Cartoons about reading and the writing life, by Tom Gauld for The Guardian:

P.S. Wouldn’t the Noisy Alphabet print make a fabulous starting point for a kid’s bedroom or playroom design?

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This page from wacky graphic novel Bone conveys nicely how today felt in Rhode Island.

Bone

I read Bone because it was #10 on ALA’s 2013 Frequently Challenged Books list (and nothing screams READ ME louder than a banned book). Plus I like author Jeff Smith’s response: ‘I learned this weekend that Bone has been challenged on the basis of “political viewpoint, racism and violence.” I have no idea what book these people read.’

Do you ever have so many things to do that you become overwhelmed and end up doing nothing at all? A. A. Milne (Winnie-the-Pooh) captures this perfectly in his poem about a shipwrecked sailor. Although I must say, after all the snow we’ve had in New England this winter, the sailor’s basking on the beach doesn’t sound too dreadful to me; and I would be praying not to be saved!

The Old Sailor

There was once an old sailor my grandfather knew
Who had so many things which he wanted to do
That, whenever he thought it was time to begin,
He couldn’t because of the state he was in.

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With an unemployment rate around 25% in South Africa, panhandlers are ubiquitous. Used to be you’d stop at any intersection and someone would offer to clean your windscreen for change. If you had an even halfway decent car, you’d pay them not to clean it. But there seems to be a new way to beg – proof that we live in a knowledge economy!


Philani, the Pavement Bookworm: provides reviews of books he has read and, if you like what you hear, will sell you the book too.

Homeless-Bookworm

“Some of those who drive past look down on me, like I do not exist, but others see me for what I am – a dispenser of knowledge and happiness.” – Philani Dladla

philani-dladla-reads

Philani is now spearheading a literacy project and Book Readers’ Club for underprivileged children and at-risk youths. You can help by making a donation here.


Moses, the Traffic Light Teacher: for the equivalent of a dime will teach you a Zulu word, complete with pronunciation.

Traffic-Light-Teacher

“I used to sell jokes, but people did not find them funny. I had to find something else and all I know is isiZulu.” – Moses Mackenzie

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After learning he dreamed of becoming a sound engineer, local radio station Jacaranda FM teamed up with The Academy of Sound Engineering to offer Moses a bursary to study Audio Technology. [Like many homeless people Moses has a drug addiction, so they’ve also arranged for him to spend six weeks in rehab to get clean before his studies start.] You can read more here.

William James on the importance of routine (what he calls “habits of order”):

The more of the details of our daily life we can hand over to the effortless custody of automatism, the more our higher powers of mind will be set free for their own proper work. There is no more miserable human being than one in whom nothing is habitual but indecision, and for whom the lighting of every cigar, the drinking of every cup, the time of rising and going to bed every day, and the beginning of every bit of work, are subjects of express volitional deliberation.

via Daily Rituals: How Artists Work by Mason Currey

I’m not sure about misery-inducing, but it certainly is tiring having to make hundreds of tiny decisions every day. Should I get up now? When should I shower? Eat? Exercise? Nap, or play with the cat? Is it time for tea yet (again)…? Self-employment has its perks but my boss is a bit of a softie, so it can be hard some days to get the work done. One of my goals for 2015 is to cycle through all the advice I can find, looking for tips and tricks to help me stay focussed and productive. The idea of routinizing as much as possible makes sense – far easier to manage exceptions than to make decisions (to edit rather than to create, if you will) – so I’m going to give it a go. Any other suggestions? What has worked for you?