commentary and current events, neurodivergence, the creative process

Punishments Don’t Change Behavior. They Change the Costs of Behavior.

Here’s a conversation we’re not ready to have:

Punishments do not change behavior. Punishments only change the costs of behavior.

For example: Say that your older child is teasing, tormenting, bullying or otherwise picking on your younger child. In an attempt to stop this behavior, you tell Older Child, “if you treat Younger that way again, you’ll lose computer privileges for a week.”

A few hours later, Younger is in tears. You confiscate Older’s phone, expecting to “teach them a lesson” that results in a behavior change.

But what is the lesson? How will it be learned? For that matter, how exactly was it taught?

Image: Blog post title image.
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the creative process

On the Joys of Making Bad Art

Since the crash, my fiction writing has been hit or miss. Drawing, however, has become a daily habit.

I’ve never been exceptionally gifted – or, indeed, gifted at all – in drawing. I’ve also never been particularly skilled at it, because I have so rarely practiced. And during the period of my life in which I got interested enough to practice daily, I also encountered an art teacher who announced loudly, while “fixing” one of my projects to suit herself, “You really can’t draw!”

I regret the literal decades in which I did not practice drawing, thanks to those four words. (Though I did write that teacher a nice poem a few years later, which appeared in the Muskegon River Review.)

Since the crash, words have been hard. Hard enough that even with my lack of practice or skill, drawing has appealed to me as a more accessible and expressive language for my situation.

It’s still not good. In fact, I often make fun of my nightly drawings in the same journal in which I am drawing them. A drawing of my soap and washcloth, one day after a shower (a Herculean feat when one has only one weight-bearing limb), is captioned “Am I improving yet?”

This morning, I decided to practice shading – the particular skill my long-ago art teacher was criticizing when she announced I “really can’t draw.” It is, of course, still bad some 25 years later.

Those intervening 25 years and a successful writing career, however, have taught me things about the nature of bad art.

Image: Colored pencils arranged to form a heart, surrounding the blog post title and URL.
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neurodivergence

You Are A Cat: A Cat Your Own Catventure Tale

Here’s the first piece of fiction I’ve managed to finish since the motorcycle crash. I hope it amuses y’all to read it as much as it did me to write it.

(Apologies for formatting or other concerns; I’m still working on my phone with one finger.)

Image: blog post title and URL over a picture of a shorthaired cat with its head tilted to one side as it gazes at the viewer.
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