A Murmur. Yes, Maybe.

big-red-hair-wind

For once
the mocking, predictable voice
inside my head that says “No way”
is silent.
In fact, I think I can just barely make out
some other, quieter voice, whispering,
“Maybe.”

― Katrina Kenison, Magical Journey: An Apprenticeship in Contentment


Photograph: Anka Zhuravleva (“Ginger“)

 

 

No Words.

sailing-calm

She stirred it.
d smith kaich jones, in lower case whispers, in truth and mirrors:

“there are days I don’t write because (very small voice)
sometimes I don’t believe

It begins innocuously.
It builds surreptitiously.
It ends perniciously.

A slow drip from a leaky faucet.
A Drip. Drip. Drip.
The Drops splash on cool stainless steel.
From Drops. To Rain. To Tsunami.
Now Paralyzed by its immensity,
you stare at the blinking cursor,
and find Yves Klein‘s deep deep blue of emptiness.

The Sails lie flat,
the Ship is adrift.
You wait for tailwinds.
You Wait, for Words.


Image: Cloudair (Dead calm, Atlantic Ocean, Canary Islands)

Do the work

mindy-kaling

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


Notes:

That aching gap

mask-authenticity-portrait

I am still beset
by the same old lusts
and ego and emotions,
the endless nagging details and irritations –
that aching gap between
what I know and what I am.

~ Peter Matthiessen, The Snow Leopard


Source: Schonwieder

You are not an easy person to…

clothing by Ahmed Abdel Rahman

I open up my body,
whole and spit-shined eager
and inside there is only a mouth.
The mouth says
You are not an easy person to love.
Curious, I reach into this mouth
and pull out the tongue.

I make the tongue say it again, and again.
You are not an easy person…
You are not an easy person to…

And it’s so silly looking.
This little flip-flopping thing
in the palm of my hand.”

– Clementine von Radics, “A Bad Weekend in Three Parts,” published in Drunk in a Midnight Choir


Notes: Poem Source: Boston Poetry Slam. Photography: Feelslike

Think Big. Stand Tall. Fear Not.

elephant-think-big


Source: Bizarbazar

You. Yes, you.

funny


Source: Wasting Time With You

You pages — ten of you — you are the dribble cup — you are the cloth to wipe up the vomit.

John-Steinbeck

We read many books.

Some stand out, way ahead from the others.

I listed my Top 11 in a posted titled Books, Books, Books back in 2012. Is it possible to even have a Top 5, or a Top 10 or Top 100 top books list?

Steinbeck’s Pulitzer Prize winning book, The Grapes of Wrath, was #1 on my short list.

Steinbeck kept a diary while he wrote The Grapes of Wrath. It was published as “Working Days: The Journals of The Grapes of Wrath.”

Maria Popova wrote a must-read post yesterday titled: How Steinbeck Used The Diary as a Tool of Discipline where she describes the book as a “remarkable living record of his creative journey, in which this extraordinary writer tussles with excruciating self-doubt but plows forward anyway, with equal parts gusto and grist, driven by the dogged determination to do his best…his daily journaling becomes a practice both redemptive and transcendent.”  Here’s a Steinbeck quote from the post:

I don’t know whether I could write a decent book now. That is the greatest fear of all. I’m working at it but I can’t tell. Something is poisoned in me. You pages — ten of you — you are the dribble cup — you are the cloth to wipe up the vomit. Maybe I can get these fears and disgusts on you and then burn you up. Then maybe I won’t be so haunted. Have to pretend it’s that way anyhow.

I reflected on Steinbeck’s thoughts. Two conclusions came to mind.

1) Steinbeck had doubt. Me and Steinbeck. SympaticoMisery loves company.

2) Steinbeck had doubt. Steinbeck, STEINBECK, had doubt. I don’t stand a chance.

If you are writing, building or creating anything and have doubts, this post is worth your time: Don’t miss: How Steinbeck Used TheDiary as a Tool of Discipline.

And yes, I bought the book.


Photo: Vivandlarry.com

There’s the purpose. Right there.

86th Annual Academy Awards - Arrivals

Q: There was a strong, negative reaction after you won your Oscar. In a recent interview for Elle U.K., you said, “As with anything difficult, eventually its purpose revealed itself, and I found it ultimately very liberating.” What was its purpose?

AH: Self-acceptance. If you’re not someone who has a natural and effortless love for yourself, it’s hard to let go of your desire to please other people, and that’s really not an ingredient for a happy life.

~ Anne Hathaway, Anne Hathaway’s Oscars Advice: ‘Do The Opposite of What I Did


Image: linkservice

Send the elevator back down

kevin-spacey

“If you’ve done well in the business that you wanted to do well in, then it is your obligation to spend a good portion of your time sending the elevator back down.”

– Kevin Spacey

Q: What keeps you going? What get’s you up in the morning?

KS: We had dinner one night on the beach.  We decided to play a game and the game was you had to describe the most important thing in life using one word.  So we went around table. You got health, wealth, family, money. It came to John Huston and he said “Interest.” “Interest.” “Interest” that’s the most important thing in life. And I feel that is something that I have adopted. The idea of being interested in things that I don’t know rather than things that I do know. Peeling back the layer again and again of putting yourself in situations that are challenging and new, that are compelling, and ask of yourself something different than you’ve ever done before. And sometimes this means doing things that scare you and things that you’re not sure you can succeed at.

I suppose that is why I have always loved the theatre and why I love doing plays over anything else. There’s a ritual to it.  There’s also this incredible thing about it where it’s like you are walking on a tight rope. Feeling like you have nothing below you but your faith in what you are doing, your appreciation of the words and the story the author has written and your trust in your fellow company members.

Q: Do you feel that taking risks gets easier and easier over time?

[Read more…]