Here at Natural Medicine we really appreciate everyone in our collective. There's all sorts of folks that make it what it is - from those that don't know a lot about natural healing but are keen to learn, to absolute experts in the field. Everyone has something to offer, from enthusiasm to specialist knowledge of herbs, mushrooms, chemistry, spiritual practices, somatic arts and other natural health areas. It's with this gratitude and appreciation that we've decided to start this new feature, where we ask Steemfolk 5 questions particularly related to their natural medicine journey - or maybe just their life journey, who knows!
When @riverflows posed the 5 Questions project to the admin in the @naturalmedicine Discord, they thought it was a great idea (yay!). Little did she know that @porters would turn around within days and ask HER five questions. Well played, Patrice, well played.
Thus, Natural Medicine founder and Steemaddict @riverflows is forced to play her own game - and hopes you enjoy the answers to her questions
(Eek! This is nervewracking - @riverflows)
@Porters: You are the founder of the @Naturalmedicine Community. What was it that gave you the initiative to put this in place and did you work on it in alone or with others? What were your initial thought on what it would become and with the way it has really grown by leaps and bounds, did you foresee it becoming what it is and what future growth would you like to see?
Well, as you know, I was a member of @ecotrain, whose tagline is 'making the world a better place'. I met lots of great people there - a really supportive, beautiful group of people including @mountainjewel, @trucklife-family and @senorcoconut, all who are in Natural Medicine with us too. People who use the #ecotrain tag would - and do - post stuff about the environment, health and all sorts of conscious articles. I'd become very close to @holisticmom, who had a lot of experience with social media and natural healing, and she wanted to start a group that more specifically dealth with natural medicines. So I see @ecotrain as our parent, really, and we were an offspring.
Me being who I am, I went crazy making banners (@hungryhustle kindly designed our heart and lotus logo) and the Discord channel. I like that techie creative side of things. @mountainjewel was also onboard early on. I definitely didn't really know what I was doing! We had the support of @tribesteemup early on before they lost their delegation and consequently, we lost that delegation, but by charging people a small fee to join the Discord, and me delegating pretty much all my Steempower to it, plus generous donations from @walkerland, @sagescrub and @artemislives, we were able to get our upvote happening again. Of course, I'd like to get more delegation (know anyone?) so we can support you more, but that might be wishful thinking in the current climate.
I'm really proud of what Natural Medicine has become. I was so stressed for a while there trying to make it work and with @mountainjewel being hella busy with her own stuff and @holisticmom getting on with real life in her new home in Spain, I was all out running a monster I didn't know how to control! But now it's got it's own flow and there's a great team of people willing to help out - @nateonsteemit has been an absolute legend there, as has @walkerland and yourself. Without the core team and it's enthusiastic members, I think I would have given up. I may have founded it but I want to see it grow into something everyone owns and contributes to. And lots of people KNOW the #naturalmedicine tag now and use it, as they know they'll get engagement from like minded people.
Here's the video I made which celebrates what we're doing. I haven't watched it in ages and it really made me smile!
I've been Facebook stalking the Herbal Medicine group there - do you know it has 53 thousand members? So my dream would be to compete with that - we're on nearly 100 but I'm not sure how many have dropped off when the price of Steem dropped. The Discord server is definitely where it's at - if you're natural medicine advice, that's the place to go to. I've seen people ask for help with thrush or warts or lung infections, and get a whole heap of response. There's always someone around up for a chat.
Ideally, if Steemit gets bigger, which we're all hoping it will, we'll get more people in to share more natural healing wisdoms without censorship. And so many Steemians are into it - natural medicine is PUNK ANARCHIC AWESOMENESS. It puts you in charge of your own life, saves you money, and fucks with the powers that be that want to sell you life cures that don't work or make you sicker or drain your wallet. Come join us. Now. Discord link below.
The other thing I'm super excited about is our involvement with @homesteaderscoop. This is just such a fantastic vision (initiated and driven largely by @sagescrub and supported by volunteers, including me and you, dear @porters). The website is linking in community groups on Steemit like ours, so I see it as really building community here and connections between groups, as well as making the outside world see what we're doing and what this platform is capable of.
P: You seem to have a great love of literature and the written word, that is even your profession as a literature teacher, am I correct? What is it that you value so much about literature and with that who were some of the most influential writers, or folks, who gave you your writing flare?
Yes, I teach senior school English, part time at the moment which is great. I don't often talk about it as really it's an income for me and I don't like the bureaucracy of the system or the system itself - much needs to change there. If I could quit, I would. I do really, really love teenagers though. I can be in the worst mood and walk into the classroom and they'll cheer me up. Their energy can really be a natural medicine for me! It's weird teaching English because we live in a different world - kids don't read as much as as they used to, sadly. I look at parents giving their kids iphones and want to scream at them: 'give them a book!' because I know it's far better for thier brain than a screen. Kids like films and series and plays, because they're short and digestible - it's a real struggle getting them through a book. We taught them 1984 a few years ago and I think we killed them. They just couldn't find time, or motivation, to finish a whole novel.
I'm not sure who gave me my writing flare, mainly because it's kinda wierd you saying I have flare, which makes me feel both humbled and uncomfortable. Do I? That's cool.
When I was a kid, Mum used to take us to the library and she'd read books with us (I did the same for my boy) so she could talk to us about them. She left school early to work in a bank, and my Dad apprenticed to be a draftsman, and before that my grandparents left school at 14 - Granddad became a brickie as his brothers didn't want them to go into the mines in Yorkshire. But they all loved reading - books were always around. I remember one of the first books I really loved and read over and over was John Wyndam's 'The Chrysalids'. I loved Ursula Le Guin too - was just talking to @sagescrub about 'The Word for World is Forest'. Mum gave me this love of dystopian and science fiction (she had a whole heap of Asimov and Heinlein on her bookshelf I devoured early) which we both have to this day - even zombie fiction (the good stuff - there's some really decent zombie literature out there, believe it or not). So that all feeds into some of the dystopian stuff I write. I'm fascinated by the end of the world and what we'd do, how we'd survive - probably how I hooked up with some of the homesteading and prepper crew here on Steemit. At least we'd know how to make a dandelion salad in a zombocalypse, or use yarrow to steem the bleeding before the shot to the head...but I digress.
I also really got into a lot of postmodern fiction and magic realism too - I was never an avid reader of the really old classics, though I did have a big Zola phase and love DH Lawrence (that guy knows how to put you in a world!). I adored many of the American writers - John Steinbeck's 'To a God Unknown' is one of my favourites of all time and I loved the black American writers too - Toni Morrison's 'Beloved' comes to mind. I loved the sparsity of Hemingway. And in more modern times, Cormac McCarthy is just extraordinary. I love his bleak, dark and sparse prose. Damn I wish I could write like him. I loved '100 Years of Solitude' - Gabriel Garcia Marquez, and that's about due for read number 34562. Neil Gaiman is a god. Some of the Russian writers. Milan Kundera's 'Unbearable Lightness of Being'. I best stop listing all my favourites as I know I'm going to miss so many out. I just never, ever was a Pride and Prejudice or Jane Eyre fan - much to the suprise of my colleagues, who all seem to quote from them. I hated them - found them pompous and ridiculous.
One of my three bookshelves. I've had to cull many of my old books - I couldn't handle the clutter! Plus, you can't take them with you in a zombie apocalypse...
What I loved about literature? It was - can still be, though I don't read so much at the moment - like a drug. I'd fall between the lines of a good book and the world would disappear - total immersion. Mum would kick us kids off the couch where we'd be reading and outside! We just loved it - and my own son even said 'Mum, I just don't know where I'd be without reading'. It was a friend, a happy place. Whilst in the early days it was more the narrative itself that lost me and enthralled me, later on, and now, it's the beauty of words that grab me, the intensely creative orchestration of letters on the page to thread together something extraordinary. Writers are world builders! And they can totally reach into your heart and rip your insides out and put them back together. There's an Australian writer called Richard Flanagan, and I remember reading one of his books a few years ago and as I finished the final lines in the sunshine on the back porch, I held the book to my beating heart and just thought: 'and THAT's why I read' - there's a certain feeling that overcomes you when you read something special.
Writers also have the ability to capture an idea, a time, a place so we understand it. Without literature, I wouldn't know what it meant to be in a Russian gulag, or in the trenches of World War One (I'm teaching Wilfred Owen at the moment) or deep in a mine in 18th century France, or in dustbowl California, or walking across India with camels. As I tell the kids, the more you read, the more you understand the world and the more empathetic you become. It's one of the reasons we put a book of Australian Aboriginal experiences on the Year 10 curriculum. Reading teaches us to be better people.
@porters, honestly, do you want me to go on? I can... but I might be boring people. Especially those who don't read... ouch.
P: You are quite a marvelous writer, with such depth in your articles. Do you have any tips for young writers or folks wishing to up their writing game here on Steemit?
Oh, shucks!! Honestly, that's so kind. There's so many amazing writers here that I don't really think I rate in comparison! Steemit's really allowed me to fine tune my writing game and I've learnt alot about writing since I've been here. I really should spend more time with writer's guilds here but I do like to dabble in all kinds of things and fiction takes longer - I have to really be inspired and relatively stress free for a good story to swim into my consciousness.
As one of the curators for Natural Medicine, I'm constantly reading the first few lines of posts tagged with #health or #spirituality or of course #naturalmedicine to give people upvotes and resteems, so I know which ones grab me and which don't.
If your first line reads something like:
Dandelions are great plants that are good for you.
I'm pretty much going to give you 5 percent of a vote for using the #naturalmedicine tag but I doubt I'd resteem it or continue reading. It's boring and doesn't grab me. My advice is that openings MATTER. Start with a personal story. Start with a series of questions. Start with an illustration or a mind blowing fact. That, my dear Steemians, is a hook. We want to keep reading after that. Here's a link that to a site that gives you a few hints - take time to study it and give it a go yourself!
People also like a good story, and a personal story. Don't be afraid to share those - especially if English isn't your first language. It's much easier to communicate something that happened to you rather than try to be Dr Science Expert or whatever. You're more interesting than you think you are - people want to hear about your life.
I'd also suggest learning some basic mark up. A well constructed post with original photos and headings to organise sections can look really good. The image counts, as does the headline. Consider doing a workshop to figure out how to pimp your posts.
P: Do you have any dreams or goals connected with your writing?
Daily whale upvotes? Ha. I had a palm reader read my palm once, as they do. She said I'd give up writing for a man, but then after some time I'd continue. I wish she's predicted I won the lottery instead. My man's super supportive of my writing, but I think I'm only doing it for artistic expression and to de-stress and connect with people. I'd like to say I have a book in me but I'm not sure I do. I'd love to do a creative writing course but time and money limits me somewhat. I'm happy just writing online with the masses. It'd be nice to be recognised more I guess, but there's so many people trying to make it with writing that I just don't have the energy to compete. It's not really about that for me. It's just therapy, entertainment, self expression - a natural medicine!
P: What is your take on writing and Steemit? Has it been an asset in your writing career or where do you see the best way on the Steem blockchain to advance your writing?
Steemit has been the BEST thing for my writing. I can't believe I wrote nearly every day up until Christmas, where I calmed down a bit (as I write this, I haven't posted for a couple of days, and I'm okay with that). I do think it's given me more confidence, especially when I get such lovely reactions from people I respect, like you!
As I'm answering these, I'm realising I'd like to spend more time with good writers here on Steemit, and participate in more writing challenges. I used to love entering the @mctiller 24 Hour Short Story and @dirge had a horror contest one I got a great upvote from (those were the days where you could get around $100 if you were lucky!) with an Australian gothic horror story. If anyone knows anymore, please let me know. I love what @freewritehouse do and there's a few others I'm kinda aware of but need to put myself out there a bit more.
I never really thought of Steemit as advancing any kind of career, but who knows! I've just had a lot of fun connecting to folk.
I have felt a bit sad in some way about the rise of the Dapps, which though helping to cater for everyone from photographers to vloggers, meant that some really good writers went where the money was - if they could get a better pay out from a Dtube clip, why bother spending heaps of time for not much engagement or upvotes? That's why I like these supportive groups that ensure readership and engagement, like @steemitbloggers - although I'm not a member I appreciate what they do to keep blogging alive and well on the platform. It's what @naturalmedicine tries to support too - if you're posting good articles on health and natural healing once in a while, we'll support all your other stuff too. That's why I make people accountable on the Discord - you HAVE to engage before dropping your post.
I miss some people who used to write longer form articles here and don't anymore. I miss, for example, @mrprofessor's awesome travel stories - his vlogs are fun, but I prefer the written word anyday. People also seem to write shorter posts too these days - why put the effort it, they'll say. But I believe we're all responsible when it comes to putting out decent content - sure, not all the time, sometimes it's just going to be a short and sweet #ulog or a heap of pictures about your daily walk and that has a place to, but if you can write, you should - I, for one, want to read decent articles and stories once in a while as much as I just wanna communicate and share my life and read about yours. That said, I do LIKE the way Steemit has changed from moaning about 'shitposts' too much, to realise that it's a 'social media' site where people connect over all kinds of things and all kinds of writing, and that's fine by me. I love you all!
Is writing a natural medicine for you?
Has Steemit helped you be a better writer?
Would you consider supporting @naturalmedicine by sharing wisdoms under the #naturalmedicine tag, joining our Discord or delegating a little?