shout out to my old stomping ground

Writing is so much a part of the culture of Iowa City that quotes from famous authors with ties to Iowa City are engraved in the sidewalks like the Hollywood Walk of Fame. The bronze relief sidewalk panels surround the downtown area and feature the words of Flannery O’Connor, Carl Klaus, Rita Dove, and Tennessee Williams, among dozens of others.

— Cristóbal McKinney

Writers arrive in Iowa City to be among the best. I was no different. A place can inspire you, but in the end, hard work and lots of failures go into becoming a writer. O my list of rejections. I have learned so much with each one. Keep chugging, keep creating more work, keep revising, never stop. Found my writing haven in the deep forest; creativity requires listening to monastic silence on most days.

 forest therapy for this writer. camp sherman love.

forest therapy for this writer. camp sherman love.

a tribute to "phone face"

What a capture by New York Times photographer, Rebecca Smeyne! Even J.Lo, all dolled up, got phone faced. Exhibit A: take a look.

My family and I count the number of people on dates or get-togethers with "phone face" while in coffee shops, bistros, restaurants. The kids point out the saddest, most obvious ones. They are becoming sociologists without knowing it. O attention span, will you ever come back to the art of conversation?

how we read online

While I am not the typical metrics geek, I did find this interesting article reported by the Nieman Lab

Working on a prickly essay this week. Roadblocks, mostly self-induced, helped me find this article too on why writers procrastinate...what whaaaa....?

Sometimes in coffee shops, while research and writing, I create little Zen cinematic moments. Like this one. Stories inside stories.

 bright afternoon sun while researching and writing at coffee shop

bright afternoon sun while researching and writing at coffee shop

tidbits from meaningful professionals

 Barista love in Vancouver, BC. Heart this.

Barista love in Vancouver, BC. Heart this.

Two articles caught my attention today. One of nostalgia (R.I.P. Carl Kasell), he carried me to work each day while working the corporate publishing grind; and one of awe  (the second place finisher, Sarah Sellers, at Boston Marathon is a full-time working woman, not even a professional athlete. She considered the 6:40 elite pack pace in the beginning miles as "pedestrian." O what a story.)

Find something that inspires you. Carry it further into your life, as your energy will echoooooo.

random goodies on the way to writing

I'm juggling research and essay writing at the moment. (Good times.) Copywriting as well. Art projects galore. BUT READING always takes a significant portion of my day. Sometimes the road is random, but it all seems to go somewhere, even if I don't know it at the time. Here's a look at some articles I found....

 Quick sketch of cool lights I found in Victoria, BC. It could have been Portland, too. Anywhere pretty cool. 

Quick sketch of cool lights I found in Victoria, BC. It could have been Portland, too. Anywhere pretty cool. 

Where are you on this spectrum?

Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people.
— Eleanor Roosevelt

Note: I dislike small talk, especially weather-related nuances and local government idiocy. I teach my kids not to spread gossip. Small character etchings, I guess. When in doubt, doodle.

My house felt the gratitude and a general bummed-ness (a new word?) of Stephen Hawking's passing. I remember giving my son his first Hawking book around the age of seven. Others came after that. 

 A doodle in a waiting space. Random expression. Kinda girlie. You're welcome. A snapshot of a universe. Somewhere.

A doodle in a waiting space. Random expression. Kinda girlie. You're welcome. A snapshot of a universe. Somewhere.

From the Daily Habits File

Hello again. I've been spending much time (and money) in the coffee shop tour again this week. It's the perfect excuse to celebrate the local economy, taste adventurous teas, sip the perfect roasted beans, and pony up a nice tip to the baristas, too. Here's an outtake drawing from a tutoring session I had. (Was I the giver or taker of the tutoring? Um...fair question, but I tend to feel both from tutoring, in general. There's always something to learn about learning. Duh.)

Here are a few stories I had tagged and found interesting along my daily reading path....

>>I want to pass along this GREAT article with stunning, creative portrait photography in terms of modern-day literature. Consume one or all of the books. I will do my best and try!

>>And also, the roller coaster of Teen Vogue ("Who Will Mourn Teen Vogue?") has become an interesting content representation of present-day teen, I mean "young people," development. The print edition is gone, but the online content continues to thrive with its change in focus with the new let's-take-action editor, Phillip Picardi

>> Who in your personal tribe can fix all your emotional pangs? Nobody, I suspect. This Wall Street Journal article, "Mental Health Takes a Village," discusses why you may need to find your "supportive allies." The other article linked to this WSJ article, "How Doctors Deal with Racist Patients," is jaw-dropping and filled with physicians' grace and class. Unfortunately,  I can't find the article in its entirety online. 

Happy Reading. Spread kindness.

 

Louvar_coffee shop rendition

What chooses you?

 Another quick coffee shop perspective; ideas flow; housemade chai at this place.

Another quick coffee shop perspective; ideas flow; housemade chai at this place.

I like to think about creative works coming into your life and taking residence. You hem and haw about how best to serve those ideas--what's your medium, how sound it look or sound? Here's an article about What Chooses You. Enjoy and think about how creative projects tend to take a life of their own once you've accepted their fellowship in your bones.

Writing Advice from a Pro

I always love a good writer's interview, packed with tips and how-to's. Such articles always inspire and reaffirm little habits. Passing along an article about Jesmyn Ward. It starts...

 

When Jesmyn Ward was a young girl growing up near the Mississippi Gulf Coast, she said she didn’t see herself or other young people of color reflected in literature. She grew up to write those books herself and has won two National Book Awards and a MacArthur “genius” grant doing so. Her latest novel, “Sing, Unburied, Sing,” tells the story of a rural Mississippi family haunted by its personal past and the larger history of the place.

— PBS News Hour, "Jesmyn Ward shares the best writing advice she’s ever received"

Small Change/Watch the Ripple in Your Life

 I took this photograph of very strange light pollution over the Cascade Mountain Range. I had never seen nighttime light like that before across this stretch of the mountains.

I took this photograph of very strange light pollution over the Cascade Mountain Range. I had never seen nighttime light like that before across this stretch of the mountains.

Some view change as a deep, dark secret or something to fear. Well, fear not, experts advise. Here is a short documentary from the New York Times on how changing one small habit can have a ripple effect. Have a happy new year and keep those resolutions.

Sad Blue, Happy Blue: Poet Rita Dove's Explanation on Folders + Other Inspiring Takes

Years upon years ago I wanted to drop everything in my life and go study poetry at the University of Virginia under the tutelage of Rita Dove. Well, that did not happen, but her as an inspiration still exists. I'm so happy to have found this interview with her. Drop in and drop out of the interview as needed. It's 33 minutes long. I like her explanation of writing and writing in drafts around minutes 4:00 to 6:00-something. She's so brilliant, grounded, and lovable at the same time.