A Good Weekend

It was a good weekend. I was quiet, saw the Carnival, heard the fireworks,   watched TV in the evening when I should have been mixing in with the local festivities. Never mind – the BBC had two programmes supporting anarchy. Very well done.

Fun ahead next week at the Peace News Summer Camp at Diss, Suffolk. See you there. Good food, interesting discussions, be part of a growing movement.

Theresa found the money

Theresa MayAusterity? Who said that? Our hunched skeleton has found the £6.5 billion needed to give away for a new railway. The contractors chosen are hardly suitable, the British ones have problems but I’m sure variations to contract will remove some of those. The Transport Minister has put his reputation at risk by saying there will be no increase in costs. Clearly he’s not been hanging around with builders lately. Such optimism is heartening.

Our Prime Minister has been even cleverer and will be ordering super new fighting jet planes from her friend Donald. We have shared the costs of these expensive toys with our European friends in the past, but that’s all over. Trump is now her new man, and these planes will cost about £150 million each. She doesn’t know where to put them yet, but they will look nice parked alongside Trident.

Over 750 bombing raids by the RAF on Mosul, in Syria. How clever. We are assured that there’s no evidence that any civilians were killed with these bomb and rockets. Some rockets cost upwards of a million pounds each, then there’s the planes, the pilots and their support staff. Our PM has plenty of money when it’s needed.

There is a nagging worry in the  back of my mind. A while ago our Minister for Defence (when did we last defend our shores?) said, ‘within two years we will be ready for war with Russia’. A chilling statement. That doesn’t seem to have been challenged by the media. Don’t ask me why we should suddenly hate Putin and his people. We’ve fought alongside each other against common enemies, OK Germany and Italy, but they are doing well these days, and have been very friendly over recent years. Maybe that will not last.

Keeping up with politics is not easy.

Mrs May’s picture comes from The Independent taken during the election when she said Corbyn would become Prime Minister if she lost six seats. Not sure she can add up.

The Creative Process

“Every child is an artist, the problem is how to remain an artist as a grown up”

Pablo Picasso

Painfully addictive and yet beautiful, the creative process is different for everybody.

As Picasso says, we are all artists. I know I was born to write but those who come to it late in life soon become drawn into its powerful ‘otherness’.

“The true artist will let his wife starve, his children go barefoot, his mother drudge for his living at seventy, sooner than work at anything but his art.” George Bernard Shaw

Writing adds a dimension to your life that you cannot always see until you do it. Brain to pen, thoughts in your hand, concepts on paper or screen and translated back to become real. It’s magic. Some people say it’s miraculous, that it is God at work, that writing or painting or creating is a spiritual experience.

A Big Responsibility

The thought is frightening. It’s frightening enough to make you stop short of ever making a start. But make a start you must, you know it. There will be no peace in your mind until you’ve attempted to express something, even if you don’t know what to say, or whether to write it, paint it, sing it or play it to an audience.

“How can I know what I think until I see what I say?” E.M. Forster

It doesn’t help to hear so-called experts talking highly of painters and writers and playwrights who’ve “got something to say” and you look at their masterpiece and wonder quite what. You see the artwork of great painters like Jackson Pollock or Piet Mondrian, installations by Tracy Emin or Damien Hirst – only to look upon them and say “What?”

Believe me – you’ve got things to say and by getting that pen moving you’ll start to find out what they are. You have to find your way of working, whether it’s with a pen, a typewriter, pencil, computer; the side of the phone book, the back of a shopping list, a pristine new notepad or a perfect white screen with a spell-check and thesaurus at the click of a mouse. It won’t be easy, but you can make it easier for yourself – if you’ll accept that pampering your creativity is a worthy cause.

Brought Home and Privately Yours

You can write in weird and wonderful ways, observe the world and quietly write what you see. It might be fictionalised reality, but seen from your standpoint, with your unique eye and in your own words, it will say something to your readers that’ll give them one more viewpoint from which to understand.

“I wish I were more at home with writing. I can go a year or two or three without picking up my pen and I’m perfectly content. The minute I have to write I become neurotic and grouchy and ill; I become like a little wet, drenched bird, and I put a blanket over my shoulders and I try to write and I hate myself and I hate what I’m writing.” said Edmund White, American novelist and author of the acclaimed A Boy’s Own Story (1982).

I was lucky enough to be brought up by an artist and learned to understand the necessity to accommodate the neurotic, grouchy and ill side of the temperament. The only time it would surface was when life and circumstances stood in the way of my parent’s Creative Process. Unfortunately for me and for the rest of the family, that was quite often.

Accommodate Your Destiny

You either grow up to do as your parents did, or you do the opposite. I hope I do the opposite – I recognise my need to create and try to engineer everything to ensure my Creative Process takes precedence. Lack of confidence and lack of being accepted by the art establishment curtailed my parent’s artistic focus.

“I don’t believe for a moment that creativity is a neurotic symptom. On the contrary, the neurotic who succeeds as an artist has had to overcome a tremendous handicap. He creates in spite of his neurosis, not because of it,” said Aldous Huxley.

This man may well be famous for his experiments with drugs but he created numerous stories, poems, novels, plays, travel works, historical studies and academic essays.

“I loathe writing,” says Muriel Gray. “It’s hard, hard work, like digging the roads… ” she says in her interview with David Mathew in The Third Alternative, no. 27.

You’ll probably know her as a TV and BBC Radio presenter but of writing she says, “There’s no comparison to broadcasting work which is basically money for old rope.” Writing is her passion and, it seems, her reason for living.

Pain is no barrier

“A writer is somebody for whom writing is more difficult than it is for other people,” said Thomas Mann.

James Baldwin said he does a lot of rewriting. “It’s very painful.”

All writers and artists talk of the pain but if you’re wise you’ll accept that it’s going to be painful. It has so often been compared to giving birth that it’s hardly worth mentioning – but when you’re pregnant, you know, it’s a hell of a relief to experience that pain; and look at the beautiful reward!

It isn’t funny to have to put up with any pain at all, and to have writers’ block when you know you want to do it; but there are so many jokes about it. This one sums it up for me:

1ST WRITER (at a cocktail party): I’m working on my new novel.

2ND WRITER: Neither am I.

Quoted from Private Eye in The Writer’s Chapbook, ed. George Plimpton.

Find a Way

How do you accommodate your need to create? How do you make it least painful? If it’s ideas or a starting point you need then go to the Triggers chapter, or Therapy, or find your voice in Write with Style, or even in the zany Experimental ideas.

Perhaps it’s the place and the company you keep that curtails your outflow? Teachers of old who stood behind you to pounce on your mistakes have a lot to answer for. But you’re free of that now and only have to be wary of imposing your own inhibitions.

  • J.K. Rowling sat in a café to write the Harry Potter books. Maybe it was to keep warm and topped up with coffee but your reason might be different: if it works for you, do it.

  • Brenda Crowe wrote ‘Play is a Feeling’ and ‘Living with a Toddler’ sitting up in bed: not because she was ill or working at night, but because it was the best way to keep her feet warm.

  • Julian Stockwin writes the Kydd series at his desk accompanied by an ancient piece of mariner’s rope, which wafts the subtle fragrance of the deep sea.

  • Jack Kerouac would kneel to pray before starting to write his novels (On the Road, 1957; The Subterraneans,1958 et al) and in essays he outlined a philosophy of writing that refused all revision and was akin to improvisational jazz.

  • The poet Philip Larkin would say he never went out, while Nadine Gordimer thinks writers should do plenty of ordinary things to keep in touch with life. She says, “The solitude of writing is also quite frightening. It’s quite close sometimes to madness, one just disappears for a day and loses touch.”

Love It or Hate It

“I love writing,” said P.G. Wodehouse. “I never feel comfortable unless I am either actually writing or have a story going. I could not stop writing.”

He was the author of the Jeeves Series and very successful in musical comedy, theatre, and Hollywood.

This quote is encouraging for me personally. At a recent workshop I found myself – in an automatic writing exercise – writing and then reading aloud: “I only feel well when I’m writing.” This produced gasps from a quarter of the other students. They were people who were still hoping to find out why or how writing can change their lives for the better.

Now before I make the mistake of offering the creative process as a religion, I think I will assume that my readers know they do want to write, but haven’t yet decided on their niche. We look at this with some general ideas in Genres.

Do Your Own Thing

There is nothing unusual in wanting to do your own thing.

Lawrence Durrell says this: “It doesn’t really matter whether you’re first rate, second rate, or third rate, but it’s of vital importance that the water finds its own level and that you do the very best you can with the powers that are given you.”

Lawrence Durrell was a poet, travel writer and prolific novelist; and not to be confused with his brother Gerald who wrote of animal life and owned a zoo at Jersey.

Reading the candid comments of other writers is an eminently useful way of endorsing your urge to write.

“The most essential gift for a good writer is a built-in, shock-proof shit detector. This is the writer’s radar and all great writers have had it.” Ernest Hemingway said.

He was one of the greatest short story writers of America and won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1954. This is bestowed for ‘the most outstanding work of an idealistic tendency’ and was awarded for The Old Man and the Sea, first published in 1952. “I learn as much from painters about how to write as from writers,” he said. Have a go with Creative Frolics and see if you can see what he means. I think I can: you’ll see I have a tendency to cross the paths of painters in some suggestions on the Experimental page.

Finding your niche, your style, your way of working, can only be done through time and experience. Writing a diary and writing vignettes gives you a body of work that will be an endless supply of material to adapt or rewrite – along with many embellishments and an ever-strong urge to extend your vocabulary.

What of the Process, once Established?

I regard myself as an organic writer. I encourage my students to write organically – as if the first sentence is a stem, and from that will grow roots and shoots, flowers and seeds. It is sure to grow if you plant it as words on paper or screen.

I write stories and plays (including tv scripts and screenplays), and the odd poem, in between the mainstay of creative non-fiction, which you’re reading now. All can be written in an organic way.

For the record: what are my writing habits? I write words and half-sentences in notebooks, between doing other things; I start early, in solitude at the computer or just at a table. I break to make myself tea (eight cups a day). I do housework and cooking between paragraphs, and scribble beginnings, usually, in bed in the dark.

I think the creative process is all about making connections, and building upon them. (See Visualise for more on this.) There’s the ‘What If – ?’ game; but by building simple tentative connections into something bigger, there’s a worthy point to be made. I rely on dreams and on the half-sleep images that dwell in my head. They conveniently solve problems for me. Yesterday I was wondering how to explain my difficulties with defining Visualisation for this text. Overnight I dreamt about the picture that I tried to paint, long ago, called Rhapsody in Black. Today I’ve used it to illustrate the problem: my memory, my connection, was already there and I had to find the right place to use it.

Try any and all ways, methods, outlets and keep at it. Experimental; Vignettes; Genres. The creative process that suits you will make itself known and you’ll come to respect it. This way, your writing will command respect as well.

Relax wth a Suffolk

Vee with foalWhen it all gets too much I return to my roots, to the comforting parts of my childhood. The world has changed and I miss the security I had as a child. In those days I lived with my parents in a small cottage on the top of a hill. It was the last house on the road out of town. The land dropped away to form a long valley, with a small stream at its base giving just a hint of its history.

On the opposite side of this valley was a small village. Facing us on their side of the valley was a large brewery, a successful local brewery, which was eventually taken over by a large chain, and closed. During my youth they had a team of Suffolk Punch horses that pulled the drays around town, delivering beer.

During the winter these lovely giants were kept on a field beside my house. As a child, with an orchard of apple trees in the garden, I became good friends with these lovely creatures. It was a daily task to take them an apple. They would stand patiently beside a five-barred gate, watching the world go by, occasionally flicking their tails or nodding their heads to push the flies away.

By the time I was six I had courage. I could do anything. I stood on the top bar as one of the horses approached the gate. As it swung round I jumped on its back, hanging on to its flowing mane. It was fine for a minute or two as the horse munched away at the apple I’d obliging left on the top of the gate. That didn’t take long and I was shocked when the horse moved away towards the centre of the field.

There I was, high in the air. These shire horses were huge. The ground was a long way down. Slowly I overcame my fear, as my mother came into the field with more apples. We had a small pony at that time, which my mother hitched up to a trap and went off to market on Saturday, with Elsie, our neighbour. We’d had a few scrapes with this flighty creature, which although small had shown me how powerful (and skitty when handled badly – sorry Mum) horses could be.

It became a regular jaunt, and we’d plod around the field. It could never be called riding. The horse was in control. Most of the time its head was down as it munched grass, and I held on the mane until tired of it all I’d slide down its neck to the ground. Wonderful placid creatures.

There’s a Young Offenders Prison near me. At one time they had a stable of Suffolk Punch and young prisoners, many from towns and cities, aggressive and abusive, were encouraged to look after these horses. It was wonderful training. The horses quietly told them they were in charge. They could not be bullied or threatened but, at the same time, they were helpless. They needed the boys to clean them, to feed them, prepare their tack if they were to work together. It was a fantastic training facility.

So it was closed, by the government, to save money. A tragedy.

It was taken over by the Suffolk Punch Trust http://suffolkpunchtrust.org/ who were then faced with looking after these magnificent animals but there was now a bigger threat, With less than 300 breeding mares in the world this shire horse, as a breed, could become extinct.

Thankfully the trust, with others, is ensuring that numbers are now improving. They are also providing a great day out. Deep in the Suffolk countryside you can see the horses, and other animals: rare breed black pigs, red poll cattle, Ixworth white chickens and much more are to be found on this 200-acre site.

Find time to visit.

My youngest grand-child has adopted ‘Vee’ the mare shown above. Both her great-grandmothers were called Vera, often shortened to ‘Vee’ so it maintains a sentimental link.

What Now?

the futureThe recently appointed Matron of the Conservative Party is putting on a brave face. She’s even appointed the obnoxious little tyke to look after the farmers and the land. It’s not going to work, but they will be OK. IT is the people that will lose.

I’ve been very concerned abut the lack of real discussion about our future. It’s a clear example of te dichotomy in our society. Those worrying sbout Brexit are quite right to do so, as we are now intertwined with the rest of Europe. If we’d spent more time involved with Europe instead of making enemies perhaps we’d not want to leaver now, but that’s no longer relevant. Nobody seems to have taken the longer wider view.

Put bluntly we are now on our own.

Not really a problem. The British have stood alone against the world before. Except that most of the assets of this country are now foreign-owned. Half of British businesses are not owned by us. Our laws allow this to happen. They need to be sharpened. There’s talk of renationalising our utilities and infrastructure. When you take the profits that are leaked away from the UK as a result of this foreign-ownership there would not be much of a deficit left.

Spit milk. What do we do now?

A plan is needed. The first part is to engender a spirit of togetherness. We must work together. Buying British is a vital first step. Ensuring that all contracts have British participants. Creating a network of banks. The investment bank suggested by the Labour Party is as good start but a network of local banks, based on the German Sparkasse system, is vital.

This government will struggle. There are dangers, and our fisheries may be the first victims. We need to control our waters. At present they are plundered by our Eutropean neighbours. That must stop. We need that food.

Sunday Morning: A Question

I was going to our local nunnery for the Sunday service. I’m not a Catholic but fascinated by both religion and how the mass of people can be duped by politicians.

Decided it was all too late as I tpok a couple of chatty phone calls, and time slipped pleasantly away. Decided to treat myself to a breakfast somewhere, then found we have a veteran car valley on the beach promenade. It was a place to go.

I need a question to ponder. This morning the question is ‘who are the real enemies in this world”‘

We assume all sorts of terrorist groups are trying to disrupt our lives.

However I will pose the null hypothesis’

Is it the United States of America?

Your comments are welcomed.

Wonderful Life

It had been a long day – waiting. Finally our neighbour said, ‘I think we’ll go upstairs now.’ It took a moment to comprehend what the buxom woman was suggesting, until she looked straight at me, and said, ‘Perhaps you can bring us up a cup of tea?’

I immediately understood, woken from my reverie, and went to make tea.

A few minutes later I too climbed the stairs, carrying a tray with teapot, cups, milk jug and a biscuit or two, I went into the bedroom.

My wife was in bed holding a bundle on her chest. In those few moments our daughter had been born.

What a delight. She was perfect. This was not a wrinkled red prune. This baby was absolutely beautiful. I stood, gazing at mother and child with rapt wonder. We now had a bright intelligent son and this lovely addition to our family; a daughter.

I picked her up, placing her gently in the crib her mother had lovingly made. As I did so her little hand grasped my index finger, and her eyes opened, as if to say ‘hello’.

Perfection.

Kate Lockwood

Who Am I

Trevor Lockwood, aged 44Sometmes you must let others define who you are. Many years ago I had an astrologer prepare my chart. This is the main entry – me as a Piscean with the Sun in the Fifth House, with a Grand Air Chine.

It said:

Sun In Pisces in the 5th House
Will anyone every really know you, truly understand you, plumb the very depths of your soul and sincerely appreciate what is there? It’s doubtful and would prove difficult indeed because the dynamic of the Piscean personality is one of extremes, evidenced in its symbol, two fish, joined, but always to swim in opposite directions. The Piscean nature carries within it all the extremity and diversity the myriad forms its element, water, can display deep still ponds, rushing babbling brooks, slow streams, gentle rain, raging storms, ebbing and flooding tides. Its placement in the zodiac as the 12th and final sign is thought to be a composite of the journey of the human soul, blending and exhibiting characteristics of all the other signs, and usually they will manifest in their extremes as well. Who really could understand all that – even the Pisces native is often stymied by himself. In your chart, particular placements and aspects enhance and emphasize these extremes, and you probably frequently find yourself misunderstood.
You have within the kite shape of your pattern, a Grand Air Trine. This indicates highly idealistic and individualistic people with excellent mental faculties. They have incredible artistic talent, frequently expressed through some medium of communication, writing, music, film, and the ability to influence others through their ideas and their ideals. This pattern carries tremendous momentum and frequently produces geniuses, but they are also very apt to drift, and quite subject to frustration. However, you have a very forgiving chart with many opportunities to pick up the thread and start over.
You are an old soul who has gone through many lives; a reservoir containing the wisdom of each, with no lack of diverse talents and abilities. You carry within yourself the best and the worst of the human experience to draw from, so your gifts are great, and as such their use can be great, for good or ill – a staggering responsibility when you allow yourself to think about it, and on occasion you do. These gifts can be used to greatly serve others or to greatly serve yourself. Much of your life will seem to involve choosing between extremes. And through it all, there seems, not only to you, but others in your life notice it as well, there is a sense of blessedness about you, as though you are being protected by the gods.
Rarely motivated by material ambitions, you can succeed at anything you put your mind to, provided it inspires you. You are multifaceted with many talents, but your greatest gifts lie in the realm of the creative, artistic or musical. Your strengths lie in your idealism, inspiration, limitless imagination, sensitivity, and peace-making. You have a talent for independent, creative work, but can function equally well in a helping role. Mystic, artistic, musical, emotional and imaginative, you are a dreamer. Outwardly you might seem quiet and unobtrusive, but your inner life is rich. Though it may prove difficult to verbalize or interpret your inner experiences in a way others can understand, the world of your imagination, feelings, and intuition is as real to you as anything in the outer world.
You really have few prejudices and are not apt to objectively or subjectively judge the actions of another; you require an experiential basis for that. And even then you’re not one to pass critical judgements but are understanding and tolerant. Insatiably curious about the human experience, adventurous enough to explore it fully and with a bent toward the extreme, by this age, what you have not experienced, you have at least imagined – given the limitless potential of your imagination these things can blur; what you imagined, you might as well have experienced. All this has served to render you essentially ‘shock-proof ’. At the same time it has also enabled in you a rare sympathy of spirit – friends, even strangers, comfortably confide anything in you, never having the slightest concern that you would be shocked or judgemental or castigating. You are incredibly forgiving of the human condition, its frailty, its cruelty, and will give chance after chance to those who may disappoint you, even hurt you.
You have charisma and a natural radiance that is a powerful factor in attracting partners and if you use it well, you will make honourable and successful attachments. Impressions are important and you enjoy being grandiose, but with a magnanimous yet modest demeanour. Your creative talents can bring gain through speculation, investment, enterprise, children, pleasure and places of amusements, anything which allows you to project your natural love of life. You need to express your identity through your work, project yourself and make an impact on others. However you cannot thrive in a subservient position. You are not adverse to risk, if the gamble is worth it. There could be loss through speculations, troubles and jealousy in courtship, trouble with children, and sorrow through love, pleasure and pride.
A master of satire, your caustic observations can flood and surround like fireflies on a summer night, flashing off and on so fast one can’t keep up with them. Yet, if a bright remark whose exact meaning or intent escapes you is casually tossed your way, you get a decidedly uncomfortable feeling. Humour is one of your secret weapons; your disarming smile often covers unshed tears. You’re as facile with slapstick as you are with sophisticated jokes. The fun can be warm and innocuous and it can also be cold and unsparing. Whatever the case it often is a cover for another emotion you hide; your laughs are often masks and they disguise you well. But you do bring a sense of fun to relationships and if children are around, they are taken with you immediately. Your nature is dramatic and expressive; you do like being the centre of attention
You can get upset now and then, your anger is seldom violent or long lasting and the placid waters soon calm. Although you have difficulty in fathoming yourself, you have no problem in seeing all the subtleties of others clearly. You’re not easily fooled, you see right through them and their agendas, but you can easily fool others, and you do, a lot. You are generally charming, of good and gentle nature, and not much will excite you to violent action, but if and when something does, your temper takes its form in your clever, caustic tongue issuing out barbs and arrows drenched in biting and levelling sarcasm that pierce right to the heart and soul of whatever adversary was unfortunate enough to rouse that monster in you from its abyss.
Your ability to love is boundless and you are the consummate romantic. You can easily fall in love with love, and may be disposed to love affairs. You respond very strongly to beauty and reciprocate magnanimously to love. You’ve had to learn to be economical and cautious about money, it didn’t come naturally to you. You have a tendency in love relationships to lean emotionally on your partner. You require reassurance and faith, and respond poorly to nagging and criticism. Your nature ensures that you are inclined to heavy use by others, and as a result of that, sometimes in the sanctity of your home, you can come undone rather easily. You would require a partner who can put you back together, wrapping you up and tying the knots tight enough so it won’t happen again too soon, but that also knows it will, understands well the wear and tear your life takes on you and doesn’t resent the routine maintenance required.
However, partnerships will function best for you when you avoid vacillating between extremes – having unrealistic expectations of your partner and feeling the odds are stacked against you. A lover and a peace-maker, not a fighter, you try to avoid open conflict, patiently ignoring or “tuning out” problems hoping they will go away by themselves, rather than directly confronting them. Sometimes you become detached from your immediate environment, with no thought to housekeeping and day to day duties, so that things become a bit disorderly; that it bothers those around you more than it does you, bothers them even more. You also tend to do things in a subtle, often covert, manner. Then there are those ever so slight tendencies to be lazy and negligent, or to wallow for a bit in self-pity, or to indulge in fantasies of martyrdom. But to be fair, in reality, you do live your life in a lonely understanding of truth that is too deep to express so you are apt to be overcome with spells of loneliness and depression and become rather gloomy about it. However with the proper handling one can snap you right out it. Pisceans are particularly vulnerable to sug­gestion.
Gentle at heart, impressionable, receptive, you are a sensitive person with a genuine love and concern for others. So keenly empathic, you often sense things psychically or intuitively that prove to be right. Tolerant, forgiving, nonjudgemental, you accept people unconditionally regardless of their flaws, mistakes, or appearance. Your depth of compassion often allows you to feel the pain of others’ suffering as if it were your own. You are sympathetic to the needy, the disadvantaged, even the misfits of society. More than most, you are aware of, and witness to, the tragedies of human existence.
Within whatever work or job you do, you give selflessly. Your life is a devoted, compassionate service to others. That said, you tend to give of yourself and your resources, indiscriminately, to let others take advantage of your kindness and to encourage the weak to remain so, by becoming dependent upon you. You have little sense of boundaries or limits, of knowing when to say “no”. Moderation and self-discipline in that respect are not your strong points. Standing against the injustices and inequities in the world, choosing to always believe the best in others, will often leave you misunderstood and disillusioned, because you’ve put yourself in another impossible situation that will inevitably lead to disappointment – but you know that. You have this internal conversation with yourself almost daily and have had for as long as you can remember.
Occult beliefs and practices have probably always held an interest for you, tugging at your imagination, as though you were born with an understanding of esoteric principles – and you were. Even when not involved or practised in some way, they have served to anchor your vivid imagination and keep you emotionally stable.
At the same time you don’t believe you can live forever, you worry that you won’t. You don’t take as good care of yourself as you should and spend more of your excess energy than you have to spare helping friends and relatives which usually results in you taking on their burdens and troubles. For some of your ilk, such depletion of energy can pose a risk of excessive substance use in an effort to manage this serious drain on their health, physically and emotionally.  But you have a hidden inner resistance. If you have risen to the challenge you have discovered this latent strength and know how call on it, literally hypnotizing yourself into or out of anything you choose.