We saw our families for the first time after more than a year away.
I earned the best job I’ve ever had.
I was published in one new literary journal.
I was exhibited in two new art galleries.
I was accepted into a prestigious novel-writing program.
I found a new place to live with my best friend / creative partner / husband.
I deepened fledgling friendships into true sisterhood.
I learned to boogie board in Maui, which scratched my itchy wild side in a way I haven’t felt since I quit drinking.
I celebrated five years sober. (!!!!!)
I passed through something, some darkness I have been navigating for 20 years. I have finally found my way to the home inside myself. I’ve opened the front door. I’ve stepped inside. Next year, I’ll figure out how to turn the lights on.
And, of course, I got to know Tina Turner better. 😉 This quote from the documentary TINA is my favorite of the year:
Look at what I have done in this lifetime with this body. I’m a girl from a cotton field that pulled myself above what was not taught to me.
I hope you have the very best new year. (“Simply the best,” perhaps?)
Keep pulling yourself above what was not taught to you.
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.“
“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.“
“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.”
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.'”
“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
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.