All posts by Ann Riley

Please let me know if you hate this.

 

 

I feel like everything is inspired by something else. There is no 100 percent original thought                                                                                                                                                                                     ~Ne-Yo

From Best Selling Author  Steven Pressfield’s blog regarding a new project:

“The book is about writing.

I don’t have a title yet but the premise is that there’s such a thing as “the artist’s journey.”

The artist’s journey is different from “the hero’s journey.”

The artist’s journey is the process we embark upon once we’ve found our calling, once we know we’re writers but we don’t know yet exactly what we’ll write or how we’ll write it.”

I lifted the lines above from Steven Pressfield’s website http://www.stevenpressfield.com. I decided to share them with the 6X6 writers because I loved how honest Pressfield was…he admitted he doesn’t know exactly what to write or exactly how he’ll write it. He’s a professional, best selling author and he was brave enough to admit that on the world wide web. I LOVE THAT. I never thought I was really allowed to admit to things like that out loud, let alone in a professional community. But now I realize that by sharing his uncertainty, Pressfield just endeared himself to me as a writer and fellow human being. I admire him. I’m now more likely to read his blog and books…he offered a way to make a sincere connection. And now I’m quoting him and passing along his info in hopes that someone else might gain a spark of inspiration.

Since I’m on a roll about stealing and being honest, two topics that make good writing, I have to give credit for the title of this post. I stole that from Pressfield’s blog too. This line encouraged me to be brave. It’s like Pressfield is saying, “What do you think? Be honest… I can take it…”

So, let me know if you hate this. But, please be kind. I’m not as tough as I will be someday. This is my first day at being fearless…sometimes every day feels like my first day…

Check out Oprah’s interview with Pressfield:

 

 

It’s a Library Thing…

 

This 6X6 Writing Challenge is a great example of basking in the reflection of my culture on the GCC campus. I’m in love with the idea of life-long learning and the exchange of ideas.

GCC is the epitome of life-long learning. Specifically, my position in GCC Library Access Services offers constant opportunities to celebrate student and staff success in regards to providing access to information. My goal is simple: If you need information, I want to help you access it. If what you need is not housed in our library, I want to help you find it.

At times, I love to stand back and look at the BIG picture in library terms: Historically, the library is at the foundation of civilization. This is a powerful idea as I walk through our library…it’s a big deal to experience this academic setting and appreciate the limitless opportunities that might begin here.  I like to imagine that all the mental effort that takes place in the library is transformed into positive futures and a better world. I love to savor my BIG picture idea and realize that what I do today really matters.

Also, I love to lean in and appreciate the small, everyday moments I share with library patrons. It is almost magical to meet others who share my specific love for library books and learning. It’s an over-the-edge, possessive behavior. I totally understand the patrons who feel like 28 days is never long enough to keep a book…who have a hard time actually letting go and setting the book on the counter to return it. Don’t laugh, there are a few of us who clutch certain books and wish we could keep them just a little longer since we never seem to feel truly done. ( I know, why don’t we just buy it, you say…but that’s not how we roll…remember, the library is a cornerstone of civilization, Amazon is not…and some of us need to feel the pages in our hands…electronic words don’t feed our souls)

When’s the last time you walked through our library? Stop in and experience the sheer joy of 90,000+ books – all in one big room. It’s old-school awesome!

Information helps you to see that you’re not alone. That there’s somebody in Mississippi and somebody in Tokyo who all have wept, who’ve all longed and lost, who’ve all been happy. So the library helps you to see, not only that you are not alone, but that you’re not really any different from everyone else.                                                                                                                                                                                     ~Maya Angelou

 

 

My Inspiration: Writer’s Block

I love this 6X6 Writing Challenge. So why can’t I write anything? Each time I begin, I read it and it stinks. I just read Jeffrey Sanger’s post and he reminded me to think about my audience. Everything I’d written up until this point was written for me. I was my audience. Who wants to read that kind of stuff? Not even me at the moment… So here’s a thought for our 6X6 writing community regarding an inspirational person I met online thanks to NPR. Don’t you just love NPR?

Check out this video or his website. I hope you’re inspired…

Alain de Botton 

Writer, modern-day philosopher, founder of

The School of Life.   https://www.theschooloflife.com/

 

de Botton’s The School of Life and  http://www.thebookoflife.org/  offer free, relevant, intelligent information.

 

 

 

Reason, Season, Lifetime…

Maybe you’ve read the Reason, Season, Lifetime piece. It’s a rather cutesy idea about why certain people come into your life. When I thought about work relationships, the Reason, Season, Lifetime thought came to mind.

Let me start by saying that I don’t buy into the over-simplified idea that everything happens for a reason. But after re-reading the Reason, Season piece and thinking about work/friend relationships over the years, it is sort of a cool concept.

Read Reason, Season (click below) and then think about people in your life that fit each category.

Even more interesting – think about yourself and what categories you fit in according to your experiences with family, friends, coworkers, and students. In addition to all the great people who have impacted your life, think about those who presented a struggle. Sometimes difficult experiences move us to grow or change. At the very least, we can re-frame our intentions in tough relationships as an opportunity to practice patience, tolerance, or model acceptable behavior for others.

So now you’ve had your daily dose of sugar-coated philosophy. Best wishes to everyone for a fantastic spring break.

 

Simple, not easy

Since my hero Austin Kleon writes in bullet points, I think I will too. Here are a few thoughts about dealing with difficult situations in a positive way.

The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz

  • The Four Agreements is a tiny book filled with enormous wisdom.
  • Take Away Message: Don’t take anything personally.
  • “Personal importance, or taking things personally, is the maximum expression of selfishness because we make the assumption that everything is about me.” Great quote from Chapter 3, page 48.
  • Avoid the urge to be right and make everyone else wrong.
  • Bottom Line: In a difficult situation, don’t take it personally because everyone lives in their own reality. Their anger is about them, not you. Even if they say something ugly, that’s their ugliness. Don’t make it yours too.

Unconditional Positive Regard, a concept developed by the humanistic psychologist Carl Rogers.

  • Try to accept and support others without passing judgment.
  • Starting from a point of unconditional positive regard will probably improve any situation.

If all else fails, lighten your mood.

  • Imagine your current difficult situation is happening in a sitcom.
  • Think about a silly sign. Here are a few examples:

 

Steal Like An Artist

 

I don’t know how I ended up with this idea, but I love it. Thinking about dreams for improving my job led me to one of my favorite authors, Austin Kleon. I found one of his books years ago while browsing at Urban Outfitters and I’ve been a fan ever since. He writes about work and the creative process in a fun, meaningful way.

  • He writes short chapters.
  • He draws simple illustrations that make sense.
  • His books are fun to read and teach life-changing ideas at the same time.
  • He writes in lists and bullet points.
  • I love reading his stuff.

I flipped through his book, Steal Like an Artist to find inspiration for this post. So now, I’m stealing from page 108 with the following idea: Write Fan Letters. Here is a loose quote, “If you truly love somebody’s work, write them a public fan letter. Write a blog post about someone’s work that you admire and link to their site. Write something and dedicate it to your hero.”

  • Who better to write about than the author of this idea?
  • Austin Kleon, this post is dedicated to you.

Check out his website:

http://austinkleon.com

Watch a video:

Read his books:

steal like an artist Show Your Work

 

  • Whose work do you admire?
  • Write them a fan letter.
 

Catch ’em Being Good

Thank you, Louise So. Reading your post, DON’T FORGET THE GOOD ONES inspired me to write about intrinsic motivation. As an elementary school teacher, I made an effort to encourage intrinsic motivation in addition to using extrinsic rewards such as handing out stickers and saying “good job.”

I learned that if I just narrated the behavior of a student, I didn’t need to compliment or correct the student. Simply describing the scene allowed the individual to create their own intrinsic compliment or correction. For instance, if a student was totally on task and following instructions, I would announce to the class, “Jennifer wrote her name and the date on her paper and she’s highlighting the nouns and underlining our sight words.” Now, Jennifer can create her own intrinsic reward in her mind and the rest of the class is reminded of the expectation.

I think the narration technique builds intrinsic motivation. Using explicit and relevant details sends the message that I noticed Jennifer’s efforts. Recently, while grocery shopping, I noticed how nice the produce section looked. I told the produce employee, “Your produce section looks beautiful. Every item is in perfect rows.” I think he was stunned by my observation.

I imagine that’s what most of us want – to know that once in awhile someone notices our hard work, not just our shortcomings.  As adults, we don’t need stickers on a chart, but isn’t it nice when someone notices our everyday efforts? Just like the swimmers in Louise’s post, recognition of our efforts encourages us to do even better.

 

 

The Power of Vulnerability

Dr. Brené Brown is my hero. Vulnerability is one of her favorite topics. When I read the writing prompt this week, I immediately thought of Brené. She describes herself as a researcher and a story teller. That sounds like an unusual mix. However, Brené demonstrates that stories are “data with a soul.” I love that.

Rather than try to paraphrase her incredible work, I’d encourage you to invest 20 minutes and watch her TED Talk, The Power of Vulnerability.

http://

My hope is that Brené’s ideas will help us all lean into vulnerability. Vulnerability can lead to more happiness, so give it a try. Try to notice the connection between kindness and vulnerability. Take a chance…be mindful as you walk around campus…be the first one to make eye contact and say Hello. Challenge your students to make human connections instead of just texting. An emoji can’t compare to a warm, face-to-face smile. I think our campus workplace provides limitless opportunities to spread real-life kindness since many of us work face-to-face with human beings- all day, every day. In today’s social media world, we have the chance to promote in-person kindness.  Be brave and be kind.

 

I work here for the view…

As a student, I fell in love with the GCC experience. The first day I stepped on campus in 2007, I felt like GCC wrapped its arms around me. I sensed tremendous positive energy here. Everyone at GCC wanted me to succeed. The mission of this organization was crystal clear. Student success. I remember walking around campus, gazing up at the picturesque palm trees set against the blue Arizona sky. Walking from one class to another, I was in heaven. What a view…

I was a first generation college student who came to GCC full of hopes and dreams. I was new to Arizona and eager to make things happen as I began a new chapter in my life. During my first week of classes, I made 2 important purchases: a rolling book bag and bifocals. Being a 42 year old college freshman presented a few challenges. I quickly discovered that my books were too heavy and the print was too small…

With my new glasses and book bag, I began to understand the meaning of “life-long learning.” GCC was my dream come true…I was hooked. No book was too heavy…no print too small…

Fast forward to January 2017. Today, I’m honored to be part of the GCC Library staff. I work here now! I’ll never forget the success I felt as a student. My education at GCC was mind-expanding and life-changing. As an employee, I want to contribute to student success and help others live their best lives.

As a new employee, I’m still walking around campus at lunchtime, gazing at the palms against the blue sky and continuing to feel the joy of GCC. I guess you could say I work here for the view…