college, creativity, Musing, Thoughts, Writing, YouTube

“Ira Glass on the Creative Process”

I’m working on a story right now that I want so badly to be good and sound and beautiful. But it’s ambitious and honestly, I feel as if I’m trying to find my way to the bed in a dark hotel room. I keep bumping into things and I can’t seem to get my bearings–in short, I have no idea what.I’m.doing.

And so (of course) I started searching around the internet for some help and/or inspiration.

What I found was a video featuring Ira Glass, in which Glass talks about what he really wishes someone had told him when he was beginnerIt was exactly what I needed to hear and so wonderfully consoling that I felt compelled to share it. Thus, see below.

I’ll admit I’ve got a bit of a brain-crush on Ira Glass. He has, undoubtedly, a remarkable ability to tell stories. I’m an avid listener of This American Life. I play episodes while I work out, walk to class, fall asleep, and each time I’m amazed by how captivating it is, by how fascinated and engrossed I become in the story.

In this Ira-Glass-fawning-vein, Glass also gave a terrific commencement speech at Goucher College last May, chalk-full of humorous, hopeful bits of wisdom and insight. You can watch the full speech here (though I’ll warn you about the unreal peculiarity of seeing the face attached the voice), but below is just one quote that stuck out to me.

“I had to learn that ideas, if you were going to make creative work, you have to find an idea to make the work about. That is a job in itself. And where do ideas come from? They come from other ideas, and you have to surround yourself with things that are interesting to you and notice what is exciting to you and what you want to dive into, and finding what you’re going to make your short story or film or song or art project or movie about is a job.  Finding what you want to do next is a job. It’s a task: You have to set aside hours in the day, and you have to be a soldier, and you have to fight for what you’re going to make in yourself.”

So often I think ideas will simply arrive in my mind, as if the idea fairy is just going to leave an idea under my pillow at night. But Glass argues, No, it’s not as romantic as that; we have to work to form our ideas. That creativity isn’t this natural, flowing entity but something we must nurture daily. Something that requires earnest endeavor; concerted effort.

And I like that thought–I like it a whole lot–because it rings true to me and because it makes my struggling seem useful, worthwhile; heck, maybe even valuable.


P.S. The You Tube Channel through which I found the Ira Glass video also has a terrific Steve Jobs’ quote video, which you can see here. Inspiration overload!

college, Musing

“So how ’bout that weather?” Oh dear, orientation

It strikes me as so funny, sometimes, just how uncomfortable college orientation is. And it’s funny, because it’s not as if some folks don’t feel awkward. Everyone feels AWKWARD. No one knows where anything is; no one wants to go to the uncomfortable, scheduled activities, but no one has anything to do in their free time; no one can remember the name of the person they just met. And you really only have one option: to ENDURE the awkwardness, by whatever means possible (including using the weather as a topic of conversation).

Looking for solace on the internet (as often do…), I came across this article that I particularly liked about freshman orientation. As the writer put it nicely, “Here’s the thing about orientation: it throws one into a very unfamiliar setting filled with that proverbial Awkward and thus forces one to seek out a method of survival, regardless of pride or self-esteem issues.”

And so much of that “survival” I think is just remembering that

a) no one knows anyone, and they want to meet you as badly as you want to meet them. (so, while I would never randomly introduce myself to the person walking beside me in the “real” world, it seems a relatively normal thing to do during orientation).


b) it’s OK to feel uncomfortable, out-of-place, lonely, disconnected, confused, bored, tired, etc.

Morgan, thoughts? What about your pre-orientation program–was regular orientation easier after that? (By the way, thanks for the voice message. Mah, I owe you a phone call!)

And lastly, while I was googling awkward things, I found this great website……I’ve posted a couple of my favorite below.

That awkward moment when your nanny turns out to be your ex husband disguised as 60-year-old British caretaker.

That awkward moment when you say goodbye to someone and both walk the same way

That awkward moment when you walk onstage to accept the male model of the year award and realize Hansel won.

That awkward moment when you can’t stop laughing while telling a joke and when you are finally done, your friends doesn’t even get it.

All for now, Drew


My new home

I am living in the most beautiful old abode, “Gatehouse” as its called, attached to the farmhouse. It is a little dusty (there is a family of spiders living in one of the corners of my room, but I’m just letting them be, at least for now) but otherwise very homey, and I have a spacious room with the most amazing view overlooking pasture. Each night I get to watch the sunset (that’s usually when I go to sleep…) and say goodnight to the sheep and the cows out there.

my room…a little messy

the view overlooking pasture

A wise teacher of Morgan and mine recently told us some good advice, which is to hang things on your walls whenever you’re in a new place, as it will make it feel more like home. So the first night I was here, feeling a bit uncomfortable in my new surroundings, I tacked a bunch of photos up (see above, right next to my bed), and it definitely helped. I love this place already.

Peace, Drew