Hold On, I Still Need You


Longing doesn’t even begin to describe the feeling. It’s going to be a torturous five years, but Clarke is nothing if not stubborn and she’s definitely not one to back down from a challenge. She opens to the next page of the notebook and writes it down - 1825.

1825 days until they get to start living for themselves. Together.

Bring it on, Praimfaya.

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Funny clexa fic rec list

I know the clexa fandom is a little… inactive these days, but I had some fics floating around in my head again and thought I would make a small list. (Sorry about the title btw; it’s boring as hell lmao)

I’m always impressed when writers are able to literally make me laugh out loud when I’m reading. I think one of the biggest reasons why this list isn’t super long is because writing comedy is SO. HARD. Not everyone has a knack for writing comedy, even if they’re a naturally very funny person. That being said… once you’re done busting your gut, please leave comments telling all the hardworking authors how much you enjoyed their fics! Be nice! Shower them with your appreciation! Etcetera etcetera!

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The Ravens - Loki x Reader(f) Part 2

Authors Notes: I was so happy with the feedback I got from the first part, thank you all so much!! Here’s part 2, I hope you enjoy it! It’s a bit wordy.. I really tried not to break 2K but It just kinda happened. 

Notes/Warnings: Mentions of “groupie behavior” but nothing scandalous, mentions of inner demons, some sort of fluff at the end. I think that’s it but if I’ve forgotten anything, please let me know and I’ll add it.

AU: Rock star Loki AU

Word Count: 2.3+K

The Ravens- Part one

Originally posted by hiddlestennant

 He hadn’t taken his eyes off of her. (Y/N). She was the only good thing that had come of this night. She may even be the best thing to come from him joining the band. He’d met plenty of women in his tours, he’d even indulged in one or two but none had ever made him feel like this.

 He wasn’t even sure he could put into words what she made him feel. Her eyes shined in even the faintest of light as they toured the manor. He inhaled the scent of her perfume when she walked past him. His heart fluttered every time her hair brushed over the half hidden tattoo on her back.

 She was mesmerizing. She had an air about her that he absolutely loved. And, she was smart. That much was clear to him, even from the little conversation they had, he knew she was more than just another fan.

 The tour moved through the manor and down towards the massive wine cellar. Most of the other fans were fiercely impressed but (Y/N)’s attention seemed to be fading. Instead of finding the expensive wine intriguing, her eyes found the stonework of the walls and the elaborate carvings in the wood beams above their heads.

 “You’re not impressed.” Loki observed with his hands clasped behind his back. He looked down at her briefly as he walked beside her.

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Beast Boy took Raven to a stand-up comedy show once.

She didn’t realize they’d be sitting up front, and Beast Boy assumed that if anything, the comedians would pick on him since he was the most obvious choice.

When the comedian started picking on Raven instead, Beast Boy had none of it; he heckled the jerk all night until the comedian said: “You think you’re so funny? Why don’t you do the show?!”

So, he did it. He went up there and made fun of the guy for as long as he could before security had to get involved. 

Needless to say, they never went back, and Raven still counts it as one of the most selfless things anyone has ever done for her. 


books read in 2017 >> The Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater

 Depending on where you began the story, it was about…”  

anonymous asked:

Padawan Yan is going to meet the troops! How does it go? do they know who he is?

“Welcome General, Commander.” Cody greeted both with a little salute and Obi-Wan felt an overwhelming sense of relief at Cody and the rest of his trooper open welcome of Yan.

There was a slight sense of caution but mostly there was curiosity.

The clones at least were able to distinguish Padawan Yan Dooku from Count Yan Dooku.

The raven haired padawan gave Cody a wide toothed smile and gave a quick bow. “You’re commander Cody, Ahsoka told me much about you.” And with that he offered the commander his hand for a shake.

The commander’s lips twitched in obvious surprise but also delight before he took it and shook the hand. “Hopefully good things then.”

“She said that we’d get along like a temple on fire to use her words.” Yan offered that more dryly before laughing. “I think she meant that we both like rules and regulations.”

“…Remind me to speak to Anakin about some of the terms Ahsoka uses… temple on fire.” Obi-Wan rubbed his beard then shook his head and smiled. “Now, let me show you around the bridge Yan as Cody gets the crew and then briefing, deal?”

“Deal Master.” The padawan lit up happily.


“Does he remember anything?” Cody watched Yan curiously where he was leaning on the console as the padawan was doing his best to get to know everyone of the troopers he would be working with, his face open and his eyes curious and accepting of the clones.

Humming slightly, Obi-Wan raised his eyes from the navigational to his young padawan. “No, not really. Yoda has tried talking to him about some of his earlier padawan days but nothing seems to strike a spark. Yan is… not Count Dooku. He may dream about it but if he does, he doesn’t remember it.”

Smiling faintly at the excited look on Yan’s face, Obi-Wan leaned his elbows on the navigational computer. “He’s still catching up to several technological updates that’s happened in the last seventy years, we may have to explain quite a few things to him.”

“Huh, I guess for him, its like being transported to the future.” Cody tilted his head.

The Jedi Master nodded. “Yes, we had to catch up on quite a bit of history and a few defense techniques that’s evolved since he was young. But he’s a bright boy.”

The two watched Yan be utterly delighted by something Waxer said before the two bowed over the computer.

“…I do worry about Anakin and Ahsoka corrupting him though.” Obi-Wan offered dryly.

“If you pardon my language sir, I karking hope not.” Cody grinned wryly and the two shared a dep, understanding chuckle.


In his office, the Chancellor of the Republic and Sith lord tapped his fingers against his desk, frowning darkly.

He had lost an important pawn.

Dooku would not be easy to replace and he had not intended to lose him just yet, he was suppose to be an important pawn to discard to start Skywalker’s deep descent into the Dark, not to become Kenobi’s new padawan.

But there was nothing Sheev could do about this now.

He still had the witch and the cyborg, Grievous and Ventress would do for now.

Both were of the angry kind but…

Yes Ventress could work out, Skywalker harbored deep resentment against the witch for what she had done to Kenobi.

A slow smirk crossed his lips slowly, just a little push, after all, Skywalker didn’t have the full scope on the amount of injuries Kenobi suffered at her hand.

Can’t Help Falling In Love | Bellamy Blake X Reader

English isn’t my first language, so please excuse any mistakes. 

Characters: Bellamy/fem!reader, Raven.

Word Count: 2308 words.

Parties were fun. (Y/N), particularly speaking, loved to party, but only when her friends were with her. She didn’t see the point of partying if there was no one you liked by your side. That wasn’t a good time for her, all (Y/N)’s friends seemed to be too busy to attend the party she insisted on going. Or almost all her friends.

(Y/N) saw her best friend, Bellamy Blake, leaning against one of the walls as he watched people partying. He was one of the guards of the place, responsible for the order of the party. Bellamy looked very bored, making it look like his mind was in a totally different place, until his eyes stopped in (Y/N), making a small smile appear on his face as he nodded at her. The girl smiled, starting to walk toward him, making Bellamy’s smile widen.

“Cadet Blake.” (Y/N) said in a mocking tone as she reached the boy’s side.

“My lady.” he bowed slightly to her, making her laugh. “Enjoying the party?”

“As much as you.” he chuckled. “Parties aren’t so fun when your best friend isn’t partying together.”

“Are you kidding me? I’m partying hard.”

“Oh, totally.” she nodded listening to a slow song start playing, making only the couples stay on the dance floor. Coincidence or not, that was one of (Y/N)’s favorite songs, which made the girl jump slightly, holding out her hand to Bellamy. “Then come party boy, dance with me.”

Bell smiled slightly, shaking his head to her. (Y/N) took his hands, trying to pull toward the center of the party, but the boy pulled her back.

“(Y/N), I can’t do that right now.” he looked discreetly at the other guards standing close to them.

"They won’t mind if you go out for a bit. The Ark won’t end if Bellamy Blake dances.” she tried to pull him again, but the boy just shook his head, making a sad expression appear on (Y/N)’s face. "Bell, I never get a chance to stay with you. You’re always busy helping your mother or you are too busy working as a guard.” she crossed her arms, lowering her head a little. "We don’t even talk anymore.”

Bellamy stared at the girl in front of him for a few seconds, debating with himself what he should do. He sighed and threw his hands up, surrendering, causing (Y/N) to jump excitedly.

“Just one song.” he said, finally letting himself be pulled onto the dance floor.

“One song is all I need.” she said, stopping when they were already beside other couples.

Like a river flows, surely to the sea.

Darling, so it goes somethings are meant to be.

(Y/N) placed her hands on Bellamy’s shoulders as he brought his hands to her waist. Their eyes met, making them laugh at the moment. They looked like a couple. The thought made (Y/N) feel a little nervous, making her look away from him. She just continued to enjoy the music.

Take my hand, take my whole life too.

Bellamy’s hands began to caress her waist as they moved in the rhythm of the song. (Y/N) let out a small smile, coming closer to Bellamy and letting her head rest against his chest, feeling the boy’s racing heart beating.

For I can’t help, falling in love with you.

“I’m glad you’re here.” she murmured..

“I’m glad too.” he assured her, his voice sounding a little husky.

Like a river flows, surely to the sea.

(Y/N) looked up, looking into her best friend’s eyes. She had never noticed how beautiful his dark eyes were. Or how beautiful he was, overall. She had always thought of him as Bellamy Blake, her childhood friend. But now, being so close to him, she was in doubt if that was all she wanted him to be.

Darling so it goes, somethings are meant to be.

Neither of them had the courage to look away for a few seconds, mesmerized by each other.

Take my hand.

Bellamy looked away from her eyes to the girl’s lips, making (Y/N) feel her face begin to heat. She was glad to know that she wasn’t the only one attracted to the other.

Take my whole life too.

The boy leaned slightly toward her, carefully in case if that wasn’t what the girl wanted. She closed her eyes, leaning toward him too, giving the signal that she also wanted that to happen.

For I can’t help falling in love with you.

(Y/N) felt Bellamy’s lips touch against hers, making the girl feel her heart racing in her chest. She was actually kissing her best friend. She pressed her lips against his, feeling him smile slightly. It was a sweet kiss. Just like him.

For I can’t help falling in love with you.

They both stared at each other’s eyes for a few seconds, listening to the next song begin to play. A small smile appeared on Bellamy’s lips. “I have to get back to work.” he whispered to her, making the girl look away from him as she nodded. Bellamy connected their lips one more time before taking one last look at her and walking back to the wall.

(Y/N) noticed that some of Bellamy’s guard companions gave him a smirk, giving him thumbs up. Although until the end of the party they hadn’t spoken more because it could disrupt Bell’s work, the two continued to exchange glances, and (Y/N) could feel her cheeks heating up every time she noticed her best friend’s gaze on her.

Best friend. Now they were something more than that. It wasn’t long after that party that they started dating. (Y/N) didn’t know why it had taken so long for her to notice her true feelings for Bellamy, but now it was clear to her.

Things were going really well for both of them, Bellamy had always been a good friend, always so funny and understandable, and he was showing himself to be a sweet boyfriend, but there was something about it that bothered (Y/N) deeply. Bellamy was always busy. Of course, sometimes he would escape from the guard service to meet her in some place so they could hang out, but it wasn’t always like that, and much of the time he wasn’t working, he was busy helping his mother, and this was a service he said he couldn’t escape. (Y/N) couldn’t understand what his mother needed so much help with, but she just smiled and nodded, saying she understood the situation. But she didn’t.

And then Aurora was floated after it was discovered that she had had a second child, and then that child was thrown into the Sky Box with the other juvenile delinquents. At first, (Y/N) didn’t know how to react at that and she didn’t even think about it, she had to be there to support Bellamy, she knew that, that wasn’t the best time for her to accuse him for never telling her anything. From then on things began to get more difficult for both of them.

Bellamy made no effort to try to make it seem like things were good for him, not in front of her. It was nice to have someone he could count on, he knew she would be there no matter what. But he had changed and she could see that. He no longer looked like the sweet Bellamy she knew, he was more reserved and the two were almost always arguing for stupid reasons. But in the end he always apologized to her, he couldn’t lose another person he loved for a stupid reason. He was going through a bad time, but he would get better.

One day, after nearly a year, (Y/N) was approached by guards who asked her about Bellamy. She was confused. What the hell did these people want with him now? But she hadn’t seen Bellamy all day and that’s what she’d told them. One of them blurted out to her why they were looking for him. He had shot a man. The chancellor. (Y/N) thought that maybe it was some kind of bad joke at first, but then the conformation arrived. He had done that. She didn’t see Bellamy the next day or in the next one, or the one after that. She didn’t see Bellamy for long after that.

(Y/N) only saw Bellamy again when she was already on the Ground and it was only for a second as he walked around Camp Jaha alongside a blonde girl. He hadn’t seen her, though. And after that things got complicated in the camp so she couldn’t bother looking for him. Grounders demanding people to be delivered to them, their people trapped on a mountain. Earth wasn’t what she dreamed of, far from it.

The other time she saw Bellamy was when finally the people who were trapped on the mountain were freed. As they entered Camp Jaha, she saw him again and this time he had seen her too. (Y/N) thought of going to talk to him, but something stopped her, she didn’t know if it was fear or rancor from the past, probably both. Then when he started walking toward her, she ran away. And she kept doing that every time she saw him in the camp after that.

And then peace came. Peace finally seemed to exist on Earth, since they no longer had problems with grounders in three months. (Y/N) enjoyed her free time walking in the hallways and socializing. At that moment (Y/N) was standing by a table, talking to Raven. They had approached each other in the last few months. And even though they didn’t have much to worry about at the time, she hadn’t talked to Bellamy yet, she hadn’t even tried, though the Reyes girl was always telling her to give him a second chance. But things would change soon. (Y/N) could feel the Blake’s gaze on her, but she didn’t have the guts to return the look.

A familiar rhythm filled (Y/N)’s ears, making her distracted from the conversation she was having with Raven. A boy had started playing a song, a song known to her, catching the attention of several people there. Even Raven, who had stopped speaking to listen.

Wise men say, only fools rush in.

(Y/N) felt herself froze in her place as she heard the words being sung. That couldn’t be happening. Her eyes couldn’t help but look for the boy, who had been staring at her for a long time.

But I can’t help, falling in love with you.

Bellamy’s eyes lit up with hope as he saw the girl staring at him. A small smile appeared on his face, making the girl nod at him, a smile appearing on her lips as well.

Shall I stay?

Bellamy started walking toward the girl. Raven smirked discreetly.

Would it be a sin

If I can’t help, falling in love with you?

“May I have this dance, my lady?” he asked, standing in front of her, holding out his arm for her to take.

“I don’t know.” her smile disappeared, making Bellamy lose all the confidence he had felt so far. Raven gave her a discreet push, motioning for her to go, making the girl sigh. “Just one song.”

“One song is all I need.”

Like a river flows, surely to the sea.

Darling, so it goes somethings are meant to be.

No one else was dancing, making (Y/N) feel a little embarrassed when Bellamy pulled her into the center of the room, placing his hands on the girl’s waist. She timidly placed her hands on his shoulders, the two beginning to move in the rhythm of the song.

“I’m sorry.” he said quietly, making her look at him. “I shouldn’t have left you there alone.”

Take my hand, take my whole life too.

“I mean, I should have brought you along or something,” he kept talking as he stared into her eyes, causing (Y/N) to look down as she nodded.

“I think I understand now.”

For I can’t help, falling in love with you.

Bellamy was about to speak again as the girl leaned against his chest, watching some people begin to dance with them. “It’s okay, I just want to enjoy the music.” she said, causing Bell to nod before squeezing her a little closer as he leaned his head on top of hers.

Like a river flows, surely to the sea.

Darling, so it goes somethings are meant to be.

“I’m glad you’re here,” he murmured, making a small smile appear on her lips.

“I’m glad too.”

They just remained silent for another few seconds, enjoying the feeling of having one close to the other again. They were together again. (Y/N) slowly pulled away from Bellamy, causing him to lift his head. They looked at each other, still dancing to the rhythm of the music.

Take my hand, take my whole life too.

For I can’t help…

The boy gave her a small smile, turning his gaze to her lips and then back to the girl’s eyes, asking for permission. A giggle escaped her lips as she nodded slightly, causing him to lean toward her, closing his eyes, which she did too.

Their lips connected. Sweet and hard at the same time. It was as if everything were the same, but at the same time different. (Y/N) felt the familiar nervousness running through her body as Bellamy’s lips moved slowly against hers.

Falling in love with you.

For I can’t help…

She was sure a lot of people were staring at them as the two pulled away, so she kept her eyes closed as Bellamy rested his forehead against hers. He chuckled.

“Maybe we should call that our song.” he whispered, making the girl smile widely at him as she nodded.


Falling in love with you.


Drive Me Crazy - battleshidge (Amiria_Raven)

Word Count: 7, 729

Summary: Keith stared blankly at the tollbooth operator for a moment before trying to stifle a groan. Somehow, he always managed to get the booth with the flirtatious attendant, a lanky brown-haired man with clear blue eyes and a confident grin. It didn’t matter that he changed what lane he went through—at least three times a week on his way home from work, Keith was forced to suffer through the horrendous flirts that this man tossed his way. 

ronan looking out for blue. ruffling her hair and messing up her mess of hair clips and buns and she shouts and swats at him. going thrifting together and blue slinging pair after pair of torn jeans over his arm and he doesn’t mind being a clothesrack much because he thinks it makes him look buff. offering to destroy pieces of cloth for her so she can stitch it into something new and it works out because he likes wrecking shit and she loves wrecked shit. helping her prep for a date with gansey by commenting on her perfume “smells like a fucken bouquet right on” and as she’s leaving “where do you think you’re going in that lampshade.” if any other public school boys step up to her ronan starts rolling up his sleeves but blue dumps iced tea all over their shoes and he just stands there smug. them being bffs and confiding in each other and she makes him use his phone more often. they’re the same impossible stuff and they stick together

101 bands and artists that I recommend

[Note: I made a page of recommended bands, but it seems that people on mobile are not able to view it. With that in mind, I’m making it into an actual post so that people on mobile can have access! Sorry for the long post.]

  1. 3 Inches Of Blood - (Power Metal / Heavy Metal from Canada)
  2. Acid King - (Stoner Doom Metal from USA)
  3. Alice Cooper - (Hard Rock from USA)
  4. Angel Witch - (NWOBHM from UK)
  5. Anvil - (Heavy Metal from Canada)
  6. Arcturus - (Black Metal / Avant-Garde Metal from Norway)
  7. Bathory - (Thrash Metal / Black Metal / Viking Metal from Sweden)
  8. Black Label Society - (Southern Metal / Groove Metal from USA)
  9. Black Sabbath - (Heavy Metal from UK)
  10. Blood Ceremony - (Occult Rock from Canada)
  11. Blood Cult - (Black Metal / Black ‘n’ Roll from USA)
  12. Blood Farmers - (Doom Metal from USA)
  13. Blue Öyster Cult - (Hard Rock from USA)
  14. Burzum - (Black Metal from Norway)
  15. Candlemass - (Epic Doom Metal from Sweden)
  16. Cathedral - (Stoner Doom Metal from UK)
  17. Cirith Ungol - (Heavy Metal / Doom Metal from USA)
  18. Clutch - (Stoner Rock from USA)
  19. Count Raven - (Doom Metal from Sweden)
  20. Danzig - (Heavy Metal from USA)
  21. Darkthrone - (Black Metal / Heavy Metal from Norway)
  22. Death - (Progressive Death Metal from USA)
  23. The Devil’s Blood - (Occult Rock from Netherlands)
  24. Devin Townsend - (Progressive Metal from Canada)
  25. Diamond Head - (NWOBHM from UK)
  26. Dio - (Heavy Metal from USA)
  27. Electric Wizard - (Stoner Doom Metal from UK)
  28. Emperor - (Symphonic Black Metal from Norway)
  29. Enslaved - (Progressive Black Metal from Norway)
  30. Fates Warning - (Progressive Power Metal from USA)
  31. Gamma Ray - (Speed Metal / Power Metal from Germany)
  32. Goatmoon - (Folk Black Metal from Finland)
  33. Gorgoroth - (Black Metal from Norway)
  34. Graveland - (Pagan Black Metal from Poland)
  35. Graveyard - (Hard Rock from Sweden)
  36. Hail - (Blackened Death Metal from Finland)
  37. Heavy Load - (Heavy Metal from Sweden)
  38. Hell - (NWOBHM from UK)
  39. Hellion - (Heavy Metal from USA)
  40. Helloween - (Power Metal from Germany)
  41. High On Fire - (Stoner Doom Metal from USA)
  42. Hour Of 13 - (Doom Metal from USA)
  43. Ice Dragon - (Stoner Doom Metal / Psychedelic Rock from USA)
  44. Iced Earth - (Thrash Metal / Power Metal from USA)
  45. Immortal - (Black Metal from Norway)
  46. In Flames - (Melodic Death Metal from Sweden)
  47. Inquisition - (Black Metal from Colombia)
  48. Iron Maiden - (NWOBHM from UK)
  49. Judas Priest - (Heavy Metal from UK)
  50. Kate Bush - (Experimental Pop from UK)
  51. King Diamond - (Heavy Metal from Denmark)
  52. Kiss - (Hard Rock from USA)
  53. Kyuss - (Stoner Metal from USA)
  54. Led Zeppelin - (Hard Rock from UK)
  55. Lust - (Heavy Metal from France)
  56. Magic Circle - (Doom Metal from USA)
  57. Manilla Road - (Power Metal / Heavy Metal from USA)
  58. Manowar - (Power Metal / Heavy Metal from USA)
  59. Massacration - (Power Metal / Heavy Metal from Brazil)
  60. Mayhem - (Black Metal from Norway)
  61. Megadeth - (Thrash Metal from USA)
  62. Mercyful Fate - (Heavy Metal from Denmark)
  63. Metallica - (Thrash Metal from USA)
  64. The Misfits - (Horror Punk from USA)
  65. Mötley Crüe - (Glam Metal from USA)
  66. Motörhead - (Hard Rock / Heavy Metal from UK)
  67. Nargaroth - (Black Metal from Germany)
  68. Neil Young - (Folk Rock from Canada)
  69. Omen - (Power Metal from USA)
  70. Ozzy Osbourne - (Heavy Metal from UK)
  71. Pagan Altar - (NWOBHM / Doom Metal from UK)
  72. Pantera - (Groove Metal from USA)
  73. Pentagram - (Doom Metal from USA)
  74. Rainbow - (Hard Rock / Heavy Metal from UK)
  75. Reverend Bizarre - (Doom Metal from Finland)
  76. Roky Erickson - (Hard Rock from USA)
  77. Running Wild - (Power Metal from Germany)
  78. Sabbat - (Thrash Metal from UK)
  79. Saint Vitus - (Doom Metal from USA)
  80. Scald - (Epic Doom Metal from Russia)
  81. Seamount - (Doom Metal from Germany)
  82. Serpent Throne - (Instrumental Doom Metal from USA)
  83. Sleep - (Stoner Doom Metal from USA)
  84. Solstice - (Epic Doom Metal from UK)
  85. Spiritus Mortis - (Doom Metal from Finland)
  86. Strapping Young Lad - (Industrial Thrash Metal from Canada)
  87. Suicidal Tendencies - (Crossover Thrash from USA)
  88. Taake - (Black Metal from Norway)
  89. Ted Nugent - (Hard Rock from USA)
  90. Thin Lizzy - (Celtic Rock / Hard Rock from Ireland)
  91. Tjolgtjar - (Black Metal / Psychedelic Black ‘n’ Roll from USA)
  92. Trouble - (Doom Metal from USA)
  93. Type O Negative - (Gothic Doom Metal from USA)
  94. Ulver - (Black Metal / Folk / Avant-Garde from Norway)
  95. Uriah Heep - (Hard Rock from UK)
  96. Van Halen - (Hard Rock from USA)
  97. Vektor - (Progressive Thrash Metal from USA)
  98. W.A.S.P. - (Hard Rock / Heavy Metal from USA)
  99. Windir - (Folk Black Metal from Norway)
  100. Witchfinder General - (NWOBHM / Doom Metal from UK)
  101. YOB - (Stoner Doom Metal from USA)

Fandom/Shipping(s): Elsword; RFLP
Rating: K+
Word Count: 1,391

Summary: Raven takes care of Add when the tracer is injured.  Written in collab with @zeloree for @trashtetsu‘s request.  

The smell of burning flesh snapped him awake when he detected the smell that was unfortunately familiar.  Velder?  Much to his relief, Raven opened his eyes to see they were nowhere near the kingdom, but pristine white marble that could only be Hamel.  Lying on the floor were dark stains of red with Add clutching his stomach, arms tangled in bandages around his wounds.

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Effective Animal Behavior Research

“Educate yourself!” A phrase we eagerly throw around when someone we deem ignorant is saying something we disagree with. And it’s true, some people really need to educate themselves, in particular people who have taken it upon themselves to educate others. 

But how do you educate yourself? I’ve seen the self-education a lot of people come up with… and it’s not pretty. I don’t think anything infuriates an educator more than writing something informative based on science and facts, only to have someone contradict them with isolated-incident anecdotal “evidence”, as if that means all their research and science is wrong on that basis. It’s a bit like saying, “well I’m still alive, so clearly death is a myth.” 

That is not someone who has educated themselves, but rather someone who has never evaluated anything critically, from all possible angles, before coming to an informed conclusion. 

So, again… how do you educate yourself? 

Read. But don’t read indiscriminately. Use discernment. Be critical. Don’t just look at the best seller list, or Oprah’s Book of the Month. Take a look at 1) what topic the book is discussing and 2) who is writing about it. 

Before you even start reading the book, ask yourself: 

  1. Who is the author? 
  2. What are their qualifications to write on this subject? 
  3. Is this an anecdotal book or a scientific book? 
  4. How old is this book? 
  5. What do the author’s peers have to say about this book? 

For example, I picked up the book “Animal Cognition: The Mental Lives of Animals” by Clive D.L. Wynne. I then turned to the back to read the summary. 

“Can ravens count? How do pigeons find their way home? Can chimpanzees use language in a human-like fashion? These are the kinds of questions that occupy scientists interested in understanding animal minds. […] presents a fascinating account of animal intelligence and abilities, covering a wide range of key topics from language and communication to sensation and problem-solving. […] Clive Wynne reviews research on species ranging from fire ants to dolphins […] complex reasoning (do cats understand that objects hidden from view still continue to exist?), balanced by a critical stance towards some of the wilder claims found in the popular media.” 

Now, what does it say about the author? 

“Clive D.L. Wynne is an Associate Professor in Psychology, University of Florida, and studies cognition in species from pigeons to marsupials. He worked previously at universities in Australia, the USA and in Germany, and was educated at University College London and the University of Edinburgh. He is the author of numerous scholarly papers on animal learning and cognition, and is the editor of a book on models of animal behavior, Models of Action: Mechanisms for Adaptive Behavior.” 

So, the author is a professor of psychology who has made numerous contributions to the scholarly world, and the book is handling a topic he is familiar with and has professional experience with. That’s already a good start. The publishing date is 2001, which is somewhat older, so the reader should be critical of the studies being referred to and make sure they are still considered valid. 

The book contains several reviews from his peers—other professors and researchers from various universities—who agree that this book is an excellent source of information, which further indicates the author has a lot to offer on this subject. 

With this information in mind, you can start reading, and as you read, continue to ask yourself the following questions: 

  1. How old is the study they are referring to? Is it still considered a valid source? 
  2. Are they even referring to any valid studies?  
  3. Are they using science and logic to make their argument, or relying on emotional manipulation? 

Use critical thinking while reading. Don’t look for reasons to disagree or agree with the author, but simply pause and ask yourself, “is this a logical conclusion? Does this make sense?” To the best of your ability, try to put aside personal feelings on the subject, whether it’s about the author or about the subject matter. 

When reading a book like this, I take notes. I make note of undeniable truths as they come, and I make note of the author’s personal musings and hypotheses. I also make note of my own personal musings based solely on the information provided. 

Toward the end of the book, I look to see if I reached the same conclusion the author did, and if not, I ask myself why that is the case, and, if necessary, go back and re-read certain aspects that may have confused me, or that I simply may have misunderstood within the context of the book. 

So, now I’ve read an educational book on a subject. I’ve worked through it, and fully understand the logic and science behind it. Am I done now? No. Now it’s time to move on to the next book, the next study, the next journal, and then another, and then another. 

Also, I can’t just read books on animal cognition and call it a day. There are other book focuses that are closely affiliated that have to be studied as well: physiological behavior, ethics, animal science, and animal communication. 

A book on “The Biology of Animal Stress” may have a stronger focus on overall animal welfare, and a book on “Animal Play” or “Principles of Animal Communication” may focus on overall body language and inter-species norms, but they all come together to create one big picture.

Educating yourself is a never-ending process. There will always be a new study to read, and a new theory to work through, and they may end up disproving something we previously regarded as fact. 

Anatomy and physiology changes as animals evolve, and animal behavioral norms change as they adapt to an ever-changing domesticated life. We must always be willing to put aside what we once embraced, and acknowledge the truth. 

 That, is how you educate yourself, and it’s how you educate others.