On Auditioning New Beliefs

Beliefs are funny things to me. When I was younger, beliefs were like flags on the moon, poles in the sand, ways to stake out your self in the world: I believe this, therefore I am. You can believe in God; you can believe in karma; you can believe in divine retribution, feminism, positive thinking, social justice, attachment parenting, crystal healing, astrology, creationism. Sometimes you inherit beliefs; sometimes you come to adopt them. But they form part of your identity. As I get older, though, I find part of the process of growing up and (hopefully) wiser is unearthing the

Six Semi-Related Thoughts on Reading, Writing, Thinking, Wisdom vs. Information and Other Random Topics

Sometimes when you’re blocked as a blogger, the key is to simply blog. Maybe not publish, but just write and see what happens. Sometimes I’m convinced blocks happen because you want to write about subjects you perhaps don’t often write about in a particular space. But something — self-judgment, overwhelm, lack of confidence, low energy, life — gets in the way. And when you don’t obey your inner prime directive, well, nothing comes out — everything gets blocked. (It reminds me of a useful metaphor I once read somewhere self-help-ish, about how both positive and negative emotions come out of

Absolute Beginners

I started taking a drawing class a few weeks ago. I’ve taken art history classes before, but I’ve never had formal art or design training — I’ve only ever been in writing and filmmaking courses. So in many ways, I’m completely at sea in this drawing class. I have absolutely NO IDEA what I’m doing, and that is such a weird feeling. My hands actually shook a bit with nervousness on the first day as the instructor basically threw us into a bunch of visual memory and observation exercises without a ton of explanation. I felt that weird tightening in

Mental Trickery I Use On Myself to Do Long, Annoying Things like Running 10Ks and Writing Novels

I am not a natural runner. You know those people who are like “I run a 4-minute mile!” and “I run marathons in my sleep!” and “I run 60 miles a week!” I am so not those people. And yet I run. Even though I hate it while I do it — my head full of pissed-off thoughts like Fuck man, why do I do this to myself? — the Zenlike bliss and calm I feel afterwards is often worth it. I do the minimum possible to get that bit of Zen, but I eventually get it. Most people hate