the importance is in trying

The importance is in trying. (image from here)

Life can be really hard sometimes, really amazing sometimes, uplifting, heartbreaking, thrilling, boring, lame, terrifying, sometimes . . .  sometimes . . . sometimes . . .

I saw this quote on Pinterest. Cliche? Maybe. But it means, “The importance is in trying.” French, no less. I’m no expert in French, but the phrase is just so comforting.

Anyways, I guess I’m just saying this: Keep trying. That’s what matters.

Adieu.

xoxo,

the bbb blogger

fun, funky, fresh

georgia may jagger by ellen von unwerth for vogue russia january 2015 image from here

georgia may jagger by ellen von unwerth for vogue russia january 2015
image from here

Ringing in the New Year with a wardrobe update is always exciting, right? I love fashion—I do. It’s fun. It’s funky. It’s fresh. Or sometimes it can be.

But a trend I’m not sure how I feel about is the whole Polyvore fad.

yay

  • Matching is great. The OCD part of me really gets it.

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nay

  • Most people, in real life, don’t have the luxury to match every single item of their closet with their Starbucks cup o’ joe. It’s just too unrealistic.
  • Also, is it like Pinterest on steroids?

“Weekend Walks” image from here

gray

  • The whole world is able to see all the weird trends that happen in the fashion world. Like McDonald’s gear (as shown below). Is this public sharing that great? Who knows.
  • Is this fad going to fade out like Myspace? We’ll see.

image from here

5 Ways to Be Weird: Lessons Learned from Cats

“Whatever makes you weird is probably your greatest asset.”

True or false?

Joss Whedon said it. It must be true.

Quest time. How do you even find your weirdness? What if you don’t think you’re weird? Is not being weird weird? You’re probably worried now that you don’t have a great asset.

Have no fear! Take advice from cats.

5 Ways to Be Weird: Lessons Learned from Cats

1. Embrace your inner, wild animal. Don’t let anybody intimidate you! Their opinion doesn’t matter, anyway.

Rawr. (image from here)

2. Smile. Embrace your weird smile or laugh or giggle. Whether or not you think it’s weird, you’ll make others smile, too.

image from here

Hey there, sexy. (image from here)

3. Sleep. Nap. More. Anywhere. Not only will you look weird, but you’ll encourage others to embrace weird sleeping times and locations, as well.

zzzzzzz (image from here)

4. Transport yourself. Does that even make sense? Anway, maybe how you get places helps define who you are. You can be “that guy” who drives a golf cart or “that girl” who gets around in a wheelchair or “that kid” that only hops on one foot everywhere. Oh, you’re so cool. I mean, weird.

If anything, at least while you are busy getting around, allow yourself time to ponder and to consider who you really are.

This cat uses the transportation system the right way. (image from here)

5. Clean. Cleanliness is next to weirdliness, right? Maybe not. But it can be! Whether you like to clean or not, doesn’t matter. It’s how you clean that matters. Cats clean themselves with their tongues. Now, it would be really weird if you did that. However, I’m suggesting something more like listening to certain songs when dusting or doing yoga when doing the dishes. Do your thing.

(image from here)


Anyways, here are just 5 ideas. Only 5! These tips are just stepping stones to help you find your greatest asset—your weirdness. And you don’t have to take my word for it. 🙂

Do you have any tips of how you find your weirdness ?

It must be true. (image from here)

Evaluating James’s Use of Charm in Daisy Miller

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The word charming is used constantly throughout Henry James’s Daisy Miller. According to literary critic Adrian Poole, the world would be boring and sad without charm because there would be no possibility of romance. Poole is undoubtedly correct when he concludes, “At once magician and realist, James reminds us that charm is one of the world’s great gifts, even if it is the emblem of a complex fate, or even fatality” (132). Therefore, James realistically uses charm in his stories to provide complex representation of characters.


The Dual Purpose of Charm

In James’s story, charm serves dual purpose. Charm entices yet lulls one into a false sense of security. Charm may seem positive but is actually negative. Charm requires two individuals because there is the person who is charming and the other person who is to be charmed. Poole briefly admits that when readers study James’s writing, they must “submit to charm and beware” (132). He emphasizes on the negative influence of Daisy’s charm in his essay; yet, by focusing on Daisy Miller rather than on Frederick Winterbourne, Poole is lured into Winterbourne’s web of charm, falling for James’s narrative trap. Daisy is not the charmer. It is Winterbourne who is the scheming charmer who manipulates women.

Henry James (image from here)


Austen Influences James’s Writing

Henry James undoubtedly learned from Jane Austen that words serve multiple purposes, and people use words to their advantage. The word charming “may seem to be what Jane Austen calls a ‘nothing-meaning’ term, like ‘elegantly dressed, and very pleasing’” (Poole 116). For example, in Emma, Austen writes about Harriet absentmindedly using the word charming. This usage contrasts how Austen makes Emma cautious of charm, since “[i]t takes two, after all, to charm and be charmed” (117). Austen uses charm to contrast characterization in Emma, while James uses the word as a diversion in Daisy Miller.

Jane Austen (image from here)


Winterbourne Charms Daisy

Frederick Winterbourne uses the word charming repeatedly and derogatorily to describe the female protagonist named Daisy Miller. Poole argues, “[E]very time we call someone charming, we are trying to escape from the menace and promise of succumbing to charm, being truly charmed” (118). For Poole, Winterbourne uses the word repeatedly to try to avoid being seduced by Daisy’s charm; however, Winterbourne’s use of charm is a red herring.

Winterbourne constantly points his finger at Daisy by labeling her as charming. Therefore, he accuses Daisy as the seducer and distracts readers from his scheme to actually seduce her. When the readers are first introduced to Winterbourne, he is “looking about him, rather idly, at some of the graceful objects,” meaning women, because “in whatever fashion [Winterbourne] looked at things, they must have seemed to him charming” (James 4). From the very beginning, readers see that Winterbourne is already labeling women, whom he is checking out, as charming. This observation occurs even before Winterbourne meets Daisy. Winterbourne says Daisy is “a flirt—a pretty American flirt” (James 12), yet he repeatedly comments whether or not she blushes. Daisy flirts but is not looking for a sexual rendezvous, whereas Winterbourne is. For example, when Daisy and Winterbourne were going to the Castle of Chillon, he “could have believed he was going to elope with her” (James 26). The trip ends, and Winterbourne is disappointed that nothing sexual happens between the two of them. There is a difference between a charmer and a flirt: Winterbourne is the exploitive charmer, Daisy the innocent flirt.

Winterbourne & Daisy (image from here)


Winterbourne Charms His Aunt

Daisy is not the only character charmed by Winterbourne. The readers see how Winterbourne is socially smooth with his aunt, Mrs. Costello. Poole wonders how well humans are able to distinguish “between innocence and experience” and “between the cat-like social sense of ‘charm’ and the panther-like deep magical one. This is what bewilders Winterbourne about Daisy Miller” (122). The readers should not be bewildered about how Daisy interacts with Winterbourne; however, the reader should be aware about Winterbourne and his interactions with various female characters in the story.

The readers can see how Winterbourne uses charm to manipulate his aunt and to degrade Daisy. For example, Winterbourne and his aunt talk one Sunday afternoon after going to St. Peter’s in Rome. In sharp contrast to the religious setting, the aunt proceeds to gossip uncharitably about Daisy and Mr. Giovanelli, after seeing the pair together earlier that day. Winterbourne does not defend Daisy, the girl he supposedly cares about; instead, Winterbourne contributes to the gossip by asking questions (“Do you call it an intrigue . . . an affair that goes on with such peculiar publicity?” [James 50]). Winterbourne even offers comments (“They are certainly very intimate” [James 50]). Because Winterbourne contributes to the very unchristian-like gossip, this charmer becomes two-faced. One victim of Winterbourne’s façade is Daisy, but the other victim is his aunt. Neither the reader nor the female characters knows whom Winterbourne is being sincere to. In fact, Winterbourne is probably being disingenuous to both women, serving his own purposes whenever the situation is best for him.

image from here


Winterbourne Fails to Charm

Because Winterbourne tries to be charming to his lover and Daisy, Winterbourne’s charm towards both of them comes to a crashing end. When Mrs. Walker and Winterbourne are in the carriage together, Mrs. Walker orders Daisy to get in the carriage; despite what Mrs. Walker says, Daisy does not want to. To please Mrs. Walker, Winterbourne tells Daisy, “I think you should get into the carriage” (42), under the pretense of protecting Daisy’s reputation while also supporting his lover. However, if Winterbourne—rather than Giovanelli—had been walking with Daisy, Winterbourne would walk with her instead of telling her to do the polite thing of obeying Mrs. Walker. Once again, Winterbourne does not stand up for Daisy, revealing to the readers his hypocritical charm. His sole purpose is to appear charming—towards both his lover and the woman he desires. Because this scene ends with Daisy walking away and his lover being upset, we can see that supposed charm does not always succeed.

In the carriage (image from here)


Conclusion

James evacuates the word charming. As the readers discover how the word charming becomes hollow through the story, the readers also discover how hollow Winterbourne is, as well. Poole argues, “As James grows older his ‘charmers’, both male and female, become more formidable, harder to read, [and] more adroit at masking their intentions” (125). Even though Daisy Miller is a relatively early writing in James’s career, Poole appears to have missed the point that Winterbourne is quite formidable. Winterbourne, who charms Daisy, his aunt, and his lover, masks his intensions charmingly with these three women. In this story, the readers see Winterbourne’s hollow charm because of his interactions with women. As readers, we must be aware of other Winterbournes—in literature and in life.


Works Cited

  • James, Henry. Daisy Miller: A Study. The Portable Henry James. Ed. John Auchard. New York: Penguin Books, 2004. Print.
  • Poole, Adrian. “Henry James and Charm.” Essays in Criticism 61.2 (2011): 115–136. Academic Search Premier. Web. 1 Mar. 2014.

How to Recognize and Resolve Writing Burnout

Sally dreamed of becoming a successful writer. For several years, she had been working as a freelance writer. Her upcoming project was due in a few hours. At first, Sally was enthusiastic about the new project, which she’d been working on over the last two weeks. But every time she picked up her laptop to write a sentence, no inspiration struck.

After the initial excitement of the project wore off, Sally felt increasingly rushed to finish the assignment. Additionally, she started to avoid writing whenever she could: she would do a load of laundry, scrub the kitchen floor, shampoo the carpet, vacuum the stairs—anything to avoid writing. Disagreements and arguments between clients and Sally seemed to happen regularly.

Now, well after midnight, Sally stares blankly at her computer screen, realizing that her eleventh hour is quickly coming to a close.

image from here


Identifying the Problem: What is Writing Burnout?

The fictional anecdote above could happen to any freelance writer. Whether freelance writers have worked independently for several years or have been working on one project for several months, writing burnout can happen. Burnout means that an individual experiences mental or physical exhaustion because he or she is overworked or stressed. Writing burnout is a real problem. But what are the signs of writing burnout, and what can be done about it?

Throes of Creation by Leonid Pasternak (image found here)


How to Recognize Writing Burnout

Recognizing writing burnout can be difficult for many freelance writers. On the LinkedIn group page called “Freelance Writers,” web writer and small business owner David K. William posted an article and asked how to deal with burnout. William posted Tiffany Faming’s article called “3 Signs You Are Approaching a Writing Burnout.” In this article, the three signs Faming warned of were the following: first, “you don’t want [the article to be] perfect, you just want it done”; second, “you’ll take any opportunity to avoid writing”; and third, “you’re having problems with clients.” Although these signs may seem obvious, freelance writers must be aware of how they are feeling in order to identify burnout.

In the story at the start of this essay, Sally experienced all three of these signs. First, she tried to rush through writing to complete the project. Second, she cleaned instead of writing (which is always a bad sign). Third, Sally argued with clients more often than normal. If freelance writers experience one or all three of these signs, they are probably feeling writing burnout. After addressing the telltale signs of burnout, what can freelance writers do about the lack of inspiration?

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The Responses: How to Resolve Writing Burnout

If freelance writers begin to feel exhausted from writing, they should find options to resolve the problem. On the LinkedIn group page, David K. William’s question was how to deal with writing burnout. In the comments section of this post, freelance writers offered their ideas they use in their own work. Their suggestions fall under two main categories: take a break or continue working. These two ideas could appear contradictory; however, freelance writers must determine which suggestion works best for them.

First: Take a break.

On the LinkedIn page, many freelance writers suggested taking time away from projects. For example, freelance writers could stop writing and start reading. Ronald Joseph Kule, a contributor to the LinkedIn discussion, explains, “When facing burnout, I realize this phenomenon as a stuck, one-way flow: too much outflow. So, I pick up one of my books written by another author and sit and read it in a different physical space from where I work.” Reading books may not only help freelance writers clear their minds but also help inspire them to write like other talented authors. In another comment, Roger Livesey explains that after reading blogs, he not only becomes more motivated to write again but also learns something new from what he read. After reading, the new information freelance writers learn could inspire their writing. Taking a break can help freelance writers beat burnout.

image from here

Of course, there are other options of what a freelance writer could do to beat burnout. Creative options—away from the writing arena, of course—should help freelance writers. For example, freelance writer Susan Shuman explains that she takes a break by finger painting or coloring. Being artsy instead of wordy could be a good way to get out of a funk. Another option for some freelance writers is drinking. As David Cooper, another contributor to the LinkedIn discussion, explains, “[G]o to the nearest bar like Ernest Hemingway did,” or as Frank Cagno describes, have a drink and have fun to “clear your mind.” Religious and/or non-alcoholic freelance writers will not take this suggestion for moral reasons. However, having fun and clearing your mind—even when drinking is not involved—can help beat burnout.

Second: Continue working.

On the other hand, rather than taking time off from writing, the second suggestion is to continue working. This process can involve continuing to write the current piece or focusing on other tasks, such as editing or writing something else. Elizabeth Haynes explains on the LinkedIn comments section, “Mostly I just have to force myself to write, albeit in smaller chunks than usual. No writing = no paycheck.” Money is always a motivating factor, especially for freelance writers. Freelance writers could feel more motivated by pushing through and working in smaller chunks at a time, instead of feeling overwhelmed by the whole project. Haynes continues, “[S]ometimes getting an influx of new work gets me moving again. Sometimes if things are slow I have a harder time writing than when I’m really busy.” Although constantly pushing work out will certainly lead to burnout, staying busy is beneficial for freelance writers.

image from here

Another way freelance writers can feel motivated is by editing or rewriting other parts of their work. Editing is an essential part of the writing process, but editing can also help freelance writers feel motivated again. In the LinkedIn post, another freelance writer, Matt Duncan, claims that “editing my work helps me get over a block. Editing [is] the part of writing that is the least creative and I find that the creative side of my brain [will] fight to work when I’m not using it.” Editing may not seem creative for some freelance writers; therefore, working that part of the brain—the supposedly less creative side—could motivate a freelance writer. Additionally, freelance writers could try rewriting previous sections of their work. In the LinkedIn post, Vicki Roth describes her process: she likes to “take something [she has] written before and rewrite or correct it.” By rewriting, freelance writers could not only dispel burnout but also create better writing.

Although taking time off or continuing work may seem like contradictory options, both are valid for freelancer writers to try if they feel unmotivated. What works for one writer may not work for another. For freelancer writers, what is important is to be aware of how their bodies are responding, mentally and emotionally. However, if these options do not dispel burnout, what else can freelance writers try?

image from here


Additional Ideas of How to Resolve Writing Burnout

There are many ways to resolve writing burnout. The opposite of burnout is to stay inspired. Elsie Larson is the creator and writer of the blog A Beautiful Mess, a company that hinges on inspiration, imagination, and creativity. Her success story is based on her ability to avoid burnout. When working on different projects, she suggests five tips to stay inspired: first, “carry a journal”; second, “find a new muse”; third, “develop a creative playlist”; fourth, “refresh your workspace”; and finally, “prove yourself wrong” by making a list of “the impossible” and then accomplishing those goals. When freelance writers evaluate how they are feeling about a project, they can try these ideas to continue staying inspired.

Maybe freelancer writers need to get away. Where should freelancer writers go to find inspiration? As Elsie Larson suggests, freelance writers could try a flea market, the library, a local historic district, or a bookstore. Perhaps they would prefer to go outdoors: have a picnic, take a country drive, or check out a flower shop. These ideas are just a few places for freelance writers to go to avoid writing burnout and to become more inspired.

image from here


Conclusion

Freelance writers must recognize their career goals and work hard. As wealthy freelance writers, the reality of writing burnout is important to be aware of and to recognize. Freelance writers should be conscious of how they are feeling about work. Then freelance writers can adapt to their needs easier. As a result, wealthy freelance writers may be emotionally and mentally fit—in the workforce and in life.

image from here


 Works Cited

One Year Anniversary

Exactly one year ago, I started my blog! What started out as a class assignment has turned into a beautiful blog! ❤ Thank you for your support. Celebrate with me! Do something beautiful, for yourself, for someone you love, for a stranger, whatever! Then post in the comments below. What did you do? I wanna know!

Thanks! 🙂  I hope you all have had a beautiful year.

xoxo,

the bbb blogger

happiness secret

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“In the story The Little Prince, the fox was wiser than he knew when he said, “Now here is my secret, a very simple secret: It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye” (Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince, trans. Katherine Woods [1943], 70). The odyssey to happiness lies in the dimension of the heart. Such a journey is made on stepping-stones of selflessness, wisdom, contentment, and faith. The enemies of progress and fulfillment are such things as self-doubt, a poor self-image, self-pity, bitterness, and despair. By substituting simple faith and humility for these enemies, we can move rapidly in our search for happiness.”

~James E. Faust, “Our Search for Happiness”

read here

Tuesday Tunes: Sondheim’s “Being Alive” from Company

image from here

image from here


Singer: NPH

Song: Stephen Sondheim, “Being Alive”

From the musical Company

  • This song has been stuck in my head. The first time I heard it song, the flawless Sutton Foster was belting it out on stage. This version with Neil Patrick Harris is pretty amazing, too. The lyrics just make me want to cry. So many feelings. Does this song make you think of anyone? Share in the comments below.

xoxo,

the bbb blogger


lyrics:

Someone to hold you too close,
Someone to hurt you too deep,
Someone to sit in your chair,
To ruin your sleep.

Someone to need you too much,
Someone to know you too well,
Someone to pull you up short
And put you through hell.

Someone you have to let in,
Someone whose feelings you spare,
Someone who, like it or not,
Will want you to share
A little, a lot.

Someone to crowd you with love,
Someone to force you to care,
Someone to make you come through,
Who’ll always be there,
As frightened as you
Of being alive,
Being alive,
Being alive,
Being alive.

Somebody, hold me too close,
Somebody, hurt me too deep,
Somebody, sit in my chair
And ruin my sleep
And make me aware
Of being alive,
Being alive.

Somebody, need me too much,
Somebody, know me too well,
Somebody, pull me up short
And put me through hell
And give me support
For being alive,
Make me alive,
Make me alive,
Make me confused,
Mock me with praise,
Let me be used,
Vary my days.
But alone is alone, not alive.

Somebody, crowd me with love,
Somebody, force me to care,
Somebody, let me come through,
I’ll always be there,
As frightened as you,
To help us survive
Being alive,
Being alive,
Being alive!