Details Matter

Details matter.

The attention which the poem pays to all that it encounters, its more acute sense of detail, outline, structure, color, but also of the ‘tremors and hints’ – all this is not, I think, achieved by an eye competing (or concurring) with ever more precise instruments, but, rather, by a kind of concentration mindful of all our dates…‘attention is the natural prayer of the soul.’ – Paul Celan, “The Meridian”

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Write Right Goes to Treasure Island

Write Right goes to Treasure Island.

Practice Produces Patience

Practice produces patience.

The problem with practicing the piano is that I know how far my skills have fallen. It’s been years since I played, so the fall isn’t unexpected. I simply have an awareness of how far I have to go if I hope to rise to that level again.

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No is a Valid Answer

no-answer

Run like hell my dear,
From anyone likely
To put a sharp knife
Into the sacred, tender vision
Of your beautiful heart.
Hafiz, “We Have Not Come to Take Prisoners”

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How to be a Better Writer: Don’t Make Excuses

Don't make excuses.

Life happens. When it does, you often can’t control the circumstances or their outcomes. You can, however, control how you respond to them.

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Practice Produces Trust

Practicing the piano produces trust that my fingers will find the right keys.

I hesitate to say I’ve started practicing piano again for fear of jinxing my self-discipline, but I’m making the statement. I’ve started practicing piano again, in large part because I’ve quit spending time with Amazon Prime Instant Video. I now have evening hours free that need to be filled with worthwhile things. One of those things is the piano.

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Messages in Bottles

message-bottle

A freelance life, a life in the arts, is sometimes like putting messages in bottles on a desert island, and hoping that someone will find one of your bottle and open it and read it, and put something in a bottle that will wash its way back to you: appreciation, or a commission, or money, or love. And you have to accept that you may put out a hundred things for every bottle that winds up coming back. – Neil Gaiman, “Make Good Art”

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How to be a Better Writer: Have a Sense of Humor

Have a sense of humor.

To be a better writer, you have to have a sense of humor about what you do. You have to be able to poke fun at yourself. You have to be able to laugh even when your work is critiqued and you feel yourself to be a failure.

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Perfectionism, Meet Failure

perfectionism-failure

The problem with perfectionists, albeit not the only one, is their relationship with failure. They hate to fail. It evidences itself in a number of ways; some struggle with a disproportionate competitive streak or a refusal to try anything new.

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Punctured Tires and Thumb Tacks

Thumb Tacks

We hollow out without utility. – Kyle McCord, “I’m Concerned You Will be Reincarnated as Office Supplies”

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