Monday Morning Wake-Up Call

There are so many people who’ve come before us,
arrows and wagon wheels, obsidian tools, buffalo.
Look out at the meadow, you can almost see them,
generations dissolved in the bluegrass and hay.
I want to try and be terrific.
Even for an hour.

~ Ada Limón, “During the Impossible Age of Everything,” from Bright Dead Things


Riding Metro North. Giving Up the Ghost.


Hump Day. Hump it was.

It’s the 9:06 pm train from Grand Central. A 15-hour day and it wasn’t over.

I sit with other weary commuters heading home. The train is silent.

I can’t get comfortable. I shift left, and then right and then lean against the window. I give up. I need to be horizontal, in my bed.

It’s Haunting. A Ghost. It’s Hilary Mantel’s Giving Up the Ghost:

The faintest movement, a ripple, a disturbance of the air. I can sense a spiral, a lazy buzzing swirl, like flies; but it is not flies. There is nothing to see. There is nothing to smell. There is nothing to hear. But it is motion, its insolent shift, makes my stomach heave. I can sense— at the periphery, the limit of all my senses— the dimensions of the creature. It is as high as a child of two. Its depth is a foot, fifteen inches. The air stirs around it, invisibly. I am cold, and rinsed by nausea. I cannot move. I am shaking. . . . This is the beginning of shame.

You are tired. You know that’s it.  Let it go Man. [Read more…]

Burning desire to be excellent, but no faith that I could be


I confessed that I had a burning desire to be excellent, but no faith that I could be.

Martha said to me, very quietly: “There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all of time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and it will be lost. The world will not have it. It is not your business to determine how good it is nor how valuable nor how it compares with other expressions. It is your business to keep it yours clearly and directly, to keep the channel open. You do not even have to believe in yourself or your work. You have to keep yourself open and aware to the urges that motivate you. Keep the channel open. As for you, Agnes, you have so far used about one-third of your talent.”

“But,” I said, “when I see my work I take for granted what other people value in it. I see only its ineptitude, inorganic flaws, and crudities. I am not pleased or satisfied.”

“No artist is pleased.”

“But then there is no satisfaction?”

“No satisfaction whatever at any time,” she cried out passionately. “There is only a queer divine dissatisfaction, a blessed unrest that keeps us marching and makes us more alive than the others.”

~ Agnes de Mille, The Life and Work of Martha Graham

Credits: Quote Source: Brainpickings. Image: Your Eyes Blaze Out

Driving I-95 N. With Potential.


It was some time ago.
Yet, it is now.

I’m heading home Friday afternoon after a long week and the story replays.
Not a sitcom. But a documentary.

The hotel ball room is tightly packed.
The lights dim.
600 eyeballs watch him amble onto the stage.

Blue sport coat. Gray slacks.
Black boots, clean, polished and up over the ankle.
He’s wearing a watch, a large face, a Patek Philipe.

He’s an Engineer, Inventor, Founder, Investor and VC.
And a new Father.
He’s a Silicon Valley giant. A Giant presence
And, still way on the right side of 50.

Q: China. Q: Europe. Q: U.S.
Q: IPOs. Q: Capital markets. Q: Private Markets.
Q: Innovation. Q: Disruption. Q: Cybersecurity.
Q: Facebook. Q: UBER. Q: Lift. Q: Twitter.
Q: Paypal. Q: Apple Pay. Q: Bitcoin.
Q: Regulation. Q: Politics.
Q: Philanthropy.
Q: Diversity.

A:… A:.. A:… A:… A:…A:… A:… A:…

Crisp responses. Stats to support. Colorful anecdotes.
He’s a Giant knife slicing through Butter.

Q:  Where do you find the time? You work. You travel. You write. You curate. You have a large social media following. Where do you get the ideas? Where do you get the content you curate? [Read more…]

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


(I Want to) x (26) + BAM!


Psychoanalytical musings of Louise Bourgeois (1911-2010).



This whole thing is not about heroism. It’s about decency.


Roger Cohen, NY Times: Mow The Law:

[…] I am less interested in the inspirational hero than I am in the myriad doers of everyday good who would shun the description heroic; less interested in the exhortation to “live your dream” than in the obligation to make a living wage.

In Camus’ book, “The Plague,” the doctor at the center of the novel, Bernard Rieux, battles pestilence day after day. It is a Sisyphean task. At one point he says, “I have to tell you this: This whole thing is not about heroism. It’s about decency. It may seem a ridiculous idea, but the only way to fight the plague is with decency.”

Asked what decency is, he responds: “In general, I can’t say, but in my case I know that it consists of doing my job.” Later, he adds, “I don’t think I have any taste for heroism and sainthood. What interests me is to be a man.”

In the everyday task at hand, for woman or man, happiness lurks.

Don’t miss entire op-ed column by Roger Cohen, Mow The Law

Someone will always have a higher jump or a more beautiful line.


“I felt like there had been some mistake,” she said. “…that I wasn’t smart enough to be in this company.”…When Portman was finally able to combat these feelings of self-doubt, there’d be more roadblocks to overcome…

By the time Portman got to “Black Swan,” she said that “the experience was completely [her own].” Portman had vowed to only sign onto projects that she could glean meaningful things from. And Darren Aronofsky’s “Black Swan” — a project she admits she was “woefully unprepared for” and was “15 years away from being a ballerina” when she signed on for — would carry, perhaps, one of Portman’s most meaningful life experiences.

“It was instructive for me to see that for ballet dancers — once your technique gets to a certain level — the only thing that separates you from others is your quirks,” Portman said. “Or even, flaws … You can never be the best technically. Someone will always have a higher jump or a more beautiful line. The only thing you can be the best at is developing your own self.”

~ Natalie Portman, 2015 Harvard Commencement Speech

Credits: Quote –

Lightly child, lightly


How exhausting,
to bear not only the weight of what you are,
but also the weight of what you ought to be.

~ Stephen Sparks, No. 63


  • Image Source: Nell Donovan via eikadan
  • Post Title & Inspiration: Aldous Huxley: “It’s dark because you are trying too hard. Lightly child, lightly. Learn to do everything lightly. Yes, feel lightly even though you’re feeling deeply. Just lightly let things happen and lightly cope with them.”
  • Prior “Lightly child, lightly” Posts? Connect here.


Lightly Child, Lightly


People are not, for example, terribly anxious to be equal (equal, after all, to what and to whom?) but they love the idea of being superior. And this human truth has an especially grinding force here, where identity is almost impossible to achieve and people are perpetually attempting to find their feet on the shifting sands of status.

James Baldwin, The Fire Next Time.

  • Photo: Dennis Wehrmann via Banshy
  • Prior “Lightly child, lightly” Posts? Connect here.
  • Post Title & Inspiration: Aldous Huxley: “It’s dark because you are trying too hard. Lightly child, lightly. Learn to do everything lightly. Yes, feel lightly even though you’re feeling deeply. Just lightly let things happen and lightly cope with them.”