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: https://twitter.com/ErynnBrook/status/1235917243856412672)

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!"

REMEMBER:

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

Wednesday, January 8, 2020

The key to a healthy personality is flexibility.


"If we were sailors navigating the world on the open seas, we would need to have a set of precisely tuned, highly sophisticated instruments in order to navigate effectively. Our navigational tools would need to be capable of swiftly adjusting to changing conditions (weather conditions, cargo weight, etc.). The same is true of our personalities. In other words, we must be able to adjust our reactions to the specific circumstances of each situation. This means our perceptions and interpretations of the world must not only be accurate, but also nuanced. This requires of our personalities a high degree of flexibility in order to take into account the special needs and circumstances of every unique situation we encounter. Each situation may need to be interpreted differently. Our reactions must be finely tuned and properly adjusted to precisely correspond with the unique demands of each individual situation. Unfortunately, people with personality disorders lack this essential flexibility, and respond to situations and events with a characteristically rigid constellation of thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. This inflexibility, and difficulty forming nuanced responses, represents the primary difference between healthy and disordered personalities.

"The question remains, how do we account for this fundamental difference between healthy and unhealthy personalities? The answer seems to lie in the "navigational instruments." It appears that people with personality disorders are missing an important tool. Research by Fonagy and his colleagues (1996) found that people with personality disorders seem to lack a highly necessary skill called "mentalization." Mentalization refers to the ability to reflect upon the behaviors, internal states, and motivations of both ourselves and other people. The ability to mentalize may enable people with healthy personalities to adjust their behaviors to the differing demands of each unique situation. In other words, what permits this flexibility may be the capacity to reflect upon one's own behaviors and motivations, and to reflect upon the behaviors and motivations of others. Thus, the ability to mentalize permits an accurate assessment of each unique situation that renders an appropriate response for that situation."

Simone Hoermann, Ph.D., Corinne E. Zupanick, Psy.D. & Mark Dombeck, Ph.D.

Saturday, November 30, 2019

Self-care is often a very unbeautiful thing, by Brianna Wiest

"Self-care is often a very unbeautiful thing.

It is making a spreadsheet of your debt and enforcing a morning routine and cooking yourself healthy meals and no longer just running from your problems and calling the distraction a solution.

It is often doing the ugliest thing that you have to do, like sweat through another workout or tell a toxic friend you don't want to see them anymore or get a second job so you can have a savings account or figure out a way to accept yourself so that you're not constantly exhausted from trying to be everything, all the time and then needing to take deliberate, mandated breaks from living to do basic things like drop some oil into a bath and read Marie Claire and turn your phone off for the day.

A world in which self-care has to be such a trendy topic is a world that is sick. Self-care should not be something we resort to because we are so absolutely exhausted that we need some reprieve from our own relentless internal pressure.

True self-care is not salt baths and chocolate cake, it is making the choice to build a life you don't need to regularly escape from.

And that often takes doing the thing you least want to do.

It often means looking your failures and disappointments square in the eye and re-strategizing. It is not satiating your immediate desires. It is letting go. It is choosing new. It is disappointing some people. It is making sacrifices for others. It is living a way that other people won't, so maybe you can live in a way that other people can't.

It is letting yourself be normal. Regular. Unexceptional. It is sometimes having a dirty kitchen and deciding your ultimate goal in life isn't going to be having abs and keeping up with your fake friends. It is deciding how much of your anxiety comes from not actualizing your latent potential, and how much comes from the way you were being trained to think before you even knew what was happening.

If you find yourself having to regularly indulge in consumer self-care, it's because you are disconnected from actual self-care, which has very little to do with "treating yourself" and a whole lot do with parenting yourself and making choices for your long-term wellness.

It is no longer using your hectic and unreasonable life as justification for self-sabotage in the form of liquor and procrastination. It is learning how to stop trying to "fix yourself" and start trying to take care of yourself… and maybe finding that taking care lovingly attends to a lot of the problems you were trying to fix in the first place.

It means being the hero of your life, not the victim. It means rewiring what you have until your everyday life isn't something you need therapy to recover from. It is no longer choosing a life that looks good over a life that feels good. It is giving the hell up on some goals so you can care about others. It is being honest even if that means you aren't universally liked. It is meeting your own needs so you aren't anxious and dependent on other people.

It is becoming the person you know you want and are meant to be. Someone who knows that salt baths and chocolate cake are ways to enjoy life – not escape from it."
-Brianna Wiest

[Illustration: Yaoyao Ma]

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