Tag: Writing

Weekend Links

“A wise man will make more opportunities than he finds.”
― Francis Bacon

Another massive week at work, a bunch of freelance pitches sent off, another couple of potential media opportunities on the horizon I want to explore…capped off with a somewhat lazy weekend. Jeff is getting over a bad cold he’s been dealing with for two weeks and I’m battling not to catch it from him. Consequently, not nearly enough housework gets done.

In the meantime, more SDS writing is heading your way soon, just working out some new editorial calendars and topics, aren’t you lucky! Here are your links, tell me what you got up to this week.

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Save the banana!

Not enough counseling in the world, I fear.

When I marvel that medieval or ancient things are rediscovered after being lost…I sometimes have to remember the alternative. (h/t Xarissa)

Slay, queen.

Almost too darn pretty to be real.

Who really drives the luxury market?

Thoughts on the future of Twitter.

Wow…oops?

Take that, stereotypes. I do morbidly like the idea, though, that more wars may have been fought because non-reigning royal spouses needed something to do, bless them.

I have learned this week that there is an entire subsection of architecture built around rage and revenge. How on earth did I not know this?! This is, if you’ll forgive the pun, right up my alley!

You know what they say about big hair

As an owner of a RBF, this appealed.

Pal and Friend of the Blog Andrea from This New View suddenly moved to China a couple of months ago. Luckily for all and sundry, she’s writing about it!

Emails With Friends: Mystery and Method Acting

“Also, for your daily dose of Clueless Writing Inspiration, I literally knew nothing about diving when I started [nameless novel here], and now I have gone drinking with Olympians, have a chronic diving-related injury, and can pretty accurately score elite-level dives as well as describe any dive based on its numbers.”
“Are you saying I need to kill someone to write a good mystery? I question your methods.”
– Katarina and C.

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Friday Links

“There is little chance that meteorologists can solve the mysteries of weather until they gain an understanding of the mutual attraction of rain and weekends.”
~Arnot Sheppard

Another big week. We had our friend Lark in town last weekend and through the start of this week, it was delightful to see her! Beyond that I had meetings, copy writing, and work enough to make me glad for the weekend. Although the weather has turned cold and rainy lately and shows no signs of stopping. The notoriously short British summer might have already come and gone, kittens!

The links this week are quick and dirty, please add anything you’ve read or seen worth sharing in the comments and let me know what you get up to this weekend!

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Interesting piece about complaining!

As a military brat, I find this fascinating. Cheese?

I think I could really get up the nose of a future Home Owners Association with one of these gorgeous things!

A world of only Facebook “likes” is a world we don’t want to live in.

They shall remain nameless at present but I have multiple friends with manuscripts being reviewed by publishers and would just like to refer them to these. When I am so lucky as to join them, I shall certainly take inspiration.

Correct, because it is excellent.

Word changes are interesting to me, not just how their usage shifts around over the centuries, but their pronunciation as well. Grammar Girl has a great list of a few such developments.

This gorgeous handbag line was featured in Liberty a while back and I’ve started seeing it pop up elsewhere, so clearly we need to help get the word across the Pond as well.

Brace yourself for our future robot overlords.

It’s Shark Week and the annual controversy is alive and well.

HONY is out of New York this summer…and amazing, important things are happening.

There’s a lot in this piece that resonates with me. I grew up a military brat and worked in a police department for five years, and in that time I do feel I caught a glimpse of this militarized cop mentality which concerned me. In this country, soldiers are not cops and cops are not soldiers, and there is a reason for that.

Friday Links (New York Times, Edition)

“I don’t think intelligent reports are all that hot. Some days I get more out of the New York Times.”
– President John F. Kennedy

It’s been a busy week, as you may have suspected. I’m afraid that makes for an even busier Friday, so here are your links. Share anything else worth reading, plus what you’re getting up to this weekend, in the comments and enjoy high summer!

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Had to wait an extra day to get it over here, though the original is currently winging its way to me thanks to friends.

Headline of the week.

Teri, over at The Lovely Drawer, has shared another design freebie: beautiful desktop wallpapers.

Interesting story about an unexpected sumo wrestler.

Marvel is changing the comic book character Thor to a woman and certain parts of the internet reacted to the news…internet-ish-ly. Luckily the blog Texts from Superheroes had the perfect response.

Art remixes where new and old subjects and pieces are mashed up beautifully. (Warning for pearl-clutchers, nude forms are present!)

This video of a person playing with a platypus is exactly what it says on the tin and much cuter than you’d think. Almost makes you forget those odd beasties have poisonous spines!

A giveaway I assume most US based minions will want to know about.

Interesting development from Amazon, what do we think about this? Janssen, our resident book aficionada needs to weigh in!

A Facebook friend, moderator of a freelancer forum I belong to, and a writer herself penned this hugely useful piece on the realities of how to do your taxes when you work for yourself.

I could never persuade Jeff to this, he’s all about lofts and modern space, but I’m currently house-lusting over this 14th century home.

And, the biggest news for me personally, in case you missed it, I wrote an op ed for the New York Times that was published on Tuesday. It contains my perspective on Kate Kelly’s excommunication, its place in the “Mormon Moment,” and what I feel to be the larger implications for the church. It was not easy to write, and it was very scary to share, but I’ve been really overwhelmed at the positive and sincere feedback I’ve received from it. A huge and heartfelt thank you to friend and Friend of the Blog Caitlin Kelly (unrelated to Kate) who urged me to write a piece after many emails on the subjects of Mormonism, feminism, and religion in general, and who helped me to place it.

Writing Hard Things, Part II

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about wanting to write “hard things.

This week I got the chance.

It’s an experience that’s still unfolding, but let me just say that I’m grateful to have the chance to contribute what I hope is something meaningful to the conversation. To be able to do so in the Grey Lady herself is truly a privilege.

Friday Links (slightly overwhelmed in a good way, edition)

“The world is so empty if one thinks only of mountains, rivers & cities; but to know someone who thinks & feels with us, & who, though distant, is close to us in spirit, this makes the earth for us an inhabited garden.”
― Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

You people are wonderful, thank you for all the lovely comments and emails from my last post. I’ve really been blown away by how something that felt so personal and unique to one community has turned out to be a pretty universal emotion and feeling. Such is the way of all fear and trepidation, I suppose. Either way, reading through those was the most cheered I felt in a week.

In the meantime, while one aspect of life has been a pit of turmoil, others have been tripping quite merrily on without time to waste. The human experience is a strange, fractal thing… Currently I’m working on one project that might or might not have anything to do with the Miss America contest, another involves wrestling through multiple layers of online security which makes me feel much more advanced and technologically impressive than I am. Nifty things and amazing work happening over in freelance territory.

Also our five year (!) wedding anniversary is coming up Tuesday. Don’t ask me where the time went.

Here are your links for the week, add anything else worth reading about and let me know what you’re getting up to in the comments!

The tumblr find of the week reminds us that not all advice is helpful.

Interesting portraits of first year college students. We’re coming up on the 10th anniversary of me starting college (clutches self a bit to realize that) but I don’t have many photos from that time period still hanging around. I’ve never been a big picture taker until we moved to London, and even then very few of myself or Jeff. I wish I had more from my college days.

Everything about this story is pretty horrifying.

Really interesting TED talk on how we as a society are using people with disabilities as motivation, which on its face seems good but as the speaker points out, has a pretty bad side effect.

Longtime readers know I simply cannot resist a good art mystery!

This American Life did another live show (their last one was one of my favorite things of 2012, so I was too excited not to share).

I bear witness of the high heel insert, personally.

A source of some confusion to various friends and acquaintances, I have never been to Disney World/Land. I have been to Euro Disney, but those in the know tell me that this is Not At All the Same Thing. So, people who know better than I, tell me what you think of Disney Land’s original prospectus?

If you are suffering from an insufficiency of cuteness this Friday, may I offer this as a balm?

I would kill to get my hands on one of these 18th century pattern books on fabrics and textiles to sift through on a rainy afternoon.

A cover letter from Leonardo da Vinci.

I loved this piece on the world of incredibly valuable but often invisible work and how much we rely on it.

Summer sales are lovely, forbidden things. Some of you go and buy something fabulous from GiGi New York for my sake, please. Let me live vicariously.

Writing hard things.

“The truth is rarely pure and never simple.”
― Oscar Wilde

I’ve been close to radio silent on the blog for the past couple of weeks, it feels like, but there’s been a reason for it. I’ve linked to the story when it broke in the New York Times, but the truth is I’m much more intimately connected to it than that.

I am a Mormon feminist. Or I was one? I’m not sure, it’s been a baffling few weeks on top of an already baffling decade. In one way or another I have been publicly and outspokenly at odds with the religion I was born into for a decade now, beginning when I arrived at university to find local leaders trying to organize volunteers in support of the LDS church’s Prop 8 campaign, which I staunchly refused to do. My personal religious experience has largely gone downhill after that.

I disagree vocally with the faith’s stance on LGBT people and issues, I’m unabashedly supportive for ordaining women to the currently male-only priesthood, I reject the teaching about gender and gender dynamics I was taught as not just often wrong but in some cases dangerously so. But in recent years (topped off by Kate Kelly’s experience, a woman I know, in addition to many other women in Ordain Women), my experiences with the faith and the people in it have gotten increasingly disheartening and even ugly. Things I thought I believed have been tested and found wanting, things I never believed have been proved. It’s been a decade of vertigo and unbalanced experience. I have longed to write about them, but felt utterly unable to express myself except to my husband or a few friends.

I’ve certainly never found a way to write successfully about my religion in this space. Perhaps it is because it’s so personal and I am not brave enough. Perhaps it’s because I didn’t want to reveal how deeply troubled I have been around it for so long – usually that only leads to people offering unsolicited advice one of two ways: to silence my doubts or to just leave. Neither of which are helpful, by the way. Perhaps it’s because I’ve been so conflicted myself and have not been able to settle my own thoughts to my satisfaction and so could not organize them for anyone else. But I think at it’s base, the problem is I don’t know how to write about my Mormonism honestly.

I don’t know how to express what it is to love something and be ashamed of it at the same time. I can’t explain the feeling of wanting to be loyal to something that you feel, deep in your gut, is doing the wrong thing. I cannot describe what it is to belong to a people and a tradition that I disagree with in fundamental ways. I cannot usefully or concisely shrink 200 years of history into a cohesive narrative for the outsider yet. I cannot turn nearly 30 years of lived experience, 10 of it increasingly hard and painful to reconcile, into a blog post. I’m afraid that anything I write will be fundamentally inadequate.

Also, I am a coward. Typing this now, I’m terrified to think what the reaction of a number of people whose good opinion I value might be. Every time I have been open about my struggle with faith and relationship to it, I have paid a price for it. Friends have deserted me, leaders have punished me, and I have even worried about a job because of it. I am frightened to lose more than I have lost by being honest. Not only that, as followers of the news story have seen, there are other prices to be paid. Kate Kelly, a woman more faithful than I probably ever could be, has been cut out of the religion by excommunication. There is a long and troubled history in Mormonism of excommunicating feminists and for a long time I was silent because I feared the same fate, though I fear it substantially less these days.

I am tough but my struggle with disbelief and estrangement from my community over some very big disagreements has left scars. If you were to metaphorically strip me of my coverings, yes you would see a few deep gashes of massive religious doubt. But you would also see a thousand pinpricks of hurtful comments, ugly gossip, insinuation, and spite from members of my own community, for being “other.” You would see the shrapnel wounds from when a friend standing next to me was targeted with death threats for her feminism and I was too close to not feel some of the blast. You’d see friction burns from when people who loved me tried to apply pressure (lovingly, of course) to “fix” or correct my unorthodox opinions. You’d see a brow furrowed by a million doubts and shoulder grown round with the heavy weight of fear pushing down for 10 years. You’d frankly see some marks left from self-harm as I have punished myself for not believing hard enough or hoping strongly enough. I don’t want any more markings on my invisible skin and so I have often tried to cover it up by simply not speaking of it. I’m losing my capacity for silence.

There is so much I want to say about the religion of my youth, most of it good, but I cannot speak about it unless I can say all things, and some of it is bad. Some of it is quite bad. I cannot talk about one half of my spiritual experience without including the other. I want to be able to write why I stayed LDS so long in spite of massive misgivings and conflicts of conscience, and I want to write about how compelling the thought is of completely walking away – without having anyone weigh in on the matter. I want to write about the feeling of being caught in the middle. I’m not sure how to do so, but for the first time I’d at least like to attempt it.

Perhaps finally, I am learning to write hard things. I hope so, because I need to, everyone who writes does. I do not want to do it all the time, I admittedly prefer humor and lightness and think I’m better at those. But I am learning the painful lesson of the value of the hard things and though it’s difficult, I’m glad for it.

Weigh in, writers. What made you able to write about the painful, the rough, the unappealing, the unbelievably personal, and the hard?

 

Friday Weeks (Making it after all, edition)

“It is never too late to be what you might have been.”
― George Eliot

Big week! Huge existing projects, potential new projects, and scheduled meetups and meetings with people for even more potential new projects. Freelancing is an interesting business, there are some weeks that are very standard and uneventful but you get good work done, and others that just set you up for leaps and bounds of growth if you make smart decisions. Hopefully this has been the latter.

This weekend I’m meeting up with a bunch of academic friends (usually scattered from London to Cambridge, but convening in the capital for food and talk), editing and updating my recently expanded portfolio, and hopefully hitting up some new museum exhibitions with Jeff. We walk on the wild side, kittens. Here are your links, share anything else worth knowing in the comments, and let me know what your weekend plans are!

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From my latest urban agriculture profile over on The Thrifty Homesteader.

The tumblr find of the week is a source of unending hilarity and delight to me. One feed, one singular purpose. (Also, he was all kinds of dishy back in the day, was he not? Insert a sort of humming, growl-y noise here.)

People. Fundamentally decent.

Even now I have Teddy, a well worn and well loved, formerly pink bear I got the day I was born. She was my best friend and partner in crime in childhood, and still beloved to this day. (When we were dating, Jeff once commented on the less than pristine state of her fur and had to spend a lot of time apologizing to make up for it. He may be my greatest, but she was my first love.)

An excellent piece on the importance of boredom, very thought provoking.

As of tomorrow it is officially summer. Would that I were not two feet too short to wear this dress in celebration.

This is my favorite headline to come out of the World Cup thus far.

One of my cousins recently got engaged in a spectacular fashion and a photographer was on hand to capture the moment. Unsurprisingly, since my cousin happens to be a model, the shots turned out gorgeous so you’ll forgive me if I shamelessly share them.

I already posted a PSA, but for those who missed it, online buddy Kim Curran’s fabulous new novel GLAZE is now available on Kindle for $.99! It’s only for two more days, though, so get cracking.

I am still supremely annoyed that we had to forgo Ascot this year, but the Fug Girls are providing the necessary hat commentary until next summer. When we WILL be going.

I sincerely love human beings seemingly innate desire to make functional things beautiful – though I doubt the wisdom of silver finger protectors to avoid harm coming from picking strawberries (possibly the world’s least dangerous summertime delicacy) out of a bowl.

Essie nail polishes are easily my favorite, but the story of the woman behind the company is just as good in my opinion.

Pretty pieces of custom embroidery.

Last week I shared a piece from the New York Times about Mormon activists facing church discipline. This week an exceptionally good post on one of the most famous stories of dissent from within the Mormon faith community, Nazis are involved.

PSA: GLAZE

“The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid.”
― Jane Austen

I mentioned a couple of weeks ago that I made it to a book launch? Well, this is the book! Kim Curran is another freelancer and writer I met through Twitter (that and blogs, how else do 21st century friendships began?) and finally got to meet in person at her launch, along with a whole host of other London writers. Let me be blunt, she’s fabulous. So is her book and right now it’s available for a limited time on the US Amazon.com site for $.99. Run, don’t walk.

GLAZE takes place in a near future and tells the story of the powerful social media technology of the same name, a girl who finds herself cut off from it and therefore everything that matters, and the desperate lengths she’s willing to go to belong. As you might expect, that’s when things start to get complicated.

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One of the posters from the launch.

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More importantly, one of the hilarious pun posters some of her friends and supporters made up.