Halftime Speeches (Vol. 1, No. 2)

Here are five bolts of inspiration I’m sharing this month:

1. Reddit poster u/br0lent on our fear of unoriginality:

“A small boy is adopted by a mean, abusive older couple. The boy discovers he’s in possession of magical powers. He’s taken away to a magical land where he makes a best friend, owns a pet companion, and discovers the existence of an evil man who poses a constant threat to all those around him. It’s the boys destiny to fight this evil man.

Harry Potter? No, “Mio, my boy.” 1954.

The idea doesn’t matter nearly as much as the execution does. No one will have your taste, your mind, your unique perspective on the matter. Do you know how many Vampire books and shows there are? All of them have differences, and all of them share ideas (“oh no, looks like another animal attack!”). People still eat that shit up!”

2. I. F. Stone on commitment to the cause:

“The only kinds of fights worth fighting are those you are going to lose because somebody has to fight them and lose and lose and lose. In order for somebody to win an important, major fight a hundred years hence, a lot of other people have got to be willing – for the sheer fun and joy of it – to go right ahead and fight, knowing you’re going to lose. You mustn’t feel like a martyr. You’ve got to enjoy it.”

3. Marge Piercy on doing the work:

The real writer is one
who really writes. Talent
is an invention like phlogiston
after the fact of fire.
Work is its own cure. You have to
like it better than being loved.

4. Elle King on being straight up who you are:

You try and change me, you can go to hell
‘Cause I don’t wanna be nobody else
I like the chip I got in my front teeth
And I got bad tattoos, you won’t believe

5. Encore blog post from me on (re)finding your funky:

“Start each day with a tiny bit of electro-funk rebellion.”

That’s it. Have a great day. And, go start something! – shawn

PS If you’re reading this newsletter for the first time, you can read previous issues hereview lists of poems, questions, quotes and songs I’ve shared before here, and subscribe here.