There is an article over on Medium that annoyed Carrie, which to be fair, Medium articles by self-professed self-help gurus often do.
It's not because the guy has 250,000 followers, she swears. It's just because he's a bro-looking white guy regurgitating other people's stuff.
And here's the thing. To make impact, you don't want to vomit up other people's books or thoughts. You want to be your own person.
In New Hampshire literary circles of the 1970s and 1980s there was a dynamic poetry husband and wife duo of Donald Hall and Jane Kenyon. They were nothing alike in their poetry and Donald usually received a lot more kudos, but Jane? She made her moments.
I'll always remember my Aunt Maxine introducing me to Jane when I was eight or something and saying, "She is a spectacular poet." She pretty much gasped it all out because she was so enthralled.
I always wanted to be gasp worthy, honestly--in a good way, right?
So, there's a piece in the National Book Review by Mike Pride that talks a bit about Jane (who died at just 47) where it talks about how her husband dealt with people being stupid about the difference between their poems and styles.
"Hall reacted when anyone suggested that he was a poet of big ideas while his wife wrote sweet and simple poems. “Yeah,” he’d say, “her style is a glass of water – a 100-proof glass of water.”
There is a tendency for us all to look away from the moments, the truths of our lives and existence and instead go for those superlative, larger than life moments, stories, celebrities, all that b.s.
But here's the thing-- even Captain America has to go poo. Even bigger-than-life people whose stories are cultivated for our consumption also have those smaller moments.
It's not about the 250,000 followers. It's about you making each moment, each interaction count.
And sometimes to do that you have to look and see how those moments have happened to you before.
Have you ever had a moment where your understanding of the world changed? An epiphany?
When was the last time you felt at the top of your game?
When was the last time you tried something new?
When was the last time you risked your reputation for your beliefs?
A lot of those moments have big emotions with them, right? And sometimes we get scared of those big emotions and when that happens? We can't take risks because we're afraid of the emotions and change that might come with those risks. Even when that change is positive, it's something different, something new and that can be super scary for a lot of us.
But you've got to keep trying and dreaming and learning and being brave in order for cool things to happen.How do you do this?
Jane Kenyon wrote in “Afternoon at MacDowell,” when Donald Hall had cancer (she was the actual one to die of it first),After music and poetry we walk to the car. I believe in the miracles of art, but what prodigy will keep you safe beside me, fumbling with the radio while you drive to find late innings of a Red Sox game?
A poet becomes a poet by investing the time to see the things in life, the moments and twists and epiphanies and connections, that the rest of us not always see, but more than that. They take the moment and let it resonate.
That's what we all need to do. We need to become the poets of our lives, making our moments by choice and action.LINKS WE REFER TO IN OUR RANDOM THOUGHTS
The music we’ve clipped and shortened in this podcast is awesome and is made available through the Creative Commons License.
Here’s a link to that and the artist’s website. Who is this artist and what is this song? It’s “Summer Spliff” by Broke For Free.
AND we are transitioning to a new writer podcast called WRITE BETTER NOW! You'll be able to check it out here starting in 2022!
We have a podcast, LOVING THE STRANGE, which we stream live on Carrie’s Facebook and Twitter and LinkedIn on Fridays. Her Facebook and Twitter handles are all carriejonesbooks or carriejonesbook.
Carrie is reading one of her poems every week on CARRIE DOES POEMS. And there you go! Whew! That's a lot!
On BE BRAVE FRIDAYS, we share other people’s stories (unedited) to build a community of bravery and inspiration. Please let us know if you want to share your story with us and we’ll read it here and post it on our social media and website. This life is too short to not be brave. We can do this together. Also, a super shout-out to Chantal for being brave and doing the thing that I, Carrie, probably really need to do. You’ve got this, my brilliant and amazing and shiny friend. I’m so proud of you. I started with a therapist to finally get help with my severe illness anxiety disorder. We had our second session yesterday and I’m feeling really hopeful I can finally get control of it. Chantal Watts I’ve mastered three traditional set dances this year, learning them mostly over zoom! White Blanket, The Three Sea Captains, and King of the Fairies. These are the really traditional dances, and they are HARD.I’m 44 years old and have what is probably rheumatoid arthritis in my legs, but tomorrow and Saturday I’ll be performing with my Irish Dance school for the eighth year! I never did dance as a kid for more than a few lessons, because I was so bad at it, but at age 36 I decided to take a class for fun when my kids did, and now I put my introverted self into a variety of spangly costumes and Riverdance my lil heart out! I’m not great. It hurts like a BITCH the next morning because of the arthritis, but I DO IT ANYWAY. Jessica Day George I’ll turn 45 years old next week, and I just learned ...
Carrie is a bit burnt out this week so we decided to take a fast look at the advice and quotes that writers give to each other. Quote #1 “The road to hell is paved with adverbs.”—Stephen King Mr. King has strong feelings about adverbs. He has strong feelings about a lot of things. Just because a successful man has strong feelings about things doesn't mean he's correct. Quote #2 “Know your literary tradition, savor it, steal from it, but when you sit down to write, forget about worshiping greatness and fetishizing masterpieces.”—Allegra Goodman This is just here because it has the word 'fetish' in it, but the truth of it is pretty obvious. Don't write because you want to be John Steinbeck or God or Toni Morrison. Write because you want to be you. Quote #3 “There are no laws for the novel. There never have been, nor can there ever be.”—Doris Lessing Many agents, editors, readers and critics would disagree with Doris. Quote #4 A and B “The idea is to write it so that people hear it and it slides through the brain and goes straight to the heart.” “I don’t know about lying for novelists. I look at some of the great novelists, and I think the reason they are great is that they’re telling the truth. The fact is they’re using made-up names, made-up people, made-up places, ...
There's a 65-year-old man, Henry, who lives near Philadelphia who has depression. He didn't want to take medicine but he noticed he was happier when he was near his alligator, Wally. Yes, a guy in Philadelphia has an alligator named Wally. If you can get past that, you can be okay with the rest of this. The doctor agreed to register Wally as an emotional support animal and the man now walks Wally around the neighborhood, hopefully not during winter and stuff. Wally the Alligator hugs. He likes to eat a lot of chicken wings but doesn't eat cats or goldfish. So basically, he is Shaun, who is also from Florida, but currently is a mammal, still. This week, we've been thinking a lot about the the lenses with which we view things and how they help us process stuff, not necessarily alligators as service animals, but our lives and times that might not be awesome. Those three lenses are: The long lens The reverse lens The wide lens So, let's say I just got yelled at by my boss. When I look back at our discussion, which was heated I can use these lenses to have a better understanding of what happened and also to figure out how to move forward. When I use the reverse lens, I look at everything my boss said from their point of view. I think about why they said what they said, what their wants, motivation and ...