Monday, November 20, 2023

One Reason Writing Fiction Is So Damn Hard

Because every single moment you do it, you face your own thoughts. And somehow, you have to make sense of those thoughts.

I continue to wake up every morning to write and I continue to think it is one of the most challenging things I have ever done. Maybe that's how you know you're supposed to do something--it feels like torture and yet, every single day, something calls you back to do it. 

Tuesday, November 7, 2023

Silence and Nuance

I've been observing something interesting in American culture: the tendency to create two sides to every issue. Often I am asked to choose one side or another on issues that I don't see as so easily bifurcated that way. I have to hate something or love it, support it 100% or vilify it completely. Or, I need to ignore it altogether. 

It's such an American thing, in a way: to commit to something with great passion and unequivocal dedication. It's a great strength, but, ironically, it's also a great weakness. 

I wish that things weren't so blue or red, black or white, good or bad. Almost always the issues are so much more nuanced than that. While I want to talk through nuance, I often feel like there is neither time nor place to do so. Plus, I often lack the skills, patience, and emotional toughness for it. I had to leave social media altogether; it's no place for constructive debate. 

I wish that I could express that I am an advocate for systems that I simultaneously question. In fact, it's in my questioning of those systems that I manifest my support for them. In other words, because I care, I ask questions and in asking those questions, I hope to strengthen those systems, not destroy them. I do not hate a leader because I want him to do better, just as I do not hate myself when I need to improve. Likewise, I do not hate the police because I want to ensure their accountability, just as I do not think my principal hates me because she wants to ensure mine. 

We start to crack as a democratic society not when we ask questions of our leaders, but rather, when we don't. And we begin to fall as a democracy when we know something isn't right but we assume someone else will fix it. Who is that someone? What if they don't show up? 

This world is hard, for so many, in countless different ways. I am not saying we will agree on issues because we haven't, don't, and never will. But we can, at the very least, stop creating two sides to nuanced issues. We can ask questions and answer them without the assumption of malice or hate or the intent to destroy. We can change our minds. We can talk, and make mistakes, and learn from them. We can be civil even when we stand apart. Because it's not the talking that gets us all in trouble. It's the silence. 

Friday, October 27, 2023


Random Messy Thought for the Day: 

How many books are you reading right now? 

Are you someone who doesn't have time to read anything, so the answer would be, None

Are you someone who has lots of books started for different moods? A pile by your bed? 

Or do you have one book that you focus on until you finish it cover-to-cover? 

Maybe you're an audiobook person? 

Maybe something else I haven't even thought of?

Whatever the answer, I feel like there is a personality test somewhere in here...

My answer: I have about 15 books started, maybe more. I've spent my life feeling guilty that I'm not a one-book-at-a-time-cover-to-cover person. But I don't feel guilty about it anymore. I like the kind of reader I am. Whatever your reading style, I hope you like yours, too. 

Monday, August 21, 2023

Be Curious

"Be curious, not judgmental." A key to great teaching, better relationships, and (I think) real happiness.