Reading Review #4
This review covers March 10 through March 27. Instead of bemoaning how late this one is, I’m going to go ahead and say this is the pattern: roughly every two weeks (about twice a month) I’m going to publish one of these. However, I’m also toying with the idea of implementing some sort of bookmarklet for myself (inspired by Jeremy Keith in this post linked below) to make composing these a bit easier.
Further thoughts on how I compose these: they really are reviews. That is, the published article itself is not the review, but rather the act of composing the review is the review.
Other thoughts on writing/blogging: I recall so much from around 2005 to 2007 hearing people criticize blogging for being only so much navel gazing and complaining online. To be sure, this may be correct. That said, I do wonder if that is really just a particularly negative characterization of something that can be truly therapeutic and positive.
Independent speaker, podcaster, and contrarian (I say that lovingly as a fellow contrarian and generally difficult person) Merlin Mann talked on the Back to Work podcast with Dan Benjamin about getting outside of oneself as a way of getting out of a funk (right around 1:14:20, embedded below, the discussion of Metta meditation). The act of writing: taking an often squishy, continuously changing blob of emotions, feelings, and half thought through reasonings, then turning it into something which flows as a stream of coherent words another human could possibly identify with I argue is itself an act of getting outside of oneself. To be sure, it’s probably only the first rung on a tall ladder, but ….
From about 1:15:20:
It’s not just about being positive or thinking good thoughts, ultimately it’s about that search for the impulse inside of you that makes you want to be more generous toward the world.
I’ve started reading Design For Real Life. It’s a very compelling read. Even if I don’t apply its lessons directly, I think it will be a drop in the bucket to making me more empathetic in both life and software development.
Bold emphasis mine, italics in the original:
Why is that in a maelstrom of kindness we fall prey to that one cruel remark? How is it that we’re so easily wounded by an off-hand comment or swipe? A stranger writes and tells me not to talk about anything that’s happened to me this year because future employers will consider me “unstable”. I don’t know how to respond so I don’t. I spent the better part of my life behind a mask, suffocating from it, and if someone can’t respect a person trying to get through a tough time, that someone is human, this is probably not a person with whom I want to work. Friends with whom I thought I was close maintain a safe distance, and part of me wonders if they think this is what I want, perhaps they’re trying to be respectful, but then I think of my other friends who text, Facetime, and come by my home and drag me to the beach and pay for my lunch or donuts because I can’t really eat out anymore. These friends don’t act like a therapist and I don’t expect them to. Sometimes I just want a donut or a cat photo or a friend like my dear Amber who will Facetime me and ask me, no, really, how the fuck are you? And she’ll sit there and listen while I talk about really uncomfortable things and Amber does exactly what I need a friend to do–listen without making me feel ashamed for not snapping out of my sadness.
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