This week’s recommendations

Podcast: Download. Jason Snell, with Stephen Hackett as a editor and a rotating pair of guests talk technology in what is the most charming, informative and polished of tech podcasts. Worth listening to if only to hear the “story you might have missed” segment.

Book: World War Z, by Max Brooks. Forget the movie (it has nothing to do with the book), and forget that this book is “about zombies,” because it isn’t really. It’s an “oral history,” very well written and researched, of a plague of the kind that exposes our humanity to the very core — all the good, all the bad, laid bare. A facinating and disturbing read precisely because it is so very realistic.

Tea: Lately it has been nothing but Yorkshire Tea, in dependable teabags, brewed stronger than you would believe possible and taken with milk-and-sugar. My aunt died last week, and at times like this I look for “comfort tea,” simple and soothing in its familiarity.

Also this week: Nasturtiums are hanging in there, despite the hot weather.

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This week’s recommendations

Staring at the blank page…

Starting to write is like starting to run. Your brain starts playing tricks on you from step one. 

“I’m too tired to run”.

“It’s too hot today — it’s dangerous to run outside”.

“My feet hurt, my head hurts, my throat hurts — let’s not go out today”.

“10k? That’s too much. Let’s run less. You can’t possibly do it”.

Sound familiar?

I sat down to write yesterday, and it was difficult, very difficult to start. My mind started wandering, suggesting that I read my twitter feed, or the NYT, or do anything, just anything but write. It’s like that almost every time I sit down and write, and the only way I found to overcome it is to map out reasonable daily goals and force myself to start anyway. Usually when I start writing I can push myself well enough to the finish, sometimes even a bit farther. The same thing happens when I run — the first 2-3k are a pain, but then I get into the rhythm, and start enjoying myself. 

There’s never been a run that I’ve regretted.

There’s never been a writing session that I’ve regretted.

I just need to remember that when the tiny little coward in my brain decided to protest. 

Every. Single. Time.

Staring at the blank page…