I saw this list over the weekend:
Know this: it is never too late to do what you love. We put a lot of pressure on ourselves to achieve all of our dreams at an increasingly younger age. We beat ourselves up because we aren’t a 30 Under 30 or a 40 Under 40. Here’s my advice: forget about your age. Stop tracking your life’s milestones against someone else’s.
Life is about the long game; it’s about being a little bit better version of yourself today than you were yesterday. That’s the greatest win of all. Your life could change at any moment, at any age. Do something you’re proud of doing. Celebrate your wins, learn from your losses, and most importantly, keep going. You’re going to find your way. You’re going to find what you’re meant to do, who you’re meant to be with, and where you’re meant to be. I can’t tell you when, but I can tell you that if you keep looking and trying new things, you will find your best life.
I’m so honored that I’ll be an invited author at the Virginia Festival of the Book in March in Charlottesville, Virginia. This is a special honor for me because I went to graduate school at UVA, and this city holds a special place in my heart. It’s also where I began to dream, again, of becoming an author.
Over the course of two days, I’m visiting 7 elementary and middle schools to talk to students, teachers, and staff about writing, books, and storytelling. Here’s where I’ll be:
After that, I’ll be attending events associated with the book festival. The schedule is still TBD and I’ll let you know more as soon as I have that information. I’m looking forward to meeting readers and authors, and to revisiting a city that made me the person I am today.
To learn more about the festival, visit http://vabook.org/.
Finally, finally, finally I’m going to get to Iceland in 2018. I’ve been thinking about this trip for years, and I’ve decided this is the year to make this happen. Like my trip to Ireland, I’m also doing some research for my next book in Iceland. Iceland is a place that inspires wonder, magic, and curiosity. It’s a place that’s still wild, still very much in touch with its historical roots. From Vikings to its dramatic and varied landscape to those famous Northern Lights, Iceland is a place for dreaming.This might need to be done in two trips – one during the summer and one during the winter – because what you see and how you see it is so different from season to season.
Have you been? Do you know people there? I’d love ideas and recommendations. Some things I’m planning:
The Northern Lights
The black sand beaches
The Golden Circle
That landscape – waterfalls, volcanoes, fjords, lava stacks, geysers, hot springs, glaciers caves
The turf houses
What else? I’d love advice!
A friend of was recently telling me that the time for his dream had passed. He’d missed his opportunity to do what he really wanted to do with his life. I told him about the Rose of Jericho, and what it can teach us about our lives through the process of biomimicry. I recently learned about this plant as I was doing research for Emerson’s second book. The plant hibernates, sometimes for years, when conditions are unfavorable. When drought passes and it has enough water again, it springs back to life. Our dreams are the same way. Sometimes what we want just doesn’t work out when we want it to, in the way that we want it to. The world is a generous place. When we keep a dream alive in our minds and in our hearts, we will get many chances to turn it into a reality. It’s only a matter of making sure that we recognize when that opportunity is in front of us, and that we do the best we can with what we’ve got when our opportunity comes around again.
“Never be defined by your past. It was just a lesson, not a life sentence.” ~Unknown
We get stuck, don’t we? Bad experiences from childhood, from broken relationships of many kinds, jobs that didn’t work out, things and people and circumstances that hurt us. We have a tough time letting go. When that work is tough, I remind myself that the effort is so worth it. If we don’t let go of what was, then we can’t make room for what’s in front of us now and what’s on the way. There are good things coming to us that we don’t even know about yet, and if we’re bogged down by our yesterdays we’ll miss out what’s meant for us now. Keep the lessons, but please don’t let them hold you hostage. Your past doesn’t hold the keys to the castle that is your future; you do, right now, just as you are.
“The world is full of magic things patiently waiting for our senses to grow sharper.” ~W.B. Yeats
We are hungry for magic and wonder. It’s around us everyday. In the weather, in nature, plants and animals, in our own biochemistry, in every time period of history. We don’t need to look far for magic, for Kismet, for inspiration. We only need to look and listen more deeply. Finding magic can sometimes take work but it is always worth the effort. It’s the best use of time we could make. Once found, wonder’s gifts last a lifetime and usually don’t cost anything except the use of our own curiosity.
Staying true to my New Year’s resolution of “Yes”, I signed up to take a storytelling workshop with Tom Pearson, Co-Artistic Director of Third Rail Projects. You may know Third Rail from their ingenious immersive theater productions of Then She Fell and The Grand Paradise. Tom co-created both of these projects. I’ve been increasingly intrigued by this art form of immersive performance and want to expand my personal and professional skills in rich, 3-D storytelling as a vehicle for audience development. I couldn’t be more excited to take this class.
Ritual & Performance: Rites of Passage
This one-day intensive will demonstrate how an artist can (re)construct a story from just the remnant or shard of a fragmented narrative. We will look at the mythologies surrounding coming of age, death, re-birth, and oracular archetypes – and their applications in Third Rail’s recent immersive theater hit The Grand Paradise – as a way to understand ritual, narrative, and rites of passage in an immersive theater context. The workshops will mostly be in lecture/demonstration format. Hand written note-taking is encouraged, but there will be no electronic devices of any kind allowed. Please prepare to participate in group material and to work together in dyads. A Q&A session will wrap up the last hour of the day.
Last week, I put out a call for help to plan my first international trip of the year—to Ireland. I’m doing research for my next Emerson book and I’ve long been thinking about Dublin because of the stunning Trinity Library and the many treasures it holds. Once I got into researching the city and surrounding area, there were so many reasons why this is the perfect destination for Emerson to travel to in book two. It is, after all, a land of magic, history, and literature. It is, and has been for centuries, a hotbed of science and discovery. From its museums to its castles to its natural phenomenon, Ireland has everything that Emerson needs to make her next daring leaps into her future. And they will be daring.
Here are some of the places I’m planning to visit:
Trinity College & Library
The Little Museum
Birr Castle Gardens
National Museum of Ireland, including the Natural History Museum
St. Patrick’s Cathedral
…and a short stop over in Wistman Woods in England because I really need to see that with my own eyes to believe it’s real.
A huge thank you to Museum Hack and several of its staff members and tour guides who provided great tips and encouragement, tour company Hennessey & Furlong, Jennifer O’Neill, and all the staff of the sites tagged above. All of your advice and the ideas you shared have made me more excited than ever to visit this inspiring country. I can’t wait for spring!
Have you been to Ireland? Are there place you’d recommend I see that inspire wonder? I’d love to hear about them.
“The sign of intelligence is that you are constantly wondering. Idiots are always dead sure about every damn thing they are doing in their life.” ~Vasudev, Indian yogi and mystic
Doesn’t that quote make you smile? And doesn’t it make you smile even wider when you realize it was said by an Indian yogi and mystic. I always appreciate a no-BS policy. We are all guessing, all the time. I love nothing better than hearing someone I admire say that they’re still trying to figure out what they’re doing. I love that they keep trying new things, exploring, and putting themselves in the role of a beginner. There’s a lot of pressure in the world to be an expert, to only do what we’re sure of. We hate doubt, but doubt is the key to everything. It keeps us hungry and hustling. It causes us to keep learning. It sparks curiosity and inquiry. It gets us talking and connecting with others. Keep asking questions, of yourself and others, and know that being uncertain puts you in the best possible company.
I couldn’t be more excited to host the live storytelling show New York City’s Secrets and Lies on Monday, January 29th, at CAVEAT on New York City’s Lower East Side. Six incredible storytellers are going to take the stage and spin tales about New York City’s deepest, darkest secrets. They’re all true, except for one. Can you separate outrageous fact from fiction? Come grab a drink, hang out with us, and learn five true tales about this incredible city we call home. If you can guess which story is fiction, you’ll be in the running for a secret prize.