If I leave you packets of words
And you find them late, when I am long dead
I am still speaking to you, my heart
Reaching out to your heart through time.
First Person Tetris
And now for something a little different.
Whenever I feel upset or sad and I want to distract myself, I go here and play. It’s a great way to get your mind off things. You have to focus pretty hard to keep track of what is happening and make sure the pieces end up where you want them, but it’s such a satisfying feeling when you get it down.
For an added stress bonus, check out the Existential Crisis mode.
Caveat: People who get motion sickness are not advised to play this game. But man, it sure is fun. Enjoy.
By following your heart and your passion and your gut and by doing it with the unassailable integrity of which we are all capable, you will become what you are meant to be. We spend so much time worrying about what’s coming down the road at us instead of just living in the moment. Don’t be afraid of what’s coming down the road… Unless it’s a big 18 wheeler and then you should probably be afraid and jump out of the way, I’m just saying.
But, don’t follow someone else’s idea of what your life should be. Be it your parents or your friends or perhaps most pervasively, the media. No one can tell you or teach you what your life should be you learn it, simply by living. We’re all told about this great ideal of success.
Sucess. It’s ridiculous and elusive. Success is not a bank account, or a job title. Success is waking up in the morning and looking forward to that day. Success is putting your head on your pillow at night and being proud of how you lived that day. Success is choosing a path or a partner or a job or a hobby that makes you smile and that makes you laugh.
Success is living a life with compassion and joy and genuine wonder and giving that compassion, joy and wonder back to others. Always, always give back. Believe me when I say it is the most satisfying and meaningful thing that you will ever do.— Dr. Amanda Tapping | University of Windsor Spring Convocation session 4 2014 (via stillkindabeautiful)
Here is a lie we’ve all been told: books will make you smart.
This week, the Internet churns once more over the latest article denouncing adults who read young adult fiction. The argument is always the same: young adult/ thrillers/ romance/ sci-fi/ chicklit/ picture books/ subway maps are not as good for you as adult literary/ nonfiction/ dead Russians/ the calorie lists on Chipotle menus. Lovers of the former are always ready with a defense — either that the former really are as quality as the latter, or that not everything you put in your brain has to be good for you.
Rather than contemplating a new defense — surely, I could, as I write young adult fiction —I wondered instead why we keep seeing the same scuffle in different hats.
And I think it’s because of this untruth: books will make you smart.
I believe the book industry may be one of the few industries that promises you will actually become more clever if you buy their product. Car companies might swear you’ll look cooler in an Audi than a Kia, but they don’t tell you that you’ll actually become a better person behind the wheel of one. Computer companies might shout that their equipment is smarter, but they stop short of promising that your entire life philosophy will improve if you buy their products. When I bought my office chair, no one told me, “Well done. People who sit in leather chairs turn out to be stronger women.”
But we have this prevailing theory that books will make you smart, and it’s this theory that allows us to judge a book’s quality by how far it stretches your mind. According to this idea, if it doesn’t make you smarter, it’s a lesser book. It becomes a guilty pleasure, like food that doesn’t contribute to your daily vitamin requirement. Cue up the articles on the tragedy of the populace reading young adult, or turning to magazines, or — horrors, shall I whisper it — watching television in lieu of reading.
Don’t they know that reading makes you clever? Don’t they know that television and movies are for non-intellectuals? Hoi polloi turn the TV on. If you’re someone who’s going to be someone, you open a book.
But books aren’t smart: stories are.
Not all stories, of course. There are wise stories and flippant stories, stories that stretch your mind and stories that only make you laugh. Stories that are true and stories that won’t ever be true.
A book is merely a medium for carrying a story. So is a television series. So is a movie. So is a play, or a or a puppet show, a video game, a note from a stranger. The medium itself carries absolutely no promise of intellectual content. There are shallow books and world-changing movies. There are ridiculous non-fiction texts and complex young adult novels.
A book is just words. A movie is just images. These things can’t change you.
Only the story can.
So if we can accept that books can — and are meant to — fulfill all kinds of purposes, we can stop pretending that a good book only means a book that demands probing analysis. If we can further accept that genre is merely a jacket for the story, we can possibly also stop arguing that this shelf or that shelf in the bookstore has the corner on intellectual greatness. Someone who writes smart stories can put them into any form, any medium, any length — and they do. Look at the artists who work across several different forms. Do they grow more or less clever when their stories are filmed or shelved, packaged for grown-ups or packaged for teens? If you long for a mind-bending story, you can find them anywhere, if you look for them. If you’re looking for a stupid story, I promise you that you can find them anywhere, too. If you’re looking for grotesque generalizations, you’ll also find that confirmation bias is a powerful thing.
Books don’t make you smart. Stories do. And that is a truth I’ll defend to anyone.