Reading Notebook #5: Life Patterns & Something Out There

From “The Secret Cycle” by Nick Paumgarten, in The New Yorker (October 12, 2009) And yet patterns exist, and we slowly discover them. Seasons, migrations, moons: the template is there. Consciously or unconsciously, most people accept certain components of cycle theory. We seek and see patterns in things. It is the way our minds work, […]

Jane at AWP 2009

What Does a Brand Manager (or Community Leader) Do?

I’m often asked what my job at Writer’s Digest encompasses, or what my typical day is like. My official title is Publisher & Editorial Director of the Writing Community. Internally, I’m referred to as a Community Leader, or CL for short. Sometimes I call myself a brand manager, like on LinkedIn. But none of these […]

Bog Myrtle Beer & Irish Coffee Recipes

Upon arrival at the Irish farm in Kilgarvan, a bottle of homemade bog myrtle beer was waiting in the kitchen, as a welcoming gift. Apparently, bog myrtle leaves were used to flavor beer before hops became popular in Britain, and they are still used as a flavoring agent in Swedish spirits. (Bog myrtle leaves pictured […]

12 Actions and 12 Diversions

12 Self-Creating Actions and 12 Preoccupational Diversions

[Click here for full-size image.] On the last page of my 2009 Museum of Lost Wonder calendar, I found the following. Find out more about Museum of Lost Wonder by Jeff Hoke. 12 Self-Creating Actions Not seeing: or not-knowing, leads to Wonder and curiosity. This starts the whole big wheel rolling. The lost blind man is […]

Amelia Earhart

Reading Notebook #4: Not to Endure Even an Attractive Cage

From the New Yorker article on Amelia Earhart by Judith Thurman (September 14, 2009) [From Earhart’s letter to her husband on her wedding day] You must know again my reluctance to marry, my feeling that I shatter thereby chances in work which mean so much to me. … In our life together I shall not […]

Inis Meain

Ireland 2009: All Experience Is an Arch

I returned home Monday night from a 3-week holiday in Ireland. (Read previous entries on this trip here and here.) A quick index of the trip: Canceled flights: 2 Delayed flights: 3 Re-routed itineraries: 1 Airport shutdowns: 1 Hotel shutdowns: 1 Road shutdowns: 1 Occurrences of lost luggage: 4 Unexpected nights spent in Dublin: 4 […]

Michel de Montaigne

Reading Notebook #3: I Distrust My Thoughts

Snippets from “The Life and Essays of Michel de Montaigne” by Jane Kramer, in the September 7, 2009, issue of The New Yorker. Montaigne … often warned his readers that nothing he wrote about himself was likely to apply for much longer than it took the ink he used, writing it, to dry. … “Yes. […]

Art of Possibility

Reading Notebook #2: Invent a Story That Enhances Your Life

Snippets from The Art of Possibility by Benjamin & Rosamund Zander.(See a really cool TED talk by Benjamin Zander.) It’s all invented anyway, so we might as well invent a story or a framework of meaning that enhances our quality of life and the life of those around us. … Virtually everybody wakes up in […]

Top 10 Moments on Inis Meain

1. Arrive at cottage late at night. The only heat source is the small stove in the living room. Unable to light a fire (run out of matches), so bundle up in coat, scarf, hat, and climb in bed under 3 layers of blankets. 2. Awake to pleasantly warm cottage (after taking off layers while […]

Reading Notebook #1: You Can Write Well & Behave Badly

From “Slang-Whanger” by Arthur Krystal in New Yorker (May 18, 2009) We don’t for a moment believe that Hazlitt is inept, or unattractive, or capable of behaving like a lunatic. You can’t write well and behave badly. But, of course, you can, and Hazlitt did. He cheated on his wife, alienated friends, and when Napoleon […]

Immigration Officers and the Meaning of Existence

I wasn’t expecting trouble when I passed through immigration at the Dublin airport. I’m American, I’m privileged, and I look like I spend a lot of time reading indoors. I was the second person standing in the non-EU control line. The person ahead of me was a young guy who wasn’t wearing any shoes. Earlier, […]

Stone Shed in Ireland

My First Post (From Ireland)

On December 16, I left the United States for a 2-week vacation in Ireland. A key objective while I’m here (in the quiet and remote Aran Islands) is to rebuild my homepage. Good progress today.