Spare Time

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By Joshua Blake

Do you consider poetry or creative writing an art form? I do, and it’s something I live for. It’s how I deal with personal demons.

But today, I want to share the only world I’ve known since I was a kid. Excessive thoughts and beautiful misery fuel my desire to put words on paper – or type them out.

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Here’s a poem named Refund & Renew. I  wrote it about my negative thoughts. The first two lines are actually speaking of a few lines I thought of earlier, and then forgot.

I end up separating myself from my demon – as I call it in my mind – only to realize that we are synonymous.

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This one is called Save My Soul. Unfortunately, it has double meanings all over the place. But I’m gonna let you figure this one out for yourself.

Burning My Bridges?

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By Joshua Blake

There’s something about the seemingly elusive trip down Memory Lane. I can’t help but drive back down that road every couple of years, by looking through old folders, binders, and my yearbooks from middle school and high school.

The first thing that caught my eye was an essay I wrote when I was 16 years of age – I can’t believe it’s been four and a half years. I knew back then that my passion was music, and that I wanted to pursue a career in such a field. Needless to say, I guess, it inspired me again, as if I had discovered something for the first time.

Next, I scanned through my middle school yearbook from ’07 – those were good times. But my main focus was on my high school yearbook from 2011. It gazed upon me, and I caught its stare just long enough to wonder if anything new lurked inside those pages.

One thing I can say is that I’m not as ambitious as I used to be. Whether some may say it’s because of growing pains – or as I choose to call them – or an underlying issue due to my medication, I have no idea. That’s a story for another day, however.

So, long story short, I don’t know what happened to my go-get-it mentality. You’d of thought that after writing poetry for four years, I would’ve figured it out by now. But, that just gave me more questions than answers.

Maybe I should just stop assuming things, and let everything take place naturally – I know I won’t. I’m an over-thinker, fueled by intense rage and beautiful sadness. There’s days when I just don’t care, and then there’s days when I realize that everything I need is out there, just begging for me to find it. Will I?

Where Am I Going?

By Joshua Blake

I worry about my future. I’m not sure where I’m going in life. I obsess over this thought – but it makes me excited at the same time.

Earlier this afternoon I was talking with my father about Lorde. “Royals” was playing in the car, and I couldn’t help but wonder about the lyrics. “What’s this song about?” I said. “It’s about the music industry, and how everyone in it sings about the excess of it,” he replied

My father went on to say that Lorde isn’t joining that crowd. She’s not all about the excess – she’s about the art. Although, he made a good point: Lorde foresaw her own fame in “Royals.”

” You can call me queen Bee
And baby I’ll rule, I’ll rule, I’ll rule, I’ll rule.
Let me live that fantasy,” says Lorde. If that isn’t intuition, I don’t know what is. My dad equated her lyrical talent to my writing. I was taken back, but I smiled at the compliment.

“I see it in your writing, too, and your songs,” my dad said. “In person you act young, but you become a different person in your writing – you sound so mature.” He can’t believe that it’s the same person penning the words in articles or songs.

I can’t believe it either, and maybe that’s a good thing. “It was a pleasure to meet you,” my professor told me today during my last class of the semester. Of all of the insightful things he said during the course, that phrase struck me in awe.

“Maybe I am destined to do this,” I thought. Although I just realized that I already am – I am a writer and I always will be.

3:11 a.m.

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By Joshua Blake

My insomniac nature intrigues me – at least that’s what I’d like to believe – as I lay in my bed.

I’m listening to “My Songs Know What You Did In The Dark,” by Fall Out Boy. Hm, how fitting. “Be careful makin’ wishes in the dark.”

In this moment, my anthem is playing to my ears. Nothing else matters. Except “Where Did The Party Go?”

I wish I had the ability to take my passion and love of music, and channel it into other aspects of my life. Maybe I will someday. But it won’t be today.

“I’d trade all my tomorrows for just one yesterday.”

Music Addiction Disorder? Yes, Please!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wZMA65R26qUhttp://www.slate.com/articles/health_and_science/science/2013/07/what_is_dopamine_love_lust_sex_addiction_gambling_motivation_reward.htmlMusic photo

By Joshua Blake

So, I’ve been sitting here in my recliner listening to music for about an hour and a half, and I remembered something. Every now and then I wonder if music addiction is a real thing. God, I hope so, music kicks ass!

But in all honesty, there doesn’t seem to be much “expert analysis” on Music Addiction Disorder (M.A.D.). I’ve been researching it for the past hour or so, and it seems to be all here-say. Except one researcher by the name of Dr. Valorie Salimpoor conducted a study at the Montreal Neurological Institute back in 2011, to see if music was as addictive as drugs, food, or sex.

“Usually, behavior-us things that last for this long a period of time, are things that are absolutely necessary for survival – things like eating and sex,” said Dr. Salimpoor. So, how does music fit in if it’s not necessary?

That’s where the dopamine reward system comes into play. How does that work? Well, dopamine levels increase when the brain predicts a reward. Although if the result isn’t the predicted outcome, your dopamine levels go down.

By looking at blood-oxygenation changes, you may be able to find if music plays a part in this “reward system.” However Dr. Salimpoor said that problem with that was this doesn’t show if dopamine is involved. Although, not all hope is lost.

Positron Emission Tomography was then used to locate where dopamine was released in the brain. “We have people come in over two days,” said Dr. Salimpoor, “so one day they bring in music they really, really, really like – just this music that gives them those really intense feelings.”

A radioactive molecule was used to bond with dopamine receptors to track whether or not dopamine was released. If there was a bond, no dopamine was present and vice-versa. Next, FMRI was used to track dopamine patterns. While listening to music, patients had dopamine released in the Ventral Striatum, 15 seconds before the peak emotional moment. “This is the same area that shows dopamine release when people do cocaine,” said Dr. Salimpoor.

Bethany Brookshire wrote a piece about dopamine for Slate about a year ago, arguing that dopamine is more than just love or addiction. Dopamine controls a lot of the things that we do, and perhaps listening to music is one of them – I think it should be – music is universal and it connects people in unbelievable ways.