10 things worth sharing this week + saying no
I am a retired nurse, living in senior housing, and accustomed to saying yes a lot!, But in late October, I had to start saying no, because I was assisting others, as well as volunteering, which I do enjoy, but not taking good care of myself, and not attending to my art work, which fills me up! So No!vember is of great interest to me! And I can still help out when I can, and if it fits into the schedule. So things are shifting. I am sure I went into nursing because I am a "helper" , as many nurses are, so it's natural to jump in. And I love that. But others need the opportunity to help as well, and I need to fill my well, so it all makes some kind of sense to me. Thanks for the newsletter, which came at the exact time I need it. It felt like you were writing directly to me! And I am enjoying seeing Coconut, thanks to your posts.
Utterly brilliant newsletter as always but adore the ‘saying no’ scrapbook. Thank you!
Amen to white space! I love the design of your books. And I vote for staring at Coconut all day because OWLS!
I haven't taken the time in a while to thank you for persisting. Beyond your insights, what I get most from all your writing is that every day you make the time, create the work, get it done. Today my mind was unencumbered enough to let me roll around a bit in the many thoughts you offered. I hope to remain stained, colored, reeking for a while from my wallow in the hope, history, precedence of getting done the important things. Have a lovely weekend with all that is important to you. Thanks again!
I love this. Sometimes the ability to say "no" is a gift I give myself.
Oh, how I loved the visual examples of “saying no graciously.” The timing of today’s newsletter made me smile. Yesterday I sent you an email inviting you to my Sondheim show in Austin next month. I’ll completely understand if you say “no.” 😀
Thank you for the reminder about saying no. A good friend once asked me this: “What are you saying no to if you say yes to something?” (He asked many good questions.)
I was just asked to go to Houston to write about a special event at one of the biggest Episcopal churches in the country. My first thought was to say “no” because I’ve too much other stuff to do, but I quickly put the opportunity in the underdog position, which was making easier to want to say “yes.”
I feel crazy to pass up the opportunity, but I think my first instinct is the right one.
I think. Of course, I’m waiting for someone to give me permission to give that “no” a voice.
The last couple of months were very frenetic and filled with harvesting, preparing and taking care in preparation for the time of dormancy. NO!vember is perfect. Actually, being willing to say No anytime it doesn't feel right and joyful is a fantastic practice. I also love my alone time. I can disappear Into the alternate universe of creation and inspiration. Not having that time makes me cranky. And, thus, there is a need to say no. To ensure we care for ourselves.
Thanks for the Nate - SNL opening.
1. “‘No’ is a protection spell” - cute cartoon by Daniela Schrieter
2. Library hold placed on American Born Chinese! I enjoyed Yang’s Superman Smashes The Klan, which rather unbelievably, is an adaptation from a 1946 (!) Superman radio show story arc based on information from a Klan infiltrator that “had a negative impact on Klan recruiting and membership numbers.” (Wikipedia)
3. Yo La Tengo related: Ira Kaplan does DJ fill-ins on WFMU fairly often and they’re as free-wheeling and sprawling as you might imagine. Also, Georgia Hubley’s parents were notable animators!
Ufff saying no is so difficult in this fast-paced society we live in. What helps me, too, is to remind myself what is currently a priority in my life. I try and do this weekly as I realised in the past months how easy it is to drift away from my priorities. But also saying no to myself and not just other people. What I mean by this is that I've been on a crazy creative journey this year, trying to learn as many new artistic skills as possible. And even though learning new things is fantastic, it's also critical that I get some rest. And I started saying no to myself whenever I begin researching another workshop I could do. Just because something is good for me doesn't mean I should overindulge, as it can still burn me out. Rest also goes excellent with your second point on just sitting with our thoughts and not trying to fill every moment of a day. I think the greatest need of our time is to clear out the enormous mass of mental rubbish that clutters our minds, and one of the most critical skills both now and in the future is the ability to be selective and conscious about what we feed our minds with daily. The less I have on my mind, the more creative ideas evolve. Blaise Pascal's words are my favourite ever quote. Thank you for this great post Austin. I love your work!
“You need not leave your room. Remain sitting at your table and listen. You need not even listen, simply wait. You need not even wait, just learn to become quiet, and still, and solitary. The world will freely offer itself to you to be unmasked. It has no choice; it will roll in ecstasy at your feet.”
- Franz Kafka
Some gems in this week's letter. I like the idea of No!vember. Mostly we're told to say yes a lot because it's so challenging and it's good for us (apparently). But I think no is just as valuable.
And yes, I'd find it rally hard to not just stare at the owls all day. How do you not?!!
So much great stuff in your newsletter today! There are many things I would like to say "NO" to at the moment, but cannot as they are family and work obligations. I did run across something recently and wrote it down thinking it would make a good cross stitch piece: "No." is a complete sentence.
I loved paging through the Whole Earth Catalog when I was a kid. Our hippie neighbors had one and it was a point of interest whenever I was over to play with their kids. I look at it now and see an endless supply of interesting collage fodder.
Finally, Arnold. I love his sense of humor and he does have a lot of sage advice. I saw a clip yesterday where people thought they were talking to an Arnold AI, but it was really him inside the booth giving advice. He popped out to surprise them, and it was all very heartwarming.
The Judi Dench video you shared floored me. I had tears welling up. Such grace and depth and yet she was almost like a shy, young girl receiving praise when the applause started. She seems like a truly beautiful person. Now, I want to go watch the Cranford series again... or maybe Ladies in Lavender.
And dear Coconut... what can I say? I would be so distracted as well. We have a Barred owl who frequents our yard in the wee hours of the morning. I'm not 100% what type of owl Coconut is, but if you haven't heard the sounds the Barred owl makes, Google it. It's a terrifying sound to be awoken by. Doesn't even sound like a bird.
I fully love NO!VEMBER. Putting that into effect now. I need it. Bad.
I just reread Austin's pages on Commonplace books and indexing and had a thought that my whole house is a Commonplace Book with different writing/art projects of words/images and that it would be a good idea to make a massive index of it all. Thank you Austin, for PERMISSION, to accumulate creative work--and let juxtapositions happen by themselves.
I like to say "not yet" to things. I can still say no to someone but it's a way for me to give myself a little bit of an out if I want to pursue it in the future. I keep a list. It's quite nerdy, I know. But I do find that it reduces a little bit of the anxiety of missing out. If it's not the right opportunity now, I can re-evaluate in the future. It doesn't always work - if something is time-sensitive or a one-time opportunity, for example. But it helps the majority of the time.