The Mix Tape, Vol. 43
Idea flow, Rock Rivals, Fight Club fiction, less-bright nights, and more
In the space between the searing days and suffocating nights, we sometimes get a reprieve from the Florida summer.
Occassionally, in the aftermath of afternoon thunderstorms, clouds linger, blocking the sun’s heat. The cool remnants of downdrafts, express deliveries from towering thunderheads, settle at ground level.
And we get a break.
We get to cheat the heat. We enjoyed one of those evenings this week.
Find your space for a break, too.
Improving Idea Flow
If you write regularly, you know it’s hard to keeping the idea machine flowing.
One key blocker: our inner critic. Nat Eliason gives advice on the personal value of writing (and publishing):
The best writing is the writing you don't care if anyone reads. It's what you create to help yourself understand and clarify what's bouncing around in your head. If someone reads and finds value in it, great, but simply by creating it you've gotten most of the value.
Write to teach yourself. Write to figure out your own issues.
And then hit publish, to help others learn and figure out their stuff, too.
The Artist’s Way, Week Two
A cornerstone of the Artist’s Way process is the Morning Pages: three handwritten pages, every morning, where you empty your head onto the page.
No rules, just write.
An unintended realization: My handwriting sucks. The energy bursts out of my hand in ragged fits and starts. Letters go unfinished at the end of words. The result is uneven, inconsistent, and sometimes indecipherable lettering.
I’m working on getting that rhythm, flow, and clarity back in my handwriting. I say “back,” because I used to write well by hand.
Of course, this realization is about far more than sloppy handwriting.
This book is sneaky good.
Brighten your day by darkening your night
Staring at your phone in bed is bad for sleep quality.
You already know this. You do it anyway. So do I.
So here’s a shortcut to dim the iPhone screen and reduce light exposure while using your iPhone in bed:
Step 1: Open Settings, then Accessibility.
Step 2: Tap Zoom
Step 3: Tap Zoom Filter, then select Low Light
Step 4: Tap < (back), then move the Maximum Zoom Level slider at the bottom of the screen all the way to the left
Step 5: In the Accessibility menu, tap Accessibility Shortcut
Step 6: Tap Zoom
Now, by triple-clicking either:
A) The home button, if your iPhone has one, or,
B) The right-side button of your iPhone (on X models and newer),
You will significantly dim your screen. Another set of triple-clicks restores normal brightness.
Sleep tight, and less bright.
Rocket Man vs. Piano Man, and other battles
The “Rivals: Music’s Greatest Feuds” podcast has the formula for high entertainment:
Petty and public conflict
Hosted by Steven Hyden and Jordan Runtagh of Rolling Stone, “Rivals” retells the stories of some of rock music’s greatest feuds.
Some of the feuds include:
Beatle Brawls: Lennon vs. McCartney and Lennon + McCartney vs. Harrison
Billy Joel and Elton John toured on and off together, making mountains of cash, for 16 years.
But when Joel started backing out of dates, John went nuclear in the press, blaming Joel’s alcoholism for the cancellations.
Joel, ever the lyricist, sent John a nasty note:
"… what gives you the omnipotent moral certainty and authority to justify the public humiliation of anyone? We are done."
Most of the feuds are like the Billy and Elton battle: pointless. All of them are entertaining. “Rivals” is fun and full of rock history.
One nitpick: Where are the music clips? If Cobain is feuding with Vedder, I need to hear “Nevermind” battle “Alive”. Great conflicts require a soundtrack.
Follow-up read: If you like rock history, Steven Hyden’s “Twilight of the Gods” is excellent.
Consider This, by Chuck Palahniuk
If Kurt Cobain created the soundtrack for Generation X, Chuck Palahniuk wrote its handbook. Palahniuk’ s novel “Fight Club” — and it’s Brad Pitt/Edward Norton onscreen incarnation—captured the cynicism, disillusionment, and disdain felt by millions in a generation destined to be passed over in America’s Boomer-to-Millennial transition.
Palahniuk is a captivating and raw storyteller, unafraid to jolt and shock us into emotional responses. So why would a guide he wrote to fiction writing be any different?
Spoiler alert: it isn’t. Palahniuk’s guide is as entertaining as it is useful.
“Consider This” has value even if you simply want to communicate better. We all have to be adept storytellers to build rapport and influence, in business and our personal lives.
Learn more from “Consider This”
Important healthcare reminder
(Via @barneyhurley1 on Twitter)
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