duskpeterson: An apprentice builds a boat as a man looks on. (apprentice)
"In April 1870, a twenty-eight-year-old [William] James made a cautionary note to himself in his diary. 'Recollect,' he wrote, 'that only when habits of order are formed can we advance to really interesting fields of action - and consequently accumulate grain on grain of wilful choice like a very miser - never forgetting how one link dropped undoes an indefinite number.' The importance of forming such 'habits of order' later became one of James's great subjects as a psychologist. In one of the lectures he delivered to teachers in Cambridge, Massachusetts, in 1892 - and eventually incorporated into his book Psychology: A Briefer Course - James argued that the 'great thing' in education is to 'make our nervous system our ally instead of our enemy.'

The more of the details of our daily life we can hand over to the effortless custody of automatism, the more our higher powers of mind will be set free for their own proper work. There is no more miserable human being than one in whom nothing is habitual but indecision, and for whom the lighting of every cigar, the drinking of every cup, the time of rising and going to bed every day, and the beginning of every bit of work, are subjects of express volitional deliberation.


"James was writing from personal experience - the hypothetical sufferer is, in fact, a thinly disguised description of himself. For James kept no regular schedule, was chronically indecisive, and lived a disorderly, unsettled life. As Robert D. Richardson wrote in his 2006 biography, 'James on habit, then, is not the smug advice of some martinet, but the too-late-learned too-little-self-knowing, pathetically earnest, hard-won crumbs of practical advice offered by a man who really had no habits - or who lacked the habits he most needed, having only the habit of having no habits - and whose life was itself a "buzzing blooming confusion" that was never really under control.'"

--Mason Currey: Daily Rituals: How Great Minds Make Time, Find Inspiration, and Get to Work. (Alternative subtitle: How Artists Work.]


Writing )
Everything else )
Reading )
Finances )
duskpeterson: An apprentice builds a boat as a man looks on. (Default)

Inspired by Frugalwoods and desiring some accountability, I've decided to post my monthly budget this year. I'm calling this feature "Life-or-Death Frugality" because that's what it is for me.

Background )Budget )Totals )

Feedback, folks? Do you think my budget is appropriately frugal for my circumstances? (This isn't a rhetorical question; I'd really like to know.) Feel free to share your own budgets if you like.

Next month: We see whether I can stick to my budget.

duskpeterson: (autumn acorn)
"Even Socrates, who lived a very frugal and simple life, loved to go to the market. When his students asked about this, he replied, 'I love to go and see all the things I am happy without.'"

--Jack Kornfield: After the Ecstasy, the Laundry.


About the fast )
General rules )
Books & periodicals (print and digital, including online fiction) )
Internet )
Audio & video )
Games )
Food )
Pharmacy & medical )
Supplies )
Day job )
Writing )
Gifts & charity )
Transportation )
Out-of-home entertainment )

That's the full list of my rules for the fast. If any of you have placed limits on your own acquiring, I'd love to learn from your experiences.
duskpeterson: (grief)
[I just posted the text and link below at the Falls Chance Ranch forum, where Rolf & Ranger are hosting a virtual campout to help ease their readers' stress over world events during the past few weeks. I will only add here that the song I link to is terribly appropriate for the story I'm currently writing, "Tempest."]

My apprentice Jo/e and I wanted to share a song that was written in the summer of 1969, and which seems as appropriate now as it did then.

Some context for those of you who weren't around back then (which includes me, in a certain sense; I was an oblivious six-year-old). As the author of the notes to this song's album put it, "The starry-eyed optimism that had taken hold of America's young during the mid-Sixties didn't just die in 1969 - it was ripped to shreds." In 1969, the murderers of Martin Luther King, Jr., and Robert F. Kennedy were on trial. Americans feared further race riots. The Vietnam War was in full swing, and young American men waited to see whether they would be drafted. Across the country, university campuses were torn apart by protests which sometimes turned violent.

In 1969, the Midwestern university where my father taught underwent student and faculty protests. One of the results of the divisiveness was that my father eventually resigned his position and moved his family halfway across the country to take a new job. (That's why I now live in Maryland.)

In 1969, Jo/e's father was serving in Vietnam.

I often listened to this song at home in the 1970s, when I was a troubled adolescent; my parents owned the album. My parents and Jo/e's parents would have first heard this song around the time its album was released, in January 1970.

Simon & Garfunkel's "Bridge Over Troubled Water."
duskpeterson: An apprentice builds a boat as a man looks on. (Default)
"Day after day, do your work as if you were in business. Handle the customers that come in with dispatch and courtesy. Then think up some work for yourself to do. And do it.

"The [works] you write are your inventory. . . . Back in my fledgling days, I compared myself to a man who had opened a new five-and-ten-cent store. I thought of what he must keep in mind, as he put his inventory on the shelf and waited for customers. No matter how few customers came in to buy, at first, each one was a prospect, each one could buy something, if the commodity was right, if the price was right, and if the need was right. . . .

"Every time I was disappointed [by sales], I thought of the young fellow who opened the five-and-dime store, and how disappointed he must have been whenever people walked through, looked over his inventory, and then ambled on, not even trying to shoplift any of it! . . .

"Fortunately, worrying about theft of material is not a frequent part of the writer's management task. The important, and essential, part of his management job is to keep himself writing."

--Larston D. Farrar: How to Make $18,000 a Year Free-lance Writing (1957).


My professional work last month )
Timelines and characters' ages )
Publishing decisions: subgenre labels and publication frequency )
A visit to North East, Maryland, in Cecil County )
Scheduling decluttering )

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