June 22, 2018
I saw Oceans 8 this week and I really enjoyed it. I think I like a heist movie with gorgeous costuming and absolutely no violence (best paired with a cherry coke).
- Just Write 500 Words, The Cut. “Lots of writers like to pretend they write for eight hours a day, but they are lying. They are on Twitter with a blank Word document open in another tab. That doesn’t count as “writing.” This doesn’t have to be torture. Just write 500 words, and then stop. Until tomorrow.” Also, I watched the Netflix movie Set It Up over the weekend and there’s a line like “But if I want to actually be a writer, I have to stop making excuses not to write.” Everything is telling me to just do it and I’m doing it! 500 words a day is a very doable goal if you’re writing a novel and maybe other types of prose. I think figuring out the time of day that my writing is the closest to the surface really helped me, so I am incredibly indebted to Daniel H. Pink’s When. But reckoning with my phone and social media use in the past year has also really helped me see the ways I was dulling my brain and making myself feel bad. Is there something you feel like you’ve always wanted to do but never get around to it? Look around to see what’s getting in your way, then set a doable goal for each day. So far, so good.
- How Netflix Swallowed the TV Industry, Vulture. “It has replaced demographics with what it calls “taste clusters,” predicating programming decisions on immense amounts of data about true viewing habits, not estimated ones.” This is such a (long) interesting look at the mechanisms behind Netflix original content.
- Rihanna’s Perspective on Her Weight Changed How I Think. “Within a few months, I began to see my obsession with my weight as not only unhealthy and hurtful, but delusional. As I learned to speak to and treat myself better, I literally began to see myself differently.”
- Burnout Strategies for Librarians, Kevin Harwell (paywall). I read this in preparation for my presentation later this summer on mindfulness and workplace wellbeing. His definition breaks down the three components of burnout (which only takes place in work contexts): exhaustion, cycnicism/detachment, and a sense of ineffectiveness/lack of accomplishment. Here are a few parts that really struck me: “Certain job characteristics are known to be related to burnout. These include the following: high workload; time pressure; conflicting demands on the job; lack of adequate information to do the job well; lack of social support, especially from supervisors; and lack of feedback.”
And: “One way to consider contributing factors for burnout is in terms of job demands and job resources.” Job demands can burn you out, but job resources like performance feedback, rewards, job security, participation in decision making, and support from supervisors can help. “In case studies where job demands were high, but job resources were also high, employees did not experience high levels of burnout.” If we’re getting the support we need, we can handle the high workload. Is this shocking? No, but it’s nice to see the dots connected.
- “Home,” Warsan Shire. “who would choose to spend days /and nights in the stomach of a truck / unless the miles travelled / meant something more than journey.”
Be good to each other this week. Love you.
March 16, 2018
I had the perfect opportunity to unplug the other afternoon – I cracked my phone screen and landed it in Phone Hospital for a few hours. Somehow it was the first time I’ve ever done that, and I ended up with a phone-less afternoon… It’s kind of embarrassing how refreshing it was to be parted with my phone for like 3 hours, because it made me realize how constant that presence is. Like, I never do anything in silence. Unloading the dishwasher, staring at my groggy face in the mirror, walking my (perfect) dog, sewing…I usually have a podcast or tv show on. I’m going to be working those afternoons in more often!
- Words for Empty and Words for Full, Bob Hicok. I just discovered this poet in my life thanks to Wonderful! podcast…His poetry is musical and grammar-flexible; it’s the kind of poetry I want to be writing. My favorites from this collection are A Primer, A Wedding Night.
Are Home Renovations Necessary? Curbed. I’m a big fan of Kate Wagner’s blog, McMansion Hell! “Whether presented as a self-improvement project (update
your house lest you be judged for owning a dated one) or a form of
self-care (renovate because it will make you feel better), the home
remodel is presented as both remedy and requirement.
Take a moment to consider this simple idea: There is nothing wrong with your house.“
- The Dirty Secret of Secret Recipes. “But more frequently, when readers learned the truth, they accepted it and loved the recipe more than ever. The cookies and cakes and potato salads were, after all, still associated with childhood memories and departed loved ones.” This is really sweet to me. Did you know that copyright rules for recipes are interesting – a list of ingredients isn’t protected, but the instructions and other narrative material is? (source: “Copyright law does not protect recipes that are mere listings of ingredients….. Copyright protection may, however, extend to substantial literary expression—a description, explanation, or illustration, for example—that accompanies a recipe or formula or to a combination of recipes, as in a cookbook.”) Is that why some recipe blogs have the longest rambling stories and photos before you get to the recipe? I just want to bake this chicken!
- I Have Information Overload, Haley Nahman. “My challenge now is to resist my animal-like impulse to constantly
consume, to pick what I engage with more thoughtfully, and then dare to
embody the kind of idleness that work demands. Maybe art needs space
like we need space. Maybe, in a simple resistance to the mindless
scroll, ideas bloom.” Same girl!
- The Perfect Man Who Wasn’t, The Atlantic. These women taken in by a conman team up to take him down. "For years, Derek had evaded punishment by
moving around; local police had limited ability to chase him across
state lines. But the women he’d victimized had no jurisdictional
October 27, 2017
This week I’ve been taking a careful look at how I’m responding to stress and everyday difficulties, and I’d be interested to hear from you all how you manage stress and your temper. Thanks, and here’s this week:
- How Do I Deal with the Office Know-it-all?, Shondaland. “As tempting as it is, you should not gossip about this person to other people on staff. You should not commiserate. You should not make this a “thing” that everyone knows about and is talking about.” I don’t work with a know-it-all but in general I need the reminder not to “commiserate” when it’s really just picking at something, like a scab.
- How do I work with someone I can’t stand?, Ask a Manager. I love what she says here about having compassion for people who annoy us, and also what this commenter near the top wrote: “The part about compassion is applicable for SO MANY situations at work when you find yourself frustrated by someone else’s behavior. Pushing yourself to take that step back and think “There’s probably a reason why they’re acting this way, and it’s very likely that the reason isn’t because they actively want to make me miserable,” can really help in reframing the person who’s annoying you as a human being who’s worthy of your respect and professionalism."
- To Complain is to Truly Be Alive, Samantha Irby. This is the flip side of the coin, but Samantha Irby is such a good and funny writer. We contain multitudes – I can have compassion for people who annoy me and still think that “complaining is a hot bath for your feelings,” right? This one is so funny.
- Faithful and Virtuous Night, Louise Glück. Haunting is a good word to describe this book for me. I’m still trying to figure it out. See these lines, though, in a context of grief and recovery: “How deep it goes, this soul, / like a child in a department store, / seeking its mother – // Perhaps it is like a diver / with only enough air in his tank / to explore the depths for a few minutes or so – / then the lungs send him back.”
- Björk on Björk: The Inimitable Icelandic Superstar Interviews Herself. Honestly, what a strange and cool person. One of the first questions she asks herself is “What is your relationship with flutes?” which is excellent. I actually love how she talks about her work, as dense as this read is.