The habitual position of being okay…and other quotes

I haven’t blogged in months because life has been busy. I started working on a travel/coffee table/photography book about DTLA with Yennie Cheung for En Ville Publishing. I have the 2nd Tongue & Groove OC show coming up. I started mentoring through WriteGirl. I spent December in Palm Desert and Virginia where I scrambled to make my annual reading goal, like most things in life I limped over the finish line.

But busy is good. This kind of busy is good.

So I wrote this article for Lit Central about my favorite author YouTube videos. For the article I also transcribed a few quotes from the videos. They were supposed to go with the article but they got lost in the shuffle so I’m going to post them here.

In between the quotes are doodles from lectures I recently attended at UCR’s residency Palm Desert. Here you go:

“…we know for a fact, totally verifiable, that in x number of years we’ll all be rotting corpses…we know it! Why are we so happy?…What’s weird is the habitual position of being okay with that…” – George Saunders (on finding wonderment in the mundane)


This is what the water jugs look like at the Rancho Las Palmas resort and spa in Palm Springs.

“As a general writing principal your job is to do something and then notice it and then adjust accordingly. And then notice the thing that you’ve done and adjust accordingly and then kind of rinse, lather, repeat a million times and then weirdly, in time, the story will adjust itself morally to be more fair.” –George Saunders (on balancing sympathy between characters in a story)


This friendly reminder is courtesy of Wendy Ortiz who gave a lecture on indy publishing. Her first book Excavation was released this year.

 “There was a feeling of pushing it and forcing it, which to me is a big clue that’s it’s not working, and the better space is to be in is to feel like it’s messy but I’m interested.” -Amy Bender (on how she realized a novel wasn’t working)


This is something Emily Rapp noted in her lecture on Leslie Jamison’s structurally amazing essay collection The Empathy Exams

 “I’m very much interested in how we use local phenomena to access larger things…I always use the same example: Melville ain’t just talking about whalers…”-Junot Diaz (on how his characters discussing their Dominican-ness is a shorthand for larger issues)


I had Josh pose like this for a WriteGirl campaign on Giving Tuesday (the day after Cyber Monday) #unselfie

 “I think people experience time differently. I tried to make a case in this book that women experience it differently then men…we have a different biology and it moves in a different way and that’s the bottom line…it doesn’t mean that things need to be set-up in an inferior way for women but that biological time piece within us is real and it is different then it is for men…The existence of a thing called menopause, which is like an enormous lighted sign saying things are ending, never happens to men, which I think is a great advantage for women and a disaster for men because they don’t notice and then they’re 65 and their girl is 22 and it’s all a shock to them. It’s good to have some warning.” -Zadie Smith (on replicating how we experience time within a novel)


Sage advice from Rob Edwards at his lecture on writing for animation at UCR’s Palm Springs residency

And just for fun here are some of my favorite George Carlin quotes (totally unrelated):

“The very existence of flamethrowers proves that sometime, somewhere, someone said to themselves, ‘You know, I want to set those people over there on fire, but I’m just not close enough to get the job done.”

“Isn’t it a bit unnerving that doctors call what they do “practice”?”

“Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day. Teach him how to fish, and he will sit in a boat and drink beer all day. ”

“The caterpillar does all the work, but the butterfly gets all the publicity.”

“If four out of five people SUFFER from diarrhea…does that mean that one enjoys it?”

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