Monday, May 6, 2013

Unclutterer: How to make to-do lists that work

Sort tasks by context to reduce guilt. You can't take your laundry to the dry-cleaner when you're sitting at your desk, so why stress about it? Use context and environment specific @tags. This post also includes a pretty simple dot method for sorting the "doneliness" of tasks.

Office Organization | Unclutterer: "Looking at items I couldn’t take acton on was stressful. It was time to re-think the simple to-do list. The following are several ways to sort, organize and prioritize the items on your to-do list for easy reference and guilt-free productivity on the go: "

'via Blog this'

Friday, January 4, 2013

A Writer's Writer

It is true that if there exists a “writer’s writer,” Saunders is the guy. “There is really no one like him,” Lorrie Moore wrote. “He is an original — but everyone knows that.” Tobias Wolff, who taught Saunders when he was in the graduate writing program at Syracuse in the mid-’80s, said, “He’s been one of the luminous spots of our literature for the past 20 years,” and then added what may be the most elegant compliment I’ve ever heard paid to another person: “He’s such a generous spirit, you’d be embarrassed to behave in a small way around him.” And Mary Karr, who has been a colleague of Saunders’s at Syracuse since he joined the faculty in the mid-’90s (and who also, incidentally, is a practicing Catholic with a wonderful singing voice and a spectacularly inventive foul mouth), told me, “I think he’s the best short-story writer in English alive.”

Aside from all the formal invention and satirical energy of Saunders’s fiction, the main thing about it, which tends not to get its due, is how much it makes you feel. I’ve loved Saunders’s work for years and spent a lot of hours with him over the past few months trying to understand how he’s able to do what he does, but it has been a real struggle to find an accurate way to express my emotional response to his stories. One thing is that you read them and you feel known, if that makes any sense.


Thursday, December 27, 2012

"You are nothing but the fruit"

6 Harsh Truths That Will Make You a Better Person | "Being in the business I'm in, I know dozens of aspiring writers. They think of themselves as writers, they introduce themselves as writers at parties, they know that deep inside, they have the heart of a writer. The only thing they're missing is that minor final step, where they actually fucking write things. "

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Twitter as schizophrenia in the social era

Another inspiring take on stepping back from social media to quiet the voices we've let loose in our heads:

"I quit Twitter for a month and it completely changed my thinking about mostly everything." 

What I realized is that in closing Twitter entirely, I got that. My head felt more silent to voices that weren’t mine. I’ve realized — Twitter is outsourced schizophrenia. I have a couple hundred voices I have consensually agreed to allow residence inside my brain.

This is the reason why I prefer to write early in the morning before speaking to anyone, if I can—there’s nothing in my head except the one thought I want to write. In fact, for the record, I sat down and began writing this at 8:30 and have been writing continuously since then, with absolutely zero interruptions. 

I used to believe that time was the most important thing I have, but I’ve come to believe differently. The single most valuable resource I have is uninterrupted thought."

[Adam Brault]

Friday, November 30, 2012

Poem: "Notes Passing" by Monica McClure

My cousin is a wonderful poet. Here's her latest, which I absolutely love, published in Paperbag.


How do you take my devotion? Do you
have the letter I set on the mantel
the night after you trailed off like the train
whistle I heard thirty times a day for
thirteen years, approaching and receding
like nothing I’ve ever known except you.
The letter with the corners worn was my
heretic’s absolution, I wonder
if it was the white owl in the morning
thwarting your crossing with immigrant luck.
I hoped then puppy-love would set me afire
when the time was right to climb the ladder
of the oil tank. That dark acreage beyond
where I could carry myself on was far
away, but I trusted in revision,
penmanship, and in seeing you again.


It’s been so many years since you drove me
through the land that cradled and sang your name.
I saw it for myself, your ornament
on the gate, protected by bull nettle.
It occurs to me now that it’s not that
you’re not here, but that you’re not in the past.
I must have waited for you the way cows
wait every day for lightning, slow-chewing
the sweet from the stiff, pallid grass in time.
I wanted to show you this map I drew
of the distance across which I missed you,
either coming or going past the gate.
Remember the fires over the border,
the same ashes falling on our faces
when we were children? That’s why I write you.


I dream of your hair in heaps of copper
curlicues around my hands, unruly
like my own. It was our way of knowing
each other carnally, chaste as we were.
The day I sat you at my vanity
and worked with my fingers, I made of you
a portrait, rich in sensation and life,
and later, when we danced in your mother’s
camera, we talked about what we couldn’t have.
The video shows us looking spark-eyed
at each other, confronting the knowledge
that fate is a few locks of matching hair.


The night of the last letter I wrote you,
I had wrongdoings inside me, a new organ
knocking the walls of my family’s home.
I’ll never get it right, how I followed
your voice downstairs, and you held my sister
like a lantern before me. My father
said “Here is my bone of a daughter.”
The fragrance of the wax helps me recall
how I was catching fire and told you so
on the porch, remember? It was after
you wrote your guilt down and I ripped out
the page forever because I wanted to be
the sorriest in the last epistle.


Do you think what they say is possible?
that when the river collapsed its riprap,
breaking like wicker every big man who
stared across her current, that was a curse.
Who can say what it means when the crude black
bubbles up smelling egg-like and sucrose
as the melon which grew from the seed
I spat one summer. We’re vulnerable here,
to floods and droughts. Where the soil is shallow,
is God and your birth, but summer is cracked
open and melted from the mouth-red meat.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Okay, I'm not usually that guy, but these horoscopes really are good. Mine this week:

Free Will Astrology : Aquarius Horoscope: "The largest bell in the world is located in Moscow, Russia. Called the Tsar Bell, it's made of bronze, weighs 445,170 pounds, and is elaborately decorated with images of people, angels, and plants. It has never once been rung in its 275 years of existence. Is there anything comparable in your own life, Aquarius? Some huge presence that has never actually been used? The time is near when that stillness may finally come to an end. I suggest you decide how this will occur rather than allowing fate to choose for you. "

Monday, November 5, 2012

Study on lesbian parenting reveals longitudinal awesomeness

Essentially, lesbian parents are either self-selectingly awesome due to heightened psychosocial and cultural sensitivity, the intentionality of the conception process for same-sex couples, etc. -- or they're just awesome because they're awesome. 

"The Williams Institute at UCLA tracked 78 children with lesbian mothers over a period of 26 years. The study, entitled "Adolescents with Lesbian Mothers Describe Their Own Lives," found that 17-year-olds with two mothers tended to have higher GPAs, strong family bonds, and considered their mothers to be good role models."
From the publication itself, Adolescents with Lesbian Mothers
Abstract: "Empirical research on the everyday life experiences of adolescents reared by lesbian mothers is limited. The current study gathered self-report descriptive data from 78 adolescents enrolled in the largest, longest-running, prospective longitudinal study of planned lesbian families, with a 93% retention rate to date. Results revealed that the 17-year-old adolescents were academically successful in supportive school environments. They had active social networks and close family bonds. Nearly all considered their mothers good role models. The adolescents rated their overall wellbeing an average of 8.14 on a 10-point-maximum scale.
From the discussion: "Future research is needed to determine whether the themes identified in the current study generalize to representative samples of adolescents in same-sex parent families. To determine whether the successful outcomes... are a reflection of lesbian parenting per se, or simply good or highly motivated parenting, comparing the cohort with a matched group of adolescents conceived by donor insemination in heterosexual-parent families would be illuminating (Golombok & Badger, 2010).  
If the findings of the present investigation are supported by other cross-sectional and longitudinal data, the factors that promote successful outcomes in these types of families warrant further exploration. For example, are same-sex parents, due to concerns about the impact of their marginalized status on their offspring, more willing to seek professional guidance for their families at times of difficulty?"