Mandy Eve-Barnett's Blog for Readers & Writers

My Book News & Advocate for the Writing Community ©

Humans Don’t Acclimatize, They Destroy…

November 25, 2013
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Acclimatize – definition: to adapt oneself to one’s surroundings, environment, or climate

Most of us are familiar with how animal species have adapted to their environments. As a David Attenborough fan, I have watched numerous programs where he has shown these in glorious color. I will not go into the hundreds of adaptations here but this link is a great source of information, if you are interested. http://www.bbc.co.uk/nature/adaptations

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It is the adaptations of the human species, which concerns me. Earlier civilizations lived with their surroundings and maintained the natural balance. As humans developed and formed larger and larger groups, this changed and we began manipulating our surroundings to suit us. Areas of the planet previously uninhabited due to the climate or conditions were invaded and structures built to accommodate. Resources were, and still are, ravaged. Vast areas of the planet are now under concrete and this ‘invasion’ is still going on.

Humans adapt their environment in any way they can. From the sewing of furs, inventing shoes, discovering how to shear sheep to make wool for weaving clothing, taming fire, domesticating animals, and inventing agriculture, there has been an explosion of adaptations. Also housing became more and more sophisticated from caves to mud huts to brick buildings and wooden structures with insulation. Another discovery was herbs and how they could be used either for culinary or medicinal uses, and which were poisonous. Tools have developed and improved from split rocks with sharp edges to battery powered tools for every aspect of building. Yes, we are a ‘clever’ animal but at what cost?

Unfortunately, this behavior is continuing even though there is scientific proof that human impact on the planet and its inhabitants is destroying the only ‘home’ we have. Obviously, we can not unlearn our inventions and expectations for ourselves – everyone wants a nice home to live in and easy access to food and clothing.

What is the answer? That is the billion dollar question!

Blood Moon…

May 8, 2013
mandyevebarnett


Sanguine – definition: 1) blood-red in color 2) having a temperament of full-bloodiness; liveliness, cheerfulness; 3) confident : optimistic

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This image will more than likely elicit thoughts of vampires and werewolves – we seem to be in the age of such beasts.  You may also think of the Red planet. I have always loved the lunar cycle but especially crystal clear nights under a full ‘harvest’ moon. It’s golden tones are quite magical.

A red moon is the result of an lunar eclipse. The sun’s rays pass through the earth’s atmosphere when all three planet’s are aligned hence the red colour.

Apologies that this post is so short but I woke up in a lot of back pain…I hope everyone else has a great day.

Bayou…Share Your Poem…

March 18, 2013
mandyevebarnett


Bayou – definition: a marshy or slowly flowing body of water (as a stream on inlet), especially in the southeast USA.

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There’s something about a bayou that shrouds it in mystery. Maybe it is the mists floating just above the surface, the eerie stillness or the sudden lash of a crocodile’s tail as it submerges into the still water. Contorted tree roots, hanging boughs and moss covered trunks  conceal creatures and structures. Here nature fights for survival against man’s invasion. Even when parts of its area are claimed by human development, nature shows her power and displeasure. Floods and animal ‘invasions’ are common. Let’s face it marshy land isn’t really a suitable base to build on and displaced wildlife has to go somewhere!

The word inspired me to write this poem – why not share one of your own?

BAYOU

 A faint splash

Ripples increasing

Laps against shore

And tree trunk

 

Mists obscure

Floating veils

Bow breaking through

The curtain

 

Tendrils clasp

And catch

Unease grips visitors

At natures mercy

 

Disorienting channels

Eerie noises

Echo’s distorting directions

Hiding route home

 

The bayou’s secrets

And untold stories

Hidden from view

And prying eyes

Have a good week everyone – I trust your muse will be generous.

Comet’s Near Miss – A Learning Tool…?

February 21, 2013
mandyevebarnett


Trajectory – definition: the curve that an object travels along through space (such as a bullet, a rocket, or a planet in its orbit)

Igor-Zh

What a shame this word was not on my desk diary a couple of days ago, it would have been perfect for the spectacular but frightening event in Russia. Having a massive piece of rock hurtling towards earth certainly shakes our false sense of security doesn’t it? At any time a projectile could plunge to earth devastating everything in its path or at the very least showering molten fragments into the atmosphere with an accompanying sonic boom.

Reviewing all the data that flooded the Internet and news programs made me realize why we like disaster movies so much. In every one there is a seemingly insurmountable problem that is neatly resolved at the end. You can probably think of quite a number of them without much thought. We humans are portrayed as being able to overcome aliens, the earth’s core becoming unstable, mutant animals and a host of other threats. But when it really comes down to it, we have no answer for space rocks apart from tracking them and hoping they miss. A sobering thought. No futuristic spacecraft to shoot them down or massive laser beams exploding them thousands of miles above the earth – but lots of material for ideas!

If we use the comet as the basis of a story, there are a few options. We could start with the object approaching and how the inhabitants react and plan, or the big burning ball could be viewed as a sign and worshipped or we could write about how the survivors deal with the after effects of the impact. Just one event can spark many view points and scenarios. Which view would you choose?

When we develop our stories we need to give our readers the same form of scenario – the ‘normal’ life for our characters, the obstacle they need to overcome and ultimately  the resolution. The greater we can make the odds, the better we engage our readers. Obviously, we don’t all write disaster type stories but every hero or heroine needs to conquer something or someone. Finding a new perspective or view point in which to tell our story makes it unique even if the basic scenario has been ‘covered’ before. This is something I did with my children’s story, Rumble’s First Scare. Instead of the usual Halloween – people are scared by monster – I viewed the night’s events of All Hallows Eve from the monster’s perspective. Rumble experiences his very first scaring expedition.

http://www.dreamwritepublishing.ca/retail/books/rumbles-first-scare


Rumble's First Scare

Similarities Between Gardening and Writing…

January 11, 2013
mandyevebarnett


I may be stretching it a bit with today’s word.

Perennial 1) present at all seasons of the year 2) continuing to live from year to year 3) recurring regularly: permanent

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I have inherited some of my Mother’s expertise when it comes to plants but in no way, shape or form, am I, as green thumbed as she is. From a handful of seeds she can nurture a whole garden of flowers, vegetables and shrubs, which are healthy, vibrant and productive. My gardening is limited to digging a hole, placing the victim, umm plant, into it with a generous helping of plant food, watering for several days and then letting nature take its course. As for in-door plants I do tend to have them growing happily for many years – so I must be doing something right. Case in point, a friend gave me a sleigh shaped planter three Christmas’ ago and it’s still lush and green.  Real plants are a treasure in the dark winter months, just their aroma can transport you to summer warmth. We all know the benefits of having real plants in the house – oxygenating – but they are so much more. As you can see from this list from http://www.bayeradvanced.com

5 Benefits of Houseplants
When you embellish interior spaces with houseplants, you’re not just adding greenery. These living organisms interact with your body, mind and home in ways that enhance the quality of life.

Breathing Easier
When you breathe, your body takes in oxygen and releases carbon dioxide. During photosynthesis, plants absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen. This opposite pattern of gas use makes plants and people natural partners. Adding plants to interior spaces can increase oxygen levels.

At night, photosynthesis ceases, and plants typically respire like humans, absorbing oxygen and releasing carbon dioxide. A few plants – orchids, succulents and epiphytic bromeliads – do just the opposite, taking in carbon dioxide and releasing oxygen. Place these plants in bedrooms to refresh air during the night.

Releasing Water
As part of the photosynthetic and respiratory processes, plants release moisture vapor, which increases humidity of the air around them. Plants release roughly 97 percent of the water they take in. Place several plants together, and you can increase the humidity of a room, which helps keeps respiratory distresses at bay. Studies at the Agricultural University of Norway document that using plants in interior spaces decreases the incidence of dry skin, colds, sore throats and dry coughs.

Purifying Air
Plants remove toxins from air – up to 87 percent of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) every 24 hours, according to NASA research. VOCs include substances like formaldehyde (present in rugs, vinyl, cigarette smoke and grocery bags), benzene and trichloroethylene (both found in man-made fibers, inks, solvents and paint). Benzene is commonly found in high concentrations in study settings, where books and printed papers abound.

Modern climate-controlled, air-tight buildings trap VOCs inside. The NASA research discovered that plants purify that trapped air by pulling contaminants into soil, where root zone microorganisms convert VOCs into food for the plant.

Improving Health
Adding plants to hospital rooms speeds recovery rates of surgical patients, according to researchers at Kansas State University. Compared to patients in rooms without plants, patients in rooms with plants request less pain medication, have lower heart rates and blood pressure, experience less fatigue and anxiety, and are released from the hospital sooner.

The Dutch Product Board for Horticulture commissioned a workplace study that discovered that adding plants to office settings decreases fatigue, colds, headaches, coughs, sore throats and flu-like symptoms. In another study by the Agricultural University of Norway, sickness rates fell by more than 60 percent in offices with plants.

Sharpening Focus
A study at The Royal College of Agriculture in Circencester, England, found that students demonstrate 70 percent greater attentiveness when they’re taught in rooms containing plants. In the same study, attendance was also higher for lectures given in classrooms with plants.

How Many Plants?
The recommendations vary based on your goals.

To improve health and reduce fatigue and stress, place one large plant (8-inch diameter pot or larger) every 129 square feet. In office or classroom settings, position plants so each person has greenery in view.
To purify air, use 15 to 18 plants in 6- to 8-inch diameter pots for an 1,800-square-foot house. That’s roughly one larger plant every 100 square feet. Achieve similar results with two smaller plants (4- to 5-inch pots).

How is your green thumb? Any tips for a lackadaisical gardener?

When I read the definition for perennial, I was struck by how my writing and the love of words stays with me no matter the season or my location. Even on my Palm Springs vacation, you could find me typing away in the early morning before our various excursions and then again in the evening, recapping our day.  It is an addiction to write – wanting those words to flow onto the paper or computer screen and flourishing.

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As each year passes, I find new styles, genres and skills are added to my repertoire, each a new stem, branch or flower to the fundamental root system of my passion for the written word.  Every segment has a part to play and makes a wonderfully intriguing and enticing whole.  Some work may bud and flower quickly, then fall to the way side, others will form into significant pieces and grow strong and robust.

As I was searching for some nice photos for this article I happened upon an interesting Wikipedia site, detailing The Perennial Philosophy. I must admit I had no idea of this research and so detoured for a read. One quotation struck me:

“If one is not oneself a sage or saint, the best thing one can do, in the field of metaphysics, is to study the works of those who were, and who, because they had modified their merely human mode of being, were capable of a more than merely human kind and amount of knowledge.”

 My interpretation on this philosophy is, we all have the ability to modify ourselves and grow beyond our self imposed expectations and capabilities. We can develop into a many faceted and established writer, with or without the publishing contract. After all we can survive and flourish without the plant food but if given it we are able to bloom.

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