Reflection Writing

Noise amongst the noise

Quoted The shapes of creative containers by marlee grace (Monday Monday)

the feeling of being noise amongst the noise

A fear for the modern world: to be noise when you want to be signal.

But you’ll always be noise to some. Better to focus on being signal for those open to receiving it.


I disagree with her lament that writing essays is of lesser value than long form work. I think they can build the long work, breaking down thinking into facets to explore (assuming you’re writing non-fiction). A concept enough for a book is a lot to hold in your head at once: breaking it apart makes it more tangible and manageable. I found this to be true in fiction writing too: the container Word gave me for thinking about a story only let me handle about 50k words before I lost the thread, while with Scrivener I can manage stories of 130k+. Folders, outline views, and color coding make all the difference for me.

I do share her challenge of prioritizing long form over essays, I think, sometimes, to my detriment. I let myself trade my novel writing time for blogging time earlier this week, when I felt a welling up of ideas. It was a relief to unburden myself of buzzing ideas. To take the glimmering of potential and feel out its real shape and substance — because sometimes an idea is less than we imagine when put in writing, and sometimes it is so much more than we expected.

In a sense, translating thoughts into writing is our personal form of transmuting mental noise to signal. I think grace comes around to this too: “Sometimes I skip a Monday [newsletter] though and it’s like my whole week doesn’t make as much sense.”

Future Building Political Commentary

We need our politicians to commit to change if we’re gonna get through climate change

Replied to Add Dedicated Bus Lanes for Every Route by Ryan DiRaimo (The Urbanist)

Paint is cheap. Results are bold. Carbon savings are forever.

Wild idea: Give EVERY bus their own lane
Any bus route currently on a road that has two or more lanes in each direction should immediately paint that far right lane red.

Hell yeah! Just GET. IT. DONE. All of our transit and pedestrian and bike improvements take forever to build but we’re still subsidizing the shit out of driving, making it seem cheaper than it really is to drive.

And a commitment like giving buses priority literally everywhere is what it takes to actually get people to change their behavior. You need to make the desirable behavior way more attractive than the default — which sometimes means also making the (socially and environmentally harmful) default activity less desirable.* Trade a moderate increase in traffic for a drastic increase in bus reliability and reduction in travel times. Reward people doing the right thing, instead of our current punishment (it takes me 20 minutes to drive to Seattle (without traffic) and 10 to park, compared to 40-60 minutes to bus, plus a 10 minute drive or 40 minute walk to the transit center (yay transit-less suburbs!).

Right now we enjoy personal externalities for driving, with society and the environment bearing the brunt of our choice to drive. I don’t think it unreasonable to make people internalize some of the drawbacks of that choice so they can make a truly informed decision while bearing responsibility for it.**

My city’s considering a $20/year car tab to pay for installing bike and sidewalk infrastructure in seven years — which will otherwise take THIRTY FUCKING YEARS to build at current funding levels. EXCUSE ME? Sorry, I can’t hear you over the sound of my laughing. Or is that sobbing. You’re telling me that, in the midst of a climate crisis, you’re OK with our city remaining unsafe to walk and bike through till I’m retired? 🤣🤣🤣

Sometimes we need our leaders to just lead. See what needs to happen, have a vision, and acknowledge that you’re making everyone’s life better in the long run even if individuals will need to adapt to some changes.

I’d love to see a politician willing to only serve one term so they didn’t have to care about pissing people off. Because people hate change, but we need BIG change, NOW. Either we choose some changes to make ourselves — more than we want, faster than we want — or the changing climate will make us change, and that way ain’t gonna be fun for anyone 😳

* I live in the suburbs and I drive 🙋 I’d rather ride my bike but I don’t want to die. I’d rather take the bus but I don’t have time for it to take three times as long to get somewhere. We can’t *only* make things worse for drivers; we also need to invest in our transit system and bike infrastructure so it’s safe and convenient to make the right choice, not just inconvenient to keep making the wrong one.

** Likewise, society needs to make it easier for people to escape the poor choices they’ve locked themselves into. Building as much housing as fucking possible — affordable and comfortable housing (both for individuals and families) — can let people who currently live in the boonies move closer in and escape those carbon spewing commutes. Part of that means lifting restrictions on development, part is imposing more restrictions on what gets built so it’s not all luxury condos or cheapo junk with no soundproofing. ALSO we could incentivize telecommuting instead of forcing people to come back to the office 😠

Getting Shit Done Personal Growth

The reckoning of the to-do list

Quoted Hundreds of Ways to Get S#!+ Done—and We Still Don’t by Clive Thompson (WIRED)

You want to be productive. Software wants to help. But even with a glut of tools claiming to make us all into taskmasters, we almost never master our tasks.

a to-do list is, ultimately, nothing more or less than an attempt to persuade yourself.

— Clive Thompson

I fit the description in this article: I’ve tried so many different systems and software — Toodledo, Trello (currently using), Sunsama (time blocking blended with to do list), kanban (currently using-ish), GTD, off the top of my head.

I think the author’s onto something with the idea that what we really need, rather than the perfect tracking system, is prioritization and realism about how much we can accomplish. I am getting better at separating my self worth from my productivity but I think that mindset is common in our society. This is what 4000 Weeks is getting at: that we must accept we cannot get it all done. That we must choose.

And if we leave the choosing to our daily selves we get caught up in urgency rather than importance. With that in mind I’ve started to book myself an hour a week at work for “big picture” strategic work. We’ll see how well that works!

Another key thing I’ve realized over the years is that in my life overall, energy and not time is the limiting factor. Remembering and making time to work on long term projects, and finding the activation energy of getting started are my main hurdles.

Fun Lifestyle

Putting Fun First

Bookmarked Making Space for Fun Under Capitalism (Mental Hellth)

“My skill as a surfer didn’t matter—what mattered was my willingness to structure my life around the pursuit of fun over work in some small way.”

I was so sick of looking for meaning in work and coming up empty. I wanted to look for meaning elsewhere. Yet it felt wrong—or somehow overly self-indulgent—to focus on surfing. I had the college education and the handful of skills. I was supposed to be making the world a better place or whatever, not selfishly spending every spare moment chasing waves.

This essay was striking for me because I can’t imagine putting fun above everything else. It takes a lot of courage to get over what others think of you and let yourself become “unreliable” or flaky or seen as unambitious because you are so dedicated to your priority of fun. I’m too much of a worrier to ever be able to think like this, but it’s interesting to hear a totally different perspective on how to live and reject the life capitalism expects of them.

Surfing felt like being alive. Working did not. My skill as a surfer didn’t matter—what mattered was my willingness to structure my life around the pursuit of fun over work in some small way. It was a break from the drudgery, a way to imagine a life in which the center of existence was not production, but pleasure.


Attended Side Hustles for Creative Types

RSVPed Attending Side Hustles for Creative Types

Looking for a sweet gig that could make you some extra dough? Ready to be your own boss? Time to step out with your creativity? Creating a fulfilling and potentially profitable side hustle is the way to go. Learn to: identify the intersection between your passion and profitability create a basic plan to point you in the direction of your dream take actionable steps to get your side hustle off the ground.

Visualizing what I thought of as the best possible outcome for three years from now helped me realize I am still scared of whether anyone will read my book. Hedging my bets with another graphic design project because I know I can make money off design.

Getting Shit Done

What will be a relief to finish?

Bookmarked The Task of Least Regret by Chris Bailey (

It’s common productivity advice that you should begin each day by “eating a frog”—doing the hardest thing on your list. I find it even more helpful to begin each morning with the task I’m proudest (and most relieved) to have accomplished.

What will I be most relieved to have accomplished?
— Chris Bailey

Or as he goes on to say, what will I be proud to get done? I think relief and pride lead to different answers. Both I think tie in with my philosophy of leaving gifts for my future self.