I got a new job, so here are late highlights from my old one


I started a new job in June as a senior content strategist and writer at a Chicago studio (also fully remote!). But between making that transition and traveling for several weeks throughout the month, I haven’t had a chance to post a proper update. Now the point feels moot, so instead I’ll share some of my final work for the college — interviews with recent alum and students. It was such a pleasure writing and editing for California College of the Arts, and I can’t wait to visit campus — and the beach — when I finally get out to the Bay later this year. 🙂

“Writers, poets, playwrights, screenwriters, filmmakers, painters, printmakers, movement practitioners. I’m here to tell you that you’re needed. I was recently having this conversation with one of my friends in the humanities and they said, ‘Well, we’re not curing cancer.’ And I thought, fuck that. I might be inspiring the person who does.

Alum spotlight: Digital media scholar Dorothy Santos

“We have to honor that the environment already gave us those resources to produce those textiles and we need to honor those materials. They’re still useful and they’re beautiful. We just have to find innovative ways to use them. As a society, we consume so many things, all the time, that it won’t be possible to sustain. I like thinking about the hidden history of materials.

The hidden journey of Melissa Rodriguez

“Yes, it is hard—and sometimes even terrifying—but it’s also delicious to be in charge of yourself, to not be subject to other people’s expectations of where you should go and what you should be.”

Alum spotlight: Writer Julie Lythcott-Haims

“Sometimes people get so careerist in the artistic sense; they think it is all being in the studio. But some of my best work and connections were more organic. It’s not something you can game. You have to figure out where the heat is and invest your time and energy—and make the work. So many people get caught up in what the secret is that they don’t have any work when they crack it.”

Stars aligned: Diedrick Brackens and Lauren O’Connell discuss their new exhibition


Quote: Mary Oliver makes a heart sing


“I would say that there exists a thousand unbreakable links between each of us and everything else, and that our dignity and our chances are one.

The farthest star and the mud at our feet are a family; and there is no decency or sense in honoring one thing, or a few things, and then closing the list.

The pine tree, the leopard…and ourselves, we are at risk together, or we are on our way to a sustainable world together, we are each other’s destiny.”

RIP poet Mary Oliver

“Bless the feet that take you to and fro…”

Quick Quote: On social media

From Jennifer R. Hubbard’s essay “What’s This Doing to My Brain?” Creative Nonfiction Magazine, Spring 2018.

“We now routinely interact with one another in ways that were impossible for most of human history. Kenneth Goldsmith goes even further than Heffernan in celebrating cyberspace, finding the handwringing of naysayers to be overwrought. In Wasting Time on the Internet, Goldsmith contends that the web is social, not antisocial; after all, we communicate through it. As for fears of shrinking attention spans, he argues, ‘When I look around me and see people riveted to their devices, I’ve never seen such a great wealth of concentration, focus, and engagement.'”

Best-of commencement quotes about work to get you to the long weekend

On the tedium of daily life

“And I submit that this is what the real, no-bull- value of your liberal-arts education is supposed to be about: How to keep from going through your comfortable, prosperous, respectable adult life dead, unconscious, a slave to your head and to your natural default-setting of being uniquely, completely, imperially alone, day in and day out. … There happen to be whole large parts of adult American life that nobody talks about in commencement speeches. One such part involves boredom, routine, and petty frustration. … The point is that petty, frustrating crap like this is exactly where the work of choosing comes in. … The fact is that, in the day-to-day trenches of adult existence, banal platitudes can have life-or-death importance.  … You get to consciously decide what has meaning and what doesn’t. You get to decide what to worship.

David Foster Wallace, Kenyon College 2005 (This whole speech is one of my favorite pieces of writing. Read it here.)

Lesson: We’re all in the same boat. If today doesn’t feel like a grand, extraordinary, “Oh the places you will go!,” choose-your-own adventure, that’s OK. Most days won’t. Just keep swimming. You choose. Choose love. Even when life fucking sucks.

On why we go to work when we could be focused on the side hustle

“Your job is not always going to fulfill you. There will be some days that you just might be bored. Other days you may not feel like going to work at all. Go anyway, and remember that your job is not who you are. It’s just what you are doing on the way to who you will become. With every remedial chore, every boss who takes credit for your ideas — that is going to happen — look for the lessons, because the lessons are always there.”

Oprah Winfrey, USC 2018

Lesson: Don’t freak out. Dreams take time. And the time will pass anyway. Sometimes you have to hustle for the side hustle.  

 

On not succumbing to power-hungry workaholism

“Acknowledging the wisdom and experience of a forklift operator or security guard with 30 years on the job doesn’t diminish your own experience. Acknowledging the sacrifice of others that enabled you to be in this position does not diminish the sacrifices you made on your own.

Founder & CEO of Chobani Hamdi Ulukaya, Wharton MBA 2018

Lesson: Value all work. See yourself in others and things will go a lot easier. Be grateful; constantly. Don’t take yourself so seriously.

On being happy with what you have

I’m Batman.

Michael Keaton, Kent State 2018

Lesson: Don’t settle, sure, but also know you can’t ever have ***the*** dream job. That belongs to Michael Keaton.