words words words

I subscribe to Restaurant SmartBrief’s daily newsletter to stay current on foodservice trends (and, let’s be honest, watch for the thrilling appearance of ads I’ve written in their natural habitat); the quote-of-the-day feature is worth scrolling down for, too.

I think back to high school me, who didn’t have the internet. She did have her bulky Bartlett’s Familiar Quotations and an urge to scribble down meaningful words. This habit came in handy in college when, as an RA, I could impose my obnoxious optimism on a captive audience of freshmen. (But, guys! You CAN become the change you want to see in the world.)

2003. Such a simpler time. There are too many words now and they start to lose their meaning. We live online in a land of quote overload. Inspiration is forever at the ready.

There it is!

There it is!


One day in June, I caught myself deleting multiple newsletters I’d flagged because the Q-O-T-D had hit the mental spot. I noticed a trend: They were all about perseverance. 

“Everywhere I look,” I thought, “things are literally telling me: DON’T GIVE UP.”

Creative work is hard, y’all. So much time spent feeling like you suck. (Maybe all of the time, forever? I heard an interview with certified TV-genius Norman Lear, who said—at age 94—that he still doubts himself. Still.)

You may get the occasional little nugget of outside affirmation. You treasure this nugget and for a while it energizes you. But soon enough you’re back to the daily grind, and daily grinding will wear down a happy nugget until you’re left with just a shriveled grape-nut of self-doubt.

(You’ll even find yourself doubting your nugget-based creativity analogies. It’s rough.)

But that’s the game. It’s nice to be reminded that so many quotable notables have played it too. So. In honor of that, here’s some annotated scribblage:

It’s hard to beat a person who never gives up.
— Babe Ruth, baseball player
pretty obvious, right? but he should know. imagine B.R. pointing his famous finger AT YOU.

Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent.
— Calvin Coolidge, 30th US president
oh dang, Calvin! we just got served. (successful men without talent: also a thing.)

Jumping at several small opportunities may get us there more quickly than waiting for one big one to come along.
— Hugh Allen, musician
but, like, big ones are nice too.

Be as you wish to seem.
— Socrates, Greek philosopher
this one tickles my brain. that was Socrates’ whole deal, though. makes sense.

Growth demands a temporary surrender of security.
— Gail Sheehy, writer
shut up, Gail. (this one makes me whiny. sorry, Gail. that’s on me.)

The greatest barrier to success is the fear of failure.
— Sven-Goeran Eriksson, athlete and sports executive
I imagine a name like “Sven-Goeran” is a barrier in itself. way to overcome, S-G. 

Daily Thought Thoughts

I get the Real Simple magazine Daily Thought in my inbox every morning. This week, I had to laugh when Monday and Tuesday offered me these:



Both thoughts are empowering, of course, but they’re also a little bit terrifying. And exactly what I need to hear. Some pretty big changes in the works (anybody looking to buy a house?!) — and while I’m really excited about it all, I also have these moments of oh crap, what am I doing?! (Just changing zip codes, not cities. You’re stuck with me for now, Springfield.)

Boxing up your life and starting again (again) is humbling and refreshing and arduous and hilarious. All at once. So I need all the “it’s okay! Even if it ends up sucking for a while!” that I can get right now. Or:

“Follow your dreams!…even if your dreams lead you to the middle of a deep, dark forest! Yikes, did that wolf sound angry to you guys?!”
“Better to break your arm while taking a leap of faith than have two good arms from playing it safe!”
“Chill out. At least you aren’t (insert person whose name you’d never admit out loud. C’mon. You know you want to…).”

Kidding about that last one, obviously. (But seriously. Don’t you feel a little better?)

And now for something completely different.

“You are the product. You feeling something. That’s what sells.”

— Don Draper, to Peggy, Mad Men Season 2

P & D

So it begins…

“It” being my new job.
“It” being my A.D. (after-Drury) period.
“It” being my even-deeper obsession with Mad Men.
“It” being The Rest of My Life.
(Nope! Too scary. Way too much pressure. It’s just one day. Chill out. Cool.)

Still, “It” is a pretty big deal.

It’s been a long time since I’ve felt so much like the New Kid in an already-established world. I spent a lot time breaking into new groups during my first 22-or-so years of life. School… theatre things… nerd camp… ReaLife @ James River (there’s a blast from the past)… college… my first improv class… But most of my “big girl” work experiences after college have been in somewhat familiar worlds. And Drury’s been a familiar world to me for 10+ years.

This time, it’s all new.

And it’s all good.