What I’m Doing Monday: 01/26/2015

mondaydoing01262015 copy
Watching: Steven Universe – This is one of the best shows on television right now. General plot: Steven is a part of the Crystal Gems, a magical (otherwise) female fighting team who defends Earth against nasty creatures. As he tries to figure out his own super powers, they learn about being a family, dealing with the otherwise normal people of their city, and have adventures. It’s a lot of fun, and it is surprisingly mature for how it may look coming in.

Loving: Buddhify – Buddhify is a meditation app for the iPhone and Android. You have the option of selecting a given scenario and then picking one of several audio options based on the amount of time you have. So, for example, the other day when I was feeling extremely anxious at work, I listened to a 10 minute guided meditation from the Feeling Stressed section. It helped immediately.

Reading: Burnt Tongues edited by Chuck Palahniuk, Richard Thomas and Dennis Widmyer – This is a collection of strange and bizarre short stories by a variety of authors. They can be pretty disturbing, but they are very well-written. Reminds me a lot of Haunted.

Hearing: Paddle Your Own Canoe by Nick Offerman – I’m sorry, dear subscribers. I’ve cheated, and there’s no turning back now. Recently, I have been listening to more audiobooks than music, and as a result, my go-to ear snacking has been this fun, manly book by “the NBC guy with the mustache.” Pair it with his Netflix special “American Ham” and you’re in for a treat.

Doing: Slam poetry – (Author’s note here. I originally was going to look for an image that would encapsulate “Overtime” because that is actually what I’ve had to spend a lot of time doing as of late but then decided that that was really, really fucking depression. Pardon my language.) The last two Tuesdays have been spent being part of Pittsburgh’s slam poetry scene. I have now performed four pieces, and they have been pretty well-received. For those of you who have not attended a slam, it’s a competition in which poets perform a piece of writing no longer than 3 minutes and are then scored by a panel of judges. There can several rounds until a winner is found. I made it to the second round both times I attended, which I think is pretty solid for a beginner.

Stop What You’re Doing and Read “Yes Please” by Amy Poehler

I just got finished listening to this amazing, inspiring, beautiful book by Amy Poehler. This is going to go on my list as one of my favorites on Audible, by the way. I’m sure the book/ebook is wonderful, but the audio version is like…this awesome party you’ve been invited to. And you know all the people there, and you get to watch this great group of friends laugh and joke together.

I was late to the Poehler party. I’ll admit that right now. I probably only recently binge-watched the entire Parks and Rec series to this point, and it is one of the best comedy shows I’ve ever seen. It has just the right amount of funny and heart and wit and deadpan awesomeness. So I got really excited about Amy’s book.

I wasn’t disappointed. Not at all.

Amy had me at hello. I was sitting in a hotel in Plymouth Meeting on a business trip the day Yes Please came out. I had downloaded the Kindle sample and started reading it. In the first pages, Amy is upfront and honest about what a grueling task it was, writing the book. How she kept wanting to stop, how she tried to surround herself with her favorite writers’ work and then just found herself re-reading those other books instead of working on hers. I loved her for saying all the things that I think writers try to avoid saying, or share as an afterthought…like, “Oh, yes, writing is hard work, but when you are one with the Muse and you unplug from the material world, you are a better person for your craft and…” Amy takes that Walden image and calls it out for the bullshit it can be.

So if you are a) a creative person, b) a writer or c) a human being, you should check it out. Here are five things I picked up from reading this amazing memoir. I’ve tucked these in my back pocket, as mantras and reminders of how to be a better person.

1. The doing of the thing is the thing. Not talking about the thing, or thinking about the thing, or planning the thing. Do the thing. Now.

2. It’s easy to get stuck in your head. We overthink. Jump in to life headfirst. Do.

3. Say “Yes Please.” There is the chance for adventure and great times if you put yourself out there rather than going “nah.” It feels good to go “Of course!” and “Bring it on!” Yes please. And I’d like to add, “More, thank you.

4. Try not caring so much, when it comes to your career. This isn’t about the creative aspect of it, but the business of it, the success factors. Your career will do its own thing in its own time and your obsessing about it isn’t going to help.

5. Our phones really are trying to kill us.