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We dissolve stuck and rewrite patterns. We apply radical playfulness to life (when we feel like it!), embarking on internal adventures (credo of Safety First). We have a fake band called Solved By Cake. We build invisible sanctuaries, invent words and worlds, breathe awe and wonder.

We are not impressed by monsters. Except when we are. We explore the connections between internal territories and surrounding environment to learn what marvelously supportive delicious space feels like, and how to take exquisite care of ourselves. We transform things.* We glow wild.**

* For example: Desire, fear, worry, pain-and-trauma, boundaries, that problematic word which rhymes with flaweductivity.

** Fair warning: Self-fluency has been known to lead to extremely subversive behavior, including treasuring yourself unconditionally, unapologetically taking up space, experiencing outrageously improbable levels of self-acceptance, and general rejoicing in aliveness.


Item! I started a disturbing lentil list trend!

Fluent Self Item!A somewhat goofy mini-collection of stuff I’ve been reading, stuff I’ve been thinking about and oh, some completely random crap.

Basically the stuff that never gets mentioned here because I’m not the kind of person who can just make some teeny little point. Not into the whole brevity thing, as the Dude would say.

Actually, I’m under the strict compulsion to write ten pages about anything on my mind. So this is me. Practicing brevity.

Yep. Hi.

Item! Post No. 43 in a once-a-week series that makes more sense when you’ve been reading this blog for a while, or at least I hope it does.

Item! I’m not the only one who has issues with Thanksgiving.

You all know how I feel. And you read my list of 77 Things (that don’t completely suck).

Waverly Fitzgerald, favorite everything of mine, wrote a terrific, very thoughtful Thanksgiving Rant about seasons, family, meaning and other interesting things.

“If I say I have nothing planned, I am assumed to be an ‘orphan’ and in need of a family to take me in. If I say I am fixing dinner and my questioner has no plans, they will expect to be included.”

Worth reading.


The ever-hilarious Cairene wrote her own list of 77 lentils. And Christina wrote her list of 45 Things That Don’t Make Me Gnash My Teeth (based on how many pills there were in her bottle of Aleve).

And Amy from Barefoot Phoenix wrote a beautiful one too (and now I need to book it to Seattle to visit Helle which basically sounds like the best place in the entire world).


They’re on the Twitters: @waverlyfitz, @thirdhandworks, @toopretty4this, and @barefootphoenix.

Item! A marvelous interview

I am a fan of Susan Marie Swanson, who is a lovely, lovely person and who wrote The House In The Night, among other wonderful things.

This interview with her is a joy.

“Oh, let’s have Astrid Lindgren (1907-2002) over to the house for a soup supper and local beer–and then have friends and neighbors stop by for cake. Yes, let’s do that.”

I love the internet for so many reasons, but that it brought me and Susan Marie together is definitely way up there on my list of happy.

She’s @susan_marie on Twitter.

Item! The Ninja Text Generator!

Speaking of happy.

I don’t have much to say about this other than ohmygod, there is a ninja text generator.

Of course there is.

And yet I am decidedly relieved to know that it exists. Huzzah!

I’m pretty sure I got to this through Susan Marie too, though I could be wrong.

Item! A most excellent Very Personal Ad.

My collection of Very Personal Ads inspired by my wacky Sunday tradition is growing.

This one is just sweet.

Since her Right People are basically like mine, except that they think I’m kind of nutty.

“You might be one of Havi’s right people. Or, if you’re not, you probably could be, if she came with a little less woo, or if you’d heard of her before.”


She’s @williehewes on Twitter.

Item! Airport etiquette: is it a thing? I don’t know.

This stream-of-consciousness bit is from Karen, whom I met at Barbara Sher‘s retreat.

Karen is a total goofball, which is something I highly approve of. Reading this bit of slapstick puts her voice in my head again.

“I laughed (again – I seem to love to laugh on airplanes) and reminded him of the obvious: he hadn’t done a thing – I was the one who clumsily whacked my head.

Then I went to sit down – and whacked my head again. “

She’s @squarepegkaren on Twitter.

Item! To thine own self be true …

And other difficulties.

This is a piece about what happens when we let other people’s feedback decide what’s true for us.

“So I’ve been on a tear the last several months learning a tremendous amount of useful business information from a variety of experts, trying to learn and adapt and absorb as quickly as I can.

And suddenly, the other day, when I got so upset, I realized that somewhere along the way, I had relinquished my sovereignty, made my own opinion too secondary, and ended up looking for too much validation outside of me.”


She’s @Sarah_Bush on Twitter.

Item! Hurrah for the chicken. Hurrah for the egg.

A marvelous piece from Maira Kalman.

Hurrah for the egg indeed. Oh, this is beautiful.

Item! Tactical Nuclear Penguin!

That fabulously controversial Scottish brewery (BrewDog) has come out with what is apparently the world’s strongest beer. Alcohol content?


I used to work in a homebrew store many, many years ago. On our breaks, this is the kind of stuff we used to imagine happening in a far-off universe.

That’s not the point.

The point is that it’s called Tactical Nuclear Penguin.*

*Uh … it’s just one guy?

If that doesn’t make you happy, I honestly don’t know what will.

Hat tip to @beervana.

Item! I must have this.

But where would I get one?

Via @sockwalker on Twitter.

Item! Update from the land of the Peculiar & Hilarious Shivanauts!

The “peculiar and hilarious” thing comes from Melynda’s sweet bit about Butterfly Wishes.

I wrote about some realizations and epiphanies. Of the shivanautical variety. Notes from my practice. Fragments. Stuff.

Item! The retreat I haven’t announced yet is more than half full.

At least take a look before it sells out and I take the page down.

Because mmmm, pretty. Seven days of mad destuckification. Worthy of exclamation points.

Item! Comments! Here’s what I want this time:

  • Things you’re thinking about.
  • What I should be reading on the plane to Sacramento.

My commitment.
I am committed to giving time and thought to the things that people say, and I will interact with their ideas and with my own stuff as compassionately and honestly as is possible for me.

Even though asking for what I want still feels awkward for me, I’m just going to remind myself that this is a thing I’m practicing.

That is all.

Happy reading.

And happy Blustery Windsday. See you tomorrow.

21 Responses to Item! I started a disturbing lentil list trend!

  1. Wormy
    Twitter: SecretWormy

    Oh thank heavens for your Item! posts. :) Just when I couldn’t look at another piece of paper and analyse it for a moment longer, this came along and helped distract me in a most delightful way.

    .-= Wormy´s last post … Catching Up =-.

  2. Inge
    Twitter: _i_n_g_e_

    Item! Twitterature: The worlds greatest litterature in 20 tweets or less.

    I might be the last one to have heard of this, since I don’t twitter, but anyway. Hilarious.

  3. Inge
    Twitter: _i_n_g_e_

    Ack! Excuse me for the mispellingz.

  4. Darcy
    Twitter: darxyanne

    I’m thinking about headaches and how to get rid of them.

    An airplane read I thoroughly enjoyed was Predictably Irrational by Dan Ariely, if you haven’t read it already.
    .-= Darcy´s last post … Day 31: Decisions, decisions =-.

  5. Cairene
    Twitter: thirdhandworks

    That is *so* the snuggie for you.
    I can’t stop laughing.
    I would make it for you if I knew how to knit round things.
    And had that sort of attention span (I have a scarf attention span for knitting).
    oxo C
    .-= Cairene´s last post … Luck favors the prepared. =-.

  6. Andi
    Twitter: annaline_39

    We took DD#2 to the zoo yesterday for her 20th birthday. The penguins were all out thanks to the cold. There was one who kept doing this step-step, shake the booty, shake the head, left wing up, then right wing up, flap flap flap. Repeat. He was my favorite. Reading about Tactical Nuclear Penguin today was just the capper. :)

    Today I am thinking about getting this book project underway, baking un-birthday cake, and updating my Etsy (raising $ for Kitchen Table deposit, eeek!)

    I also wonder how one would get into and out of that snuggie. :D
    .-= Andi´s last post … Biggify =-.

  7. Frank Mitchell
    Twitter: elimossinary

    I like mass market paperbacks for airplane reading since they’re small and you can leave them in the airport when you’re done along with a note for the person who finds it. My recommendations:

    “Accelerando” by Charles Stross, is pure science fiction brain candy. I found myself stopping every three or four pages to catch up with the mad rush of ideas.

    “Yoga: The Science of the Soul” by Osho, is one of those “ooooh, I never thought about it that way” books I find myself dipping into again and again and again.

    “Halting State” also by Charles Stross, is told from a second person perspective, so it kind of feels like reading a Choose Your Own Adventure novel.

    “Flawed Dogs: The Novel: The Shocking Raid on Westminster” by Berkeley Breathed, is funny and sad and delightful and awesome and fits a ridiculous roller-coaster of emotion in an tiny little package.

  8. Willie Hewes
    Twitter: williehewes

    Eeeh, I’m an item! Sweet!

    My butt-kicking partner is a great help, and writing the personal ad was the best way to find her. I thoroughly recommend the approach to anyone thinking “hey, that could be good.”

    And, oh, the Make Great Stuff lady! She’s in my twitter. And in her picture she looks like my aunt.

    Stuff I’m thinking of: why my stupid back ache is back and what I’m going to do about it.

    Also: time, and why the stuff I want to do doesn’t seem to be happening in the time I have given myself to do it in. Not a new phenomenon, and yet, it remains a conundrum.

    Happy Wednesday everyone!
    .-= Willie Hewes´s last post … Looking for a Butt-kicking Partner =-.

  9. Julianna
    Twitter: Julianna01

    Ms Havi,

    Bless you for being here while I was away doing other things.

    I’ve poked in now and then but it’s been a long minute since I’ve been swimming in the pool of Selma.

    And as much as I find things changed, I notice much has remained the same. The warmth and welcoming stuff you create is fantasic as always.

    Hearting you from the midwest.

  10. Lean Ni Chuilleanain (@leannich)
    Twitter: leannich

    I sometimes wish I had fluffier thoughts. I’m thinking about how much more pleasant and safe ideas like being myself out loud and red velvet ropes feel to me than other, seemingly orthogonal ideas like defining my target market and raking in the cash by meeting demand with supply.

    My demons seem pretty sure that this attitude betokens a series of disgraceful character flaws (e.g. naivety, laziness, unrealism, selfishness, poor personal hygiene). I’m not so sure. But there is something in there about only wanting to do things that feel pleasant and safe. You say that’s allowed – and I love that … but mightn’t I love it because of the aforementioned character flaws? Am I letting myself away with more than I ought? My demons feel that I should never let myself away with anything, but that’s not to say that I should let myself away with everything. Is it?

    Meanwhile, I’ve just finished reading Barbara Kingsolver’s Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, about her family’s year of living on locally sourced food. Not sure if it’d be your thing, given that she’s decidedly unvegetarian (though she does have a thoughtful position on that), but I thought it was completely fabulous.
    .-= Lean Ni Chuilleanain (@leannich)´s last post … Sunday Stash, no. 6 =-.

  11. Havi Brooks
    Twitter: havi

    Waaaaaaaaaaah! Item! Hey, guys. :)

    @Lean – hug. I have SO much to say about this that it can’t possibly go in a comment — can I turn it into a post?

    The very short version would be: experiment. Ask your demons logical questions (maybe with a mediator):

    What if it turns out that you *are* a lazy horrible person for wanting to do things in a way that is comfortable for you? Is it possible that this option would still be better because it would help you do the thing instead of keeping you paralyzed?

    Also, could you live with yourself if you were the kind of person who had a “target market”?

    And … is it “getting away with something” if you’re taking care of yourself in order to do something that supports you and the world? Who decided that? Is that a rule?

    Those are Useful Questions to ask. And then you can come up with answers.

    Maybe you tell your demons (do they have names?) that you’re actually not going to get away with anything because your Wacky Far-Off Business Mentor (Selma) has given you homework of trying something comfortable once a day. Can they hold you to that so you won’t get away with getting out of it?

    Or maybe you tell your demons “hey, I get that you’re trying to protect me from scary failure by insisting I do everything in the way I’m ‘supposed’ to. And at the same time I need to be able to try this to find out if it’s a viable option or not. And I can’t try it when you’re keeping me paralyzed with fear, so you gotta stop that.”

    And see what they say.

    A start? Hug either way. It’s hard talking with demons.

    @Inge – nice! Thank you!

    @Frank – oooh, recommendations. Marvelous. Thanks. :)

    @Julianna – hi sweetie! Long time. Love the eggs. Beautiful.

    @everyone – ohhhhhhh happy hellos from me!

  12. Emily
    Twitter: emilyroots

    Thinking about: Ack! I have to go to Orlando tomorrow. Orlando. The city I despise just slightly less than Las Vegas. Oh well, it’s only for one night. But hooray that you asked about a book, because I just finished one last night and could use a new read myself. Was thinking about something I heard about on NPR yesterday: “Yours Ever: People and Their Letters” by Thomas Mallon (because I miss writing letters…you know, on paper and with a pen). Also, now I’m wondering if I will bump my head on the plane tomorrow. I *always* do that.

    Also, am wondering why I brought pomegranate for my lunchy fruit. It took forever to get the seeds out, and now my hands are all sticky. But yummmmmm.
    .-= Emily´s last post … December’s Cold Moon – Full Moon Dreamboarding =-.

  13. Square-Peg Karen
    Twitter: squarePegKaren

    Dearest Havi (with a loving wave to Selma!) – thanks for making me an item! Sending you a HUGE hug and a gigundus smile.

    Now books – ohhhhhhh, books — if you want to laugh your a$$ off while you’re flying take david sedaris with you (even if you’ve read it 20 other times) – my favorite is Me Talk Pretty One Day

    If you want to have your heart touched big-time – re-remember that YOU are and always have been just-so-wonderful and beloved, read Dawna Markova’s No Enemies Within: A creative process for discovering what’s right about what’s wrong (the book I’d take with me to the proverbial deserted island – if, of course, I knew I was going to be cast onto a deserted island) – btw – the subtitle? not so sure i noticed (tho i read it 1000 times) any “process” – but real-life stories, beautiful – deep – affirming words from someone who’s been through deep s*%!

    If you’re looking for fiction – I’d recommend Katherine Center’s Everyone Is Beautiful — I’m nothing like the protagonist (who is young and has a few kids) and i’m not always a great fan of fiction – but this ROCKS – i was IN it the whole read.

    please let us know what you wind up reading!!
    .-= Square-Peg Karen´s last post … Best of ‘09 Blog Challenge – Let’s Go! =-.

  14. Victoria Brouhard
    Twitter: victoriashmoria


    That snuggie thing is both hilarious and disturbing.

    Can’t. Look. Away.

    And yay for more book recommendations! I’m rediscovering fiction after years of reading nothing but business and personal development books.
    .-= Victoria Brouhard´s last post … Whatever You Decide Is Okay =-.

  15. creativevoyage
    Twitter: creativevoyage

    I really want a Tactical Nuclear Penguin – and I don’t even like beer….

    I think that escapism is needed when travelling so suggest Armistead Maupin’s Tales of the City, Laurie R King’s books about Sherlock Homes coming out of retirement with a new female side kick The Beekeeper’s Apprentice, Ian Rankin’s books (you want to read about my home city Edinburgh right?) and Boris Akunin

  16. Lydia, Clueless Crafter
    Twitter: Art_Style

    My big item is Art Basel Miami tomorrow. I’m thinking about art and the art market. Can I stomach the commodification of art and watching arrogant ill-educated “collectors” throw money at something they don’t really feel a personal attachment to?
    .-= Lydia, Clueless Crafter´s last post … Clueless Goes to Miami. Ciao! =-.

  17. spiralsongkat
    Twitter: spiralsongkat

    Oh, I’m not thinking much of anything very clearly today. I’m in kind of a hump-day, slump-day state of mind. Not that things are going dreadfully — on the whole, they aren’t. I’m just tired, and there’s been a chill rain falling here all day and night.

    Mostly, though, I just want to say that the Items! are a great comfort. I look forward to them with childlike glee, and yes, there are weeks when I really do follow every single link. So, thank you!
    .-= spiralsongkat´s last post … Blogging in the dark =-.

  18. Chris
    Twitter: chrisdivalish

    ….. yesssss, Helle …. ooey gooey goodness, for sure…. I highly recommend it.


  19. Lean Ni Chuilleanain (@leannich)
    Twitter: leannich

    Oh, wow, Havi, you wrote a comment for me! I’m totally glitzed out. My demons are shuffling their feet and muttering teenagerishly that you’re missing the point. I haven’t had a proper conversation with them yet, but I’ll give it a go.
    .-= Lean Ni Chuilleanain (@leannich)´s last post … Sunday Stash, no. 6 =-.

  20. Wormy
    Twitter: SecretWormy

    Okay, it’s not a Snuggie but a Slanket. Perhaps it will do for the while? http://www.theslanket.com/
    .-= Wormy´s last post … Unexpected Progress =-.

  21. Sarah T
    Twitter: edgetocenter

    Have you ever read Terry Prachett’s Wee Free Men? I am a sucker for plucky female heroines, especially in young adult (read: non-scary!) novels. If you like that kind of thing, that series is a lot of fun.

    If you’re not grossed out by hearing a lot about meat, Ruth Reichl is a beautiful food writer, and her last book (Garlic and Sapphires) is all about dressing up to disguise herself when she was a food critic.

    I bet you would love Joan Halifax’s book The Fruitful Darkness. It is poetic and gorgeous and describes Joan’s spiritual experiences through her blend of shamanic traditions and Buddhism. Not as wacky as that sounds, even!

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