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Sam stood up angrily; his eyes vicious.

“You can’t fucking do this!” he shouted. “We’ve been starving, dying of thirst and avoiding disease! My goddamn arms have been practically blistering from whatever the fuck kind of God forsaken disease I have and I’m not taking this shit! I’ m fucking done! I’m fucking over it! I’m not going to fucking-” he cried. His rage turned to terror. 

“Fuck! Someone get some water! My fucking arms are on fire!” There was nothing there. He stretched his lanky arms out and shook them vigorously, his face contorting grotesquely. Rob’s head pounded harder. He was about collapse.

As Rob stared on in shock, he saw a glow.

A flame a sparked. 

Then another.

A crackling ensued and a calmness took the breath of all in the room. Before Rob could process anything, Sam’s arms were engulfed.

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Welcome to my Mind Palace

Despair furnace room

Being an artist of any kind is a curious sort of thing.

Painter.

Musician.

Scientist.

Poet.

Writer.

Graphic artist.

Computer programmer.

Mathematician.

Whether your artwork is tangible, literary, or makes its home solely in your mind, chances are you do things a touch bit differently. Currently, I am building a “mind palace.” I hope to use this memorization technique as a more powerful tool – one which will annihilate any thoughts which are detrimental to my ultimate success. I started building it yesterday. I have two rooms.

In my study, there sits empty bookshelves (where I will place books I enjoy greatly, with the titles and authors listed) and a small table next to a nice, comfy leather chair, upon which there is a calabash pipe. 

There sits a calabash pipe because I couldn’t remember what the “Sherlock Holmes'” pipe was called. It is my first inventory for my memory.

Across from this room there is a room. It is pitch black and has only two things: a furnace and a punching bag. The furnace is where I will burn images I hold in my head that I loathe so that I may abolish those feelings. Certain feelings can be a driver for me, such as anger. Despair and jealousy are two emotions I will never be keen to possess and any mental images pertaining to those emotions will be burned slowly.

I am actually finding it to be a useful tactic. If you have a great imagination, building your own special mental place is a great way to organize your thoughts. If you’re like me, and think in streams of images, it is nice to be able to destroy them, and the feelings associated with them, so that you may move on and do something a little better than making yourself feel terrible.

Having a cluttered mind is like having a cluttered house. My mind is a hoarder which is why I am unable to escape my mind sometimes. Clarity is the key to everything because it allows you to see the horizon. These aren’t simply pretty words or frivolous fortune cookie phrases – it’s the truth that I live by. Having an inescapable mind hinders you from ultimately fulfilling your potential. Our minds are equipped with all kinds of devices that make us unable to push the envelope and succeed. Fear of failure, rejection, self loathing. Why are there so few people that become ultimately successful?

If you take a look at all of the most innovative successful people of the world, they met failure time and time again. Their parents, friends, family members, peers, professors said it could not be done. 

Anything can be achieved. People seem to deny this fact, but history suggests otherwise. What cannot be achieved? That which one thinks cannot be achieved.

Did Albert Einstein think that his ideas were false? Nay.

Did Henry Ford see his plan as one that would never see fruition? Nay.

Did Nikola Tesla think a death ray couldn’t be created? Nay.

So now that we have the “what can be done” established, we must look at the who.

Why not you? Are you not smart enough? Do you have a memory that isn’t excellent? Are you not creative?

Identify the first mental block before looking at how to overcome it.

Anything can be taught (or nearly anything). If you have a poor memory, definitely create your mind palace. It can be on a lake, where you kayak by different poles with words, definitions, pictures.

It can be inside a giant marshmallow.

It can be birds in the sky cawing words, melodies, objects.

It can literally be anything. I’m just now starting to think about these techniques, and I will discuss my findings later.

Perhaps there will even be pictures.

Reality Check for Writers

A moment we all have

No, it isn’t time to switch to the flamethrower. In fact, stop burning those piles of papers. Don’t think about how happy you’d be if you just burned your desk right now.

Don’t be angry you haven’t made millions yet, or that you have writers block. Trust me, burning an abstract idea can be tough- I’ve tried.

So close…

You don’t write because you want to . You write because you have to. I’ve had this idea for years (specifically since the 5th grade).

Yet so, so far.

One day, I just sat down. I wrote in my Harry Potter journal. I wrote about a love lost, the beautiful glint of his brown eyes, his nerdy love of video games.

Love caused me to write.

Anger caused me to write.

Emotions, in general, force me to write. 

I don’t always want to write. I need to write. If I don’t write, I can’t function. I can’t hold things in. It doesn’t matter who sees it, or if I ever see it again. The thing is, it needs to be out there.

You don’t get paid to breathe. You don’t get paid to drink water. You do it because you need to survive. Survival doesn’t come from a monetary gain- it comes from a biological, sometimes all encompassing need.

If you stop writing because you begin to think it isn’t worth it because my well-researched biography of Trotsky isn’t going to sell, throw that idea in the furnace. Go ahead. We all have our little mental furnaces where we burn stuff (especially us pyros).

Keep writing about how the drops glisten on the pine trees in the morning. Keep writing that mystery where no one knows who poisoned the leader of a radical faction by lacing a meatball with arsenic.

You’ll feel a lot better if you do. Just rid yourself of the ridiculous notion that you have a choice. As writers, we don’t have choices here. We need to do what our bodies tell us to.

Maybe your idea will make millions. Maybe it won’t.

If you don’t keep churning out ideas, you’ll never get anywhere.

Nothing ventured, nothing gained.