The New Yorker on Robin Williams

For all of the coverage of the sad, sad way this world lost the beautiful joy and laughter brought to life by Robin Williams, this article is the most impactful I have come across yet… and with one click, I remember why I love The New Yorker.

“The same qualities that drive a person to brilliance may drive that person to suicide. Highly successful people tend to be perfectionistic, constantly striving to meet impossible standards. And celebrities tend to be hungry for love, for the adoration of audiences. No perfectionist has ever met his own benchmarks, and no one so famished for admiration has ever received enough of it. That untrammelled dynamism that Williams brought to almost every role he played has a questing urgency, as though it were always in pursuit of some truth yet to be named. In public appearances, he never showed the callous narcissism of many actors; his work relied on the interplay between riotous extroversion and nuanced self-study. He played an alien so well because he was an alien in his own mind, permanently auditioning to be one of us. Suicide is a crime of loneliness, and adulated people can be frighteningly alone. Intelligence does not help in these circumstances; brilliance is almost always profoundly isolating.”

Full article, worth the long read here, “Suicide, A Crime of Loneliness

50 Novels by Ladies Under 50 That We Should Read

Friends, I think I read a lot. A whole lot, actually. I was texting with my brother the other day and realized I read six books in the month of June… one of which was Bonfire of the Vanities, which is really long. Maybe it doesn’t seem like that many books – but it is a lot when you work full-time! And like TV! (Suits and Black Box for summer, anyone?)

However, I just stumbled across this list via Flavorwire: “50 Excellent Novels by Female Writers Under 50 That Everyone Should Read“, and I haven’t read that many! (What is Flavorwire you ask? I’m not entirely sure, but a lot of the content looks interesting!)

In fact, I have read two or 2.5, if you will-

Special Topics in Calamity Physics – which I wholeheartedly recommend!

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Also love her second book, Night Film. Although it actually gave me nightmares… very dark.

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The History of Love is a great one – although really unexpected. Very sweet to read and experience but probably not what you’re expecting after judging by the cover.

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And, The Flamethrowers is at least on my Kindle wish list.

So now I just have to finish All the Light We Cannot See (currently reading) and Creativity Inc. (leading work discussion)… but I wanted to share this because I think it’s a great one to check out / use for a fall book club lineup. More on that later…!




“Me Before You”

I just finished “Me Before You” by Jojo Moyes…. and wow. Just wow.

I loved it. It broke my heart, I knew it would, and yet, I still loved it.

It’s the kind of book that once you figure out what is going on, you have a pretty good idea of how things are going to end, but you keep reading anyway. Knowing full well that you’re only going to love the characters more with each page, only making the ending that much more difficult to handle, you plow ahead, trying to savor every sentence. (Come on, you didn’t pick up “The Fault in Our Stars” expecting miracles either, did you?)

The story centers on a young girl in a sleepy tourist town in the UK who ends up being a caregiver, for a quadriplegic who was previously a very successful (and ruthless) business man who lived a large (and indulgent) life.

What follows is a story that will make you question what it means to allow a person to make their own decisions, what it could look like to stand by someone, and love and care for them in sickness and in health. It will make you mad that so many stores, restaurants, events and entire cities are completely inaccessible to people in wheelchairs.

But you should read it anyway – read it and experience the melting of Will, a hardened person who has had everything taken away from him. Read it to feel your world expand, and you, like Clark, will feel the opportunities and privileges of being in control of your own two feet unfurl in front of you.

Read it and when you finish it, lace up your running shoes, or walking shoes, or put the leash on your dog because you can. And set off in the direction of your choosing, because you can. And know that each step you choose is a blessing.

I Will What I Want

Friends, if you haven’t seen the new spot from Under Armour floating around the internet, then you must be on a social media detox. Or it’s because Facebook actually just went down.

For once, the voiceover actually adds to (rather than distracts from) the impact of the creative – told through the voice of a 13 year old Misty Copeland, originally denied her dream of becoming a ballerina for a myriad of crushing reasons. Because when you’re 13, your torso length is definitely one more thing you should be worried about and self-conscious of.

The story of denial and failure perfectly sets up what we are all excited and relieved to know is coming – her triumph as a soloist for the American Ballet Theater. The first African American soloist at the ABT in 20 years, no less.

The concept and cry of willing yourself to win, or accomplish something isn’t exactly a new one, but execution is everything, and this is beautifully done. It doesn’t hurt that it’s also a true, triumph-of-the-underdog story.

Now, let’s all go log some heel raises at the barre, because, those calves. That extension.

School Supplies

It’s funny, how after a long summer, the one thing that could get me ready to to go back to school… was school supply shopping. There’s just something to be said for clean notebook, with fresh, crisp, white pages that inspiring you. Or it was inspiring to me.

To the same end, sometimes you need time away (read: time when you just don’t feel that inspired to blog) and you come back with fresh pencils and a clean notebook (see: new snazzy header font), and you want to start again.

It isn’t an overhaul or anything crazy, it’s just another clean notebook that you’ll hang on to, after the class is over, until you rediscover it years from now and wonder why you still have it. Except that you’ll remember, flipping through the pages, the little bit of life you shared with the notebook, and you’ll be glad that you kept it.


Image Credit: Penguin Young Readers Group

I recently got to see the musical Matilda and it was fabulous! No surprises there of course – but a funny story is that when my brother was visiting us last spring, I gave him the choice between Macbeth and Matilda…. and we saw Macbeth. Where Alan Cummings was essentially the only cast member… but I digress.

Firstly – the kids in Matilda are extraordinary. There is nothing like a six year singing and dancing his heart out as back up to the ten year old start in front of a full theater on a Wednesday night at 7:00 to make you question what you’ve accomplished in your life so far. But it’s also impossible not to love them. They’re so animated and endearing.

But the best part is the story; we all love a good underdog story (see Gladwell’s David and Goliath for your researched perspective) but imagine a good underdog story where the triumphant David is a ten year old girl with a British accent who can belt with the best of them… and uses her mischief to stand up for her friends, making things better for everyone. Some of my favorite lyrics:

Just because you find that life’s not fair, it
doesn’t mean that you just have to grin and bear it.
If you always take it on the chin and wear it
nothing will change!

Just because I find myself in this story,
It doesn’t mean that everything is written for me.
If I think the ending is fixed already,
I might as well be saying
I think that it’s OK!
And that’s not right!

So stand up, kiddos!

January so cold…

The Hudson has partially frozen over – twice!

The Hudson Frozen

Ephemeral New York is a blog I follow that sheds light on the history of this great city through things both forgotten… or simply overlooked. The post titled “Winters so cold, the East River froze over” inspired me to share my photograph of the Hudson that has frozen and melted and frozen again – all in the month of January.

No, I don’t think we could skate or walk on it – but it is pretty nuts.

And really, very cold.