Sunday, November 16, 2014

The One Lovely Blog Award


First of all, I would like to thank Marissa for nominating me for the One Lovely Blog Award. Make sure you check out her blog: 
Here's what it is and how it works: "The One Lovely Blog Award nominations are chosen by fellow bloggers for those newer and up-and-coming bloggers. The goal is to help give recognition and also to help the new blogger to reach more viewers. It also recognizes blogs that are considered to be “LOVELY” by the fellow bloggers who choose them. This award recognizes bloggers who share their story or thoughts in a beautiful manner to CONNECT with viewers and followers. In order to “accept” the award the nominated blogger must follow several guidelines:
Thank the person who nominated you for the award. 
Add the One Lovely Blog logo to your post.
Share 7 facts or things about yourself.
Nominate 15 or more bloggers you admire and inform the nominees by commenting on their blog."

Seven facts about me:
1. Jesus Christ the Son of God is my Savior.
2. I sometimes eat leafy greens with my ice cream.
3. I write poetry.
4. I received the French Honors Scholar award my senior year of college.
5. I have been to France, China,  Iceland, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Spain, and Canada.
6. I don't like dry climates.
7. Green is my favorite color.

I'm not going to nominate 15, I'm just going to nominate two:
What Kady Did  -A beautiful and artistic take on life, marriage, and family. 
Twig and Toadstool  -Full of beautiful whimsical faerie-esque crafts along with a few insights on life. 

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

North and South - Mr. Thornton.

The BBC miniseries, North and South, exhibits some of the best casting I have ever seen. I am now reading the book on which it is based, bearing the same name, and written by Elizabeth Gaskill.

All the main characters fit very well with their descriptions from the book, Today I'm just going to focus on the remarkable similarities between the Mr. Thornton of the book, and Mr. Thornton as played by Richard Armitage.

The book describes Mr. Thornton thus,
"Now, in Mr. Thornton's face the straight brows fell low over the deep-set earnest eyes, which, without being unpleasantly sharp, seemed intent enough to penetrate into the very heart and core of what he was looking at. The lines in the face were few but firm, as if they were carved in marble, and lay principally about the lips, which were slightly compressed over a set of teeth so faultless and beautiful as to give the effect of sudden sunlight when the rare bright smile, coming in an instant and shining out of the eyes, changed the whole look from the severe and resolved expression of a man ready to do and dare everything, to the keen honest enjoyment of the moment, which is seldom shown so fearlessly and instantaneously except in children." (North and South, chapter 10)

In the movie, not only does Richard Armitage fit this description, but the way he played the character fits as well. His eyes were piercing, he looked severe, and at that moment when he smiled in the movie near the end, it was like the sun burst forth suddenly from behind clouds and it seemed as if he was entirely wrapped up in that moment.

Here is a set of pictures to illustrate this description and demonstrate how they coincide:

"The straight brows fell low over the deep-set earnest eyes...seemed intent enough to penetrate...The lines in the face were few but firm, as if they were carved in marble and lay principally about the lips...the severe and resolved expression of a man ready to do and dare everything."

"...when the rare bright smile, coming in an instant and shining out of the eyes, changed the whole look from the severe and resolved expression of a man ready to do and dare everything, to the keen honest enjoyment of the moment, which is seldom shown so fearlessly and instantaneously except in children."

One difference is that his teeth are hardly seen when he smiles, while in the book it seems they are visible when he smiles, although much of the smile comes from his eyes: "a set of teeth so faultless and beautiful as to give the effect of sudden sunlight when the rare bright smile, coming in an instant and shining out of the eyes."

All the same, I am amazed at how well he fits the description in the book in look and manner. 

The Hobbit, Battle of the Five Armies teaser trailer

I was in China when the teaser trailer came out and was able to watch it via an Australian news-site. Later, I learned how to work the big screen TV which connected to the internet that was in our room, and was able to watch it full screen! So exciting, I would not have been able to do that at home!

I love the trailer. I was disappointed in both The Desolation of Smaug trailer and movie. So since I loved this trailer and love An Unexpected Journey, I'm hoping Battle of the Five Armies will be stellar! Since I love this trailer so much, I'm embedding it here in my blog.

It was certainly epic, dramatic, and stirring. Bilbo's lines 'One day I will remember..." followed with Pippin's song were just beautiful! If you remember from An Unexpected Journey, Gandalf said to Bilbo, "Home is behind, the world ahead." This is the opening line from Pippin's song, which is now in this trailer. I like to think that Bilbo wrote this song because of this adventure and Pippin learned it from him. In the book, Bilbo did write songs that Pippin, Merry, and Frodo all learned and sang, and while this song is not in the book, it makes for a sort of blended fan-fiction/head-canon.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

ISFJ and the agony of having extroverted intuition as your quaternary function

As I've said before, I'm an ISFJ.

This means that my fourth and least developed function is Extroverted Intuition. The websites I've read have said that as such, our intuition can steer us wrong. Joe Butt says, "ISFJs are easily undone by Extraverted iNtuition, their inferior function" ( ISFJ).

Now, that's my weakest function. That's what I'm bad at. My intuition is a funny thing, and I'm only vaguely conscious of it. Sometimes I'm not sure if what I'm listening to is my extroverted intuition or my women's intuition, or something else entirely.

There are times when my intuition is spot on, and there are other times when I can't trust it. Is that all in my head? Do they actually not like me? I'll walk around with an uncomfortable feeling, it isn't right, how can we regain peace? Then I turn to prayer.

Sometimes I'll think of something to say in a situation and then I'll get a feeling: don't say that. If I do say it, sometimes I regret it, sometimes not.

One time though, a friend told me that he couldn't meet me as planned, his parent's wanted to talk to him about something. I could easily explain it away as not a big deal, but my gut wouldn't accept that. Whenever I thought about it, I began to shake. My legs trembled. I felt cold and my heart felt strange. The fear overwhelmed me, I could logically explain it away and make sense of it in my head and come up with some non-dire explanation. But I couldn't accept that. It turned out my intuition was correct. My friend admitted that something was wrong, and agreed to tell me in a few days. During those few days of anxious waiting, my brain pondered and I figured out what had happened ahead of time. I was calm when the blow fell. I felt almost nothing, my heart was a lump of dead flesh. Now, on Funky MBTI Fiction I read that the fourth and weakest function "often only turns up under extreme stress or anxiety." This was a case of extreme stress and anxiety and this issue that my intuition cued in on was not the only anxiety I was facing at the time. I remember hunching up in a boxed in corner of my bedroom sobbing on the phone to my best friend...

Another facet of having extroverted intuition as the fourth from your longest and strongest suite (to use a bridge term) is not always knowing what to say to people or being able to understand their meaning. ISFJs "aren't quite as good at reading others as their extroverted counterpart. The ISFJ needs external indicators to understand what is required from them and can sometimes get wrapped up in  their own internal world and forget to check their Ne." (ESFJ vs. ISFJ)As a side note on this: it also really stinks when you realize your world in your head isn't real, and the characters in your story aren't quite so pure and noble as you thought they were.... This has happened to me, and it seems to have also happened to Dr. John Watson (aslo an ISFJ) in BBC's Sherlock, 

When I'm in a conversation usually, feelings of warmth and support are there, but they stumble out of my mouth in awkward words, too deep, not deep enough, not quite what I meant to say or how I wanted it to sound. Or I keep quiet out of fear of saying the wrong thing. Later, my brain catches up to my heart and I think of a much better way to say it. (Guess why I like writing?)

I really don't understand my fourth function, I'm just trying to give some examples of what it's like to have extroverted intuition as your weakest function. Try performing brain surgery on's like that...

Friday, August 29, 2014

The Middle-Kingdom and Middle-Earth

I just returned from a month in China. It was an amazing journey! It wasn't all a easy, we had work to do, but things like that draw you closer to people and I loved living with my wonderful room-mates and meeting lots of sweet people. It's hard being home now, with the wind out of my sails, my new friends dispersed, wondering what's next, playing over the past and asking, "what could I have done better?" I think I've learned a lot about myself, but I'm still processing. We'll put all that aside now and have a little fun!

While in China, I found a few things that reminded me of Middle-Earth.

My first weekend there, I visited The Temple of Heaven. I was excited to find a GREEN DRAGON. (Or at least, I assumed it was a dragon...)

Oh, wait, there's like a thousand of them! (And these are dragons beyond a doubt!)

Actually, there are dragons everywhere in Beijing!

This doorway reminded me of Hobbit architecture:

The gates had very large red doors with big gold studs. The door handles were placed so high, I felt like a tiny hobbit. Here I'm on tipy-toe.

And at Beihai Park, I spotted this round green door!

I also spent quite a bit of time in subterranean tunnels built by expert engineers. While it wasn't the Mines of Moria or the kingdom of Dale, but rather The Subway, the trains sped through the tunnels like fierce little dragons. It would be death to fall in their path...

That's all for now!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

The Hobbit and Huntingtower

The Hobbit was written by J.R.R Tolkien and published in 1937. The first two installments of the film trilogy by Peter Jackson were released in 2012 and 2013.  Huntingtower was written by John Buchan and published in 1922.

The Hobbit (especially the film) and Huntingtower have a number of commonalities:

1. The main character from The Hobbit, Bilbo Baggins is 50 years old while the main character of Huntingtower, Dickson McCunn is 55.

2. Both Bilbo and Dickson are well to do, respectable people.

3. Both suddenly and unexpectedly set off on adventures.

4. Both had small companions in strange garb.

5. Dickson is fond of books and brings some with him, while books are also important to movie Bilbo who says, "I miss my books, I miss my armchair..." (etc.)

6. Dickson was a grocer until he retired, and in The Hobbit film one of the dwarves remarks of Bilbo, "He looks more like a grocer than a burglar."

7. Dickson is an ISFJ and Bilbo is said to be an ESFJ.

8. Bilbo (in the movie, but not in the book) and Dickson set off with walking sticks.

9. Dickson was setting forth on a walking holiday, and Bilbo liked walks, "I got as far as Frogmorton once," (The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey).

10. Bilbo said, "It's a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don't keep your feet there's no knowing where you might be swept off to," (The Lord of the Rings). This accurately describes the adventures of Dickson, he set out on a holiday and was quickly swept up into an unexpected adventure.

11. Dickson and Bilbo (film) had sandy colored hair.

Bilbo Baggins, played by Martin Freeman

Dickson McCunn: ISFJ and Modest Hero

I recently listened to the LibriVox recording of Huntingtower, by John Buchan, published in 1922. I was on a long drive across the country and I admit I fell asleep a few times. I hope to actually read the book soon. As I listened, I almost instantly fell to analyzing the main character of this unusual tale, Dickson McCunn. It soon became apparent to me that he was an ISFJ.

I had him pinned down as an SJ, a Guardian, pretty quick. These are the people who are traditional and do what is expected of them and generally believe in upholding law and order. Dickson had lived a pretty normal life up until the book began. He had been a grocer until his retirement and he had done well in this profession and retired fairly wealthy. He described himself as "happily married for 30 years." He was also a responsible, providing type person. At the beginning, he gave some money to help some local urchins to go camping, and at the end, on seeing what fine boys they were he became their patron and decided to help them to great careers.

I had some trouble deciding if he was a Thinker or a Feeler. Then, Dickson was faced with a decision that drove the plot for the rest of the book. He had an initial gut reaction to get away from this odd, dangerous situation. Then he turned to thinking out his decision (Ti is the ISFJ's third function) and he busily worked out in his head why he no longer need take part in this adventure. He had it all logically thought out when he remembered the face of the girl in danger in his mind, and she had a peculiar expression that reminded him of his deceased daughter. (ISFJs have strong memories for details like expression. Portrait of an ISFJ).This clinched it for him, he was going back to help her. That is a perfect example of how an ISFJ makes decisions based on Fe, their secondary function, while first engaging their Ti, their tertiary function. I have use the same process myself, figuring it all out logically (using Ti), making excuses for myself and my initial gut reaction, and then when it comes down to it, doing what my feelings tell me is right (Fe). My feelings consume me for a moment and refuse to let me do anything other than but what they feel is right.

Dickson's next actions were classic ISFJ/ESFJ. He returned, but not without proper preparations. He bought a gun and brought food and thoughtful gifts back to his beleaguered companions. He not only provided, but did so in a thoughtful way that sought to meet the others' personal needs for comfort, not just generic needs for food.

Dickson is definitely and Introverted Sensor. He was very self-aware and analyzed himself constantly throughout the story. He wanted to come through this adventure without regrets or shame, knowing that he had done his bit, his duty (an SJ driving force), and had been brave. From my own experience and from what I've read, ISFJs are tied to the past, we think of life as a story, so while in the present, we want to make sure that we will be able to look back at our own story, our own past, without having to be stung by our consciences for doing the wrong thing or being a coward.

So, we come to the final question, how do we know that he is an Introvert and not an Extrovert? Well, he set off alone on a walking holiday. Key word: ALONE. He didn't need other people to have a good time, he had his books and himself. But, that in itself isn't much to go on. So, additionally, The ESFJ functions, in order of strength are Fe, Si, Ne, and Ti, while the ISFJ functions are Si, Fe, Ti, Ne. If Dickson were an ESFJ, we'd see him use his intuition more. Funky MBTI Fiction says that, "ESFJs are very good at reading people." Dickson has very few flashes of intuition and isn't particularly gifted at reading people correctly. Joe Butt wrote, "ISFJs are easily undone by Extroverted iNtuition, their inferior function." Instead, Dickson is more of a Ti user. For more on the differences between ESFJs and ISFJs and the significance of these functional differences please read Funky MBTI Fiction's post, see link above.

There are a plethora of little instances that point to the fact that Dickson is an ISFJ, perhaps when I have an opportunity to get my hands on a paper copy of the book I will delve into a more exhaustive analysis.

One more little thing: one of the reasons I really enjoyed this story was because it lent itself so well to analysis and as an ISFJ, myself, I could really relate to Dickson's decision making process, his romanticism spurred by the books he'd read, his shock at hearing someone lie, his shy, quiet manner of giving gifts, and his desire to do his duty and be a hero in what is thrown his way even if he's not THE hero of the story.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Disease in Literature

Just some scrambled thoughts on diseases in literature.

Did you know that you can diagnose what kind of book someone is reading based on the disease mentioned in it? I like to call it a reverse diagnosis. A friend mentioned that there was an outbreak of cholera in the book she was reading. I guessed (correctly), it was set Out West. From the little she told me, I instantly thought: Western romance novel set in the mid-1800s.

It seems to me that certain diseases or health issues are more commonly mentioned in books either written in or set in different eras. Some of these maladies we don't even hear of today, while others are still running rampant. I've noticed that consumption (now known as TB) was pretty popular in the Victorian era.  In the Regency period, you've got ladies with nervous complaints, delicate health, and hysterics. If you get back into the Middle Ages, then you encounter plague and physical handicaps. In the Icelandic Sagas, there is little talk of disease, most people seemed to meet violent ends. (This is just a comment on general trends based on a small selection of literature, not based on any conclusive studies.)

Brain Fever - Among many literary works it appears in The Master of Ballantrae, by Robert Louis Stevenson, several Sherlock Holmes adventures: The Adventures of the Copper Beeches, and The Naval Treaty, by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, and The Brothers Karamozov, by Fyodor Dostoevsky. In The Master of Ballantrae, it was brought on by excessive shock after months of frustrating circumstances. The sufferer was ill in bed, delirious and feverish for a long time. After he recovered physically, his brain was slightly addled. In The Adventure of the Copper Beeches, a girl developed brain fever after months of stress, she, too, was ill in bed for quite some time before recovering. In The Naval Treaty, a young man was taken ill with brain fever on learning that some important papers in his possession had been stolen which meant the ruination of his career. He was in bed for nine weeks unable to attend to his affairs. In The Brothers Karamazov, Dmitri reports that he was on the edge of brain fever. He was in a frenzied state of fear and jealousy over a woman, on the verge of reckless behaviour and murder. So, what is brain fever and why do we never hear of it today? Do people still get it? Various online sources equate it with meningitis and encephalitis (infections of the tissues surrounding the brain). But that doesn't exactly add up. It doesn't account for the sudden and utter prostration incurred by bad news.

Bad-breath - while sometimes this is just because someone ate garlic that day, it can also be caused by a number of factors such as poor dental hygiene or other health problems (WebMD). Halitosis traverses many eras. In Shakespeare's Julius Caesar, we hear of the crowds having bad breath. (I felt like puking when I read it.) Additionally he penned this line in Sonnet 130, "And in some perfumes is there more delight / Than in the breath that from my mistress reeks." In Don Quixote, by Miguel de Cervantes, we are told of a handsome young woman who had bad-breath and was mocked for it. In Gigi, by Colette, Gigi's aunt evaluates her. Freshness of breath was one point of of her analysis. It seems that having decent breath was a criterion for beauty although probably not as important as other traits, bad-breath was considered an unfortunate flaw, like freckles, or an ill-shaped nose.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Confessions of an ISFJ

Confessions of an ISFJ:

1. I have no idea how to handle unforeseen social situations.
I think this is because I am a Sensor and I rely on my past experiences to guide my behavior. In a situation I have never experienced before I don't have the data of previous similar experiences needed to construct protocol. This causes me to him-haw or just gape stupidly while my brain wildly tries to figure out what to do.

2. I give myself a little talk before going to a social event, creating occasion-specific rules for myself. "You will not mention____. You will not push yourself forward. You will be quiet and not interrupt. The less you say, the less stupid things you'll say and regret later." Or, "You will exude quiet confidence, you will stand up for yourself and what's right." After any social event, I need time alone to analyze what just happened and create more rules for myself. (After typing this, I found this related quote on Funky MBTI Fiction which said ISFJs and ESFJs will "reevaluate their behavior, relationships, work experiences, and lifestyle to determine if it needs improvement.")

3. I once I wrote ten pages of sheer description of a painting for an assignment when only five where required.  Some were a little daunted by this assignment but I wasn't much because I was glad I didn't have to draw a conclusion or defend a theory. Child ISFjs might not be capable of summary, but instead feel the need to include ALL details (funny personal story). For more on ISFJ writing tendencies (almost all true for me) :

4. I like to go to the store as opposed to shopping by catalogue or online. I like to actually see and physically touch the items I'm thinking of buying. I think this could be a Sensor trait.

5. I've discovered that violent emotions will shut an INTP and an INTJ down. It will NOT create sympathy, they'll just leave the room as fast as possible and possibly think less of you. (Personal experience)

6. When I'm at an event I pick one person as my special buddy to stick to. Sometimes we part for a little while to chat with different people or play different games but I will come back to them and check-up on them or go and "stick to them" when I feel out of place elsewhere. They're my anchor for that event.

7. Don't forget my birthday. Doing so says, "I don't love you."  We don't want to ask people to do anything special for us, but forgetting our birthday hits upon deeply rooted convictions about love we're unaware of ourselves. If you do something for one of us ISFJs on our birthday, we will think of you with more warmth than we already did. (I'm guessing this principle is translatable to other special occasions instead of birthday, an ISFJ may have special inviolable traditions or ideas of how something should be celebrated.)

8. Sometimes my feelings take over. I will figure out what I think I should do and then when I'm confronted with the actual situation, I follow my heart anyhow. This is not for areas of major moral dilemma, just small things. For example, being placed on one team but switching to the other so as to be on the same team as your significant other.

9. I use emotion to communicate what I want to say even if I can't get the right words out. If I'm irritated, everybody knows. It's not so much in what I say, but in how I say it, or how I move, or huff, or glare.

10. I feel very honored when someone confides in me and comes to me for emotional support, advice, or protection.

11. Sometimes I look forward to danger or distress with anticipation because I like to protect people. So, if there's a weird guy annoying a friend and they ask me to help them, I am thrilled. I'll walk with that friend, I'll invent honest ways to break-up a conversation between him and her, whatever. So, if you're in trouble and I can help, I really enjoy helping or defending you, even though it's unfortunate you're in a tough spot. I find myself day-dreaming scenarios of potential problems and how I can be a hero in them. (This also prepares me for problems when they arise, since I don't think on my feet very well...?)

12. I seem shy and timid  but then suddenly I'll let my wild side show which shocks people. I even tone it down so as to freak people out less. According to Dave's video (link below too) this is caused by the ISFJ's secondary function: Extroverted Feeling (Fe): "This is why the ESFJ and ISFJ have the gold star for being the most crazy, day they're in a traditional job and they're very good at it and then at home all that extroverted feeling is allowed to come out."

13. Change just really freaks me out. When first confronted with a novel idea, my response is "NO." Five minutes later, I'll already be warmer to it than I was. I just need some time to think a new idea through and become used to it. If it's a request for help, this scenario may be reversed.

14. Defender mode. I scare myself sometimes....I growled at a soccer ball once while playing defense. I actually growled at it instinctively. Another time we were playing with larps and I was defending an imaginary king. A friend noticed that once my opponents got past me and attacked the king I would switch from just warding them of but not fulling engaging in combat to fighting madly like a berserk maniac to save and avenge my king (who didn't even exist).  If I've got someone to protect something just wells up inside and suddenly I'm not that timid and shy little person, suddenly "I've got the eye of the tiger, a fighter, dancing through the fire, I am a champion, and you're gonna hear me roar. (Katy Perry, Roar)."  

15. I wear comfortable, protective footwear so I'm ready for anything. Some studies suggest ISFJs tend to wear practical, comfortable shoes.

In Conclusion I'd like to say that just because another ISFJ does something doesn't make it right! These are not excuses for fits of rage or following your heart. If you are an ISFJ, I hope this helps you understand yourself better/gives you something to relate too. With some of these, I don't know that they're particularly ISFJ traits, but rather they are ways the ISFJ functions are exhibited in me in conjunction with my upbringing and my own function percentages/balance. Therefore, some ISFJs will relate and some probably won't but that doesn't make you any less an ISFJ.

If you're reading this and you are not an ISFJ, I hope this helps you understand your ISFJ better.

These are things that I've noticed about myself and seem to fit with what I've learned about ISFJs on these websites:
ISFJ Profile on TypeLogic by Marina Margaret Heiss and Joe Butt.
Portrait of an ISFJ at PersonalityPage
Sensor Feeler Thinker Intuitor on Sherlock Character Analysis tumblr. This one helped me see how the functions play out in an ISFJ.
ISFJ vs. ISFP by DaveSuperPowers, video on youtube This one says ISFJs can be crazy.
Type Contrast: ESFJ vs ISFJ on Funky MBTI Fiction

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Recipe for an Afternoon Well Spent

You will need:

~A bike
~A helmet
~A favorite locale that you haven't entirely explored...
~A water-bottle or two.
~A good book
~Your favorite satchel with some things like a little cash, a camera, etc.
~Some vague idea of where to go.
~Remember that God is with you.


Start by putting on your helmet, and remember that it is your helm of war as you go off on a quest for adventure!
Next, get on your bike and head off down the road.
Admire the scenery as you go and the feel of the wind on your face. From this point, it doesn't really matter what you do, just go far and get away. If you see a road and wonder where it leads, follow it. Savor the dappled light filtering through the trees, and the cool that comes when you enter a forest lane. When the sun beats down upon you all alone on open road, reflect on how small you are. Praise God for the beautiful things you see, a flower, a shimmering lake, whatever it is that touches your heart with wonder. Thank Him for the beautiful moments you experience, the feeling of sunlight and shade, the breeze as you crest a hill.
After rambling for a few hours, perhaps stop at a store and get a treat, but don't stop for long, continue on and find a nice place to sit. After stretching, enjoy your treat and delve into your book out in the fresh air.

Finally, return home happy.

I recently started following a blogger, Marissa, at Among the many things she writes about, she posts weekly recipes, and it kind of inspired me to write a recipe of my own...
Hope this was fun!  

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Confusion, Counselors, Cats, and Comfort: An anecdote on MBTI types and emotion.

Continuing in my mini-series on personality types, here's another little snapshot of personalities playing out in my family. Enjoy!

I was sitting at the table talking to my mom about my emotional state.

My mom, an INFJ--this type is also known as The Counselor-- was listening, offering advice, and probing my heart.

As an ISFJ, "often unable to either hide or articulate any distress they may be feeling" (Joe Butt, TypeLogic), I sighed, "I don't even know what I feel." Numbness throbbed in my chest, partially obscuring my sadness and anger which was also strangely mixed with a dash of hope and excitement.

Now, both my dad and I love cats, and it's a bond that we have. On seeing I was sad, he reappeared with one of our cats which he wordlessly handed to me. It was like he was saying, "I can't fix your emotional problem, but have a cat. Cats are comforting."

I couldn't help chuckling as I hugged our gray cat. I had found the INTP solution to emotional distress: Apply cat directly to problem.

This thought caused further mirth as I pictured sticking my cat onto certain people's faces.

From my experience, INTPs are not comfortable with emotions in others, they don't know how to delve into them and explore them out. I think emotions distress them, they want to fix them and turn off negative emotions in others if they're not too overwhelming. The volatile and violent expression of emotions, like screaming in rage, will turn the INTP off, he'll just leave the room. Since mine were quietly expressed in this instance he was willing to try and comfort me.

~I read this to my dad before posting and he laughed.~

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Pens and Personality : A Polaroid from the Past

Did you know that a simple pen can give great insight into personalities? My mother discovered this one day.

Our mom home-schooled us and one day she had us all at the kitchen table for a writing assignment. She gave us each a brand new pen while explaining the assignment. Suddenly, our personalities came to life before her eyes through the different actions we chose to take with our pens.

I began to ask for more specifics about the assignment. I'm the first-born, a conscientious Melancholy and duty-fulfiller ISFJ. I wanted to know exactly what was expected of me and I wanted to do it right. The pen was just a pen to me at that moment.

Our resident performer, the baby of the family and a Sanguine, stood up on his chair --not an unusual occurrence in those days-- and began waving his pen about like a baton, grandly and loudly telling us what he was going to do. He's an ENFJ, but back then it was just obvious that he was an extroverted Sanguine and acted more like an ESFP.

My mother then looked over at the quiet INTJ, the middle-child and a Phlegmatic. He had taken his pen apart and the pieces were neatly laid out in front of him. From many little incidents, this one included, it was obvious to us that he was the "engineering type."

Photo Credit: Edana A.
Please note: I don't know how The Humoral Personality System relates to Myers-Briggs. From my own experience, I wouldn't say all INTJs are phlegmatics nor are middle-children all Phlegmatics either. The same can be said with all the other personality types expressed, especially in connection to birth order. Not all ISFJs are necessarily Melancholy, but I suspect that Melancholy is either the prime or secondary type in their personality since Introverted Sensing is an ISFJ's primary function.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

A real life example of Sensing vs Intuition

I'm not at all an expert on Myers-Briggs, but I've been reading, studying and exploring this personality system and there are times when I can see it playing out in my life. We didn't learn about Myers-Briggs until these last few years but looking back I have some fond family memories of our distinct personality types being clearly exhibited. I'm an ISFJ (Introverted Sensing Feeling Judging) and one of my brothers is an INTJ (Introverted Intuition Thinking Judging). Therefore, I'm a sensor (S) and he is intuitive (N).

The Myers Briggs website defines the differences between Sensing and Intuition by asking these questions: "Do you pay more attention to information that comes in through your five senses (Sensing), or do you pay more attention to the patterns and possibilities that you see in the information you receive (Intuition)?"

Sensors identify with these statements: "Paying attention to physical reality, what I see, hear, touch, taste, and smell. I’m concerned with what is actual, present, current, and real. I notice facts and I remember details that are important to me."

Those who rely on intuition identify with these statements: "Paying the most attention to impressions or the meaning and patterns of the information I get....I remember events more as an impression of what it was like than as actual facts or details of what happened."

Here is one anecdote that demonstrates the difference between a Sensor and an Intuitive:

When we were young, my mom read Bible stories to us from a children's bible. After the story she had us each recount what we could remember. I usually did quite well, (granted I had the advantage of being two years older than my INTJ brother and five years older than the ENFJ one, however they had their own abilities).

I remembered almost all the events and details in the story, even down to specific words. One time, after listening to a shorter story, I began to retell it word for word. Of course I didn't make it all the way to the end like this, but I got most of it word for word with a little help, then my mom read it again and had me try again since I was so close and I got it pretty much spot on. We were all shocked and amazed, myself included.

My INTJ brother had trouble remembering the details. His detail retention was probably about 50% of mine. My mom started to switch up the exercise and asked us to summarize the stories. He was able to summarize a story into a few succinct sentences. I couldn't summarize for the life of me. I was unable to grasp the central thread of the story, the bare bones plot. My best attempt was arbitrarily leaving out details and side-stories which I hated to do. But he found the point of the stories and could extract the major plot-line from amongst the details.

Here's a picture I created to demonstrate. The Sensor sees lots of little details that comprise the big picture. The Intuitive person sees the big picture of which the little pieces are a part of. These are all pictures I took in Iceland at Úlfarsfell.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

My Museum of Memories

Memory is a funny thing. Certain things we retain, and others we forget. Mark Gungor compares men's brains to boxes and women's to ball of wire. See the video on Youtube.  BBC's Sherlock has a "Mind Palace" which is like some extra deep place he'll go to retrieve information stored there to solve cases.

I've decided that my mind is like a museum. It's not a particularly well-ordered and logically laid out one either. Additionally, it's got a lot of cluttered rooms and a few with almost nothing in them. My museum contains little movie clips I play over and over, snapshots of the past, and other artifacts of memory. Some memories I frequent more often, they're on display. Others are stuck in the back rooms, not particularly special, just tossed into a corner somewhere. Others are like precious, fragile treasures I hide away to protect and keep them alive, I can't share those moments right away and hardly dare look at them myself lest I damage them with rough handling.

Yet time tells on my memories and like the Mona Lisa, they fade. Rusty old swords lie in some corners. It doesn't matter how hard I try to preserve them, whether by sharing, secreting them away, or playing them over and over. The closer I look at my museum pieces, the more I notice the decay, the blurred detail on a picture, or the missing page in a manuscript. I cringe at the faded paint and the empty casing were a gem used to be lodged but has now tumbled out of its setting. I might find it eventually in some unexpected corner...

Some of my memories I don't like, they're the ugly paintings. In these cases, time is often my friend. With time the garish colors fade, the wine mellows, and the pain no longer stings the same. And they say hindsight is 20/20 vision. I can see the good that came from pain and I can savor triumphs without the suspense and agony of the moment. Success memories are like award plaques, medals, and trophies in my collection.

My memory paintings attempt to capture a moment
in time, but what is a picture to the moment itself? If I write them down, the actual moment slips away like sand through an hour glass. It's like pressing a leaf: some of the colors are preserved but the leaf is dry and brittle, and not as bright and glossy as it once was. Artifacts and crumbled journals help us see the past, but they can't take you there. Still, I catalogue my treasures and I write my journals, but it's not the same.

I cannot share my memory museum, I walk these halls alone. When I share a memory it's like giving someone a postcard from the gift-shop. It's a photocopied memory that I let others see. Just as my memories are removed from the actual moment, so too my attempts at sharing them with others are removed another step further from that moment.

It's part of  my personality, I think, to capture and preserve, document, and convey. I'm always writing or taking photos. As a Sensor (Myers-Briggs), I learn from my past experiences, through physical sensations. And I want to share what I experience. How do I capture golden drops of sunlight that flicker through my lashes on a balmy summer morning? I add another artifact (a sensation) to my collection like one adds a painting to a gallery wall. A painting expresses something of its subject, but it's not like being there, in the scene in my mind, experiencing it the way I felt it. So I describe, like a painter paints, I add my own interpretation, how I saw it, and I try to express just what that moment felt like to me.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Inscrutable: Women and Sherlock Holmes

What did Sherlock Holmes think of women? There are a number of what appear to be incongruous reports in the canon, yet they're not entirely irreconcilable.  On some occasions he expressed approval of women, while Watson reported that he had an "aversion to women."  Here's a look at what I was able to untangle:

A Victorian Woman
Holmes really did respect women's intuition. On one occasion he remarked, "I value a woman's instinct in such matters" (The Adventure of the Lion's Mane, 1088)  On another, he praised Mary Morstan for retaining a piece of paper because she had an inkling that it might be important later, "You are certainly a model client. You have the correct intuition"  (The Sign of Four). The most astounding, and strongest statement of his belief in a woman's intuition/instinct is found in these words he said to Mrs. Neville St. Clair, "I have seen too much not to know that the impression of a woman may be more valuable than the conclusion of an analytical reasoner" (The Man with the Twisted Lip).

While Holmes values a woman's instinct and intuition, he has no intention of  letting romance and marriage enter his life because he doesn't see emotion and reason as being compatible: "But love is an emotional thing, and whatever is emotional is opposed to that true cold reason which I place above all things. I should never marry myself, lest I bias my judgment"  (The Sign of Four).

Holmes said of Mary, "I think she is one of the most charming young ladies I ever met and might have been most useful in such work as we have been doing. She had a decided genius that way, witness the way in which she preserved that Agra plan from all the other papers of her father"  (The Sign of Four). The key word is "might have." She and Watson were in love, and therefore their reasoning was impaired according to Holmes, and she could no longer be of much use.

Yet, while this phrase communicates his disapproval of their marriage, it also expresses an appreciation for her faculties and that he thinks she possessed potential for being of assistance in crime solving. It is hard to reconcile this with Watson's report that Holmes had an "aversion to women" (The Greek Interpreter). In this situation it seems he is not averse to Mary, just to averse to her marriage to Watson since it will cloud their reasoning. So perhaps, his "aversion to women" was in a general sense: womankind as a whole, or specifically in regards to romance: he decided not to marry and so pulled back from women generally. It seems that while he was able to appreciate a woman's merits he never pursued a friendship with one beyond what was needed to solve a case.

Additionally, "Holmes had, when he liked, a peculiarly ingratiating way with women, and...he very readily established terms of confidence with them" (The Adventure of the Golden Pince-nez).  Holmes could easily befriend women when he found it expedient, yet I don't recall any mention of his having a close or prolonged friendship with a woman in the canon and he certainly had no intention of falling in love.

From Harper's Bazaar, May 14, 1898
Perhaps part of his "aversion to women" stems from the fact that he finds the reasoning behind their actions hard to predict, "And you must have observed, Watson, how she manouvered to have the light at her back. She did not wish us to read her expression...And yet the motives of women are inscrutable. You remember the woman at Margate whom I suspected for the same reason. No powder on her nose--that proved to be the correct solution. How can you build on such quicksand? Their most trivial action may mean volumes, or their most extraordinary conduct may depend upon a hairpin or a curling tongs" (The Adventure of the Second Stain). This sentiment renders Holmes quite human and quite a man! He expresses the age old man vs. woman struggle for comprehension of the other, although based on his decision not to marry, his interest in this subject is entirely a professional one. --And, once again, he's an "automaton" as Watson called him in The Sign of Four.

Many people like to toy with the idea of a romance between Holmes and Irene Adler. Holmes was not in love with Irene Adler. "It was not that he felt any emotion akin to love for Irene Adler" (A Scandal in Bohemia).

It's interesting to note that many of the women Holmes encountered throughout his adventures were brave, spirited, independent, emotional, and loyal. Most of them weren't silly, although sometimes over-run by passions.

Therefore, from the canon, it seems that while he is decidedly against romantic attachments, he is generally kind to women and values woman's instincts. 


The Sherlock Holmes stories were written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. There are many different editions and publications of these stories, and they are sometimes presented in part or as an entirety.

The first image is from Karen's Whimsy. Her website features collections of nicely sorted public domain images for free use.

The second is from Wikipedia. Due to its date, the image is no longer under copyright.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

The Parallels of King David and Robin Hood

I was sitting in a Panera talking with my friend, Renée, when she told me that she saw many similarities between the life of King David of Israel and the story of Robin Hood. Skeptical and surprised, I listened as she began to lay out the parallels and earnest excitement radiated from her deep brown eyes as she attempted to convince me.  I was been astounded, and a swirl of thoughts and possibilities rustled through my mind. The similarities were clear and I saw potential blog material. Before long she cried out with animation, "Your face! You're not sure what you just heard!"
"No, you're right!" I stuttered out, and continued, "My blog is all about comparisons. I was thinking about maybe you could do a guest post for my blog."
Fortunately she was excited with this idea, and so I am pleased to present the first ever guest post on Lore and Literature:

The Parallels of King David and Robin Hood
By Renée Du'Quatre

 Ever since I was a child, I have loved the story of Robin Hood. It has always been one of my favorites. It’s a fun, adventurous, romantic story with memorable characters that you immediately grow to love. When I was little I would take my toys, assign them a character from the story, and play for hours.

Growing up in a Christian home I also learned all about the Bible at a young age. Biblical History was one of my favorite subjects in school and even now as an adult I still love and enjoy studying the Word of God.

 Over the years I’ve seen many different versions of Robin Hood and read over the history of King David many times. As I learned more and studied each of them individually, I couldn’t help but notice the similarities between the two legendary, historical heroes. 

I believe it started when I was still in either elementary or middle school and we had to read a novelized version of the life of King David called The Fugitive King by Elizabeth Rice Handford. It struck me then how similar David’s life (before he was crowned king) was to that of Robin Hood.

 Now, I don’t know if this is just me and how my strange, overactive mind works, but personally I don’t believe it takes a lot of imagination to see all the similarities here. 

Granted, with Robin Hood most of the details in the characters and the story line vary depending on the version you read or watch. But I think most of the details listed below are ones that most adaptations generally stick to and are traditionally accepted by those who enjoy or are familiar with the story. 

After a few days of researching I was able to compile this list:

Robin, or Sir Robin of Locksley, was a knight who was pursued by the oppressive ruler Prince John.
David was a shepherd, (who as a young man was anointed to be the next king of Israel, 1 Samuel 16:1-13), who became appointed as head over the king’s men of war, (1 Samuel 18:5) and was later resented and hunted by King Saul. (1 Samuel chapter 19.) 

Both were honorable men with titles and a promising future. Both were declared fugitives and were savagely pursued by the active rulers of their land and forced into hiding for years. (1 Samuel 26:1; 27:1.)

Both were noted as being excellent warriors. (1 Samuel 18:5-7.)

Robin is famous for using his bow and arrow.
David is known for using his sling and a smooth stone. (1 Samuel 17:40, 49.)

Both had high respect and loyalty to their kings. Robin was known for being dedicated to King Richard. David, even though he was pursued by King Saul, still refused to kill him or even do him harm. (1 Samuel 24:1-22, 26:1-25.)

Robin is known for taking down his foe, Sir Guy of Gisbourne, (in some adaptations an assassin, in others a fellow nobleman) who was sent to kill him.
David is known for taking down the giant, Philistine champion, Goliath. (1 Samuel chapter 17.)

Robin had his ‘Merry Men.’
David had his ‘Mighty Men.’ (2 Samuel 23:8-39.)

Robin’s best friend was ‘Little John.’
David’s best friend was Prince Jonathan. (1 Samuel 18:1-4, 19:1-20:42.)

Jonathan and David used a bow and three arrows as a signal in I Samuel 20:18-23; something Robin and Little John would be accustomed to do. (In 2 Samuel 1:17-27 David wrote The Song of the Bow in mourning over the death of Jonathan.) 

Robin was in love with Maid Marian who (in certain versions) was a relative (or ward) to the king (in early adaptations she is a shepherdess).
David’s first wife, Michal, was the second daughter of King Saul. (1 Samuel 18:17-30.) 
Both women were used by the callous rulers, (the men whose responsibility it was to protect them) as bait/a snare in order to trap the men they loved. (1 Samuel 18:17-30) However, instead of trapping them they proved to be helpful assets in their escape. (1 Samuel 19:15-17.)

Robin and his ‘Merry Men’ liked to sing and are known through ballads.
David was a musician who wrote many songs and poems.

Both were God-fearing men, (David was a man after God’s own heart [1 Samuel 13:14, Acts 13:22]) who were associated with godly men. 

Robin was good friends with Friar Tuck.
David was anointed by the prophet Samuel (1 Samuel 16:1-13) and goes to him for safety when hunted by King Saul in 1 Samuel 19:18. Later when he is king, David is rebuked by Nathan the prophet for sinning with Bathsheba (2 Samuel 12:1-14) and by the prophet Gad for an unspecified sin in 2 Samuel 24:1-17.  (Possibly his sin was taking a census of the people, an act of pride instead of relying wholly on God.) Gad is also referred to as David’s Seer in 2 Samuel 24:11. 

Robin would occasionally disguise himself like a beggar or farmer to spy on his enemies or extract information from them.
David pretended to be insane before Achish the king of Gath when he was in fear of his life. (1 Samuel 21:10-15.)

Although they are both highly acclaimed heroes and usually praised for their valiant efforts, they are also notoriously remembered for their faults. Robin was an outlaw and a thief. David was an adulterer and a murderer. 

I’m sure there are probably more similarities to the two heroes that I missed.

Overall, my reason for pointing out these similarities is purely out of love and respect for both legendary heroes. It was fun for me to consider, and then take the time to do some personal research on each man.  

I hope you enjoy reading as much as I enjoyed researching. 

Note: I put Biblical references to David but no references to Robin, because the Bible is literal, factual history whereas the stories of Robin Hood (as I previously mentioned) are mostly based off ballads and traditions that vary; most of which are listed on the Wikipedia website and can be referenced there if desired.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

J.R.R. Tolkien's Translation of Beowulf To Be Published

I just read the news: J.R.R. Tolkien's translation of Beowulf  is set to be published on May 22 (The Guardian).

As a Beowulf and Tolkien fan, this is very exciting. How will it differ from other translations? What phrases like gold and jewels strung together will be set forth to shine in the sun like ancient treasures newly discovered from some grim coffer where they have lain hidden? What will it reveal about the influence of Beowulf on Middle-Earth?

However my anticipation was stung a little with the thought,"if it hasn't been published until now, then maybe J. R. R. Tolkien never wanted it to be published?" Similar thoughts by others are reported in The Guardian's article "J. R. R. Tolkien translation of Beowulf to be published after 90 year wait."

And now we wait.


Read the latest on TheOneRing.Net:
The official word on the publication of Tolkien's Beowulf Translation

This article includes details about the book and includes a picture of the cover. The dragon on it looks like one that Tolkien drew.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Dr. Watson an Expressive ISFJ

In the Sherlock Holmes canon, there are many incidents that support the generally accepted idea that Dr. John H. Watson is an ISFJ.

ISFJ stands for Introverted Sensing Feeling Judging, and is a personality type in the Myers Briggs system of personality analysis.

ISFJs are known as "The Protectors" and "The Defenders." Watson felt the need to protect his friend, insisting on accompanying Holmes when he was being pursued by Moriarty (The Final Problem, 734). He also felt protective of Miss Mary Morstan. When Thaddeus Sholto suddenly and offhandedly revealed that her father was dead, Watson wrote, "I could have struck the man across the face, so hot was I at this callous and offhand reference to so delicate a matter." Not long later they found themselves holding hands, "I have marvelled at it since, but at the time it seemed the most natural thing that I should go out to her so, and, as she has often told me, there was in her also the instinct to turn to me for comfort and protection" (The Sign of Four). In this quote, it is clear that he instinctively wanted to be supportive to her, and that she saw him as a good emotional support and protector.

Dr. Watson
Heiss wrote that ISFJ's will provide practical support at a moment's notice to their close friends. This is seen a number of times throughout the canon. In The Final Problem, Watson left on very short notice with Holmes in order to protect and assist him. He arose early to go on adventures with Holmes and undertook assignments from Holmes that involved leaving his own business behind. Additionally, he retrieved a different friend from an opium den and the man was grateful for this rescue (The Man With the Twisted Lip). Watson definitely exhibits this ISFJ trait. 

On a related note, this type feels a need to serve. "ISFJs are characterized above all by their desire to serve others, their 'need to be needed.' In extreme cases, this need is so strong that standard give-and-take relationships are deeply unsatisfying to them" (Heiss). Watson once referred to Holmes as his master, which implies that he was the servant or pupil. He, himself, stated that he served Holmeswith these words: "my years of humble but single-minded service" (The Adventure of the Three Garridebs). While he would have liked to be more appreciated this need to serve is perhaps why he continued to serve Holmes despite the fact that he felt unappreciated. It seems that Watson would have liked a normal give-and-take friendship, but because he was an ISFJ he put up with one that was not and on learning that Holmes really did value his friendship and service after his apparent indifference, it was enough for him: "All my years of humble but single-minded service culminated in that moment of revelation" (The Adventure of the Three Garridebs).  "ISFJs are loyal to the end," Joe Butt.

Typical ISFJ, Watson feels unappreciated, "I have often been piqued by his indifference to my admiration and to the attempts I had made to give publicity to his methods" (The Hound of the Baskervilles).  Heiss wrote, "ISFJs are often unappreciated....they are often unwilling to toot their own horns about their accomplishments because they feel that although they deserve more credit than they're getting, it's somehow wrong to want any sort of reward for doing work." Watson doesn't express the feeling that it is wrong to want recognition, but he does feel unappreciated and that he deserves more gratitude from Holmes.

ISFJs are Sensors as opposed to Intuitives. Andrea Wenger wrote, "They’re more interested in sensory data than in the patterns perceived by the unconscious mind." Watson saw and noticed details but he could not connect them correctly in the grand way the intuitive Holmes did. Now, that being said, ISFJs do have some intuition which may misguide them (Heiss) as perhaps it did Watson.

Watson possessed an inability to hide his true feelings well. Joe Butt wrote that ISFJs are "are often unable to either hide or articulate any distress they may be feeling." One example was when Holmes deceived Watson instead of taking him into his schemes because he knew Watson wouldn't be as convincing if he didn't believe in it.  In The Dying Detective. Holmes said to Watson, "among your many talents dissimulation finds no place, and that if you had shared my secret you would never have been able to impress Smith with the urgent necessity of his presence, which was the vital point of the whole scheme." (Conversely: because he did believe Holmes was dieing, he succeeded in convincing the villain to come). In The Sign of Four, he pretended to be happy although his heart "was heavy within" him and it was evident: "I think I must have been rather over-acting my delight, and that she detected a hollow ring in my congratulations."

Now, in response to the latter half of Joe Butt's statement, Watson was able to articulate his feelings just fine, and I think this is because we see his feelings through his writings. Writing gives one the chance to analyze one's emotions and pick the right words to describe them. In Portrait of an ISFJ, we read, "more so than other types, ISFJs are extremely aware of their own internal feelings, as well as other people's feelings" which they may refrain from expressing. From personal experience both these statements are true in the right context. ISFJs just hide their feelings poorly. 

On a similar note, and although not technically an ISFJ trait, Watson had an expressive face. In The Adventure of the Cardboard Box, Holmes was able to basically read Watson's mind because, well, it was written across his face:
“You remember,” said he, “that some little time ago when I read you the passage in one of Poe’s sketches in which a close reasoner follows the unspoken thoughts of his companion, you were inclined to treat the matter as a mere tour-de-force of the author. On my remarking that I was constantly in the habit of doing the same thing you expressed incredulity.”
“Oh, no!”
“Perhaps not with your tongue, my dear Watson, but certainly with your eyebrows."
Their conversation continued and Watson argued:
"But I have been seated quietly in my chair, and what clues can I have given you?”
“You do yourself an injustice. The features are given to man as the means by which he shall express his emotions, and yours are faithful servants.”
“Do you mean to say that you read my train of thoughts from my features?”
“Your features and especially your eyes.” Holmes continued with an analysis of Watson's expressions and movements which were the foot-prints that led him through the path of Watson's mind.

And this is one reason why Martin Freeman is an excellent Watson:

Watson from BBC Sherlock
What a veritable palette of expression!

Further Exploration:

His writing style also indicates that he is an ISFJ. For more on that see:
Dr. Watson's Writing Style and Personality Type

I really enjoyed this post about Dr. John Watson from BBC's Sherlock. It approaches character analysis by looking at personality functions. I learned a lot about Myers Briggs through her series and the further exploration that it prompted:


Doyle, Sir Arthur Conan, edited by Leslie J. Klinger, intro by John Le Carré. The New Annotated Sherlock Holmes, vol 1 & 2. W. W. Norton & Company. New York: 2005.

Heiss, Marina Margaret and Joe Butt. ISFJ Profile, on TypeLogic.

Wenger, Andrea. The ISFJ Writing Personality: Tangible Warmth.

Portrait of an ISFJ

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Ten Things You Didn't Think You'd Learn from Reading Sherlock Holmes

Photo: Edana A.
A little list of things one can learn from reading the Sherlock Holmes adventures by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, precluding detective work and Holmes' maxims:

1. Brandy is the proper restorative for someone who has fainted.

2. "Bunny rabbit" was a term that was in use during the early 1900s.

3. A hansom was a common mode of travel.

4. Brain fever is the result of great mental stress.

5. The English adorned their homes with busts of Napoleon, (even though he was an enemy of Britain.)

6. "Grotesque" does not mean "horrible." See my post: The Meaning of Grotesque

7. Army pensions were in existence pre-WWI

8. Trains can be awkward. "Yes, sir, I fear that I am a little late; but the trains were awkward" (The Adventure of the Six Napoleons).

9. Men's boots had laces. (They still do.)

10. A Scotch bonnet was not considered dignified for elderly non-Scots. (Doesn't say if The British thought it was dignified on Scots or not.)

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Anxiety: Lighting Strikes My Heart

Anxiety grips my heart like lighting in a storm. Searing pain wrapping and lashing around my heart, squeezing it. The shaking tremors that engulf my body are the thunder. My tears are the rain.

Yet God is the master of all storms.

"Cast all your anxieties on him because he cares for you." I Peter 5:7

Because He cares for you.

Friday, January 31, 2014

Dr. Watson's Writing Style and Personality Type

Dr. John H. Watson is generally accepted as an  ISFJ. His writing style certainly supports this idea. Watson writes clearly, succinctly, and yet with warmth.

John Le Carré wrote in the Introduction to The New Annoted Sherlock Holmes, "Dr. Watson doesn't write to you, he talks to you, with Edwardian courtesy, across a glowing fire. His voice has no barriers or affectations. It is clear, energetic, and decent."  Andrea Wenger labeled the ISFJ writing style as "Tangible Warmth." She wrote, "ISFJs focus on facts, which they often convey with warmth.." Although Holmes complains that Watson doesn't stick to the facts enough,* the stories stay focused on the mystery at hand and are told in a straight-forward fashion. He just diverges a little bit to give us a better glimpse of the characters and their lives-- one source of warmth. This warmth, or rather personability, is found in the feelings of the characters, such as their excitement, fear, love, and ideals.  

Warmth is also found in Watson's descriptions. Even if he is describing something dreary, it still has warmth because the description contains a perception of the subject and how it is interpreted by an imaginative human mind. It's like that scientific principle which says the temperature scale doesn't measure hot versus cold, but is rather a scale of heat. There isn't really such a thing as cold, but just a difference in warmth. It was explained to me somewhat like this: two objects that we perceive as cold, one being -10 degrees Fahrenheit and the other -20 degrees Fahrenheit  (cold to human touch) actually contain heat, for if they didn't there could be no energy transfer and the warmth from the -10 object wouldn't travel to the other and raise it's temperature to -15 degrees.

One example of Watson's descriptive warmth in speaking and writing is this exchange where his "SF" effusion is met with "NT" facts:

"'The Haven is the name of Mr. Josiah Amberley's house,' I explained. 'I think it would interest you, Holmes. It is like some penurious patrician who has sunk into the company of his inferiors. You know that particular quarter, the monotonous brick streets, the weary suburban highways. Right in the middle of them, a little island of ancient culture and comfort, lies this old home, surrounded by a high sun-baked wall mottled with lichens and topped with moss, the sort of wall--'
'Cut out the poetry, Watson,' said Holmes severely. 'I note that it was a high brick wall.' (The Adventure of the Retired Colour Man)

The description pulls you in. He personifies the house. He is bounteous with adjectives and in a painter-like fashion, he daubs moss and lichen onto the wall. Not only does he display warmth in this passage but also other characteristics in keeping with the ISFJ style, for Wenger writes, "They may also excel at sensory detail, drawing the reader in."

Furthermore, in Portrait of an ISFJ, we are told, "ISFJs have a rich inner world that is not usually obvious to observers. They constantly take in information about people and situations that is personally important to them, and store it away. This tremendous store of information is usually startlingly accurate, because the ISFJ has an exceptional memory about things that are important to their value systems. It would not be uncommon for the ISFJ to remember a particular facial expression or conversation in precise detail years after the event occurred, if the situation made an impression on the ISFJ. " This is evident in Watson's writing. He often wrote the stories years after they occurred (with the help of his notes) and yet the people have life and color, and the descriptions are explicit.

By Sidney Paget, The Strand Magazine, October 1891
ISFJs "Enjoy reading and writing about history or biography, but are less likely to gravitate toward business or technical writing" (Wenger). Watson writes about events, he recounts stories that have happened, which is, more or less, history. Holmes referred to him as his "biographer" on at least one occasion. Watson does not write the dry technical pieces Holmes would wish.*

Wenger also informs us that ISFJs "often write about topics they care about, although they may not let their own beliefs shine through. They prefer to present the facts, which they may do in great detail, then let readers make up their own mind."  We know that Watson finds the cases very interesting, his wife says as much. However, Watson doesn't make judgments on Holmes' handling of a case although he expresses his disapproval of his drug use and excessive untidiness.

"Tangible Warmth" (Wenger) is certainly an appropriate description for Dr. Watson's writing style. The facts told in vivid detail renders it tangible. Warmth emanates from the humanness of his descriptions, the emotions expressed, and the interactions between people that you come to know through his eyes.

~Please take a look at Andrea Wenger's article,  The ISFJ Writing Personality: Tangible Warmth. I was delighted with it. You may also enjoy reading her other articles. ~

*In The Sign of Four, Holmes said, "Detection is, or ought to be, an exact science, and should be treated in the same cold and unemotional manner. You have attempted to tinge it with romanticism, which produces much the same effect as if you worked a love-story or an elopement into the fifth proposition of Euclid."


Doyle, Sir Arthur Conan, edited by Leslie J. Klinger, intro by John Le Carré. The New Annotated Sherlock Holmes, vol 1 & 2. W. W. Norton & Company. New York: 2005.

Wenger, Andrea. The ISFJ Writing Personality: Tangible Warmth.

Portrait of an ISFJ