April 21, 2015 by Julia
Sometimes I suffer the innate need to write, without having any idea what to write about. (A common writerly malaise, I know.) Usually, the only way I can then move forward is to write out my truthiest truth of the current moment, however mundane it might seem to me at first. My current moment contains writer’s block. It’s a bittersweet sickness, isn’t it, my fellow writers and/or artists? The desire like a romantic longing for depth and affirmation and beauty and engagement all at once – coupled with a blank mind and creative paralysis.
The longing is part of the joy, as in romance; but commitment requires a maturity that outlives the infatuation phase, and I hope I am past the point of foolish, blind desire when it comes to writing. A love of writing that never produces anything of substance hardly seems genuine, and so we keep trying. I am having a good day, and yet I can’t feel it’s complete unless I write something halfway decent, and if not finish a piece, then at least decide which way is up (or down) and have some awareness of how to get there.
But, in the meantime (as I write in fits and starts over here), I would love to share some great things I’ve discovered in the past few months! Things, in this case: mostly uplifting articles I’ve found online, art, music, a few inspiring quotations, hopefully better than the average motivational poster. On with it!
Lovely observations: What I learned about love during my years of reporting on weddings
50 Simple Mini-Habits That Actually Help With Anxiety Better than your average list.
Affecting speech on feminism by Shonda Rhimes: On Ceilings Made of Glass
I’m into this album right now: Been Listening by Johnny Flynn. He has a happy yet reflective folk-y vibe that sounds both Americana and Irish to me (he is actually English). It makes for good cooking and dinner music. At turns upbeat and somber, his music is authentic, earthy and appropriate for the warmer, longer days of Spring.
This one is fun:
And this one is gorgeous (I’m also a fan of Laura Marling’s):
Side note: what is it with me and beautiful duets about death?!? Unintentional, I swear.
I love the title of this article, ha. Diamonds Are Bullshit
And this one from Reductress, my new favorite Onion-style satirical women’s magazine, made me laugh out loud: Game of Thrones Season 5 Will Kill Off the Audience
I recently finished the book The Common Thread: Mothers, Daughters, and the Power of Empathy by Martha Manning on the complex relationship between mothers and daughters during every stage from infancy to old age.
Manning’s exploration of our needs, love, and strife was so illuminating and well-articulated that I compulsively mentioned it to many another mother in my life. It helped me to remember the frustrations of daughter-hood (while also validating the frustrations of motherhood), which from a practical (and emotional!) standpoint was great for navigating some of the “misunderstandings” between Fiona and I. There are also letters and passages that brought tears to my eyes – it’s realistic, but tender and full of awe. Anyway, I highlighted about a quarter of the entire book. Manning gets to the core of things with such questions as: “When people say that a woman is a “good mother” or a “good daughter,” what exactly do they mean? (page 15) And here she sums up so much of the conflict between mothers and daughters:
Another issue between any mother and daughter involves the relationship between love and control…But girls and young women take on more control, exercise more preferences, and depend less on their mothers, even as they remain connected to them, a combination that from the perspective of daughters might seem entirely reasonable. However, mothers who still have some variation of a love-control equation in their heads are often unprepared and frequently hurt when their totally “innocent” comments, like, “Yes, but don’t you think…?” or “Wouldn’t it be better if…?” or “No, you don’t think/feel that,” make their daughters explode. Growing up, daughters are often much more sensitive to their mother’s attempts at control and make assumptions that the almost totally unconditional acceptance they experienced as children was less a matter of love and more a mother’s need for power. (page 14)
From Amy Poehler’s book, “Yes Please:”
I love this sweet song, perfect for gorgeous Spring days:
Quilts and retro patterns make me happy.
This article makes a lot of sense to me. Do You Suffer From Decision Fatigue?
Parents, let out a collective sigh: Making Time for Kids? Study Shows Quality Trumps Quantity.
And one last bit of inspiration: The Moral Bucket List
Thank you for allowing me to impose these upon you! I hope you are well. One last indulgence – a near-perfect photo of my son Jack after our family hike through the woods on Saturday.
Okay, one more uplifting thought I have to share: I am trying this week to remember my present happiness, to acknowledge it on a consistent basis. Because what good is happiness if we don’t realize when we have it? I plan to write the words Remember Your Happiness and put them up above my desk. Thinking them makes me happier, simple as that.