The Choice by W.B. Yeats

I love this. Especially the first two lines.

The intellect of man is forced to choose
perfection of the life, or of the work,
And if it take the second must refuse
A heavenly mansion, raging in the dark.
When all that story’s finished, what’s the news?
In luck or out the toil has left its mark:
That old perplexity an empty purse,
Or the day’s vanity, the night’s remorse.

Thoughts on Digital Minimalism

My life has been at least partly influenced by my wife’s desire to partake in some of the habits of an analog minimalist. I find myself making decisions in other areas based on these principals.

So I was thrilled to find this podcast where Ezra Klein interviewed Cal Newport about ridding yourself of inessential clutter within the world many creatives work: online. I was even more thrilled to find this post by Newport on digital minimalism.

The bottom line of this general thinking is that a simple, carefully curated, minimalist digital life is not a rejection of technology or a reactionary act of skepticism; it is, by contrast, an embrace of the immense value these new tools can offer…if we’re willing to do the hard work of figuring out how to best leverage them on behalf of the things we truly care about. []

I feel the anxiety of social media and digital clutter often and on a physical level so the push to get away from this, to say “no” to following one more person or one more blog is welcomed.

The rub is how to incorporate a quiet professional life when, by definition, my job is to make noise and stir things up. I think it’s possible. I just think it’s very difficult which also means the reward for doing so will be great.

Fighting for the powerless one at a time

This from C.S. Lewis’ Weight of Glory really affected me when it comes to our purposes in foster care and potentially adoption.

He’s talking about war but I think it applies.

“I think the best results are obtained by people who work quietly away at limited objectives, such as the abolition of the slave trade, or prison reform, or factory acts, or tuberculosis, not by those who think they can achieve universal justice, or health, or peace.

“I think the art of life consists in tackling each immediate evil as well as we can.

“…just as the dentist who can stop one toothache has deserved better of humanity than all the men who think they have some scheme for producing a perfectly healthy race.”

The perils of blogging

When you commit to blogging and writing as a full-time job you’re swing to yourself “I’m committing to constructing something on a daily basis that people will analyze and project onto my personal life and character.

“I must do this thing well every day without fail (I cannot hide) no matter my mood or whether my wife hates or me or my kids are sick or I’m sick or I just don’t want to get out of bed.”

Every day. Every single day.

Capturing ideas is sometimes harder than creating them

I found this interview on Runners World with Matthew Inman who created The Oatmeal and something he said about content creation is something I’ve struggled with a lot.

“The majority of my comics are written in my head while I run. I find when brainstorming ideas, if I focus really hard trying to come up with something I wind up empty-handed.”

“If I focus on something else, however, such as running, showering, or even having a conversation, I find that those ideas will spring up. The tough part is getting them down on paper before they disappear back into the ether of my brain.”

Evernote is a terrific tool but it’s kind of hard to Evernote and run on the treadmill at the same time. There’s always the opportunity to stop but that’s annoying because I want to get my work out in — that’s what I’m there for!

I’m not sure what the answer is (and Inman doesn’t elaborate) but I suppose it’s also a good problem to have.

The Pale Blue Dot

Somehow I just now found this:

This phrase was crushing to me:

“Think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors so that, in glory and triumph, they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot.”