Thanks to @JWOcker I have learned that the PEM museum in Salem is going to have a Nathaniel Hawthorne exhibition. Pretty excited for this one as I have long been a Hawthorne aficionado and every year I teach his short story, The Birthmark. The exhibit is titled The Creative Legacy of Nathaniel Hawthorne: Selections from the Phillips Library Collection.

From the PEM’s website:

This is the first exhibition in a new gallery dedicated to showcasing works from the museum’s research library. Nathaniel Hawthorne is integral to Salem’s rich history, and PEM’s Phillips Library collection includes over 3,000 individual volumes by the author. The library’s recent acquisition of Mindy Belloff’s A Golden Thread, a contemporary reinterpretation of Hawthorne’s short story “The Minotaur,” considers the links between past and present, visual and verbal, and how artists have drawn on one another’s work throughout time. Focusing on the visual artistry of bookmaking and printing, from cover designs to typography, this exhibition highlights the full creativity present in books as art objects.

How and why I use social media. Seems every few weeks I come across another post or article decrying the use of social media, and while on the one hand I totally get it- social media has been the cause (or at least symptom) of a lot of what ails modern culture- on the other hand, I think it really depends on how you use it.

Here’s my back of the napkin social media life:

Facebook: I keep my account so that I know when someone has big family news- death, marriage, baby. This seems to have become the de facto way of sharing this type of news and I don’t want to put my foot in my mouth talking to a friend or colleague I only see once in a while.I generally check in once or twice a week.I never post.

Instagram: I follow a lot of national parks, country accounts, interesting creators and photographers. I like to look a pretty pictures. I don’t rely on it to show me everything about the few personal accounts I follow. I mainly use it as eye candy. Check in first thing in the morning to see beautiful things while drinking my coffee.

As for posting, I like using the story function to put up random shots. The fact that they are here and gone appeals to me. Gives me a reason to snap a pic every now and then. I do tend to post quotes in my feed, but that is more for my business persona than anything else. (Have to maintain the brand somewhere, and I like Instagram best for this purpose.)

Twitter: Oh Twitter, the love to hate social media sibling. Honestly, Twitter has always been and probably always will be my favorite place to hang out. I keep my follow list around 100 and fill it mostly with authors and creators I enjoy reading about. Politics is pretty ruthlessly pruned out.I generally don’t follow people I know in real life- few of them are even on here. I’ll check in a couple times a day and post sporadically. I tend to respond to other people’s content more than I create my own here. (My personal blog does auto share to Twitter).

LinkedIn: I use this everyday, multiple times a day. I’m a job search coach so I have to live here. It’s fine.

I’ve never had social media make me feel anxious, depressed, FOMO or anything else that a lot of people talk about. All of my accounts have a pretty small follow list (around 100) and even then I have a few people muted from time to time. The algorithm doesn’t really seem to affect me. Don’t give it a lot to chose from and it tends to show you everything I guess. It’s a pleasant distraction or a tool. It has as much power as you want it to.

When there is clarity within

The world appears clear.

When there is chaos within

The outside world appears chaotic.

Our world is a reflection of our state of mind.

Don’t “change the world”. Change yourself.

Chad Lutzke and John Boden’s Out Behind the Barn was 130 pages of …I don’t know how to describe it. A “sweet” horror story? Regardless, I highly recommend it. And if you are a writer, or just appreciate the craft, the afterward which explains how this collaboration came about is entertaining in and of itself.

How much better to heal than seek revenge from injury. Vengeance wastes a lot of time and exposes you to many more injuries than the first that sparked it. Anger always outlasts hurt. Best to take the opposite course.” — Seneca

Ask yourself, What do I subjectively gain by endless anger and frustration?

Time and energy would be better spent trying to leave behind what made you so angry in the first place.

Life is short. That’s all there is to say. Get what you can from the present‚ thoughtfully, justly.” Marcus Aurelius

An ever-ready piece of advice to stop wasting time. Do things that you’ll look back on with pride or fondness at the end of things.

A happy surprise: My wife came home yesterday with a new DVD collection: 20 Tales of Terror. It includes 26 hours worth of classic (public domain) horror films. Since today is a rainy, fall-like day, I think this will be the perfect background to today’s slate of client work.

Just finished Adam Cesare ‘s VIDEO NIGHT. This is my kind of beach read. 80s nostalgia, solid horror story, just enough campy gore and characters who are largely angst-free. Perfect.

Up next…

I binged through 2 seasons of BLACK SPOT on Netflix in 3 days. It’s that good. God how I love bleak European horror/thriller television. 

Captain Laurene Weiss is the head of the Gendarmerie of Villefranche, an isolated town amidst a foreboding mountain forest. The town’s murder rate is six times the national average. There may or may not be an ancient evil hiding among the trees. Come for the concept, stay for the low grade sense of impending doom.

Are you serious, or not serious? “In your actions, don’t procrastinate. In your conversations, don’t confuse. In your thoughts, don’t wander. In your soul, don’t be passive or aggressive.” – Marcus Aurelius

No, life isn’t easy, but it isn’t complicated either. The above rules are simple, clear to understand and easy to remember. In the affirmative they simply tell us to do three things well.

  1. Act
  2. Be clear in thought and word
  3. Stay calm

It’s the execution that gets tricky. We can’t say we don’t know how to live well, we can only say if we are serious about putting it into practice or not.