The Skim: 7 February 2015

Welcome to The Skim. I skim the news for things I want to read and things you may want to know about. (Get it? The skim…I amuse myself.)

The quotation of the week goes to Jane Austen: “The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid.” Right on, Jane.

I’m still recovering from the split decision on winter vs. spring that came earlier this week. That Yankee groundhog said more snow. General Beauregard Lee of Georgia said spring is coming. I wish the weather and groundhogs could decide so I can decide if I need to bundle up or start exfoliating.

Saturday’s Google Doodle features Laura Ingalls Wilder, the author of The Little House on the Prairie. Saturday marks her 148th birthday. Her work has been hotly contested recently here, here, and here, but the stories about the plains, Ma, Papa, and the family inspired my love of the West.

This read (at least the Twitter headline) made me feel much better about myself and my life. Most people who look productive aren’t.

In truth, most of these “hard workers” are just inefficient. Look closely and you’ll see they use these methods to produce the same results as everybody else. And while it can be argued that these people are disciplined because of their work ethic, more of a focus should be put on productivity. And to produce more results, you don’t have to work longer, just smarter.

Wave your hands in the air if you work smart, not hard!

Fifty Shades of Grey is popping up everywhere. Christian activists want to trade with you: your book copy for a copy of the Bible. Domestic violence advocates want you to donate the price of the movie ticket to a local shelter. Haters just want you to not go because the actors have no chemistry. I’m going to go watch Body Heat again and lust after online photos of Jamie Dornan. (He is dreamy with facial hair and in The Fall. Get into it.)

Harper Lee is coming out with a new book, Go Set a Watchman. Well, it’s not so new. The book was written before To Kill a Mockingbird, and it sat in a safety deposit box for years. (There may be hopes for the manuscripts under your bed and in your old files.) Roy Peter Clark from the Poynter Institute (a great place in a wonderful location) wrote a piece on Harper Lee as a storyteller, discussing her use of suspense through her descriptions of time passing:

In “Mockingbird” we are awaiting a verdict. Jury deliberations, especially in the Jim Crow South, could be over in a few minutes. Or they can take days and days. Or the jury can be hung. What will happen? That’s what all the characters in the novel, and all its readers, want to find out.

Amtrak started offering writer residencies. Authors would ride the rails and write about their experiences and whatever else they wanted. Now a hotel is getting into the act per Fast Company. Evan Peterson summed it up best: “A free night’s stay that forces you to write is not a bad deal.”

Harvard Business Review is my go-to source for all things business and management. One article worth sharing this week is this one on staying motivated after a big win or accomplishment.

Many of us have experienced some of the same feelings after completing a major project, or winning a big sale, or making a crucial presentation to the board. For months or weeks you were ruthlessly focused on a single, herculean undertaking. And then inevitably, that assignment is done.

When we think about achieving a major goal, we picture the exhilaration of reaching new heights. What we often fail to anticipate, however, is that once we’ve scaled that mountain, it can be surprisingly chilly on the other side. After a period of massive productivity we have to revert back to life as usual and settle back into an established workplace routine.

It’s a lot harder than it looks.

Now reading and pondering over this Thought Catalog piece on dating in the social media age: “We are told we can’t show vulnerability so we never admit our true feelings. We get out before we get hurt. We then move on to our next “match” as if the fairy tale will fall into our laps. We’ll find the perfect person, who will be better than anyone else you see, whom you can be vulnerable with and won’t hurt you, it’ll be an instant, effortless happily ever after.” How does the social media age and dating in this era factor into romance novel writing? Are authors talking earnestly about the grind and game playing of modern-day romance?

Enough about me, enough of my skimming. What are you reading, watching and listening to this week?

Happy new year?


Most people only celebrate the new year once on January 1. For those of us who still work in a school environment, we are soon kicking off another new year. There is something about the coming rush of students, school buses, and fall that makes me giddy. I enjoy the back-to-school sales with all the fresh notebooks, cases of pens, and ready-to-be-battered-and-abused book bags. For me, this time of year always means a new beginning where we can build off the old (past semester) and move forward. I guess that this means that there will be some new things happening on this blog. My goal is to post at least once every two weeks. (I’m aiming low so I can impress myself and you dear reader if I do more.) I blog in a few places on the web, and I have been lax this summer, enjoying my time off instead of trying to scramble a few words for a post. This fall, I plan on doing better here and there. So, what about you? What do you think about fall? What are your goals for this fall?

The Skim: 7 April 2014

Glad tidings to you, good people who read this blog! (That means you, Mama. Thanks for upping the reader count to a solid 1. Woo hoo.) This week is so busy with sorority stuff, work stuff, neglected writing stuff, and travel stuff. (Not to mention cleaning stuff like dishes, clothes, closets, bathrooms, and the like. My house looks like my dorm room when I was online…except I know have several rooms, a dog, and all the consumerist tendencies of the middle class professoriat.) This Friday, when the eagle flies, I will be up in the air to the West Coast and will have a chance to hang out with my cool nerd friends. Good times in store. Thank goodness. 

As if normal, The Skim is a curated weekly round-up of links, podcasts, videos, and/or books. Check them out. Read them. Like them. Hate them. Pass them along. 

Now watching this web series. “An African City” is like Sex and the City but on the continent, set in Accra. I found it on Twitter and sent it to my baby ISM, who fell in love with it. I watched all the episodes in one sitting and am waiting for more.  

Thought Catalog tells us why Carole King is better than Kesha. I didn’t need a blog post to validate that opinion, but any excuse to listen to this song, that songthis song, and of course one of the GOAT songs on my Spotify list works for me. 

As always Buzzfeed knows how to put together a solid list. This week, I found 25 quotes that will inspire you to become a better writer. My personal favorites are #1, #7, #10 (bell hooks rocks my socks off anyway), #12 and #21. What are your favorites? 

Arianna Huffington talks about the key to finding success without burning out. The best quotable from the article is this tidbit: “…we are so much more conscious about how charged our phones are versus how charged we are. It’s too bad we don’t have the same kind of indicator to show how depleted we are. We have a million ways to recharge our phones, portable chargers, cables, extra battery packs, but look at how we treat ourselves. Our own energy has to be below 5% before we figure out that we need to sleep, to recharge, to take a break. That has to change.”
Side benefit: Marie Forleo interviewed the HuffPo founder and editor-in-chief; check it out here

Harvard Business Review published the heretic’s guide to getting more done. The post advocates daydreaming more, less time spent preparing for meetings, and shortening the weekday. Yes, I’m all about this. 

When Rosetta Thurman at Happy Black Woman posts something, I listen and read. Her newest video focuses on finding the time to commit to your business even if you have a full-time job. I took notes. So should you. 

This new documentary on Anita Hill is on my to-see list. I remember at the time being confused about what was happening and seeing people pick sides. After learning more and actually working at a university where she once worked, I know now what was at stake and what Anita Hill meant for Black women. 
I stumbled across this blog post via Facebook. What caught me was the following quotation by Tracee Ellis Ross: May the space between where I am and where I want to be inspire me and not terrify me. 

As the blogger said, “sometimes you have to remind yourself of your capabilities and triumphs because when you are aware of your solution it becomes easier to realize that you aren’t whole yet instead of noticing that new peace that has appeared. Self-deprecation is a fine art. One that is mastered by few, over a long period of time. It’s not an art I want to master. ” Ashe. Namaste. Right on. 

The Skim: 31 March 2014

Yesterday was National Pencil Day, which made my nerd heart happy. Today is the last day of the month, and I am on step closer to being out of school for the school. Color me happy. As if normal, The Skim is a curated weekly round-up of links, podcasts, videos, and/or books. Enjoy! 

Excuses are tools of incompetence that build monuments of nothing and bridges to nowhere. Here’s a handy guide for getting over yourself and hurdling over your excuses barrier. 

Clear your mind in 15 minutes using gratitude, movement, silence, and meditation. We can all spare 15 minutes. 

Invest in life experiences. Hell yeah buttercup, take that trip. Buddy, take that improv class. Do your best you. (I’m talking to myself as much as I am talking to you, sole blog reader.)

You need to take a sabbatical. I did a sad-batical last year, and it was worth it because I needed to get my life in order. (It’s still not where I want it to be, but it’s much better.)

Do nothing and be productive? What what, sign me up. Oh wait, it’s a list of when not to do things when you’re all in your feels. 

The daily routine of geniuses: find a comfortable workplace with few distractions, get in your daily constitution, know what’s real work and busy work, and limit your social lives. As an introvert, the last routine makes me happy. 

Tomorrow is the last day to register through the healthcare exchange. In honor, here’s a video of President Obama on Between Two Ferns.

The Skim: 24 March 2014

Spring has sprung. Welcome to The Skim, a curated weekly round-up of links, podcasts, videos, and/or books. 

I need to be a two-minute woman. Get your head out of the gutter; it’s all about productivity. Click the link to understand. 

Geniuses need to hustle. Per the article, the hustle isn’t this dance or that song. It is:

hustle is the ability to interact with positive chance, allowing you to create opportunities that wouldn’t otherwise be there–and having the know-how to realize them. Usually, opportunity comes attached to people.

Go get your hustle on, buttercup.  But to do that work and creativity hustle, you have to cast aside that bitch-ass demon known as your inner critic

Your inner critic can be responsible for feelings like exhaustion, dreading going into work every day, or like you’re constantly fighting a losing battle. When you let your inner critic get the best of you it means missing out on opportunities to grow, being less productive, and not creating the awesomeness you were meant to create.

Take the Benny Hill theme music and dub over EDM dancers. Pure joy.  

As usual, the blogger at Bitches Gotta Eat sums up my life in this post

before i retire my vagina completely i gotta fuck a young dude for real. just one time, maybe two. i’m nursing a couple of unrequited crushes on humans my own age that i don’t foresee panning out, which is killing what is left of my heart one minute at a time. love hurts. but before i abandon them entirely to instead lie about my age to try to fuck your uncle on…

I tweeted this story, and @EileenFisher favorited my tweet. #fangirlsqueal One day when I get money, my entire wardrobe will be Eileen Fisher.