Reading Is Fundamental And Other 70’s PSA Riffs

People start pollution. People can stop it.

“So, what do you do?”

“I’m a writer. I’ve a collection of essays on my blog, about breaking through conventional thinking and living on my own terms.”

“Oh, cool. Are you published?”

Hmm. Didn’t I just say I’ve got a website? With words on it? Organized around a topical theme?

Isn’t this kind of programmed thinking polluting our creativity? (See: BOX, thinking outside)

Oh! You mean do I have an agent, a contract, and a book deal? Not yet, but it’s curious this leveraging game that’s going on. To get the traditional folk to take a gander, the online platform must have viral-ity. And for site cred, a NYTimes bestseller sure doesn’t suck. Good thing, that penchant for having my cake and eating it, too. Hey, I’m just doing my patriotic duty. The pursuit of happiness and all…

Conjunction, junction. What’s your function?

I’ve been practicing the best of both worlds for a long time and I’m just as comfortable on a John Deere as I am in a Jag. Lifestyle agility, if I may suggest, is a virtue to cultivate. Being nimble enough to position yourself in front of the ball gives you time for strategic visioning. Score! That we embrace the models which have informed and brought us here, along with the exciting tranformations-in-progress – didn’t Dr. Seuss say it best, “Oh! The places you’ll go!” Doors are flying open, because…

The gatekeepers are gone! The keys are in our hands, and not just mine, but yours too. Technology has gifted the tools for us to articulate our madness, er…brilliance. Innovation lies not just in the realm of the few anymore.

Think: Inspiration.

Speak: Intention

Act: Creation.

You’re published when you write. You’re an artist when you paint or sculpt or dance. You’re who you say you are. Declare it. Eyes and ears are everywhere; so is opportunity. It’s taking the best the evangelicals and Darwinists have to offer and leaving certainty behind. We create AND evolve. In muse we trust.

I live to investigate and identify what’s true. Ditch the conventions and assumptions I inherited and reframe how I see the world, and I’ll tell you, it’s not my father’s Oldsmobile. Not a Prius either. Actually, it’s still car parts and chicken wire (nod to Ani DiFranco) since I’ve cut back on the ‘master’s tools’ habit. While it’s too radical to go cold turkey, (still need the Mac, a wireless connection and the USPS) I can see a new horizon and it’s architecturally magnificent! All these fellow life hackers supplying the necessary juice to keep us revved. There’s a whole lotta lovin’ goin’ on in 2012! Look around and see many like-minded souls rejecting the limitations of the previous, and even their own, generation. Truth and passion and optimism ripe for the picking. Online and off. Never before have there been so many ways to get your voice heard, your writing read, your message disseminated.

On deck here are a slew of writing projects. Seeds of new business ideas poking up out of fertile soil. I’m on the verge, folks. And so are YOU.

So remember…

RIF. Reading is fundamental.

It’s not just writing that’s being redefined. Reading, also. Have you heard that more people are cracking the kindles, nooks, and good old-fashioned books more than ever? It’s not all black and white, anymore.

Think about your RSS newsfeed, your favorite magazine, your horoscope, yours truly. None in hardcover or even sitting on the shelf. Digital. Ethereal. Cloud-like.

We’re immersed in words, in all their old and new forms. From Facebook and twitter to whizzing billboards, daily weblogs, ingredient + nutritional stats, Ron Paul newsletters, overflowing library stacks, and those creepy pharm ads (check out the side effects – you’ll never consider popping Lipitor again).

Amidst the cacophony, there’s wisdom to widening our lens. We’re exposed like never before, and great responsibility is called for. Notice how words are used and consumed. Become more conscious of what you put in your mind – for it determines what you think. Our mind is the only place that’s truly ours to govern.

Have you ever closed a book and reveled in the story, wishing it hadn’t ended? The characters live on, in our imagination. They have staying power when expertly rendered. Sometimes even when they’re not, so isn’t it better to be as discerning with our mental appetites as we are with our New Year’s ones? It’s easier to decline entry to those freeloading poseurs than to evict them. Just as we trim the fat from our diets, we should be careful with what stories we give our mental real estate over to.

Onward from my 70’s rugrat days, I scoured whatever I got my hands on. Voracious, I was. It started with the back of cereal boxes and Nancy Drew mysteries. Then there was my vampire phase. (version 1.0, that is ~ Anne Rice). My tastes have become more discriminating, as I satisfy my word cravings with more nutritious fare.

Here’s what’s on my reading list now:

  1. Drive by Daniel Pink (masterfully documenting what we intuitively know to be true about human motivation)
  2. The latest issue of Orion with a don’t miss interview between Terry Tempest Williams + Joe DeChristopher (the auctioning activist, post-jail term)
  3. This quote: Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing. Helen Keller
  4. Issue #5 The OCCUPIED Wall St Journal (nabbed while touring the OWS offices in NYC last week)
  5. The Flinch by Julien Smith (FREE ebook on amazon – what’s stopping you? go get it!)
  6. The “map” of my new book (in progress) – How I’m going to revolutionize the interview process for the 21st century – you’ll never hire the wrong person again. Book proposal gratitude to Danielle Laporte & Linda Siversten.
  7. A new yoga studio’s schedule (oh how I miss you, Rachel)
  8. My dad’s Christmas card, for the nth time
  9. My 2012 list of intentions, declarations, and wouldn’t-it-be-marvelous-if’s. Tinkering, still.
  10. To my nephew: Tikki Tikki Tembo by Arlene Mosel and Blair Lent. Because the single biggest determinant in the success of a child – across the board – is being read to.

Only you can prevent wildfires.

Together, we can start them! Change your mind, change your life.

What’s on YOUR nightstand? What do YOU do?

Leave a comment


  1. destrudowoman

     /  6 January 2012

    Yeah Baby! Fabulous post. What’s more, you remind me what I’m here for…I really have to start calling myself an Author and Artist like I’ve been “manifesting” for years now… after all, it’s what I do every day!

    Many Blessings to you. You’re such a Blessing to me!

    • Likewise! And thank you 🙂
      No one gets to define us, or what we do. As soon as we start playing by someone else’s rules, we’re doomed. Take the bull by the horns!

  2. “It started with the back of cereal boxes and Nancy Drew mysteries.” You just described my childhood. Thanks for a wonderful article – I think it’s started a fire under me!

  3. I didn’t really have access to many books as a kid, which is probably why my library card has more mileage on it than my Amex. Keep the fire burning – the world longs for what you have to offer.

  4. i like the fact that you’re as comfortable on a tractor as in a jag. my kind of woman! and i also appreciate your reminder that blogging does indeed count as publishing. thank god we are living in the 21st century when the old rules don’t have to rule us anymore.

    as for what’s on my night table this very minute: the catalogue for northeastern college. my daughter is a h.s. junior and we’re about to start the college search.but next to my pillow is the latest issue of the new yorker. because of this post, i will make a point to read it tonight — instead of tossing it on top of the foot-high stack of new yorkers that are on the floor, next to the night table. thanks for the pep talk!

    • Yay, Betty, for carpe diem! For years I waffled with my New Yorker mags…either I couldn’t keep up with them or I’d cancel periodically. Now, they’re part of my bfast routine – and I’m richer for reading them.

      Best of luck on your college touring! What a big decision for you and your daughter…the world is wide open to her. Of course, I’m a proponent of taking a year off to travel first – SO much to learn from other cultures: food, history, art, self-reliance, belonging, how to sleep in a train station without losing your luggage 😉

  5. Great post and writing. I’m definitely a writer first, blogger second. This is not something that can be tamed!

    • John~
      I love that we can be both…plus a whole lot more. Imagine the world of writing even 15 years ago and how much our options have exploded since then! Looking forward to checking out your site…(I hope the debt is a misnomer~) Thanks for taking the time to comment 🙂

  6. Kellie, you don’t post often, but when you do….WOW! For sure, you never fail to make me think, and I hope some of that thinking is outside the box. I’ve never thought of myself as being published, but you’re right, when something is out there for people to read, it is published. That certainly makes me think about content!
    Hope all is well.

  7. Lulu~
    I was just having this convo with my sister yesterday about the legitimacy of identifying ourselves vs. an identifier that’s born in tandem with the world around, ie: certification, licensing, passing the bar, getting degree’d. So many perspectives, for sure, but I prefer sitting in the driver’s seat and announcing that I AM THE DRIVER!
    And yes, it can up our game when we shift our self-view. We see our impact in a whole new light.


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