#16 Italy, standup and burn-out obsession
10 things to share over coffee
A letter from me
I see a few new free subscribers here this week, so welcome! And thanks so much for signing up. This is a regular fun Sunday post where I share a few exciting things that I think you might be interested in. While Friday is all about the randomness in my mind and a postcard from Sicily.
If you want to become a paid subscriber, I'm giving new paid patrons a chance to get something from me via snail mail (i.e., the regular post). So be sure to update to get some actual physical postcards from Sicily.
Things here in Sicily this week have been spectacular; it's still March, yet it feels like Spring. It's not quite a time to strip off our layer of winter clothing or take the dooner off the bed. But it's comforting to feel the sunshine on your face.
What I've been reading
For my Birthday, on the 26th of February, I ordered a few physical books as a special treat. These days, I order ebooks primarily because I can get them immediately. But I miss and love actual books that I can hold in my hand.
So I have a great selection of novels and non-fiction to work my way through.
In a moment of enthusiasm, I began to read all of them, which might have been slightly over-ambitious. But two of them are incredible finds that I want to share.
Karen Haid is an American who loves Italy and has lived and worked in southern Italy as an English teacher for many years. She has written two wonderfully rich books about Calabria and Basilicata. Her insight into these lesser-known regions of Italy is an absolute treasure.
I am still at the beginning of Calabira: the other Italy, and Basilicata: authentic Italy, but I find myself relishing how Haid explores the history, culture and food of the south of Italy.
Her travels through these two regions are always filled with fascinating chance encounters and conversations.
I have had many similar experiences to Karen and found myself laughing and nodding at everything she says. She will make you dream of exploring these two regions of Italy.
Quote of the week
I found this beautiful quote from film director Guillermo Del Toro this week. I'm sure it's 100 % true and is something to recall the importance of stories.
And it also reminded me that I need to go and watch his latest animated (and now Oscar winning) movie, Pinocchio.
We tell stories because we have a hollow place in our heart. You don't fill that with success. You fill it by finding yourself in the stories you tell.
–Guillermo Del Toro
What I've been listening to
This week I've taken a trip back to the 70s.
Why is music from the past always so good?
Lately, I have gone back to the 90s of my youth, the 60s were absolutely legendary, but the 70s were magical.
I found a general playlist dedicated to singer-songwriters from this fab decade. I love how singers were not necessarily aesthetically polished; there were fewer concerns regarding physical appearance or P.R. . It was once more about the voice, music and lyrics than presentation.
In fact talent from the 70s has survived many decades because you had to be incredibly talented and determined to make a career in the music industry. It was challenging to become a musician then because everyone was at the mercy of the record companies who were so fickle.
This week, I added a few more treasures to our Spotify playlist, including Joni Mitchell, Van Morrison, Bob Dylan and the ineffable Warren Zevon.
I hope you can enjoy listening along this week. Go over to Spotify for a listen.
By the way I decided on the name Eclectic Listening for the playlist.
What I have been watching
Flicking around on Netflix, I started delving into the stand-up comedy world. I've always been fascinated by stand-up; there are so many different styles, and seeing fantastic women doing stand-up these days is exciting.
I love how each person has crafted their voice, perspective and style; the possibilities are endless. And also I think we are always in need of a good laugh.
So this week, I started with Chris Rock: Selective Outrage, where he finally addressed the slapping incident with Will Smith and addressed the nature of woke culture and political correctness.
Then I moved on to Sarah Silverman's: A speck of dust, jumped over to Amy Schumer's: Growing, a little irreverent Jenny Slate: Stage fright, then some classic Jerry Seinfeld: 23 hours to kill and ended with some delicious Iliza Shlesinger: hot forever.
For some reason, that random mix of political, quirky, observant and surrealistic humour from each of these comics was what I needed.
Hopefully, the comic binge-watching will continue, and a post dedicated to the best of them will result.
Poem of the week
I am a great fan of Margaret Atwood simply for her range of writing mastery. The many decades of writing from her have given us so many things to devour.
While I still haven't read the Handmaiden’s tale, I am gradually reading her poetry. There is so much wisdom in her perspective.
One of my favourites has to be the poem titled: The Moment, which is a poignant commentary on the nature of the accumulation of material objects and things.
The moment when, after many years
of hard work and a long voyage
you stand in the centre of your room,
house, half-acre, square mile, island, country,
knowing at last how you got there,
and say, I own this,
No, they whisper. You own nothing.
You were a visitor, time after time
climbing the hill, planting the flag, proclaiming.
We never belonged to you.
You never found us.
It was always the other way round.
What I've been working on
This week I have been revising my new poetry zine, A Babel of Words, a collection of 60 new and not-so-new poems on various themes.
It is at a good stage, and I'm happy with the look of it. I added a few sketches and artworks to accompany the poems. I'm waiting on the current draft to arrive from the publisher.
I might do some videos of the poems to test them out, as poetry is meant to be read aloud. But as usual, I am a little shy and self-conscious.
As I get closer to finishing the poetry collection, I think reading some to you would be a great idea. Let me know if you are interested.
Here is a special reveal of the current cover design:
This week's new online obsession concerns poetry and mental health. I discovered the poetry Instagram account of Trev Cimenski, who writes poetry by request from the suggestions of his followers. He is honest, poignant and messy.
His poetry addresses his struggles with depression and anxiety amongst other things. And are the most addictive things I’ve seen on Instagram in ages.
In fact his growth has been amazing over the last few weeks. I guess it does also help that he is terribly handsome.
I love the way he delivers his text, as if he’s making it up on the spot, with a a small amount of shyness, his hesitance adds to the meaning. And he films himself either with a hand held camera in the mirror or with a real grainy art house feeling to it.
I hope to make something like Cimenski does one day.
If I ever manage to get past the stage fright.
Image of the week
This week I played around with some postcards I had printed last year.
I plan to give most of them to any new paid subscriber or use them for correspondence.
I used them with some collage play in my daily art practice.
I enjoyed the results.
I enjoy jumping around and discovering new podcasts to listen to. This week I found two celebrity podcasts which are actually worth the time to listen to. I find most ‘celebrities’ are a little dull and self centred so they tend to be dull. So I’ve been pleasantly surprised with these.
First, there is Really? No really? with Jason Alexander and Peter Tilden, who talk to experts, newsmakers and celebrities to find answers to the things that make us go…." Really? No, Really?"
This week they had a fascinating conversation with living legend William Shatner. They explored his lifetime experiences, including going into outer space, recording numerous albums and two hilarious stories about the real danger of accidentally losing control of bowel movements while on stage.
Then there is Smartless with Jason Bateman, Sean Hayes, & Will Arnett. It professes to be a podcast with out any clue, yet it is connects and unites people from all walks of life to learn about shared experiences through thoughtful dialogue and organic hilarity. In each episode of SmartLess, one of the hosts reveals his mystery guest to the other two.
This week's guest was director, producer and actress, Natasha Lyonne. She was filled with stories about her career in show business, her history with addiction and the nature of creativity.
The episode unfolded in a natural, relaxed, opened and intelligent conversation with loads of laughter. It was pleasure to listen to.
Bonus exciting thing to share
This week I am still battling with procrastination and motivational issues. I stumbled on this great vlog from Furry Little Peach. Sha'an D'anthes is an Australian illustrator and artist and one of my favourite creatives on Youtube.
Her latest video remined me how creativity has its ebbs and flows and different seasons. And how burnout is a real issue, creatives need to negotiate.
Sometimes you need to take time, refill your creative well and revive yourself.
Here's to restoring myself sometime soon.
I hate to be long-winded, so I will stop here.
I'll try to share something worthwhile, well thought out and new here every week, perhaps more often if I get frisky or in some karmic writing zone.
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Speak again soon.
With love and light from RDB
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