What's in the gallery?

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! Wednesday is back! Hot!

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.


I know we ended on a cliffhanger yesterday (and I promise we’ll get back to that exciting story tomorrow) but it’s Wednesday.

Also, my brain is tired and I can’t write straight.

And am also completely distracted by all the smart, funny, weird, interesting things on Twitter, which is partly why these Item! posts exist, because otherwise all this stuff just vanishes.

Item! Post No. 24 in a series that still has no point but has become (for me, at least) weirdly addictive.

Item! Care for your introvert!

Loved this Atlantic article by Jonathan Rauch.

Not because I necessarily agree with everything (or even a lot of) what he has to say but because it’s helpful for me to remember that other highly sensitive people have it hard too.

We’re sensitive mice.

And sometimes it’s nice to have permission to stay that way.

“Second, when you see an introvert lost in thought, don’t say “What’s the matter?” or “Are you all right?”

Third, don’t say anything else, either.”

Item! Best. News. Ever.

Okay, so I don’t have a television, but no, that does not stop me from being madly obsessed with the short-lived series Arrested Development.

I think I’ve seen every single episode at least twice. And the ones with Liza Minnelli in them? Way too many times and still not enough.

So it was pretty cool when I saw the trailer for the new Arrested Development Documentary.

Be happy for me!

Item! Sometimes people want to give us money and we don’t let them!

Nice post from Sparky Firepants about wanting to give people money and not getting to.

It’s called … Hello? Is anyone there? Can I give someone my money here?

And yeah.

This situation is totally a thing. I notice at least a few times a week that I’m really wanting to give someone my money and they’re (accidentally, I guess) making it extra hard on me.

And goodness knows I probably am guilty of this too. Useful.

He’s @sparkyfirepants on Twitter.

Item! Two lovely posts about a Sad Little Ghost.

The first post is a conversation post which references an earlier post which references me.

She’s doing the whole “talking to her stucknesses” thing.

Very good stuff.

“My Sad Little Ghost isn’t haunting me because he wants me to feel bad about myself. It’s a Sad Little Ghost because he’s just trying to get me to the things that he knows (and for that matter, I know) would make me happy in the long run. He’s sad because I don’t listen to him.”

Go read the rest.

She’s @supercareo on Twitter.

Item! This is nothing short of miraculous but maybe you could end up coming to Taos?

The amazing Jennifer Louden — who is not only smart and inspiring, but is also pretty much the only self-help-ey author that I actually listen to) is doing her week-long women’s writing retreat in Taos, New Mexico.

I crush so hard on everything she does that it’s just embarrassing.

And, incredibly, I’ve been invited to be a kind of scholar-in-residence there, teaching destuckification and epiphany-generating wackiness and gentle yoga and maybe even some emergency calming techniques.

And of course it sold out early because this is basically the best thing in the entire world.

But now, even more incredibly, two people can’t make it and there is an opening and ohmygod you should take it if you can.

Seriously. The opportunity to learn from someone like Jen in person is heaven. Add to that the prospect of getting destuckified with your writing and finding your voice again and devoting time, energy and love to healing the stuck bits …

I can’t even describe what an outrageously life-changing opportunity this is so I will stop stuttering and just give you the links already.

So first you want to read the long but useful page that describes the course and then you’ll probably miss the tiny, tiny, tiny almost-invisible link to where you actually sign up for it so yeah, this is where you do that.

Item! I I’m not the only one who makes fun of Stu!

About ten different people sent me the link to this picture.

Because I rant about Stu (my McCarthy-ist voice-to-text software) and his curious and malicious misspellings every single Friday.


Item! Comments!

So it was really cool the other day when I was working on my practice of how I ask for stuff and then I made a very specific request for the kinds of comments I wanted to receive.

And that totally felt awkward and weird.

But the cool part was that people really got it and all the comments were so lovely … and I realized that I’m actually making life easier on everyone when I’m specific about what I want and what I don’t want.

So I’m going to try it again!

Here’s what I want:

  • Things you’re thinking about.
  • Things you think I should read.

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

That is all.

Happy reading.

And happy Blustery Windsday. See you tomorrow.

26 Responses to Item! Wednesday is back! Hot!

  1. Germinational
    Twitter: Germinational

    I loved your specific request for the kinds of comments you wanted yesterday. It was a good model for all kinds of other specific requests.

    Two quotes I’m thinking about:

    “When you play it too safe, you’re taking the biggest risk of your life. Time is the only wealth we’re given.” -Barbara Sher (@BarbaraSher on Twitter)


    “Misbehave: Doing things I don’t like or that inconvenience me or make me unhappy, uncomfortable, or feel less important.” -Jack Olson (@mrjackolson on Twitter)

    I’m taking these to be pointed, um, points about my job. Which feels like misbehavior by the second definition, and like playing it safe by the first. Hmmm.

    Germinationals last blog post..Germinational: @mrjackolson “you are unpleasant to be around when you’re upset” <– that’s the damn truth.

  2. SuperCareo
    Twitter: supercareo

    What I’m thinking about:

    How to express how mind blowing-ly awesome it is that you mentioned my Sad Little Ghost without going overboard or turning into a drooling fan girl.

    And also how to express what an impression learning your techniques have made on my quality of life.

    And also how I’m quite grateful I didn’t have a mouth full of tea when I started reading this because it probably would have ended up all over my work computer – generally something that is looked down upon by the higher ups.

    What I think you should “read”:

    It’s not so much a blog post that needs to be read as watched. And I don’t think it’s her video but her pictures are amazing so I would recommend looking around after you watch the video in this post (it’s so sweet it will make your teeth hurt):


    And one last thing:

    Thank you, Thank you, Thank you.

    SuperCareos last blog post..Things I’ve Learned Thursday

  3. Nancy says:

    Havi, you crack me up. I just read your Scissors post. Daaamn. Hilarity ensues! I’m glad the stitches came out okay.

    Things I’m thinking about:
    – I don’t ever want to be treated by a nurse who can’t focus her eyes.
    – My dog’s due another allergy shot tonight.
    – I’m getting better at finishing long writing projects. And having fun in the process. :)

    Things you should read (if you haven’t already):
    Catch-22 by Joseph Heller. It’s laugh-out-loud funny and poignant.

  4. Havi Brooks
    Twitter: havi

    @Germinational – wow, two quotes to think about! And I really appreciate the feedback on the requests thing because it totally still feels awkward and uncomfortable and probably will for a while.

    @SuperCareo – a pleasure! And am looking forward to watching the video so thank you for that too. :)

    @Nancy – oh, yes. That’s one of my very favorite books. What a great reminder. Mmmm. Thank you!

  5. ilikered
    Twitter: carriemoore

    been lurking around here for about a month and decided today will be my first comment.

    What I’m thinking about:

    1. My stuff finally has a real name.
    “stuckness” wow. thats it.
    It is a lot of stuff and has been with me for 8 years, but just knowing what it is has been a big relief somehow.

    the link I put into that little “website” box is to my longest running journal. It is the running dialogue I have been having with around and about my stuckness all this time without knowing what it was.

    2. I’m ready to try Shiva Nata

    For you to read Havi,maybe if you want to or have time:
    my entry from last night http://ilikered.livejournal.com/

    whew! thats all a litte scary but i’m pushing “submit comment” anyway.

    ilikereds last blog post..it has a name

  6. Hi Havi,

    Reading suggestions: As much Toni Morrison and Louise Erdrich as possible.

    And as a twin cities jazzer, I highly recommend the blog: Bebopified (Find it at http://bebopified.blogspot.com)


    Sarah M. Greers last blog post..Songtaneous Robots?

  7. chris zydel
    Twitter: wildheartqueen

    Hi Sweetie,

    I am thinking about VACATION!!!! Which is coming up very, very soon (YAY). We are going on a road trip. Just getting in the car, pointing it north and heading out with no plan or agenda. It’s time for an ADVENTURE!!

    And what I am reading right now are two very fun books that are kind of the same but I’m enjoying them both:

    Yoga School Dropout by Lucy Edge and Enlightenment For Idiots by Anne Cushman

    Thanks for modeling so beautifully asking for what you want.



  8. Andi
    Twitter: annaline_39

    I’m thinking about my new eyeglasses we were able to order today, and wondering when the numbing and dilating drops will wear off. (I look like an anime character right now, well at least the eyes of one).

    I just re-read The Long Secret by Louise Fitzhugh, it was one of the sequels to Harriet the Spy. I love the island summer vacation feel of the book, takes me back to the summer I first read it.

    I also love Patricia Briggs’ Mercy Thompson series (it starts with Moon Called). Fun fantasy with a strong female lead. Good stuff!

    Andis last blog post..Wishing

  9. sandy says:

    De-lurking here for the first time. I’m getting such a kick out of your blog, Havi, even though I’m not really part of your demographic, I don’t think. Anyway, I’ll say sorry up front for writing too much. Sorry!

    One Thing I’m Thinking About:
    Guilt/shame for feeling “unproductive.” Yuck! (I’ll make the explanation a footnote to make things easier for those who are just skimming the Thinking-Abouts and What-to-Reads.)

    Two Things to read:
    1. The Yiddish Policeman’s Union…only if you have some time to really R*E*A*D, not just read. (I recommend this book rarely and only to very smart people because its dense, acrobatic, chewy yet gorgeous prose is not for the faint-of-brain.)

    2. The Solace of Leaving Early by Haven Kimmel, which reads like butter and whose two main characters have each, in separate spheres, been slogging through life as the smartest person in any room — which, as many of your readers surely know, is not as fun as it sounds.

    *GUILT/SHAME is because I am doing “nothing” with my days except having lunch with my elderly parents (one with Alzh., sad sigh), reading novels in Spanish, and experimenting with a gluten-free diet, instead of what I SHOULD be doing. The should-be: trying to save the business I started with my husband 13 yrs ago, which, like all businesses of its kind during this slump, is actually costing us money now rather than making us a tidy sum as it has up ’til now. Hate the business. I am a slacker at age 51, which is such a source of guilt/shame/guilt/shame/guilt/shame…bleagh!

    Thanks so much for the free stuff on this blog, Havi — can’t wait until I have a little money to spend on the non-free stuff.

    sandys last blog post..Twenty Pound Carrot

  10. Lori Paximadis
    Twitter: Virtuallori

    I do adore me some Arrested Development, too. I’m just hoping the movie is as good as the series. Unlike the Dead Like Me movie, which was a real downer of a followup to another really great, too short series. I’m almost afraid to look at the clip you linked.

    Netflix is just grand for catching up on the *truly* must-see TV after it has stood the test of time. Especially if it’s available for watching instantly.

    Lori Paximadiss last blog post..it was seven years ago today…

  11. sandy says:

    I forgot to say that what made me de-lurk today is your mention of Arrested Development. Made me think that yes, I do belong here. Oh my gosh, AD is so great. My 19-year-old son and I can have whole conversations that consist only of quotes from AD punctuated by laughter. Thanks for mentioning it — think I’ll watch an episode right now. –Sandy

    sandys last blog post..Twenty Pound Carrot

  12. Lucy Viret (aka randomling)
    Twitter: lucyviret

    What I’m thinking about:

    -Whether or not to join Jen Louden’s Comfort Cafe, which I first read about right here on this blog! It sounds awesome, but I’m wary of joining a hundred and one self help programmes and never really using any of them.

    -The fact that I posted a comment on this blog about needing some support with my not-showering issues, and a total stranger emailed me today saying she could relate to me and offering support. OMG. THANK YOU UNIVERSE. And than you stranger! (She even let me write her an novel in response to her short email.)

    -Stuff to read: well, a couple of things I have enjoyed lately.

    Deep Secret by Diana Wynne Jones. Awesome book.
    Maurice by E.M. Forster. So brave it made me cry. And just, beautiful.

    This, which I think I got from Naomi at IttyBiz and inspires me every time I think of it:

    “Lack of fear isn’t courage, it’s mental illness.”

    Lucy Viret (aka randomling)s last blog post..Love. It has teeth.

  13. Sarah Bray
    Twitter: Sarah Bray

    Things I’m thinking about:

    – Magic formulas don’t exist, and all I really have is me.
    – I’m so jealous of your pirate crew.

    Things I think you should read:

    – Geez dear. I just read “Calming Your Anxious Mind” but it’s like kiddie stuff compared to what you already do.
    – I’m gorging myself on fiction right now. Classic, new, deep, cheesy…all of it. What I’m reading right now is actually embarrassing. It’s like a bad spinoff of Pride and Prejudice.

    Sarah Brays last blog post..The Art of the Voice: Part 7 – Rebuild your ghost town

  14. Harriet says:

    Thanks for your reference to the Atlantic artilce on introverts. I have always been one, but since I can be around people and be entertaining and entertained, people refuse to take it seriously when I say how tiring I find it to be around people and how much veg time I need afterward.

    Have never felt lonely when alone, but often when I was with people who didn’t “get” me.

    I find extroverts exhausting in the extreme while realizing that that’s just the way they are and that they’re happy that way.

  15. Bonni says:

    Things I think you should read even though there’s supposed to be no such word as should, so I’ll just say they have been very illuminating for me as of late and maybe somebody else would like them:

    The Practicing Mind: Bringing Discipline and Focus Into Your Life, by Thomas M. Sterner. It is about: habits, perception, non-judgment, present-moment awareness, meditation a little bit. Possibly helpful with regards to practicing Shiva Nata and habits and being, well, mindful, and all that. Skinny book (98 pages).

    Making a Change for Good: a Guide to Compassionate Self-Discipline, by Cheri Huber. Author’s background is in Zen. Sample chapter titles: Meditation, Disidentification, Egocentric Karmic Conditioning, Awareness Practice. There is a ’30-day guided retreat in awareness practice’ chapter that’s kind of neat. I dunno — a lot of the compassionate self-treatment ideas *really* synced up for me between this book and your writings . . like super-synergistically so. It’s also a skinny book (128 pages including hand-drawn cartoons). The book is set in a handwriting kind of typeface which is very readable (easier to read than, say, the Enchanted Broccoli Forest cookbook) but if you are fussy about typefaces then it might make you blink a little bit when you first open the book.

    So that’s all, and maybe someone will get something out of this. I wasn’t thinking “Geez that Havi person whatever will we do with her” but, like, “Here are the two books I carry to and from work everyday even though I usually don’t get a chance to read them.”

    EDIT: it looks like other people are recommending way cooler things to read. hmm. but that’s good.

  16. Jocelyn says:

    I’m thinking about the article on introverts. I am an extreeeeeeme introvert. And I extremely enjoy my introversion. I also find it very valuable to have been married to an extreeeeeeeme extrovert all these years.

    Sure, it can be infuriating and harrowing – but it can also be delightful, and I love the push-pull of opposites. I don’t really want to be sheltered and protected from rubbing up against other sharp edges and the resulting mish-mashing up! All the friction has tenderized us and mellowed us out over the years like nothing else could. Not that it’s all smooth-sailing at this point by any means…

    I read a Myers-Briggs themed book once and it made the point that as we mature, if we are very extreme in one aspect, we tend to become less extreme over the years. That’s been very true for me. (Although in many other ways – similar values is a big one – my husband and I are extreeeeemely alike.)

    Still, I will say – to paraphrase a quote in the above-mentioned book from a couple who were opposites – the first 30 years were the hardest! ;-)

  17. Jocelyn says:

    Forgot to mention a good book. Here’s one (on the very theme I’ve mentioned in my prior post): “Please Understand Me II: Temperament, Character, Intelligence” by David Keirsey.

    Yes, last time I checked this was doing really well in the competition for The Worst Title Ever Conceived.

    BUT – this book is wonderful. It is a great presentation of the Myers-Briggs personality stuff, tied together with the overall theme of: “No, the fact that someone is different from you really does NOT indicate that he/she is a jerk! And what it might actually indicate can be quite fascinating and even might make you like them…”

  18. Jan Brady says:

    I am also an introvert which is why I love my computer so very much. It allows me to be social without actually having to do it in front of anyone. I am so glad I stumbled onto your blog ..the name intrigued and I have stuck around because you make me smile. Thanks and say hi to the duck for me.

  19. Funny. The thing I was just thinking about was the needs of introverts and was writing about it yesterday and low…here you drop a link right in my lap to an article all about it. Most wonderful. I thank you.

    Pauline Essons last blog post..I live for….this

  20. Brooke says:

    I’ve been thinking about how discovering your blog (through a link from Enchanting Juno, and I’ve been lurking for quite some time) has made such a massive difference to how I think about things, and that I’ve still got so much to learn generally…but that it’s a good thing, not a bad one. ^_^

    And I’ve been thinking about how terrified I am to move back to North America (American, from Seattle, and I’ve lived in the UK for the last seven years – which is a quarter of my life) and if I actually want to or not!

    As for things to read, I’d recommend ‘The Map of Love’ by Ahdaf Soueif if you haven’t read it yet. I read a lot, and very quickly, and this book made me stop and pour over the words in order to draw out each and every page.

    Brookes last blog post..Personal ad

  21. Erika Harris says:

    I’m blown away by what you want. Because the thing you have asked us to give you is so very fun and delicious to give! You want our Wednesday Items! You want to know what we’re thinking about? You want to know what we think you should read? And you commit to give time, thought and compassion to our answers?

    Q: Who does that?

    A: A Rosey Pirate Queen with a seriously Big Heart.

    How renewing… to have someone you think highly of hold space for you and your thoughts. “Hold space.” Yeah, I know. But I’m gonna let the cheese stand :-)

    Okay, so that was my thought-stream.

    Here’s my reading recommendation: Grace Kerina’s Blog!

    She’s a highly sensitive writer (fellow innies, you’ll love her) in Canada, and her stuff gives you new eyes AND new vistas.

    Much like this blog.

    Thanks, Havi.

    Erika Harriss last blog post..“The RIDE is going to be worth it.”

  22. Sally J.
    Twitter: sally_j

    I’ve been thinking a LOT about story-catching since I saw funk goddess Lynda Barry speak on Tuesday night. Make that: speak *and* sing You Are My Sunshine without opening her mouth. (Truth!)

    I’ve been a fan of hers for (literally) decades and now? Now she’s encouraging folks to write down their stories. Precisely what I’ve been doing in workshops using a slightly different method.

    She’s fascinated with the question: “Where do memories come from?” Not unlike this post of Havi’s .

    So. Onward to the reading recommendations!

    (1) Writing the Unthinkable (workshops)

    Lynda’s summary of her workshops does a better job than I ever could to describe where she’s coming from.

    (2) What It Is (book)

    Here’s the amazon summary. I think it’s actually a quote from salon, but it’s hard to tell:

    “How do objects summon memories? What do real images feel like? What It Is demonstrates a tried-and-true creative method that is playful, powerful, and accessible to anyone with an inquisitive wish to write or to remember.”

    “The ordinary is extraordinary.”

    Here’s my summary: I’ve never seen anything like this book. Visually stunning, crazy-cool collages that’s really memories crashing onto yellow legal paper via paintbrush. And through it all Lynda asks you (yes, you!) WHAT IS MEMORY? WHERE DOES IT COME FROM? HOW CAN WE CAPTURE MEMORIES?

    Pure. Delight.

    “Barry is not just a storyteller, she’s an evangelist who urges people to pick up a pen — or a brush…and look at their own lives with fresh, forgiving eyes.”

    –San Francisco Chronicle

  23. Clayton Roche says:

    First thing on my mind: you have amazing people around you. Reading the comments here is like a bonus-blog.

    I listened to that podcast you suggested a while back, Decoder Ring Theater. I have no idea if this is your kind of thing, but there is a New York NPR show called “Radio Lab” that is one of the most amazing things ever produced. It is available as a podcast.

  24. Havi Brooks
    Twitter: havi


    These recommendations are terrific. I am scribbling away like a maniac. So great!

    @Sally – I’m DEFINITELY going to have to check this out. Thank you!

    @ilikered – that is the coolest thing I’ve read in ages. Wow. And I also lurk on blogs. Especially the ones I like.

    And thank you so so so much for sharing what you wrote because it is really touching and I feel happy and honored.

    And yay, having you as a fellow shivanaut would be completely fabulous. :)

    @Andi – I remember The Long Secret! And having eyes dilated is awful. (I always get disoriented and cry a lot).

    @Sandy – ooh. I LOVED The Yiddish Policeman’s Union. What a great book! Will look for Haven Kimmel (funny how someone mentioned knowing someone named Haven in today’s post too). Thank you!

    And I don’t really have a demographic or anything. So no worries there!

    Instead there are people who like being around me and my duck (those are the ones who are here, including the ones who never say anything) and people who don’t get it (who tend to avoid coming here).

    The marketing guru-ey people have a problem with this, but no one else does so I tend not to worry about it. :)

    And yay, Arrested Development. Man, that is the best thing ever. My gentleman friend and I also have entire conversations that are really just quote-fests.

    @Erika – you rock, my wonderful powerful says-what-she-thinks friend. Thanks for the suggestion – I’m going to take a look!

  25. Andrea says:

    Havi, you always have so excellent and inspiring ideas!! Thank you!
    Thinking about: love and adulthood and how much I like it in myself and in others!
    recommendations:maybe http://www.wickedsunshine.com/GoodVibes/Texts/DalaiLamaGoodLuck.txt ? I enjoyed browsing in those lists a lot lately. Eckhard Tolle has some nice approaches as well…

    Andreas last blog post..Fascinated: *openmouthagape*

  26. Josiane
    Twitter: kimianak

    Oddly, lots of “should” just popped in my mind, and that’s what I’m thinking about.

    Should find something worthy of being written here.
    Should do some more thinking about the realization I’ve had yesterday while commenting on another one of your posts.
    Should stop avoiding doing what I need to do to get ready for the trip to Taos.
    Should stop worrying about being the one who doesn’t fit in at the retreat.

    Not sure where they came from, really. Am I fooling myself when I think that I’m usually pretty good at not should-ing on me all that much? Seems so. Ugh. So much stuck.
    Oh, a new one just appeared: Should find a way to write faster so that I could post more often on my blog and, thus, work more stuff/stuck out. Oh well. Sigh.

    Josianes last blog post..Traveling Muffins

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