Sunday Box Talk – On Artistic Blocks, Fear, and Forward Movement

As many of know, I'm an author.  Last July, my coauthor Rachel Wilder and I decided to go independent with our Chicagoland Shifters series.  That's when the trouble started.  It was as though I was a creative car engine, and I ran out of oil.  I had plenty of gas, but no lubricant and the engine locked up.  Boom.  Nothing. Artistic blocks are frustrating because there's nothing visibly wron...
Read More

Sunday Box Talk – Creating a Reading List

2016-02-14 Pic 1
  What do you want to study?  Maybe you just want to read the Great Books, or the history of Ireland, or about the conflict going on in the Middle East.  Other than asking the internet and getting some pithy sound bytes, but no real information, how do you go about learning about these subjects? Creating a bibliography is a skill.  Knowing what to include, and what not to include, t...
Read More

Sunday Box Talk – Be a Lifelong Student

2016-02 Pic 1
So let's say you've decided to become a student again.  You want to learn new things, develop new skills, maybe have some fun.  Now what? Well, first thing is to learn to be a novice again.  Let yourself be bad at something, in order to get better.  Studying is a challenge, too.  Spend time with the material.  Take notes.  Let yourself have the luxury of working at it. Once you have all ...
Read More

Sunday Box Talk – How To Take a Sabbatical

I've taken sabbaticals a couple times in my life.  While it's scary to buck the accepted norm, doing so can teach you a lot about yourself and why you're on this planet. The first time, I was twenty-five.  I decided to make a solo climb on Mount Lassen, in Northern California.  I got nearly to the peak and sat down to take a break.  Looking south over the Sierra Nevada Mountains, I realized...
Read More

Sunday Box Talk – The Purpose of Education

2016-01-24 Pic 1
What’s the purpose of education? Nowadays, increasingly, it’s to get a job. It’s more about technical training than it is about educating the mind. And yet, with the proliferation of smartphones, always-on internet connectivity, and ever expanding inflow of information sources, we need the benefits that a good education bring more than ever before. In classical terms, to be educated meant t...
Read More

Sunday Box Talk – Getting Back To Basics

2016-01 ACN Pic 1
Getting back to basics – what are the three boxes of life? It’s an idea from Richard Nelson Bolles, author of What Color Is Your Parachute. He points out that the three big boxes most of us deal with are education, work, and retirement. Bolles proposes something that’s nothing short of revolutionary – why keep the boxes in the traditional order of school when we’re young, then work for most of...
Read More

Sunday Box Talk – The Toolbox

Screen Shot 2016-01-03 at 3.52.15 PM
"Success doesn't come to you, you go to it." – Marva Collins It’s easy to lament the things we don’t have yet. The media bombards us with images of more successful, more slender, more athletic, more successful people every day. New media come online every day, methods of distracting us from ourselves: even the dollar store as the “dollar store radio network” to talk to you while you hunt f...
Read More

Sunday Box Talk – The Way

"It's time to start living the life you've imagined." – Henry James Writing is, much of the time, a lonely pursuit. The writer sits by themselves, even in the midst of others, setting down thoughts in some form that has never existed before. They struggle to capture a vision only they can see and hope to send it out into the world to good reception. The world, consumed by its own concerns ...
Read More

Sunday Box Talk – Scheduling Fun

Unless you plan ahead, you will fail to catch what you're hunting. This is one of the two baby snow leopards at the Brookfield Zoo, as she tries to catch one of the hanging toys in her habitat. I know there's a lot of ink spent on talking about new year's resolutions about now.  I don't actually go in for that all that much, other than to set an intention for the Roman New Year, since, bein...
Read More

Sunday Box Talk – Get IN the Box!

2015-11-08 Pic 1
It's ramping up to be the Holiday Season.  Thanksgiving is coming, it's NaNoWriMo, and soon it will be the Winter Holidays.  Busy much? Usually I talk about how to get out of the boxes of life. Today, I want to talk about how to use them. Many times when we're trying to figure out how to Do All the Things, we get stuck in list mania.  We create list after list after list until we burn them a...
Read More