Category: General (Page 2 of 67)

Grow the heart

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Stuff worth reading

“In Defense of the Struggle” by Meg Fee

The thing about struggle, is that it inversely affects entitlement. It engenders gratitude and increases value. It gives shape and provides context. And yet we live in this culture that espouses ease and convenience above all else.

“Idea Debt” by Jessica Abel

Idea Debt is when you spend too much time picturing what a project is going to be like, too much time thinking about how awesome it will be to have this thing done and in the world, too much time imagining how cool you will look, how in demand you’ll be, how much money you’ll make. And way too little time actually making the thing.

“Ten Warnings About the Small Children You May One Day Have” by Chuck Wendig

I appear before you now: a specter haunted by the realities of life with a tiny human. Some of you are thinking of having children. Some of you are already on your way to having them, or have children who are not just small, but very tiny, and those tiny immobilized larvae will one day soon grow up. You’re not ready. I wasn’t ready.

But I am here to prepare you.

“What Makes Fiction Literary: Scenes Versus Postcards” by Donald Maass

One thing we’re talking about is the difference between scenes and what I call postcards. What are the building blocks of a novel? The term “scenes” is most often used, but that is imprecise. Scenes, summary and postcards are three different ways to shape the discrete blocks of narration that build a novel. These blocks are arranged either in strict chronological order, or in some other pattern, which taken together tell a story.

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Springtime

terraced planters

Things are blossoming over here. Story things and plant things and family things. Blossoming is hard work. It takes attention and energy, care and thoughtful pruning. It also takes patience, discipline, generosity, and collaboration. Until recently, I never realized how much goes into this season of life and rebirth. But you cannot enjoy the fruits without the labor.

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Beautifully broken (fix it with gold)

kintsukuroi

For someone who stresses about messing things up, kintsukuroi is a beautiful and liberating concept. Celebrating flaws. Highlighting history. I’m trying to apply this to various areas of my life. Writing, family, home ownership, and most importantly, myself.

Revision. Tension and conflict. Repairs and renovations. Frustration, impatience, disappointment. These are cracks in the clay, yes, but they need not be a cause for despair. They can be lined with gold and re-joined. Made to shine. They can add distinction and strength.

What breaks the thing can also be what makes the thing.

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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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