Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Motivational Speakers

Many of my (relatively unemployed) friends and acquaintances have, of late, turned to writing motivational or inspirational material and some (a few, I don't know or care how many or how much) have begun to show a profit for their efforts. Which leads me to this... Are we a generation of people who need constant motivational tools and if so, why?

Having felt a lull in motivation myself lately, I thought I might go back to FlyLady as a way to gain some control, but increasingly I have come to feel like "control" over our lives is completely unrealistic, despite my friend's assertion to the contrary (his point is well taken nevertheless, we are all responsible for our own actions).

Yesterday, I was motivated and I had a great day and I was thinking to my self that one thing I might find valuable would be to make a personal "Ten Commandments" of sorts, not that I don't respect those clay tablet ones from the Bible too, but just as a way of reminding myself what I can do better.

Try doing this yourself, create a list of ten things that you will try to honor as you live your life. They can be big or small but they should be meaningful!

My Ten Commandments

1. Thou shalt live simply. (Do not be obsessed with material things. Do not abuse the vast resources you have been given access to. Do not always choose convenience over sustainability.)

2. Thou shall love thyself. I have been getting better at this, but to really seal the deal I need to not be so hard on myself. I need to remind myself it is okay (good, even) to relish in my accomplishments, enjoying them will help eliminate envy when others shine, which brings me too:

3. Thou shall love others and be happy for their successes. See how #2 has to come before #3? It's the equivalent of securing your oxygen mask before helping others with theirs. Love yourself, so you can open yourself to loving others.

4. Thou shall always seek the answers. Never stop learning. This doesn't mean you will always find the answers, but you are doing well so long as you don't miss an opportunity to discover something about the world or yourself. The goal or culmination of these four items leads to number five...

5. Thou shall always see the beauty in the world. In design or in chaos. In the smallest insect or the largest tree and in people as well as things try to find something that makes that person or thing beautiful and meaningful to you. Savor it, be thankful for it. Like learning you must always be receptive in order to find it.

"Never lose an opportunity of seeing anything that is beautiful, for beauty is God's handwriting -- a wayside sacrament. Welcome it in every fair face, in every fair sky, in every flower, and thank God for it as a cup of blessing." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

6. Thou shall take more chances. I do not regret a single thing I have done in my life. Some were ill-advised, others the result of stubborness and pettiness. What I regret are the things I didn't do. The dreams deferred, the roads lleft untravelled, these are regrettable.

7. Thou shall drink more water. I currently have a Liter of Coke on my desk purchased from the 7-11 around the corner which is over half empty. I will take this bottle and fill it at the water fountain before I leave and drink the entire thing again with smething not manufactured in a bottling plant. For me, my health, my planet.

8. Thou shall work to make the world better. Remember the cardinal rule: No one can do everything, but everyone can do something.

"Everyone can be great because anyone can serve. You don't have to have a college degree to serve. You don't even have to make your subject and your verb agree to serve... You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love..." - Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

9. Thou shall refrain from offering your opinion, until you have listened to others. We were given two eyes, two ears and one mouth. Coincidence? I think not.I will try to do a better job of actively listening and less of the unecessary talking. There is too much talking in the world anyway. (Although after a few glasses of wine, all ebts are off!)

10. Thou shall be more supportive. Try to build people up, not tear them down. Remind people of what about them you find valuable, but be truthful in it, they'll know if you don't mean it.

Notice there are no "thou shall nots"? I don't want the negativity they bring, this is about being a positive, life afirming person, not about setting or breaking rules or limits.

Have a glorius day everyone!

*ETA: “I must learn to love the fool in me the one who feels too much, talks too much, takes too many chances, wins sometimes and loses often, lacks self-control, loves and hates, hurts and gets hurt, promises and breaks promises, laughs and cries” - Theodore Isaac Rubin

Friday, May 22, 2009

One of my favorite songs.... ever...

What if we went to Italy?

What if we went to Italy
A suitcase of books and one bag a piece for the summer
I don't speak a word of Italian
Except for Campari and soda for two, how much is a Lire
Yes, a villa will do and a breeze, in Tuscany please

What if we spent all of our days, improving our minds, learning new ways to be lazy
It wouldn't be too much of a strain
Relax after breakfast till lunch comes around
Can't wait for dinner, oh, I need to lie down
And refuel, out by the pool

What if the ancients were lazy like us
Too blissed out to paint, to sketch or to sculpt
Just as relaxed as the tower of Pisa
Not ever missing that old Mona Lisa

What if we never got back on the plane
As summer turned colder and then warmer again
Losing all track of the passing of years
Till it no longer mattered how long we'd been here

What if we went to Italy
Maybe next year, just you and me for the summer
I still can't speak any Italian
But words are replaced under Siennese skies
By nothing so much as a nod, and a sigh, and a wish, to be always like this

Love everything she does, but especially LOVE this song...

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Sleep on it...

I have already posted my post-election rant over at the White Elephant, so something more light hearted now.

I was looking for images of bookshelves. A friend is helping me make a website for my CV and such... and I found this:

How cool is that?

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Poe and Democracy

I just recently finished "E Pluribus Unum" a book about Poe and the Constitutional Paradox. The author, W. C. Harris argues that Poe was not anti-democratic as many scholars have claimed, and that he was in fact, very concerned with the problem of the individual in relation to society at large.

I am thinking of doing something like this for my final paper, some sort of textual evaluation.... hmmmm. More later maybe...?

Wednesday, October 22, 2008


It's had a whole television show built around it. Most men, so the proverb tells us, leade lives of quiet desparation. So what do we do then when those desparate moments string together and urge to be set free? Well, some people get going, they fix things, others get angry, they hit things, they destroy, and other people shut down. It's not my usual response, but it is where I am right now. In shutdown mode. Hibernating I suppose. Only the world won't go away and I am not at any peace and I see no solution, outside of drastic measures which offer only escape and no real solution at all. Coming apart at the seams isn't so bad, not being able to pull yourself back together, that's a different story.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Isn't it time I was honest with myself?

I am staring thirty in the face as we speak. in fact, I will be thirty in less than a week. In other words, as I wrote in a piece of short fiction in the fall, thirty is so close "I could reach out and pick it like a ripe plum from a tree". So now, I figure it is time that I displayed a little honesty about myself and my life and what I want and value. It's not necessarily that I have lied about these things before, I have just been unaware, and as if a single moment offers a turning-point or some false sense of clarity I wonder if I can now be honest with myself. Growing out of one's adolescent insecurities (especially ones as deep as mine) will take much longer than the ten years of my twneties.

I have never liked myself much. I probably do now, more than I have at any point in my life, but that is still not saying much. As a friend remarked the other day I wish I could unknow how meaningless I am. There are great swaths of things I wish I could change, how women are viewed and treated in the world is first and foremost among those, but smaller simpler things too. I can make an effort to do them in my own life, but mannifesting change seems like a duty, and one that I am incapable of living up to.

I do want to get my Ph.D. Very badly. I don't want to be "one of those intellectuals," you know the kind, I don't even have to say it. Flannery O'Connor didn't set Helga up for mockery for no reason at all...

I want to read more. I want to know more. I take classes every semester, I read, recently I have watched enough movies to "choke a horse" as my grandparents might say, but I want more. I want to be in every facet of culture from the most popular to the most obscure. I want to travel the world. I want to feel a part of something larger and more connected.

I don't want spirituality. I certainly don't want religion. I want something in the world to reach out and suck me in like a Hoover upright on steriods, or a black hole maybe.

I want people to respect others and the world we live in. I want to not fear disorder. I want to scream from the mountantops. I want to whisper a poem. I want to fire a gun, rock someone's world, lounge with a cocktail, dream big, live simply, fly freely, cure cancer, beat the odds, save the world, give back, pay it forward, find myself, and above all, hope always.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Obligatory Oscar Post

First, let me say that I did not see any of this year's nominated films (bummer!). But I have a long list of films I wanted to see and now want to see even more.

One thing that irritated me was Jon Stewart's commentary at the beginning. Sure, it's funny on his own show and it is his shtick I guess, but really, he doesn't actually have to govern, he just gets to make fun of those who do. A much easier and far less noble pursuit. His presence was a reminder that we blur the lines all the time between entertainment and information. I like Jon Stewart. I think he's a funny guy. I just don't think he was the best choice for this year's ceremony.

One thing I loved was how much highlight was placed on the folks behind the camera, not just in front of it. If the writer's strike has made Hollywood (and the rest of the world) a bit more aware of all the unseen effort that goes into films, all the better.

So many gorgeous dresses last night! So much red on the red carpet. I loved Katherine Heigl (stunning but nervous in her lavish tomato-red gown), Helen Mirren, absolutely beautiful in her red dress, with white lace (she did indeed have a "madame" quality), and Jessica Alba (golden in gold last year, she looked even more beautiful in a flowing wine colored gown this time around). Jon's comment that there were two pregnant women in the crowd, no wait three, but that Jack was there so they'd have to retallly at teh end was very funny.

And what is it about Jack Nicholson? I find him amazingly sexy, likely because I know I shouldn't. The thing I love most is how his lips curl in that devilish smile. Last night, sitting on the sofa, my husband and I both exploded in laughter at a seemingly minute detail of his speech about best pictures, then simultaneously looked at each other, why were we laughing? Jack manages to bring unexpected emotions into the strangest places. This is his charm -- and it works.

One thing I missed was more emphasis on short films, which I love; and I was a bit disappointed that Wes Anderson's "Hotel Chevalier" didn't get a nomination for short film. Speaking of the things I miss. Richmond doesn't get a lot of foreign films and I am dismayed that I did not see any of the films nominated in that category, especially the Russian and Polish films which both looked amazing.

I was also disappointed for Cate Blanchett. I certainly thought she'd get something out of her multiple award nominations last night. She'll surely be a contender for many years to come and I have little doubt that she'll get the coveted top honor for Best Actress before too long.

Speaking of Best Actress awards, did anyone else notice the emphasis on Hollywood couples? It is true that as much as Americans hate to admit it, we love royalty, and Hollywood royalty is the closest we get to the actual thing. The footage of Catherine Zeta Jones and Annette Benning winning in years past then returning to their husbands was simultaneously touching and nauseating. Successful women, in Hollywood as oft else, must follow traditional gender roles above all else. (Don't even get me started on the fact that Oscar still refers to the award as best actress and not best female actor in a lead role or something similar.)

Although I haven't seen it (yet!) I was so happy to see Joel and Ethan Coen pick up the best director prize for No Country for Old Men. I think they may win more before their careers are through. Now, I am more eager than ever to see their film. Among the others I really want to see, "There Will Be Blood", "La Vie en Rose", "Michael Clayton", "Elizabeth: The Golden Age" and "American Gangster".

I wish the Academy had used it theme from a year or two ago (A Return to Glamour) for last night's ceremony. I love the golden age of the silver screen.

Also, check out this article, though I heartily disagree, it's an interesting piece.