Doing more only to do less – do we glorify busy?

Campari and Sofa

Stop the glorification of busy.My friend Gavin was telling me about a conversation he had with some Dutch colleagues. Gavin, and his compadre Georgina, find that the sheer volume of work they are confronted with on a weekly basis is just un-doable within the confines of a normal 8-hour work day. So they regularly put in 10-hour days at the office. And another couple of hours at home picking up emails. This causes all sorts of problems: they’re tired all the time, their spouses feel ignored, they don’t want to go out at night or over the weekend and they lose touch with friends.

Hmmfff…”, said their pals, “In Holland, if you were to work like that we would think you were not coping.”

“Am I”, he wondered, “not coping? Or am I doing more than I should? And if I am doing more than I should –  what should I stop doing? And…

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David Foster Wallace on the Costs of Becoming a Professional Tennis Player

Longreads

It’s better for us not to know the kinds of sacrifices the professional-grade athlete has made to get so very good at one particular thing. Oh, we’ll invoke lush clichés about the lonely heroism of Olympic athletes, the pain and analgesia of football, the early rising and hours of practice and restricted diets, the preflight celibacy, et cetera. But the actual facts of the sacrifices repel us when we see them: basketball geniuses who cannot read, sprinters who dope themselves, defensive tackles who shoot up with bovine hormones until they collapse or explode. We prefer not to consider closely the shockingly vapid and primitive comments uttered by athletes in postcontest interviews or to consider what impoverishments in one’s mental life would allow people actually to think the way great athletes seem to think. Note the way ?up close and personal? profiles of professional athletes strain so hard to find evidence…

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Six Things I’ve Done Wrong In My Writing Career—and Did I Fix Them?

Bob Mayer

25 years, over 60 books, and I still screw things up. Here are six things I’ve done “wrong” according to most accepted practices for a successful writing career and a note on whether I’ve corrected each, will correct each one, or screw it, it’s just the way I am.

  1. Not networked enough.

This is a people business, just like any other. Early in my career I really believed I could just sit at home, write books, and everything would go fine. Not. I should have made more of an effort to get to know agents, editors, publishers and especially other writers.

Fixed? This is something I’ve worked hard to correct, especially since forming Cool Gus. I try to make it to Seattle once a year to meet with Amazon; in New York to meet with Barnes & Noble. Been to Toronto to sit down with Kobo. Go to BEA to…

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Joan Rivers: 1933-2014

You will be missed Joan Rivers ❤

Longreads

Joan Rivers, comedy legend, has died at age 81. Three stories from the Longreads Archive:

The Fresh Air Interview: Joan Rivers (Terry Gross, NPR)

GROSS: So, like, that’s kind of a paradox to me that you live to be on stage and at the same time, there’s this dread of being on stage.

Ms. RIVERS: Not a dread of being on stage, a dread of not doing well, of disappointing them. I you know, I always you think I have one friend who’s a very good, very, very famous comedian, comic, who once said to me: I give them five minutes. If they don’t like me, I go on automatic.

And I thought: They have bought the tickets, they have paid for a babysitter, they have come out to see you. They want to have fun. I want them to walk out of a show and say, that’s the…

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How we rationalize the privacies we invade

Interesting logic behind this article!

Vanessa Mártir's Blog

I’ve been thinking a lot about privacy. Privacy from the perspective of a memoir and personal essay writer who is revealing family secrets, breaking silences that were intended to protect (or at least that’s what I’ve chosen to believe) but have done more damage than good.

I’m thinking about my aunt, my Titi who is very much a surrogate mom to me. When I told her I was writing a memoir, she said, “Be careful what you write.”

“I’m not being careful.”

“I know.” She looked at me with those loving eyes of hers, no judgment, but no understanding either. Then she walked out of her kitchen, a plate of food in her hand. The heaping plate she’d just served me sat on the table, heat rising off the rice in smoky tendrils.

Two years ago, I showed her the picture I found in Meryl Meisler’s exhibit, “Bushwick in the…

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