Sheila Prichard offers a few reflections on a book that I have on my shelf, but have yet to read – Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking. It is part of my reading around Melancholy – one of the four temperaments of personality (cf. Claudius Galen (c.129-201 CE). Both melancholy (in my experience) and the quieter, more thoughtful and introverted personality types have come in for a lot of criticism (grounded, of course, in significant misunderstanding) in our contemporary Western Culture. Yet, I’m increasingly aware of the incredible depth and richness that these personality characteristics make possible in a healthy introvert. I brought Quiet because I warmed to its author’s central theses. She appeared to me to be saying something important and needful particularly if, in your life stage (post-midlife, post … [fill in the blank]) you’re an introvert and trying to recover a rich and deep sense of self, of who you are, and of why you need to be more your truest, healthiest and deepest self.
You’ll find Sheila’s post here.
Interestingly, but unsurprisingly, Susan Cain’s TED talk is one of Bill Gates’ “favourite 13 TED talks”.
This was a fascinating radio interview. An interview with New York filmmaker Nina Davenport. I’d love to see the film; but sadly, not always easy down here at the bottom of the world.
“…The film taps into the zeitgeist topic of how the modern family is being re-imagined in the early twenty-first century. They say it takes a village to raise a child. In Nina’s case, that village is populated by urban sophisticates who have delayed procreation for as long as possible and are late in confronting its joys and chores. Nina is unflinching at exposing her inner and outer self as a case study. She’s refreshingly frank and funny about the trials that women endure [including issue with men] in order to get pregnant, give birth and manage the early years of parenting…” – Thom Powers.
Via Chris Erdman’s blog I
came across this fascinating online article on “Finding One’s Voice” written by
It’s titled: Ten Questions That
Will Help You Find Your Voice.
They’re great questions; ones I’ve been using as I reflect on my own
life and life-journey. Isn’t interesting that “anger” is the focus of the first
Here’s the first three. You’ll find the rest here.
“Here are a few questions that may help uncover clues to your voice.
Set aside some time with a notebook or journal to reflect on each:
What angers you? Every super hero needs a bad guy. Without one,
the super hero has nothing to fight against. Are there specific things that
evoke a compassionate anger in you? (Key point of
differentiation: this is not about road rage, poor service, or
leaving the seat up. We’re talking about the systemic things that evoke a
desire to intervene in a situation as an act of compassion or to rectify a
What makes you cry? Think about the last several instances
that caused you to cry. Movies are fair game too. I’ve noticed that I almost
always tear up while watching stories of underdogs who overcome incredible
odds. This is a clue to me that my greatest work may somehow involve fighting
for those who are oppressed or unheard. (Hence…we call AC “freedom fighters for
the creative class.”)
What have you mastered? Are there tasks,
skills, or opportunities that you have simply mastered and can do without
thinking? These low-friction activities might give you a clue to ways you can
continue pursuing your voice. We learn through action, observation, then and
correction. Start with what you do well, and work your way toward your goal…”
As noted yesterday, today, more from Chris Erdman. A podcast conversation in which he and
the show’s host talk about “…about his overlapping roles as pastor and father. He also shares about
the pain of divorce, the joy of a new marriage, and the spiritual depth to be
found in the daily tasks of parenting."
The show's blurb notes that:
"The Rev. Dr. Chris Neufeld-Erdman is the
senior pastor of University Presbyterian Church in Fresno,CA. He is the father
of two young adult sons, and three adult step-daughters. He is the author of
several books, an accomplished speaker, an adjunct seminary professor, and an
oblate at the New Camaldoli Hermitagein
Icelandic band Sigur Ros, one of the most enchanting, visceral and creative bands I listen to, have a new album out in June 2013. It’s titled Kveikur and features the following song – ‘Brennisteinn’ (‘Brimstone’) - very raw, a lot of energy, and a very different sound. I love it, and the video is awesome.
Also, watch them live on the Jimmy Fallon TV show, which aired 22nd March 2013 and featured the title track of the new album. A soaring, beautiful soundscape.
Here’s Brennisteinn live
Francis Spufford wrote a wonderful little book: The Child that Books Built: A Memoir of Childhood and Reading (pub.
2002). While Christopher Book wrote a large book titled The Seven Basic Plots: Why We Tell Stories (pub. 2004). Both are
deeply insightful, the latter reflecting on stories from a particularly Jungian
perspective on the universal nature of stories and why we tell and read them.
All my life I’ve loved stories; I’ve immersed myself in them, whether
by way of books, film, live drama, or storytellers. Stories shape and form us;
they challenge us and invite change and growth; they console us. While having
value in and of themselves, they do a whole more. For better or worse, I’m an
adult that stories built. I’m adult that continues to be changed and formed by
stories. I’ve been formed consciously and unconsciously
by my own stories and by the stories and perspectives of others. Some of that
formation has been helpful, some hasn’t, and at times in our lives we need to
find, tell, and listen carefully to new stories.
Most recently I was reading from a book The Examined Life: How We Find And Lose Ourselves (pub. 2013). It’s
a book written by psychoanalyst Stephen Grosz. The inside flap tells its
readers that “We are all storytellers –
we make stories to make sense of our lives. But it is not enough to tell tales.
There must be someone to listen… this… book is about one ordinary process:
talking, listening and understanding… These are stories about our everyday
lives: they are about the people we love and the lies we tell; the changes we
bear, and the grief. Ultimately, they show us not only how we lose ourselves
but how we might find ourselves also.”
New Zealand Medical Doctor, poet and storyteller Glen Colquhoun reflects
“no story worth being told ever stands
still or lies in a book all silent and neat. It wriggles into your eyes and
ears and turns over in your belly and mouth. If it is quiet for a while it is
only because it is growing, like a seed… [Stories] are that part of us we pass
onto each other like treasure and are alive no matter how long it has been
since we heard them. If we lend them our voices and our faces then in a little
while they look like us…”
On Being, a US Radio
show, recently featured Maria Tatar talking about why fairytales are for adults
Here’s the promo for the show:
“Fairy tales don't only belong to the domain of childhood. Their overt
themes are threaded throughout hit TV series like Game of Thrones and True
Blood, Grimm and Once Upon a Time. These stories survive,
says Maria Tatar, by adapting across cultures and history. They are carriers of
the plots we endlessly re-work in the narratives of our lives -- helping us
work through things like fear and hope.”
I’ve been noticing hawks these last few weeks, so this resonated, not
least because it was Denise Levertov:
“As swimmers dare to lie face
to the sky and water bears them, as hawks rest upon air and air sustains
them, so would I learn to attain free fall, and float into Creator
Spirit's deep embrace, knowing no effort earns that all-surrounding grace.”
Today, a blend – a mixing together if two different, but for me, related things
“…We receive and we lose, and we must try to achieve gratitude; and with that gratitude to embrace with whole hearts whatever of life that remains after the losses…”
- Andre Dubus II, Broken Vessels.
And, Thom Yorke: