June 10, 2019

On Those Who Quell The Storm And Ride The Thunder ... And Their Trolls

"The poorest way to face life is to face it with a sneer. 

(...) A cynical habit of thought and speech, a readiness to criticize work which the critic himself never tries to perform, an intellectual aloofness which will not accept contact with life's realities—all these are marks, not, as the possessor would fain think, of superiority, but of weakness. They mark the men unfit to bear their part manfully in the stern strife of living, who seek, in the affectation of contempt for the achievements of others, to hide from others and from themselves their own weakness. The role is easy; there is none easier, save only the role of the man who sneers alike at both criticism and performance. 

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, and comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat. 

(...)There is little use for the being whose tepid soul knows nothing of the great and generous emotion, of the high pride, the stern belief, the lofty enthusiasm, of the men who quell the storm and ride the thunder. "
~Theodore Roosevelt, 
Citizenship in a Republic, the Man in the Arena
April 23, 1910

May 21, 2019

Impostor Syndrome

The Forces of Creation by Louis Dyer

Anyone who puts him/herself out there by creating something new, is bound to feel at one point or another that they're not good enough. That they can't truly compare to [insert their hero(ine)'s name here].

But what they (myself included) need to understand, is that they're different from said hero(in)es, and that doesn't make them bad. Especially if they always try to get better, to improve their craft.

I admit I've been rather pithy with the subject, but if that doesn't inspire you, here's a story from Neil Gaiman, author of a number of fabulous books (some  of which have been turned into movies and/or TV shows, like Good Omens, Stardust, Coraline, American Gods, etc.), that might inspire you better:

"Some years ago, I was lucky enough to be invited to a gathering of great and good people: artists and scientists, writers and discoverers of things. And I felt that at any moment they would realize that I didn't qualify to be there, among these people who had really done things.

On my second or third night there, I was standing at the back of the hall, while a musical entertainment happened, and I started talking to a very nice, polite, elderly gentleman about several things, including our shared first name. And then he pointed to the hall of people, and said words to the effect of, "I just look at all these people, and I think, what the heck am I doing here? They've made amazing things. I just went where I was sent."

And I said, "Yes, but you were the first man on the moon. I think that counts for something."

And I felt a bit better. Because if Neil Armstrong felt like an impostor, maybe everyone did. Maybe there weren't any grownups, only people who had worked hard and also gotten lucky and were slightly out of their depth, all of us doing the best job we could, which is all we can really hope for."


Welcome to the end times...

PS: Proof of two Neils together here for those of you who want it :)

May 18, 2019

Women's Rights

Never forget that a political, economical or religious crisis will be enough to cast doubt on women's rights. These rights will never be vested. You'll have to stay vigilant your whole life.

~Simone de Beauvoir, 
French writer, philosopher, & activist
(1908-1986)

I admit that I once believed these words to no longer hold true in certain parts of the world. No longer...