the voices in my head

January 24, 2014

the voices in my head

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photos:
1) ladies’ room in the rackham building, i love that there are still fainting couches in this old ladies’ room
2) my daughter’s new product proposal: wigs for dogs
3) lynda barry’s “picture this”

I listened to an old Vancouver Writer’s Fest podcast this week titled, Comic Book Confidential: Lynda Barry and Sarah Leavitt.

I fell in love with Lynda Barry’s Ernie Pook’s Comeek when I was in college and discover it in the back of the Metro Times (alongside Matt Groening’s pre-Simpsons cartoon, Life in Hell). My flame for Lynda Barry continues to burn bright.

While listening to the podcast I felt like Lynda was speaking directly to me when she spoke of the negative voices that sound in her head when she sits down to write and draw.

I hear the exact same voices whenever I am writing this blog:

“‘Where’s that gonna get you? That’s stupid. You could be cleaning.’”

Lynda says, “Okay, If I was in a bar and some dude came up to me and went, ‘That’s stupid. Where’s that gonna get you? You could be cleaning,’ I’d know he was an ass, right? But when he’s in my head, it’s the voice of reason. When did that happen?!”

She says that this is a product of our looking at our creative endeavors as a product that is either good or bad. She advises instead to look at your creative endeavors as a process, as the expression of experience, as something that helps us “grow more neurons” and cultivates the feeling that “live is worth living.”

I’m not sure how easy that will be to do in practice, particularly when we post our work publically, via performances, art shows or blogs. But picturing the negative voice in my head as a drunken barfly, who provides unsolicited, negative comments, may make it easier to dismiss it.

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bedside book pile 08.14.13

August 14, 2013

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bedside bookpile 08.14.13

Some of the books piled at my bedside include:

Letters To A Young Poet, by Rainer Maria Rilke
Am I again the last to know? I had never heard of Rilke until I recently read a Rilke quotation, “Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves…”

(Another Rilke quote,“Ah, how good it is to be among people who are reading!”)

Lean In: Women, Work, and The Will to Lead, by Sheryl Sandberg
Everyone has an opinion on this book, and I think many? Most? of those with opinions have not read it. I want to see what the fuss is about. I am ashamed to admit my first reaction to this book was, “Oh good grief, am I not doing enough already? And now you want me to play like a boy? No thanks.” Then my young, hip, cycling instructor asked if anyone in the cycling class had heard of Sharon Sandberg’s book. I was the only one who had heard of it. She asked excitedly if I had read it and seemed disappointed that I had not. She gushed about the book and said it had great advice for both women and men, working or stay at home. So, I just read the introduction yesterday where Sandberg clearly states, “Whatever this book is, I am writing it for any woman who wants to increase her chances of making it to the top of her field or pursue any goal vigorously.” (emphasis and bold are mine.)

She also says, “I am also writing it for any man who wants to understand what a woman—a colleague, wife, mother or daughter—is up against so he can do his part to build an equal world.”

I’m hooked and I’ll keep you posted.

They Dyslexic Advantage: Unlocking the Hidden Potential of the Dyslexic Brain, by Eide and Eide.
I started this one out of anxiety about my dyslexic son succeeding in high school…and since he’s doing well…it has been gathering dust. I should start reading it again as my anxiety has started to grow when I think about him keeping up with reading in college. He has two more years of high school, but no time like the present to worry.

Norton Anthology of Poetry
Because I can flip open a page and receive a gift, like this:

Those Winter Sundays
by Robert Hayden

Sundays too my father got up early
and put his clothes on in the blueblack cold,
then with cracked hands that ached
from labor in the weekday weather made
banked fires blaze. No one ever thanked him.

I’d wake and hear the cold splintering, breaking.
When the rooms were warm, he’d call,
and slowly I would rise and dress,
fearing the chronic angers of that house,

Speaking indifferently to him,
who had driven out the cold
and polished my good shoes as well.
What did I know, what did I know
of love’s austere and lonely offices?


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Photos:
1. my girl, bell’s diner
2. http://www.drawnandquarterly.com/blog/2007_05_01_archive.php
3. office white board dino (by dear daughter)

It has been a very long week, which included a Friday night and all day Saturday work event, and a note on my neighbor’s car apologizing for backing into it and taking out the headlight. (I may sound cavalier, but I’m still sick about it.)

It included saying goodbye to my daughter as she headed back to school after spring break; switching to daylight savings time— spring forward! Not as fun as it sounds; and a warm, promising, sunny Sunday followed by freezing rain, snow, cold and a reminder that we live in the Midwest and what suckers we are to think the snow was over.

All the more reason to focus on the happy!

What’s making me happy this week:
1. Pop Culture Happy Hour podcast—from which I shamelessly/fully stole the title “what’s making me happy this week”
I don’t always agree with this group of NPR culture nerds (Linda liked the Les Mis movie? Wah???) but I adore them from afar, and am always taking notes for interesting stuff to explore. (p.s. “nerd” is a term of endearment and highest praise in my world.)

2. The musical Next to Normal at Meadowbrook Theater. Almost as fantastic as seeing it on Broadway three years ago (see how I dropped that in there? See how cool I am?). Three Tonys. One Pulitzer. Productions are popping up around the country since the book was released last year. Really, if you have the chance, see it. You will not be disappointed. Watch the youtube videos for a taste. Did I mention it’s about mental illness, family dysfunction and loss? All the characteristics of a great musical!

3. Bob Loblaw’s Law Blog. Why? Because Arrested Development always makes me happy.

4. Bi Bim Bop (at Bell’s Diner, with my girl)

5. This Boden sweater I preordered months ago on sale finally arrived (and if I were being compensated for this mention, I would be even happier! but I’m not…compensated.)

6. Lynda Barry at the Michigan Theater. Cartoonist, playwright, artist, teacher, therapist? now neuroscientist? In her introduction yesterday she was described using the m&m lyric, “when a tornado meets a volcano.” Years ago, my kids and I wrote a list (still on our refrigerator) of 10 people living or dead we could invite to THE GREAT dinner party. Lynda was, and is, at the top of my list. Yesterday, I listened to her wisdom and humor. In person. In the gorgeous, historic Michigan Theater. Good day.

(She was here in AA as part of a FREE lecture series—next week Ken Burns. Mossimo Banzi is coming soon- 50 extra points to anyone who knows who this is!)

7. My son singing every word of “the devil went down to Georgia” to me while driving in the car because he can memorize anything after hearing it once and because him singing this song in a Charlie-Daniels-badass way makes me laugh.

8. Sharpies. I’ve been making my “to do” lists with them this week. Oh so satisfying.

9. My nephew Will’s 5th birthday.
In his words, “Hope you get a great day!”
Growing up too fast and too far away. That boy has a special light that shines in him.

10. The dinosaur with braces drawing on my office dry erase board.

I hope you have much that is making you happy this week. If not, pick up a sharpie and make a list, or doodle…I promise it will help.