Pep Talk

How to Add a Handmade Map to Your Journal Pages

I don’t know about you but I am feeling on the lost side of things these days, dazed and confused. So what do you say we make a handmade map? If you keep journal pages you can add a map there and then you’ll know where you are. When this mess is all over, you can look at it and know that this is where you were. It’s fun, it’s simple, it is an easy way to feel as though you are making order out of chaos and that is really therapeutic right now. Also, it’s not fattening. So let’s go.

You don’t have to draw well to be a good cartographer of your life. Yes, you could do a fancier job but if you wait, you might not get around to doing it. (Sound familiar?) Hand drawn maps have a special charm and immediate quality and a diagram of your neighbourhood is a powerful tool for storytelling and memory keeping. (One of my most cherished maps is one I made of the walk I took every single day for years with my dog: it was so ordinary but now that my animal friend is gone, I can [read more]

Oldest Known Work of Art is 44,000 Year Old Cave Painting

The oldest known work of figurative art has been found on the wall of a cave in Indonesia. It is 44,000 years old and spans over 16 feet, depicting a hunting party in pursuit of wild cows and pigs. The animals are portrayed as huge while the people are tiny, although they do have some fantastic, supernatural elements such as lizard-like tails and a bird’s head on a man’s body. (If you like learning new words, this is called “therianthropy”.)

I don’t know about you but the evidence of the need to create, reaching out to us from 400-centuries inspires deep, almost wordless awe in my tiny, human brain. Also, it is a lot like a journal page, if a journal page was 16-feet big and on the wall of a cave. Just saying, people you might want to think about making an illustrated record of your days in your sketchbook.

This is not the painting. I don’t have a legal right to post it so I drew my version. To see a photograph of the real thing, go here to National [read more]

Here is Your Pep Talk: Joy As an Act of Defiance

“People have always been good at imagining the end of the world, which is much easier to picture than the strange sidelong paths of change in a world without end.”
― Rebecca Solnit, Hope in the Dark

There is a lot of malaise going around, and when I say “malaise” I basically mean being in funk so deep that you can’t start or finish anything. I am hearing this from the last people in the world I expected: people who are smart, creative, resourceful, self-motivated, self-disciplined, and buoyant, and if they are in a funk, what hope is there for the rest of us. Fortunately, that is not how hope works so here we go. Here is your pep talk.

Consider this: humans are biologically hardwired to fear change and you have been hit with a mortal degree of change unimagined a few months ago. Consider this: if you are not okay right now it is because powerful forces are hard at work making sure that you are not okay. They are rather, deliberately manufacturing the maximum amount of chaos, despair, division, and confusion possible. Under the circumstances, it would be weird not to go to pieces. Except consider [read more]

What to Do With Your Anger in Uncertain Times

I have heard a lot of people say they are scared right now but I am not so much scared as angry, which feels weird because as a rule I do not get angry. You could say I don’t believe in it but today I am not only angry, I am convulsed with rage. But here’s the deal. It doesn’t help and I don’t like what anger does to me or to other people so – I had a good cry in the shower, got a grip, and gave myself this pep-talk; here it is in case you need one.

Idiots may be idioting while the world burns but even so, I have a choice. I can feel outrage and helplessness or – I can be angry but in control of what I do with that. One thing I know: They are counting on our anger to divide us, making it easier for Them to get away with this. A look at social media posts and especially comments makes it clear that it’s working. Actively refusing to be part of this, rejecting it and deliberately choosing another reaction thus becomes an act of rebellion, of disobedience.

I am not [read more]