Month: January 2016

Stuff worth reading

“Letter to My Younger Self” by James Brown

I don’t care what the circumstances might be — you always stand on truth. No matter what the tide might be, no matter the trend or how the winds are blowing, you always stand on truth.

A mistake is an opportunity for those open to self-reflection, and you will make plenty. And they will make you better.

“On Growing Up” by Meg Fee (who feels like a kindred spirit to me and has quickly become one of my favorite personal bloggers)

You will arrive at an age when you develop this insatiable need for the conversations that come at the end of the day.

Oh, you’ll want the other stuff too—this kisses and the sex and the Sunday morning coffee runs. But there is a thing so particular about needing a person in which to empty secrets big and small.

You do not have to be liked by everyone. Let me say that again: YOU. DO. NOT. HAVE. TO. BE. LIKED. BY. EVERYONE. And you must be courageous enough to accept that.

The great challenge of adulthood (other than figuring out just what the hell it is you are actually doing with your life) is learning to speak honestly and kindly. Finding where those two things live—which, I’m pretty sure, is in that sacred space where courage and self-worth meet.

“Falling short: seven writers reflect on failure” via the Guardian

It took me a long time to understand the nuances of success and failure, to see how they are often intertwined, how success to one person is failure to another.

The zen of it is that success and failure are both an illusion, that these illusions will keep you from the desk, they will spoil your talent; they will eat away at your life and your sleep and the way you speak to the people you love.

The writer’s life is one of great privilege, so “Suck it up”, you might say – there are more fans than trolls. But there are two, sometimes separate, ambitions here. One is to get known, make money perhaps and take a bow – to be acknowledged by that dangerous beast, the crowd. The other is to write a really good book.

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In pursuit of joy

I’ve been drafting this post since the first day of the new year. I open it every day, multiple times a day. I type a few things here and there. I delete a few things here and there. I have yet to figure out exactly what I’m trying to say, but I feel the words inside me, like a great pressure building, desperate to get out.

 

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Everyone asks, What are your new year resolutions?

I never have a good answer. I don’t make resolutions, exactly. But I do think about the year ahead, ripe with possibilities. I do imagine what I want to achieve, and I do feel a renewed sense of determination and hopefulness.

All that sleeping in over the holidays probably helps.

From “The Open” by Caroline Wozniacki:

In the media, everyone is “up,” or “down,” or “on the rise,” or “in a slump.” In reality, the difference between winning and losing can often be very small. Proving yourself, over and over, to fulfill an outside perception of who you are as a player or person, can be a daunting task — an endlessly moving target.

Everyone asks, How is the writing going?

I never have a good answer. What happens between me and the page can be difficult or easy, slow or rapid-fire, tentative or confident, superficial or deeply honest. Most of the time it’s all of those things at once, somehow.

But what happens between me and the page isn’t what really matters to most people. Most people just want to see the tangible end results. They want to see the cover in the bookstore, the pages in print, the reviews on Amazon. Don’t get me wrong, I want to see those things too. But what I find hard to explain is that those things don’t necessarily mean that the writing is going well. And this, where I’m at right now, doesn’t necessarily mean the writing is going poorly.

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There is a voice in my head that runs in a constant loop, saying, Don’t ruin anything! Don’t mess up! Keep everything nice!

It’s not very helpful. Not for a creative. Not for a normal human being living in this beautifully imperfect world.

I guess one of my goals this year is to silence that voice. To embrace lines that aren’t straight and rooms that aren’t tidy and sentences that aren’t as eloquent as the thoughts in my head. To stop fearing mistakes and just learn from them instead. To live and play with abandon. To seek and create joy.

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