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Archive for July, 2014

DOES “Received Wisdom” haunt you ?

Do you think, act and behave in ways that truly reflect YOU – who you are and what you genuinely believe? Or are your responses and actions based on something learned or acquired? Is it possible that your thoughts, actions, and behaviors might instead be “received wisdom” – or general opinions of ‘experts’ rather than your own?

For me, one grhoardingeat example of “received wisdom” is reflected in the large supply of items that fill my storage closets (almost to overflowing). I often stare at them…and wonder how so many bottles of laundry detergent, sponges, cans of beans, and so on landed on those shelves. The fact that I track and retrieve coupons weekly so I can purchase more of these items does not register as a part of the problem. Some might question this behavior or consider it compulsive or obsessive. Not me! Reasonable, rational explanations (from my limited viewpoint, anyway) consistently help ground and justify my decision to continue to pursue the purchase of items I already have at least a 6 month supply of. Until recently, that is.

About a month ago, this behavior began haunting me – even though I refused to dismiss my rationale . I began to explore possiGVWmbGFbilities for what might be causing this apparent “obsession.” As a huge fan of Malcolm Gladwell – his style, approach, and way of thinking – I sought his viewpoint as a means to help me understand my own. I searched and found several interviews that might bring a deeper understanding to my dilemma (from his perspective, anyway).

  • This July during an interview by Anderson Cooper, David Remnick, editor of the New Yorker magazine, was asked to share thoughts about the style, approach, and behavior of Malcolm Gladwell – one of the magazine’s staff writers. Below is the question and the response Cooper received:

Anderson Cooper:  What do you think he’s interested in achieving? Is it that he’s got an opinion and he wants everybody else to agree with it?

David Remnick: Absolutely just the opposite. I think what he’s interested in is testing and pressing against received wisdom, most of the time what we think of our ideas about the world, it’s received wisdom. We’ve read them. We’ve assumed it’s correct. We don’t have time to test everything.

  • In another interview, Gladwell shares that he grew up in rural Ontario, Canada as the son of a Jamaican born mother (a family therapist) and an English born father (a math professor). He continued to explain that the nature of these two divergent backgrounds created a household environment that continually explored or sought out “uncommon commonalities.” This exposure fostered a skill that allowed him to view the world and consider occurrences, viewpoints, etc. from a much broader variety of perspectives.

“I’m very grateful for that kind of upbringing, because I feel like it gives me a kind of base from which to explore the world, you know.”

As I absorb and process these comments, (more…)

Getting out of the heat…

Mt. Sanitas trailhead

Mt. Sanitas trailhead

Headed for the hills…

Will write next week.

Til then…stay cool!




Crafted and written by:  |Liz Carlock
The Write Resources, LLC™
© 2014 EM Carlock




For the past week, I’ve been thrashing around ideas for this week’s blog – like a kid rolling around on the floor with a new puppy.  My head is clearly filled with way too many thoughts.  I now have nine blogs in varying stages of completion – some need a bit more research, others need more refinement and yet others are actually in need of a title.  In any case, it’s now Friday…and none of those half-baked (some even raw) blogs seem ready to hit the public stage.

Then…as I sat there awaiting a meeting with my accountant (yep, I finally made time to focus and create a game plan or strategy for wrestling with my 2014 tax approach)…I opened my journal (remember, I told you how important my ramblings in this journal are to me and how I approach the effort/process in an earlier blog…).  As I glared down at the page, this quote slapped me in the face and demanded my attention – again like an “innocent” golden retriever puppy hunger for a walk:

“Ultimately writing is nothing but carpentry.  With both you are working with reality which is as hard as wood”  by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

KNOTS_MB_wood_carving_revHmmm…”…nothing but carpentry.”  Now that feels a bit perfunctory – especially the use of the words/phrase “nothing but”.  Then it hit me…as a seasoned, professional writer, I “should” be able to rebut, concur, challenge…or in the simplest case respond or lay out my viewpoint for Mr. Marquez (not being fully aware of his fame or comprehensive viewpoint).  So, here’s what I captured in my journal (or spoke out loud to Mr. Marquez)…

“Wow, Gabriel  (yeah, I took some liberties here to be on a first name basis – especially since he recently passed and is only here in spirit)…what a profound (and thought-provoking) statement.  For me, it’s fascinating how oftentimes with writing, the writer (this one, anyway) tends to feel as if they are wandering or traveling into some remote land where everything in the “real” world needs to either be improved upon or rebuilt (or restated, re-invented, and so on).  Recrafting reality, as one re-purposes wood seems to be an extremely tangible and valid analogy/concept.  Reality, like wood, can be soft or hard, pliable or stern – much depends on those challenges or life adventures one is attempting to grapple with.  I often wonder….  is there really such a thing as one true “reality” or is it more like our own individual interpretation, version or perspective on events that create or map out “reality” for us?  Reshaping “reality” – like repurposing wood – seems to be in the hands (and minds) of each individual soul/spirit who lands on earth in human form.  As wood is carved and whittled into a table or a chair, we each have the ability and power to take the “piece of reality” we’ve got and mold it into the style, type or mode of reality within which we will reside.  It seems somewhat like building a house to live in – we get to use the materials, supplies, skills (wood included) we were given to whittle out (as hard as it may sometimes seem) a residence or “reality” that works for us.  That’s why I write – I enjoy whittling and working with an imposed reality…that often “can be” as hard as wood.”

So, now I wonder…do you live or exist within someone else’s reality.  Is that reality as hard as wood?  If so, do you think you have the tools or skill set (maybe even as a carpenter, artist or cobbler) to whittle, paint or sculpt a new reality for yourself – or at least one that might better fit your needs or provide a bigger, brighter landscape or a greater degree of comfort –  one that might be like a new couch or a new pair of shoes but that actually feel more like your own comfy couch or pair of shoes?

Crafted, researched and written by:  | LIZ CARLOCK
The Write Resources, LLC™
© 2014 EM Carlock

Graphic credits:  tri-citieswoodcarvingclub.blogspot.com

IS FREEDOM really just another word…

freedom-1Around town, many renditions or alterations of the American flag were prominently displayed this weekend – on banners slipped through deck rails, on clothes draping toddlers – and especially on flag poles placed high atop roofs or vibrating on strings clinging to enormous metal poles.  To many, the display of the American flag has meaning or is symbolic and therefore representative of something.  This, of course, caused me to wonder if substance exists behind those thoughts and beliefs.  And, if it does, might that meaning be universal or do individual interpretations (and, therefore, meaning) differ?


As I watched families load travel bags or fill car carriers, my curiosity persisted.  I asked myself…on a day with the American flag flying high, might “freedom” – especially to modern day folks – mean the open road and/or the ability to travel to outlying places…as maybe an alternative or even a break from self-imposed daily routines?

With these scenes bouncing around in my head, I continued to ponder and reflect on the Holiday weekend.  Tunes made famous by Bruce Springsteen (Woody Guthrie/Pete Seeger) and Janis Joplin (Kris Kristofferson) begged to be sung:

The term FREEDOM (more…)