Sunday, April 26, 2020

Small Kindnesses, by Danusha Laméris

I've been thinking about the way, when you walk
down a crowded aisle, people pull in their legs
to let you by. Or how strangers still say "bless you"
when someone sneezes, a leftover
from the Bubonic plague. "Don't die," we are saying.
And sometimes, when you spill lemons
from your grocery bag, someone else will help you
pick them up. Mostly, we don't want to harm each other.
We want to be handed our cup of coffee hot,
and to say thank you to the person handling it. To smile
at them and for them to smile back. For the waitress 
to call us honey when she sets down the bowl of clam chowder
and for the driver in the red pick-up truck to let us pass.
We have so little of each other, now. So far
from tribe and fire. Only these brief moments of exchange.
What if they are the true dwelling of the holy, these
fleeting temples we make together when we say, "Here,
have my seat," "Go ahead--you first," "I like your hat."

Danusha Laméris

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Powerful quote by Rachel Camille Terrell / Richard Oscar Terrell

"It can be easy to assume that your worldview is everything that exists in the world and that something outside of your own experience isn't real, however, it's important to remember that there are ways of experiencing the world that you're not going to have any concept of and that if you aren't experiencing the world that way, you are not in a good place to judge the needs and difficulties of people who are. No one is making up labels for attention. The attention is not positive. No one is asking to have a life that is more difficult. If a person is going through the danger, discomfort, and difficulty of telling you or anyone that they are an identity that falls outside of the heteronormative range of acceptability, it's likely that it's a core part of who they are, important enough that pretending to be something else is more painful for them than all of the trouble that society is going to give them. Please, take it seriously. They are likely facing trouble on a lot of fronts. Please, at the very least, don't add to the trouble, and if you can do something to make their lives easier, choose to do that. If you want to have a conversation about someone's experience of gender, let it be a conversation, not a debate or an argument, and remember that no one is obligated to explain who they are to you either. If they are taking the time to talk you through it, listen, learn, and say thank you."*

By Rachel Camille Terrell / Richard Oscar Terrell 
*This was written in a post for the Stonewall Employee Affinity Group, which is a group that promotes inclusion and awareness of the LGBTQIAP+ community in the workplace.

Saturday, March 7, 2020

Pep talk, by Erin Brook

"Pep talk from a singing teacher (me):

"I don’t know if you have talent. I don’t know what talent is. To me, talent is just desire. Do you want to do the thing? Does it make you feel sparkly? Great. That’s enough talent for me. Everything else is skill, and that I know about."

By Erynn Brook (@ErynnBrook)

(See full thread:

Sunday, February 9, 2020

Quotes on Writing

“The first draft is just you telling yourself the story.”
― Terry Pratchett

“You can always edit a bad page. You can’t edit a blank page.”
― Jodi Picoult

“If the book is true, it will find an audience that is meant to read it.”
— Wally Lamb

"If a writer falls in love with you, you can never die."
Mik Everett

“Don't be 'a writer'. Be writing.”
William Faulkner

“A writer is someone for whom writing is more difficult than it is for other people.”
― Thomas Mann

“When I write, I feel like an armless, legless man with a crayon in his mouth.”
― Kurt Vonnegut

“A blank piece of paper is God's way of telling us how hard it is to be God.”
― Sidney Sheldon

“Being a good writer is 3% talent, 97% not being distracted by the Internet.”
— Anonymous

“Writing is easy; all you do is sit staring at a blank sheet of paper until the drops of blood form on your forehead.”
— Gene Fowler

“We are a species that needs and wants to understand who we are. Sheep lice do not seem to share this longing, which is one reason why they write so little.”
— Anne Lamott

“Having been unpopular in high school is not just cause for book publication.”
— Fran Lebowitz

“There are three rules for writing. Unfortunately, no one can agree what they are.”
— Somerset Maugham

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Skye, from Marc & Angel

"Once upon a time, an aging king knew the end of his life was nearing, and he decided it was time to designate a successor. Since he had sadly lost his wife and children in a terrible accident, he chose to pass the throne on to one lucky child. So he summoned children from every corner of his kingdom and asked them to visit the castle immediately.

When the children arrived, he gave each of them one little brown seed. "I want you to plant your seed, give it sunlight and water, and take good care of it," he said. "In exactly six months from today, return to the castle with the plant you've grown. The child who grows the most beautiful plant will be mentored by me to become the next king or queen!"

One of the lucky children who received a seed that day was a young girl named Skye. She immediately ran home and carefully planted her seed in a pot of nutrient-rich soil, and then placed it on a well-lit windowsill. Every day Skye watered and cared for her seed. A few weeks later several other children in her school began bragging about their beautiful plants, but Skye's pot was still empty. Despite her constant care, her seed hadn't grown at all.

Six months passed by quickly, and it was time for all the children to return to the castle to show the king the plant they had grown. Skye didn't want to go with her empty pot of soil, but her parents told her to be honest about her failure. Discouraged and dejected, Skye listened to her parents and returned to the castle. She stood quietly at the very back of the room where the king would be evaluating everyone's plants, and waited to be judged.

As the king entered the room he looked amazed to see so many beautiful plants. He then proceeded to walk from child to child admiring what they had grown. And the closer the king got to Skye, the more her eyes welled up with tears.

The king eventually stood before her and her empty pot of soil. "What is your name?" the king asked.

"Skye," she said with a whimper.

"Where is your plant, Skye?"

Hanging her head in humiliation, Skye took a deep breath and then looked up at the king and told the truth: "Your majesty, I planted the little brown seed you gave me in this pot, and I gave it plenty of sunshine and water every single day, but the seed did not grow at all. I have failed."

Suddenly, the king's voice thundered throughout the room, "Behold! My successor! Your next queen! Her name is Skye!"

Silence and confusion swept over the room as the king continued, "Six months ago, I gave everyone here a boiled brown seed that could not grow into a plant. Only Skye had the heart and courage to share the truth with me today. Soon enough, she will lead our kingdom very well!"


As friends, as family members, as teammates… too often we feel the need to lie about our experiences and accomplishments, simply to make ourselves appear bigger and better than we are. We believe that if we constantly show off the "beautiful plants" we've grown, others will love and respect us. But this is far from the truth (no pun intended).

When we share our truths openly and honestly, not only do we build the kind of trust that opens doors to deeper relationships and real opportunities, but we also make it easier for the people we spend our lives with to be more open and honest with us, which makes every moment together healthier and more peaceful."
-from Marc and Angel Hack Life blog

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