Category Archives: Creative Joy

Something Good (Part One)

1. Todd McLellan’s ‘Things Come Apart’ Showcases Beautiful Photos Of Disassembled Technology on Huffington Post. So cool.

2. Worst Client Comments Turned Into Posters on Bored Panda.

3. Rest in Peace, Clifford, a beautiful meditation on death and the loss of furry ones by Elizabeth Gilbert.

I had to say goodbye this weekend to my dear cat Clifford — the king of all cats, heart of my heart, coolest of the cool, best of the best, friend to the whole world — who had finally, after a life that was both deeply noble and entirely absurd, reached his end.

We haz sad.

Clifford came to us nearly six years ago from the animal shelter, by way of a supermarket parking lot, where he had been found wandering hungry. He has certainly never been hungry since, as you can see by his comfortable girth in this photo. We never had the first idea how old he was, or anything about his backstory. I only know that chose him above all others at the shelter because of his giant Falstaffian belly, because of his slightly drunken-looking face (not a day has passed that I don’t laugh whenever I lay eyes on him), because of his purr (the loudest I have ever heard), but mostly because the way he fitted himself deeply into my arms the moment I picked him up. Saturday night, I held him in my arms again while he floated off peacefully.

While it was clearly Clifford’s time to go (as I joked in tears to a friend, “What kind of unfair God would pluck a geriatric, diabetic, toothless animal with arthritic legs and increasing incontinence right from the prime of his life?”) it is still heartbreaking. We love our furry-headed friends in a way that is different, more inexplicable, and more tender than other kinds of love, and when they go, it makes us ache to our core.

But here is what I keep thinking. I met a monk once in India who told me that one of the karmic roles of our beloved pets (“part of their service,” he said) is to come into our lives as teachers. They are sent here not only to teach us how to love, but also to teach us how to die — because they do it so well, and so uncomplainingly. We need these lessons, you see, because we are so famously bad at death, we humans. We are so afraid of it, so angry at it, so resistant to it. But our furry-heads, they see death differently. And as they slip away from us, they try to show us, “Watch me do this: It’s really not that difficult. You just have to let go…”

Thank you, Clifford. You did great. I watched carefully. I tried to learn. I will always love you. There will never be another like you.

3. Sara Bareilles’s new video for her latest song, Brave.

4. Food is Gross, and this blog is funny.

5. What I Ate Wednesday: Intuition on Back to Her Roots.

6. Two photo apps that I really want, but will only work on my ipod: A Beautiful Mess and Over.

7. Anne Lamott on writing,

I get to start a new section of something I’m working on, which means, all the bad voices will be sitting on my bed when I wake up; and they will have already had coffee. But I will drown them out by getting to work. They will talk more loudly: “You’re beating a dead horse. The well has run dry. It’s all over for England.” But I’ll push back my sleeves and plunge in. Things will go badly, and I’ll make lots of mistakes, but I’ll also make some progress on getting a shitty first draft down on paper–and at that point, I will be halfway home.

8. Thoughts on Creative Joy and a Lightbulb Moment by Tracey Clark.

9. Shy Dog Studio. I saw this painting at the emergency vets last week when we were there for Dexter’s physical therapy appointment. I love it. It reminds me of Sam, but I loved it even more when I found out that Nicole, one of our favorite staff members, is the painter.


10. Sacred Love: 12 Things at the Bottom of Everything from Rachel Maddox.

11. Are you Tired of Life? Encouragement for the Overworked, Stressed and Exhausted from The Freedom Experiment.

12. soundtrack to your life | anna guest-jelley from Sas Petherick. I adore Anna Guest-Jelley (and Sas, of course) and especially love this part of the interview, “How do you take care of your body? By listening to what it actually wants, rather than telling it what it should have/do/be.” Amen.

13. I Have An Eating Disorder And No One In My Life Knows by Kristen Forbes on Role/Reboot.

14. Girl Talk: I Don’t Know What I Weigh — The Case for Stepping Off the Scale by Claire Mysko on The Frisky, in which she says,

The choices you make about what you eat, how much you exercise, how proactive you are about attending to your physical and emotional well-being — those are the choices that impact your health. The number on the scale might change as you make healthier or less healthy choices. But you know what? It might not. A woman who binge eats will be healthier if she starts seeing a good therapist who can help her curb the disordered eating behavior and address the underlying issues that fuel it. Whether or not that results in weight loss isn’t the point. If I suddenly start eating more crap takeout food and start taking cabs everywhere, I will definitely have less cash. I will probably have less energy. It might affect my blood pressure and my cholesterol. Will I gain weight? Maybe. Again, not the point. I gained and lost weight through years of disordered eating (and believe me, I tracked the number by the minute in those days). I was in a “healthy” weight range when I was a raging bulimic. Bingeing and purging? It ain’t healthy. The reality is that weight is not a reliable or holistic indicator of a person’s health.

15. Zach Sobiech died today. I knew it’s how his story would end (how all our stories will end) but that doesn’t mean my heart didn’t break a little anyway. While he was here, he lived.

16. Why I Don’t Diet – An Ode to My Father.

17. 59 Reasons We’re Going To Miss “The Office” on Buzzfeed.

18. On being uprooted. Or, finding home. from Sherry at Simply Celebrate.

19. Serving Sizes.

20. Milla Jovovich on The Conversation.

Uh-oh! I got so excited that I pushed publish before I was done making my list. Part two is on its way.

Something Good

1. Giving away good stuff for free. There are a lot of websites and blogs where if you sign up for the regular newsletter, you get a free book–and these aren’t cheap, crappy giveaways, this is meaningful, useful, and oftentimes beautifully designed content. Some good stuff for I’ve gotten for free recently:

  • “The Anatomy of Joy,” a 90 minute talk, live streamed online, by Brene’ Brown.
  • The Open Heart Project. You’ve heard me talk about it before and plenty, but I can’t say enough good things about it. If you are interested in meditation, you absolutely should sign up for this. Susan’s mini (not small in meaning, but short in time) dharma talks and meditation with instruction are definitely something good. This week, she talked about one of my favorite subjects, basic goodness, in her “You are Good” post.
  • Hulu. I know that in a technical way, it’s not really free (they make you watch commercials), but I love that while I no longer pay for cable tv, I can still selectively and mindfully watch the good stuff (which mostly means “stuff that makes me laugh”): Modern Family, Parks & Recreation, 30 Rock, Community, and Glee.
  • Creative Joy Workbook (click the link to download your own copy), put together by Susannah Conway, Jennifer Louden, and Marianne Elliott. Susannah also shared links to all the other people who wrote about creative joy last week, and made a creative joy mix tape (she makes the best mixes!).

2. Speaking of Susannah’s mix tapes, I was listening to her “Dance Meditation” mix this weekend, and heard Samantha James, who I hadn’t known about before, and who I am now loving. Here’s a video of the title song from her new album.


3. Real Writers Rest from The Write Practice blog. This is a great collection of wisdom, but you want to know the irony? I’ve been too busy to read all of it!

4. Demystifying self-care: 34 ways to begin your self-care practice, a great list by Jenn Gibson on Roots of She. Again, the proof that I need to read this is that I haven’t given myself the time or space to take a mindful look at it, or get even close to applying any of its wisdom.

5. 11 Questions, 11 Answers from A Design So Vast. This meme sounds so fun, but I don’t have time to do it right now…are you sensing a theme here, dear reader?

6. Castaway on the Moon. I wanted to watch a movie one night last week, and was trying to find something on Netflix streaming. I was considering Melancholia, but it was described as dark and dramatic, and I was home alone. Just as I was about to stoop as low as I could get and watch “No Strings Attached” with Natalie Portman and Ashton Kutcher, I saw the listing for Castaway on the Moon, and remembered that my friend Courtney had watched and recommended it. So good…


7. You might not know this about me, but I think things like Autocorrect Fail are so funny, I can’t even read them–I start laughing so hard, I can hardly stop, and almost make myself sick, (seriously, even having to look it up to get the link was risky). Here’s another set I loved, Texts From My Dog.

8. Smart and funny, it’s Incidental Comics.