1. Embrace the blank page. Roll around in it. Fill up the lines and margins with effort; with trial and error; with excitement and joy some days and fear and disgust the next. Just don’t leave it blank. Be glad for blank pages. They mean there is still more good work to be done.
I want it, I want these flowers, and I don’t even know what that means. I want them in my home? Burned into my brain? Occurring artfully on an end table in the cabin where I spend my summers on the coast?
When you bring reusable grocery bags to the store, you reward yourself with a cookie. Literally.
If you (like me) enjoy purchasing clothing that celebrates fair labor practices, pricing transparency, and androgynous styles, consider Everlane. But if all that sounds outside of your normal shopping patterns, you can at least read about the company.
In college, I minored in English and loved taking poetry classes. They were a total retreat from the writing I typically did as a journalism major. Where news writing was factual, declarative sentences, poetry was experimental structure, layered scenes and rich emotions. (But OK, yes, I’ll accept arguments that good journalism can and maybe should have those elements, too.)
I still like reading poetry from time to time, and now is a good time to evangelize the genre. April is National Poetry Month. So take a break from your Buzzfeed reading, your young adult dystopian-future novels, or your pulpy crime mystery that’s about to become a hit movie.
“Poetry is like a curvy slide in a playground — an odd object, available to the public — and, as I keep explaining to my local police force, everyone should be able to use it, not just those of a certain age.”
“And despite what some people seem to believe, the Poet Laureate also is not selected like the Pope: there is no conclave of leading poets who gather at the Library to cast secret ballots for the next Poet Laureate (and we’d certainly never use smoke to indicate a new Laureate was selected!).”
“What I wanted her to know is: People have been in pain before, struggled to find hope, and look what they’ve done with it. They made poetry that landed right in your shoe, the same shoe you didn’t wear for four months because of your despair.”
Technology meets journalism meets poetry via Times Haiku, in which a computer algorithm creates haiku from random sentences in The New York Times.
“All of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But there is this gap. For the first couple years you make stuff, it’s just not that good. It’s trying to be good, it has potential, but it’s not. But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is why your work disappoints you. A lot of people never get past this phase, they quit. Most people I know who do interesting, creative work went through years of this. We know our work doesn’t have this special thing that we want it to have.”
1. “Above all else, remember that charm is sustainable. It is not finite. Think of it as a bargain-priced, bottomless tub of marshmallow fluff. So take flight and flit from person to person, depositing little glistening, sugary dollops of charm wherever you go.”
I wouldn’t define myself as a creative entrepreneur at this point in my life/career, but I do have a few creative side-hustles (including this blog and my work on Positive365). Lately, I’ve been digging Love Being Boss, a podcast and private Facebook community dedicated to people who are hustling part-time or full -time in creative ways.
The co-hosts (two kick-ass entrepreneurs named Emily Thompson and Kathleen Shannon) talk about everything a creative-business-type might need to know, from money to personal branding to fear of failure.
The Facebook group is totally inspiring, with lots of great discussion from its members about their questions, problems and successes with their work. All of it makes me want to re-commit to some of these side-hustles, write more, edit more, and generally create more. (And get paid for it, too!)
“Anyone who has parented a human for more than five minutes has felt the coils of the day wrapping around their insides, making the chest tight and the stomach hungry for nachos. By 9pm, I have no words left. I just want to sit in the dark, watch Michael Scott, and not have to think any intelligent thoughts.
Shark tank idea: a service that comes to your house, gives you a glass of wine, ten minutes of uninhibited dancing, then rubs your back until you fall asleep. (That or someone who just shows up to play with your hair while you binge watch Orange Is The New Black).
Have you heard of The Gentlewoman? It’s a beautiful British magazine that “celebrates modern women of style and purpose” and features artful black and white photos, interesting interviews and chic fashion ads. It’s printed on thick paper, which makes each issue feel like a special collectible.
My only complaint: It’s really difficult to find in the United States. Big-box stores tend to carry few (if any) copies, and there’s no default way to subscribe (unless you pay costly shipping fees through specialty services). I try to hunt down issues when they come out, but I don’t always succeed.
So I was delighted to realize the magazine has a stash of profiles on the website, including a few gems I’d missed in print. Start with these for your reading pleasure:
Adele, who discovered Etta James as a 13-year-old shopping for albums: “I loved the attitude on her face on the cover of the CD. You wouldn’t want to mess with her, she was so fucking fierce. And then I heard her voice, and I nearly died.”
Angela Lansbury, who loves making beds and ironing, and has been acting for 60+ years: “It’s so easy to give up or get lazy. It’s worth it to continue to present yourself as a woman of loveliness and dignity, a woman who feels good and knows she’s looking her best.”
Isabel Marant, who invented the wedge high-top sneaker trend: “Being a woman designer, for me, is not about fantasy; it’s about dressing women properly with an energy that corresponds to now.”
Yoko Ono, who once performed an art piece where the audience cut away her clothing and left her in underwear: “Stay positive, never eat after 8pm, and walk every day.”
1. “Yes. I know harrassment exists. The casual cruelty of the world is amplified online. Never be afraid to be you. This is the good fight. There are more people who love you than who heckle. I am one of them.
Even the assholes have a voice. But they must. It is better to hear evil’s hateful blather than to let it plot in silence.
Social media is the closest we will come to being telepaths in a hive. We are Borg, or we will be. Only, hopefully, sexier.”
Have you heard of The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt? It’s a Netflix-exclusive sitcom from Tina Fey that is 50% heart, 25% New York jokes, 15% rich people jokes and 10% references to the ’90s. And 100% fun to watch.
The truth is, many people see a desire to please people as a weakness. But I don’t see it that way at all. It’s time to start thinking about it as a strength.
We’ve been told by society that it is a negative trait, that it’s a flaw. It’s been perceived that way and reinforced for so long that it’ll take a long time to change that perception. But I truly believe that it can be one of your greatest strengths.
What is wrong with wanting to give? Being positive? Making sure everyone around you is happy? To me, these sound like the furthest things from a “weakness” and it blows my mind why people would want to label it as such.