High up on the tree
A bundle of sweet flowers
Nectar of the gods
You know that feeling of tingling that starts from the top of your head and moves down your neck and spine? Well, this sensation has a name: Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response (ASMR).
ASMR is usually triggered by visual and acoustic stimuli like soft, whispering voices, listening to repetitive sounds from someone turning the pages of a book, watching someone perform a mundane task such as preparing food, receiving altruistic personal attention (having your hair cut, nails painted, ears cleaned, getting a massage). ASMR can also be triggered by imagining the stimuli.
The history of this term is quite recent, it first appeared in 2010 on a Facebook group and the first Internet discussions around this subject date from 2007. For more info about its history and other details, you check out the Wikipedia article about ASMR.
Anecdotal reports suggest that ASMR might be useful to alleviate symptoms of insomnia, depression, anxiety and panic attacks.
Turns out that a lot of people make ASMR related videos on Youtube and Youtube is also the place where I have encountered this term first. Youtube kept suggesting me videos with ASMR in their titles until it made me curios to find out what this term means. It was an “Aha!” moment when I found a name and a definition to sensations that I experienced before but didn’t knew how exactly they were called and it was interesting to find out that there are people who not only know the name of the sensations but also create video to trigger them in others.
It seems that there is a whole “industry” developed around ASMR that produces videos on Youtube with some youtubers going to great lengths to create a nice experience for the viewers by using binaural recording, various props and backgrounds and scenarios.
Here are two examples:
Writing a book was a long standing item in my bucket-list. I had some attempts at writing a book across the years but in the end they only materialized in a low number of pages and words, I couldn’t even write enough material for a chapter. Add to this the fact that English is not my first language and it’s not even my second language either. You see, I was stubbornly trying to write a book in English even though my knowledge of it wasn’t that great, I had some deficiencies and wasn’t confident enough in my language and writing skills. In school, we had to learn French, that was the Romanian education system back then, it made us learn French just to show off how much of a Francophone country Romania is. Let’s be honest, French is pretty much useless to learn and Latin, because we had to learn it as well, is even more useless, there weren’t many situations in which my knowledge of French helped, on the other hand, Latin helped me very much when I needed…no, I’m joking, Roman numerals and some quotes where the only Latin that I ever used.
Why is writing a book a goal worthy to be in everyone’s bucket-list? My opinion is that everybody should write a book, or at least, to try to write one at some point in their life. Everybody has a story to tell. You live, you have a story to tell, you travel, you have a story to tell, you experience something, you have a story to tell. A book is something that you leave behind, it’s a part of you and has your stories. We learn from each other and we learn from each other’s stories. No matter how the world will change, storytelling will never disappear. Books, movies, songs, paintings, they all tell a story. Even if nobody reads your books, you are the only one that writes and reads it, you still gain something, for me the experience of writing is quite therapeutic and magical, writing things down has the power of clearing your mind, every time I write something is like a small weight is lifted off my shoulders, I feel better afterwards. I’m now on a 100 Days Of Writing Challenge, it’s day 53, and I might not always be enthusiastic or have the energy and will to write a blog post but one thing is certain: I always feel better after writing. Ralph Waldo Emerson said that life is a journey, not a destination. This is also true for writing because writing is a journey, not a destination.
How did I do it? I was sitting on top of a hill overseeing the beautiful city of San Sebastian, the sea, the beaches, other smaller hills, it was quite a thrilling view. I was in the country for less than 24 hours and haven’t slept in almost a day, I was tired from carrying a backpack for a lot of those past 24 hours yet I found enough energy and will to take my little notepad and to start writing down what happened to me since I landed in Madrid at midnight. I wrote almost daily for the next 37 days for about 1-2 hours a day and at the end I had enough material for a book. I didn’t had the goal of writing a book at the start of my journey but the more things happened to me and the more I wrote about them, the more I realized that my experience and notes can be transformed into a book.
Writing the book itself. I had to transcribe my notes and put them in a digital format, I had some notes on my phone but they represented only a (very) small fraction of the total content. I filled the small notepad that I brought with me and almost completely filled another, bigger notepad that I bought in Spain. All in all, the process of transcribing, editing, adding information, proofreading and making corrections took me about as much as writing my notes. It’s true when they say that writing the first draft of a book means that your work is only halfway done.
What next? The process of writing a book seems daunting when you haven’t done it yet and when you are writing in a foreign language and it still seems daunting even though I wrote and published my first book. I discovered that I enjoy writing in general and writing books in particular, I also love to read books and I think that reading and writing go hand in hand so my plan is to not stop at a single book. I intend to continue writing, I already started doing some work at a nonfiction book and will see how it goes.