Category Archives: Something Good

Something Good

One of my favorite trees, on the historic bayfront in Newport, Oregon

Hello, kind and gentle reader! I am so happy to be “home.” I missed you! We had such a good time in Oregon, we extended our trip by six days, just got home last night. There are probably close to 100 things I could put on the list today, even though I mostly stayed offline while we were in Oregon, but I won’t — for your sake and mine. Still, it’s a long list.

1. 8 Ways To Change The World Without Getting Totally Overwhelmed from Courtney Carver on Be More With Less. Also from Courtney, 5 Simple Ways to Show Up for Your Life and 30 Decluttering Resources To Help You Simplify Your Home.

2. That’s a Stress Response: All the ways your body is (still) reacting to the pandemic.

3. 103 Bits of Advice I Wish I Had Known“Today is my birthday. I turn 70. I’ve learned a few things so far that might be helpful to others. For the past few years, I’ve jotted down bits of unsolicited advice each year and much to my surprise I have more to add this year. So here is my birthday gift to you all: 103 bits of wisdom I wish I had known when I was young.”

4. A Fan Letter to Brian Doyle“I wish now I’d written to him, dear Brian Doyle, and thanked him and told him I loved him before he died.” If you’ve never read Brian Doyle, a good place to start is this archive of his contributions to The Sun Magazine, on of my favorites being The Sudden City.

5. Recent good stuff from Creative Nonfiction50 Years of Making Nonfiction Creative (“How all the different flavors of nonfiction transformed into a literary art”), and Misery & Company (“Celebrity funerals, social media condolences, roadside memorials, and more: tracing the history of how we experience loss—and how we share it”), and Punching Up (“Funny women are bringing serious subjects to the stage and revolutionizing comedy—and creative nonfiction—in the process”).

6. Fiction, memoirs, poems spring from 1,000-word challenge“A. Stella Oloye, a Washington, D.C-based writer working on an Afrofuturism novel, was at a low point this spring when she learned of an online challenge she likens to a ‘gift from God’: #1000wordsofsummer. The rules: Set down 1,000 words a day for 14 days. Fiction or nonfiction, poetry or dialogue, inspired or uninspired, for a future book or simply for the sake of writing.”

7. The New Workday from Alexandra Franzen. “We wanted to find out, ‘How can we design a better workday — a day with less screen time, less stress, fewer interruptions, and more excellence in everything we do?’ We looked into research from UC Irvine, Harvard, Stanford, and the World Health Organization to find out, ‘What are the conditions that allow us to do our best work? What are the best practices, according to science?’ We compiled our findings. And we came up with a new plan.”

8. A Few Notes on the Past (and Possible Future) of Public Mourning“A.J. Bermudez on Technology, Community, and Grief.”

9. Good stuff from Seth Godin: The next train, and Skepticism and Denial, and Are you smart?, and Some questions, and Switching your search engine, and The kindness bonus.

10. Chimerical Creatures Combine Feathers and Fur in Isabel Reitemeyer’s Uncanny CollagesIn related news, Paper Show: A Group Exhibition Highlights 14 Artists Exploring the Vast Potential of Paper.

11. Black Women Thrivinga recently released report by Ericka Hines, J.D. and Mako Fitts Ward, PhD shines a light on the workplace experience of black women and the changes required to ensure black women thrive. Read it. Share it. Send it to your boss. 

12. Life is Tough. Here Are Six Ways to Deal With It on Lion’s Roar. “An ancient set of Buddhist slogans offers us six powerful techniques to transform life’s difficulties into awakening and benefit. Zen teacher Norman Fischer guides us through them.” Pretty sure I shared this already, but it’s worth another look.

13. The Power of the Bittersweet: Susan Cain on Longing as the Fulcrum of Creativity“In search of the most transcendent solution to ‘the problem of being alive in a deeply flawed yet stubbornly beautiful world.'”

14. The Truelove: Poet and Philosopher David Whyte on Reaching Beyond Our Limiting Beliefs About What We Deserve“‘if you wanted to drown you could, but you don’t because finally after all this struggle and all these years you simply don’t want to any more, you’ve simply had enough of drowning and you want to live and you want to love’.”

15. Recipe I want to try: Teriyaki Sweet Potato Noodles.

16. Monumental Trees“a website where people all over the world can submit their tree photos that you can filter by species and country.”

17. 1% and also, 1%“We’ve been looking at Kaizen, a process of constant improvement. You can embrace a Kaizen way of life simply by bending down and trying to reach your toes everyday—provided you do it daily, you will undoubtedly continue to get better as you go along. Another way to look at this is known as the 1% rule: ask nothing more of yourself than to be 1% better than you were yesterday.”

18. What Matters to Rob Walker“Debbie Millman has an ongoing project at PRINT titled ‘What Matters.’ This is an effort to understand the interior life of artists, designers, and creative thinkers. This facet of the project is a request of each invited respondent to answer ten identical questions and submit a nonprofessional photograph…Rob Walker writes the newsletter The Art of Noticing. His latest book is LOST OBJECTS: 50 Stories About the Things We Miss and Why They Matter, co-edited with Joshua Glenn.”

19. Good stuff from on of the best, Andrea Gibson: The Hand I’ve Been Dealt: Seeing God In The Joker’s Smile and Our Overwhelm Is One Of The Greatest Weapons Of The Alt Right: Here are some tips for shifting out of a chronically reactive state and Sick, Bald, Eyelashless – And Sexier Than Ever: How Cancer Helped Me Love My Body.

20. 18 of Our Favorite Books About the Craft of Writing.

21. Twenty Reasons for Being: A pastiche poem of tribute to the past and resolve for the possible.

22. Zen Priest and Author Ruth Ozeki wins Women’s Prize for Fiction for latest novel“Ozeki wins the Women’s Prize for Fiction for her fourth book, The Book of Form and Emptiness.”

23. {Listen} What Happened in the HAES® Spaces—a conversation with Lindley Ashline and Shelby Gordon.

24. The Gathering from Jo Hanlon-Moores. I love the story about her dad “gathering himself” and the notion that boundaries aren’t only meant to keep things out, but can hold things together, create a container for what matters, what is essential.

25. Stop doomscrolling and get ready for bed. Here’s how to reclaim a good night’s sleep.

26. Rebecca Solnit on Writing, Gardening, and the Life of the Mind“As a writer, you withdraw and disconnect yourself from the world in order to connect to it in the far-reaching way that is other people elsewhere reading the words that came together in this contemplative state.”

27. It’s My Birthday and I’ll Post About Plants If I Want To“on growing up, and growing beings.”

28. #34. Scale insect: On putting off the problem

29. A House Story: What’s hidden in the planter“We are stewards of the physical earth, but we are also stewards of society. Are we going to fill the planter with Arizona Iced Tea bottles and pass it off to the next generation, only for them to wonder why nothing can take root and flourish? Or are we going to plant the damn wall of slow-growing evergreen vines? I dunno, friends, I feel like this is a metaphor for something. The choice is so obvious, and we’re so very, very bad at making it.”

30. Letter to Michael by Laurie Wagner.

31. Things to stop doing to gain peace.

32. 99 Things To Do When You’re BoredI am almost never bored, am the mayor of “there’s never enough time!” town, but maybe you feel this way sometimes?

33. 27 Ideas To Thoughtfully Celebrate Pride Month.

34. Good stuff from Austin Kleon: A message for graduates and The writer must be four people.

33. David Sedaris reflects on the driving force of his life: His war with his dad.

34. Alison Bechdel Just Updated the Rules to the Bechdel Test for a Very Specific Reason.

35. Flooding Chaos in Yellowstone, a Sign of Crises to Come on The New York Times. In related news, Yellowstone recovery after flooding could take years. We’ve known for a long time this was coming and didn’t do enough, if anything, to stop it. We are in the weeds…

36. On Being with Krista Tippett: adrienne maree brown “We are in a time of new suns”“This conversation shines a light on an emerging ecosystem in our world over and against the drumbeat of what is fractured and breaking: working with the complex fullness of reality, and cultivating old and new ways of seeing, to move towards a transformative wholeness of living.”

37. Two sisters got pregnant young. Their choices and their secrets shaped their lives.

38. Jerrod Carmichael’s 12-Step Truth Program“The very private comedian-writer-director made his personal life very public with his recent HBO special, Rothaniel. Now he shares what happens when you have nothing to hide.”

39. Cabinet of Curiosities: A New Book Opens Centuries-Old Collections of Fossils, Sculptures, and Other Oddities.

40. Senior Dog Patiently Waits For Boops In The Same Place Day After Day.

41. macrofying on Instagram, “21 year old macro photographer from Germany. Zooming into the depths of everyday objects to reveal new worlds.”

42. To Fare Well“It is with a heavy heart, and after years of consideration, that I inform you that this will be the last post on the Son of Baldwin social media platforms. Here are my reasons for this decision.” He’s not wrong.

43. Notches, Scores, and Gouges Add Textured Pattern to Kokemusu Mokkou’s Carved Wooden Creatures.

44. Skies Peek Through Foliage in French Knots in Embroideries that Peer Up From the Forest Floor.

45. This Louisiana man thought he was rescuing one kitten — then 12 more appeared.

Something Good

1. Don’t Talk to Me About ‘Civility.’ On Tuesday Morning Those Children Were Aliveby Roxane Gay on The New York Times. “When politicians talk about civility and public discourse, what they’re really saying is that they would prefer for people to remain silent in the face of injustice. They want marginalized people to accept that the conditions of oppression are unalterable facts of life. They want to luxuriate in the power they hold, where they never have to compromise, never have to confront their consciences or lack thereof, never have to face the consequences of their inaction.”

2. In related news: ‘That smile I will never forget’: the victims of the Texas school shooting, and Irma Garcia was killed protecting her students. Her husband died two days later: “Joe died of a broken heart”, and Experts say we can prevent school shootings. Here’s what the research says, and 12 stats to help inform the gun control debate, and Monsters Are In Charge, And Nobody Is Coming To Save Us, and My love letter to you after Uvalde, and This is What Happens When You Live Under Minority Rule, and Everytown, the largest gun violence prevention organization in America. Also, a prayer from Lama Rod Owens and a practice from Susan Piver. and a piece of art from Nikkolas Smith

3. An Open Letter to Parents of Most White Teenage Boys in the US.

4. To improve patient care, doctors are rethinking longstanding biases around obesityIn related news, 10 Very Unpopular Facts About Fat People.

5. I Analyzed 100 Commencement Speeches: These Are the 4 Tips They All Share.

6. Guy Fieri, Elder Statesman of Flavortown on The New York Times. “Mr. Fieri has emerged as one of the most influential food philanthropists of the Covid age, helping to raise more than $20 million for restaurant workers. He has established himself as an industry mentor among chefs who may or may not admire his cooking but recognize his gifts as a messenger, which have boosted business for the hundreds of restaurants featured on his show. He has won the blessing of the white-tablecloth set through sheer force of charisma and relentlessness, coaxing a reconsideration of how the food establishment treated him in the first place.”

7. Tiny Human Activities Erupt into Vast Celestial Nightscapes in New Paintings by Oliver Jeffers.

8. Lush Aerial Photos by Pham Huy Trung Capture the Annual Harvests of Vietnam’s Countryside.

9. Mid-Century Modern Perches Offer a Minimalist Haven for Backyard Birds.

10. Recipe I want to try: The Best Apple CrispI have a bunch of granny smith apples I need to do something with, so I will most likely try this sooner rather than later.

11. Andy Fletcher obituary“Keyboard player and business brain of Depeche Mode who pushed the electronic band to long-lasting success.”

12. ‘Everything Everywhere All at Once’ Review: It’s Messy, and Glorious on The New York Times. “Michelle Yeoh stars as a stressed-out laundromat owner dragged into cosmic battle and genre chaos.”

13. Personal responsibility from Seth Godin. Worth considering.

14. What You Don’t Know About Family Estrangement. “14 stories of mourning, beauty, and power” from Anne Helen Petersen.

15. How to Live with Fear and What It Means to Love: A Tender Meditation in Ink, Watercolor, and WonderOne of my favorite books.

16. Poet Jane Kenyon’s Advice on Writing: Some of the Wisest Words to Create and Live By.

17. How Equanimity Powers Love on Lion’s Roar. “True equanimity, says Kaira Jewel Lingo, is not in any way detached or uncaring—it’s inclusive, and loving, and the foundation for spiritual courage.”

18. When her son died, a woman turned to gardening. Now, she feeds her entire community

19. Hybrid Bharatham (video). “#HybridBharatham is my way of switching between Hip-Hop and Bharathanatyam, 2 dances that I love, learn and respect. My aim is to keep the essence of each dance and create something that does justice to who I am.”

20. Things That Don’t Suck (Part 2) (video) from Andrea Gibson. “Last month I reached out to the premium subscribers of this newsletter and asked folks to share some ‘things that don’t suck.’ I’ve edited the list down but included something by everyone who shared. This was so much fun to put together. I’ve read it several times and know I will keep doing so as it fills me with so much gratitude. I’m overwhelmed by the loveliness here.”

P.S. This will be my last post for a bit, kind and gentle reader. I’m taking a break from blogging and social media for the next three weeks to visit family and see the ocean, to rest my heart and reset my brain. Take good care and I’ll “see” you soon!

The first time baby Ringo saw the ocean