September, 2012

fate, ripped abs + the lie behind self-improvement

My friend and trainer told me a story from when he was living and dating in New York.

He was working as a male model and acting in commercials. He didn’t like telling strangers this when they asked the “what do you do?” question because he found the consequent conversation (“Have I seen you in anything?”) awkward and tedious. (“Well, I was in a New York Times commercial…I was the guy reading the sports section….”)

So when women asked him what he did, he told them, “I’m a dentist.”

“Oh,” they would say, and drop the subject.

One night he hit it off with a French ballerina passing through town. They went back to his place. They got really, really friendly. She ripped open his shirt, saw his ripped abs, and said in her thick French accent, “You’re no dentist!”

And he had to admit that he wasn’t. click here

Sep 29, 2012 · 17 Comments / ADD YOURS

the art of being original ( + the best thing you’ve got going)

“There’s an African proverb: ‘When death finds you, may it find you alive.’ Alive means living your own damn life, not the life that your parents wanted, or the life some cultural group or political party wanted, but the life that your own soul wants to live. That’s the way to evaluate whether you are an authentic person or not.”
— Michael Meade

“The best thing you’ve got going for you,” she told me, “is your originality.”

She said, “It’s like there are two sides to you. There’s the perverse, bold, rebellious side. That’s the side that gets pissed off. That’s the side that questions everything.

And then there’s the conventional side, that wants to hunker down and keep safe, fit in. It gets scared and uneasy about what your other side compels you to do.”

She said, “It won’t be your conventional side that makes you successful.” click here

Sep 26, 2012 · 11 Comments / ADD YOURS

the part of ‘being creative’ we don’t talk much about

“Far better to live your own path imperfectly than to live another’s perfectly.” -Bhagavad Gita

“Creativity comes from a conflict of ideas.” – Donatella Versace


So much of creativity feels like groping in the dark.

Jonathan Fields refers to it as “embracing the thrash” and Sally Hogshead to “sitting in the throne of agony.”

Both of them say the same thing: you gotta do it.

Embrace the thrash.

Sit in the chair, no matter how bad those electric shocks get. click here

Sep 23, 2012 · 12 Comments / ADD YOURS

how a woman can write to change the world

Powerlessness and silence go together.” — Margaret Atwood

“Your silence will not protect you.” — Audre Lorde


So Vogue magazine got all literary and did an Edith Wharton spread to commemorate the grande dame’s 150th birthday. But there’s a problem. We see Edith and her friends kicking it at The Mount, Edith’s country home. Living male writers depict deceased male writers:

“There is Jeffrey Eugenides in a bowler hat doing his best Henry James. There is a bow-tied Junot Diaz as Wharton’s (unrequited) love interest, diplomat Walter Berry. There is Jonathan Safran Foer, hair severely parted down the middle, posing as Wharton’s collaborator, the architect Ogden Codman, Jr.”

And the woman depicting Edith Wharton herself?

30-year-old Russian supermodel Natalia Vodianova.

As I would tweet on Twitter: *Headdesk*. click here

Sep 19, 2012 · 18 Comments / ADD YOURS

the problem with malcolm gladwell’s “10,000 hour rule”


Greatness comes at a cost: ten thousand hours.

So goes the “10,000 hour rule”, which – as you probably know, so say it with me boys and girls – Malcolm Gladwell popularized in his book OUTLIERS.

To become world-class at anything requires that you put in your ten thousand hours – roughly ten years – of practice.

(It’s actually a bit more complicated than that: it can’t be just coasting-mindlessly-on-autopilot practice, it has to be deliberate practice.)

It seems that men have an edge on women when it comes to accumulating those hours. click here

Sep 17, 2012 · 14 Comments / ADD YOURS

write what you don’t know you know

“Write What You Know is meaningless bullshit. Write what is mysterious, what is treacherous, what gets a spear thrown through your face.” by @thebookslut (Jessa Crispin)

Write what you don’t know you know

Write to find out what you know

Write what you thought all these years that you had to keep secret

Write what whispers in your room when there’s no one around, puts an invisible hand on your shoulder, has the eyes in the portrait following you

Write what other people know but can’t say, or don’t want to say, or don’t know they know

Write what gets lost to silence click here

Sep 9, 2012 · 22 Comments / ADD YOURS

marilyn monroe was a badass

“Persons of genius with mysterious gifts: in many cases a wound has been inflicted early in life, which impels the person to strive harder or makes him or her extra-sensitive. The talent, the genius, is the scab on the wound, there to protect a weak place, an opening to death. Men and women who come successfully out of misfortune, they have strength that is extraordinary.”

— Elia Kazan


I was standing in Barnes + Noble checking out Lois Banner’s biography of Marilyn Monroe when I came across this line:

“….she exudes sexuality and transcends it; poses for the male gaze and confronts it.” click here

Sep 8, 2012 · 9 Comments / ADD YOURS

how to put the awe into awesome

“TGIF — Thank God I’m Fabulous” — unknown

“Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it’s time to pause and reflect.” – Mark Twain

All over the web, it seems, there is a call to Be Awesome.

(One of the most recent is Johnny Truant’s new free ebook HOW TO BE LEGENDARY — perhaps using the word ‘legendary’ because ‘awesome’ has been pummeled to death — and it’s good. You should read it.)

What does it actually mean, to be awesome?

To inspire awe.

And my favorite definition of ‘awe’ is Jane McGonigal’s, from REALITY IS BROKEN:

“Awe is what we feel when we recognize that we’re in the presence of something bigger than ourselves. It’s closely linked with feelings of spirituality, love, and gratitude – and more importantly, a desire to serve.”
click here

Sep 6, 2012 · 6 Comments / ADD YOURS

life lessons from a 40th birthday

My soul is from elsewhere, I’m sure of that, and I intend to end up there. — Rumi


I could say that turning 40 felt like any other birthday, but that would be a lie. And it wasn’t just because my boyfriend organized a surprise birthday celebration (plotting alongside my best friend, who hosted the dinner at the Sunset Marquis).

As I contemplated what to wear, I found myself thinking: Is that age appropriate?

And then I thought, Fuck it, and put on the minidress. click here

Sep 4, 2012 · 17 Comments / ADD YOURS
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