Tuesday, January 29, 2013


EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) is a method of psychotherapy that is being used to treat various psychological issues in an unusual way. According to WebMD,

Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) is a fairly new, nontraditional type of psychotherapy. It's growing in popularity, particularly for treating post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). PTSD often occurs after experiences such as military combat, physical assault, rape, or car accidents...
At first glance, EMDR appears to approach psychological issues in an unusual way. It does not rely on talk therapy or medications. Instead, EMDR uses a patient's own rapid, rhythmic eye movements. These eye movements dampen the power of emotionally charged memories of past traumatic events...
If you suffer from PTSD, what can you expect during an EMDR treatment session -- which can last up to 90 minutes? Your therapist will move his or her fingers back and forth in front of your face and ask you to follow these hand motions with your eyes. At the same time, the EMDR therapist will have you recall a disturbing event. This will include the emotions and body sensations that go along with it...
People who use the technique argue that EMDR can weaken the effect of negative emotions. Before and after each EMDR treatment, your therapist will ask you to rate your level of distress. The hope is that your disturbing memories will become less disabling.

I became interested in EMDR after reading the accounts of others who have tried it. I learned that one need not have a therapist present in order to experience the phenomenon; one only requires a quiet place to meditate and, using self-controlled eye movement along with concentration on a source of stress or other interest, one can perceive images and events long hidden in the subconscious mind. When I tried it, I was astounded by the revelations of events in my past life that accounted for my present-day attitudes. Believe me, it works.

But I discovered that EMDR could be useful not only in solving psychological perplexities (and using them to pen my autobiography), but was quite an aid when I was writing fiction. I found that by concentrating on images, situations or fictional characters that I planned to write about, EMDR could concoct a whole host of new ideas for twists and turns that could be useful in managing the plot. I'm presently planning on writing a novel entitled "Interview with a Bum," fiction that is wide open to all kinds of plot directions. By use of EMDR, I have discovered plot angles that I'm sure I never would have dreamed of otherwise. Try it yourself!

Monday, January 21, 2013


Of all the writing genres, humor is most likely to put a smile on a reader's face. A good murder mystery can command his/her attention for hours, but unless the author weaves a bit of humor into the tale the reader will seldom burst out with laughter. So the question is this: If humor makes people happy, why write anything else?

Of course, there's more to it than such a simple conclusion. Readers love the mysteries, the twisted plots. A good author will keep his reader mesmerized for hours without a smile, yet at the end the reader will confess complete satisfaction with the experience.

When I compiled a group of short stories (Short Stories: A Small Collection from Vicksburg ) with Vicksburg as a common theme, I used a lot of humor and let my imagination run wild. A Cajun spider plotted murder, a space craft destroyed earth because it was overrun with Democrats, and a relic hunter got high on mule jerky contaminated with a fungus. One of the stories I like best involves Charlie Cox and his next door neighbor, ex-wife Bertha. They both love their animals, but they hate each other. At this point in the story war has broken out, and Bertha has managed to persuade all of Charlie's animals - his pet pig, Max, his Dachshunds, even his pet owl, Bubba, to take up residence at her place...

It is nightfall when a dispirited and lonely Charlie Cox awakens. He sits in his fortress and stares at nothing, wondering if Bertha will respond positively if he grovels. Bubba hoots from Bertha's tree next door. Charlie wonders how the hell she pulled that one off. He picks up his telephone and dials. Bertha answers. "Bertha, I want my animals back," Charlie begs. He can hear Max snorting happy pig coos in the background.
“Your animals?" Bertha shrieks. "They're my animals. If they were your animals, they'd want to be with you. But they don't."
"Bertha, you know they're my animals. Why won't you give them back?"
"You got a lesson coming, fat, bald, and homely. This ought to teach it to you."
"At least let me have Max back. Just for tonight?"
"Not a chance. You know what tomorrow is? July Fourth. And you know what that means, don't you, Charlie?” She pauses to allow her words to sink in, then continues, “Yes, sir, I got big plans for that fat little piggy."
Charlie goes wild-eyed. He grips the receiver and shudders. Charlie Cox has at this moment reached that terminus ad quem toward which Bertha has driven him steadily for over forty-six years. "Bertha!" he stutters frantically. "You couldn't! Please, I'll do anything."
"Anything? Can you bring back my cat? How about my foot? Can you fix that?"
"I'll buy you a new cat. I'll pay your doctor bills."
"Sorry, Charlie. It wouldn't be the same. But I will send you over a big slab of roast pork tomorrow afternoon. Compliments of Max." Bertha giggles and hangs up.
Charlie sits for a long while staring into the darkness, conscious of the warm, moist, reassuring odor left in the sofa by his Dachshunds, running a finger up and down the blade of the shiny knife, and wondering if Maxey boy got enough to eat tonight. Doesn't really matter now, though. Not with Bertha's plans. He listens to Bubba hoot and wonders if his conscience will bother him tomorrow. Probably not. Bertha's no animal.
He leaps finally to his feet, rejoicing in the comfort that accompanies a sound decision, and strides rapidly toward his back door. He doesn't bother sticking the butcher knife in his waist belt this time…

I had fun having Charlie get his animals back without resorting to murder, but more than anything I enjoyed inserting humor into what could have been a very bland story. If you haven't tried writing humor, by all means give it a go. You may be surprised at the creativity you can pour onto paper.