Tuesday, December 22, 2015

2015 Reading Year in Review... #TuesdayBookBlog #Motivational

Dear Reader, 

I have not been doing a lot of blogging this year, but a lot of reading, writing, and working at Two Sylvias Press.


Because of this, this little blog has fallen to the side. Perhaps other social media is to blame as once something is shared on Facebook or Twitter, sometimes it doesn't make it here.


But this is my favorite use of LONG FORM content, this and Medium, so I hope in 2016 to be at least present on this blog...


I did do a lot of reading this year, here's a bit of what I've read:


2015 BOOK REVIEWS (Part 1!) 


Nonfiction:

Not F*ing Around: The No Bullsh*t Guide for Getting Your Creative Dreams Off the Ground by Jeff Leisawitz


First, a disclaimer, I know Jeff personally. But honestly, that only makes me like this book MORE because Jeff *lives* what he writes. He is a creative positive person who brings humor, fun, and motivation into the lives of people around him.

What I love about the book is that even though I feel I have worked hard to live the creative life I've always wanted to live, sometimes it gets lonely and tiring on my own. This book felt as if there was someone else who understands it and ready to share the wealth and reminders of why we do this and the benefits of it.  Yes, risk is involved. Yes, each creative life is different. But we forget this and for me, I felt this book is there to hold my hand when doubt sets in. My favorite chapter? Play it Unsafe.

I'm not sure how to say this more formally, but the book is a sweet read (like a sweet ride into the life you want). It's easy and enjoyable to take in and probably the book I would recommend to start off your new year. 


You Are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness &  Live an Awesome Life by Jen Sincero

I have written about women need to steer the boat of their own life and stop believing that their wake, what's in the past, is what's steering them. This book is about making choices for a better life. I got this book for my mum (warned her about the language) and honestly, she loved it.

It's totally motivational--in that good way. Not cheesy, but smart. I listened to the audiobook and it was as if I had my own personal peptalk, personal coach in my ear. I have read on Amazon, a couple people didn't like her approach, but I admire how Jen really calls people out for their limiting beliefs and behaviors--and I felt in a positive, look-I-did-this-you-can-do-it-too way.  So I'm putting my recommendation behind this book, especially for women.




Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less By Greg McKeown  --  

If you're someone like me who appreciates simple living, and realizing *less* is *more* - this book doesn't just dive into how we really do not need a lot of stuff to be happy, but also about prioritizing your time, saying "no" to things that drain you. You have a better life because you choose your priorities and discard the rest.  

Sounds simple, but the books acts a bit as a motivator and reminder to living this way. It's easy to get caught up in the busy-ness of the world. 




Less Doing, More Living: Make Everything in Life Easier by Ari Meisel

The best part of this book is all the hacks he includes. Ways to consolidate your life, to make things simple. Like IFTTT (If This, Then That) I had no idea about this website, but you can make personal recipes to again, consolidate your life. So you don't have to do things you normally have to do by hand. For example, if you post a photo on instagram and want to tweet it, you can do that. Or if the weather drops to a certain degree in your area, you can have your car turn on... Seriously, if you have the right app, you can make about anything happen.

BUT back to the book-- the book is filled with tips like that. Some won't work for you, or maybe too much money, but many are great ways to make your life easier.



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That is only about 5% of what I've read this year. More book reviews coming in the next few weeks!




~ Kells 

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Saturday, November 14, 2015

My thoughts are with Paris...



~ Kells 

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Thursday, September 24, 2015

Postcard from Aimee Bender





~ Kells 

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Thursday, September 17, 2015

Postcard from F. Scott Fitzgerald (to Zelda)





~ Kells 

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Monday, September 14, 2015

Postcard from Martha Silano @marthasilano "Poem after Vallejo"





~ Kells 

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Thursday, September 10, 2015

Postcard from Virginia Woolf



(Art by Evan Robertson, buy print here.)



~ Kells 

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Thursday, September 03, 2015

Postcard from Margaret Atwood





~ Kells 

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Thursday, August 27, 2015

Postcard from Rumi:





~ Kells 

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Thursday, August 20, 2015

Postcard from Sylvia Plath





~ Kells 

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Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Once, as living things, we protected each other. Let these dogs be a reminder of that--


A lot of sadness in this photo, but a lot of beauty as well.

Once, as living things, we protected each other. Let these dogs be a reminder of that--



From Facebook:
"This one got me in the feels. Lots of destruction and sadness in the Kamiah area - I found this dead fawn [yesterday] morning. An hour later this sheep dog and her 2 pups are here protecting it. They have been here for hours and won't leave - barking at people that come near (although they are very nice)." - Louis Armstrong. He says the dogs protected the fawn for at least 13 hours.

 Posted by Big Country News Connection on Tuesday, August 18, 2015




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Monday, August 10, 2015

Measuring Success as a Writer or Artist: A Basic Guide to Happiness




In America, sometimes we confuse “success” with monetary wealth. We think people who make more money are more successful and even happier.
I have always said, There are many ways to be rich, money is just one of them.
Money seems to be the easiest way to measure success for many people, but it’s not accurate. Freelance writer, Kristin Wong wrote, Money is a tool, not an ideal. Money is a tool we can use to buy things we need or want, but having more of it than another person doesn’t mean someone is successful, perhaps it just means they are better at hoarding.
As writers and artists, we need to shift our belief that money = success. We’re creative people and we need to look more creativity at success. For me, the best thing money buys is freedom — freedom to make your own decisions. But frugality can buy that too. As living more simply can. Or being your own boss. Or not believing you have to live like other people. If we believe money = success than we have given our happiness and our success to a number. Which brings me to my next guideline:
Never define your self-worth by a number.
As poets, writers, and artists, we must not measure success in numbers — the number of poems published, the number of books written, how much money we make, the amount in our bank account, or even the number of items on our creative resume.
Success is greater than that.
Success as a writer or artist is creating something from nothing. It’s adding a little beauty to the world or being part of a larger conversation. Sometimes success is beginning a project. Sometimes it’s finishing. Sometimes success is losing track of the hours you spent revising a poem or teaching someone else how to paint.
The key to unhappiness is to compare yourself to others.

Poets, writers, and artists make their own paths in the world and each path is unique. We have to look at our lives and goals, then carve our own path from our unique inner vision of the life we want to live. Unlike other careers or professions, there is no single way to arrive as a writer or artist. We become one by doing. And just as in making our own paths as creative people in the world, we have to determine what is important to us.
In my life, I value time. I would much rather make less money and be able to create my own schedule — in life and work. I want to choose the hours I work, what I do, and who I do it for. Eventually, I may be rewarded in dollars for my investment in myself, or I may not. But I’m choosing. The views of our own success should be determined by things we can control and our own actions. It should be considered a success to wake up and write a poem. It should be considered a success to send your short story to a magazine. It should be considered a success to share your artwork online.
Emily Dickinson never saw the success of her poems nor did Vincent van Gogh in regards to his paintings. But now they are viewed as geniuses in their field, their work is collected and they are admired by many.
Most of us will never know the “value” of our work on others’ lives, nor how what we have made may have affected others. We write, we paint; we put our work out in the world hoping it finds someone who falls in love with it. Many times, we never know what our work means to anyone. We never know who holds the book in their lap or who saw our painting hanging in a coffeeshop and was moved by it.
Creating art is a hopeful, optimistic act.
As writers and artists, success may feel like the images you see at a 3D movie — it’s out in front of you, but it never seems you can grasp it. One reason is that our idea of “success” is always changing. When a writer first starts out, success is publishing a poem or story, then two poems or stories, then a book, and it continues. The problem with this is we are allowing our happiness to be controlled by others and based on an outcome and not an action.
How do I define my success? For me, success is living the life of a writer, editor, and an artist in the world. It’s being kind and open. It’s trying new things in life and in my work. It’s not judging others or believing I’m better than anyone or that anyone is better than I am. Success is being part of the literary conversation and not being distracted by the parts of life that don’t add to my art. Success is writing a poem. Success is arriving to the blank page unsure if I have anything to say.
Success is the trust that what we’re creating matters and will have some positive impact on the world — maybe in ways we will never see or know. Success is believing this act of creating is what we should be doing. Trust that.


~ Kells 

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