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January, 2008

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Hallucinations INduced Online
Boredom or brave new visual world?
By  Mark London

Like debris on the beach, banal coffeshop banter is fodder for writers imagination.
here are times, listening to people talk about their lives -- while comfortably ensconced at my local coffee shop -- when  Iím reduced to hypnologic hallucinations.

Braving the verbal flotsam of detail after detail, and the minutia of their minute-by-minute recollection of some minor occurrence, helps me jettison most of my stress and apprehension and causes my creativity to percolate.

Of course, I'm nodding politely, muttering appropriately sympathetic noises as required during their oral excretions. A single sentence or word, however, often triggers for me a conscious visual escape to a semi-reality, while I appear to retain contact with the person in front of me.

A developmental problem from childhood? Possibly. I believe it used to be called daydreaming. More than likely, though, it is an induced state of boredom upon which the opportunity for me to actually work sans pen is built.

These days the Internet offers just as much useless debris as my coffee shop. With billions of pages, 10 million blogs, hundreds of thousands of encyclopedic, dictionary and reference sites, surfing the web most days is the same as sitting in my coffee shop, the exception being volume.

Allowing your thoughts to wander when someone is talking to you is, yes, downright rude. But as writers we are afforded our eccentricities and use this very same quaint behaviour to entertain or educate others at a later point in time.

Good storytellers tell gripping tales and rivet their audience. To do that with writing the visualization process is key. The words used must be delivered in such a way as to create visual concepts in the minds of the audience.

To achieve attention-getting stories you must first be able to see the scenes yourself in the mind's eye. Then detail by detail, much like the flotsam of conversation in my coffee shop, the words have to be placed in a flowing, specific order to slowly, or quickly as the case may be, drag the reader along on the journey.

Sometimes the driving force of writing is getting directly involved in the banal offereings and creating an animated mental exercise, or inner debate, or intellectual wrestling over, say, the environment's impact on human births in connection with naturalistic lifestyle.

In order to effectively write an article on such a complex subject takes research and this is where the Internet far exceeds the levels of available knowledge that my coffee shop can possibly provide. Yet just because it's on the 'Net doesn't make it correct. Just the same as someone making a statement doesn't make the statement's knowledge true and so we must continue to research and fact check the initial point of the statement.

But how deep do we go? How many levels of fact checking are needed before you are comfortable signing your name to the bottom of the article? With a coffee shop, you're not going to be able to get all that deep, but with the Internet it's a Jules Verne adventure, the depths of which are unfathomable.

All I can say is that the Internet is beginning to cause me to hallucinate some wonderful stories -- great for my fledgling fiction-writing, but a real time-killer when it comes to freelance writing factual articles.

Give yourself a break. Use the experts. Take the time to hunt down the best of the best in the field of study you will be writing about and use the Internet to get to those experts and their sites. A general search using keywords such as: environmental impact, human births, naturalism, and balance of nature are going to provide you with hundreds of thousands of pages of information; mostly garbage.

Who's got the time to sift through it all? Refining searches, using advanced exact search options, finding the recognized experts in their field(s) of interest and then accumulating the raw data for your article will save you a lot of time and effort.

Otherwise, you might just as well be sitting in my coffee shop and hallucinating fictional characters and stories right along with me while we semi-listen to others verbally projecting their own hallucinations on us.IN Icon

Mark London is a Toronto based freelance writer and associate editor of
IN who has been with the FWO-Int'l from the early years volunteering much of his time in assisting young writers' careers. email :

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IN This Issue
Part III: What Your Publisher Won't Tell You
Part II: What Your Publisher Won't Tell You
Part I: What Your Publisher Won't Tell You
The Delusional Is No Longer Marginal
Part II: Researching Nonfiction
Part I: Researching Nonfiction
Rediscover Your Passion
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Writerís Block
The path to inspiration starts
Upon the trails weíve known;
Each writerís block is not a rock,
But just a stepping stone.

Poetry Is Not
Penned to the page
Waiting for us to admire.
It is only a lonely thought
Caught by tears on fire.

Silent Echoes
A quiet rhyme upon a page
Is what a poet gives;
Some gentle words whispered in trust
To see if memory lives.

Bard From Deadlines
What makes a poem finally work
Is not the time it takes;
Itís how the poet used the muse
To prophet from mistakes.

Be Mused
The art and craft of poetry
Are not so far apart;
The craft comes from the cunning,
The rest comes from the heart.

Fine Vintage
Donít plant your poem on the page
As though youíre hanging drapes;
Itís shape and flow should come and grow
Like wild summer grapes.

Getting It Write
Writers write what they know best,
Their passions, fears, and dreams;
Writers rarely write about
What other call their ďthemes.Ē

Double Vision
A writerís life is paradox,
Itís more than what it seems;
We write of our reality,
The one inside our dreams.

The echo of a promise,
The thunder of a sigh,
The music of a memory,
A child asking why.

Letter Perfect
Twenty six symbols arranged on a page
Can send a soul to heaven or torment it with rage,
Can free a fragile world or hold it in its net--
The power and the magic of the mighty alphabet.

The Write of Passage
The jump from writing just for fun
To getting paid for it
Begins when you first realize
You know youíll never quit.

It is not the magic of his wings
That sets us free from our bond.
It is the muse within ourselves
That lets our words lift us beyond.

Photo Poet
Consider your mind the darkroom,
Consider your life the lens,
Consider your eye the camera
On whose focus the poem depends.

Rising Moon
A poem is a rising moon
Shining on the sea,
An afterglow of all we know,
Of all we hope to be.

Star Light
Writing a poem,
Reaching a star,
In making good art
We find who we are.

Spider Web
A poem is a spider web
Spun with words of wonder,
Woven lace held in place
By whispers made of thunder.

The final draft upon the screen,
At last my poemís through;
A verse of only four short lines--
I rewrote twenty-two!

Read All Of Charles Ghigna's Poetry at

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