I am continually amazed by the law of attraction. That when I'm moping about corporate culture and the part I play in it, I could also select two podcast episodes—nearly back-to-back, hosted by people I very much admire—and have them discuss the very things I've been thinking about, reminding me to see my life from a different perspective. Now I remember what I need to do. (Thanks, Universe.)
Dear Sugars Podcast, hosted by Cheryl Strayed (Tiny Beautiful Things!) and Steve Almond
Episode: The Price of Our Dreams—with George Saunders
In reference to a quote by M.F.K. Fisher
"She talks about why she loved writing, it's because it granted her the right to be precise about her own life. And that's really just saying 'I was paying attention to my life' ... and 'Career Purgatory,' I think you're really paying attention to your life. That curiosity is really at the bottom of it. You can, as I did when I was in journalism, I would sneak off on Fridays because I started reading, including George's stories, and thought 'Oh my God, here are these people paying real attention to their lives and just using the language in such an imaginative way. I want some of that.' What I did, I kept my day job, I tried to pay attention to what I was doing, but I also snuck off and just saw, 'Is this something where I can feed my curiosity? Is this something that grants me the right to pay better attention to my life?'"
"In any kind of creative work—it's not the quality of the life that matters, it's the quality of attention that's paid to that life."
"This is why I keep saying, [when you] sign up for a class or go to a workshop...you find your tribe. What you realize when you're in the company of other writers is: 'Oh, this is a bunch of people who are making it work by doing a bunch of other things.'"
"The deck being cluttered is part of the path."
"Suspend the narrative that says you need eight hours a day to [write]. When I was working a day job and writing my first book, I noticed that, actually, if you drop that idea, you can get a lot done in 15 minutes. You really can. In some ways, writing at work or writing when you're tired has a way of focusing your mind."
"Your worth as a human being is not tied to your productivity as an artist...I think it's important to say that the pure artistic path is the one that actually is not too tied to the outcome, but is tied to the transformation that happens, and the effort."
The Good Life Project, hosted by founder Jonathan Fields (Mary Oliver quote on homepage, so.)
Episode: Mari Andrew: The Art of Knowing You're Not Alone.
Mari's art was recently introduced to me by a friend who knew exactly how much it would speak to me. Mari sees and uses her sensitivity as a strength, and that's so empowering to me.
"I really don't consider myself a practical person at all, but I did know that I'm prone to stress and what stresses me out is not knowing how I'm going to pay my rent. That's really stressful for me, for everyone. To this, I echo Elizabeth Gilbert: 'Be a patron for your own art.' You don't have to quit your day job—in fact day jobs, god, I mean, what a source of creative material!"
"I have a lot of young people, early 20s, college age, ask me 'How do you do what you do? How do you get to where you are?' And I want to tell them 'Start when you're 30! Start when you have things to say.'"