Posted in Build Your Habit Series

Build Your Habit Series aka Yes You Can

If you’re like most people, there are activities you want to be doing more often—running? writing? relaxing? cleaning?—but you’re unsure how to get yourself to do them consistently. Maybe you feel undisciplined or wish you were “the kind of person” who could be good at habits or routines. Well, as it turns out, it isn’t really about how good or bad you are at something. It’s just about training your brain. Which is good news, I think, since there are tricks we can learn and use to get the results we want.

So this guy Aaron runs a site called Freedom and Fulfillment, and it looks like he has a book out too. He uses some disappointing language—like using “pussy” as a slur, when really, shouldn’t we stop criminalizing the female body? But he has some great ideas. In case we find ourselves dragging our feet over something we want to accomplish (we don’t exactly want to do it so much as we think we should, or maybe we want to have done it, and we know we’ll feel better once we have), Aaron gives us two methods: either build it up to be A HUGE BIG DEAL that’s a matter of LIFE AND DEATH!!! to feel the (overemphasized) importance and weight of it, or minimize it into THE TINIEST DEAL EVAR  until it seems like the easiest thing to do.

The first trick reminds me of when my sister and I were little and we were told to clean our room. It felt completely insurmountable, so we made up games to make it feel possible. One was to pretend the world was going to end if we didn’t finish before five minutes was up. Suddenly, there was tension and pressure and we had to do it, because the world was depending on us to save them! We would use countdowns, but the time never actually ran out because we’d just start it over at another arbitrary point. We knew the stakes were imaginary, but they created real fun and real motivation. When one of us stood still for too long we’d goad the other, “Come on, the planet needs us!!!” (The buddy system is the best for accountability). I think you should try it some time. It might feel silly… or you might surprise yourself by what you can get done.

The second trick reminds me of two things. Personally, I try to get up early and have a 45 minute run (jog) on my treadmill while watching a tv show, first thing. When I accomplish this, I feel better all day. The hard part isn’t getting on the treadmill. I’m still half-asleep, too out of it to argue with myself. The hardest part is getting out of bed, not snoozing the alarm.

Once I’m on the treadmill, the hardest part is continuing to run, instead of decide to walk instead. I try to minimize through the momentary pain by reminding myself that this is just 45 minutes out of 24 whole hours of my time. That makes it less than 1/24, or 4%, of my time. “It’s just a few more minutes,” I remind myself. And a few more, and a few more, until it’s done.

My favorite zen blogger, Leo Babauta, is one of the guys on the wide web who said “floss one tooth.” Make the task so impossibly small that you literally cannot talk yourself out of it. Seriously, who can’t floss one tooth? It’s laughable. Yet it is also empowering. Once you pick up the floss, who’s to say you can’t floss a few more once you’re there? Up to you. The important part, the hardest part, is winning the argument with your brain. DO THE THING. tiny
For more from Leo and Zen Habits, check him out here. And I’m not sure, but this philosophy may have originated from Dr. BJ Fogg, creator of Tiny Habits, who now has a Tiny Habits Academy.

When you start searching the Wide Web for information on habit forming and sustaining, you might get swamped or drowned in all the information. I feel like this is a really important topic, so I’m going to do series with it. Stay tuned for more spectacular and crazy ideas to try.

Much Love,

Posted in Jobe Workshop Review

More on the topic of Teen Poetry


Back in April, as part of the excitement surrounded the annual Literary Festival, Karen Hayes and I taught a handful of teen poetry classes at various library branches. It was a lot of fun, and there was a lot of talent in those rooms. Once the celebration took place, I didn’t think too much more about it. Well just the other night I was scrolling through the pics on my phone trying to see what I could delete to make more space when I chanced back upon the pics I’d snapped of our teen poetry workshop at the Main Library, in Lvl 4 (an entire floor of the library dedicated to just teens). Some of the stuff people wrote was silly, which is to be expected. We’re asking people to stretch writing muscles they seldom used. But more than a little bit of what they came up with was interesting, thought-provoking. So I wanted to share some of the highlights.

If I were a bird, I would know how the world looked from the top.

This cartoon world is taking over mine.

Blood runs deep.

If the idea of writing poetry sparks something in you, be sure to check out: Power Poetry

Posted in Reading Challenge, Reviews

Small Favor by Jim Butcher

Small Favor by Jim Butcher, book 10 in the Harry Dresden Files series (Butcher says it’s “just a small favor” that is being asked, but I think it’s small because Ivy is a kid. Get it? Small?)

Okay, one of the things that I truly, madly, deeply (sorry not sorry) love about Butcher’s book-writing style is that he includes a lot of information and summary to mull over between now and the next book AFTER the pinnacle of action that the story surrounds. In writing classes in college, we were often told to end the story sooner than we thought we should (sooner than we had in the first drafts). I guess the sentiment is that most people overwrite the ending instead of just letting it be…enough. But sometimes that really irks me, because sometimes the ending isn’t enough, and the readers deserve more, doggone it!!! Okay, that’s my soapbox. Just wanted to say I think Butcher does a superior job of Resolution that actually resolves stuff!

Remember this one, yall
Remember this one, y’all? Borrowed from materials.

Now on to the actual story content. This volume features Ivy, aka The Archive, who is one of my favorite characters. The archetype of the lovable, weird genius girl kid is pretty common, but that doesn’t mean it can’t continue to be done well (Claudia from Interview with a Vampire, River from Firefly/Serenity, Tiny Tina from Borderlands, to name a few). Other characters like Queen Mab of the Winter Court, mob boss gentleman Johnny Marcone, and Luccio captain of the wardens, are also in the book. But, yanno, aren’t my favorite. (Heh heh heh). The main enemies of the novel are the Denarians—otherwise known as Nickleheads, a super-powerful group of evil demon-human symbiotes—headed up by the terrifyingly powerful Nicodemus. And of course since the demons are there, so too are the demon hunters, Big Ole Heart-a-gold Daddy Carpenter and unexplainedly black Russia, Sanya. And all through this bunch are sprinkled some surprisingly scary goat monsters, too! Called Gruffs. Who knew. Is it weird to anybody else that we have no Gog to go with our Magog? Pondersome…


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Half way through the year, can you believe it???



Posted in Cool Tools, Special Announcement

SRC 2017!

SRCYou guys you guys you guys!!! For locals in the Little Rock (or Perryville or Wrightsville) area, Summer Reading Club 2017 is going on RIGHT NOW from end of May to end of July. Rock! You get badges for books you read, reviews you write, events you attend! This is too awesome not to take advantage of.

This is the Central Arkansas Library System main page

This is the Summer Reading Club main page

This is the pdf version of the paper booklet you can pick up for free at the library, which gives an itinerary of all the events going on, by branch

and This is BeanStack where you log all your stuff for badges and such!
Look at how gorgeous and adorable these graphics are! SO MANY BRIGHT COLORS


Posted in Jobe Update, Special Announcement

Academic year in review, backwards

My buddy Ellie di Julio sometimes does this thing where she lists the ton of cool stuff she’s been up to lately. Since June is the last month in my academic calendar, I thought it’d be fun to flip back and review the year at a glance…

June 2017
Vampire game
Kushiel munch, made new frands
Kushiel pool party
Laman Scribble
Chris’s work picnic
Werewolf game
Sticky’z & Museum of Discovery
Three paydays this month, yaaay!

May 2017
Writing group
Memphis in May Bealle St Music Festival
Missed out on the Laman Scribble because
Doug gave me a kickass Mother’s Day with flowers and sweets
Jack finishes the school year ❤
Replaced our leaking hot water heater (which was from ’92, sheesh) and
Replaced our malfunctioning A/C compressor (so expense, very ow)

April 2017
Writing group
Chris bday!
Laman Scribble
Argenta Farmer’s Market ❤
Science March
Right to Write Litfest @ Mosaic Templars
Book Talks Litfest @ Lvl 4

March 2017
I turned 35
Writing group
Co-taught writing class with Karen Hayes!
(Missed the Scribble)
Annual Pen Show
Massage & chiro appts to fix my back, ow
Taught more writing classes

February 2017
Thompson Branch book shifting
Kushiel party
Writing group
Laman Scribble
Jack to friend’s bday @ D&B
Werewolf game

January 2017
Laman Scribble
Writing group

December 2016
Doug’s work xmas party
Laman Scribble
Vision Board & Scrapbooking
Hair appt
Our NYE party

November 2016
Visit to KCMO
Trevor Noah
Staff Day
All Day Write-a-Thon @Moore’s

October 2016
Melanie Martinez
Pride ❤
Christopher moves to LR!!!
taught a writing class

September 2016
taught a writing class
went to FL for funeral
South on Main

August 2016
Oxford American

July 2016
Littles Tea Party

Posted in Reading Challenge, Reviews

Ash by Malinda Lo

Ash by Malinda Lo

This book was really good, really fast, and surprisingly all-ages appropriate! (I just figured there’d be a sex scene somewhere in there, but no!) The great thing about reading a re-telling (like Cinder, Ash was a re-telling of the Cinderella story) is seeing how the individual author breathes new life into an old story. The pillar character of the cruel stepmother is present, of course, but she doesn’t come across as empty tribute. The character was painted realistically, and the reader believes this is a person who enjoys petty cruelties and taking out her anger on others. Instead of a fairy godmother, Lo’s cinderella has a fairy prince, and they aren’t just passing acquaintances. For much of the book Sidhean is Ash’s only friend. Another realistic aspect of the story Lo gives us is the pain Ash experiences at losing both her parents, particularly her mother. When Ash mourns at her grave, on more than one occasion, we feel her pain with her.

But perhaps most striking about this version of the story is how Lo has cast our heroine’s love interest not as the prince of the kingdom, but as the king’s huntress. So here we have two young women attracted to one another as the central love story, and it’s so refreshing! This is one of the most essential reasons we retell old tales — to make them accessible and relatable to new audiences. Unlike a book might be if targeted toward adults, this novel isn’t focused on sexual tension or desire; all of the nuance here is the nervousness of first love, wondering “what is this feeling?,” blushing and turning away, being unsure of what to say in that other person’s presence. You’re going to fall in love with Ash, Kaisa, and Sidhean, and you’ll be left craving more of them when you finish this short volume.

The quiet afternoon opened up between them like a woman stretching her limbs.

[If you love re-tellings of old tales and want something a little more adult, check out Tanith Lee‘s White as Snow. It’s fantastic, too.]

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Posted in Reading Challenge, Reviews

Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore by Matthew Sullivan

Reading Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore by Matthew Sullivan is going to be tiring and distracting—because you won’t be able to put it down, and when you do, you won’t be able to stop thinking about it!! This book is absolutely fantastic. It’s a fast read, but that doesn’t detract at all from the beautiful moments of raw humanity, compassion, and sincerity. This book isn’t about flawless heroes; it’s about characters with histories and secrets and struggles and fears. Put another way, this book is about people, and you will fall in love with them, believe in them, and mourn for them. Sullivan has created an entire world within the lives of just a few characters. In addition to telling the story of the characters, this book is a love letter to its city of setting: Denver. Walk its streets, feel its chill, be glad to duck into your bookstore and feel the warmth of home, here in the pages of Sullivan’s debut novel.

She noticed that his windshield was growing little laces of ice, the night outside working its way in.

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Love you guys.