Nika Says : Write On!
Psychology and Life, New Edition

In this book, there lies a mystery.

I brought it with me to events for decor, an old brittle cover with an interesting smell, we’ve seen old books before. Of the acquired set, I brought “Hygiene,” “A History of England,” and “Psychology and Life (New Edition).”
This seemed a good spread for the book I myself wrote and created. They’re heavy but it’s nice to have books atop books. Hey, I wrote one of those, too. Mine’s all glossy though, and cheaper, and has more cursing in it. Cool.
Packing away my things for the night, I noticed something about Psychology and Life.

It is well debated whether we should graffiti our books. Does writing in it hurt the message? What if they are textbooks? Is it distracting in case we lend this to others? (To this I say, ridiculous. If you’ve ever picked up Ship of Theseus, you know that using a book for your own notes and messages is a story in itself.)

This book was definitely owned by:
M. Harper
PO Box 603
Huntington Beach
Oct 15 —42
My grandfather.

It cost 3.00, and having 57 points in Mech. Aptitude put him in the 95% centile (sic). He also got bored and drew in the corner once, which is a nice little thing to see but just as awful and bored as you’d expect bored-drawings to be. His percentile rank was in mechanical aptitude, not doodling in margins.
This was all confirmed after the fact because I’d never even cracked the book open before I saw the side, a large arrow with a message “p. 451.”
Huh, what could be so…?

…Not just an arrow, or a page number, but both! I’d never thought to mark the closed pages of a book before. This idea is marvelous. Such a display of mechanical aptitude.

The day’s event closing down around me, I flipped to page 451 to see the arrow point to a simple sentence on the page, marked off with a bracket. In the middle of a normal-seeming textbook paragraph, a quotation:

“Everybody is a bit queer except me and thee, and at times thou art a bit odd, methinks.”

A quick glance suggests there are no other marks on any pages.

In this book, there lies a mystery.
Why did my grandfather, of all things he could have found so important, draw such attention to an anonymous Quaker quotation?
What about this sentence spoke to him more than any other textbook I had seen on his shelf?
The enigma found me at the right time, along with the excitement of knowing they will never be answered and I can spend the rest of my life imagining “what if.”

If this burden is stopping us from creating, then there’s no reason to have it.
Speaking Out




An amazing moment when nikaharper got off topic

I can’t express how much I love this



Ones and Zeroes

Here we are, a succession of ones and zeroes, combined with commas in between.
Bar codes and reference numbers.
A single view on a single piece, and how often we feel like we don’t matter. Like our singularity cannot be counted against us because it cannot be counted at all. The world moves in blocks and sets and we are just one person who clicked a link and saw an ad and didn’t bother with it, because the ad didn’t see us. How could it? We’re not even a full number.

The world sees us in masses, groups and equations lined up according to necessity, the bare minimum and the hopeful jackpot. How many numbers are required to make a project successful, how many stars and decimals until the review score goes up, how many more tries until we get it right. It all just feels like numbers and coldness, of empty metal rooms constrained by brackets in which we are kept to be sorted, organized, measured and weighed for value. If it wasn’t you in that room, then it would be someone else.

We give ourselves away with every time we open our wallets and click “submit” with our names, we become metrics. We are the stuff that weighs success and failure in so much of the world, and even if we didn’t, the others would do it for us. Because we are singular, and we’re not the herd, we’re just counted as it.

Why feel connected to a world that is too big for you, anyway?

You matter, because you are and are also not a bar code. You are a decision and a choice, you are a number and a voice, you ARE the tipping point of “do or don’t” because there is a safety in numbers, there’s a respect in it. Maybe you’re one, but maybe you’re one thousand. You might say no, and a hundred others might say no, and that could confirm an invisible decision because it’s one hundred short of the goal.

You are one, and one thousand, and one hundred percent. We try not to be numbers, and devalue ourselves, and forget that those decisions craft the world.

Our help is invisible to us, our value is transparent and threadbare, we’re so used to being microscopic that we forget we have so much weight to our choices. Did you know, you are the reason your favorite things exist?

People measure, and analyze and record, and that you might be the one that saves something you didn’t even know needed saving.
The world is so much about that, now. It’s about individual voices, and supporting hands, it’s about proving that people are more than numbers, and that your number doesn’t need so many commas to be a success.

Use your voice, thousands speak with you. If you don’t, thousands will speak for you. Be active, be supportive, stand up, help, reach out… The world as a whole might not notice, but that’s not what makes the world go round, anyway.
Don’t assume that you’re not needed.

We’re all watching you. YOU.
Because you are one, but you are a million.




Also watch the video here.

In case it helps.

Instead of simply looking at my daily/weekly to-do list (I call it my Quest Log) I’ve also started a list of things I DID do throughout the day.

It has really calmed me in the face of daunting tasks, being able to look down and say “Actually, yes, I did all those things. My day wasn’t wasted at all.” Even if one of them is “I took a shower.” Everything counts in large amounts.

Stay sane out there, friends.

As We Are Not The Same

And who’s to say that I haven’t changed?

Back from the days when my nickname was foolish, and I kept a diary and equally shallow friends, making poor decisions on school nights, sneaking off to giggle and drink. Who’s to say that I am the same as I was then?
Certainly not me. And I’d thank you not to judge me as such.

It isn’t about star charts, or number magic, I can’t explain those things. Other people know them better, and good on them for it. Maybe we’re born with certain things that constellations can predict, maybe we have star-charts in our chests and blueprints in our minds, I wouldn’t know. I never will. I do know, though, that to scoff at me for decisions made when my age was still enjoying the novelty of two digits is a mistake.

People may not change, they may not switch like a lightbulb or transform themselves and their way of thinking in a burst, but people CAN grow. We are not one thing, and we are not it forever. Our lives react, our choices evolve, our minds twist and reach out like stretched fingers, taking in the world and grasping for reason. Do those actions, those fingers not change based upon what they hold on to?

Your sight is short and narrow with nostalgia, an emptiness you fill with candy wrappers that once represented of the sweetness of youth. Not all of us cling so tightly to this litter. In fact, not many hold such reverence for the lost years that we define ourselves by it to this day.
Beautiful pride becomes glutinous when mixed with discrimination. It oozes and colors the way you see others and their decisions.

I am not the same person I was when I was young, and it is not foolish of me to represent something greater now. It does not mean I am a traitor, a turncoat, or represent anything less than I once was, nor seek to upkeep a facade for my own betterment. I am as I am, and that is many things. Sagely hats and chiming bells tell us about ourselves, but they do not tell us everything, and they are not absolute.

I’m not like you, this is clear because of what I am saying right now. But I am not unlike you due to the colors I have worn or the decisions I now make when tempered with experience. I have no banner to wave, no pennant to fly, because I am a person and I am much more than a flag. Your zealotry shows you a tinted world of petty feuds. I am here because I stand for what we represent, but I do not stand for you.

I stand, different.


(Source: thedorseyshawexperience, via wilwheaton)

An Identification and Explanation of Westfall Murlocs

Written for fun  thanks to Nethaera’s Warcraft Writer’s Challenge. I’m pleased as punch.


Life among the waves is simple. The water provides whatever the amphibian race of murlocs need, and their settlements are mainly for show.
Primarily, they are to prove that the reeds on this side of the coast are superior to the ones over there. The waves provide at this place, it gives them clams with shiny stones inside, the best fish oil, and even the swimming is superior. A settlement glows with pride in every bound reed and rickety thatch roof. To murlocs it says, this is the best place to be, and wherever you are is garbage.

Our coastline, these structures brag, smiles upon us. We are in touch with the ways of the sea, our bounty is plentiful and superior, we commune with the water every day and it provides all there is to know, and a mile distant of here is pathetic and for heathens who wouldn’t recognize the wishes of the sea if it drenched them in it.

This is the basis of the feud between murloc Oracles and Raiders.

Westfall’s coastline stretches for miles, bordering a deep ocean and arid cliffside fields perfect for farming and harvest. The dry yet salty weather is actually wonderful for planting vineyards, but somehow the Alliance humans have not thought of that yet. Humanoids populate the verdant clifftops whether seeking to work the land and expand their agriculture, or plunder the more successful attempts.

This is of little concern to murloc-kind, beyond the errant discovery of discarded armor, which they do not wear, and the novelty of “ice cold milk” which they regard as a sort of luxury entertainment item. The Oracles protest that it is the froth of the waves caught by magic, but the less pious citizens note that it smells nothing like the intoxicating scent of rotten seaweed.

The coastal Westfall murlocs share nearly identical genetic structure and quite possibly a shared origin of their settlement on the beaches. The observed methods of murloc habitation involves swimming in from the ocean, finding an ideal place to set up shop, and promptly doing so. Factors for this might be an impressive amount of fish, aimless exhaustion from swimming in the ocean, or claiming to have found the Promised Shore due to the more shamanistic members identifying this is where the water was warmest, overlooking the fact that someone may have just peed there.

The Westfall Oracles settled on the south coast by listening to the will of the waves, accompanied by the Tidehunters who tolerated the zealotry of their magical companions because their favorite recipe for Longjaw Mud Snapper requires it to be cooked by a Smite spell.
The northern coast is inhabited by murloc Raiders, who believe that the ocean provides for them with no effort of cultivation on their part, and they found a lot of shiny ore lying around. They try their best to ignore the doings of the Coastrunners, because really, does ANYONE like those guys?

The Oracles think the Raiders are lazy.
The Raiders think the Oracles are tryhards.
And truthfully, everyone thinks the Netters are in cahoots with the Riverpaw gnolls.
In their own way, the murlocs of Westfall coexist mainly due to distraction. The Oracles are weaving spells to commune with the sea, the Tidehunters are collecting bottles of milk just in case it becomes useful, the Raiders are… raiding, as they are wont to do, and overall they’re just too busy to wage any kind of war against one another because well, have you seen all these clams? Who can find the time?

The recent tornados in Westfall have only exacerbated murloc diplomatic issues, as all sides claim it was their doing.

The coastal culture has its occasional outliers, such as Cookie, whose attraction to humankind led him to a culinary career and a peculiar fondness of Siamese cats. His name is not uttered within the ranks of any Westfall murlocs, but that is perhaps because they cannot pronounce the plosive consonant noises of the human language

What the cultures have in common is the intolerance of outsiders in any way. Raiders react as their name implies, but the Oracles claim that errant Alliance adventurers are a challenge that the land sends to the coast, testing the magnificence of the sea and its people. Clearly these are gladiators from a high power, as a single novice human can often destroy an entire camp. As the settlements remain intact, there is always hope for a brighter murloc future.

The delicate ecosystem of the sea crashes onwards, the rickety reed structures of the Westfall murlocs expand and glamorize, in case any know-nothing outsider happens by and glimpses the clear superiority of this tribe, which never happens anyway.


How stable of a career would you say being an author is?


Try balancing a soft-boiled egg on its tip. Don’t use sand or salt, don’t crack the eggshell. Just balance it, and then take your finger away.

That stable.

Here, as is often the case in jazz, an apparent paradox is at work: to sound like themselves musicians begin by trying to sound like someone else.
Afterword: Tradition, Influence and Innovation from But Beautiful, a Book about jazz by Geoff Dyer