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Posts tagged ‘psychology’

10 WAYS THAT MEDITATION IS LIKE WRITING

May 22, 2014

Brooke Burgess

Meditation is like Writing

(by Brooke Burgess)

Long time, no post!  But rest assured, dear friends…I’ve been busy, albeit quiet.

And quiet is the operative term.

After receiving some helpful (and surprisingly glowing) beta reader feedback on my first novel, I completed a round of draft revisions in April and the work is currently under agent and publisher review.  Then, struggling to exercise the patience of the proverbial saints, I felt the call for another adventure in Silence.

Enter the Silence

I don’t think it’s much of a coincidence that a strong first draft of a 230-page children’s fantasy novel was completed in less that ten weeks.  I give a newfound commitment to meditative practice the lion’s share of the credit.  So, with pre-publishing edits on the first book looming, the second book in the Shadowland Saga fully outlined (title TBA soon!), and following a slow recovery from some tropical nastiness (dengue fever and Giardia parasites = good times!), the twin batteries of intuition and mindfulness were in desperate need of a recharge.

The last meditation retreat in September stirred up some long-buried emotions.  But it also rewarded me with renewed clarity, increased mental fortitude, and a powerful set of tools to apply to life and to the creative process.  And with another block of 17hr days filled with deep sits, contemplative footsteps, and radiant Metta, it quickly became clear how many parallels there are between meditation and writing.

Off the top of my (currently empty) head, here are 10 that stand out:

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A Serious Question: Can Children’s Novels Explore Extreme Emotion?

December 27, 2013

Brooke Burgess

The Dreamer and the Dreamed

Hello friends, and happy impending 2014!

With the new year fast approaching, I find another journey is on the verge of ending; I’m about to complete the first draft of my debut novel. For better or worse, I’m trying to see the accomplishment for what it is, and release any and all expectations surrounding it. And with that? Well, I’d be lying if I said that I wasn’t getting a smidgen excited. But just a smidgen…or two. ;)

I’ve been tweeting and Facebook’ing a string today about children’s stories – specifically ‘mid-grade’ novels (for 8-12 year-olds ie: Potter, Narnia, Dark Materials, Percy Jackson, etc) – and whether it’s possible for these to contain intense emotional arcs.

I’ve been reading a lot lately, and find that many of the established series limit their protagonist’s emotional range and ‘stakes’ (at least until later instalments), while choosing instead to focus on ‘world-building’, large character rosters, and causal plot triggers.

So here’s my question: do you think that issues like self-worth, abandonment, betrayal, extreme doubt/terror, and the like are exclusively an ‘adult’ domain? I ask because, with the end in sight, I’m seeing that my tale is pretty darn dense with complex emotions already — things I personally experienced as a child — and the feeling I have now is that this dynamic has entrenched itself as the bedrock of the greater (ie: 5 volume) narrative.

Without high stakes and real struggle, isn’t a story merely ‘stuff happening in an interesting place, with random people’???

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My First Guru Had Four Feet

October 15, 2013

Brooke Burgess

Old Ghost...

(the following is reposted from a submission of mine that was featured on Tiny Buddha last month, and again on Life As a Widower.  It’s a true story from my childhood, though my folks would probably say I was leaning into ‘literary license’ territory. ;)  That said, this is the unedited version of the tale, which includes a pictorial peek at my old stomping grounds.  More importantly, I want to commemorate the completion of the outline for a long-in-development series of four children’s books, directly inspired by the events recounted below.  For all of you taking part in this year’s NaNoWriMo…know that I’m there in the literary trenches with you – BB)

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I’ve always been a ‘cat guy’.  This was long before my Buddhist friends told me stories of how cats are true earthly masters, here on earth to show us the Way. Or, to demonstrate the meditative perfection of the feline purr.  Or, how the life of a cat is seen in some traditions as reward for ‘good Karma’.

When I lived in rural Nova Scotia, the house was blessed with two cats named Midge and Mooch: tabby mixes, who would come and go as they pleased, and were kind enough…if not overly affectionate.  I kept asking for a cat of my own, and my folks eventually buckled.  For my seventh birthday, I received a black and white kitten with golden eyes and a salmon-pink nose.  He took to me instantly. Love at first meow.

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Of Endings and Enlightenment (RIP)

September 10, 2013

Brooke Burgess

Of Endings and Englightenment
(I’m breaking with formalities and the usual distractions to feature not only a ‘mindful’ side of the creative process – meditation practice – but also to honour one of my most treasured personal influences.   Joanne Telfer passed away in Sept 2008, and I haven’t spoken of it publicly since.  I hope you’ll do me the kindness of enduring this lengthy and somewhat maudlin post for the sincere revelations within.   Many thanks, BB)

 

This hurts.  

So much so that I don’t want to be here anymore. 
 
All I can think is that I’d rather be with you.  Wherever that is.
You’d probably just mock me, and call it a ‘cop-out’.
 
I haven’t suffered anything compared to you.
 
But you only need to see it once, remember?

You only need to know that it’s real…

 

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It seemed like a grand idea at the time.  Self-discovery!  Personal improvement!  Spiritual progression!  Ten days at a remote Buddhist retreat in southeast Thailand.  Eighteen hours each day to focus on ‘mindfulness’, in whatever task was assigned.

The wake-up bell at 4AM.  Using candlelight to wash and dress oneself.   Bare feet on cold, wet grass.  Orion’s jewelled belt pointing the way through the jungle from a sky made of black velvet.

The sexes sit on opposite sides of the sand-floored sala.  This divide persists for the duration.  Separate dorms.  Dining areas. Walking paths.  Eye contact is discouraged.  A deeper, deafening silence.

And then the day truly begins…

‘BECOMING’

WORK
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TIMELINE:  AVAILABLE NOW!

PLATFORM:  Graphic Novel (96 pages)

GENRE:  Psychological Thriller / Horror

CLIENT:  In-House IP / Arcana Comics

Featuring the pencil and inking talents of hot newcomer Dane Cypel, the rich colour palette of Sara Machajewski, and based on an original concept by rising genre star Curry HitchbornBECOMING is my return to graphic novel storytelling after completing the original version of Broken Saints in 2003!

SYNOPSIS

When a troubled student at a remote university challenges his professor to share his ‘secret knowledge’, he is drawn into a horrifying game of life and death.  To play, he will learn that the only rule is PAIN, and that the only key to salvation is the desire to KNOW…and the WILL to overcome.  

TRAILER*

(*trailer features original music by yours truly and Tobias Tinker – cut and conceived by BB)

‘BECOMING’ to Premiere at SDCC this week!!!

July 9, 2012

Brooke Burgess

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If you’re one of the lucky ‘few’ (ie: 180,000 genre fans and professionals) making the pilgrimage to San Diego this week for Comic Con, be sure to drop by Booth # 2415 and scope out the advance release of my new graphic novel:  BECOMING.

96 Pages.  Two years in the making.  And only 50 copies available!!!

After the big show, Arcana will be releasing the book digitally (for tablets and mobiles) in three acts between August and November, with print versions hitting Amazon and major retailers before Thanksgiving.  So be sure to watch this space for the latest scoops, interviews, and reviews from around the WWW, and spread the good word :)

STOP THAT…IT’S SILLY.

April 9, 2012

Brooke Burgess

ministrysillywalks

It’s totally worth hopping into the Way-Back Machine – 1991, no less! – to witness comedic deity JOHN CLEESE discuss the Origins of Creativity.   In 30 minutes, he digs into the psyche’s soil to examine an individual’s creative process, group-think and collaboration, and offers more than a few shiny nuggets of sage advice.

(though I must admit…I kept expecting a moose to appear somewhere in the Scandinavian subtitles ;) )

BECOMING…

August 18, 2010

Brooke Burgess

"The Lessons we learn are the People we meet..."

COVER:  DR MAGUS IN MED CLOSE-UP

Stepping towards us out of the darkness is the story’s ‘antagonist’ – DR MAGUS (50’ish) – with a slender, hawkish face, receding hairline, and graying temples.  We see him from waist/lower-chest up, lit by a harsh and creepy spotlight from below.  He is wearing a tattered black suitcoat (or dark tweed) with rips and cuts in it, as if from a struggle.  The white dress shirt underneath is torn open, and stained with sweat and splotches of BLOOD.

Wrapped and hanging around his neck – where a tie would normally be – is a HEAVY CHAIN.  There is a fat PADLOCK where the tie’s ‘knot’ would sit.  His hands are raised and adjusting the ‘knot’; it’s as if he’s looking in a mirror and fixing his tie, preparing to go to work.  His hands are covered in fresh CUTS, like the work of animal’s claws or a woman’s fingernails.

Magus is wearing thin-rimmed GLASSES, whose reflection almost hides his piercing black eyes.  The lenses have small jagged CRACKS in them, and we can see the reflection of FIRE in the glass.  He is arching an eyebrow slightly with a COLD SMILE – it is a look of power and certainty and psychological danger; this is a man who has nothing left to lose…

and he likes it that way.

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