Driving I-95 N. With 45s Spinning.

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Picture the old 45 spinning on the RCA, with its slight wobble.

It hits a notch and repeats, and repeats and repeats.

Karen, a blogger friend, from “Healing Grief” had all of the Nacre she could stand.  She gently lifted the arm and suggested a new groove:

Love what Milner suggests practising bead memories. I have a challenge for you Mr K. In your next bead experience, tell us what You feel and see just “being.” No driving, no running, no working, just here, now.”

Healing Grief. Advice from a Woman who has felt Grief. Incomprehensible loss.

Would I be standing as she is, if I was hit? [Read more…]

Driving I-95 S. With Nacre.

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Milner suggests that you select bead memories, and write about the most important thing that happened yesterday. What simple instructions! What a Herculean task. There wasn’t a single gleaming pearl, no, but layer upon layer of nacre, various moments wrapped in a montage of the day. And these moments, they aren’t lustrous, they are insignificant, ordinary really. There I stand watching me, buffeted by winds, gripping a rail, they pass suspended.

4:36 am. T.G.I.F. Yes, an Ungodly hour to be on I-95 heading to work. Yet, some force propels one forward, amped up on achievement dopamine, a member of the Walking Dead at this hour – hulking Truckers, red tail lights of Insomniacs, and Me.

The highway fuel stop.  Mobil Oil. The attendant takes the credit card, rings up the charges and hands the patron his pack of Lucky Strikes – he watches him shuffle out. His shoulders are slumped, his face expressionless, he’s anchored in the fifth hour of his graveyard shift. He breathes ever so slowly, sipping oxygen and his black coffee, teetering on the edge of Thoreau’s zone of quiet desperation. The television perched overhead has breaking news, a warhead hits a hospital in Aleppo. [Read more…]

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.

Come on people. It’s this simple.

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Source: swiss-miss.com

Walking Cross-Town. 47th, wrong side.

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6:32 a.m. I exit Grand Central onto 47th. I glance at my watch, plenty of time for the 7 a.m. breakfast.

The crane’s steel arm groans and stretches up four floors. One worker guides the load of sheet rock in through the window. Another waves off the early morning commuters with his red caution flag. He looks me in the eye and directs me to the other side of the street.

I cross.

Have you ever walked this side of 47th? Ever? Eight years. 100’s of cross-town walks. Zero recollection of ever walking on the other side.

I glance over. It’s now free of construction. The wind whistles. Come back. Now. Come Home to me.

I lean right but resist. No.  Not today. Live dangerously DK.  Go way out on a limb.

I walk.

The legs and feet are heavy. I trudge on alien ground. The Amygdala twitches.

I pass delivery upon delivery truck offloading the day’s supplies.

“Fiji Water. Fiji. Untouched by man. Every drop is green.”

I pass the jewelry district

“Time in Motion – Watch Repair”
[Read more…]

Monday Morning Wake-Up Call

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Here’s the true secret of life: We mostly do everything over and over. In the morning, we let the dogs out, make coffee, read the paper, help whoever is around get ready for the day. We do our work. In the afternoon, if we have left, we come home, put down our keys and satchels, let the dogs out, take off constrictive clothing, make a drink or put water on for tea, toast the leftover bit of scone. I love ritual and repetition. Without them, I would be a balloon with a slow leak.

~ Anne Lamott, Stitches: A Handbook on Meaning, Hope and Repair


Notes: Photo – Mennyfox55

 

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

Nothing passed unnoticed or unhonored

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Most of us do not live a life of monastic rigor. Our days are full of jagged edges and jangling moments. But most of us do have quiet routines that inform our lives. We rise each morning and greet our day in the same fashion. A first cup of coffee, a glance at the paper, a certain way we bathe and prepare for our entry into the day — these do not change. They are the rituals by which we shape our days. But we do not value them as rituals. To us they are the ordinary — sometimes comforting, sometimes mind-deadening — activities that give a familiar sameness to our life. Far from honoring them, we pay them no heed. We see them as routines, not as paths to awareness. My time in the monastery taught me otherwise. To be sure, the monks lived a life of deep sacramentality and prayer, and that was the true source of their spiritual vision. But the mindful practice of their spiritual exercises spilled over into the way they carried on their daily affairs. They were present to nuance, aware of the space around events. A cup of tea, a meal partaken, a moment shared with another — all commanded their absolute focus. They had tuned their spirits to a fine and subtle sensitivity, and nothing passed unnoticed or unhonored.

~ Kent Nerburn, Of Coffee Mugs and Monks in Small Graces: The Quiet Gifts of Everyday Life (New World Library. 2010)


Notes:

I like the list because it contains the seeds of its own undoing

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My favorite passage in the book is a reprinting of Johnny Cash’s to-do list: “Not smoke. Kiss June. Not kiss anyone else. Cough. Pee. Eat. Not eat too much. ­Worry. Go see Mama. Practice piano.” I like the list because it contains the seeds of its own undoing. Habits have an eternal appeal because they remove the element of choice. They hold out the promise that in the future we can improve ourselves almost automatically just by moving through our days, like the evolved operating system in the Spike Jonze movie “Her.” But Johnny Cash understands that temptation is not a virus we can remove. His list isn’t linear, it’s circular. He will never turn into June. He will always be Johnny, and every day he will cough, pee and eat. Just as every day he will have to resist the urge to kiss someone else.

~ Hanna Rosin, Book Review of Gretchen Rubin’s “Better Than Before”


Riding Metro-North. Off-Peak.

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My early morning routine, My zone, My sweet spot, is detonated.
I’m on the mid-afternoon train to Manhattan.
Everything is out of order. Way out of order.

It’s a sparsely occupied train.
A few Suits. Students. Tourists chattering. Children buzzing.
All rules of order violated. Quiet Car? What’s that?

The landscape is foreign as it flashes by the window.
The whites of winter turn to the darks of buildings, and back. Strobe lights. Disco. Discombobulating.
Pulse quickens. Wrong train? No. Daylight. Mr. Hyde makes his appearance in Light, flings his robe back, and works to shake off his lethargy.

Eyes are heavy from scanning emails. Words are merging together.  Regurgitation, without nourishment. Chewing, remembering nothing, looping back to re-read. Sigh.

I give up. [Read more…]

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