Category Archives: Happiness

Self-Compassion Saturday: Tammy Strobel

go small, think big, be happy. ~Tammy Strobel

This is going to be another one of those introductions, one of the ones where I tell you that I can’t remember exactly how I first discovered Tammy Strobel’s work, specifically her blog Rowdy Kittens. If I had to guess, it was probably through Susannah Conway, maybe she shared a link or something, (here’s an interview Susannah did with Tammy last year, My Creative Life: Tammy Strobel). Or, it might have been Courtney Carver of Be More with Less who shared a link to Tammy’s site. What I can tell you for sure is that I’ve been reading her blog, following her work for the past few years, and I have so much respect and love for her.

tammyintheroundTammy did a lot of work to simplify her life, to create the perfect one for herself. You can read all about her transformation in her book You Can Buy Happiness (and It’s Cheap): How One Woman Radically Simplified Her Life and How You Can Too.

Once, Tammy Strobel and her husband were living a normal middle-class lifestyle: driving two cars, commuting long distances, and living well beyond their means. Now they are living the voluntary downsizing — or smart-sizing — dream.

Tammy lives in a tiny house with her husband and cats, spending her days reading and writing and teaching and taking pictures, contributing wisdom and creating beauty — essentially doing whatever she wants, but also what helps. She says,

[L]iving simply isn’t about becoming an ascetic; it’s not about denying yourself pleasure and joy. It’s not about austerity. Instead, it’s about building a life steeped in the only precious gifts that can bring lasting happiness: time, freedom, and community. The focus is on life, not stuff.

photo by Tammy Strobel

photo by Tammy Strobel, her tiny house

I did meet Tammy last year at World Domination Summit. She won’t remember it because it went something like this — she was volunteering the first day, answering questions and giving people their name tags and shwag. I saw her at the table, walked up to her and said, “Are you Tammy of Rowdy Kittens?” She answered yes and smiled, and then someone else was asking for her attention and she turned, probably not even hearing me tell her how much I love her blog. It was actually one of the moments when I thought to myself, “why did I come here?,” the introvert in me wanting to run away home, skip the whole thing.

A little over a year later, and I have a space where I share people like Tammy with you, kind and gentle reader, my own little tiny corner of the world where I can invite people like her into a conversation about things that matter, where we can connect, be comforted and inspired. I wasn’t afraid this time to “talk” to Tammy, didn’t feel like I don’t belong. My small life is deep and wide, linked to a vast space filled with folks wise and kind. Along the way, from there to here, Tammy Strobel has been a constant inspiration, a source of wisdom and comfort to me. I am so happy today to be sharing her perspective on self-compassion with you.

tammysepia1. What does self-compassion mean, what is it? How would you describe or define it?

I define self-compassion as being kind to myself and accepting who I am — flaws and all.

2. How did you learn self-compassion? Did you have a teacher, a guide, a path, a resource, a book, a moment of clarity or specific experience?

I learned about self-compassion from my parents, close friends, and from my husband. They are my teachers. I try to follow their example because they are incredibly kind to themselves and to others.

3. How do you practice self-compassion, what does that experience look like for you?

Unfortunately, my inner dialogue isn’t always kind or accepting. When I catch myself engaging in negative self-talk, I remind myself that I am enough, that I’m doing good work, and that I have friends and family who love me.

photo by Tammy Strobel

photo by Tammy Strobel

Happiness isn’t a stroke of luck. It’s something you have to practice every day. How? By choosing activities that spur your curiosity and engagement with the present moment. ~Tammy Strobel

4. What do you still need to learn, to know, to understand? What is missing from your practice of self-compassion, what do you still struggle with?

I struggle with negative self-talk and have a lot to learn about self-compassion. Looking toward my loved ones and using positive mantras to stay on track helps me stay centered and grounded.

augustbreakselfietammy

selfie by Tammy

I’m so grateful to Tammy for taking the time to respond to these questions. In all of her work, everything she shares, I am constantly reminded to practice self-compassion, to allow joy and rest, to know that even in chaos, connection and comfort are possible, and that as Mary Oliver says, all I have to do is “let the soft animal of your body love what it loves.” To find out more about Tammy, to connect with her:

Next on Self-Compassion Saturday: Kristin Noelle, (which is such a sweet coincidence — Kristin drew the picture of Tammy and her tiny house that you see in the header of Rowdy Kittens).

P.S. If you didn’t see the first post in this series, you might want to read Self-Compassion Saturday: The Beginning.

Something Good

1. 75 ways to live a positively present life from Positively Present.

2. Karen Walrond at TEDxHouston 2012, shared on Upworthy in their post This Is Why Your Lover Thinks You’re Gorgeous In A Holey T-Shirt And Sweatpants. I recommend her blog too, maybe start with this recent post, random thoughts: on happiness, gratitude & meaning. She’s a speaker, photographer, writer, and all around superwoman “wildly convinced you’re uncommonly beautiful.”

3. Sh*t Hipsters Say.

4. This wisdom from Aart Van Der Leeuw,

The mystery of life
is not a problem to
be solved,
but a reality
to be experienced.

5. When I Read This I Think of You and 10 Things to Do When You Get Up Before the Sun on Elephant Journal.

6. Wisdom from Anne Lamott on Facebook.

7. Wisdom from J.M. Porup, “The job of the writer isn’t to answer questions. The job of the writer is to ask the questions for which there are no answers.”

8. The Daily Life of a Grandma and Her Odd-Eyed Cat, a sweet series of photos by Miyoko Ihara on demilked.

image by Miyoko Ihara

9. The World’s Top 10 Most Unusual Bonsai Trees.

10. One of my favorite websites, Humans of New York, now has a theme song, and I have a new favorite band.

11. This wisdom from Elizabeth Gilbert on Facebook, and what she said about morning.

12. 11 Habits You Need to Give Up to Be Happy and 7 Effective Ways Happy People Think from Marc and Angel Hack Life.

13. Your Daily Rock from Patti Digh: your daily rock : make peace, and your daily rock : recharge your soul, and your daily rock : wholeheartedly.

14. What if the Gift is the Ending? We Can Reimagine Our Lives? from Rachael Maddox.

15. Just Because He Breathes: Learning to Truly Love Our Gay Son on Huffington Post. On her website’s about page, this mom says,

Although I am a Christian, I feel broken-hearted by the things that the church in America has become most known for. You will never find me marching in a parade against gay rights, abortion rights or immigrant rights. I do not resonate with those who are known for being AGAINST things, especially when what it amounts to is being against people’s hearts and souls.

16. How to Enjoy a Chore-less Weekend from Be More with Less.

17. Turning kindness inward, what Judy Clement Wall had to say about her Self-Compassion Saturday post.

18. How to Let Go: 5 Essential Tips on the Positivity Blog.

19. Home Retreat: The Practice of Doing Exactly What You Want from Susan Piver.

20. “The truth will set you free, but first it will piss you off.” ~Gloria Steinem

21. Wisdom from Natalie Goldberg,

There is no ultimate goal in meditation. Meditation is an acceptance of the mind, however it comes to you. And the mind changes all the time, just as the ocean waves change. Sometimes the water is turbulent, sometimes calm. Thoughts rise and then disappear; you don’t grab hold of them. The heart beats, the lungs breathe, and the mind continues to produce thoughts. Even if you’ve practiced for a long time, it will still produce thoughts, but you’re no longer thrown by them. You don’t have control of your mind; it goes where it wants to go. But with practice, you can have a relationship with it.

22. Discipline, devotion & dazzling charm: what I learned from three of the most famous bloggers in the world from Alexandra Franzen.

23. Wisdom from the book Zen Teachings on the Practice of Lojong by Norman Fischer,

We admire people who are wealthy, famous, or skillful in some way, but it’s not hard to be like that. If you are born with some talent, a little luck, and you know the right people, you can do that. Many people do that. Much more difficult and much more wonderful is to be a bodhisattva. Not someone that many people know about and talk about but someone who has the almost magical power of spreading happiness and confidence wherever he goes. What a vision for your life, for your family, to be a light for those around you! To think of everything you do, every action, every social role, every task, as being just a cover for, an excuse for, your real aspiration, to be a bodhisattva, spreading goodness wherever you go. This requires no luck (even if everything goes wrong in your life, you can do it), no special skills, no need to meet special people and get special breaks. We can all do this. This is the aspiration we should all cultivate for training the mind.

24. Wisdom from Tama J. Kieves,

When I was younger, “being different” cost too much. I did anything I could to fit in. These days, “being normal” costs too much. I’m not willing to fit in with the pack, if it costs me my soul, my strength, and my reason for being. I didn’t come here to duck. I came here to fly.

25. Becoming More Authentic: Accept Yourself and Stop Seeking Approval on Tiny Buddha.

26. Wisdom from Tulku Thondup,

For any spiritual training or mental activity, we need concentration. Learning how to concentrate makes our minds strong, clear, and calm. Concentration protects our inner wisdom, like a candle flame sheltered from the wind. If our minds are cluttered with plans, concerns, thoughts, and emotional patterns, we have no space for our true selves.

And

Learning to live in the moment is a great and powerful skill that will help us in everything we do. To ‘‘be here now,’’ relaxed and engaged in whatever we are doing, is to be alive and healthy. In Buddhism, the awareness of what is happening right now is called mindfulness.

27. Every place is under the stars, a really great quote shared on A Design So Vast.

28. Appreciating My “Regular” Job and 50 Ways You Can Be Brave Today on The Self-Compassion Project.

29. Twenty seconds away from more joy! on Cherry Blossom Soup.

30. Whitney Cummings on The Conversation

31. From Brave Girls,

Today we have a sweet little challenge for you. What if for the next 24 hours, you focus on what is right, and not waste a single minute thinking about what is wrong? What if you run towards what you want, instead of running away from what you don’t want? What if you notice the beautiful little miracles and ignore the big distractions. What if you listen to the voice inside of you and let all of the other voices go? Just for 24 hours? Will you take us up on it? We suspect that it might just end up being one of the best days of your life. Enjoy it! Every single second of it! You are so loved. xoxo

32. Wisdom from Mr. Rogers, “There isn’t anyone you couldn’t love once you’ve heard their story.”

33. Mark Bittman’s Spicy Cheddar Shortbread recipe. I make a biscuit like this that my friends call “crack biscuits,” so I am totally going to try this one.

34. From Positively Present Picks: How to let go of your ego, How to buy happiness, and A Dad had some weird conversations with his two-year-old daughter. So he reenacted them with two grown men, (two new episodes!).

35. From Rowdy Kitten’s Happy Links: Xanthe Berkeley Photos and Films, which led to this, her video set on Vimeo — really beautiful work.

36. From Susannah Conway’s Something for the Weekend list: honeysuckle biscuits with sea salt peach butter + honeysuckle mint vinaigrette, gorgeous food, luscious recipe.

37. Lots of new episodes on Why We Rescue.

38. When Facebook Likes Meet Real Life, Things Get … Complicated on Upworthy.

39. This wisdom from Hafiz, “You yourself are your own obstacle – rise above yourself.”

40. This wisdom from Pema Chödrön,

Whatever we’re doing could be done with one intention, which is that we want to wake up, we want to ripen our compassion, and we want to ripen our ability to let go. Everything in our lives can wake us up or put us to sleep, and basically it’s up to us to let it wake us up.

Something Good

1. Wisdom from Geneen Roth, ending with such a good question,

This morning, as I begin preparing for our twice yearly retreat, I remembered something that I realized years ago, when I was struggling with my own weight challenges: that until and unless I wanted something more than I wanted to be thinner, I would never lose weight and keep it off. Not in a way that didn’t include deprivation and judgment. For myself, I had to want to know what was at the bottom of my eating. I had to want to touch that hunger. To become aware that the whole thing wasn’t really about food, but about something much more profound–and it was that that I had to want to touch, know, heal. Once I did that (and it was a process, not a one-time event), the weight came off, and stayed off for all these years.

So–what do you want more than you want to lose weight? What do you really really want?

2. 15 Things You Should Give Up To Be Happy.

3. Sustainability and the Sacred on Huffington Post, in which Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee says,

If we are to sustain this world of wonder, what is essential in our response is not just action but a shift in consciousness, a shift away from seeing the Earth as something separate from ourselves, as a resource to be used and abused. Real sustainability is not the sustainability of our present lifestyle — our image of progress and economic growth — but the sustainability of a sacred Earth, rich in biodiversity and wonder.

4. How I see my dog vs. how my dog sees me on The Oatmeal.

5. A Short Study in Insurrection, Jennifer Boykin on Jonathan Fields’ blog.

6. New Wheels & a Lesson in Confidence from Vivienne McMaster.

7. “The antidote to exhaustion isn’t rest. It’s wholeheartedness.” ~ David Whyte

8. Love your sadness. It won’t last. from Danielle LaPorte.

9. Jessica Jackley: Poverty, money — and love, a TED Talk by the founder of Kiva.org. The last few minutes of this talk are amazing.

10. HSP That’s Me from Hannah Marcotti.

11. Coverflip: Maureen Johnson Calls For An End To Gendered Book Covers With An Amazing Challenge (IMAGES)

12. Daily Truthbomb from Danielle LaPorte, “You can always find someone who thinks you’re an idiot. Speak up any way.”

13. The Forest House, East Sussex. I posted about this last week, but this week SF Girl by Bay shared even more of the pictures, along with a link to the original site with the full set. I want to go to there.

14. New paintings from Paul Bond. The way he describes Eleanor Dreams of a Miraculous Rescue, made me tear up. You see, I know the real Eleanor, who I called Danger Baby and now Danger Kid, because every time I see her, I want one just like her. I am going to happily settle for a print of this painting instead. Paul says this about it,

The resulting scene became a story of innocence. Of a child’s belief that she can always protect and nurture those things that she loves the most. And a prayer that the adult Eleanor’s of the world never stop cherishing whatever calls to them.

Eleanor_Dreams_of_a_Miraculous_Rescue_30x30_Oil15. Notes on being a hermit from Susannah Conway.

16. What’s in my pantry? from Kris Carr.

17. In Praise of Safety by Rachel Cole.

18. Depression Part Two from Hyperbole and a Half. And if that sounds like too much for you, read one of the funniest posts she ever wrote, Dogs Don’t Understand Basic Concepts Like Moving.

19. This is Water, a cool video using David Foster Wallace’s 2005 Kenyon commencement speech.

20. Wisdom shared by Justine Musk on Facebook,

“What makes the content you create awesome is that it’s a story told through your unique lens. It’s you, telling a story. It’s you not giving a fuck about anything but telling that story.” ~Paul Jarvis

21. Shared in Patti Digh’s Thinking Thursday post, recipe for Strawberry Balsamic and Olive Oil Breakfast Cake on Food52.

22. Pumpcast News, Part 1 – The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. I want to be friends with these people.

23. Sunni Chapman’s design site, Salty Olive Design. *sob* #itissobeautiful Does anyone have $7000 they’d want to give me so Sunni could build me a website?

24. Sad Cat Diary by Ze Frank

25. Reflections on the Road Back from Insanity on Elephant Journal by Kara-Leah Grant, who gives one of the best descriptions of yoga, ever.

It’s about connection. It’s about being open. It’s about being vulnerable and true and courageous.

It’s about yoga as a path to self-realization.

Not one blinding flash when we suddenly become enlightened.

But those small moments of self-realization that happen every time we step on the yoga mat. When another illusion drops away. Another samskara dissolves. Another insight arises.

That’s what it’s about. That’s what yoga as a path to self-realization means.

We realize, moment by moment, all that we are not. And one day, when all that we are not drops away… there we are.

26. Stop Caring What Others Think and Stand Up for Your Dogs on Notes from a Dog Walker. I say amen.

27. Another interview from The Conversation, Ashley Madekwe.

28. 3D Face Masks Created from DNA Found in Public Spaces. So freaky.

29. Celebrating Grandmas and Their Cuisine From Around the World.

30. Show Your Work! My Creative Mornings Talk from Austin Kleon.

31. Amy Seeley singing Beloved, frogs and bugs and maybe crickets singing in the background. No matter the version, the piano in this song wrecks me.

32. 7 Behaviors to Stop Tolerating in Others from Marc and Angel Hack Life. I would add that these are behaviors we should also attempt to stop doing ourselves.

33. “Do not pray for an easy life, pray for the strength to endure a difficult one” ~Bruce Lee

34. your daily rock : come as you are

35. This wisdom from Thubten Chodron: Wishing others to be happy doesn’t mean we give them everything they want, because sometimes what they want can be harmful. Wishing them to be happy entails wanting them to be free from pain and loneliness.

36. Fat Shame, (btw: there is language, but I love what she has to say).

Happiness is…

This post is inspired by Tammy’s most recent post on Rowdy Kittens, Happiness is…

happiness is this, a picture from earlier this morning

Happiness is a good night’s sleep.

Happiness is a return to wellness after illness or dis-ease.

Happiness is lots of rain after the longest, driest spell.

Happiness is another day with him, with all three of them.

Happiness is a warm shower, a long nap, a good meal and a glass of cold, clean water.

Happiness is pancakes for lunch on a day when you didn’t think you’d be able to eat anything.

Happiness is sharing something meaningful and true, and having it inspire or comfort someone else.

Happiness is quiet, but sometimes it’s as loud as the biggest full body laugh or your favorite song on the radio turned way up.

Happiness is clean laundry.

Happiness is a safe place to put your truth–even better if that safe place is the gentle open heart of another.

Happiness is a cool morning, and wool socks and slippers, and a long, thick purple fleece bathrobe.

Happiness is great, awesome, feels good, but it’s not as important as love or kindness or courage.

Something Good

tide pool

Oh my, kind and gentle reader, after a shorter list last week, this week’s is extra long, so many awesome things I saw this week. My right eye is twitching anticipating writing this one up–and the tagging! Ugh…But every last thing on this list is worth it, otherwise I wouldn’t bother sharing.

One thing, there won’t be many videos shared while we are here on the coast, because I can’t really watch much of anything. While I am grateful to have the internet and my tiny computer, even a makeshift standup desk to use while I’m here, it’s not the same as home.

beach workstation

Specifically, everything just takes longer. For example, this morning I wanted to watch my latest Practitioner video from Susan Piver’s Open Heart Project, not because I had to, she lovingly includes a transcript with her email that I can read and get the same info, but I wanted to watch the video, wanted to see and hear her because I’m missing her, but for a five minute video, it took a half an hour to download on this internet connection, which is running on beach time, and because my tiny computer is slower, even working as hard as it can, I couldn’t really do much of anything else while the video downloaded.

So, all the fancy stuff on this list (whatever that means–do I even do anything fancy on this blog, or ever?!) will most likely be put on hold until I’m back in Colorado, mostly because I can’t watch anything to know if it’s good or worth sharing. But not to worry, because like I said, there’s lots of good stuff, even without the videos (and there is at least one video on this list).

1. Badass Courtney Carver and her post, People Will Think You Are Weird. I mentioned one of Courtney’s posts on this list last week, told you she was a badass, and she linked from this, her latest post, back to mine. I love this new one, it’s so true and such a good list, (many of which items would show up if I made a list of all the ways I’m weird–oh, good blog post idea! I must make a note of that…). She ends the post with this:

You will threaten some, but your weird, crazy, lovely, badass behavior will inspire and spread hope, joy, courage and change. Let go of the excuse that people might think you are weird if you make a change or try something new. They absolutely will and you will survive it. Maybe you are weird. Welcome to the club!

Yay for the weird club!

2. Where in the World Do I Start? from Leo Babauta on ZenHabits. I think Leo might just be the king of how to start. I know that he was incredibly helpful to me when I was starting again.

3. The Foolproof Way to Know You Are Loveable from Rachel Cole, a post which, interestingly enough, serves as the foolproof way to know that Rachel is loveable, utterly and completely.

4. How to Find Your Purpose and Do What You Love on Brain Pickings. So much awesome in this post.

5. This video touches and breaks my heart, The First 70 trailer shared in a post by Squam, and is too important to not pass on. And yes, I have been known to hug a tree.

6. Scavenger Hunt for Happiness, Live Lane on Your Heart Makes a Difference. Word.

7. How to Write a Book from Susannah Conway. Really good advice. She inspires me.

8. Dancing Matt. If you haven’t already seen these videos from this big hearted dancing goofball, I am so happy to introduce you to them.

9. Flab, Cellulite, and Dangling Arm Fat. Oh sisters, indeed: you are beautiful!

10. On What’s Wrong With You. Just read it.

11. 100 Things To Do Instead Of Procrastinating On The Internet! from Gala Darling. Now, to be clear, I obviously have nothing against the internet. Like all things created by and for humans, it has at its heart compassion and wisdom. What I like about this list isn’t as a list of things to do instead, but just as a good list of things to do.

12. Why the 21st Century Author is an Internet Entrepreneur. Oh, this is very, very interesting…

13. This quote, from the Dalai Lama.

Genuine peace of mind is rooted in affection and compassion. There is a very high level of sensitivity and feeling involved. So long as we lack inner discipline, an inner calmness of mind, then no matter what external facilities or conditions we may have, they will never give us the feeling of joy and happiness that we seek. On the other hand, if we possess this inner quality—that is, calmness of mind, a degree of stability within—then even if we lack various external facilities that are normally considered necessary for a happy and joyful life, it is still possible to live a happy and joyful life.

14. From Miss Minimalist, Minimalist Philosophy: Not-To-Have and Not-To-Be. Yes, yes!

15. Against Positive Thinking: Uncertainty as the Secret of Happiness on Brain Pickings. This is good, essentially is arguing the same thing a Buddhist would tell you: “In order to be truly happy, it turns out, we might actually need to be willing to experience more negative emotions – or, at the very least, to stop running quite so hard from them.”

16. What Is Art? Favorite Famous Definitions, from Antiquity to Today on Brain Pickings. Something I think about a lot.

17. Violence and Moral Dystopia on the L Train from Bindu Wiles. This falls into the category of “hard to think about, but important to try.”

18. How to Be Perfect from The Chick Blog. I need this message over and over until I finally get it.

19, This quote: “Maybe you don’t need the whole world to love you, you know? Maybe you just need one person.” ~Kermit the Frog

20. And this quote:

A human being is a part of the whole, called by us “Universe,” a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings as something separated from the rest, a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty. Nobody is able to achieve this completely, but the striving for such achievement is in itself a part of the liberation and a foundation for inner security. ~Albert Einstein

21. Leo Babauta’s Guide to Overcoming Self Doubt.

22. This quote: “Be just the way you have always been, with this difference: do not believe any of it, and pay close attention to all of it.” ~Cheri Huber

23. 12 Habits Standing Between You and What You Want from Marc and Angel Hack Life.

24. This quote: “We rarely have time for everything you want in this life, so you have to make choices. And hopefully your choices can come from a deep sense of who you are.” ~Fred Roger

24. Guest Maven: Susannah Conway on How to Survive the Crash on The Maven Circle. Sometimes, Susannah is so awesome, it makes me want to cry.

25. How To Survive When Everything Sucks, an oldie but a goodie from Alexandra Franzen on Unicorns for Socialism.

26. And this quote, from Pema Chödrön, shared by Patti Digh:

Instead of struggling against the force of confusion, we could meet it and relax. When we do that, we gradually discover that clarity is always there. In the middle of the worst scenario of the worst person in the world, in the middle of all the heavy dialogue with ourselves, open space is always there. (to which I [Patti Digh] would add: let’s
resist the urge to fill up that open space).

Something Good

It’s a shorter list this week, and clearly I had a limited number of things on my mind: the High Park Fire, the World Domination Summit, taking pictures, making choices about what stuff to buy or keep or take with us on our upcoming trip, and writing.

take me for a walk…

1. Instagram. I have been dreaming about, coveting, longing for this app for a really long time, but I’m not an iPerson and I like my phones dumb, (at least dumber than me). I finally couldn’t stand it anymore and bought an iTouch so I can play too. For now, since we only have a few days before we leave for Oregon, my strategy is to “keep calm and carry on,” because if I don’t watch it, I will burn up these few remaining days wandering around taking pictures–which most of the time would be okay, but I need to clean and pack and organize and all the other stuff you must do before a long trip. So far, I’ve only taken pictures of the dogs and one self-portrait, (in which my forehead and front teeth seem abnormally large).

2. I’m Fine, Thanks, a documentary. There are still four days left to pledge their Kickstarter campaign, even though they reached their goal sometime in the last few days. I get to see it when I’m at the World Domination Summit in a few weeks, and it looks to me like a story that needs to be told.

3. My 100 Things Challenge on Be More With Less. This is one of those things I want to do, at the same time it scares me silly. Courtney Carver is a badass.

4. An Evening with Ray Bradbury, 2001, “Telling the Truth,” the keynote address of The Sixth Annual Writer’s Symposium by the Sea. I don’t agree with everything Mr. Bradbury has to say here (like “only the classics are any good, everything new is crap”), but there were lots of things I wrote down, stopped and thought about, and he’s so endearing and inspiring. Most of all, he reminds me that the childhood dream of being a writer wasn’t, isn’t crazy or impossible, and that we should all follow what brings us joy.

“Love. Fall in love and stay in love. Write only what you love, and love what you write. The word is love. You have to get up in the morning and write something you love, something to live for.”

5. Terrible Minds. I love Chuck Wendig, am inspired by him time and time again. Lately, it was 25 Reasons This Is The Best Time To Be A Storyteller, 25 Realizations Writers Need To Have, and The Secret to Writing, which is essentially this:


6. This quote from Anne Frank, which I share in honor of the fire fighters and other good people working kindly and so diligently during this High Park Fire:

In spite of everything I still believe that people are really good at heart. I simply can’t build up my hopes on a foundation consisting of confusion, misery and death. I see the world gradually being turned into a wilderness. I hear the ever-approaching thunder, which will destroy us, too. I can feel the suffering of millions – and yet, if I look to the heavens, I think it will come out all right, that this cruelty too will end, and that peace and tranquility will return again.

7. Happiness Is Simple: Why Too Many Choices Make Us Miserable & 5 Ways To Improve Your Life! by Gala Darling.

8. The Ultimate Guide to Writing Better Than You Normally Do from McSweeney’s. This is good.

9. Necessary advice from the trustworthy, brilliant Jamie Ridler, and a whole host of other luminaries. How to Get the Most Out of a Conference When You’re an Introvert or HSP (highly sensitive person) Part I and Part II. I will be taking a close look at this over the next few weeks.

10. Summer Reading List from Brain Pickings. In the introduction for the first book on the list, Magic Hours: Essays on Creators and Creation, Tom Bissell says “To create anything — whether a short story or a magazine profile or a film or a sitcom — is to believe, if only momentarily, you are capable of magic.”

11. And finally, this quote, with a picture offered as proof: If we could see the miracle of a single flower clearly, our whole life would change, (Buddha).