Pet Peeves

Today, let's talk about pet peeves.  One of mine is public speakers who make apologies before they begin.  The apologies can really run the range of serious to casual, but guess what? I like none of them ZERO.  I'm in touch with the concepts of self-consciousness, nervousness, fearfulness, but I don't buy the apology bologna. (I actually don't buy any bologna.)


Complainers! Number two pet peeve.  When I was a teacher, I used to employ a particular concept to exorcise the "complaint demon" that tends to take up residency in all of us.  Teens like to groan when an essay is assigned.  Guess what? Eighth grade English teachers are kind of expected to assign a lot of essays.  So every time I would assign one, I'd say "Hey! Let's all take a minute to turn to our neighbor and complain about how much we HATE THIS ASSIGNMENT!" And now, let's just get on with doing it. That's just about as much complaining as I'm game for.


My final pet peeve is busyness.  That is correct.  I cannot stand the phase "I am so busy." Everyone has the same 24-hours per day and everyone (outside of war torn zones and the like) is reasonably in control of how to slice and dice those hours.  It's just prioritization, folks.  If you didn't do something, you weren't too busy.  You just prioritized something else.  I have three kids and two pets and a spouse and a full time job.  Some people have more kids or job stuff.  Some have fewer.  But we all have the same amount of time and we are the bosses of it.


Ha! Happy Spring! Thanks for reading, and I'd love to hear your peeves.

Trust the Process

I offended my husband again today when he came to rest by my side on the bed while I was working on this blog post. After trying for a moment to write with him by my side, I accepted the truth I already knew, which is that I simply cannot compose anything good with anyone by my side; not even the person to whom I have vowed to share a number of important emotional and financial aspects of my life -- till death, no less.


My favorite book is every book, especially biographies about pirates and anything by Annie Lamott or Jhumpa Lahiri. But truly, my favorite book is the Elements of Style, and my favorite copy is the one my grandfather bought when he was teaching high school in the 1950s and gifted to me when I was in college.  


The last chapter of the book is, like all standard reads, the most fulfilling one.  Strunk and White finally get at the essence of what style means, as they see it:

"Style is an increment in writing. When we speak of Fitzgerald's style, we don't mean his command of the relative pronoun, we mean the sound his words make on paper. All writers, by the way they use the language, reveal something of their spirits, their habits, their capacities, and their biases. This is inevitable as well as enjoyable. All writing is communication; creative writing is communication through revelation — it is the Self escaping into the open. No writer long remains incognito."

It is, to be sure, an exercise in trust -- trust in the audience, trust in oneself -- to allow this Self to escape.  Letting it out is hard enough work; but to have one alongside, especially one whose opinion is of value, is really too much entirely.  There is modesty in the process, just trust it.


While I don't know if every writer is keen for privacy when composing, my guess is that a fair number of them are.  We are, collectively, quite an introverted bunch, and as such, really enjoy solitude in healthy doses.

I'll leave it here; when I was a teacher, I often encouraged my students to err on the side of brevity.  Don't write more just for the sake of writing. Say it right, and you won't have to say anything more.


Thanks for reading!

Nordstrom Rack jacket (old) // Levis shirt // Madewell jeans (old) Danko shoes 

Ship Comes In

Do you ever feel like William Shakespeare and Bob Dylan already wrote all the best sentences in English? I could just cut and paste and number of songs or sonnets right here and have a really solid blog post. And while we’re at it, this outfit would probably look better on Bob Dylan than William Shakespeare, for what it’s worth. 


I love this time of year. Spring keeps teasing, and I’m going to tease right on back. Bare arms at the beach before the first official day of spring? That’s right. Freezing; who, me? Right again.


I decided not to buy anything to wear this month. I really mean it. I have plenty of clothes. I also have really killer willpower. The main problem is that I’m totally and completely non-competitive. I just can’t be bothered. This might be why I basically find zero team sports interesting. You scored the most points? Meh. But give me a sport where I can be an individual and I’ll beat my own personal best over and over. Might be related to the willpower. 


I roamed and rambled all over this one for sure.  Happy midweek, folks.