In Anne Lamott’s book Bird by Bird, she reminds us how to get through writing and life when she says, “Thirty years ago my older brother, who was ten years old at the time, was trying to get a report on birds written that he’d had three months to write, which was due the next day. We were out at our family cabin in Bolinas, and he was at the kitchen table close to tears, surrounded by binder paper and pencils and unopened books on birds, immobilized by the hugeness of the task ahead. Then my father sat down beside him, put his arm around my brother’s shoulder, and said, ‘Bird by bird, buddy. Just take it bird by bird.'” Continue reading
I read this story in the book Real Artists Don’t Starve by Jeff Goins and it made my heart flutter.
The year was 1598. Two brothers, Richard and Cuthbert Burbage, had inherited a theatre from their father when he passed away. The problem was, for a number of years they were not able to perform any shows in it as the landlord wouldn’t let them out of the contract and the rent was too steep.
Then they realized something. The landlord owned the land but not the building. Continue reading
I just read this story in the book Real Artists Don’t Starve by Jeff Goins. In 1971, Led Zeppelin was one of the most popular bands in the world. Some critics accused them of being all hype and no substance. So they decided to take a massive chance. They released their fourth album anonymously. Without the band’s name or any of the singers or musicians listed on the cover. Continue reading
After hearing author David Epstein speak on a radio show, I have added his book to my reading list. Epstein wrote Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World. It piqued my interest because I’ve always seen value in spending your time in multiple lanes as that way you don’t know which rules you’re not allowed to break. Creativity comes from connecting dots from far flung places and it’s hard to see those dots when you’re specializing in just one area. This, along with the fact that our young people will be working one day in jobs that don’t even exist yet. So how can you prepare? You can be a creative, critical thinker. Epstein talks about embracing trial and error in life in order to triangulate (almost like finding a given cell phone by comparing the pings off a number of towers) and figure out which signal suits you most. You find out where you belong by finding out where you don’t belong. Continue reading
I watched one of my favourite movies with my kids this weekend. Dead Poets Society. I remember seeing it for the first time as a 16-year-old high school student and it made such an impact on me. Continue reading
In Stumbling on Happiness Daniel Gilbert writes, “For most of recorded history, people lived where they were born, did what their parents had done, and associated with those who were doing the same. Millers milled, Smiths smithed, and little Smiths and little Millers married whom and when they were told. Social structures (such as religions and castes) and physical structures (such as mountains and oceans) were the great dictators that determined how, where, and with whom people would spend their lives, which left most folks with little to decide for themselves. But the agricultural, industrial, and technological revolutions changed all that, and the resulting explosion of personal liberty has created a bewildering array of options, alternatives, choices, and decisions that our ancestors never faced. For the very first time, our happiness is in our hands.” Continue reading
My brother is a high school drama teacher and playwright and he said something to me recently that really hit me. He said that in order to find happiness you have to have struggle. And this is an issue with many people as the world we live in allows us to move through it with very little push back. Immediate gratification, everything online at our fingertips, same day shipping, participation medals, no consequences for bad behaviour or missed assignments. Without the storm we don’t notice the sun. Continue reading
Josh Waitzkin, chess prodigy and author, said that before his son was born he remembers hearing parents say, “The weather is bad. It’s raining. We can’t go outside to play.” So when he became a dad, he made it his plan to see all weather as good weather for exploring. Chaos over control. He and his son Jack have never missed a rain storm or a blizzard. Because it’s always a good time to play. Continue reading
I recently read an article that mentioned Brené Brown’s take on belonging versus fitting in. She explained that when you belong, you let your authentic self expand. You accept yourself, flaws and all, and your tribe has your back. When you fit in, you change who you are to suit the room. You contract your quirks, your light and your greatness to ensure you don’t shine too bright. Because you can’t stand out if you want to fit in. Continue reading
For those who have been following my recent saga of moving for the fourth time in four years, my 14-year-old son getting hit by a car on his bike and riding in an ambulance to hospital where he ended up being fine, the moving van swiping my parked vehicle in the driveway and doing thousands of dollars damage, a family of raccoons living in the fireplace at our new address and my son getting bitten by a dog on his leg before he left to compete at the North American Irish Dance Championships, thank you for listening. Continue reading