What The Hell Ayn Rand?

As I was getting further and further into the story of Atlas Shrugged, I found myself struggling. I was struggling because the story was dense. I was struggling because everything about this felt even more boring than I had originally thought. I don’t like Atlas Shrugged. A lot of people like it. A lot of people hate it. I fall in the camp of hating it.

The book of Atlas Shrugged is about capitalism. There is no way around that. It is an argument for the ways of capitalism. It creates a very strong image that those who oppose capitalism are getting in the way of everything that we need from the world. Of course, the worst part of this story isn’t what it portrays (which is extremes of how our economic system works) but the way that it’s written.

It’s dry and humorless. There is so little world to be seen there. There are images that are beautiful and dramatic, but they are rare. The book held no spark for me. I wanted to find something in it that I could hold onto, but I found nothing. I still am looking for something that will allow me to move forward with this book, but I’m not sure that I will find it.

I have read books before that are a thinly veiled discussion of something much more complicated and boring. The best example I have of this is Anathem by Neal Stephenson. His books are dry at times, absolutely boring. Anathem, in particular, is pretty bad. My teenage brain was stubborn when it came to this book.

There was something in the pages that I found interesting and intriguing. There was a whole world contained in those pages, a whole system of living that I fell in love with. There were people and characters and concepts that were absolutely beautiful. There were descriptions everywhere. When I encountered a heavy piece of the text, I moved forward to find that next nugget. There was a lot of movement and a lot of discovery. I was learning alongside the other characters. My place was as a student in the book. I was one of them.

In Atlas Shrugged, I was just a witness. There was nothing beautiful about it. I wasn’t learning. I was being shown the empty moment and being forced to see what Ayn Rand wanted me to see. I just don’t like that way of writing. I want to be in the story and the moment, even if I am just a bystander.

However, what I want out of a book isn’t what everyone wants out of a book. There are some people that are fine just seeing a situation. They don’t care about feeling involved, they just want to see how it plays out in the end. If that’s how you feel, then more power to you. I have to feel involved in the story and really understand it. Anything that can make me forget about work for a couple of hours is just amazing. Getting lost in a story is what I want from anything that I pick up.

There are some stories that I can be lost about when I begin them, but once I find my place in the world it’s so worth it.

What do you want out of a story? What did Atlas Shrugged feel like when you read it? Let me know your thoughts on Ayn Rand’s book and whether or not I should keep trying to push my way through the book. For now, I’ll be moving onto a very different text that I will start talking about next week.

Advertisements

Exploring The World

When it comes to writing, I have always been told that I should write what I know. That leads to my inevitable questioning about what I actually know. It’s a tough question to figure out. I honestly don’t feel like I know a lot. That’s come from not only school but from just realizing that there’s a lot out there for me to experience. I’ve spent a lot of my childhood kind of sheltered, so there’s so much that I even missed out on.

So I made myself a promise at the beginning of the year. I was going to take what opportunities I could to travel and try new things. This isn’t just about travel. This is also about trying new foods or changing up my schedule every now and then. I need to be able to try new things and move outside of my comfort zone to keep my mind working at the rate that I want it to.

Writing and working isn’t just about the moment, but striving to do something better with the future. If I get out there and do more, then I will be able to get a better sense of what I can become and do.

This is a shorter blog because I’m trying to do some more work on getting my schedule for June set up. Hopefully, this next month will be even better than this one.

The Ways We Tell Stories

As a writer, I often get tripped up on the way that I want to tell a story. Within writing, there are already so many different ways that you can tell a single story. There’s poetry, fiction, non-fiction, and then all the hybrid and non-traditional ways to put together a story. Even when you decide a general form, there are points of view that you can think of the story through.

And while I love getting wrapped up in all of these different ways that you can write a story, these aren’t the only ways that you can tell a story. There are so many different ways that stories are told. We have movies, TV shows, and even podcasts are ways that we can tell stories. Because of all these different kinds of storytelling, there’s so much that you can do with a single story. We want to tell our stories in whatever way that we can. There are some people that tell stories through music. There are other people that tell stories through spoken word. There are many of us that speak through our written words.

There’s no wrong way to tell a story. There’s a lot that we try to say and often can’t find a way to say. That might be useful for some stories, but there are some other ways that we could get those feelings across. Instead of actively admitting to sadness, you might find it more useful to write a melancholy song.

With the advent of modern technology, our storytelling has gotten more and more complex. We can use Twitter to put bite size chunks of stories out into the open. We can use Instagram to put 30-second clips of our creations out into the open. There was an author who posted a whole story using words written in the snow.

The ways that we can tell stories multiply with every day. This isn’t bad. This is a great thing for the modern creator. As fast as our modes of creation pop into existence, they stop being useful in the ways that we want. Blogs used to be a pathway to book writing. There are examples of this from all sorts of people. My personal favorite is Steal Like An Artist by Austin Kleon. His website contained many of the ideas that made it into the book.

However, we don’t always get to do just this in this day and age. The days of blogs being turned into books is over. That doesn’t mean that everything will change, but it does mean that you’ll have to find a new and innovative way to turn your idea into a book without having to write the manuscript right away.

But the ability to play and try new things is important. Keep finding new ways to use social media. Find new ways to tell stories. Find new ways to same the same old things so that people are interested again. Storytelling isn’t always about the story itself, but about the way that the story is told. We’ve read the same story lines over and over again because they’re retold in new ways. Packaging is just as important as the content.
So go out there, play, get to know your stories and how they demand to be told.

Why Read Classics

When I was younger, I made a goal one summer to read 20 classic books in one summer. My classics ranged from epic poetry about Greek heroes to science fiction books that my parents thought of as classics. I read so many things and I reached my goal. I have often thought about that summer since it happened. I ask myself often about why I’m doing what I’m doing.

I’m struggling to read Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand right now, and I’ve caught myself considering that summer over and over. Why should I be so worried about reading a classic if it’s not fun to read? What is the point of reading a book that is making me want to tear my hair out of my scalp? Well, I’ve tried to come up with a good reason, but I’m not so sure that I’ve got one.

Classics are old. The issues they deal with might be timeless, but they are old books. There’s a lot going on in the current times. I have a wishlist of poetry books that I want to read that concern themselves with mental health and sexuality and so many more things that I can’t find in classic books. So why did I bother reading them?

The better question is why are classic books still around? What made them last so long that I hear about them? Why are other people reading them?

I’m not saying that this is a good reason, but it’s the reason that I have. I want to know what makes this book more important to others. I want to know why this language is so important to people. What message did others learn that made them admire the book? It’s curiosity that drove me to read most of the classics that I did.

But Ayn Rand is particularly difficult. There’s something dense about her language. I’ve read all the reviews that I can, but it doesn’t appear that anyone else knows any better than I do about why I should be reading this book. There are people on both sides of the fence yelling at each other, but that isn’t much of a reason for me to come down. Her messages are clear from the beginning and the writing lacks a certain something that makes the book interesting.

I’m not saying that I won’t finish Atlas Shrugged, but I know that this will be one of the longer reads that I have to deal with. It’s not even just the length of the book, I’ve read longer books that went by pretty fast. It’s the fact that I’m not enjoying it that really makes it a longer read, but it is some of the least entertaining reading that I’ve been doing.My plan was

My original plan was to put out a full review of the book next week, but I won’t be able to manage all the reading that I need to do to reach that goal. I’m not sure what I’m going to do next week, but I’ll figure out something interesting to write about.

The Intricacies of Client Relationships

I took a while to not write about my work because I was simply tired of hearing about it in my own writing and voice. I wanted to stop thinking about it so that I could focus on other things. I wanted to focus on actual work, but I realized that over the last couple of weeks that I was seeing something else coming to the surface.

Dealing with people isn’t my forte. I had a teacher that would disagree with me about this. She absolutely believed that I had it in myself to deal with a lot of people. She had witnessed it time and time again. Although I would like to think that her view of me is a little bit more complete than my view of myself, I can’t help but wonder where she got that idea. At more than one point, I had outright told her that I hated working in team settings. I still do. I work well by myself. If some invisible force emailed me a form with the work that I had to complete, I would probably be right at home.

Clients and freelancing are difficult. There are clients that get on your nerves as soon as you start working for them. There are clients that become increasingly more frustrating until you decide to give up and quit the job at some point. There are some clients that you never have problems with. I cannot tell you what makes a relationship with a client go smoothly. I cannot actually tell you what makes them go downhill.

In more than one instance, communication played a factor in this. I’ve had clients where our communication was stunted because of time zones, availability, language barriers, etc. All of these issues come with freelancing and using a website to facilitate that. Communication can make or break any relationship on any level.

However, I believe that it really just is up to the individual people. I have clients that don’t talk to me a lot, but they tell me what they want (and I mean exactly what they want) and when they want it by. I get along with these people. There’s no tip-toeing around issues with them. I feel comfortable to bring up issues as I see them, but I rarely find issues.

The worst client relationships have made me feel uncomfortable. I had a client repeatedly ask for either a Skype call or a phone call to discuss parts of his business that I was not involved in. I was editing blog posts, and that was all I had signed on to be. In that instance, I didn’t feel comfortable stating that I felt this was outside of my responsibilities as an editor. I decided instead to just state that I was unavailable, which I typically was because I was traveling during my time as his editor, and move on. That relationship eventually deteriorated and I decided that I didn’t want to repeat those mistakes again.

So how should you deal with clients as a freelancer?

Well, you should treat everyone with respect (regardless of how your client treats you). You should listen to everything that they ask for. Even if it goes against everything you have known or think to be true, you should be listening to your client. You can argue for something that you believe in, but if your client wants to just keep doing the same thing, then respect that. There are plenty of things that I do that are a little bit out there that I ask other people to put up with.

If you are working for someone, then just do your best to listen to them and respect what they want. In the end, if you try to communicate and treat them with all the respect that you can muster, then you should make a good relationship with your client. There will be those clients that cause problems for no reason that you can understand, but you can do your best. Just like how you might not have the best relationship with a boss or coworker at a normal office job, there will be clients that you don’t get along with.

What’s best at that point is to part ways and hope that they find someone that they work well with. But just keep doing your best.

Screwing Up Projects

Failure is a tricky subject. It’s hard to talk about failure for a lot of people. It’s negative; it’s something to be avoided. We just don’t talk about it. We get over it. We move past it. We get better. But I want to talk about it. I want to talk about it because I have spent a lot of my life trying very hard to never screw up. That was what I wanted more than anything else in the world. I wanted to go through life and not really fail.

That’s impossible. I hit the successes I needed to in major areas. I never got lower than a B in college. I graduated early. I was smart, got enough sleep. I did a lot right. But those successes shouldn’t overshadow all of the mistakes that I made along the way.

I lost friends. I dove deeper into anxiety than I ever wanted to. I had poor self esteem. I wasn’t always happy (which isn’t necessarily a failure). I struggled deeply with where I was going to go. I failed in regard to a job for the future. I failed in ways that also mattered. I never got anything published. I didn’t reach all of my goals.

So what do you do about failure? The worst thing that you can do is repress it and never speak about it. I collect my rejection letters. It’s relatively simple because they’re mostly emails at this point. But I collect them. I want to keep my failures. I want to acknowledge that I was failing in ways that really matter to me.

But not only should I accept and love some of those failures, but I should learn from them. I should really focus on making my life about growing through those failures. It will take more failures before a piece of mine gets published. It will take more struggles with my body image before I fully accept myself as I am. And even then, I will continue to struggle as I change and grow in new ways. I will accept my failure in regards to anxiety. I let myself down by not chasing after help in several places. I will learn from those mistakes and then grow in how I treat my mental health.

Growing up is about working with your mistakes. You shouldn’t look at your failure as something terrible. Failure should be something you embrace. We talk about failure as something terrible in schools and in life. It instills this kind of fear about screwing up. This forced perfectionism is definitely part of why I think I struggle with anxiety as an adult. When I was a kid, I was so afraid of not having homework done that when I forgot it, I would go to the bathroom to do it before that class period. I was so scared of failure that I cried when a teacher told me that they couldn’t find an assignment that I had done.

When I got to college, the grading scale provided by teachers allowed me to fail more and not feel terrible. I loved that. I was free to try something and fall flat on my face. I want that for more students and more people. If you’re working on a project, don’t be afraid of your failures. It’s your chance to try something new. Even if you fail, you put yourself out there and tried to do something that you felt really passionate about. That’s a great thing and you should be so proud of just doing that much. Don’t let anyone say that it’s not worth the experience.

Book Review: The Crossroads of Should and Must

The Crossroads of Should and Must by Elle Luna is a book about so much. It came to me right at the right moment, even though I didn’t read it until just a little while ago. It really spoke about the way that I dealt with my life at that moment. It resonates with me a way that I love and it has shaped the way that I am looking at my work space and my life in recent weeks.

I love this book. I love it for many reasons. It’s not just that the message it had spoken to me. The way that it was set up and the tone that it has is just wonderful for someone that is at a crossroads in their life. And not only did it appeal to the moment of graduation, but it also spoke of my creative side. There is a sticker on my copy on the cover. It’s a quote from Elizabeth Gilbert. It was that reason that I looked closer at the book. Elizabeth Gilbert is the author of Eat, Pray, Love and has written more books since then, one of which (Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear) spoke to me in the same way that Luna’s book did.Both books talk about taking your life into your hands and choosing the side of what you need to do for yourself and your creative wellbeing. Luna’s book is more grounded than Gilbert’s, but the two of them share that message. I lived most of my life under a cloud of academia that shadowed everything else that I tried to do. When I decided on an English degree, my extended family seemed confused. My parents were

Both books talk about taking your life into your hands and choosing the side of what you need to do for yourself and your creative wellbeing. Luna’s book is more grounded than Gilbert’s, but the two of them share that message. I lived most of my life under a cloud of academia that shadowed everything else that I tried to do. When I decided on an English degree, my extended family seemed confused. My parents were supportive but just as concerned about how I would move forward. Pursuing an English degree (especially with a focus in Creative Writing) is really not a good move by all sorts of standards.But it is and was a great move on my part.

But it is and was a great move on my part.And that’s the point of this particular book. It’s about taking a good long look at the life that you are living and turning your decisions into ones that are for you. They are what you must do and what you have to do. My English degree was my must. My freelancing career is my must. This blog is a must. My decisions are turning more and more towards a must. My extended family

And that’s the point of this particular book. It’s about taking a good long look at the life that you are living and turning your decisions into ones that are for you. They are what you must do and what you have to do. My English degree was my must. My freelancing career is my must. This blog is a must. My decisions are turning more and more towards a must. My extended family has tried to input into my life, but those are the shoulds. Some shoulds don’t come from family. They come from societal standards. They come from friends. They come from loved ones and partners.We all face are shoulds. We all try to do the best we can for ourselves. It’s not easy to pick the side of must. It’s not easy to shake off all those learned shoulds that we picked up when we were kids. Carving out

We all face our shoulds. We all try to do the best we can for ourselves. It’s not easy to pick the side of must. It’s not easy to shake off all those learned shoulds that we picked up when we were kids. Carving out space, time-wise and physically, is hard. It’s hard to find a place to call your own, even when you’re on your own.

This book is a book of advice, but it is also a guidebook. It is a way of trying to find your way through the present moment to the next moment, while still on the path of must. It’s not comprehensive because musts are different for every single person. But it outlines what you can do. It gives you space to create your life and choose your must. It tells you where to start.In all my years of school and writing, knowing where to start has always been the hardest part. For years, I had been relying on teachers and professors to tell me where to start. I’ve learned lessons from them about where we start and where we go. When you’re left on your own and have to start, it’s terrifying. I wanted to pick my must. I have been trying to pick my must

In all my years of school and writing, knowing where to start has always been the hardest part. For years, I had been relying on teachers and professors to tell me where to start. I’ve learned lessons from them about where we start and where we go. When you’re left on your own and have to start, it’s terrifying. I wanted to pick my must. I have been trying to pick my must every day. This book is giving me advice so that I can wake up and choose must more easily every day.

This book is wonderful. I would give this to anyone in my life when they were at a crossroad. I would give this to my cousins that are starting to get old enough to start college. I would give this to my partner as they approach their own graduation next year. I would give this to my parents who are just starting to consider retirement.It’s a great book for everyone. The light voice, the aesthetic of messiness on every page, all of the writing comes together in a way that I adore. It’s the kind of book I needed and that I will need again. This book will on my bookshelf as long as I am struggling to chase my must. And that could be for the rest of my life.

It’s a great book for everyone. The light voice, the aesthetic of messiness on every page, all of the writing comes together in a way that I adore. It’s the kind of book I needed and that I will need again. This book will on my bookshelf as long as I am struggling to chase my must. And that could be for the rest of my life.