Good Day, Folks!
Happy March 3rd! I’m excited about this month, and it actually has little to do with my birthday, which is March 26th by the way! March is about spring and spring means new beginnings and new beginnings are what I’m all about this season. Begin anew and finish, of course. I have a list of many projects that I want to finish, and I’m marking March with a big fat X to get it all done. My music of choice this month has an epic grand sound that makes me brave –think E.S. Posthumus, Immediate, Hans Zimmer, and many more. Onward and forward!
However, enough of my rambling, I want to feature a website today that has tingled my creativity and turn the dial high on my inspiration meter. I’m talking about Brain Pickings, and you’ve probably already heard of it. In a nutshell, Brain Pickings offers delightful servings of inspiration, advice, and thought-provoking articles from artistic and intellectual legends of the past and artists and intellectual from the now. It is a truly awesome website that I highly recommend you follow and support. Anyway, I wanted to feature five of my favorite Brain Pickings articles so far. Enjoy!! (These selections are ordered randomly.)
How to Write with Style: Kurt Vonnegut’s 8 Keys to the Power of the Written Word by Maria Popova. http://bit.ly/13MF7JH
In this article, writers aspiring for greatness receive ageless advice from Vonnegut on the craft of writing, which includes creating a voice that moves readers, makes them care, and most importantly, keeps them reading your work. My favorite is this:
“Keep it Simple
As for your use of language: Remember that two great masters of language, William Shakespeare and James Joyce, wrote sentences which were almost childlike when their subjects were most profound. ‘To be or not to be?’ asks Shakespeare’s Hamlet. The longest word is three letters long. Joyce, when he was frisky, could put together a sentence as intricate and as glittering as a necklace for Cleopatra, but my favorite sentence in his short story ‘Eveline’ is just this one: ‘She was tired.’ At that point in the story, no other words could break the heart of a reader as those three words do. Simplicity of language is not only reputable, but perhaps even sacred. The Bible opens with a sentence well within the writing skills of a lively fourteen-year-old: ‘In the beginning God created the heaven and earth.’”
How to Find Your Purpose and Do What You Love by Maria Popova. http://bit.ly/VwtGmx
This list of advice from many great sources helps the wanderer in the desert of no dreams and confusion take hold of a branch leading to a spring that was within our weary traveler from the beginning. My favorite is the Holstee Manifesto, which is on the lower right bar of this blog.
“This is your life. Do what you love, and do it often. If you don’t like something, change it. If you don’t like your job, quit. If you don’t have enough time, stop watching TV. If you are looking for the love of your life, stop; they will be waiting for you when you start doing things you love.”
“Open your mind, arms, and heart to new things and people, we are united in our differences. Ask the next person you see what their passion is, and share your inspiring dream with them. Travel often; getting lost will help you find yourself. Some opportunities only come once, seize them.”
F. Scott Fitzgerald on the Secret of Great Writing by Maria Popova. http://bit.ly/14hnjVr
Always on the prowl for writing advice, I found these letters from Fitzgerald to an aspiring writer in her second year of college and to his daughter, Scottie, compelling and enlightening. These excerpts from the letters stuck with me the most:
“You’ve got to sell your heart, your strongest reactions, not the little minor things that only touch you lightly, the little experiences that you might tell at dinner. ”
“But the amateur can only realize his ability to transfer his emotions to another person by some such desperate and radical expedient as tearing your first tragic love story out of your heart and putting it on pages for people to see.”
“If have anything to say, anything you feel nobody has ever said before, you have got to feel it so desperately that you will find some way to say it that nobody has ever found before, so that the thing you have to say and the way of saying it blend as one matter –as indissolubly as if they were conceived together.”
9 Rules for Success by British Novelist Amelia E. Barr, 1901 by Maria Popova. http://bit.ly/Y7qefH
I’m somewhat embarrassed to admit that I’ve never heard of novelist Amelia E. Barr until I came upon this article who knows how long ago. However, I did bookmark the page, and when I finished reading it again, I remembered why I liked it so much. With my focus on super-achievement, dreams, and perseverance, Barr turns the light on in many dark spaces concerning the simplest things. I am partial to advice number six, which is pretty close to the mantra of my blog! Number 9 is a gem too: be cheerful.
“6. Everything good needs time. Don’t do work in a hurry. Go into details; it pays in every way. Time means power for your work. Mediocrity is always in a rush; but whatever is worth doing at all is worth doing with consideration. For genius is nothing more nor less than doing well what anyone can do badly.” (Bold emphasis mine.)
“9. Don’t fail through defects of temper and over-sensitiveness at moments of trial. One of the great helps to success is to be cheerful; to go to work with a full sense of life; to be determined to put hindrances out of the way; to prevail over them and to get the mastery. Above all things else, be cheerful; there is no beatitude for the despairing.”
Anton Chekhov on the 8 qualities of cultured people by Maria Popova. http://bit.ly/13zNJG7
This article surprised me—pleasantly of course. What I thought would be a list of stuck-up attitudes to uphold or access to resources afforded by wealth ended up stating qualities found in endless reservoir of our hearts. These are some of my favorite lines take from the various numbers: Cultured people…
“They do not pose, they behave in the street as they do at home, they do not show off before their humbler comrades. They are not given to babbling and forcing their uninvited confidences on others. Out of respect for other people’s ears they more often keep silent than talk.”
“They do not disparage themselves to rouse compassion. They do not play on the strings of other people’s hearts so that they may sigh and make much of them. They do not say “I am misunderstood,” or “I have become second-rate,” because all this is striving after cheap effect, is vulgar, stale, false….”
“The truly talented always keep in obscurity among the crowd, as far as possible from advertisement…. Even Krylov has said that an empty barrel echoes more loudly than a full one.”
So, what do you think? I'd love to hear your thoughts!!
thanks for reading,