The week before the last week: This week is my last week before going back to work full time, so last week was special. Mostly because Sam turned 3 and we had a lot of celebrating to do throughout the week. But also because I just had a lot of time to play with the kids, not worry about what time I got up in the morning, and go running, speaking of which…
A new book that made me smile: I started reading What I Talk About When I Talk About Running my Haruki Murukami, and am finding that I am relating to it a lot. There is too much to mention, but here are a few.
On being a good writer (but I think it applies to being good at whatever you do), you must have talent, concentration and endurance:
You’ll naturally learn both concentration and endurance when you sit down every day at your desk and train yourself to focus on one point. This is a lot like the training of muscles I wrote of a moment ago. You have to continually transmit the object of your focus to your entire body, and make sure it thoroughly assimilates the information necessary for you to write every single day and concentrate on the work at hand. And gradually, you’ll expand the limits of what you’re able to do. Almost imperceptibly you’ll make the bar rise. This involves the same process as jogging every day to strengthen your muscles and develop a runner’s physique. Add a stimulus and keep it up. And repeat. Patience is a must in this process, but I guarantee the results will come.
On being alone:
It might be a little silly for someone getting to be my age to put this into words, but I just want to be sure I get the facts down clearly: I’m the kind of person who likes to be by himself. To put a finer point on itm I’m the type of person who doesn’t find it painful to be alone. I find spending an hour or two every day running alone, not speaking to anyone, as well as four or five hours alone at my desk, to be neither difficult nor boring. I’ve had this tendency ever since I was young, when, given a choice, I much preferred reading books on my own or concentrating on listening to music over being with someone else. I could always think of things to do by myself.
On learning in school:
The most important thing we learn in schools is that the most important things can’t be learned in schools.
A scary-but-beautiful bit of encouragement to pass on to your partner, kids, students, and friends: Ken Burns’ mentor, Jerry Liebling, advocated learning by experience and told his daughters and students:
“Go, get out into the world. See, look around you. Do, make something, relate. You have an exchange with somebody, be. Take it in. Go, see, do, be.”
From the superb Ken Burns interview with Tim Ferriss. I did a drawing about it I liked it so much.
Revisited my few-time-a-year baking ritual: Baked a cake for Sam’s birthday and this simple sheet cake recipe turned out quite good. By the way, why is Cook’s Illustrated print edition so good and their digital stuff so annoyingly bad? I’m putting it here out of protest:
I miss regular Cheerios: You can’t get just plain Cheerios here it seems. It’s either some five grain variant or honey or something else. The kids are missing out!