Archive for work-life

A good idea in any case

Psychoanalysts recommend that very brainy people pick up cooking as a hobby to awaken the beaten-down intuitive, sensuous part of their psyche.

Lorraine Marshall

lorraine

My old friend Lorraine passed away in her sleep yesterday. We worked together closely in the late ’80s and early ’90s, at Prometheus Books, where she was the Marketing Director. She was very funny (and very thoughtful); she was lovely.

Her Facebook page had this Lou Reed quote on it: “There’s a bit of magic in everything, and then some loss to even things out.”

Sociability

From Clarissa’s blog:

Sociability is difficult not because it’s hard to socialize but because I never know if my sociability switch will turn on at any given time. When I approach people or people approach me, there are two possible scenarios:

  1. Sociability switch flips, and I become the most charming, gregarious, exciting person ever.
  2. Sociability switch decides to remain inactive and I feel intolerable boredom. I can try to conceal it but the boredom is overwhelming.

The bad part is that I can’t predict when each scenario will unfold. I don’t suffer from not knowing how to engage with people or how to make small talk. I’m actually great at it because I don’t understand the concept of worrying what people think about me. What I do suffer from is frequent and uncontrollable attacks of not wanting to engage.

It feels very weird when in the middle of a conversation I lose all interest and become extremely bored but not because of anything the other person said or did.

It’s equally disturbing when I open my mouth and all of a sudden this very charming, talkative persona appears.

Haha

People who have a good sense of humour are rarely funny themselves. In contrast I am often very funny indeed, but I have no sense of humour (except for my own).

Sometimes when I am feeling rude I will tell a friend who just told a joke or a funny story, “I can see how other people would find that humorous.” And then we laugh.

Mr. K-Tel

I did not know that the genius who founded K-Tel – the company that brought us the Veg-O-Matic and all those music compilation albums – was a Canadian. Philip Kives, who died this week at the age of 87, was raised in Saskatchewan. Margalit Fox’s New York Times obituary is funny and beautiful and begins like this:

Act now! Be the first on your block to read this obituary of the marketing guru who — as seen on TV — sliced, diced and polkaed his way to fortune!

Reared in penury, he bewitched and beguiled the public to become an international tycoon, only to lose everything and then, undaunted, make it back again!

Just two dollars and five thin dimes at any New York City newsstand gets you the print edition of this obituary — along with dozens more articles at no extra charge — commemorated with the date and suitable for framing! Quantities are limited, so don’t delay!

Those blasting K-Tel commercials were unavoidable on television in the 1970s. I purchased a K-Tel record once, as a birthday present for my older brother, who wondered why I did that.

At any rate, I want Margalit Fox to write my obituary. And I hope it shares a theme with the one she wrote for Mr. Kives: He was audacious, and he had tons of fun.

My morning reading

This plus my Twitter-feed. Only when I’m done do I find peeking at Facebook irresistible.

Yoga behind bars

A wonderful initiative.

From an interview with Kristi Coulter on Caroline Leavitt’s blog:

Yoga Behind Bars is a nonprofit here in Seattle that offers free yoga and meditation classes to incarcerated people throughout the Washington state prison system; I’m on the board of directors. Prison is an insanely stressful, dehumanizing environment–we try to counter that impact by giving prisoners tools for dealing with stress and anxiety both while they’re incarcerated and afterward, when they are back in their communities. Our students tell us they feel calmer, healthier, and happier from practicing yoga, and that leads to great downstream effects like more thoughtful conflict resolution and decision making. …

What does our program do for women? Well, on a purely physical level it helps them (and men) feel better. Many of our students have chronic aches and pains or other physical issues that yoga helps to relieve. It also helps them to find some quiet. New teachers are often shocked by how LOUD prisons are. For a couple of hours a week our students can be in a quiet room where they work on cultivating internal calm and peace. And most importantly, it builds their self-esteem, which is a major issue for many incarcerated women. We’re currently raising money to hold a 100-hour teacher training for women prisoners. Funds permitting, that should happen in the fall.

What doesn’t our program do for women? One thing is that it doesn’t help them sustain a yoga practice or yoga community post-release. Yoga classes are expensive, not to mention very white. Many of our students are of color, and when they look inside a commercial yoga studio they don’t see anyone who looks like them and are dissuaded. (Just like I’m too shy to go to one of those black churches with the big gospel choir even though it would be supremely awesome.) And even if that weren’t a barrier, affordability often is. We constantly kick around ideas–could we offer scholarships? could we at least give a free mat to every paroled student for home practice? There’s much to be done by the broader yoga community to make it more accessible to people who aren’t your standard head-standing middle-class white lady (like yours truly). One local studio launched a monthly class geared specifically toward people of color, and received such an onslaught of harassment, including death threats, that not only was the class cancelled, but the entire studio closed out of safety fears. Death threats! Over yoga! In one of the most liberal cities in America! I mean, sweet fancy Moses. So yeah, there is work to be done.

The entire interview is a treat, and also documents Coulter’s voyages through writing and not writing very much, and through drinking and not drinking at all.

You can visit Kristi Coulter’s blog here.