The more important virtue for a writer, I believe, is self-forgiveness. Because your writing will always disappoint you. Your laziness will always disappoint you. You will make vows: “I’m going to write for an hour every day,” and then you won’t do it. You will think: “I suck, I’m such a failure. I’m washed-up.” Continuing to write after that heartache of disappointment doesn’t take only discipline, but also self-forgiveness (which comes from a place of kind and encouraging and motherly love).
The other thing to realize is that all writers think they suck. When I was writing “Eat, Pray, Love”, I had just as a strong a mantra of THIS SUCKS ringing through my head as anyone does when they write anything. But I had a clarion moment of truth during the process of that book. One day, when I was agonizing over how utterly bad my writing felt, I realized: “That’s actually not my problem.” The point I realized was this – I never promised the universe that I would write brilliantly; I only promised the universe that I would write. So I put my head down and sweated through it, as per my vows.
Last week I watched The Invisible War, a documentary about sexual assault in the military. It’s definitely worth watching if you get a chance—it’s on Netflix.
After hearing a speech in middle school about the Navy SEALs, as a 12-year-old I briefly entertained the idea of enlisting in the military someday. It sounded like an adventure and I thought it would be exciting to prove that I could handle the physical challenges of basic training and military service (obviously not the most noble reasons, but hey, I was 12).
A short time later, however, I changed my mind. I don’t remember a specific moment or experience that shifted my perspective, but I do remember that fears of sexual assault surfaced almost as soon as I considered joining.
Watching this film confirmed all of my fears. Rape is “an occupational hazard” of serving in the military?! That’s ridiculous. It’s also the most blatant manifestation of organization-wide rape culture I’ve ever seen. I hope this documentary continues to create awareness and inspire change in the way the military and the U.S. Government respond to sexual assault of our country’s service members.
“Kate Winslet nailed of the best quotes of this clip when British GQ magazine altered a cover image of her: ‘I don’t look like that, and I don’t desire to look like that.’”
Props to Kate for speaking out. I’ve been meaning to write about this issue for a while—ever since I attended the BYU Fashion Show in February.
I was pleased to see that the models came in various shapes and sizes and that the clothing wasn’t too revealing (it’s BYU after all), but for some reason I still felt a little uncomfortable by the end of the show.
As I wandered between attendees, models and student designers at the open-house afterwards, I realized what was unsettling to me: I had spent the last 1.5 hours looking at 60 young women and seeing them only as objects—walking clothes racks. I had dissected and admired and critiqued parts of them and their bodies and outfits without viewing them as whole human beings. It was only after the show, when I saw them talking with friends and family, that my perspective shifted back to normal and I realized they were real people.
If in one evening at an amateur fashion show young women can turn from humans to objects, what must it be like to work as a full-time model? I can’t help but view modeling as a toxic industry after my experience that evening.
Mayor John Curtis has a new blog! I’ve been a fan of the old one for a while now, but with the city’s rebrand this year it seems fitting that he should redesign his blog as well. The new format is beautiful, clean and easy to follow. Let’s be serious, I just love everything that comes out of Provo these days.
This week I signed up for a free storytelling class with Acumen—storytelling for social change, to be exact. It may not be a traditional art class, but I think it counts. The class will be taught remotely, but we’ve started a small group at the BYU Ballard Center that will be meeting in person each week. If you’re in the Utah Valley area feel free to join us Tuesday at 11 a.m. in 360 of the Tanner Building. The class is only a 4-5 hour/week commitment for 4 weeks, and it should be really fun.
*Ok so my 30 Days of Creativity is slowly turning into 30/90 Days of Creativity (30 creative days out of the next 90 days of my life), but I might have expected that since I started a few weeks before finals. No worries—I am determined to finish.
“Four Brigham Young University students walk through the exploratory and often challenging process of moving from a questioning college student to an aspiring social innovator.”
Last month I had the privilege of speaking at TEDxBYU with three of my peers. The four of us were selected as BYU Ballard Center’s Social Innovation Fellows last year, and as part of that program we were asked to speak at the TEDx conference in March. It was a humbling experience and a great opportunity.
Someone told me to watch The Voice audition of “the Rexburg, Idaho boys” last week, and now I am hooked. I love their style. Plus they look like Thor and Ralphie from A Christmas Story—how can you go wrong with that?! Midas Whale, everyone.
Ever since I went the the Library of Congress last summer and saw the exhibit on the “Books that Have Shaped America,” I made a goal to read every book on the list.
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn is on that list, and I just finished it last week. I absolutely loved it. It was one of those books that I was sad to finish because I had gotten so attached to the main character. Set in Brooklyn in the early 1900s, the novel tells the story of Francis, the young daughter of an Irish-American family living in poverty. The story follows Francie as she grows from an innocent 11-year-old to a young woman working in World War I times.
I loved seeing the the author’s portrayal of a place and a time so different from my own familiar surroundings. Plus the way she develops her characters throughout the book is fascinating.
My advice for any readers: don’t skip the foreword by Anna Quindlen! It really set the tone for the novel and made it so much more enjoyable. Happy reading everyone!
Last week our elementary school friend Amy came in town to visit us after 6 years without seeing each other. We took an overnight trip to Zion National Park to show her one of my favorite hikes: Angels Landing. These are a few fun shots of our journey.