It’s a mistaken prejudice of our times to think that the only way to cheer someone up is to tell them something cheerful. Exaggerated tragic pronouncements work far better.
Cf. Carolyn Hax, “A willingness to hear unwelcome truths is the unhappy person’s best friend.”
Alain de Botton – By the Book – NYTimes.com
This interview is such a gold mine.
I differ from the most diseased part of myself, and I think that an irony of spiritual practice is that when you get out of yourself you kind of more become yourself. When I was a little kid I was bouncy and I made a lot noise and I broke shit. I ran around, I was very enthusiastic. In all the pictures of me I’m smiling. Now, I’m pretty happy. I laugh a lot. I have joy on a given day. I’m not a blithering idiot, and I suffer when it’s hot out or it’s raining and I can’t get a cab. I worry about my kid or my friend getting chemo or whatever. I suffer. But I’m pretty happy. And it’s almost like, I remember my mother saying when I was getting sober, “you’re going to come back to that [childhood happiness].” And I said, “Mother, I don’t even fucking remember that.” I just don’t remember feeling that way. But I really think that voice—not the one that says, fuck you, you stupid bitch, you’re a whore, but the one that says, you can do better than this, honey—that voice is God. And that’s actually who you really are. The other stuff that’s telling you what an asshole you are all the time is fucking noise, your ego or your head or whatever. The Buddhists would call it your ego. Pentecostals would call it Satan. It doesn’t matter what you call it. It’s my fucking head talking.
Feeling-Making Machine: An Interview with Mary Karr – R A I N T A X I o n l i n e Spring 2010
A case can be made that people who read a preposterous number of books are not playing with a full deck. I prefer to think of us as dissatisfied customers.
Joe Queenan: My 6,128 Favorite Books – WSJ.com
Because rumination may allow an idea to stay in one’s conscious longer and indecision may result in more time on a given task, it was expected that these two cognitive processes may predict creativity. Self-report measures of rumination, indecision, and creativity were electronically distributed to 85 adults (28 men, 57 women; M age = 32.96 years old). Reflective rumination significantly predicted creativity, moderated by high levels of indecision. This study may resolve previous conflicts between findings on rumination and creativity and introduces indecision as beneficial in the creative process. This study also provided important clinical implications in distinguishing between adaptive and maladaptive rumination suggesting a new cognitive link between creativity and depression.
Insert the “One Single Study Often Means Jack Shit” disclaimer here. But it reminded me of Alain de Botton:
Being cheerful is really no recipe to get down to work: nothing happens until paranoia, jealousy, competitiveness and guilt arrive.
And also of Roz Chast:
I kind of tend to stay up late just about every night, anywhere from 12:30 a.m. to 3 a.m. I putter. I nurse old grudges. I fold origami while nursing old grudges. I think about the past. I wonder if there’s any grudges I should start.
Are people who dwell on their problems more creative? – Barking up the wrong tree
T.I. – Drug Related from The Leak.
Materialistic can’t substitute for your happiness.
Life’s about how you feel about you, and what you do.
When you wake up in the morning, in the mirror, you seeing who?