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Monthly Archives: September 2013

Why I Read

I am a voracious reader. It stems from a desire to satisfy my almost insatiable appetite for information. An intellectual “FOMO” as the kids would say.I have an open minded approach to reading. I am an equal opportunity reader, reading widely on any subject that is written in a comprehensible and engaging style. For as long as I can remember I have always been an avid reader. For as long as I can I will always be a avid reader.

I read because I am a dreamer, and a thinker. There’s nothing else that quite so wondrously let’s you envelop yourself into the life, emotion, world, and story of something not your own.Yet it becomes your own as you fill in the gaps. It’s kind of like a coloring page, where you have an outline and it tells a definite story but you still have room to imagine it as you see it and weave in your own nuances. Here are few other reason’s why I read.

I read because I love words, sentences, prose and the way it all comes together in language.

I read to find myself in the words of others.

I read to travel the world. I still don’t know enough about the world and reading is the quickest, cheapest and second most enjoyable way to do that.

I read so that I can learn and grow as a writer.

I read to set myself free from boredom.

I read so that I can be alone.

I read so I can mingle and pick the minds of people I will most likely never meet.

Here are few quotes on reading from some famous writer’s

“Reading is the sole means by which we slip, involuntarily, often helplessly, into another’s skin, another’s voice, another’s soul.” — Joyce Carol Oates

“You think your pain and your heartbreak are unprecedented in the history of the world, but then you read. It was books that taught me that the things that tormented me most were the very things that connected me with all the people who were alive, or who had ever been alive.” — James Baldwin

‘You should never read just for “enjoyment.” Read to make yourself smarter! Less judgmental. More apt to understand your friends’ insane behavior, or better yet, your own. Pick “hard books.” Ones you have to concentrate on while reading. And for god’s sake, don’t let me ever hear you say, “I can’t read fiction. I only have time for the truth.” Fiction is the truth, fool! Ever hear of “literature”? That means fiction, too, stupid.” — John Waters

“There is no friend as loyal as a book.”  – Ernest Hemingway

“What a miracle it is that out of these small, flat, rigid squares of paper unfolds world after world after world, worlds that sing to you, comfort and quiet or excite you. Books help us understand who we are and how we are to behave. They show us what community and friendship mean; they show us how to live and die.” — Anne Lamott

“It is what you read when you don’t have to that determines what you will be when you can’t help it.” — Oscar Wilde

“When I look back, I am so impressed again with the life-giving power of literature. If I were a young person today, trying to gain a sense of myself in the world, I would do that again by reading, just as I did when I was young.” — Maya Angelou

“Reading is everything. Reading makes me feel like I’ve accomplished something, learned something, become a better person. Reading makes me smarter. Reading gives me something to talk about later on. Reading is the unbelievably healthy way my attention deficit disorder medicates itself. Reading is escape, and the opposite of escape; it’s a way to make contact with reality after a day of making things up, and it’s a way of making contact with someone else’s imagination after a day that’s all too real. Reading is grist. Reading is bliss.” — Nora Ephron

“A good book is an education of the heart. It enlarges your sense of human possibility what human nature is of what happens in the world. It’s a creator of inwardness.” — Susan Sontag

“I cannot live without books.” — Thomas Jefferson

 

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Posted by on September 13, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Work Ethic vs Inspiration

Note to self: For those times when your muse won’t moonwalk with you …

“If you’re only going to write when you’re inspired, you may be a fairly decent poet, but you will never be a novelist — because you’re going to have to make your word count today, and those words aren’t going to wait for you, whether you’re inspired or not. So you have to write when you’re not “inspired.” … And the weird thing is that six months later, or a year later, you’re going to look back and you’re not going to remember which scenes you wrote when you were inspired and which scenes you wrote because they had to be written.” ~ Neil Gaiman

Inspiration and work ethic — they ride right next to each other…. Not every day you’re gonna wake up and the clouds are gonna part and rays from heaven are gonna come down and you’re gonna write a song from it. Sometimes, you just get in there and just force yourself to work, and maybe something good will come out ~Jack White on Work Ethic vs Inspiration

 
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Posted by on September 12, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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A Few Notes On Creativity

Ray Badbury

The intellect is a great danger to creativity … because you begin to rationalize and make up reasons for things, instead of staying with your own basic truth — who you are, what you are, what you want to be. I’ve had a sign over my typewriter for over 25 years now, which reads “Don’t think!” You must never think at the typewriter — you must feel. Your intellect is always buried in that feeling anyway. … The worst thing you do when you think is lie — you can make up reasons that are not true for the things that you did, and what you’re trying to do as a creative person is surprise yourself — find out who you really are, and try not to lie, try to tell the truth all the time. And the only way to do this is by being very active and very emotional, and get it out of yourself — making things that you hate and things that you love, you write about these then, intensely.

Tom Bisell

To create anything … is to believe, if only momentarily, you are capable of magic. … That magic … is sometimes perilous, sometimes infectious, sometimes fragile, sometimes failed, sometimes infuriating, sometimes triumphant, and sometimes tragic.

Steve Jobs

Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it, they just saw something. It seemed obvious to them after a while. That’s because they were able to connect experiences they’ve had and synthesize new things. And the reason they were able to do that was that they’ve had more experiences or they have thought more about their experiences than other people. Unfortunately, that’s too rare a commodity. A lot of people in our industry haven’t had very diverse experiences. So they don’t have enough dots to connect, and they end up with very linear solutions without a broad perspective on the problem. The broader one’s understanding of the human experience, the better design we will have.

 Malcolm Gladwell

Creativity always comes as a surprise to us; therefore we can never count on it and we dare not believe in it until it has happened. In other words, we would not consciously engage upon tasks whose success clearly requires that creativity be forthcoming. Hence, the only way in which we can bring our creative resources fully into play is by misjudging the nature of the task, by presenting it to ourselves as more routine, simple, undemanding of genuine creativity than it will turn out to be.

 
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Posted by on September 7, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Words I Wish I Had Written

Earlier today someone retweeted this into my Timeline

My love affair with words is the longest romance I’ve ever had. And like a tired whore, the ones I’ve loved the most did not belong to me.”

After seeing that tweet I was reminded some of the words I have heard and fell in love with. Words that I wish I had written. I would like to share some of those words today. Enjoy.

A BLUES FOR NINA (From a scene in the movie Love Jones)

Say baby, can I be your slave
I’ve got to admit girl, you’re the s–t girl
And I’m diggin’ you like a grave
Now do they call you daughter to the spinnin’ post, or
Or maybe Queen of 2,000 moons
Sister to the distant, yet rising star
Is your name Yemaya
Oh hell no, it’s got to be Oshun
Ooo, is that a smile me put on your face child
Wide as a field of Jasmine and Clover
Talk that talk honey, walk that walk money
Hound legs that’ll spank Jehovah
S–t, who am I?
It’s not important
But they call me Brother to the Night
And right now
I’m the blues in your left thigh
Trying to become the funk in your right

Who am I?
I’ll be whatever you say
But right now, I’m the sight-raped hunter
Blindly pursuing you as my prey
And I just wanna give you injections, of sublime erections
And get you to dance to my rythmn
Make you dream archaetypes, of black angels in flight
Upon wings, of distorted, contorted, metaphoric jism
Come on Slim
F–k yo’ man, I ain’t worried about him
It’s you who I wanna step to my scene
Cause rather than deal with the fallacy
Of this dry ass reality
I’d rather dance and romance your sweet ass, in a wet dream
Who am I?
Well they all call me Brother to the Night
And right now I’m the blues in your left thigh
Trying to become the funk in your right.

Is that alright?

Darius Lovehall (Lorenz Tate) – Love Jones

HANK’S LETTER TO KAREN ( From the TV show Carlifornication

Dear Karen

 If you’re reading this, it means I actually worked up the courage to mail it. So, good for me. You don’t know me very well, but if you get me started I have a tendency to go on and on about how hard the writing is for me. But this… this is the hardest thing I ever had to write. There is no easy way to say this, so I’ll just say it: I met someone.

 It was an accident, I wasn’t looking for it, I wasn’t on the make. It was a perfect storm. She said one thing and I said another and the next thing I knew I wanted to spend the rest of my life in the middle of that conversation. Now there is this feeling in my gut that she might be the one. She is completely nuts in a way that makes me smile highly neurotic, a great deal of maintenance acquired. She is you, Karen… that’s the good news.

 The bad news is that I don’t know how to be with you right now, and that scares the shit out of me. Because if I am not with you right now I have this feeling we will get lost out there. Its a big bad world full or twist and turns and people have a way of blinking and missing the moment. The moment that could have changed everything. I don’t know whats going on with us and I can’t tell you should waste a leap of faith on the likes of me. But damn, you smell good, like home and you make excellent coffee that has to count for something, right? Call me!

Unfaithfully yours, Hank Moody

 
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Posted by on September 5, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

The Dream Team

I have got a story to share. It is about a sexagenarian who finally achieved her dream. A dream that had elude her for 35 years. Diana Nyad is a 64 year old American grandmother who earlier this week became the first person to swim across the Florida Strait without a shark cage. Her swimathon lasted for a total of 53 hours taking her from Florida to Cuba, a distance of 177km. What struck me about her story is that this was her fifth attempt in a period spanning 35 years. Her first attempt coming in 1977. During this first attempt she swam with a shark cage but only managed to cover a distance of 122km before the elements got the better of her. Her fourth attempt was in 2011. She had to abandon this after being stung twice by jellyfish as well as suffering an asthma attack.

Upon completing her swim and before collapsing in the arms of a friend with exhaustion she said “All my life, I don’t know where it came from, I believed in dreaming big. It doesn’t satisfy me to have small dreams and I can’t tell you what a big, big dream this is out here. It’s tough stuff.” She also had these simple nuggets of wisdom to share “I have three messages. One is we should never, ever give up. Two is you never are too old to chase your dreams. Three is it looks like a solitary sport, but it takes a team.” That’s a perfect triad of advice for so much of what we aspire to do in life.

Her friend had this to say  about her achievement “ If you know Diana you would know that if the weather was classy, and there were no beasts she would be the person to do it. “ I found this interesting because it is an approach most of us take when it comes to our dreams. We believe that if everything is ‘perfect’ then our dreams are attainable. But life is hardly ever like that. On our way to achieving our dreams we will most likely face challenges and setbacks. We might even fail several times. And as in the case of Diana Nyad it might take us 35 very long years before we ever realise them. And sometimes

Therein lays the lesson. Anyone can have a dream. It is only the ones who never give up, the believers who will end up seeing out their dreams. Despite the naysayers who thought she was too old to complete the swim (and not just because of venomous jellyfish and the potential for fearsome sharks), Diana Nyad proved that persistence, willpower and fierce dedication to your dreams can trump age.

This story served as a timely reminder just coming after a period when I have suffered a few setbacks with my writing. I sent out a few pieces I had written in the hope that I would get some of them published. Unfortunately I wasn’t successful. I was discouraged and disheartened. Coincidentally, during Nyad’s swim, she mentally sang to herself the Beatles’ “Paperback Writer,” which includes these apt lyrics about persistence: Dear Sir or Madam, will you read my book? It took me years to write, will you take a look? Anyway the voice of doubt in my head became louder and for a while I stopped writing altogether. I gave up. I shared this experience with one of my close friends recently. This friend is brother to my dreams, as I am to his. He said to me” Stay at it man, you have just got to keep knocking on those doors. Truth be told, you might even get more no’s, just remember the NO is not an absolute, think of it more like not right now”

As Diana Nyad pointed out  it “takes a team.” It’s critical to have encouraging mentors, networking contacts, colleagues, family members and friends who can encourage you and suggest ideas to help you succeed. For example, after each try, Nyad consulted with experts on how best to finish the swim the next time. After her attempt two years ago was foiled by an asthma attack, she invited a pulmonologist to join her 35-member support team.

Diana Nyad’s words suggest that although swimming is a deeply solitary pursuit, even athletes like her rarely accomplish their goals alone. And that’s another important lesson that we can all pick up from Diana Nyad’s swim. Most of are ill prepared to deal with and recover from failures and setbacks when we are still trying to achieve our dreams. We don’t have a Plan B, when Plan A fails. We are even afraid to share our dreams or ask for help. So while your dream might seem like a solitary pursuit, you will most likely need a “dream team” to achieve it.

 
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Posted by on September 5, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Abraham Lincoln: A Letter To His Son’s Teacher

Ever since I watched the Abraham Lincoln Biopic ‘Lincoln’ a few months ago I have been enamoured with the man that was the sixteenth president of the United States. Whilst I am still to read his autobiography I have made it my business since to read up as much as I can on the man from what is available online. His greatest legacy is that under his presidency the United States abolished slavery. Abraham Lincoln was a man of great conviction, a humanitarian, forward thinker, revolutionary, a political genius and a great leader.

The biopic itself covers the American civil war in which Lincoln a Republican was fighting the Southern states over his proposition to emancipate African slaves in the United States. Lincoln despite fierce resistance from within his own party as well as the South managed to convince the House of Representatives to vote to abolish slavery. One of the ways he was able to achieve this was through the many letters he wrote to Generals and Senators. Lincoln was a letter writer of note and some of his letters where the highlight of the biopic for me. As such in my reading up on Lincoln’s legacy I have been partial to the letters he wrote in his life time.

One of my favourite letters is one he once wrote a letter to his son’s teacher. Although this letter was written over a hundred years ago, it is not imprisoned by the past. It reads as if it was written just yesterday. The letter reads as follow:

“He will have to learn,I know, that all men are not just, all men are not true. But teach him also that for every scoundrel there is a hero: that for every selfish politician, there is a dedicated leader.

Teach him that for every enemy there is a friend. It will take time, I know – a long time, but teach, if you can, that a dollar earned is of more value than five of found.

Teach him, to learn to lose. And also to enjoy winning. Steer him away from envy, if you can; teach in the secret of quiet laughter.

Teach him, if you can the wonder of books. But also, given quiet time, wonder the eternal mystery of birds in the sky, bees in the sun, and flowers on the green hillside.

In a school, teach him, it is far more honorable to fail than to cheat.

Teach him to have faith in his own idea, even if anyone else tells him they are wrong.

Teach him to be gentle with gentle people and tough with tough.

Teach him to listen to all men. But teach him also to filter all he hears on a screen of truth, and take only the good one that comes through.

Teach him, if you can, how to laugh when he is sad. Teach him there is no shame in tear.

Teach him to sell his brawn and brain to the highest bidder but never to put a prize tag on his heart and soul.

Teach him gently, but do not cuddle him, because only the test of fire makes the fine steel.

Teach him always to have sublime faith in himself because then he will always have some sublime faith in mankind.

These are big orders, but see what you can do. He is such a fine fellow, my son…”

 
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Posted by on September 3, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Stay

STAY

What If I wasn’t a pretender? Would I have been truly yours?

What if I say I had you, but you never had me?

What if you had kept it? Would she have your eyes?

Would you have loved her? Or resented her?

What If I told you that it was my prerogative to hit it and not commit?

Would you have respected me?  Or just called me a misogynist.

What if I told I just needed space to chase all my dreams?

What If I told you ran to save myself?

Does that make me a coward?

What if I had put you before my ego?

What If I hadn’t forgotten to be your friend?

What If I believed in us as much as you believed in me?

What if you didn’t always have to go out and smoke on the balcony?

Would we have talked more? Would I have listened?

What if I had been sober that first night?

What if lust was enough?

What if you were right? And I just came wrong?

What if I didn’t just write my wrongs on this page?

What if I could turn back the hands of time?

Would I do anything differently?

What if I told you I told you I often wonder if you a married now … If you are happy?

What if I told you I know I did damage?

What if I had romanced you instead of the past?

What if I had I stayed? Would I have learned to love you?

What If I had stayed? Would I be happily married instead of broke and unwed?

 
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Posted by on September 2, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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