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Music heals / I am a believer. These are the albums that have carried me through the last decade.

  1. Iron & Wine – Our Endless Number Days
  2. Joni Mitchell – Clouds
  3. Bright Eyes – I’m Wide Awake, It’s Morning
  4. David Gray – Life in Slow Motion
  5. Eva Cassidy – Songbird
  6. Alexi Murdoch – Time without Consequence
  7. Bonobo – Black Sands
  8. Bon Iver – For Emma, Forever Ago
  9. James Yorkston – The Year of the Leopard
  10. Brett Dennen – So Much More


I had the blues because I had no shoes until upon the street I met a man who had no feet.

Ancient Persian Saying

I am done with great things and big plans, great institutions and big success. I am for those tiny, invisible, loving, human forces that work from individual to individual, creeping through the crannies of the world like so many rootlets, or like the capillary oozing of water, which, if given time, will rend the hardest monuments of pride.

William James

1. Just do the job right the first time.

2. Preparation is the most important part of any task.

3. Only spend what you make.

4. Never, ever, hesitate to give a compliment.

5. Think about who you are disrespecting by multi-tasking.

6. Read the instructions.

7. Society is actually a good thing.

8. Make lists.

9. Stuff works out: the door will open.

10. Wash your vegetables.

11. Quality over quantity, every time.

12. Love relentlessly.

13. Don’t look out, look in.

14. Morning pages are the solution to any on-going problem.

15. Never lose a holy curiousity. Start at the public library. 🙂

The twentieth century is, among other things, the Age of Noise. Physical noise, mental noise and noise of desire — we hold history’s record for all of them. And no wonder; for all the resources of our almost miraculous technology have been thrown into the current assault against silence. That most popular and influential of all recent inventions, the radio, is nothing but a conduit through which pre-fabricated din can flow into our homes. And this din goes far deeper, of course, than the eardrums. It penetrates the mind, filling it with a babel of distractions, blasts of corybantic or sentimental music, continually repeated doses of drama that bring no catharsis, but usually create a craving for daily or even hourly emotional enemas.

And where, as in most countries, the broadcasting stations support themselves by selling time to advertisers, the noise is carried from the ear, through the realms of phantasy, knowledge and feeling to the ego’s core of wish and desire. Spoken or printed, broadcast over the ether or on wood-pulp, all advertising copy has but one purpose — to prevent the will from ever achieving silence. Desirelessness is the condition of deliverance and illumination. The condition of an expanding and technologically progressive system of mass production is universal craving. Advertising is the organized effort to extend and intensify the workings of that force, which (as all the saints and teachers of all the higher religions have always taught) is the principal cause of suffering and wrong-doing and the greatest obstacle between the human soul and its Divine Ground.

Aldous Huxley, On silence (written in 1946)

If you judge people, you have no time to love them.

Mother Teresa

Even after all this time the Sun never says to the Earth, ‘You owe me.’
Look what happens with a love like that… it lights up the whole sky.

-Hafix, a persian poet of 1300

I mean, it seems so obvious (to me) sometimes just how much happier we might be if things were a little more simple. Less stuff, less food, less mess, less surface area, less shit to clean, less small talk, less distraction, and, most importantly, more attention focused on to what brings value to our lives.  Not subjective value–better cars or clothes, better beer or restaurants–but real value that creates a sense of warmth somewhere deep within.  Is it family? Is it exercise or yoga? Is it a companion? Is it freedom, curiosity, and imagination? Is it a new business idea? Is it a grand piece of abstract art? Is it a super computer held in the palm of your hand that instantaneously connects you to the world? Or is it all of these things?

What is that warmth somewhere deep within? Deep within where? The brain, the gut, the spine? The nervous system gives us a lot to work with–sensations from the entire map of the body, mixed with sound and visuals–but is that feeling visceral first, or is it part of our internal monologue creating a physical response. Just a thought–but  I feel as though thinking about the origin of these kinds of deep feelings of value would be great insight into what we might want as individuals.  Most of us don’t know what we want–stronger relationships, travel, simplicity, rewarding careers, academic success, relaxation, invention, hedonistic experiences, children, money. And most of us don’t know where to start.

As I listen to more speakers on and lecturers within a variety of departments, there is a general  trend observing that intrinsic self-value is residing in “belongingness.” The longest living people on earth have stable support networks. Huge successful companies work with tight knit teams. The moderately poor with big and loving families report unexpected ratings of complete and utter happiness. Fashion/nationalism/political affiliation functions on the fact that a certain style of dress/flag/party associate an individual with a larger group–all generating this apparently satisfying experience of “belonging.” Belonging to a network, a club, a team of researchers, a religious faith, a family, a business, a friend group.  And even greater than ‘belonging’ it seems to be, ‘connected,’ or communicative, or open and free, but needed.

So, what next? I say (to my future mes, and maybe you)–start over if you don’t have direction, start over if you are unhappy, and start over if you feel overwhelmed. Start small. Start with less. And start now. Coner Oberst said, “Everything, it must belong somewhere.” And he’s pretty much right about everything.

Your hearts know in silence the secrets of the days and the nights.
But your ears thirst for the sound of your heart’s knowledge.
You would know in words that which you have always known in thought.

The soul unfolds itself, like a lotus of countless petals.

Kahlil Gibran

Stress consumes me but I think my heart knows everything is okay.

Perishability in a photograph is important in a picture.  If a photograph looks perishable we say, “Gee, I’m glad I have that moment.”

John Loengard in Pictures Under Discussion

Perishability in a photograph (like nostalgia) is a seductive, seductive liar. [Think about it] You weren’t having that much fun–that moment wasn’t that magical. Maybe I’m just a pessimist but when a moment is truly magical I don’t have time to take a picture of it. So is it true that in order to take good photographs we have to lie a little? Is the real intention of quality to mimic a supposed moment of magic? I think I’m just tired of of faking it.

“Ignoring isn’t the same as ignorance, you have to work at it.”

"You want to exercise your will, bend the language your way, bend the world your way. You want to control the flow of impulses, images, words, faces, ideas. But there's a higher place, a secret aspiration. You want to let go. You want to lose yourself in language, become a carrier or messenger. The best moments involve a loss of control. It's a kind of rapture, and it can happen with words and phrases fairly often-completely surprising combinations that make a higher kind of sense, that come to you out of nowhere." Don Delillo, in an interview