“The need for success and the fear of failure are two aspects of the same inner attitude. For it isn’t failure that causes the sinking sensation we all know, but the fear of failure. Failure isn’t the enemy—fear is. One learns, after all, by failing. This is elementary; we all know it, except when it applies to ourselves…”
— Carla Needleman
The Work of Craft (London: Arcana, 1986), 16.
view on Google Books
Kahneman never grapples philosophically with the nature of rationality. He does, however, supply a fascinating account of what might be taken to be its goal: happiness. What does it mean to be happy? When Kahneman first took up this question, in the mid 1990s, most happiness research relied on asking people how satisfied they were with their life on the whole. But such retrospective assessments depend on memory, which is notoriously unreliable. What if, instead, a person’s actual experience of pleasure or pain could be sampled from moment to moment, and then summed up over time? Kahneman calls this “experienced” well-being, as opposed to the “remembered” well-being that researchers had relied upon. And he found that these two measures of happiness diverge in surprising ways. What makes the “experiencing self” happy is not the same as what makes the “remembering self” happy. In particular, the remembering self does not care about duration — how long a pleasant or unpleasant experience lasts. Rather, it retrospectively rates an experience by the peak level of pain or pleasure in the course of the experience, and by the way the experience ends.
People who fracture their time putting out fires seem more productive, or at least more responsive, than the people who block out time to think. It’s harder to notice someone not being frantic. Thinkers don’t fare well in environments that reward activity more than accomplishment.
It is helpful to write always at the same time of day. Scheduled obligations often raise problems, but an hour or two can almost always be found in the early morning-when the telephone never rings and no one knocks at the door. And it is important that you write something, regardless of quantity, every day. As the Romans put it, Nulla dies sine linea-Noday without a line. (They were speaking of lines drawn by artists, but the rule applies as well to the writer.) As a result of all this, the setting almost automatically evokes verbal behavior. No warm-up is needed. A circadian rhythm develops that is extremely powerful. At a certain time every day, you will be highly disposed to engage in serious verbal behavior.
From James Webb Young, The Diary of an Ad Man: The War Years, June 1, 1942-December 31, 1943 (Chicago: Advertising Publications, 1944)—
“Talked with domestic science editor of one of the women’s magazines. She told me that she had tested literally thousands of recipes, covering almost every kind of food. Asked her what, after all this, she considered the best eating. She thought it was pretty hard to beat a good sirloin steak, washed down with straight whiskey. Western gal.” (via The Poetry of Sight: Sirloin Steak and Whiskey)
Coleridge demurred only partly because he was afraid of the enormous outlay of energy it takes to shepherd a young man to intellectual awareness (although that fear alone is usually what stops would-be preceptors in their tracks); the rest of it was the result of his up-close estimation of Charles: underneath the languid ‘Romantic’ pose of philosophical questing, there wasn’t a whole lot going on (“no birdsong in the hedgerow,” as one contemporary put it).
“How do you and your wife split songwriting chores?“
It’s an adventure. You’ve got a flashlight, I’ve got the map. You hold the nail, I’ll swing the hammer. You wash, I’ll dry. If two people know the same thing, one of you is unnecessary. My wife has dreams and is telepathic and clairvoyant and female. I write from the news or what I see in my field of vision. I’m boots and hats and pocketknives. She’s filled with musical and lyrical surprises. She’s a joy to work with.”
From Tom Wait’s Library
Some more EVIL EYE covers
A great way to give thanks…
for the privileges we’ve got is to do important work.
Your job, your internet access, your education, your role in a civilized society… all of them are a platform, a chance to do art, a way for you to give back and to honor those that enabled you to get to this point.
For every person reading this there are a thousand people (literally a thousand) in underprivileged nations and situations that would love to have your slot. Don’t waste it.
“What you newspaper and magazine writers, who work in rabbit time, don’t understand is that the practice of architecture has to be measured in elephant time.”
Eero Saarinen/Eero Saarinen on His Work/elephant time
The Extraordinary Works Of Alan Moore
The Extraordinary Works Of Alan Moore (2002), artist: Dave McKean
Annoyed by Safari 5.1’s tendency to spontaneously reload pages when you didn’t ask it to? There’s a workaround for it, but it introduces a few problems of its own. Some Safari extensions will not work, and some of the new gestures won’t work either.
If you don’t rely on any extensions, and you…
Stormcloud: How to stop Safari 5 from unexpectedly reloading pages
I think the most important part of storytelling is tension. It’s the constant tension of suspense that in a sense mirrors life, because nobody knows what’s going to happen three hours from now.
The Most Important Part of Storytelling
A good magazine article doesn’t need an introduction, so don’t begin with the background of your subject, how you happened to get interested in it, why the reader should read it, or how you obtained the information for it. Begin your article with conflict that produces tension, often revealed by including a brief example or anecdote and problem that will be resolved at the end. It’s a good rule to start as near the end as possible and then plunge your reader into the central tension. When you’ve involved your reader in this way, weave in background facts or information as you think the reader needs it to understand the purpose and point of your piece.
DONALD M. MURRAY
Before the crisis years of the AIDS epidemic I had that sense that one does of a long, expansive living ahead of me. When my friends and my partner began to sicken and die around me, that shifted everything in a sense that you just don’t know what prospect is ahead of you. For me, that exacerbates desire. On the other hand you have to negotiate because desire enflamed can become a blinder. It’s a balancing act I have never felt especially good at.
Secretly, I believe balance is boring. I used to take yoga classes and there’s these exercises where you’re supposed to be standing on one leg in this position as a stork, and I was terrible at them! I would get annoyed because they would always turn it into metaphor: “If you don’t have physical balance it means you need to seek balance”; No I don’t!
1. Dialogue should be brief.
2. It should add to the reader’s present knowledge.
3. It should eliminate the routine exchanges of ordinary conversation.
4. It should convey a sense of spontaneity but eliminate the repetitiveness of real talk.
5. It should keep the story moving forward.
6. It should be revelatory of the speaker’s character, both directly and indirectly.
7. It should show the relationships among people.
7 Rules for Dialogue
Libra Horoscope for week of November 10, 2011 During the reign of President George W. Bush, many Americans viewed France as being insufficiently sympathetic with American military might. So enraged were some conservatives that they tried to change the name of French fries to freedom fries and French toast to freedom toast. The culminating moment in this surrealistic exercise came when Bush told UK’s Prime Minister Tony Blair, “The French don’t even have a word for entrepreneur” – unaware that “entrepreneur” is a word the English language borrowed from the French. The moral of the story, as far as you’re concerned, Libra: Make sure you know the origins of everyone and everything you engage with, especially as they affect your ability to benefit from entrepreneurial influences.
The funny thing is, no one’s really hiding the secret of how to make awesome online communities. Give people something cool to do and a way to talk to each other, moderate a little bit, and your job is done. Games like Eve Online or WoW have developed entire economies on top of what’s basically a message board. MetaFilter, Reddit, LiveJournal and SA all started with a couple of buttons and a textfield and have produced some fascinating subcultures. And maybe the purest (!) example is 4chan, a Lord of the Flies community that invents all the stuff you end up sharing elsewhere: image macros, copypasta, rage comics, the lolrus. The data model for 4chan is three fields long - image, timestamp, text.
Now tell me one bit of original culture that’s ever come out of Facebook.
A truly amazing, enlightening, provocative post from Maciej Ceglowski. No single quotation can do it justice. Read it, please, and get a sense of what it would really take to achieve a mapping of our online social lives.
“Claire knows our household spiders freakishly well. She names them all: currently we have Abigail behind the front door, Puddles in the bathroom, and a wandering Fiona. Claire monitors their webs, diagrams their whereabouts, and worries over their diets. She wonders whether it is ethical to toss an insect Abigail’s way if it seems none are finding their way to her web themselves. She puts up notes to reroute guests if their ramblings might disturb one of our arachnid roommates. She knows our household spiders every bit as well as I know the neighborhood crows, and I’m impressed with her studies.”
Lyanda Lynn Haupt / Crow Planet / household spiders