Tag Archives: growth

An Open Letter to My Little Brother (with lots of profanity)


I’m really glad you called me. It means a lot that we’re still connecting after all this time. A lot of families split apart and never realize what they could have had. You and me, we had a choice. I think we did pretty good. We’ve always done pretty good, even through the shit, you know? We have the same context, so we never had to justify ourselves. We don’t have to apologize for our language, our thoughts, or our feelings.

So, I’ll give it to you straight.

The reason you feel like you’re dying is because you are dying.

You, me, and everyone else on the planet is dying a little more with every passing second. Scared yet? Good. Because I’m scared, too.

We were brought up to believe that we have a say in our fate. We were constantly tested and expected to step up when our bodies wanted to give out. There were always eyes on us. We had someone to impress — and someone, therefore, we risked disappointing. A lot of times, for me, that was you. I pushed harder because I wanted to be there when you needed me. I got better because I knew you were watching. I knew you believed in me; and I learned to rally after fucking up because you helped me get up again, and said something stupid to make me laugh. Because of that, you are part of my identity, forever.

You and I learned to fight. We fought each other, we fought our friends, and we learned to fight our own weaknesses. We’re at our best when we push and struggle in dynamic conflict. We’re interested in learning new things and broadening our understanding. We want to get better — whatever it takes — to become stronger, bigger, faster, smarter and wiser. If we stop struggling, we die.

We die slowly at first… putting off stuff we know we’re supposed to do. Hanging out instead of finishing our projects. In time, it gets harder to catch up. The gap gets bigger and bigger. We give up what nourishes our souls for the sake of the daily grind — for the sake of what we’re told we ‘need.’ Before you know it, you don’t know who you are anymore. You don’t know what you’re after so you care more about the packaging than the prize. I know you love to fight; but there’s a difference between the pain of growing, and the pain of injury.

Giving up that thing we love — that thing that makes us happy — is self-injury. The only difference between that and a knife is that a knife will drain your blood; but giving up drains your soul. That’s what I mean when I say yes, you’re dying. I know you feel it, because I feel it too when I’m not getting my shit done.

You can’t stop. You have to keep going. The obstacles in your way are in your head. Everything you described that’s worrying you — your mom, your girlfriend, your job, your collection of books — face them. Ask your mom what you wanted to ask her. Ask your girlfriend what her path is, and let her tell you if it’s the same path as yours. None of this has to stay as it is — in fact, all of it will change. You can construct your life, and pick the people you want to keep in it. There is no reason to waste your time at work, at home, or in love with people who don’t help you become your ultimate self.

There are billions of goddamn people on the planet. We can pick who we give our time to. Again, all of it will change… you can choose, or time will choose for you.

Of course, you don’t have to make any major decisions tonight. Sit on it. Look at it. The only thing holding you back is fear. We were taught how important it is to conduct ourselves with dignity and honor, so anything less feels like we’re degrading ourselves. We’re not. I promise we’re not. Our successes and our fuck-ups are all ours; and we grow using both of them.The only reason I suggest starting now is because you’ll be so glad of it, you’ll wish you started sooner. It takes guts to grow, to walk your true path — and, oh man, it fucking hurts sometimes — but it’s always worth it. Always always always.

Just roll around a bit. You’ll be a’aight.

I love you.



Why Creative People Make No Sense, by Matthew Schuler

Most creative people are both rebellious and conservative. “It is impossible to be creative without having first internalized an area of culture. So it’s difficult to see how a person can be creative without being both traditional and conservative and at the same time rebellious and iconoclastic.

The Unbreakable Strength of Humility

What would you like to do?

There are a million bazillion writers out there, it’s true. It’s an intimidating thought, but it doesn’t have to be. The reason for this fear is a sense that we won’t be able to distinguish ourselves. Fact is, there’s something you have to say, in a particular way, that no one else can. Your writing (like all your other life choices) are influenced by your experiences and perception. That’s entirely yours. One way to mitigate this fear is to think of your end game. What would you like to do?

In your wildest most whimsical fantasies, what would you like to do? What kind of stories do you want to tell, and what kind of reader would you like to reach?

This is a marketing question also, but that aspect is for another day over another beverage.

This is the time to consider what you’re immersing yourself in. What are you reading? What kind of feedback are you getting? Are you enjoying yourself? Most importantly, are you challenging yourself, learning and growing?

Echo-chambers, whether they’re full of encouragement or full of disdain, don’t really serve you. The truth and reality of your skill is as valuable as the “you are here” sticker on a map. It sucks at first, but the value is immeasurable. Look at yourself and your abilities. Look how far you’ve come. Now look where you want to go. The only way to get there is to keep an eye on the goal. To use the parlance of the earthy, holistic practitioners I’ve been hanging out with lately: The quality of what you consume affects the quality of crap you produce.

You consume your environment. Not just the location; but the weather, the people and the energy there.

The right environment and access to the tools you need are smack-dab at the intersection of luck and boldness. Sending out query letters isn’t the only brave thing you have to do. You have to seek out new stories, and other writers. Listen to short-story podcasts in your genre. Sign up for Duotrope and see what else is out there. Blog. Get on Google+. Look for those you want to emulate. You’ll find a lot of material that’s much better than yours.

That’s what you want. Seek it out with sincerity.

Read. Study. Ask. When you encounter something you like, find out how it was made. Ask to see more. Acknowledging the gulf between your talent and theirs is only the beginning. It doesn’t end there. Lift your eyes. It’s much easier to build a bridge across that span if you can see the other side – and even easier if you have a buddy over there to catch the first rope.


It is much more valuable to look for the strength in others. You can gain nothing by criticizing their imperfections.”

― Daisaku Ikeda


In the land where excellence is commended, not envied, where weakness is aided, not mocked, there is no question as to how its inhabitants are all superhuman.”

― Criss Jami

These Are The People I Want In My Life

I found this beautiful poem through a friendship with a musician with a beautiful soul. I would not have met her if I didn’t know writers with beautiful souls. Beautiful souls are true, and shine bright, whether they glow with compassion or writhe in their own torment. For me, beauty lies solely in entelechy.

The Invitation
by Oriah
It doesn’t interest me what you do for a living. I want to know what you ache for and if you dare to dream of meeting your heart’s longing.It doesn’t interest me how old you are. I want to know if you will risk looking like a fool for love, for your dream, for the adventure of being alive.It doesn’t interest me what planets are squaring your moon. I want to know if you have touched the center of your own sorrow, if you have been opened by life’s betrayals or have become shriveled and closed from fear of further pain.I want to know if you can sit with pain, mine or your own, without moving to hide it, or fade it, or fix it.I want to know if you can be with joy, mine or your own; if you can dance with wildness and let the ecstasy fill you to the tips of your fingers and toes without cautioning us to be careful, be realistic, remember the limitations of being human.

It doesn’t interest me if the story you are telling me is true. I want to know if you can  disappoint another to be true to yourself. If you can bear the accusation of betrayal and not betray your own soul. If you can be faithless and therefore trustworthy.

I want to know if you can see Beauty even when it is not pretty every day. And if you can source your own life from its presence.

I want to know if you can live with failure, yours and mine, and still stand at the edge of the lake and shout to the silver of the full moon, ‘Yes.’

It doesn’t interest me to know where you live or how much money you have. I want to know if you can get up after the night of grief and despair, weary and bruised to the bone and do what needs to be done to feed the children.

It doesn’t interest me who you know or how you came to be here. I want to know if you will stand in the center of the fire with me and not shrink back.

It doesn’t interest me where or what or with whom you have studied. I want to know what sustains you from the inside when all else falls away.

I want to know if you can be alone with yourself and if you truly like the company you keep in the empty moments.