Meditations: on character and expectations

A colleague recently gave me some advice that reminded me of the words of Marcus Aurelius. They didn’t use the same words, but the message was essentially the same. Their words actually reminded me of a part of Meditations that I thought I would never blog about — not necessarily because I disagree with it, but because it never sat quite right with me.

When I first read it (a few years ago), I remember that I felt a bit… uncomfortable about it, I suppose is the best way to describe it. But I think, for the most part, I’ve come to terms with it now. I’m sure there is still some part of me that is bothered by it in a way I cannot quite articulate, but maybe acceptance will come with time. Continue reading

voice of reason

Brisbane’s West End is, as one friend has described it, an interesting mix of gentrified and dilapidated. There are classy restaurants and bars, modern apartments, and office spaces, all interspersed with casual pubs and bars, run-down houses, and thrift stores. On a night out, you might come across any range of people from the very well-dressed who drive fancy cars, to high-end hipsters, to shoeless hippies, to homeless beggars.

It is an interesting suburb. Continue reading

learning how to learn languages

Every so often – maybe when I’m feeling like I need a bit of inspiration, or I’m just feeling bored and listless – I watch TED Talks. Usually these are TEDx Talks but they’re more or less the same thing. Usually I watch talks about psychology and human relationships, or about behaviour and the way the brain works; but a couple of weeks ago, YouTube was suggesting some talks about learning languages.

As you may or may not know, I’m currently in the process of learning Persian (AKA Farsi) and also kind of re-learning Mandarin, so when I saw videos like “How to learn any language easily” pop up, I figured “why not”. I used to be quite wary of these talks because I thought they would just tell me to spend three months in whatever country speaks the language I’m learning, and I’d miraculously master it (obviously I can’t just pack up and move to Iran or China for three months); but I had spare time that day, and I figured it wouldn’t hurt to watch one talk, and see if it offered anything worthwhile.  Continue reading

meditations – superfluity

Of all the lessons, revelations, advice and guiding principles that I’ve gotten from Marcus Aurelius’ Meditations there’s probably one that’s been most influential. Well, I actually hesitate to say that because I don’t always follow it, and because I’ve taken so much from reading the book that it’s really hard to pinpoint which one singular passage I think about the most; but if I had to choose one, this would be it:

Most of what we say and do is unnecessary: remove the superfluity, and you will have more time and less bother. … And the removal of the unnecessary should apply not only to actions but to thoughts also: then no redundant actions either will follow.
– Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, Book 4, Chapter 24

Continue reading

TGI-almost-F

This feels like it’s been the longest week ever. Coming off a couple of short weeks, due to public holidays, and then having a normal Monday to Friday plus a full Saturday shift is not fun. My mind has been a day ahead all week.

The draggy-ness of this week is probably not helped by my less-than-ideal sleeping pattern this week.

I’d decided some time around New Year’s that I wanted to fix my sleeping habits/routine this year. Six hours a night is not sustainable. I’m sure I wrote about this in a post at some point last year…

Continue reading

in case of (writing) emergency

There are a lot of people out there who give advice about writing – bloggers included. When I was writing my novel last year, I read a lot of posts from other writers and editors about the writing process, and I reckon it did help. Maybe I would’ve figured it all out for myself eventually, but why not save some time and pain, and learn from the experiences of other people?  Continue reading