Friday, March 6, 2009

Since a picture is worth a thousand words...

I think today or tomorrow is the ninth anniversary of my divorce from my younger child's father. I don't remember the number of the date. I do remember it was Ash Wednesday that year, because I planned it that way.

I think today or tomorrow is also what would have been the thirty-fifth anniversary of my first marriage, to my elder child's father.

It seems to me both these events occurred within a day of one another. I'm very bad with dates, just as I am with names. I do remember The Ides of March have been a recurring motif in my life story.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

I'm bored now.

Everyone besides me (and my assistant) is at a conference because I had a meeting this morning which meant I couldn't attend. And because I have a HUGE meeting and presentation to prepare for that occurs tomorrow. A whole academic year's work will conclude tomorrow with that meeting!

But now, at late afternoon, everything's ready. And now I'm bored. I cannot wait for this day to end!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Creativity determines sexual success

The research, by the University of Newcastle upon Tyne and the Open University in the UK, found that professional artists and poets have around twice as many sexual partners as those who do not indulge in these creative activities.

The authors also delved into the personalities of artists and poets and found they shared certain traits with mentally ill patients. These traits were linked with an increased sexual activity and are thought to have evolved because they contribute to the survival of the human species.

Some 425 British men and women, including a sample of visual artists and poets and schizophrenic patients, were surveyed for the report, which is published today in the academic journal, The Proceedings of the Royal Society (B). Although creative types have long been associated with increased sexual activity, this the first time that this link has been proved by research.

Study participants filled in questionnaires which asked about their degree of creative activity in poetry and visual art, their psychiatric history, and their history of sexual encounters since the age of 18. They were also required to answer questions on a ‘schizotypy inventory’, a breakdown of characteristics linked with schizophrenic patients.

The average number of sexual partners for professional artists and poets was between four and ten, compared with a mean of three for non-creative types. Statistics also showed the number of average sexual partners rose in line with an increase in the amount of creative activity a person took part in.

The lead author of the study, Dr Daniel Nettle, lecturer in psychology with Newcastle University’s School of Biology, suggested two key reasons for the findings. He said: “Creative people are often considered to be very attractive and get lots of attention as a result. They tend to be charismatic and produce art and poetry that grabs people’s interest.

“It could also be that very creative types lead a bohemian lifestyle and tend to act on more sexual impulses and opportunities, often purely for experience’s sake, than the average person would. Moreover, it’s common to find that this sexual behaviour is tolerated in creative people. Partners, even long-term ones, are less likely to expect loyalty and fidelity from them.”

Dr Nettle added that the results suggested an evolutionary reason for why certain personality traits that serious artists and poets were found to share with schizophrenic patients perpetuated in society.

He added: “These personality traits can manifest themselves in negative ways, in that a person with them is likely to be prone to the shadows of full-blown mental illness such as depression and suicidal thoughts. This research shows there are positive reasons, such as their role in mate attraction and species survival, for why these characteristics are still around.”

Yet although some 'schizotypal' traits are linked with high numbers of partners, schizophrenic patients do not experience this level of sexual activity. These people tend to suffer from acute social withdrawal and emotional flatness - characteristics that the researchers found were linked with a reduced number of sexual partners.

SOURCE INFORMATION: ‘Schizotypy, creativity and mating success in humans’ Daniel Nettle and Helen Keenoo, Proceedings of the Royal Society B, November 2005. Doi:10.1098/rspb.2005.3349

Monday, March 2, 2009

No Camille for me this spring.

I hadn't much wanted to talk about it here, my ongoing health issue. Today was the long-dreaded day when I went for the follow-up imaging, and prepared myself for bad news, as I've had in the past after the imaging, and then the scheduling of a biopsy, and then the torturous weeks of waiting for the biopsy day to arrive. And then the hellish days of waiting for the biopsy results.

Good news: there's no change from the imaging six months ago, which equals No Biopsy. I'm off the hook for one year, told to "keep on keeping on" with my normal healthy lifestyle. I have a separate, early June blood work retest to do, but was told that one was hardly abnormal and not to lose sleep over it. If the June blood tests come back okay, I'm off the hook on all accounts until summer of 2010. If you know me in real life and knew the scary thing I'd be enduring alone this afternoon, thank you for your thoughts and prayers and good energy today. It is always a little sad and frightening to go through this by myself, but you know I prefer to do it alone.

But tonight, I'm so relieved. I've felt since I returned from Italy in January as if I couldn't or shouldn't make any long-range plans until I had these medical test results. Now I know I have a year-long dance card, at least, to start filling in without fear of the issue for which I'm being poked and prodded. I could, of course, be hit at any moment by a Mack truck, crumple like a sheet of paper with a heart attack, etc. But I'm unlikely to be felled by this particular ailment. So I'll start working on the next book, make jewelry out of found bottle caps, make Joseph Cornell boxes, sew a nomad dress or whatever else appeals to my imagination now that I know I have some time.

Coraline: highly recommended for some

I took the entire Jimmie/Cindy clan on Friday. Dark. Frightening. Autumn nearly climbed up Jimmie as the movie got darker and darker and sadder and sadder. Maya had read the book and so was prepared. I hadn't read it, and so was a blank slate -- but the book's on its way to me now, courtesy Amazon.

I really loved it. Don't know that it's appropriate for "normal" children under about the age of ten, though. Could inspire nightmares. Could inspire nightmares in unsuspecting adults, too. There was something heavy in there about mothering and mother/daughter relationships that was more than just a little upsetting. Not exactly a sick puppy, but not joyful in its darkness like Nightmare Before Christmas, for instance.