MMM*: And you say, what?

turned-sheet-gerhard-richter-art

Poets must read and study, but also they must learn to tilt and whisper, shout, or dance, each in his or her own way, or we might just as well copy the old books. But, no, that would never do, for always the new self swimming around in the old world feels itself uniquely verbal. And that is just the point: how the world, moist and bountiful, calls to each of us to make a new and serious response. That’s the big question, the one the world throws at you every morning. “Here you are, alive. Would you like to make a comment?” This book is my comment.

~ Mary Oliver, Long Life: Essays and Other Writings


Notes: 1) MMM* = Monday Morning Mantra. 2) Turned Sheet (1965) by Gerhard Richter via vjeranski

David Carr: Try harder. Create something with your own dirty little hands.

david-carr

David Carr died last week. He overcame drug addiction, survived cancer and struggled with alcoholism. He was a best selling author, a top media columnist at The New York Times and a member of the faculty at Boston University’s communications school.  He was a “mentor to young reports and a blunt critic of those who didn’t measure up.” Here’s a excerpt from today’s paper:

NY Times: David Carr’s Last Word on Journalism, Aimed at Students:

David was interested in people, not their résumés. He didn’t care where someone went to college or who their parents were. So instead of giving his students a standard biographical blurb…David told them this, under the heading “Not need to know, but nice to know”:

“Your professor is a terrible singer and a decent dancer. He is a movie crier but stone-faced in real life. He never laughs even when he is actually amused. He hates suck-ups, people who treat waitresses and cab drivers poorly and anybody who thinks diversity is just an academic conceit. He is a big sucker for the hard worker and is rarely dazzled by brilliance. He has little patience for people who pretend to ask questions when all they really want to do is make a speech…Your professor is fair, fundamentally friendly, a little odd, but not very mysterious. If you want to know where you stand, just ask.”

He encouraged teamwork. “While writing, shooting, and editing are often solitary activities, great work emerges in the spaces between people,” David wrote, adding, “Evaluations will be based not just on your efforts, but on your ability to bring excellence out of the people around you…”

Mikaela Lefrak, 26, was his teaching assistant his first semester. “He didn’t want us to sound like everyone else,” she wrote in an email. “He wanted us to sound better. Extended metaphors should be indulged and encouraged — the stranger, the better. And clichés were poison. ‘Try harder,’ he told me constantly. ‘Create something with your own dirty little hands…’ ”

David warned there would be a heavy reading list. “I’m not sliming you with a bunch of textbooks, so please know I am dead serious about these readings,” he wrote. “Skip or skim at your peril.”

I encourage you to read the entire article. You can find it here:  David Carr’s Last Word on Journalism, Aimed at Students.

His best selling book, “The Night of the Gun,” is a memoir of addiction and recovery. I highly recommend it.  Maria Popova at Brain Pickings shared some excellent excerpts from the book in her post: Addiction to Truth.

And here are links to some of my favorite quotes by Carr:

Carr lived in New Jersey with Jill Rooney Carr and their three children. He was 58. As Scott Peck would say, he took the road less traveled and many of us are better for it.

RIP.


Credits: Photograph of David Carr in 2008 –  NY Times

 

Cold stove of 4:00 a.m., black iron

cast-iron-stove

Cold stove of 4:00 a.m., black iron, the lids in place on everyone but me, and down the chimney, through the damper’s pinch, the distant hoo-hoo-hooing of an owl. And soon, among the sticks of kindling in the box of words, the mouselike scritching of my pen.

~ Ted Kooser, February. The Wheeling Year: A Poet’s Field Book


Photo Credit: The Wild Free Spirit

The Answer. Right Here.


“At one time I thought the most important thing was talent. I think now that — the young man or the young woman must possess or teach himself, train himself, in infinite patience, which is to try and to try and to try until it comes right. He must train himself in ruthless intolerance. That is, to throw away anything that is false no matter how much he might love that page or that paragraph. The most important thing is insight, that is … curiosity to wonder, to mull, and to muse why it is that man does what he does. And if you have that, then I don’t think the talent makes much difference, whether you’ve got that or not.”

~ William Faulkner, Press conference, University of Virginia, May 20, 1957


Mommy!

child-writing-at-school

He headed for the school still wrapped in the warmth of this bed, the taste of cereal in his mouth, tightly holding the hand just above his head, walking as quickly as he could, taking two steps for his mother’s one, his little knapsack bouncing on his back, then came the school door, the rapid kiss goodbye, the asphalt playground with its rows of maples, the clanging bell . . . at first he took shelter from the rain under the overhang, then he joined the schoolyard games, but a few minutes later they all found themselves sitting behind Lilliputian desks, quiet and no moving around, all the body’s movements concentrated on the effort of moving the pencil down this low-ceilinged corridor called the line. Tongue stuck out, fingers numb and wrist stiff . . . little bridges, circles, tails, sticks, more little bridges … he is miles from his mother now, lost in this strange solitude called effort, in the company of all those other solitudes with their tongues stuck out . . . and now the first letters are assembled . . . lines of “a’s,” lines of “m’s,” of “q’s” (the “q” is no joke with its diving, backwards tail, but it’s a piece of cake compared to the “s” with its treacherous curves, and the “k” with its spray of lines shooting out every which way), all the difficult ones conquering so that, little by little, as if they were magnetized, the letters come together spontaneously into syllables, lines of mom and dad, and the syllables making words . . . Then, one day, his ears still humming from the commotion of the lunchroom, he contemplated the silent flowering of the word of white paper, there, before his eyes: mommy.

In a voice that quavered at first, he stumbled over the two syllables, separately. “Mom-my.” Then, suddenly, he understood. “Mommy!”… Little bridges, circles and slanting sticks . . . and you could say “Mommy!” There it was, written, right there, and he had done it! Not a combination of syllables, not a word or concept anymore. It wasn’t any mother, it was his mother, a magical transformation, infinitely more eloquent than the most faithful photographic likeness, built from nothing but circles and sticks and bridges, that have now suddenly – and forever! – become more than scratches on paper.  They have become her presence, her voice, the good way she smelled in the morning, her lap, that infinity of details, that wholeness, so intimately absolute, and so absolutely foreign as to what is written there, on the rails of the page, within the four walls of the classroom.

Lead into gold.
Nothing less.
He had just turned lead into gold.

~ Daniel Pennac, Better Than Life


Notes:

 

Rise up

Charles-DAmbrosio

I had just figured out, rather naïvely, that I could buy my own books, and then almost instantly I became a prig about their condition, so much so that I wouldn’t lend them to anyone, at least not without a solemn lecture about their proper handling: no breaking the spines, no dog-earing the pages, no greasy thumbprints. At home, I had my own somewhat wobbly arrangement of brick-and-board shelves, two and then three tiers of ugly pressboard, painted brown and laddered up against the wall, my first piece of furniture. In private, I thought of those shelves with enormous pride, as something I was building, book by book, and brick by brick, and I often looked at them, vaguely satisfied, like a worker inspecting the progress of a job. I wanted the shelves to rise up and reach the ceiling, and for that to happen, all I had to do, I realized, was read.

~ Charles D’Ambrosio, Loitering: New and Collected Essays

and if you appreciated this, check out another passage from his new book below: [Read more…]

Two Minute Personality Test

Jonathan-Safran-Foer

What’s the kindest thing you almost did? Is your fear of insomnia stronger than your fear of what awoke you? Are bonsai cruel? Do you love what you love, or just the feeling? Your earliest memories: do you look though your young eyes, or look at your young self? Which feels worse: to know that there are people who do more with less talent, or that there are people with more talent? Do you walk on moving walkways? Should it make any difference that you knew it was wrong as you were doing it? Would you trade actual intelligence for the perception of being smarter? Why does it bother you when someone at the next table is having a conversation on a cell phone? How many years of your life would you trade for the greatest month of your life? What would you tell your father, if it were possible? Which is changing faster, your body, or your mind? Is it cruel to tell an old person his prognosis? Are you in any way angry at your phone? When you pass a storefront, do you look at what’s inside, look at your reflection, or neither? Is there anything you would die for if no one could ever know you died for it? If you could be assured that money wouldn’t make you any small bit happier, would you still want more money? What has been irrevocably spoiled for you? If your deepest secret became public, would you be forgiven? Is your best friend your kindest friend? Is it any way cruel to give a dog a name? Is there anything you feel a need to confess? You know it’s a “murder of crows” and a “wake of buzzards” but it’s a what of ravens, again? What is it about death that you’re afraid of? How does it make you feel to know that it’s an “unkindness of ravens”?

Jonathan Safran Foer [Read more…]

Blog That? Top 20 reflections on 2014.

blog-blogging-funny

Here’s my top 20 blogging reflections on 2014, an update from my 2013 list:

  1. Grateful for: The Community. (Simply the Best.) Friends. Followers, Likes, Comments, Engagement, Banter, Re-blogs. Thank you.
  2. Appreciate: Infrequent notes from silent followers. Always surprising and inspiring.
  3. Take any posts back: No. (But, I do grimace at a few.)
  4. Viral: Yes. One share titled: Gate A-4. 845,000 views. 487 likes. 15 Minutes of Fame can be frightening. Glad to be back to the Man-Cave.
  5. Blogging Challenges: Staying fresh. (Not good enough. This one feels tired. Who cares?)
  6. Secret Sauce for High Quality Content: (1) Read. (2) A silent partner(s). (Thank you.)
  7. Wish I Had More Time for: Reading and writing. (Especially Reading)
  8. Awards: Grateful for the fellow blogger recognition but haven’t been able to pay it forward. (Sorry.)
  9. Who do you call at 3am (when you need blogging help): Todd. Mimi. Lori. BethCarol. Ray. And continuing mention of the bloggers who brought me to the dance: Kurt @ Cultural Offering & Steve @ Anderson Layman’s Blog. (Thank you all.)
  10. Important: Attribution for shares. Regrets? 2012 post without owner’s consent. Apologies extended and post revised.
  11. Best writing aids/apps: For me (amateur): Save your time and money. Skip ‘em.
  12. Best App in Supporting Role: Evernote. For clipping, storing, composing. No close 2nd place finisher.
  13. Most useful Utility Apps: 1password. TextExpander. Snagit. DropBox or iCloud. (sync/backup critical)
  14. Best Reading/Content Apps: Feedly. Pocket. Kindle. Tumblr.
  15. Best blogs to follow: Authentic. Have opinion. High quality writing and/or content. Succinct.
  16. Wish I knew how to: (1) Write well (or better?). (2) Photoshop images. (No time. Limited competency.)
  17. Mac vs. PC: Mac/iPad/iPhone wins hands down. Syncing and stability worth price premium.
  18. Chrome vs. Safari: (for Mac Users)? Toss Up. Safari for integration/syncing. Google for speed and widgets.
  19. Niggling Nuisances: Spam. Self-linking. Haters. (Few) Guest blogger requests unrelated to blog theme.
  20. Why Blog? Why not?

Notes:

  1. Related Posts: (1) 2013: Top 20 Reflections on 2013: A Blogger’s Retrospective. (2) 2012: Two Years and Counting
  2. Image Credits (modified text). Original Source: Miguel Fernandez @ gengen-den-strich.com via Tanya Khovanova’s Math Blog

Help, Thanks, Wow Rebecca!

arctic-tern

I’ve just finished the  first of Rebecca Sonlit’s new collection of 29 essays titled The Encyclopedia of Trouble and SpaciousnessMimi uses the word “transported.” I was this. And what came to mind after finishing the first essay was Anne Lamott’s Help, Thanks, Wow: The Three Essential Prayers

  • HELP! Help God, help me write this well*. (I’ll need 3000 prayers and still not sure He would have the requisite raw material to shape this putty.)
  • THANKS! Thank you Rebecca for this sharing this wondrous talent.
  • WOW! As I sit here reading and re-reading passages. Wow!

Here’s a few excerpts from her expedition to the Arctic Circle titled Cyclopedia of an Arctic Expedition. [Read more…]

Love Paper

photography, fall

From Rob Firchau @ The Hammock Papers: Love Paper

A tree gave its life for what you are about to attempt. Don’t let the silicon chip or computer monitor cause you to forget this. That ex-tree material stacked in your printer is so dead as you begin to write that its bark-skinned, earth-eating, oxygen-producing, bird-supporting, squirrel-housing body has been reduced to an inert blank expanse of white. To find the life of language and lay that life down on the paper is to redeem the sacrificed life of the tree…

David James Duncan

If you write, blog and/or read, DON’T MISS the entire post: Love Paper

Photograph: skubmic titled Autumn Lines


4:30 (a.m.) on a starry morning…

newspaper

Four-thirty on a starry morning, and soon our Journal Star carrier will come roaring out of the east in his pickup, headlights like fists on the loose black reins of darkness, the road crunching under his tires, and slow down, stop, and drop the news in the dew-struck weeds under the mailbox. Without a pause he’ll wheel around, the gravel flying, headlights sweeping the yard and house, and roar back east. Such resentment he must feel for us, here at the far end of the news, this house hidden in trees with just one window lit, where someone is up early writing.

~ Ted Kooser, November. The Wheeling Year: A Poet’s Field Book


Credits: Photograph – Brenda Anderson

What most bloggers don’t want to hear

write,writing,internet,social media,wordpress

Jeff Bullas has over 4 million followers at his blog @ Jeffbullas.com. He was ranked #8 by Forbes on their list of “The World’s Top 40 Social Marketing Talent” in 2014. He was the winner of Social Media Examiner’s “Top Social Media Blogs” in 2013.  He shares 27 blogging success factors in his post titled “What most bloggers don’t want to hear.”  21 of 27 (77%) hit home with me.

I started this digital platform built on passion, purpose and the beckoning of exciting new frontiers. It was invigorating. This portal to the world gave me a voice I didn’t know existed. It was a journey into the unknown. I created and crafted content, built connections on Twitter and published. I signed up for learning. It was time when Facebook was simple and organic. Content didn’t need images, screen shots and 1,500 words. It was the wild social west. When the excitement died down I realized what I had signed up for.

Read his 27 blogging learnings here: What most bloggers don’t want to hear.


Image: Karen Hurley Design

Your writings have fundamentally changed me. For the better, Marilynne. I believe that.

Marilynne_Robinson

She’s at the top of my list of favorite authors. Marilynne Robinson, the Pulitzer Prize Winning novelist (Housekeeping; Gilead; Home), was interviewed by Wyatt Mason in an article titled The Revelations of Marilynne Robinson. Her new book Lila is coming out this week. Here’s a few excerpts from a yet another enlightening experience with the author:

[…] For Robinson, writing is not a craft; it is “testimony,” a bearing witness: an act that demands much of its maker, not least of which is the courage to reveal what one loves.

[…] A photo of her granddaughter sits on the living-room mantle, adjoining a pop-up Christmas card from the Obama White House, where last year she received a National Humanities Medal. (In his remarks that day to the honorees, the president said: “Your writings have fundamentally changed me, . . . I think for the better. Marilynne, . . . I believe that.”)

[…] The novel (Lila) confirms many things, not least of which is how Robinson’s work is unified by her belief in a sacred world whose wonders we have difficulty opening ourselves to, both privately and publicly.

[…] “Being and human beings,” Robinson told me, “are invested with a degree of value that we can’t honor appropriately. An overabundance that is magical.”

Don’t miss the full interview here by Wyatt Mason: The Revelations of Marilynne Robinson.


Book reviews on Lila: A Novel:

  • The Independent: Lila: A Moving Journey From Poverty to Happiness. “…the human story dominates, resulting in a book that leaves the reader feeling what can only be called exaltation.”
  • The New York Times: “Lila: Moral of the Story.” “…is not so much a novel as a meditation on morality and psychology, compelling in its frankness about its truly shocking subject: the damage to the human personality done by poverty, neglect and abandonment.”

Robinson’s new book is scheduled for release on October 7th on Amazon: Lila: A Novel by Marilynne Robinson


Credits: Marilynne Robinson Portrait: The Independent

Word

black and white, photography

You are looking for the “right” word.

For a paper, an article, a story, a blog post, a presentation – – you’re trying to express a intense moment, a feeling, an emotion.

Words, sentences, paragraphs, a continuous stream flowing…your back and forth rhythm now rudely interrupted. You have hit The Wall. You can’t climb over without the Word.

It’s right there. On the tip of your tongue. Your mind is searching. You feel the Word. It’s Sizzling, Searing. The perfect Word to capture the moment, the feeling.

Yet, you come up Empty.

Your frustration grows. You use a substitute. You re-read the passage again, and again. The Word doesn’t fit. It doesn’t feel right. It’s an impostor. You go with it anyway. And it hangs, like an ill-fitting jacket or pair of oversized shoes.

Suppose we try to recall a forgotten name. The state of our consciousness is peculiar. There is a gap therein; but no mere gap. It is a gap that is intensely active. A sort of wraith of the name is in it, beckoning us in a given direction, making us at moments tingle with the sense of our closeness, and then letting us sink back without the longed-for term. If wrong names are proposed to us, this singularly definite gap acts immediately so as to negate them. They do not fit into its mould. And the gap of one word does not feel like the gap of another, all empty of content as both might seem necessarily to be when described as gaps. . . . The rhythm of a lost word may be there without a sound to clothe it; or the evanescent sense of something which is the initial vowel or consonant may mock us fitfully, without growing more distinct. Every one must know the tantalizing effect of the blank rhythm of some forgotten  verse, restlessly dancing in one’s mind, striving to be filling out with words.

William James, 1890

And, then you read a poem that captures this, all of this.

Magic.

She’s gone and done it.
[Read more…]

Blog is a slog?

blog-blogging-blogger

Excerpts from: When Blogging Becomes a Slog by Steven Kurutz, NYTimes.com:

The Petersiks’ trademark gung-ho enthusiasm seemed forced. And since the birth of their second child, Teddy, in April, they were increasingly voicing their difficulty in balancing work and family…the couple responded in a post titled “Feeeeeelings,” in which they confessed to “feeling off for a while” and missing the days when “we did this for the love.” Although they had scaled back outside projects to recommit to the blog, they were unable to shake the sense of “letting you guys down repeatedly.” They had decided to step away from Young House Love for an indeterminate period and explore other career options. The unexpected announcement has generated more than 4,000 comments so far.

Ms. Petersik responded in an email that “we really would like to clear our heads and refocus.” But they are not alone in their experience. Blogger burnout seems to be something that many of their colleagues in the world of home and D.I.Y. blogs, most of them in their 20s and early 30s, can relate to as well. Is the first generation of design bloggers aging out of the blogosphere? Or is this just a new twist on an old business story, updated for the Internet age?

…A tricky thing to avoid as a full-time blogger, considering that the Internet never sleeps, readers want fresh content daily and new social media platforms must be mastered and added to the already demanding workload.

…Pam Kueber…sees the Petersiks’ escalating stress levels and unhappiness simply as evidence of the latter: A passion turns into a hobby, which becomes a full-time career. “And in some predictable period of time, it consumes your life and sucks the joy out if it,” said Ms. Kueber, finishing the arc. “That last part of the Shakespearean tragedy is what you have to be mindful of not letting happen.”

Read full story @ When Blogging Becomes a Slog by Steven Kurutz, NYTimes.com


Image: Egozy

Riding Metro-North. 17 hours and counting.

black and white, photography

Thursday. September 18.

I’m up at 3:00 a.m., and operating on four and a half hours of sleep. Even this Bull-Head understands that this, This, is unsustainable.

Insomnia. A discipline, unlike dieting, I’ve perfected. I now understand, her words, Marina Tsvetaeva, and their meaning.

“After a night of insomnia
the body gets weaker,
Becomes dear but no one’s —
not even your own.”

I look out the window. It’s not dawn but pre-dawn. Moonless. Dark. And Still. Me, the crickets and the hum of the electrical current running the overhead lamp.

I rifle through my schedule for the day.  6:00 a.m. train. Breakfast and lunch with colleagues. A team dinner in the evening. Calls and meetings jamming all white space in between. 18 hours from now, I can take my suit and shoes off and crawl back into bed.  I blink my eyes. Once. Twice. Three times. I cannot clear the blur. I close them and rest for a moment.  Give me 20 minutes and I’ll be good – – fully functioning. Just 20 minutes.

The day landed as expected, full, including two nightcaps for this teetotaler after dinner. I pull the maraschino cherry from my cocktail and drop it in my mouth, when a colleague lets fly: “V.O. Manhattan, huh? My Father used to drink those.” I smile, proud not to have taken the bait. How socially acceptable and behaved you’ve become. There was a time you’d come across the table and level the score and then some. An eye for an eye, a leg, and an arm. [Read more…]

A morsel of gratitude for (my) Readers

read-book-woman-portrait-black-and-white

One of the questions I always try to keep in the front of my mind is to ask why would anyone want to read this, and to try to find a positive answer for that. People’s time, if you bought it off them, is expensive. Someone’s going to give you eight or ten hours of their life. I want to give them something back, and I want it to be an enjoyable experience.

~ David Mitchell, The Soul Cycle

 


Notes:

Choose. McEwan.

nuvo-magazine-autumn-ian-mcewan-page-image-book-1918752997

And if he had to choose between his books and his family? There’s no hesitation.

Family.
I adored having children.
Work and fatherhood have kept me sane.
The impulse to work is like a survival instinct.

~ Robert McCrum with English Novelist Ian McEwan


Don’t miss Robert McCrum’s great column on Ian McEwan in the Guardian here:

Ian McEwan: ‘I’m only 66 – my notebook is still full of ideas’

Ian McEwan, 66, is an English novelist and screenwriter.  In 2008, The Times featured him on their list of “The 50 greatest British writers since 1945.” He won the Man Booker Prize with Amsterdam (1998). In 2001, he published Atonement, which was made into an Oscar-winning film starring Keira Knightley and James McAvoy. (Source: Wiki)


Quote Source: The Guardian. Photo Source: Fansshare. Bio Source: Wiki

Monday Mantra: Go Deep

thomas-bernhard

“I have, in my life, turned pages a million times more often than I have read them, and always derived from turning pages at least as much pleasure and real intellectual enjoyment as from reading. Surely it is better to read altogether only three pages of a four-hundred-page book a thousand times more thoroughly than the normal reader who reads everything but does not read a single page thoroughly, he said. It is better to read twelve lines of a book with the utmost intensity and thus to penetrate into them to the full, as one might say, rather than read the whole book as the normal reader does, who in the end knows the book he has read no more than an air passenger who knows the landscape he overflies. He does not perceive the contours. Thus all people nowadays read everything and know nothing. I enter into a book and settle in it, neck and crop, you should realize, in one or two pages of a philosophical essay as if I were entering a landscape, a piece of nature, a state organism, a detail of the earth, if you like, in order to penetrate into it entirely and not just with half my strength or half-heartedly, in order to explore it and then, having explored it with all the thoroughness at my disposal, drawing conclusions as to the whole. He who reads everything has understood nothing, he said. It is not necessary to read all of Goethe or all of Kant, it is not necessary to read all of Schopenhauer; a few pages of ‘Werther’, a few pages of ‘Elective Affinities’ and we know more in the end about the two books than if we had read them from beginning to end, which would anyway deprive us of the purest enjoyment.”

— Thomas BernhardOld Masters: A Comedy (University Of Chicago Press, 1992)

[Read more…]

Calling all English Majors: […]?

excerpt

1) There’s: “
2) There’s: ” /
3) There’s: “[…]

or [Read more…]

Blog. Write. Share. Why? I’m an acolyte.

North-star-Polaris

From Steven Pressfield: Why, #3:

In many ways this blog is me talking to myself. What makes the thing work, if indeed it does, is that there are a lot people like me and they are dealing with the same issues I’m dealing with. So talking to myself in this public forum is, in its way, a meditation for those individuals as well. So I don’t ask myself, “What do I imagine others want to read in this space?” I ask, “What do I want? What issues are bothering me? What questions am I exploring?”

Don’t miss reading about “serving the muse” and “the irresistible gravitational pull of your Pole Star”

Is that an answer to the question, “Why am I writing this blog? Why are you reading it?”

May be. In asking myself these questions and publishing them in this public forum, I’m hoping a) to fortify and enlighten myself in this mysterious journey, and b) to tell you that you’re not alone, that your questions (which I can’t help but believe are just like mine) are not silly or fatuous or unworthy, and that at least one other person on this planet—i.e., me—is just as crazy as you are.

Read more here: Why, #3


 

Truth

gif-ink-pen-fountain pen

Print is predictable and impersonal,
conveying information
in a mechanical transaction with the reader’s eye.
Handwriting, by contrast, resists the eye,
reveals its meaning slowly,
and is as intimate as skin.”

—  Ruth Ozeki, A Tale for the Time Being


Now if only I possessed legible handwriting…


Credits: Image Source: THISISEVERYTHING. Quote Source: WordsNQuotes

 

Miracles

internet
Back in June, I shared a post on how I had come to be reading books written by John Updike, John Steinbeck and other literary Titans. The post was titled: Lit Boy. My college Professor, John Vande Zande, is responsible. Sadly, I learned that he had passed away.

On Monday, two months after I had written the post, an email settles gently in my inbox among a stack of 30 or 40 others. I see the surname on the email address. My eyes lock-on “from Vande Zande.” My mind whirs back to the Lit Boy post. I read the email.

Dear David,

Thank you for the lovely tribute to my father, John Vande Zande, on your blog. I also had him as a teacher, but I’m not sure a son appreciates this the way a stranger does. Thank you for letting me see him through your eyes. It would mean a great deal to him to know that he inspired you so much. He was always skeptical of his role as a professor. He would say, “What business do I, a kid from Big Bay, have in being in front of a college classroom?” I think the best profs do doubt their business in being in front of a room of students. It keeps them humble and it keeps them trying. The worse profs are probably the ones who doubt the business of their students being in the room.

Thanks again,

Jeff Vande Zande
www.jeffvandezande.com

John Vande Zande had a Son. He’s a English Professor. He’s a writer. (A published writer). And a poet and a screenwriter. (How proud would his Dad be of him today.)

And as Paul Harvey would say, here’s the rest of the story:
[Read more…]

It trembles, liquid to the mind, then falls

water-drop-gif

Sometimes you linger days
upon a word,
a single, uncontaminated drop
of sound; for days

it trembles, liquid to the mind,
then falls:
mere denotation
dimming the undertow of language.

– John Burnside, from “Like me, you sometimes waken” 


Notes:

 

 

In a job, where you wonder, a year later, what happened to that year

on-looking-alexandra-horowitz

Maria Popova (Brain Pickings) in a Conversation with Alexandra Horowitz (Cognitive Scientist): The Art of Looking: How to Live With Presence, Break the Tyranny of Productivity, and Learn to See Our Everyday Wonderland

AH: I am not encouraging productivity — and I don’t mind that that’s the case. I value the moments in my life that are productive, certainly, but only the ones that are productive and also present. So it doesn’t have to be either-or. But [I have also] spent time in a job where you then wonder, a year later, what happened to that year. And if I had bothered to sit on the subway, commuting to my office, looking — looking — I think that those moments would have been memorialized, and I would know what happened to that year…I don’t mean to be testifying against productivity per se, but I do see that it’s certainly mindless, the way that we approach there being only one route to living one’s life. And it is within us, this capacity to alter that — at any moment, even within that framework — to change your state.

MP: What’s interesting about the productivity dogma is that we live in a culture where we worship work ethic — by a very narrow definition — as some sort of this grand virtue. And we define it as showing up, day after day after day. But I often think that that’s the surest way to lull ourselves into a kind of trance of passivity, where we show up but we’re absent from our own lives. And I think one of the most beautiful things you do is you show how we can be present in our own lives, through these eleven different people and their perspectives.

AH: Thank you. You know, you are thought of as being, probably, an excessively productive person — again, in that literal sense. You have such a fertile mind — would you say you are not productive? Or, how do you achieve your productivity?

MP: For me, I read, and I hunger to know… I record, around that, my experience of understanding the world and understanding what it means to live a good life, to live a full life. Anything that I write is a byproduct of that — but that’s not the objective. So, even if it may have the appearance of “producing” something on a regular basis, it’s really about taking in, and what I put out is just … the byproduct. It’s kind of like going down the rabbit hole but digging it in the process, too.

See full post here: The Art of Looking: How to Live With Presence, Break the Tyranny of Productivity, and Learn to See Our Everyday Wonderland

See short video on Horowitz’s book On Looking. Find the book on Amazon here: On Looking.

The most impressive students I had over my 30 years of teaching were…

joseph_epstein

…The most impressive students I had over my 30 years of university teaching were those I encountered when I first began, in the early 1970s, who almost all turned out to have been put through Catholic schools, during a time when priests and nuns still taught and Catholic education hadn’t become indistinguishable from secular education. Many of these kids resented what they felt was the excessive constraint, with an element of fear added, of their education. Most failed to realize that it was this very constraint—and maybe a touch of the fear, too—that forced them to learn Latin, to acquire and understand grammar, to pick up the rudiments of arguing well, that had made them as smart as they were…

..So often in my literature classes students told me what they “felt” about a novel, or a particular character in a novel. I tried, ever so gently, to tell them that no one cared what they felt; the trick was to discover not one’s feelings but what the author had put into the book, its moral weight and its resultant power. In essay courses, many of these same students turned in papers upon which I wished to—but did not—write: “D-, Too much love in the home.” I knew where they came by their sense of their own deep significance and that this sense was utterly false to any conceivable reality. Despite what their parents had been telling them from the very outset of their lives, they were not significant. Significance has to be earned, and it is earned only through achievement. Besides, one of the first things that people who really are significant seem to know is that, in the grander scheme, they are themselves really quite insignificant.

~ Joseph Epstein, A Literary Education and Other Essays


Thank you Michael Wade for your recommendation of Epstein’s new book: A Literary Education and Other Essays. I’m half way through and loving it.  Joseph Epstein, 77, was born in Chicago. He is an essayist, short story writer, and editor. In 2003, he was awarded a National Humanities Medal by the National Endowment for the Humanities.


Chronicles of Wasted Time: Number 1.

Malcolm-muggeridge

Michael Wade @ Execupundit shared his top 10 list of Bios and Auto-Bios.  I dove into #1 on his list: Chronicles of Wasted Time: Number 1. The Green Stick by Malcolm Muggeridge. I had never heard of Muggeridge.

A wonderful obit in the NY Times describes Muggeridge (1903-1990) as a prolific British journalist, author, satirist and caustic social critic. “He delightedly described Cambridge, where he received a master’s degree, as “a place of infinite tedium,” and in the mid-1960’s his caustic attacks on the British monarchy (“Does England Really Need a Queen?“) lost him several writing jobs and nearly ended his career with the British Broadcasting Corporation. His opinion of world leaders was summed up pithily: “Everything that politicians say is without exception void — utterly empty”Consistent with his egalitarian socialist beliefs, the elder Mr. Muggeridge refused to send his sons to Eton or Harrow or Charter House, but rather to local elementary and secondary schools. These were presided over, Mr. Muggeridge recalled later, by a “bizarre collection of aged and incompetent teachers” and “I emerged unscathed and largely unlettered.”

Don’t take my word for it, read a few excerpts below and tell me what you think about the quality of Michael’s recommendation: [Read more…]

Lit Boy

John-VandeZande

I’ve reached the half-way mark of Updike, a biography on John Updike written by Adam Begley.  I pause to reflect on how I arrived here.  “Here” being how did I come to be reading John Updike’s biography.  Yes, it was Amazon’s Best Book of the Month for April, 2014. That helped, but that wasn’t it.  It was that man in the photograph that is responsible.  John VandeZande.

It was an undergraduate elective class titled “Good Books.” It was highly recommended by my senior jock buddies: “Just show up, read a few books and you’re done.”  I signed up for the class. I sat in the back of the room.  And hoped never to get called on.

He would assign Hemingway, Faulkner, Joyce, Steinbeck and F. Scott Fitzgerald. Updike, in his biography, would describe them as “textual titans.” At the time, I would describe them as literary unknowns – – DK, a lover of Hardy Boys who then graduated to the genres of Jeffrey Archer (Kane & Abel), James Clavell (Shogun & Tai Pan) and Stephen King – – was being heaved up into the major leagues.  I slumped further down in my chair at the back of the room.

He would break the awkwardness of the early classes by reading long passages from the assigned readings. He would sit on the edge of his desk.  The book in his right hand.  And then immerse himself in the passage. There were no pencils tapping. There was no shifting in chairs.  We were gently transported with him on the journey.

He struck the match. And stoked the fire. And I went on a tear.  First Hemingway with The Sun Also Rises, A Farewell to Arms, For Whom The Bell Tolls, The Old Man and the Sea. Then Faulkner with The Sound and the Fury, As I Lay Dying, Light in August and Absalom, Absalom!. Followed by John Steinbeck with The Grapes of Wrath, Of Mice and Men, Cannery Row and East of Eden.  And then John Updike with Rabbit, Run, Rabbit Redux and Rabbit Is Rich.  And to this day, my serial runs on “Textual Titans” continues. (In Begley’s biography of Updike, Updike explained that: “A real reader,” he explained, “reading to escape his own life thoroughly, tends to have runs on authors.” That had my head spinning.)

[Read more…]

Running. In Search of Inspiration.

yoga,photography,black and white

Day 3. Contemplating a third consecutive day of running. The body was saying No. The Heart was saying No. The Head was saying take the day off.

No inspiration to run. No inspiration to write. (Yet, you seemingly have an abundance of inspiration to eat. Go figure. You think these things would balance themselves out. Laws of nature and all that. Wasn’t that Darwin?)

Who is she? The photograph up top.  No idea. But there she was.  Stretching. Graceful. Peaceful. And pointing the way to the front door. (Out Butthead. Out!)

On the continuum of awful to ethereal, the morning is rated as sublime. (I could never figure out how to use “sublime” in a sentence and here it is. Feels awkward, like an ill-fitting pair of shoes. Big word, so much bigger than you. Shameful how you jammed that in there. Has to be some form of writer / hacker malpractice.)  [Read more…]

Love them. What do I do with them?

words,write,writing,vocabulary,writer,blog,blogging

The Lori’s, the Mimi’s, the Beth’s, the… (I can go on and on)…they weave words. Fine, beautiful, silky words.  Effortlessly sliding around rock. Floating on air currents on a magic carpet. Drifting upward with red Helium balloons.  And then. There’s me.  Chopping. Hacking. Slashing. Racking my mind to find just the right word.  Blow after blow of self-flagellation.  It can’t be due to a lack of depth in (of?) vocabulary. (Well, maybe it is.) I do have a short list of magic words. I love them. Yet, I find it impossible to work them into a sentence. (Note to Self: In time DK. In time. You will work this list. It might be 3 yards and a cloud of dust, but you will cross the damn goal line. Yes you will.  And yes readers, you will soon find these deep blog passages of mine “imbued with sparkle and élan.”* Oh, God. Help me.)

Bucolic In a lovely rural setting.
Conflate To blend together.
Demure Shy and reserved.
Ebullience Bubbling enthusiasm.
Ephemeral Short-lived.
Ethereal Gaseous, invisible but detectable.
Evanescent Vanishing quickly, lasting a very short time.
Gossamer The finest piece of thread, a spider’s silk.
Halcyon Happy, sunny, care-free.
Imbue To infuse, instill.
Incipient Beginning, in an early stage.
Ineffable Unutterable, inexpressible.
Inure To become jaded.
Lissome Slender and graceful.
Mellifluous Sweet sounding.
Panoply A complete set.
Petrichor The smell of earth after rain.
Propinquity An inclination.
Redolent Fragrant.
Scintilla A spark or very small thing.
Sempiternal Eternal.
Sumptuous Lush, luxurious.
Surreptitious Secretive, sneaky.
Woebegone Sorrowful, downcast.


Sources/References/Credits:


I’ve never regretted anything so much

italo-calvino

“I would like this to signal the end of “wasted angst” in my life: I’ve never regretted anything so much as having particular individual worries, in a certain sense anachronistic ones, whereas general worries, worries about our time (or at any rate those that can be reduced to such: like your problem in paying the rent, for instance) are so many and so vast and so much “my own” that I feel they are enough to fill all my “worryability” and even my interest and enjoyment in living. So from now on I want to dedicate myself entirely to these latter (worries) — but I am already aware of the traps in this question and that’s why for some time now my first need has been to “de-journalistize” myself, to get myself out of the stranglehold that has dominated these last few years of my life, reading books to review immediately, commenting on something even before having to time to form an opinion on it. I want to build a new kind of daily program for myself where I can finally get into something, something definitive (within the limits of historical possibility), something not dishonest or insincere (unlike the way today’s journalist always behaves, more or less). For that reason I make several plans for myself: … to maintain my contacts with reality and the world, but being careful, of course, not to get lost in unnecessary activities; and also to set up my own individual work not as a “journalist” any more but as a “scholar,” with systematic readings, notes, comments, notebooks, a load of things I’ve never done; and also, eventually, to write a novel.”

~ Italo Calvino


Italo Calvino (1923 – 1985) was an Italian journalist and writer of short stories and novels. His best known works include the Our Ancestors trilogy (1952–1959), the Cosmicomics collection of short stories (1965), and the novels Invisible Cities (1972) and If on a winter’s night a traveler (1979). Lionised in Britain and the United States, he was the most-translated contemporary Italian writer at the time of his death, and a noted contender for the Nobel Prize for Literature.


Image: abebooks. Bio: Wiki

Top 20 reflections on 2013: A Blogger’s Retrospective

blogging,funny,

  • 2013 Regrets? Zero.
  • Take any 2013 posts back? No. (But I do grimace at a few.)
  • 2014 Goals (Resolutions)? None.  Marching forward headlong.
  • Blogging Challenges? Staying fresh. (Not good enough. This one feels tired. Who cares?)
  • Grateful for? Followers, Likes, Comments, Engagement, Community. Re-blogs.
  • Secret for finding High Quality Content? (1) Read. (2) A silent partner(s). (Thank you.)
  • Wish I Had More Time for? Reading and writing. (Especially Reading)
  • Few words leaving deep tracks? “Lately, I’ve been leaning toward kindness.” (Gillian Flynn)
  • Best blogging platform? WordPress. (Can it get any easier?)
  • Request for WordPress? Make customizing blog design easier. Enhance Search Function.
  • Best writing aids/apps? For me (an amateur): All a waste of time and money. Skip them.
  • #1 Blogging App? Evernote. For clipping, storing, saving, composing, everything.
  • Most useful Utility Apps? 1password. TextExpander. Snagit. Dropbox. Alfred.
  • Most critical Reading/Content apps? Feedly. Mr. Reader. Tumblr. Pocket.
  • Best blogs to follow? Authentic. High quality writing and/or content. Succinct.
  • Wish I knew how to? Photoshop images. Understand Adobe. (No time. Zero competency.)
  • Mac vs. PC? Mac/iPad/iPhone wins hands down. Syncing and stability worth price premium.
  • Google Chrome vs. Safari (for Mac Users)? Moved to Safari for integration/syncing.
  • Niggling Nuisances? Spam. Self-linking. Guest blogger requests unrelated to blog theme.
  • Why Blog? Why not?

Related Posts: Two Years and Counting

Image Credit.  Note: “Got Blog” is a spin-off from the “Got Milk” advertising campaign.

5:07 am. And inspired.

pumpkins susan licht


Susan @ Licht Years  kicks us off with her pumpkin photograph above.  Check out more inspiring shots of Autumn in a post she has titled Orange Crush.

MJ @ emjayandthem with her post titled Beautiful People:Traveling this week for business, I found myself tossed into a sea of humanity. Rolling suitcases. iPhones & ear buds. Cell conversations continuing as doors are closed. Electricity charging areas in airport waiting rooms.  Subtle manners not consistently displayed. Standing in line, I noticed something consistent in every airport I waited: no one looked at each other, everyone looked down …thumbs moving.   All this technology connects us yet people seem more isolated than ever.  ~sigh~ And then there she was…” Read more at this link.  And if you liked this post, don’t miss MJ’s post titled “Like That.

Bonnie @ Pagekeeper with her post titled: You listen, is what you do: “What do you do, when you meet someone and walk away from the conversation and a little voice inside says, ‘we need to help her’? You listen, is what you do. And you talk about it with someone who is willing to listen to you. Listen to you share your feeling of being moved by another human being and their misfortune, difficulty, hardship, heartbreak. You risk feeling vulnerable about caring so much. You push past the feelings of uncertainty. And, you listen to those  who encourage you to not lose the moment, to not let it pass. And then, you do something about it. Get busy. Make something happen.” Read the full, moving story here.

Sheri @ The Other Side of Ugly with her post titled The Way You Love: “You continually focus on living comfortably, being preoccupied with your daily routines in life because they give the appearance and often the sensation of fullness…In so doing you regularly forget to focus on the “what” you are LIVING for. Work? Money? Possessions? I think not. Wait I actually know not.” Read more here. [Read more…]

2 years. And counting.

blog, symbol,hand symbol,blogging

It’s arrived. My two-year blogging anniversary.  On my run this morning, I decided to queue up FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) that have been posed to me.  Here we go:

Q: WHERE do you find your content?
A: Three sources, listed in order of contribution.  (1) I read. (A lot). (2) Susan (spouse). (3) 3F’s: Followers, Friends and Family.

Q: How do you decide WHAT to post?
A: Todd Lohenry recommended Evernote. (I recommend Evernote.) I let content marinate.  If it still moves me a few days or weeks later, up it goes.

Q: Do you think you post too frequently?
A:  I do think about this. Mostly from the seat of the follower/reader. Then I revert to the purpose of this blog.  If it moves ME, it goes up.

Q: What has most surprised you about Followers?
A:  The blogging community.  Period.  And, that so many in the Community take time to comment and share their insights and inspirations.  I look forward to many of you tuning in each morning.  When you don’t, I find I miss it.  You are ENABLERS.  Shame on you.

[Read more…]

Your Muse. She prefers sweat.

work, hard work,

“Is this magic? A miracle? No, it’s common as dirt.

It’s how creativity works. We show up. We do our best. Good things happen.

This is the intersection of Hard Work and Inspiration.

When we say “Put your ass where your heart wants to be,” this is what we mean.

This is what being a pro is all about. It’s why we practice self-discipline, self-validation, self-reinforcement…

We master all of those disciplines for one reason: so that we can be sitting there in the sweet spot when the Muse’s rocket ship passes by. That’s how the two sides work together. Hard work and inspiration.

Diligence produces inspiration because it shows respect to the goddess.

Genius and brilliance do not earn her favor. She prefers sweat. Get your butt in to the studio. Sit down at the piano. Boot up your iMac.

See yourself as the Muse sees you. You’ll know what to do.”

~ Stephen Pressfield, “You, as the Muse Sees You


Image Credit: Patrick Wilbanks


4:05 am. And inspired.

White Mountain Hotel New Hampshire


Eunice @ My Portfolio – Taken With My Eyes Wide Open with her spectacular shot (above) which she has titled: White Mountain Hotel As Autumn Arrives.  (White Mountain Hotel is in New Hampshire.) Check out Eunice’s other amazing shots here.

Lauren @ Thanky with her post titled Aware: “I saw an owl tonight, and it was the most beautiful thing I’ve seen in a long time. The faintest bit of light remained in the sky, and in a matter of minutes the trees would be silhouetted against a dark night. But I could clearly see the treetops, and something was circling overhead. With a graceful spiral motion, it landed gently on a branch up high...” Read more here. Lauren writes about something she is thankful for each day.  Be sure to check out her blog.

Carol @ Radiating Blossom with her share of a poem by Jane Hirschfield titled When Your Life Looks Back:

When your life looks back—
as it will, at itself, at you—what will it say?

Inch of colored ribbon cut from the spool.
Flame curl, blue-consuming the log it flares from.
Bay leaf. Oak leaf. Cricket. One among many.

Your life will carry you as it did always,
with ten fingers and both palms,
with horizontal ribs and upright spine,
with its filling and emptying heart,
that wanted only your own heart, emptying, filled, in return.
You gave it. What else could you do?

…Read more at this link. [Read more…]

None

writer-writing

No pen,

no ink,

no table,

no room,

no time,

no quiet,

no inclination.

~ James Joyce (1882-1941) in a letter to his brother


Credits: Image – Thank you Sundog; Quote – Lapidarium

In search of the Holy Grail

monty-python-holy-grail-1-b-512x250

When I played, I was in an unrelenting search for a new driver, convinced that it would straighten out the vicious slices and softly land my ball on the Bermuda grass 300 yards down the fairway.  Did I find the Holy Grail? No. I quit the game. There’s perseverance for you.

Similarly, I search for a pen.  Not just any pen.  A Pen that would take me on a magic carpet ride to beautiful cursive, to decorative calligraphy, or perhaps to a less ambitious outcome, a product just neat and legible.

I have tried them all.
Ballpoints. Rollerballs. And Fountain Pens.
Nibs that are paper thin, standard and broad.
Pens that are cheap. Mid-grade. And expensive.
And I search.

So, last night, when I came across “The Best Pen“, my heartbeat slowed, I put my cookie down, and my eyes hungrily devoured the review.  I may have found the Holy Grail. [Read more…]

4:48 am. And Inspired.

photography,memorial,terrorist,attack


Good Wednesday morning. Here are my selections of the inspiring posts of the week:

Elisa Ruland @ South of Easton with her beautiful post titled Despairin memoriam to those who died on 9-11:  “Scouring the rusted steel edges I wanted to find an explanation for the madness, I wanted to feel something instead of going numb, to find beauty in the ugliness.  The pain, horror and confusion was palpable in the blast etched remains of the steel, and the need to walk away was overwhelming.  I left without any answers to calm the static...”  That is Elisa’s photograph above.  Read more at this link.  Check out her other wonderful posts and photographs at this link.

LouAnn @ On the HomeFront with her post titled “Beauty and Grace.” You are asked to write 6 words that describe what your future holds for you.  What are your six words?  Go to this link and read LouAnn’s story.

The Kindness Blog with a post titled: “Go Humans.”  I just began following this blog which posts and shares heartwarming morsels of humanity each day.  Check out this post at at this link.  Take a moment to fan through the other posts over the past week.  I’m convinced you’ll feel a change.

Cristi Moise @ Simple & Interesting his share: People Seeing Their Younger Self in The Mirror. “Tom Hussey is an award-winning lifestyle advertising photographer based in Dallas, Texas. In a series entitled Reflections, Hussey shows a series of elderly people looking in a mirror at their younger self.” Moving.  You’ll find one of Hussey’s pictures below.  You must see the others at this link.

Have a great hump day.

portrait,photography

 


4:04 am. And Inspired.

swimming in the rain


Good Wednesday morning. Here are my selections of the inspiring posts of the week:

Jon-Mark Davey with his post: Life Changing Moment: “Nothing changes your life like a life-changing moment. It may sound pretty obvious, but that statement doesn’t have real impact until a moment changes your life. One certainly changed ours.” Heartbreaking.  Read more at this link.

Make Believe Boutique (back again) with her share titled The Twinkling Stars Behind Our Sorrow: “…It is rare to meet a person whose life is full of gratitude. Even though the course of a single day may bring innumerable blessings to us, the few moments of genuine gratitude we experience are often overshadowed by our complaints, disappointments, sorrow, and frustration…” Read more at this link. [Read more…]

I’ll bolt the door

J.D. Salinger - A Boy in France

“I’ll read my books
and I’ll drink coffee
and I’ll listen to music,
and I’ll bolt the door.”

— J.D. Salinger, A Boy in France


The Saturday Evening Post, the nation’s oldest magazine, re-released in its July/August 2010 issue a rare J.D. Salinger short story, “A Boy in France,” first published in the magazine 65 years ago…The Post continues the magazine’s long history of publishing great fiction by re-releasing the story in memory of Salinger, the famously reclusive author of The Catcher in the Rye. Most of his earlier work, including the story in the July/August issue, has never been re-released. “J.D. Salinger’s ‘A Boy in France’ was originally published in The Post in 1945,” said SerVaas. “This evocative tale of a young solider struggling to maintain his sanity during the madness of war.” (Source: PRNewswire)


Credits: Image – Jdsalinger.livejournal.com.  Quote: Journal of Nobody

4:02 am. And Inspired.

portrait, girl,child


Good Wednesday morning. Here are my selections of the inspiring posts of the week:

Mona Howard @ Ramblings with her post titled: Practicing with my favorite model. That’s a picture of her granddaughter above. Be sure to check out Mona’s slide show at this link.  Children.  Miracles. (As is the photographer’s work.)

Marga @ Life As Improv with her poem titled Going It Alone (With Others): “…Going deep is a solitary thing. Aloneness is  guarded at my gate – Hours of no thing. I sew into my pocket by hand. I would gulp you silence in a chalice…”  Then she closes with a wonderful quote from John O’Donohue: “…Until you learn to inhabit your aloneness, the lonely distraction and noise of society will seduce you into false belonging, with which you will only become empty and weary. When you face your aloneness, something begins to happen…This is slow work; it takes years to bring your mind home.”  Read Marga’s entire poem and O’Donohue’s full quote here.

Yvonne @ MISIFUSA’s Blog with her post: Pink Post ~ Life After Breast Cancer: “…But it’s not all flowery after you’re through with the treatments.  As many who have endured disease and illness, the aftermath is often the hardest…Because what the hell do I do now?  There’s no one to tell you how to live after you’ve endured the ugliness of cancer, the treatments, the surgeries, the chemo,  the radiation, the humiliation, the poking and prodding by others.  Family and friends are weary from care-taking and the disruption to their lives.  All are ready for life to get back to normal ~ as are you…”  Read more at this link. [Read more…]

3:48 am. And Inspired.

Buddha, Nakhon Ratchasima, Thailand


Good Wednesday morning. Here are my selections of the inspiring posts of the week:

kingdomany’s photostream with his shot (above) of Buddha in Nakhon Ratchasima, Thailand.

Steve Layman @ with his share: More from the good old days………….:Here’s words you don’t hear anymore:…Wash your feet before you go to bed, you’ve been playing outside all day barefooted…Why can’t you remember to roll up your britches legs? Getting them caught in the bicycle chain so many times is tearing them up….Don’t you go outside with your school clothes on!…Be sure and pour the cream off the top of the milk when you open the new bottle…Open the back door and see if we can get a breeze through here, it is getting hot”…Read more @ this link. 

Brenda Knowles @ Space2Live with her video post titled: The Space We Need. “Something new for space2live… a short film (5 minutes, it’s worth it).  A visual to enhance the many words spilled on the pages of this site. Through filmmaker, Nic Askew’s, beautiful lens the experience, rather than the explanation, of an introvert is captured and shared in a soul biography. You’ll feel the honesty and vulnerability.  Enjoy.” Watch film at this link. [Read more…]

6:34 am. And Inspired.

Logan's Pass, photography


Good Wednesday morning.  Late start today.  Here are my selections of the inspiring posts of the week:

Ivon Prefontaine @ Teacher As Transformer with his post: “Glacier Park Mountains, Glaciers, and Logan’s Pass.” That’s one of his shots above.  Be sure to check out the others at this link.  Inspiring…as is his blog…a daily stop.  (Ivon, this one made me home sick.)

Nancy Roman @ Not Quite Old with her post: “Shouldn’t I have this?….Shouldn’t I have all of this?” “I want to live in a little house with a big porch on the seashore. I want to live in an apartment in New York City with a geranium on the fire escape. I want crisp white sheets and gingham curtains. I want gilded mirrors and french porcelain…I want a peanut butter-and-jelly sandwich with a side of potato chips. I want to appear before sold-out crowds who laugh and applaud. I want to go for weeks without seeing another human being. I want to write poetry that makes people cry…” Wonderful post.  Read more at this link.

Michael Wade @ Execupundit with his post: Swamps.  Where he lists 20 “swamps” starting with “always keeping score.” [Read more…]

“A” vs. “B” vs. “C”

Indexed,chart,free time,work,passion,writer,artist,


Two questions: Which one of the four below are you? (Assuming you are one of the four.)  Which one is optimal?

  1. “A” > “B” = No “C”
  2. “A” < “B” = No “C”
  3. “A” + “B” = Some “C”
  4. “P” =  “J” = No “C”

Where ‘A’= Time Spent On What You Love to Do.
Where ‘B’= Time Spent on Your Job.
Where ‘C’= Amount of Your Free Time.
Where ‘P’= What You Love To Do.
Where  ‘J’ = Your Job.


Chart Source: Great Work Done From 5 to 9Indexed by Jessica Hagy

I fully embrace my *&$# too!

handwriting


I love when “Research” validates what I’ve believed to be true for years.


Source: themetapicture.com

Seize the Moment

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“I’m not telling you to make the world better, because I don’t think that progress is necessarily part of the package. I’m just telling you to live in it. Not just to endure it, not just to suffer it, not just to pass through it, but to live in it. To look at it. To try to get the picture. To live recklessly. To take chances. To make your own work and take pride in it. To seize the moment. And if you ask me why you should bother to do that, I could tell you that the grave’s a fine and private place, but none I think do there embrace. Nor do they sing there, or write, or argue, or see the tidal bore on the Amazon, or touch their children. And that’s what there is to do and get it while you can and good luck at it.”

Joan Didion


Credits: Image & Bio – Biographile.  Quote – WhiskeyRiver

Related Post: Blue Nights

3:54 am. And Inspired.

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Good Wednesday morning. Here we go with my selections of the inspiring posts of the week…

  1. Carol @ Radiating Blossom – Flowers @ Words with her sunflower photography up top.  Check out more great photos here.
  2. Anake Goodall with his share 62 of the World’s Most Beautiful Libraries.
  3. Sandy Sue @ A Mind Divided with her post: A Break in the Weather: “…Earlier in the week I had a Come to Jesus meeting with myself.  When the depression bottoms out, all my demons swell up like roadkill on a hot day—gassy and explosive.  Out trotted All the Reasons My Life is Shit.  I won’t bore you with details, just to say there it is an unholy pantheon of gremlins.  And when said pantheon gets gassy and explosive, the splatter perimeter is vast…
  4. Christy Boyce @ 77 Ways To Grow with her post: Car Crazies!: “So unexpected. Such a feeling of freedom in an unexpected place. I crank up the music and roll down the windows.  I am a Mom with NO KIDS in my car!…[Read more…]

3:59 am. And Inspired.

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Good Wednesday morning. Here we go with my selections of the inspiring posts of the week…

  1. Up top, you see a photograph by Nitzus, photographer extraordinaire who shares a shot from Mount Cook National Park in New Zealand.  I’ve never been to Kiwi-Land but this shot inspires me to do so.  Check out more great photos here.
  2. Letters of Note with a post titled: It’s a strange and confusing world: …In October 1974, as he lay on his death bed at the end of a battle with cancer and reflected on his past, Clyde S. Shield wrote the following heartfelt letter to his 3-week-old grandson and offered some poignant advice for the road ahead…If I could package (with ribbon) those gifts that I would most like to give you, I would. But how do you package integrity, how do you wrap honesty, what kind of paper for a sense of humor, what ribbon for inquisitiveness?…Read more of this moving post at this link.
  3. Michael Baer’s Stratecution Stories with his post (a letter to his son who is graduating from high school): Letter to A Graduate – Some Rules to Live By: slow and steady is a solid approach to success. You will enter into college, and into life, with a huge amount of enthusiasm and passion. You will be impatient for success and expecting speedy movement forward. But know that things can take time. And much of life is beyond your control – all you can control is how you deal with things. So keep plugging away, taking advantage of opportunities as they present themselves, and good things will happen…Read 9 other Rules at this link. [Read more…]

Millennials. Listen up.

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#2: Writing Effectively.  My 10th Grade English teacher underscored this for me YEARS ago.  And I see too much today that hurts the eyes.


Source: Pewresearch