The Joy of Tackling a Big Project

My current Big Writing Project (BWP) is the finishing up of my commentaries on Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana for publication. I’ve been using the writing software Scrivener, as everybody who’s anybody says it’s magnificent. Well, I’d been finding it magnificently hard to use, to be honest. The final step in my project was the addition of images, and Scrivener just wasn’t cooperating. Until, suddenly, it was. I’m not sure what I did, but I think I had somehow created a table where I didn’t want one, and Scrivener was stubbornly following the

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Gretchen Rubin’s New Book Is Here!

The Four Tendencies: The Indispensable Personality Profiles That Reveal How to Make Your Life Better (and Other People’s Live Better, Too) by Gretchen Rubin, 2017. Link is to the book’s page on the author’s website.

I have now done something for her books that I haven’t for anyone else I can think of: Buying them, in hardback, as soon as they come out. This is number four in her series on happiness, habits, and now . . . heuristics? I can’t come up with a third “h” word. It’s actually a deep dive into her theory about what she calls personality tendencies. I’ve read the sections that have to do most with my own tendencies: Obliger and Upholder, and gotten bogged down with the Questioner and Rebel sections. I’ll come back to them later.

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Hurricanes and Human Nature

If you’re like me you’ve spent the last several weeks reading and watching everything you can about Harvey and Irma, those two most unwelcome visitors to our shores. I feel especially sorry for those who were just starting to crawl out from under the rubble left by Harvey, only to have the nation’s attention diverted to Florida’s woes. As I sit here, safe and dry, it’s easy for me to do a little pontificating about what these storms reveal about the human condition. To be honest, I’m finding it quite difficult to write

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Anxiety Equals Adrenaline

Once again I’m mining the ideas of a podcast for my own posts, and today the nugget of wisdom, this one about anxiety, is from “Happier in Hollywood,” hosted by Liz Craft (who’s also on the “Happier” podcast) and her writing partner Sarah Fain. They are often prone to anxiety as they navigate the roller coaster of being TV writers living in LA. No one has a permanent job within a TV series, because no series is permanent. Let’s see—how long did “Monk” last? Seven years? Something like that. Most are much, much shorter. So you’re constantly having to prove yourself.

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Cutting The Gordian Knot of Possessions

Another insight today from my latest podcast fave, “Need to Know.” More of a throwaway line as the podcast winds down than anything to do with the main subject of this episode. (The relevant section starts at 1:02:30.) Anyway, Mona Charen and Jay Nordlinger are talking about whether or not Mona will be hosting the podcast the next week as she’s in the midst of a move. Jay makes the point that in every society that’s been studied, one of several constants is that people hate to move.

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No Ostriches Need Apply

I’ve said often that I consider Dorothy Sayers’ Gaudy Night, written in 1936, to be the greatest novel of the 20th century. I’ve been reminded a number of times recently of this little exchange between Lord Peter Wimsey and the woman he loves, Harriet Vane. Peter had fought in World War I and been badly traumatized by his role as an officer, having to send men off into battle.

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The Happiness of a Big Event

I have a separate blog called “Intentional Hospitality,” but right now it’s out of commission, and my purpose in writing this post isn’t so much to give you recipes and timetables as to talk about a major source of happiness–and nervous breakdowns—in my life: throwing parties.

I have always liked to cook, going way back to my grade-school days. In fact, one of my fondest memories from about fourth grade is the time that my mom put me in charge of cooking dinner and I made everything from the

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Fuzzy Finish Lines

countertop and stove finish line
See how close the stovetop is to the counter!

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about finish lines, especially in how we view big projects and how we think they’ll advance. We look forward, we long, for the day when everything is done. It seems as if it will never happen. And then, gradually, the pieces start falling into place. It’s not one big ta-da moment like a horse crossing the finish line but a succession. There are bumps and reversals and then bursts of progress. This past Sunday, for instance, was a burst. The in-laws were off on a square-dancing trip until Sunday afternoon, and Jan’s daughter and her husband wanted to come over that evening.

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A Followup to “Happiness”

So, have you read or listened to Happiness: The Crooked Little Road to Semi-Ever After? C’mon–you need to! But in case you’re just not up for a whole book right now, here are two short web posts for you to try, one a formal book review on NPR and the other an interview with the author Heather Harpham on Gretchen Rubin’s website. I especially like the title of this second post: “”Habits of the Mind Far Outweigh Habits of the Body.”

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