How Preparing for TEDxRoseburg Was a Lot Like a Nickelback Song

I have many identities. Some feel truer than others. I used to think I was weird because of this, but my studies and my experiences with a wide variety of people lead me to believe I am nowhere near alone. In fact, I might be weird if I was the same person everywhere, all the time.

We have selves: creative selves, spiritual selves, emotional selves, work selves, academic selves, secret selves and more. Don’t believe me? Think about how much a couple (romantic selves) change when their child walks into the room (to parenting selves). Think about how you answer the phone. It depends on where you are, who is calling, what time of day it is, who is with you, and a host of other factors.

Preparing for my talk, The Other Statistic, at TEDxRoseburg was a journey through past selves and a big question mark for the future self.

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In Answer to Your Questions about Inspiration

So, it’s been a while since I posted. I’d make excuses, but I don’t have any. This morning, I read an email from a high school student working on a project about inspiration and asking if I would be willing to answer some questions to help them out. I asked my artist friends on Facebook to offer a comment about the one thing they would want someone to know about inspiration, went to work, and mulled over my answers most of the day. I think I might have this all wrong, but the answers seemed worth sharing, and it had been, you know, a really long time since I posted anything over here. So double thank you to the high school student–once for making think this through and then again for giving me a blog post. Here goes:

What is inspiration to you? And where does your inspiration come from?

Inspiration is not a thing. It is a moment. I can’t predict what is going to inspire me, but I leave myself open to it at all times. Sometimes, it’s a particular shade of a particular color in a sunrise or sunset or a woman’s dress or a man’s eyes. Sometimes, it is deep internal reflection about something. Sometimes, it’s a chord in a song or a series of words in something I’m reading or a poignant news story or the tears of a friend. Sometimes it comes from my students: their stories, their triumphs, their epiphanies, their relationships with one another and with me. Often, it is loss. That can be a personal loss–a loved one, a change in major plans, a rejection of some kind–or something I perceive as a societal loss–the failure of a bill that would help people in poverty or people with disabilities, for example, two subjects that I care about deeply. For me, the only way to combat grief and loss is to make it worth something, to bring something out of it that is worth sharing.

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Guest Blogger: Mike McLaren – ‘I Wish I Knew’

Of the bazillion things I don’t know, I do know ten things that I think about more than several times a day that I don’t know about people.

I wish I knew all the ways that cause people to feel afraid. Fear, I think, initiates all other harmful emotions in people. Harmful emotions become translated into hurtful actions. If I knew all the ways people feel fear, maybe I could set their fears to rest, which might help people to stop doing hurtful things.

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Guest KJ Hannah Greenberg-Plodding versus Widget Writing: Electing not to Write in Response to Changes in Publishing

Plodding versus Widget Writing: Electing not to Write in Response to Changes in Publishing
© KJ Hannah Greenberg

Honesty reveals that most writers actually plod along. Whereas articles featuring a vista into an author’s ways and means tend to be glamorous in order to benefit the publications presenting the stories, and whereas tweets tend to generously endorse their subjects, the greater portion of storytellers’ hours, even among the most highly successful writers, necessarily are spent pushing on an electronic or at a traditional implement. It’s small consolation to creative sorts that their work can often be performed in the comfort of fuzzy bunny slippers.

For writers, success can be sudden, sharp, or decidedly elusive. Talent is not always the engine that pulls audience share and timing or even connections frequently amount to naught. Nonetheless, it is also almost always true that writers who are unable to demonstrate followings are writers who are unable to climb professionally.

Accordingly, writers must make efforts with their pens or keyboards, must expect nothing to go according to their plans, and when and if they reach some height of accomplishment, must expect that maintaining their readers’ attention is nearly impossible. For those reasons, most scribblers also work as engineers, busboys, English teachers, cab drivers, financial analysts, couriers, chemists, track couches, or as anything else that provides remuneration. Writing, in the best of times, is a glorified avocation.

There exist exceptions to this norm. For instance, if one is willing to sacrifice aesthetics and become a widget writer, one can anticipate regular pay for produced text.

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You Are Here: Activism from the Edge of the World

My essay on disability, mental health, literature, literary activism, and experimentation is now posted.   This essay explores a variety of ideas and includes previously unpublished excerpts from some of my prose work, as well as hitherto unpublished poetry.  This is the piece I submitted and presented at PRESS: a cross-cultural literary conference on the theme “activism and the avant-garde.”  It’s available for reading here.

Thoughtful reading,