Tag Archives: First!


Back in December, I was catching up on my alumni magazines and saw this article. Not too long ago, but prior to reading said article, I wrote a comment on one of Sparky’s posts that basically said exactly what the professor in the article advocates. So, a) validation! and b) I really need to work on marketing my ideas. 😛

Anyway, the short version of the article is that there are three ways to view work: as a job, a career, or a calling. Job people are the TGIF, watch the clock, counting the days to retirement crowd.

So I read this and I think: ah yes! the “3 categories” game. I have a few versions of this myself. Interestingly, they all fit into the job/career/calling scenario.

  • There are 3 types of law students: the ones who want the money / prestige (= law as career), the ones who want to save the world (= law as calling), and the ones who really want to write (= law as job).
  • There are 3 types of undergrads: the ones who want a degree because “a BA is the new high school diploma” (job people); the ones who need a specific degree to reach a predetermined professional goal (career people); and the ones who are studying what they’re passionate about and for whom a degree is icing on the cake of learning (calling people).

Which is not to say that just because you’re in one category now, you’re stuck there forever. You can, of course, move from one category to another. To that end, in the article there’s some discussion of how you can find work that you find more fulfilling. And then it goes on to say:

If we aren’t willing to switch to another kind of work, then he advises us to reframe the work we do.

AHEM. Reframe. My comment:

You’re not going to quit your job, so I think you need to reframe your feelings toward it. There are obviously things you value about it (the money it provides you, the fact you can retire early, etc.) and those outweigh the negatives for you.

Look, I even used the same word. Moral of this post: listen to me. I am wise like Yoda 😉


Weekend Reading

The Happiness Project – 6 Simple Strategies To Pitch Your Ideas. And To Make Them Irresistible.

Apartment Therapy – Day 2: Set Up Your Outbox

(Ha. This is my method. Which I’ve been using since I was a kid, tyvm. I wish I had a mental alarm that pinged every time I had an idea that was going to show up later as a cornerstone of someone’s empire.)

Stephen Elliott – The Problem with the Problem with Memoir

Most people’s lives are very interesting but most people don’t look at their lives in an interesting way. The unexamined life is never interesting. If a good memoir was merely predicated on having an interesting life then some of the best books would be celebrity memoirs. These people live a life most of us know nothing about. But celebrity memoirs are rarely interesting, despite how interesting their lives appear from the outside. The problem is not that they don’t live interesting lives, it’s that they’re not writers.

Tayari Jones – Finding the time is write is hard, but finding the courage is harder

Michael Bourne – My New Year’s Resolution: Read Fewer Books

Photo Diary

This morning at The Happiness Project Gretchen Rubin wrote:

I wish I could tell my younger self: Make a photo diary before you leave this place! You think you won’t forget, but you will! Instead of taking photos of unusual sights, take a photo of the most usual sights. In the future, you’ll be a lot more interested in seeing a photo of your dorm-room closet or your laundromat than seeing a photo of the Louvre.

How about you? Do you ever wish you had photos from ordinary days in the past?

…and it’s been driving me nuts all day because I knew I’d written almost exactly the same thing once upon a time but I couldn’t find it—Snark Zone? no. AB article? no. Blog post? no. Random musings in some long-forgotten writing file? no. And then blam, just a few minutes ago, I realized what it was. First Communication paper I wrote back in 2005. Bingo, in the section titled “The Value of a Diary”:

Once, perusing an old photo album, I noticed I was spending more time looking at the background of the photos than the foreground, looking beyond the smiling faces to the bits and pieces of life accidentally captured in recording the “big” life moments. I suddenly felt that this record of the ordinary mundanity of life was significant—not only did it have an authenticity that the posed foreground did not, but it was important precisely because it would otherwise have been forgotten. Reading a diary is like noticing the background in old photos. It is a record of the things one did not fully notice when one was in the moment because they were just there.

Ok, now I can get back to work 🙂

Scooped Again

A few days ago I saw an ad for chocolate cream cheese. Damn. Another missed opportunity to get rich.

You see, I’ve always had the habit of snacking on chocolate chips when I don’t have any other dessert items around (doesn’t everyone?). Sometimes, I’d take a spoonful of peanut butter and a spoonful of chocolate chips, stick it the microwave for a few seconds, swirl it together, and voila! poor man’s peanut butter cup. (Actually better than the real thing if you find the real ones too sweet.)

A while back, I didn’t have any peanut butter, but I did have cream cheese. Hmm, I thought, chocolate and cream cheese = chocolate cheesecake. So into the microwave with slice of cream cheese and spoonful of chocolate chips, swirl it together, and yes, poor man’s chocolate cheesecake. That you can eat with a spoon.

So yeah. Someone really needs to hire me to be an ideas person.

In which The Globe and Mail notices slow writing…

First there was fast food, then came slow food, followed quickly (!) by every imaginable iteration of the theme: slow cities, slow travel, slow schools, even slow cycling. So it was only a matter of time before slow writing seeped upon the scene.

It happened inconspicuously earlier this month…

John Barber

insert record screech here


It’s Marshall McLuhan’s 100th bday…

…today (or would’ve been if he hadn’t died in 1980!).

I just want to say, ahem, when I chose media ecology as one of my comps areas, no one was talking about Marshall McLuhan. Now? He’s trending. Yes, I am prescient. 😉

This video is awesome. (It’s from a CBC program called Explorations and aired May 18, 1960.)

(via The Georgia Straight)

Once you set the pace, the rest will follow

To keep on going, you have to keep up the rhythm. This is the important thing for long-term projects. Once you set the pace, the rest will follow. The problem is getting the flywheel to spin at a set speed—and to get to that point takes as much concentration and effort as you can manage.

—Haruki Murakami
in What I Talk About When I Talk About Running (2008, p. 5)

So I have this thing where I’ll see/hear Someone Who is More Well-Known than Me (which is to say, pretty much everyone) doing or saying something that I’ve been doing or saying for eons, and I’ll be “Wait, what? I said/did that First!” Sometimes I think I’m secretly an innovator—except I never realize what I’m doing/saying is bleeding edge until someone else scoops me. (This is why I will never be rich ;-)) Or maybe this is a common thing. Let me know.

Anyhow. Please note the date on my article, “Starting Will Always Be Hard: What Running Taught Me About Writing.”

Probably the most important thing that running has taught me is that no matter how long you’ve done something and how much you love it, starting will always be hard. Start anyway. If you don’t, you’ll never get to experience that moment when everything clicks and you’re sailing: your feet are flying across the pavement or your fingers are smoking over the keyboard. And afterward, when you’re done? Well, that feeling is sheer euphoria.

I Said It First

So last night we had AC360 on and he did a segment on the current annoying trend for everyone and their dog to go into “rehab” to mend their public image after they’ve committed one transgression or another. The thing is, I commented on this a while ago—it’s now almost a rite of passage for celebs and (especially) pseudo-celebs to party a little too much, do a few dumb things, and then go, “Hee hee! I’m off to rehab!”, which seems to trivialize genuine alcoholism, drug addiction, etc. Of course, no one was listening to me because I’m not on TV.

Then just now I’m catching up on my many Bloglines feeds and I run across this Maud Newton post about John Steinbeck, East of Eden and Journal of a Novel, which a number of people seem to have referenced. But wait! Sound familiar? As a matter of fact, I wrote about this first! Yep, I scooped Maud Newton. Oh yes, I did. 😀 Muahahaha.

(Note to self: this writing stuff down business can be very gratifying!)