One of my favorite scenes in any book takes place in John Steinbeck’s Cannery Row. If you remember the story, it’s about the citizens of a particular street along the California coast. There’s a man they call Doc who collects all kinds of species of sea animals to sell to colleges and laboratories. And there’s a group of homeless guys who live across the street from Doc’s shop. They live in an old warehouse and one of them lives with his wife in a large, abandoned piece of pipe. His wife has draped curtains over fake windows on the inside of the pipe and the boys all sit on the steps looking out at the street, judging the value of the world as it passes by. The homeless boys are led by a well-meaning man named Mack who wants to throw a party for Doc but just makes a bunch of mayhem trying. [...]
My Jewish friends are in the middle of the High Holy Days. It starts on Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, and ends ten days later on Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. During that week they take stock of the previous year and prepare to make an accounting of it. The High Holy Days are also known as the Days of Repentance, or get this: the Days of Awe.
Sometimes I wish there [...]
The great stumbling block of the creative mind is the awareness of self from the perspective of others. Self awareness isn’t the enemy, because we are in fact masterworks of God, but rather the overemphasis regarding what others think of us. When we think too much about the opinions of others, we are letting them edit a book God has written. [...]
I recently spoke at the World Domination Summit in Portland and loved all the other speakers. I had a blast sitting in the massive, giggly audience watching grand slam after grand slam pass across the stage. One of the best audience responses, though, came from my new friend Jia Jiang. Jia is a Chinese American who has been running an amazing experiment in which he is trying to overcome his fear of rejection by being rejected 100 times. [...]
I walked to work last week and passed a spider web. It was stunning as it shimmered in the dewy morning light. I noticed it hung between two trees by only four slender threads. I studied this Charlotte-like web as if it might have a message for me. But as I noticed the sleeping spider, I remembered this was just an ordinary web and nothing more than a day’s work for a spider. [...]
If I were to tell you I measure success in my life by the quality and amount of stuff I own, I’m guessing one of two things would happen. Either you would stop reading and write me off as sad and shallow. Or, you would keep reading, but feel a great deal of sympathy for me (or maybe anger toward me) for being so sad and shallow.
You might even take the time to write an angry or corrective comment below, so I could see the error of my ways.
But here’s what’s funny: I actually do believe this. (Keep reading).
In the movie What About Bob, Bill Murray plays a neurotic patient named Bob who goes to see a psychiatrist played by Richard Dreyfuss. Halfway through their session, Bob clutches his chest, gasps for air, falls to the floor, flops around for a while making guttural noises, and then lies there silently.
Unfazed, the psychiatrists leans over and asks him if he’s finished. Bob climbs back into his chair and the psychiatrist asks him why he’s just faked a heart attack.
“Because if I fake it, I don’t have it,” Bob replies.