Jessie Ware slaying it per usual.
It takes a phenomenal amount of courage to be a woman today. For around this world, your world, my world, there are conflicts, brutalities, humiliations, terrors, murders. You can take any Rand McNally map and close your eyes and just point, and you will find there are injustices, but in your country, particularly in your country, young women, you have, as the old folks say, your work cut out for you. For fascism is on the rise, and be assured of it, sexism, racism, ageism, every vulgarity against the human spirit is on the rise. And this is what you have inherited.
However, on the other hand, what you have first is your courage. You may lean against it, it will hold you up, you have that. And the joy of achievement, the ecstasy of achievement. It enlightens and lightens at the same time. It is a marvelous thing. Today, your joy begins, today your work begins. You are phenomenal. I believe that women are phenomenal. I know us to be.
There is a poem called “Phenomenal Woman.” I wrote the poem for black women and white women and Asian and Hispanic women, Native American women. I wrote it for fat women, women who may have posed for the before pictures in Weight Watchers. I wrote it for anorexics. I wrote it for all of us, for women in kibbutzim, and burgher women, women on the pages and front covers of Vogue and Essence, and Ebony magazine. For we are phenomenal.
Maya Angelou, 1982 Wellesley College Commencement Address
I learned how to drive from a remarkable man in rural Virginia.
He had a red Hyundai with two sets of brakes, one on the driver’s side and one on the passenger side. He was a local legend because rumor was that within six months of passing his course you would have an accident. I think that had more to do with being 16 than his instruction but I did break someone’s taillight three months after he passed me.
I took an immediate liking to him.
He had a light but apparent Southern accent, a penchant for yodeling along to the Dixie Chicks, Rhinophyma (which meant much of his face was covered with raised bumps upon raised bumps), and a love of a story well told, especially related to the Civil War.
He liked me because I asked him questions while nervously navigating the paved country roads of Fauquier County. Perhaps I thought my inquisitiveness would muffle the pain of experiencing my driving.
I bring him up because to this day I still hear his voice repeating, ‘check your blind spots’ when I’m completing a lane change.
I don’t just check my blind spots when I drive though. I check them when I walk the crowded streets of New York, when I’m on a bike, and in some metaphorical sense, I check them in my life.
The issue is that in cars, on foot, or on a bike, I know where my blind spots are; they are well-defined, if moving, patches. I can visualize them with dotted lines and check and re-check them. In life though, blind spots are deep, dark voids. They are places where knowledge and awareness evaporate leaving me with a feeling of helplessness, surprise, and shock. I find myself saying, ‘I should have seen that coming’ after encountering one.
As we all tumble uphill on the ever-growing mountain known as Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, seeking but never quite reaching self-actualization, we begin to recognize our own weaknesses and shortcomings but not without regularly encountering blind spots suddenly, dramatically, and completely unprepared.
— Patti Smith via Brainpicker
- INTERVIEWER: Do the journalist and the novelist have different responsibilities in balancing truth versus the imagination?
- GARCÍA MÁRQUEZ: In journalism just one fact that is false prejudices the entire work. In contrast, in fiction one single fact that is true gives legitimacy to the entire work. That’s the only difference, and it lies in the commitment of the writer. A novelist can do anything he wants so long as he makes people believe in it.
- From the Paris Review
Rodney Mullen, unscripted and so full of life.
I remember being asked for the first time what I wanted to be when I grew up. My response? A clown.
I was in kindergarten and there was nothing I wanted more than to make people happy. I shared this at a school assembly and all the kids laughed at me. I still remember feeling embarrassed that I hadn’t said something like lawyer instead. Despite the reactions of the other kids, it’s probably one of the more serious and telling things I’ve said about myself.
However, very recently and very importantly, I realized that making people happy wasn’t a big enough aspiration; I had to learn to make myself happy (and that is a million times harder).