“Very Good Lives: The Fringe Benefits of Failure and the Importance of Imagination” by J.K. Rowling

very-good-livesGoodreads summary:

In 2008, J.K. Rowling delivered a deeply affecting commencement speech at Harvard University. Now published for the first time in book form, Very Good Lives offers J.K. Rowling’s words of wisdom for anyone at a turning point in life, asking the profound and provocative questions: How can we embrace failure? And how can we use our imagination to better both ourselves and others?

Drawing from stories of her own post-graduate years, the world-famous author addresses some of life’s most important issues with acuity and emotional force. (Goodreads)

My thoughts:

Toward the end of last year, I visited the library and unsure of what to get, I grabbed whatever caught my eye. Very Good Lives was one of the three books I left with.

Very Good Lives is the published copy of a speech J.K. Rowling gave at Harvard’s commencement in 2008. It’s not the first that I’ve encountered it. I watched a video of Rowling giving the speech a couple years ago on Brain Pickings. There were several other commencement speeches in that post, including one by Steve Jobs, and all were uplifting.

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some insight on how bad moments influence our identity, from Andrew Solomon

Andrew Solomon TED quote

“We don’t seek the painful experiences that hew our identities, but we seek our identities in the wake of painful experiences.”

“Forge meaning and build identity: Forging meaning is about changing yourself; building identity is about changing the world.”

“We cannot bear a pointless torment, but we can endure great pain if we believe that it’s purposeful.”

“Ease makes less of an impression on us than struggle.”

“We could have been ourselves without our delights, but not without the misfortunes that drive our search for meaning.”

“Identity itself should be not a smug label or a gold medal but a revolution.”

Andrew Solomon, from his TED Talk, “How the Worst Moments In Our Lives Make Us Who We Are.” Solomon is a writer on politics, culture, and psychology. He is a regular contributor to NPR, The New York Times, The New Yorker, and other publications. His book, The Noonday Demon: An Atlas of Depression, won the National Book Award for Nonfiction in 2001 and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in 2002.

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“Steal Like an Artist” by Austin Kleon

Available on Amazon and at your local bookstore.
Available on Amazon and at your local bookstore.

I’m a sucker for inspirational quotes, books, cups, t-shirts, shoes, hats, anything. If it has words of encouragement, I want to buy it. If it’s meant to cheer you up and get started on creating something, I want to get it. If it’s to help build your creative confidence, I want to read it. So it should be no surprise that I bought and read Steal Like an Artist: 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative by Austin Kleon. I think I first read of this book in one of the many posts on Maria Popova’s website, Brain Pickings (I love that website! It’s a source of inspiration for creativity). After looking up the book on Amazon, I decided that I must get it.

The first thing I love about this book is the presentation. I don’t know what the cover is made of but it’s that smooth but thick, jacket-like cover that I find on most YA novels. I like the texture so I keep touching it. I also like that it’s made to look like a blackboard with the writings in chalk. There are doodles by the author throughout its pages to give it a fun appeal, which is certain to tickle the creative spot.

Continue reading ““Steal Like an Artist” by Austin Kleon”

a line from Apoorva Mandavilli

quote from apoorva mandavilli

“You can never overestimate how empowering it is to see someone who looks like you—only older and more successful. That, much more than well-meaning advice and encouragement, tells you that you can make it.”

—Apoorva Mandavilli, from her article, “Alone in a Room Full of Science Writers,” on Medium.com. Mandavilli is a science journalist and adjunct professor at New York University. Her article discusses her experience as a minority in the field of science journalism.

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a note on the Familiar from Alexa Meade

Alexa Meade quote

…you can find the strange in the familiar. As long as you’re willing to look beyond what’s already been brought to light, then you can see what’s below the surface, hiding in the shadows, and recognize that there can be more there than meets the eye.”

—Alexa Meade, from her TED Talk, “You Body is My Canvas.” Meade is an artist who paints on living subjects. She takes a three-dimensional creation and makes it appear as two-dimensional by collapsing depth and making her models appear flat.

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