If a tree falls in the woods and nobody is around to see it, do you hear the sound it makes?

I know I would still be writing. And I would still be reading out loud. I think that if you are any kind of an artist, then validation is just sort of… it can be a result, but you’re going to do the work anyway. Because you’re just wired that way. It’s so engrained, it’s such a part of your personality that you don’t just stop doing it. Eventually I’ll retire on some level, eventually no one will want to buy my books or a ticket to see me read, it’s inevitable that’s going to happen. Uhuhuhuh fake cries But it won’t stop me from writing. I’ll just write about how sad I am all the time.

– David Sedaris on whether he’d persevere as a writer without validation.

If a tree falls in the woods, do you hear the sound it makes?  If you write and write and write but don’t get the feedback or recognition you need to push on, does it matter?

Yes and no.  I’d write anyway, just because it’s the only way I can organise my thoughts and when it’s quiet, I enjoy writing just for myself. I enjoy the tap-tap-tapping on a keyboard, I enjoy writing on a thick pad of paper and I enjoy the solitude writing gives me.

On the flipside, I don’t enjoy the solitude when all I hear are the voices in my head. If I write for myself, sometimes it feels selfish if I’m the only one getting anything out of it.  I would prefer if my writing was doing something for someone.  Probably because it’s been drilled into us in school and uni and whatever that if you love something, you should find a way to share it with the world.

I see how that works, but also … does it take the fun out of what you love, if you put a monetary value on it?

I love to write, but sometimes it doesn’t come easy. Right now I’m on fire, but I’m emoting and I feel like because this is just me on a rant, it doesn’t matter what I write.  I had a previous role where the writing tasks were draining, so much so that one Easter long weekend break I went home alone (while my husband and friends went out for a post-work drink), polished off a bottle of wine by myself, ate a wheel of blue cheese by myself and fell asleep in front of the TV watching old episodes of 30 Rock.  My husband came home and found me passed out on the couch like a chick flick cliche.

It was one of the worst nights of my life, and it was the beginning of the end for me with that role.

Ironically, though, I wrote about that experience in a long and frustrated entry in my journal the next day.

I decided I would write because I love it, and to stop focussing on the money and the recognition.  There is so much around making what you love the thing that you do for a living. It is hard work … but it has to be worth the hard work.  If you come home at the end of the day and the hard work just doesn’t seem rewarding anymore, then … what’s the point?

But writing is different. It’s kind of like a habit now. I’ve come so far from being someone who denied herself the right to finally embrace my love of writing, that I can’t abandon it now.  I wrote for myself before, but now I feel like I can share that with others.

If a tree falls in the woods and nobody is around to see it, does it make a sound?  Yeh of course it does. The reality is, a tree dropped from an upright position and crashed to the ground, and yeh, that makes a loud sound.  Whether anyone was around to witness it or not is irrelevant.

I want to make a sound with my writing though. I want people to hear the crash as a piece or post or article hits the ground.  I want people to come running into the forest to check out the noise, “What was that? Who did that?”.  They don’t need to be rich people. Or beautiful people. Or important people. Because I’m not one of those people.

So I’ve dropped something, which has taken me years to put together as it’s been germinating in my head for a long time.  I’ve finally knocked that tree down.

http://mylocalworld.com.au/

From my welcome note on my homepage:

Welcome to MY LOCAL WORLD, which I hope will soon become part of YOUR local world 🙂 Get outside the world you live in, and discover multicultural experiences right here in your own home.

This is about bringing the world to you, and in the process, discovering that it is, in fact, a small world, after all.

I’d be delighted if you could check out the tiny noise I’ve made. Maybe as more people join you in the forest, the sound, in hindsight, will just grow louder …

The one where the long weekend becomes like this thing where I start from scratch & stuff

Image by By Lou Levit from Unsplash website

Image by By Lou Levit from Unsplash

It happens every year. A long weekend rolls around and I have to look at it as the first – and last! – time I reset, re-evaluate and basically get my shit together.  This year was no different.  In fact, this year was worse, coz I feel like at the age of *mumblemumblemumble* I should have my shit together.  So I made the following promises to myself on Thursday morning:

  1. To clean the kitchen table, A.K.A the dumping ground for all unread mail, brochures, receipts that I wanted to keep and random magazines I have been meaning to read (I don’t know why, but I have been holding on to TWO issues of Peninsula Living.  I’m not even from the Northern Beaches originally).
  2. To do aaaaall my laundry and get rid of all the clothes I no longer wear and head on down with all my good-but-unloved clothing to the local Lifeline.
  3. To catch up and clear my to-do list for my Maysays stuff.  All unwritten articles so I’m ahead.  All unread emails so I’m aware.  Lists, plans and ideas to action.
  4. To get really stuck into building up on my new site My Local World so it doesn’t feel like I’m living in a fantasy land and this will only be of benefit for me.

Did I do any of these things over the long weekend? Yes and no.  I did a lot of no. 3, which was good and really helped get me into actual working week mode for the short week ahead.  I partially did no. 2 because I needed clean undies and I was also wondering where a certain white shirt had gone and I found it somewhere in the depths of my laundry pile so I cleaned all those things out of necessity more than anything.  I’m about to do no. 4. I did a bit of no. 1 as the hubs and I were catching up on Empire (I was channelling Cookie whilst doing that task).

But I don’t feel like I changed the course of my life in four days, the way I think I will every year after the Easter break.  This break means more to me in this way than the start of a new year.  Maybe because there’s so much more at stake at the start of the year, and by the time Easter rolls around you’ve already got 3 months under your belt to assess how this year will go if you continue to travel the way you do.

I feel OK. I feel like at least it was like years ago when I really didn’t know what to do with myself.  At least now I have goals. Even if they are just based predominantly on domestic chores.

Just pretend like you were sleepin’ …

I don’t even remember what episode of Community this was from, but I swear the closing credits, to me, were funnier than the episode it was closing …

I miss Community. I think it went a little off the rails in the last part of season 3, and then was unrecognisable in season 4, and then tried to pick itself up again in season 5.  Good try though, good try.  Best redeeming episode was in Season 5 when they were receiving their bequeathments from Pierce. Is “bequeathment” a word?  It is now.

Husband’s watching clips of Reggie Watts. I think I’ll join him. xxx

Push on, move forward …

In the past couple of weeks lots of things I was doing seemed too hard and nothing I was doing seemed to serve any sort of purpose.  I felt like I was going through the motions and I wasn’t getting anywhere with anything.  Everything was too hard.

Then I got overly critical of everything around me. Dishes were piling up. Laundry was piling up. General household cleaning was piling up.  Bloody hell, even was piling up.  I was putting on weight. I wasn’t getting any exercise.  I was eating crap.

And while all these feelings are really phucking terrible, I just realised it was my body’s way (or my brain’s way? I dunno) of saying that things were a bit out of whack, and I had to do something to rectify it.

So what did I do about it?

  1. I reassessed what I was doing. I cut down on things that could be causing me grief, and I worked on things that I thought needed working on.
  2. I stopped delaying the inevitable (i.e. the looming pile of dirty laundry) and stuck them in the washer and just did them, already.
  3. I took a long hard look at my exercise regime (or lack thereof) and told myself I am not deathly ill, so calm down, lady! I am just not as fit as I would like to be, at this stage.  I started making small steps towards a healthier me (I think that’s a health insurance slogan, I dunno) by walking more, going to more yoga classes to improve my wellbeing as well as reminding my body that there is more to movement than typing and reaching for my coffee mug.
  4. As well as that, I recognised my sweet tooth and replaced the odd Killer Python I had in the arvo (coz I still eat like I’m 11, I know, I know …) with actual food recognisable by Mother Nature.  You know, fruit and shit.

I basically told myself that I had to change my lifestyle to get what I wanted, and that is a MAJOR thing, so it is naturally going to be difficult.  But if I approach my game plan as a long-term work in progress, instead of having an end goal, then I’d be easier on myself and not beat myself up if I have a setback.

I tell myself that life is not a race, it’s a marathon, so we have to pace ourselves.

Having said that, I now push on, move forward, put one foot in front of the other and just keep going.  I know there are lots of people who are in considerably more pain than I am in, and they have to deal with so many more obstacles, and I’m certainly not trying to compare myself with anyone with real problems.

But on a day to day level, I try to remember that life is OK, everything is going to be OK, and in a year’s time, I’ll remind myself of how far I’ve come, because I think back to this time last year and I’m glad of what I’ve accomplished in this time.

End rant.

Not every day is a party where you don crazy headgear and booze on ...

Not every day is a party where you don crazy headgear and booze on …

The path to fame and fortune isn’t paved with gold and inspirational memes

Maybe because I’ve seen so many of them, maybe because I no longer connect with them, I dunno, but I know that those inspirational memes like this:

From photo credit: symphony of love via photopin cc

Photo credit: symphony of love via photopin cc

Or this:

Photo credit: deeplifequotes via photopin cc

Photo credit: deeplifequotes via photopin cc

…no longer have that strong an effect on me.

OK, so the last one was nice.

But these inspirational memes do very little by way of giving me tools to overcome difficulties, or show me how someone aspirational has overcome whatever challenge he or she had.

I love when Hollywood stars come out with really insightful things to say. Viola Davis was recently featured in a Vulture article called Viola Davis’s 14-Step Guide to Happiness and the article said this about her thoughts on fear and failure: 

“Nobody tells you about failure,” Davis argues. “People always talk about winning, vision boards, getting what you want. People also don’t talk about fear. It’s always keeping fear at bay. Squelching it. Throwing it away. I’ve embraced fear and failure as a part of my success. I understand that it’s part of the grand continuum of life. I’ve been through it all. Breakups, heartache, and I’ve lost a parent already. So now I get it at this age, I get that that is it. That life literally is what you make it.”

I love that she says that fear and failure form her journey to success.  A lot of the time whenever I read about someone who’s achieved a lot in their lives, it’s always as if they’ve had clarity the whole way, they never wavered, they had this unyielding passion and tunnel vision attitude to success.

Which is great for them, but what if you don’t work like that? What if your idea of success is very different to the more traditional notions of success? What if success doesn’t mean fame but more a recognition of a job well done and recognition that you’re a thought leader or expert in your field?  What if success doesn’t mean riches but is more along the lines of comfort and not excess?  What if success means not reaching goal after goal and being disheartened after each goal is reached, but rather living through your life’s direction (I learnt this last idea from Sze Wing Yip, who told me that living a life based on your path and journey rather than goals was a better way to live – totally paraphrasing, but I’ve lived by it since she told me this)?

So Viola Davis’ article really got to me, it means that fear and failure are part of my journey to live my life’s direction, and as long as I keep reminding myself of what that is (so that I’m always asking, “what is the purpose of this?”) then I should be fine.

A soothing novel in twelve short paragraphs …

“It was summer, and it was hot. Rachel was there. A lonely old grey couch. And the kingdom was theirs forever, the end!”.

Another Sunday night in, another night of remembering lines from F.R.I.E.N.D.S.  Lines I’ve known since forever, lines I probably know a little too well.  Most of my internal dialogue derives from pop culture. It’s the greatest thing, to know that film and television shape your thoughts to the point where you don’t know what’s original and what’s something you’ve heard before.

Jack Johnson is on the stereo. Another thing I’ve been listening to since forever. My appreciation of him is really just as much about his music as it is about the fact that I just think he’d be a really cool person to be friends with.  And he seems so chilled out.  And despite being around for ages, he hasn’t really done anything celebrity-ish like star in a reality show, release a line of cologne, date a supermodel or start a twitter rant about another artists.  Cudos, Jacko, for not being a f**kwit.

When I’m done here, I’m going to watch an episode of Doctor Who with husband. He’s the only person I know who loves it with all his heart and soul. And he’s not even British. And now watching it puts me in a good mood, because it means if I’m watching it, then I am relaxing and sharing in his nerdiness. Not even sharing in it, but actively allowing it.  Like I’m not a nerd myself.  I read somewhere once that “nerds will rule the world”.  I am a massive nerd and I don’t rule a thing.

Fifth paragraph

Sixth paragraph

Seventh paragraph

Eighth paragraph

Ninth paragraph

Tenth paragraph

Eleventh paragraph

Twelfth paragraph

This post was a writer’s block exercise called “Write a soothing novel in twelve short paragraphs” taken from Language is a Virus, and I swear I can’t make it to 12 paragraphs right now.

Lessons learnt from David Sedaris ….

… who’s one of my favourite authors (as in, I wish I wrote what he wrote):

It’s not lost on me that I’m so busy recording life, I don’t have time to really live it.  I’ve become like one of those people I hate, the sort who go to the museum and, instead of looking at the magnificent Brueghal, take a picture of it, reducing it from art to proof. It’s not “Look what Brueghal did, painted this masterpiece” but ” Look what did, went to Rotterdam and stood in front of a Brueghal painting!

Sometimes I feel like blogging and writing is like that.  You’re so busy being an observer you lose sight of actually being part of the event.

Social media’s a bit like Sedaris’ anecdote too.  Here’s my selfie by the ocean. I won’t go in it, but here’s proof I was there.

Urgh, technology.

I hope Sedaris’ peeps don’t get the shits with me for quoting him above. I love his work, OK? I love it.  FYI I’m currently reading his book Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls which you can buy from all good bookstores. Hope that covers my ass.

I’m gonna be really sad when this book ends coz then I have to get into a new book.  I have The Reader waiting for me, and The Fault in Our Stars. I don’t know which one to read first.  The one that will make me cry, or the one that will me cry and ponder humanity’s ways.

Before the Sedaris book I read Juliet, NakedNot a lot deep pondering there but man Nick Hornby is funny.

medium_6908080437

photo credit: fiddleoak via photopin cc

Synthesising Happiness

Why, TED, do you keep challenging me and shaking up my view of the world?

… imagining that not getting what you want could make you just as happy as getting it …

I think this is less about synthesising happiness and more with being CONTENT to play the cards you were dealt.

Not that you shouldn’t stop striving for what you want, but you shouldn’t deny who you are either.

Ahhh, happiness … you’re not an elusive b!tch, after all …

Let me know your thoughts 🙂