From zero to three novels in under two years: was this a good idea? (Part Two)

brain cellOn my blog for the novel y1 I shared a few thoughts last night about finishing my third book and what I though of each of my three novels. The introspection was promoted, I think, by the vertigo induced by going from no creative writing at all (except what goes on naturally in my head all the time) to writing three novels in two years. I’m still not totally sure why I was suddenly compelled to write so much so fast.  An aging body and new sense of mortality? The added free time that suddenly comes with grown children and no living parents?  A letting go of my career ambitions in my “day job” as a geophysicist?  Probably all of the above. But mostly, I had this story to tell and all of the sudden I was compelled to tell it while I still remembered it all. (That’s a picture up there of my brain cell trying to remember.)

writingLast night’s thoughts prompted me to ask myself two questions. 1. Would these have been better books if I had spent more time writing them? 2. Would the rest of my life be better if I had taken a more laid back approach?

To the first, I think the answer is only marginally. Writing fast and obsessively is clearly my way and I can’t create using someone else’s style.  I suppose that I could have edited more, but frankly I’d gotten to the point where I would change words and then change them back again, so any added improvements from those last bouts of editing were barely incremental. The books might have benefited from sitting on a shelf for a couple of years and then being looked at with fresh eyes, but there isn’t a universe in which Sherrie Cronin behaves that way.

saladAs to the second, I am a lucky person.  I share my home and my life with a partner who is not only supportive of this effort, but who thinks it is kind of cool and who brings me plates of healthy food so I won’t live on cereal and popcorn. My children are remarkably independent people, my sister drops her own work to help me with cover ideas, and my job seldom infringes on my free time. It’s true. I’ve been dealt a great a hand. My biggest issues are lack of sleep and lack of exercise, both of which I swear to handle better for the next three novels.sleep

Oh yes, there are three more coming. I’m already so excited about the next one, and I really want to start it tonight, but I promised myself I would get more sleep.  So I start it on Saturday. I can’t wait.

Understanding compassion

At the Mind and Life XXVI Conference-Mind, Brain and Matter: Critical Conversations Between Buddhist Thought and Science

At the Mind and Life XXVI Conference-Mind, Brain and Matter: Critical Conversations Between Buddhist Thought and Science (click to visit CCARE Facebook page)

“If you want others to be happy, practice compassion.
If you want to be happy, practice compassion.”
–– His Holiness the Dalai Lama ––

My empathic hero of xo finds that the more she understands how others feel, the more compassionate she becomes. As a young woman, she hopes that someday her empathic gifts will be studied and understood every bit as well the physical sciences that she also loves.

I was surprised to discover today that Stanford University has a Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education and they are trying to understanding empathy. According to their webpage they are ” striving to create a community of scholars and researchers, including neuroscientists, psychologists, educators and philosophical and contemplative thinkers around the study of compassion.” They also have a facebook page filled with fascinating links, photos and art.

As Lola makes the transition from empath to telepath, she is concerned about whether she will be able to maintain her concern and compassion for others with the barrage of suffering now coming at her.  She worries that maybe a true telepath can only survive by becoming cold and isolated.

handsImagine my surprise at finding a link on the CCARE website to an interesting article by C. Daryl Cameron called How to Increase your Compassion Bandwidth.  It comes from the University of California at Berkeley’s Greater Good Science Center and it deals with the exact issue of compassion overload, and the ways to cope with it in an age of electronic communication that sort of makes us all psudo telepaths. Also please note in the photo above the wonderful mixture of technology and humans striving for wisdom. I love to see how the two can indeed go hand in hand. 🙂

The opposite of anger

From the blog "Caged by Freedom".  Click image to visit.

From the blog “Caged by Freedom”. Click image to visit.

Would it be harder for a real telepath to to hate someone? To kill someone? These are premises I explored in my novel x0, and so I was delighted the find the quote below.

The opposite of anger is not calmness, its empathy.  Mehmet Oz