Monday Morning Wake-Up Call

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But it’s not odd to me. Actors are storytellers. And storytelling is the essential human art. It’s how we understand who we are. I don’t mean to make it sound high-flown. It’s not. It’s discipline and repetition and failure and perseverance and dumb luck and blind faith and devotion. It’s showing up when you don’t feel like it, when you’re exhausted and you think you can’t go on. Transcendent moments come when you’ve laid the groundwork and you’re open to the moment. They happen when you do the work. In the end, it’s about the work.

~ Bryan Cranston, A Life in Parts


Related Post: Bryan Cranston – Breaking Good

Monday Morning Wake-Up Call: Get up, get out, go to your work

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My father was a very disciplined and punctual man; it was a prerequisite for his creativity. There was a time for everything: for work, for talk, for solitude, for rest. No matter what time you get out of bed, go for a walk and then work, he’d say, because the demons hate it when you get out of bed, demons hate fresh air. So when I make up excuses not to work, I hear his voice in my head: Get up, get out, go to your work.

~ Linn Ullmann on her father, Ingmar Bergman in Linn Ullmann Discusses Her New Novel The Cold Song

 


Notes: Quote Source: Austin Kleon. Image Source.

Not as well as Yo-Yo Ma, but still, to touch the hem of the gown that is art itself

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Why is it that we understand playing the cello will require work, but we attribute writing to the magic of inspiration? Chances are, any child who stays with an instrument for more than two weeks has some adult making her practice, and any child who sticks with it longer than that does so because she understands that practice makes her play better and that there is a deep, soul-satisfying pleasure in improvement. If a person of any age picked up the cello for the first time and said, “I’ll be playing in Carnegie Hall next month!” you would pity their delusion, yet beginning fiction writers all across the country polish up their best efforts and send them off to The New Yorker. Perhaps you’re thinking here that playing an instrument is not an art itself but an interpretation of the composer’s art, but I stand by my metaphor. The art of writing comes way down the line, as does the art of interpreting Bach. Art stands on the shoulders of craft, which means that to get to the art you must master the craft. If you want to write, practice writing. Practice it for hours a day, not to come up with a story you can publish, but because you long to learn how to write well, because there is something that you alone can say. Write the story, learn from it, put it away, write another story. Think of a sink pipe filled with sticky sediment. The only way to get clean water is to force a small ocean through the tap. Most of us are full up with bad stories, boring stories, self-indulgent stories, searing works of unendurable melodrama. We must get all of them out of our system in order to find the good stories that may or may not exist in the freshwater underneath. […]

Does this sound like a lot of work without any guarantee of success? Well, yes, but it also calls into question our definition of success. Playing the cello, we’re more likely to realize that the pleasure is the practice, the ability to create this beautiful sound; not to do it as well as Yo-Yo Ma, but still, to touch the hem of the gown that is art itself… I got better at closing the gap between my hand and my head by clocking in the hours, stacking up the pages. Somewhere in all my years of practice, I don’t know where exactly, I arrived at the art. […]

Forgiveness. The ability to forgive oneself. Stop here for a few breaths and think about this because it is the key to making art, and very possibly the key to finding any semblance of happiness in life. […]

I believe, more than anything, that this grief of constantly having to face down our own inadequacies is what keeps people from being writers. Forgiveness, therefore, is key. I can’t write the book I want to write, but I can and will write the book I am capable of writing. Again and again throughout the course of my life I will forgive myself.

~ Ann Patchett. This is the Story of a Happy Marriage, Harper Perennial, 2014)


Source: Brain Pickings – The Workhorse and the Butterfly: Ann Patchett on Writing and Why Self-Forgiveness Is the Most Important Ingredient of Great Art

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

Tough Teachers Get Results (finally, some common sense)

Mr. K

“I had a teacher who once called his students ‘idiots’ when they screwed up…he made us rehearse until our fingers almost bled. He corrected our wayward hands and arms by poking at us with a pencil.  Today, he’d be fired. But when he died a few years ago, he was celebrated: Forty years’ worth of former students flew back to my New Jersey hometown from every corner of the country…I was stunned by the outpouring for the gruff old teacher…Some were musicians, but most had distinguished themselves in other fields…What did Mr. K do right?…Comparing Mr. K’s methods to the latest findings in fields from music to math to medicine leads to a single, startling conclusion:

It’s time to revive old-fashioned education.  

Not just traditional but old fashioned in the sense that so many of us knew as kids, with strict discipline and unyielding demands. Because here’s the thing: It works…and the following eight principles – a manifesto if you will, a battle cry inspired by my old teacher and buttressed by new research – explain why:

[Read more…]

Dear Kids

parents yelling at kids

Dear Rachel & Eric:

I shared the article below from today’s paper with your Mother.  She’s gloating: “I told you so.” I’m snarling: “This is utter nonsense.”  Mom’s espousing “Let Freedom Reign.” Dad’s fencing is well established and flashing warning signals: “Cross the line, you’ll do the time.”

You three, huddled in your sheltered cocoon, will see the light.

Hang on to this post and drag it out when your children reach adolescence, and ask the following hypothetical (NOT) questions:

  • Rachel, your daughter, three days after acquiring her driver’s license, exits a parking lot without looking in both directions, and piles into an oncoming car – – causing $4,000 damage to your car. Do you blow her a kiss and tell her: “Honey, the best way to deal with this is to get back up on the iron horse.”
  • Eric, if your son backs your car into his friend’s rock wall, shredding the rear of the car, do you tell him: “Son, mistakes happen. Please be sure to take more care next time.”
  • Rachel, your daughter is laying on the couch watching three consecutive episodes of New Jersey Housewives.  You are exhausted from being up early, frazzled from working late and from your commute home – – and you are in the midst of preparing dinner. You ask her to walk the dog three times and she ignores you.  Do you walk up politely and say: “Honey, could you please help me out here?  Or, are you tired from your difficult day at school?
  • Eric, your son is on his second hour of Playstation and has ignored your 2 prior calls for bedtime.  Do you walk up to him, sit down and ask: “Son, could please put down the game, get undressed and go to bed.

Do these stories sound familiar?  Hmmmmm.  Right.

Being a parent, your Parents, has been our greatest blessing.

I can’t wait to watch you shine.

Love,

Dad

P.S. Re: Having children.  Absolutely no need to rush into things.


Study Says Yelling Is As Hurtful as Hitting [Read more…]

Hump Day: Kids!

true


Source: Imgur

T.G.I.F.: It’s True! I’m starting my diet today.

Laughing-animals-dog laughing-animals-horse  laughing-animals-koala-bear

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See more @ Tastefully Offensive

#1 Secret to Parenting

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Source: ossahumiliata.tumblr.com

As it should be…

Steve Carell, funny, laugh, true, parents, children,kids,call home, Mom, Dad


My daughter Rachel’s response when I shared this with her: “hahahahhahahahahahhaa so so true!!!!”


Source: themetapicture.com

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