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Science, Scare and Surprise- All to The Good

A crazy white dandelion haired lady with a scalpel is coming to get me! Ahh! - Stephen King

All habits have triggers. Our brains crave refreshment and completion throughout Stephen King's essay, The Symbolic Language of Dreams. The King displays inventive thought and dreaming as a trigger to create a productive atmosphere for his writing.

I looked for a place with a PDF of this essay, or even a place where you could read it independently. But, no luck, chuck. So I did the next best thing for you. I took pictures of the article from my battered copy of The Symbolic Language of Dreams. I am almost sorry for all the marks and highlighting. I am a librarian's worst nightmare, and I am unapologetic about the fact I won't ever own a library card. The way I read is active. Naked books without my scribbles should worry about their pristine state if I ever wish to read them. Honestly, I never thought I would be sharing my reading comprehension process. But here we are, so enjoy the story and entertain yourself with my misspelt words, scribbles and colour coding capabilities. Hey, just be glad I took all the Post-it notes out of the way. I usually have 3-5 on most pages. I know, I really have a problem.

I think all artists have some rituals before they start working. I know I do. I get a cup of coffee. I do my house chores. Then sit in my seat on the couch.

Check out one of my first articles if you have not already read it.
This King essay was the catalyst to its conception.

I plan my day and set a timer on every task so nothing falls to the wayside by the haunting hyperfocus of ADHD. If I am not careful, it comes for me like one of Stephens creepy characters. Then almost nothing gets done during the workday. And actually, I recently discovered that there is some science behind having a method to your madness. Those habits and routines are, like, programmed in your brain. Have you ever heard of Ivan Pavlov? Me neither, well, not until I took my first psychology class last year.

Click on the picture below for a biography on Pavlov.

This guy, Pavlov, was a scientist focused on understanding how the digestive system works and unintentionally stumbled into a Nobel peace prize in psychology.

So, what does a gut doc got to do with art and the King of scary books? We'll get to that. But first! Storytime!

Pictured below "Hunger Is the Pits" January 2022.

Pavlov is actually more famous for his learning experiments with dogs (the psychology stuff) than his life's digestive tract work. (Well, maybe unless you are a doctor of gastro logology or really like medical history.)

You see, Pavlov was trying to measure the saliva of dogs as a means to understand the better guts of humans and animals. Pavlov discovered a malfunction in his equipment, but it had gone unnoticed for a long time because the dogs were still reacting as expected in the experiment.

The thing was, Pavlov's equipment made a click sound before sending meat powder into the dog's mouth. After which, the dog would salivate. That was what Pavlov was measuring, the dog's saliva to understand its effects on digestion. Over time just the click of the equipment would make the dog salivate. It was the dog's trigger to know that it was just about to eat.

Have a gander at this; it is a chapter out of my psychology textbook. It's all about how the brain learns.
Pretty cool huh?

Instead of being like most of us, who would have fixed the equipment and continued his investigations, Pavlov thought, "Huh, that is interesting. Wait a minute!" And thus, "Classical Conditioning" was born.

"Clive the Curious" January 2022. Clive has no home. Will you adopt Clive? Email for details.

What is that? You ask. Well, really, classical conditioning is all about habits-Creating them, keeping them, and changing them. It turns out that our primal animal instincts have not evolved more than the next animal. So if we hear a click or say a bell ring before class starts enough times, it becomes a signal to our brains that it is time to work.

Before I took psychology, I read quite a few self-help books. Yeah, I know, cheesy. But I found they are great motivators and sometimes act like the parent I need in my adult life. I am not always at my best. I mean, who adults all the time? Plus, often, I come away with a new and better strategy that I would have never thought of if I had not read how others tackle their challenges at success. You can find links to the below in the citations if you wish to give any of them a read.

"Life Shift" sketch from October 2021. If you want to get some cool gym gear from a gal who has fought to make her living awesome click on the link below or look for the post I did for this image on my Instagram.

Back to Mr King! As we read, King showcases his fantastic writing habits, writing style and discipline through the act of storytelling.

"I would sit down to write every day, and I would pretty much do that weather the work went well, or the work went badly".

His need for completion and productivity is displayed throughout his essay. I think this is cool cause it shows his usage of classical conditioning that has helped him become the artist of the hebegebees he is today.

I know it may seem strange that I, a visual arts student, am harping on about a mad scientist and an author who has made me say, "Shit, shit, shiiiiit!" then toss a book across the room more times than I can count; but hear me out. Some things are all too common, no matter what your pursuit. We all have to find a way the help our work stay productive and motivated. I am no different than that guy on Twitch trying to become the next cool gamer sensation on Youtube. What we are doing is entirely different. Yet, is it?

"It's a Work In Progress" December 2021.

In King's essay, he recounts creatives need to assemble a mental and physical space to work. He speaks about habit triggers that allow him to tap into the dream space, like having a libation of water on his desk or his bedside table—or sitting down to write at the same time every day. He persuades the trainee that he's using his habits to create a kind of "nutrient bath", a given space like a womb to create his works before they are ready for his book audience.

We are still working to be our best if the same strategy can work for two different people in various fields. And, if it is due to peeps discovering more about how our brains tick and keep us productive, why not give their mad method a try? Even if it means we need to humble our way into the self-help section and brave our way out of the self check out. The first time I did, I knew I felt the shame I should not have felt. People are judgy as fuck, but the laugh is on them because people like us will get better while they suffer in their success problems.


Speaking of being brave and successful, I got a fantastic surprise email telling me that my artwork is shown in the Southwest Minnesota State University William Whipple Gallery. This news is incredibly cool because the work is an amalgamation of my drawings and is an entirely digital image.

I took digital art last semester to aid this website and create a better, more professional digital presence. Tech stuff is never natural to me, so this is a big win. I was never comfortable all semester. Instead of just boffing it off, I created a new habit and was rewarded for my willingness to fail often. So much so my work is the cover page. It will be up until the 31st of January. So it's a bit late to mention it, but I just found out about it yesterday.

Never give up! Be willing to fail and follow your madness!


All the best,

JCML Fine Art



Butler, J. Corey. “General Psychology.” Noba, Accessed 29 Jan. 2022.

Carroll, Lewis. Alice in Wonderland. S.L., Flame Tree Publishing, 2019.

Cirillo, Francesco. “The Pomodoro Technique® - Proudly Developed by Francesco Cirillo | Cirillo Consulting GmbH.”, 2017,

“Exhibition of Student Work.”, Accessed 29 Jan. 2022.

Ford, Marjorie, and Jon Ford. Dreams and Inward Journeys : A Rhetoric and Reader for Writers. Boston, Pearson, 2012.

Gabaldon, Diana. Go Tell the Bees That I Am Gone : A Novel. New York, Delacorte Press, 2021.


Gary John Bishop. Unfu*K Yourself : Get out of Your Head and into Your Life. New York, Ny, Harperone, 2017.

Hollis, Rachel. GIRL, WASH YOUR FACE : Stop Believing the Lies about Who You Are so You Can Become Who You... Were Meant to Be [Large Print]. S.L., Thomas Nelson Pub, 2019.

“Oh Look a Dandelion Meme.”, Accessed 29 Jan. 2022.

Rose, Michelle. “Habits the Dream: An Artists Method out of Madness.” JCML Fine Art, 14 Jan. 2021, Accessed 29 Jan. 2022.

W. Horsley Gantt. “Ivan Pavlov | Biography & Facts.” Encyclopædia Britannica, 18 Mar. 2019,

‌Pictured below "Hunger Is the Pits" January 2022

Wikipedia Contributors. “Ivan Pavlov.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 8 Oct. 2018,

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