When you were born they put you in a little box and slapped a label on it

“When you were born they put you in a little box and slapped a label on it. But if we begin to notice these categories no longer fit us, maybe it’ll mean that we’ve finally arrived—just unpacking the boxes, making ourselves at home.”

John Koenig, The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrow

Related Posts: The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrow

Where are the A+s? Who really knows?


My generation was more like the Un-self-esteem movement. The Self-Disesteem Movement. We were constantly being told what bums and losers we were. Be a man! Suck it up! What’s wrong with you? Those were the child-rearing mantras that our parents, teachers, and coaches—the Greatest Generation—dished out to us. If you brought home a report card with straight A’s, the only question was, “Where are the A+s?”


Whose opinion counts most in the end?

Who’s the one person we can’t fool?

Who really knows how deep we dug or how true we played it?

~ Steven Pressfield, Giving Ourselves Some Props

Notes: Photo – Anja Matko, Self-Portrait, “Afraid of Falling” (via Mennyfox55)


Don Henley’s Long Run


“Almost a half-century later, the Eagles are still prospering. The band recently wrapped up a retrospective History of the Eagles tour, which spanned 146 concerts and grossed $253 million in ticket sales. On a hot, windy day in August, Mr. Henley, 68, seemed relieved that the run was over, as he sat at a picnic table before a platter heaped with cherry tomatoes from his garden. “I’ve been a human jukebox for a long time now,” he said, suggesting that the Eagles might be done touring for good—though that’s been said before.  To move forward, he has gone back, using a different setting—his hometown of Linden, Texas, 1,600 miles from Malibu, and 160 miles from his primary home in Dallas—as the musical jumping-off point for his first solo album in 15 years. “Cass County,” due Sept. 25, mixes country and other roots styles, echoing the blend of music that poured through his northeastern corner of the state. […]

In the past you’ve been pretty frank about the insecurities of being a songwriter. Do you still have confidence issues about your work?

No. I’ve pretty much outgrown that, which is another thing that made this album more enjoyable. There’s a paralyzation that occurs when you’re too hard on yourself. The great becomes the enemy of the good. I just decided to lighten up. There’s a magical middle ground that if you hit it, you can write and you can write well. I’m never going to be Paul Simon or Randy Newman, but I’m going to be me and I always aspire to do better work.

You have a two-part documentary out, “History of the Eagles.” What did you cut from the movie, or hesitate to include?

I think the documentary is great, but I didn’t like the process. I’m a very private person. I don’t understand this culture oversharing and putting it all on YouTube or Twitter. We were able to remove most of the cringe-worthy stuff. We didn’t want it to be just another movie about sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll. Joe [Walsh] talked more about addiction in the film than we did, but we were all as bad as him—we just didn’t want to talk about it. I started putting that stuff behind me in the late ‘80s. Took me a few years, but I got there. But the movie had an incredibly positive effect on the old career. As our manager is fond of saying, it did more for our career than putting out a new album would have.

Read the rest of the Don Henley interview by John Jorgensen: Don Henley’s Long Run

A sneak preview into his new album: Don Henley Cass County Official Trailer

Find the album on iTunes here: Don Henley Cass County

Found a quiet spot and opened a book

 […] Although the book indulges in occasional shop talk about the craft of writing, it is foremost a running record of pleasure. Mr. Dirda argues in these essays, drawn from a yearlong column about reading that he wrote for the American Scholar, “that we don’t read for high-minded reasons. We read for aesthetic, emotional, and intellectual excitement.”

In perhaps the book’s best essay, “Then and Now,” Mr. Dirda celebrates his book habit as something more than mere acquisition. Returning to the “down-at-heels steeltown” of his Ohio youth, he stays a few nights in his childhood bedroom, where late-night reading gave him his first real sense of a larger world. “As my father used to say: ‘Live fast,’ ” he writes. “In fact, I’ve lived slow, dithered and dallied, taken my own sweet time, and done pretty much what I’ve repeatedly done ever since my mother first taught me to read so long ago: Found a quiet spot and opened a book.” […]

Mr. Dirda, a Pulitzer Prize-winning book reviewer for the Washington Post, is an engaging storyteller, but he is not, by his own admission, a flashy one. “If only I had a flair for striking similes and metaphors! Alas, nothing ever reminds me of anything else,” he writes. Newspaper writing, he adds, has strengthened his natural tendency toward plainness. In lieu of vividness, Mr. Dirda gives his readers intimacy: “I like a piece to sound as if it were dashed off in 15 minutes—even when hours might have been spent in contriving just the right degree of airiness and nonchalance.” […]

~ Danny Heitman, Restless Reader, a review of Michael Dirda’s new book titled “Browsings: A Year of Reading, Collecting, and Living with Books.”





Source: this isn’t happiness

Do the work


She looked about fifteen, and not only out of place in that crowd but also a little young to be asking a question in front of such a big audience. I think she felt it, too, because I could see from the stage that she was shaking. After a moment of nervous silence, she asked, “Mindy, where do you get your confidence? Because I feel like I used to have it when I was younger but now I don’t.”

Context is so important. If this question had been asked by a white man, I might actually have been offended, because the subtext of it would have been completely different. When an adult white man asks me “Where do you get your confidence?” the tacit assumption behind it is: “Because you don’t look like a person who should have any confidence. You’re not white, you’re not a man, and you’re not thin or conventionally attractive. How were you able to overlook these obvious shortcomings to feel confident?” […]

For the record, I, like everyone else, have had moments when I felt unattractive and stupid and unskilled. When I started at The Office, I had zero confidence. Whenever Greg Daniels came into the room to talk to our small group of writers, I was so nervous that I would raise and lower my chair involuntarily, like a tic. Finally, weeks in, writer Mike Schur put his hand on my arm and said, gently, “You have to stop.” Years later I realized that the way I had felt during those first few months was correct. I didn’t deserve to be confident yet. I happen to believe that no one inherently deserves anything, except basic human rights. […]

Confidence is just entitlement. Entitlement has gotten a bad rap because it’s used almost exclusively for the useless children of the rich, reality TV stars, and Conrad Hilton Jr., who gets kicked off an airplane for smoking pot in the lavatory and calling people peasants or whatever. But entitlement in and of itself isn’t so bad. Entitlement is simply the belief that you deserve something. Which is great. The hard part is, you’d better make sure you deserve it. So, how did I make sure that I deserved it?

To answer that, I would like to quote from the Twitter bio of one of my favorite people, Kevin Hart. It reads: My name is Kevin Hart and I WORK HARD!!! That pretty much sums me up!!! Everybody Wants To Be Famous But Nobody Wants To Do The Work!

People talk about confidence without ever bringing up hard work. That’s a mistake. I know I sound like some dour older spinster chambermaid on Downton Abbey who has never felt a man’s touch and whose heart has turned to stone, but I don’t understand how you could have self-confidence if you don’t do the work.

I work a lot. Like, a lot a lot. I feel like I must have been watching TV as a kid and that cartoon parable about the industrious ants and the lazy grasshopper came on at a vital moment when my soft little brain was hardening, and the moral of it was imprinted on me. The result of which is that I’m usually hyper-prepared for whatever I set my mind to do, which makes me feel deserving of attention and professional success, when that’s what I’m seeking.

~ Mindy Kaling, Mindy Kaling’s Guide to Killer Confidence


Monday Morning Wake-Up Call



Photographer: Robby Cavanaugh via My Modern Met

Monday Morning Wake-Up Call


Angry Owls by giovannag (via Your Eyes Blaze Out)

Sunday Morning: Be a Seashell


I take the seashell from my jeans pocket and rub my fingers across its silken, indented surface, shallow as my own open hand. This chalice, subtly shaped by some divine intelligence to allow water to flow in and out with ease, is what I aspire to become: a vessel through which feelings can pour in and spill right out again, without all the grasping and holding that obstructs the flow. Can I be as serene and simple as this bleached shell, rubbed smooth by wind and water, receiving and releasing, filling and emptying and filling again, eternally receptive to the currents of life?

~ Katrina Kenison, Magical Journey: An Apprenticeship in Contentment

Photograph: Crones

Here it is. The Beacon. For us. The Amateurs.


A paragraph from Lucas’ first chapter, “The Value of Style,” will suffice to render his point of view, with its fine sense of perspective and proportion, plain: It is unlikely that many of us will be famous, or even remembered. But not less important than the brilliant few that lead a nation or a literature to fresh achievements, are the unknown many whose patient efforts keep the world from running backward; who guard and maintain the ancient values, even if they do not conquer new; whose inconspicuous triumph it is to pass on what they inherited from their fathers, unimpaired and undiminished, to their sons. Enough, for almost all of us, if we can hand on the torch, and not let it down; content to win the affection, if it may be, of a few who know us and to be forgotten when they in their turn have vanished. The destiny of mankind is not governed wholly by its “stars.”

~ Joseph Epstein, A Literary Education and Other Essays

Photo: Lachlan von Nubia