (“prepping,” as in, preparing for a large scale disaster like economic collapse, weather event, etc) and I’m basically an expert now. It would be nice if my name was on those, so I could be recognized. It’s also a pain to want to maybe post some of what I wrote, but having to remember I can’t claim credit for it anywhere online. I even had to edit this post, because I gave the plot details for the novel and realized, probably shouldn’t do that because it could be traced back to me. I also have to remember if I get a really good idea for something, I need to think about if I want to keep it for myself, or send it out there to be claimed by someone else. Ghostwriting is definitely a temporary thing for me. I want to own what I write, mistakes and all.