In traditional Japanese culture, there’s an attitude towards artists that’s like, “You’re able to do something you like, so isn’t that enough?” This viewpoint leaves those involved in artistic expression in a tough situation. Because it’s not true. We can’t continue doing it unless it’s a business.

Tamiyo Kusakari

Take the chances a traveler has to take. In the end you will be so much richer, so much stronger, so much clearer, so much happier, and so much better a person that all the risk and hardship will seem like nothing compared to the knowledge and wisdom you will have gained.

Ken Nerburn in the book Simple Truths (via lucybossert)

My friend, Lucy and her partner Colin are traveling around America working on Organic Farms and blogging about it. You should follow them.

Sleepwatching (An Ode To Beatrix)

Sometimes, I watch you sleep. I hear you, restless, saying something incoherent over the buzzing monitor box that has never quite worked but has never been bad enough to replace. I wait for a few seconds because, sometimes, you settle and the buzzing box is silent for the remainder of the night. But, occasionally, the restless, incoherent, mumbling continues and sounds like, possibly, you could be having a bad dream. So I venture up the back stairs into your room to check on you. I put my hand on your shoulder or rub your back and let you know that you are OK — you’re just having a dream. You rarely wake up. Though it often, but not always, settles you. Yet, I remain for a few minutes more, to watch you.

I watch and wonder what someone at your age might dream about. I watch because you are just as beautiful, captivating, and as full of life as each moment you are awake. I marvel at how I, we, could have produced something, someone, so magical. I watch to listen to you breathe and to smell the shampoo in your recently washed hair. I watch and envision what you might one day become once you find out that Cowgirl Princess Ballerina’s aren’t in very high demand in this modern economy. Yet, I’m sure, you could probably make it work with the same grace and charm you use with deft skill on anyone who meets you.

I hope to be there, one day, to watch you live every one of those crazy dreams that you dream and watch your every desire lay itself prostrate before you. I know that one day, it will no longer be my job to watch you sleep but, instead, be that of another who I hope will love and cherish you as much as I do and will be filled with the same overwhelming emotions I have in these few moments I spend here watching you. Before I leave the room and close the door and let the angels I’m sure surround you resume their place — watching you sleep.

Random Notes and Recent Thoughts #3

I haven’t done one of these in a while. Here are some short ideas I have yet to fully flesh out but are complete enough to share right now anyway. Perhaps in doing so they will drive a discussion that will lead to a longer post.

  • When “No” is your default, the things that fight their way to “Yes” have a deeper value and meaning. They not only have to earn their place, they have to maintain their worth to keep it. “Yes” is important. “Yes” means that something really matters to me. But, this is only the case — and I would argue only can be the case — when “Yes” is not easy and “No” is the default.

  • It is not enough to simply accept, put-up-with, or ignore those things that might drive us nuts about our partners in a relationship. We must learn to appreciate them. Find the ways in which those things might, in fact, be a part of what makes the other person so great. Unless we do, we risk it becoming the chink that becomes a hole that, under pressure, breaks the dam.

  • Like wide margins in a book makes it easier and more pleasurable to read, leaving wide margins in your life makes it easier and more pleasurable to live. Also, having margins in a book leaves lots of room to make notes, observations, doodle, and offer your thoughts. So goes margins in life, too.

  • The reason for quantifying your commitments, and making the time and space for them on a calendar, is as much about committing to your tasks and projects as it is to committing to the margins.

  • The gulf between irresponsibility and opportunity is bridged by intention.

  • Kindness is a habit. One that is strengthened and improved the more you are so.

  • Always get the best paint you can buy. The difference between the good stuff and everything else is measured in decades and, in some cases, centuries.

  • Just a little bit more effort goes such a long way because so many do so much less than the minimum required.

Without Much Notice (The Prairie Returns)

I love the little yellow flowers
that bloom this time of year
in the gardens
along the roadside
between the pavement cracks
in the places we otherwise
pass quickly by them
without much notice
a lost prairie fighting back
brilliant goldenrod
majestic sunflower
black eyed sue
reminding us
that this is its proper place
that these concrete roads
and planted spaces
are convenience and facade
these flowers reveal
that they have always belonged
that they will remain, here
while we will not
we will pass quickly by
without much notice
yet these flowers
will still bloom proudly
after we are gone
and the prairie returns


JK Rowling in 1997 at a table in Nicholson’s Cafe in Edinburgh, where she wrote Harry Potter. Photo: Marius Alexander.

If you have not read her recent Cormoran Strike series of books written under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith, you are missing out. She’s an even more impressive writer now.