Are you asking a lot of yourself?

The pendulum has been swinging both ways in the conversation about creative work in recent years.

There are many people trying to figure out how to do less, simplify their lives, and create a sustainable pace of life for themselves.

I believe in this mission.

There are also people challenging the comfort of conventional modern paradigms of work and consumption. These people want you to have passion in your work, to be able to work from anywhere, and to constantly question whether you are improving yourself and the world.

I believe in this mission, too.

It is certainly asking a lot to keep these two paradoxical beliefs in play, but I think that it’s just one more way of viewing this balancing act we call an authentic life.

Here’s one of my favorite people (she’s in my “Wishcraft Family“), talking about being vulnerable and uncomfortable (simple but not easy) in order to create something new and meaningful. It’s a helpful way to look at a writer’s life.


My favorite quote from this particular video is this:

“Our objective here is not comfort. It’s being courageous; it’s innovation.”

That statement is hard-ass enough to wake people up from their comfortably automated lives, but it also gives them a goal worth striving for.

Are you asking a lot of yourself?


Food for thought.


Video via

Etymysteries Solved, or At Least Pondered

This was an excellent find from over on Twitter:

10 Slang Phrases That Perfectly Sum Up Their Era

My favorites were the original hipster, described as being “The White Negro” by Norman Mailer in 1957, which I think may be illuminating to the strange beings here in Portland, OR.

Also, the various slang for ‘Not All There’ (a phrase already discussed on this blog), including “one stop short of East Ham.” God, I love those British-isms…

Do you have a favored expression to slyly indicate that you think someone is a ‘few sandwiches short of a picnic’? Share in the comments!

A Southern Sense of Spunk in the Job Application Process

Have you heard of Eudora Welty?

Eudora Welty artist sketch

She seems to be a favorite writer for other writers to use as an example, with her quirky beliefs, spunk and spirit, and fascinating creative process.

At least, this is what I’ve seen of her. I have not read any of her work, but I have seen where she worked, read about how she worked, and seen many impressed by her works.

Here’s a dip of the toe into her sparkling style, from a job application cover letter sent to The New Yorker in 1933:


I suppose you’d be more interested in even a sleight-o’-hand trick than you’d be in an application for a position with your magazine, but as usual you can’t have the thing you want most.

I am 23 years old, six weeks on the loose in N.Y. However, I was a New Yorker for a whole year in 1930– 31 while attending advertising classes in Columbia’s School of Business. Actually I am a southerner, from Mississippi, the nation’s most backward state. Ramifications include Walter H. Page, who, unluckily for me, is no longer connected with Doubleday-Page, which is no longer Doubleday-Page, even. I have a B.A. (’ 29) from the University of Wisconsin, where I majored in English without a care in the world. For the last eighteen months I was languishing in my own office in a radio station in Jackson, Miss., writing continuities, dramas, mule feed advertisements, santa claus talks, and life insurance playlets; now I have given that up.

You can read more at the link above, and it looks like you should!

Southern writers seem to be The Thing these days… anyone have any favorites they’d like to share? Often they have fascinating life stories to go along with their unique fictional stories…


Image via College of Charleston Magazine

Seeing history written on a wall. Or a sign. Or a window

Another gem of a thought from On Looking:

In the book, author Alexandra Horowitz’s lettered friend Paul Shaw dates a building in Manhattan based on the typography it exhibits, and does a pretty good job of it, according to the newspaper archives. They reveal that the building on Delancey Street had a colorful history: theatre, shoe shop, residences, rock club.

This exercise puts me in mind of a book I purchased several years ago, and have still not cracked open (for shame!):


The author, Edward Hollis, examines 13 buildings in a similar way. How did they get built, evolve, decline?

I find this stuff fascinating, and great fodder for stories. Anybody else? 😉