Can I call you friend?

Can I call you friend? It’s a curious little question, one apparently more complicated than I thought it was.

Here’s the article that sparked this musing:  Only half your friends actually like you.

This study bugs me for many reasons. First and foremost, the assumptions and value judgments floating around the margins were not addressed in any way, and the conclusions have been rolling around in my brain ever since and bumping into other thoughts.

These studies didn’t define friendship for the participants. The study administrators used a word they assume has the same meaning for all participants. That’s a big assumption. Huge. Big enough to bury the methodology in muddied responses. If you want to compare opinions of a fruit and half your subjects think they’re rating oranges and half think they’re rating grapes, are the results meaningful? I say no.

Nasty, tricksy things, assumptions. But, okay. Lets say we accept the (absurd) premise that everyone was operating with the same criteria when they rated their “friendships.” The conclusions still baffle me.

These studies found that perceived affection was unequal, and also that people are lousy at predicting the affection levels of others towards themselves. In other words, people overestimated how much other people liked them in ways related to how much they liked the person they were evaluating.

Let’s put this another way: studies show that if Beverly likes Ginny at a level of 10, she assumes Ginny likes her at level 10. But the reality is many of the Ginnys of the world only like their Beverlys at a level of 4. Okay, fine so far, right?

WRONG. The studies conclude that this is A Problem.  The horror! People like some of their friends more than they’re liked back? The inequity! /sarcasm

The conclusions–that unequal affection is inherently bad–reduces the value of a friendship to  a binary. Their conclusion is that anything other than full reciprocity of affection means the friendship itself is flawed.

I find this an immensely puzzling conclusion. It runs counter to my entire experience of friendships. It seems reductive and devaluing.

Friendships come in as many different shapes and varieties as humans do. The conclusion itself — that friendships are a singular type of relationship which somehow cheats one side if it’s not evenly mutual like a simple business transaction…it bugs me.

I like a lot of people. I consider them my friends if I like them. I  don’t ever expect to be liked back. (when it happens it’s a perpetual surprise and pleasure.) Why can’t I call someone friend simply because I like and respect them?  Why should my appreciation obligate them to hold me in precisely equal regard?

That whole idea seems silly to me. It even smacks of blackmail.  Consider this statement: “I like you, therefore you must like me back just as much, or else we aren’t friends at all!”

Does that sound odd to anyone else? It puzzles and itches at me, and so I shared it here.

(Note: I am not looking for anyone to “explain” the study to me. I understand its point I simply disagree with it on a visceral level.)


Not tired of my words yet? My published works are available on Amazon and all the other usual online retailers, or you can take free peeks at them on my website on this page 

Science-fiction thrillers, science-fiction romance, and science fantasy, full length novels and shorter works. So many choices! Here be direct links to the published stories that have escaped the confines of Amazon. 

Extraordinary books2read.com/u/4N19e6
Powerhouse books2read.com/u/3kZ1VW
Nightmares books2read.com/u/3yPExv
Lockdown books2read.com/u/3GM2Xn

Free Friday Fiction – Out of Darkness

Great stuff!

Paws4Thought

OutofDarkness

Hi everyone I’m excited to announce that I’m part of a group of awesome local authors who got together to produce this anthology of fantasy and paranormal tales. My story in this collection is my werecat tale, Griddlebone, which ties in with book 3 of the P.A.W.S. Saga, Umbrae.

You can also read cool stories by Brad R. Cook, Jennifer Stolzer, Donald R. Van Stockum Jr., and Ryan Patrick Freeman.

And the best news this anthology is FREE to download. So pick up your PDF copy today and dive into some new worlds. You never know you might just find your next new favorite author.

griddlebone

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storysculpting header 2 brushes and paints

Sweeping Away Distractions

I have a serious inertia problem. Getting started is a bitch. Switching tasks is worse.

Yes, I know, concentration is hard for everyone. All the same, those who know me IRL will attest to my epic difficulties settling AND my amazing ability to barnacle once I’ve landed.

A high inertia score does have its upside. I have been known to forget meals and forego sleep entirely while immersed in a Big Doing. I can be nigh-impossible to pry loose from a task once settled. The trick these days is avoiding the perils of the internet.

I do not blame the internet for my inertia, no. Back in the day, I could channel-surf for hours. I could waste hours reading the newspaper. I would clean things. But unlike those old-school distractions, online bread & circuses ars ubiquitous and inescapable. It’s not only on my computer, it’s on my phone. My reading tablet. It tempts from all sides, at all hours, and willpower is a finite resource.

The nasty reality is that I either lose creative time to social media and my various online obsessions, or I can forfeit creative energy to the effort of ignoring those temptations.

Or I could enlist the aid of artificial intelligence in my fight to focus.  That’s the route I’ve taken. I now have an internet-blocking program to  fight the good fight for me.

I forked over ducats for the Freedom app. (Green butterfly logo.)  It has a simple interface, seamless cross-device compatibility, and it was the most customizable program I found. See, I need certain kinds of internet access for many aspects of my creative work, from use of the online thesaurus to historical fact-checking etc, but I need to be prevented from channel-surfing my way through other sites.

Why that app? There are pro’s and cons to all the internet blockers. Better bloggers than me have written excellent comparisons. I will not attempt to top them. A search on “reviews of apps to cut down on distractions” or “internet blocking app review” will net a fine selection. I did a lot of research. (Yes, I saw the irony in spending time online researching ways to spend less time online…but it had to be done.)

The Freedom app’s best aspect for me is the ability to schedule by day, time and device — I do not even have to will myself to turn on the distraction-remover. It happens automatically. And if I need-need-need to override it, I can do so on the phone or tablet easily.  But mostly I don’t.

I do not regret the hours I spend diving down figurative internet rabbit holes after odd facts & critical resources, and I am infinitely improved by time spent with the generous amazing folk who have befriended me in the virtual world.

But. Oh, BUT.

The online party never ends, and I can’t stay  24/7/365.  I have reading to do, I have plants to water,  I have a cat to brush…

I have stories to write. And now I have more time and more energy for them.


Not tired of my words yet? My published works are available on Amazon and all the other usual online retailers, or you can take free peeks at them on my website on this page 

Science-fiction thrillers, science-fiction romance, and science fantasy, full length novels and shorter works. So many choices! Here be direct links to the published stories that have escaped the confines of Amazon. 

Extraordinary books2read.com/u/4N19e6
Powerhouse books2read.com/u/3kZ1VW
Nightmares books2read.com/u/3yPExv
Lockdown books2read.com/u/3GM2Xn

The Latest Peek at Heartwood

Look! My book has structure!

 Screen Shot 2017-05-01 at 12.46.51 PM

For those curious, I’ve begun work on the second chapter in Book 4. Won’t be long before the writing part of this novel is done-done-done. <pause for small happy-dance> That’s why I got the itch to parse out a full Table of Contents.

This one has been a long time in the making, longer than most of my novels, but every chapter so far has passed Beloved Alpha Reader’s stringent QA standards. I have high hopes that Heartwood will go from final draft to print quickly.

But wait, the strawman asks! How can it be a final draft if I’m not done writing it in the first place?  Excellent question.  The short answer is: I am a rebel-heretic-apostate when it comes to discovery writing. I don’t do “write now, edit later.”  I write. I fuss. I finish, and that’s it. (Gasps of horror all around, right?)

Well, sorta.

Long answer: I don’t write out a draft to tell myself the story and then polish up the result over and over (and over) the way all my creative writing classes and most critique groups insisted successful writers “should” write. I set up a bare frame–starting point, resolution, and cast–and start weaving. As I build the tapestry, I also add in, pull out and reweave and embroider elements as I go. By the time I reach The End, my finished manuscript can’t accurately be called a first draft. Technically it’s somewhere between the fiftieth and umpty-hundredth draft. Yes, even the last scene.

There will also be several edits between draft completion and publication, involving more additions/excisions/revisions for clarity & development.  But with rare exceptions my tales remain  fundamentally the same.

So a geological scale, transition from draft to proof to publication is practically instantaneous. On a human scale, it’ll be months yet, but still–that’s not long in the book world. Not long at all.

Arrgh. Cover art. Right. Being this close means I need cover art soon! I’d better get on that.


Want more of my words? My published works are available on Amazon and all the other usual online retailers, or you can take free peeks at them on my website on this page 

Science-fiction thrillers, science-fiction romance, and science fantasy, full length novels and shorter works. So many choices! Here be direct links to the published stories that have escaped the confines of Amazon. 

Extraordinary books2read.com/u/4N19e6
Powerhouse books2read.com/u/3kZ1VW
Nightmares books2read.com/u/3yPExv
Lockdown books2read.com/u/3GM2Xn