Posts Tagged ‘progress’

Today is Canada’s first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation

It’s good to see at least some progress on long-overdue Indigenous issues, but it also raises a question. How do we deal with difficult topics? Expression, sharing, recognition, and dialog are constructive options, and art plays a fundamental role in each of these elements.

9 Indigenous musicians reflect on what truth and reconciliation means to them | CBC News

This article interviews Indigenous creators, about their art and their thoughts on reconciliation, and also includes links to their work. I particularly like this quote from Inuk singer-songwriter and filmmaker Elisapie:

“Like I always say, this is our story. But this is definitely your story, too. So get on with it and discuss and face those uncomfortable questions and try to find the answers, too, right?”

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I also like this quote from Murray Sinclair:

“I did say … at the end of the TRC report that we will not achieve reconciliation in my lifetime. We will probably not achieve it in the lifetime of my children. We may not even achieve it in the lifetime of my grandchildren,” Sinclair, a former senator and chief commissioner of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC), told Unreserved host Rosanna Deerchild.

“But if we make a concerted effort … then eventually we will be able, some day, to wake up and, to our surprise, find that we are treating each other in a way that was intended when contact was first made.”

— National Day for Truth and Reconciliation is 1 step on a long journey, says Murray Sinclair | CBC Radio

So here’s to what’s hard getting easier. And to waking up.

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Photo by Dave Hoefler on Unsplash

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The other day I hemmed a pair of jeans for Mr Man. The method isn’t difficult but can be a little tricky to get right. All those thick seams and difficult fabric. 

I don’t sew much, so I had to go through the usual process of pretending like I know what I’m doing. A lot like life, really. Thankfully, muscle memory has been in charge of threading sewing machine needles since I was about twelve.

Once I finished, I realized something interesting. The results were good. Better than the last time I did it, actually. And the interesting part was that it wasn’t perfect, nowhere close, but I seem to have figured out what mattered.

For hemmed jeans, it’s thread color. 

For writing, I will argue, it’s the emotion that connects reader and written. 

It’s possible that I sometimes try too hard, in an effort to get everything right. (Hahahahaha, that seems even sillier when I write it down. Yeah, that’s not happening, like, ever;)

But what if I don’t need to get the whole thing right? What if I just need to get the right things right? 

Step one, figure out what those things are. Step two, take the next step.

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You’ve got this, kiddo. Photo by Jukan Tateisi on Unsplash

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Here’s a quick pre-holiday update. Winter has come and I’m writing, working, cooking, shoveling and woodworking. As an antidote to all things discouraging and sad, I present evidence that effort + time = achievement. See Exhibit A, a.k.a. Bowl #1.


Some walnut, some birdseye maple, some sweat and a few tears. (Yes, it was perfect. Yes, I dropped it. Yes, I re-cut and re-finished the exterior. But now it’s done:)

Translate to your own circumstances as you will!


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Today’s entry for #ThingsILike is Impostor Syndrome. Let me be clear, I don’t enjoy feeling like a fraud. What I do like is that I’m not alone when I do. My advisor introduced me to the term in grad school and gave me a gift: he told me that practically everyone at our prestigious and accomplished institution had it. It just wasn’t something people talked about.

Ok, maybe what I really like is the fact that the today’s connectivity means I don’t feel like the only one, be it re: impostor syndrome or sci-fi fandom, POC or what have you. Still, today is as good a time for a pep talk as any. Let’s get to it:)

A lot of people feel like frauds at some point in their lives. The topic came up for me this week because Mary Robinette Kowal has a good piece about it on her site. (If her gaming analogy doesn’t work for you feel free to come up with your own.)

Have you ever felt like a fake, attributed your accomplishments to luck or some external reason, or downplayed your success even though on paper you might look pretty darn impressive? If you’re asking yourself “Who hasn’t?” well, you know about impostor syndrome.

(Quick, here’s a pretty picture to keep your spirits up. That’s you, taking in the view on your way to the top. It only looks like someone else’s behind:)

Impostor syndrome is so common that CalTech has a page on it for its students, and everyone from Forbes to Geek Feminism Wiki to the American Psychological Association wants to help people work through it. (And that’s just from the first Google search page:)

I like Mary’s take on impostor syndrome as a way to tell that you are making progress, working hard, and facing down problems that feel too big to handle. (The key here is “feel.” Feels are fine and all but emotion is interpretation, and not necessarily fact.)

Impostor Syndrome means that you are winning.

I think that’s great.

Speaking of progress and how to make more of it, there’s a great TED talk with relevance here. Rather than seeing challenges as a binary yes or no, can I or can’t I? Carol Dweck argues that it helps to think about targets as yes or not yet. That “yet” is the crucial modifier. The brain is built to learn, you just have to chill out, keep going and give yourself a chance.

Do that, and not yet can become yesterday’s accomplishment. Now I’m off to take my own advice:)

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Some of you will have seen this poem, but I fielded a question about it recently and wanted to revisit what is a sometimes painful yet ultimately encouraging truth:

Ever tried.
Ever failed.
No matter.
Try again.
Fail again.
Fail better.
—Samuel Beckett

Not “stop trying.” Not “don’t fail.” Fail better. It’s a sentiment close to the heart of many writers:)

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