• How to find your place Are you a young person wondering what the hell you’re meant to be doing? Trying to find your place? Are you a parent with a beloved young person in your life who is struggling with their place? My suggestion: read famous creatives’ graduation speeches. They are truly inspiring frothings in which said famous creative confesses more
  • This is what my writing desk looks like (not pretty!) I work in chaos. Plus, I’m very visual and I need to see ALL my bits of notes and ideas and outlines in one bird’s-eye grasp. So I scatter them around me at my desk, or the floor, or (as is often the case) the cafe bench where I’ve set up shop for the morning. more
  • The soulful secret to family holidays (and to moving in with your boyfriend) New York Times columnist Frank Bruni does his summer holidays like my family and I: all together, in a beach house, for an extended period. Here he is: “EVERY summer for many years now, my family has kept to our ritual. All 20 of us — my siblings, my dad, our better halves, my nieces more
  • It’s OK to do drafts I’m writing a book. A book that’s extending me in ways I probably wouldn’t have chosen. But I did. So here I am, strapped in, doing the work. I’m particularly attuned to insights about writing and the creative process right now. A few weeks back I wrote Just do it like a motherfucker. Michelle Barraclough shared this wonderful more
  • I’ve seen my future and (I hope) it looks like Leo Lately I’ve been reassessing what matters to me. Like really looking at things fully, and prepared to “put a bomb” under things. This happens for me every few years. Jo sent me this video, randomly. And it arrived with impeccable timing. [vimeo]https://vimeo.com/96642599[/vimeo] I’ve no idea who Leo is but what about these synchronicities (here’s my more
  • Just do it like a motherf*cker Before Cheryl Strayed became That Wild Girl, she was an agony aunt at Rumpus.net. She went by the moniker “Sugar”, it so happens. In light of my recent posts about writing like no one cares, the joy of lowering your expectations and faking it until you make it, I thought today I’d simply run a response more
  • A peacefulness follows any decision, even the wrong one Decisions are hard. I struggle with them. So these words from writer and feminist Rita Mae Brown are sweet salve… “A peacefulness follows any decision, even the wrong one.” God. What a relief just to hear that. I think the peacefulness that comes from JUST MAKING THE DAMN DECISION says to the world that you’re open more
  • A trick for writers and artists: create with low expectations I did an interview with ABC radio host Mary-Lou Stephens the other day, chatting about food sustainability. Before I went on air she shared she’s just finished writing her latest book (she’s written several) and actually loved the process this time, churning it out in just three months. What was different this time, I asked more
  • Great art is born of great loneliness Today, just this from Anais Nin on the connect between emotion and writing: “You must not fear, hold back, count or be a miser with your thoughts and feelings. It is also true that creation comes from an overflow, so you have to learn to intake, to imbibe, to nourish yourself and not be afraid more
  • Trend alert: Talking in full sentences (and nicer times ahead) So shoot me down for being a bit hopeful, but I’m seeing a few “moments” that are adding up to a nicer picture than we’ve been dealt recently. These zeitgeist observations tend to land you in trouble. Or they used to. You flag a personal thought or you simply put out an idea for discussion more
  • What to leave out: The key to creativity I highly recommend long reading. Not least because of the lovely knowledge that unfurls from it. I also think that committing to a long read narrows, focuses, hones and gets you still. It’s the antidote to the frazzle of short-form toggling. It’s a Sunday afternoon thing for me, to read all the lengthy prose I’ve more
  • In defence of bookstores Here’s a bourgeois inner-city faux-boh statement for you: The death of bookstores is another win for capitalism. Sounds like something people in fisherman pants said in the uni refectory back in 1993. But actually New York writer Adam Gopnik did. He argues that capitalism grew up with smaller, intimate institutions existing alongside – cafes, bookstores, more
  • Louis C.K. on the pain of always being “the one who copes” Love Louis? I’d be surprised if you didn’t. He’s humanely and humanly funny. By which I mean, he plants the basics of life in front of us and does little more than tickle us with our own absurdity. And pain. And reality. I trawled through some interviews with him recently, to learn more about The Guy more
  • Louis C.K.’s decision-making rule Making decisions is a theme on this site. It’s a theme in my life as I grapple with the confidence, laissez faire-ness, certainty and surrender inherent in good decision-making. Today I share brilliant US comedian Louis C.K.’s approach. He, too, grapples with the descent into despair that decision-making can induce. He’s developed a 70 Per more
  • Ditch the NavMan for a more meaningful life! It’s a simple idea, but one that intuitively gels: Navigating without technological aids like Google Maps or Navman works an important part of the brain associated with a sense of self. Finding where you are helps you find yourself, says a study from Sweden’s Karolinska Institutet. It goes like this: Exerting ourselves spatially, extending ourselves to more
  • The importance of a moral struggle against yourself David Brooks is one of my preferred writers. I’m currently reading his new book, The Road To Character, which chronicles his attempt to cultivate a deeper character, mostly by looking into what he calls “eulogy virtues”, the stuff you want your loved ones to say about you when you cark it, as opposed to your CV virtues. Brooks has more
  • Start with a big fat lump in your throat and run with it As an angsty teen I read Robert Frost’s The Path Not Taken and would feel all kinds of profoundnesses. I would also read the bible, looking for the same depth. I’ve liked to think I’ve moved on from such binary thinking. But I recently came across a reference to Frost’s approach to poem creation: “It begins as a more
  • Have you contemplated the “Hard Problem” yet? When I was 21 I got a scholarship to study philosophy at the University of California, Santa Cruz. I arrived with my mountain bike and a passion for German existentialism, lived with five lesbians and their eight cats and convinced the university to let me do their graduate course instead of the undergraduate stream. They relented and I more
  • Why I like my unsettled life and have no hope of finding balance We keep seeking balance. But it’s a false goal. We have it wrong. For one thing, it’s just not possible. I’ve written about this before – how life balance is elusive. But more than this, balance or settledness, doesn’t see us grow. We grow and become better, and have a better life, from the very act of more
  • Some advice for anyone who’s recently left a relationship English poet and philosopher David Whyte was once called on to give a friend some advice. This friend was in the middle of leaving a relationship. I’ve been there – in the position of counsel. Mostly it takes me straight back, like riding down a razor blade, to the times I’ve had to leave love myself. I don’t more
  • I’m glad I’ll be old when I find love I’ve come to a lot of peace lately (the last year or two) with my singledom. There are a number of themes that have emerged and informed this stable, quiet, happy place. I’ve explored a few before here and here. But recently I’ve realised this, with hindsight: I haven’t trusted myself to love another in the more
  • Have you married yourself yet? I’ve just been introduced to the poet and philosopher, David Whyte. In his book The Three Marriages, he says we need to navigate, yep, three marriages in life: one to others (“particularly and very personally, to one other living, breathing person”), another to work and another to one’s self, “through an understanding of what it means to be more
  • Each of us is responsible for everything I’ve been reading Simone De Beuvoir’s The Blood of Others. It’s a grating read. It cuts to the pain of an ethical quandary that I feel should grate at us all – are we responsible for everything? Or should we just take care of ourselves? It goes to the heart of existentialist angst – the more
  • Diet doesn’t cure disease. And it’s irresponsible to say otherwise. The past fortnight has seen two young women who’ve treated their chronic disease with very particular diets hit mainstream headlines. It’s been astonishing stuff. News of wellness blogger Jess Ainscough’s tragic death tore through the media two weeks ago. Jess had a rare cancer (epithelioid sarcoma) and after undergoing chemotherapy, had declined the only treatment her more
  • A beautiful word: saudade. I think the most beautiful words are those with no English equivalent. Perhaps it’s the fact we have to conjure them without familiarity that makes them more alluring. More creative. More ephemeral. For me, though, it’s the fact that these words generally point to a moment so potent yet subtle that no single English word more
  • The bike accident I had to have Last week I came off my bike. It was spectacular to observe, I’m told by the kind strangers who lifted me off the road. But completely freakish in outcome. For, despite propelling several metres, my front wheel coming off and my face sliding along the asphalt, I wound up with just a popped couple of more
  • Instead of obtaining a mirror, obtain a person In 1964, Yoko Ono published a collation of art “pieces’ in a book called Grapefruit.  One such moment in artistic whimsy was the Mirror Piece. I took from it this: It’s good to go inwards and to truly look in the mirror and pull yourself apart. To Do The Work. But it’s better if you more
  • If you feel at odds with the world, you are a deviant. Be proud. Have you encountered George Monbiot? He’s my favourite columnist in the whole wide world. He delves in under the wounds, undeterred by the defensive scab. Then he goes in another layer, and another, and finds the root cause of the pain. Last week he wrote about how the values of neoliberalism have cheated us.  And more
  • Being creative can be a lonely path I loved reading about this new study into the connection between creativity and mental illness. It effectively found that creativity has little correlation with genius. While there is a connection with a highish IQ  (the “average” creative has an IQ around 120), the real nexus is with a touch of madness. But more specifically (and more
  • Just Show Up One of the highlights of my stay here in New York has been connecting with author, blogger and spiritual junkie Gabby Bernstein. Gab did my I Quit Sugar program a few months ago, blogged and SM’d about it to her vast and adoring audience and suddenly we were in each other’s orbits. The funny thing is this: more
Sarah Instagram avatar Sarah does Instagram