Tag Archives: literature

What I’ve Learnt Writing for 30 Days

Words don’t come easy

I am happy to announce that I succeeded in my “write for 30 days on Medium” challenge. 30 days in a row I was forcing myself to write, about anything, any length. Below are the things I’ve learnt.

Learnt to be more honest. Nobody really cares what I do, how many problems I have or how cool I am. My writings aren’t impressive and I should stop pretending someone I am not. People care only about themselves, so if I write honestly, if I provide value, people appreciate authenticity because it is about them improving and learning something, not about me.

Just do it. Instantly. Having this challenge every day in my head led me to doing more things instantly. If I got an idea I write it down, using notes app, email, anything works. If I wait I lose my brilliant thoughts. They never come back.

OMG speaking too much to myself can you hear it too? I seriously started talking to myself, much more than ever before, I discuss things with myself, ask for an opinion and so on. Do you think I should leave this paragraph here? Yes. That’s myself talking again…

Discipline helps fighting laziness. Having in mind that I will need to produce a post everyday helps me to plan my days and weeks so I can allocate some time everyday for writing. If I am going out on Friday I need to write in the morning or late afternoon, otherwise I’ll fail. I rescheduled my meetings, pushed back some client work just because I had to write. No more laziness, discipline forced to get stuff done.

“If you wish to be a writer, write.” — Epictetus

Magic doesn’t happen. Writing for 30 days won’t do any magic. It will become a little easier but not very much. You won’t become a writer in 30 days. Your mindset won’t change radically, to be honest I think I still produce s*it as I did at the beginning of this challenge.

It’s not about reaching the goal, it’s about building the habit. I want to repeat myself again, I took this challenge not to write awesome stuff, I took this challenge to get used to writing and one day hopefully start writing awesome stuff and become great. I took this challenge publicly so I can feel some pressure and responsibility.

“Life is a journey, not a destination.” ― Ralph Waldo Emerson

source read more – > https://medium.com/to-inspire/497fdf5072e0


Am I Write?

Writing oneself into awakening



Coming to terms with being a writer has been surprisingly difficult. I should introduce myself: The most important thing to know about me is that I have “a massive inferiority complex.” I have extinguished many an idea before the flame ignited the wick.


That and I have fancied myself since childhood a writer of fiction. I have created umpteen plots in both in our less than perfect present and various dystopic futures no better than our current reality but none have I allowed myself the freedom to fully explore. Yet.


I’ve stood in my own way fearing that my characters are too specific. But how can that be? Is each individual person not unique? I believe I may have feared that my audience may read my characters as I intended and perhaps I was uncomfortable with the vulnerability of speaking plainly if semi-disguised in the voice of another.


Writer Wordart

Writer Wordart (Photo credit: MarkGregory007)


I have thought myself a failure to become this thing I have imagined of myself since Kindergarten when I wrote my first story about a squirrel and a tree (which I also illustrated!). But—I recently had a revelation that was somewhat embarassing for a professed lover of words: I have been down on myself for not being a ‘writer’ when in actuality it’s a novelist that I am not; AND, I am okay with that.


My thoughts I have been chronicling for over ten years in a dozen plus Moleskines, various online blogs, emails and letters.


I write! I’m a writer!




Is that sufficient in the modern age of instant access, instant sharing? Is that enough for me? I’m afraid it isn’t. Least of all for my ego. For someone who fears inadequacy I have the most painful desire for validation that can come only via public comparison.


read more -> https://medium.com/what-i-learned-today/bcee2db163fe



Staying Put Away From Home

As many travel to their families for Thanksgiving, Rosie J. Spinks tells what it’s like when travelling becomes a kind of home.

A portrait of the American writer Mark Twain t...

A portrait of the American writer Mark Twain taken by A. F. Bradley in New York, 1907. http://www.smithsonianeducation.org/publications/siycfall_05.pdf http://www.twainquotes.com/Bradley/bradley.html See also other photographs of Mark Twain by A. F. Bradley taken in March 1907 in New York on Mark Twain Project Online. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Mark Twain once wrote that “travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness.” That may be true, but it’s usually fatal to a few other things too: boredom, ambivalence, and routine.


You’d be hard pressed to find a short-term visitor to Paris who remembers more clearly the dog shit ubiquitous on the city’s sidewalks than the beautiful architecture that towers above her. Or a vacationer in Bali who said the the slow Internet connection impinged on his enjoyment of the stunning azure water. As Twain hinted, travel extends our horizons while simultaneously removing us from many of life’s banal realities, thereby creating altered—some might even say better—versions of ourselves.


read more -> https://medium.com/the-magazine/abd7954b7993




Internet Comments and Behaviour.

Do you think before you press SEND?



insults (Photo credit: Kiku Medina)


You do have to love the internet. It’s a place you can explore with total anonymity. A place where you can air your views without fear of reprisal. A place where you can have a discussion or intellectual debate with others who may, or may not share your interests, have a witty banter if you like; and talk about your opinions and ideologies even if they differ, without having to resort to childish or impetuous insults used to demean another because they do not share your views. Right?


As a very opinionated person, I am sure you like to get your views out there to be heard or seen. And the easiest and quickest way to do that most of the time, is on the internet.


However; being opinionated does not mean your views are any less or any more relevant than anyone else’s. If you write a review or any kind of article, I assume you are doing it for a reason. And that reason; if like me, is because you want your story to be told, your voice to be heard and you want it out there for everyone to acknowledge that these are your thoughts, recognize them, trust them or not. So I say be prepared for, and welcome the judgement and the critique that will come.


But don’t bring yourself down to the level of a child where you have to resort to insulting an author because you do not like his work or do not agree with what they have said. Considering the way I write, I may at times reference the author of a piece of work which pokes fun at what they have produced. But I do not go so far as to blatantly insult the author. (Or at least I do not believe I do).





PETA is gonna be all over Stephen Colbert!!!! (LOL)



A Secret to Happiness- Clean Off My Desk

A Secret to Happiness: Clean Off My Desk

A Secret to Happiness- Clean Off My Desk

One of the big insights I’ve gained from my happiness project is that for me (as for many people), outer order contributes to inner calm. I feel more serene and cheerful if my apartment and office aren’t too messy.

Something else I’ve learned from my happiness project is to be wary whenever I have the urge to “treat” myself, because often my treats don’t make me happy in the long run. One of my “treats” is to let piles of papers, clothes, books, and dishes pile up – which does indeed end up making me feel less happy.

When I need to to calm myself, I take an hour and clean my office. I did this a few days ago. I’d been under some pressure, and I’d let it become a wreck, because I wasn’t taking the time to put anything away. I kept putting off little tasks, thinking, “It’s more important to answer my emails,” “I need to get this little piece written first,” “I need a break, I don’t want to deal with this now,” but finally, I got down to it.

I set aside an hour and tackled the mess. Methodically I entered reading notes, copied information, filed, wrote emails, tossed papers, took coffee cups to the kitchen, etc. One of my daily habits is to take notes on a scratch pad – mostly to-do reminders – and these pile up quickly. I worked my way through the items on those sheets so I could toss them out.

I even dusted.

This morning when I came into my office, I felt a shock of relief. All those clean surfaces! No more stacks of papers and books teetering on the edge of the desk! No more feeling harassed by uncompleted tasks! It gave me a real boost.

As Samuel Johnson wrote, “It is by studying little things that we attain the great art of having as little misery, and as much happiness as possible.”

Or are you one of those folks who is oblivious to clutter? Take this quiz to find out.

If you want to read more about this, read The Happiness Project, chapters on “Boost Energy” and “Buy Some Happiness,” and Happier at Home, chapter on “Possessions.” (Can’t resist adding: both New York Times bestsellers.)

Are you interested in launching a group for people doing happiness projects together? These groups have sprung up all over the world. Intrigued? Email me at gretchenrubin1@gretchenrubin.com, and I’ll send you the “starter kit.” Read more here.

(Photo: Pat Scullion, Flickr)

(VIA. Gretchen Rubin – Linkedin – Bestselling author; blogger http://www.happiness-project.com)

U.S. President George W. Bush awards the Presidential Medal of Freedom in Washington

‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ author Lee sues her agent over copyright

U.S. President George W. Bush awards the Presidential Medal of Freedom in Washington

(Reuters) – The Pulitzer Prize-winning author of “To Kill A Mockingbird,” Harper Lee, on Friday sued her literary agent, claiming he tricked her into assigning the copyright on her book to him.

The lawsuit was filed in federal court in Manhattan against Samuel Pinkus, the son-in-law of Lee’s long-time agent, Eugene Winick, who had represented her for more than 40 years. When Winick became ill in 2002, Pinkus diverted several of Winick’s clients to his own company, the lawsuit said.

According to the lawsuit, Pinkus in 2007 “engaged in a scheme to dupe” the then 80-year-old Lee into assigning her “To Kill a Mockingbird” copyright without any payment.

Lee, who is now 87 years old, resides in Monroeville, Alabama. She is rarely seen in public.

Gloria Phares, an attorney for Lee, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Pinkus engineered the transfer of Lee’s rights to secure himself “irrevocable” interest in the income derived from her book and to avoid paying legal obligations he owed to his father-in-law’s company for royalties that Pinkus allegedly misappropriated, the lawsuit said.

Lee was suffering from declining hearing and eyesight, and has no memory of agreeing to relinquish her rights or signing the agreement the memorializes the purported transfer, according to the court papers.

“To Kill A Mockingbird” was published in 1960 and is considered a classic. It has sold more than 30 million copies.

Pinkus did not immediately respond to an email requesting comment.

The lawsuit asks the court to assign any rights in the book owned by Pinkus or any entities controlled by him to Lee, and asks that any commissions Pinkus received since the 2007 date be returned to her.

Pinkus in recent years has not provided royalty statements to explain money earned by the book, the lawsuit said.

The lawsuit also alleged Pinkus failed to respond to offers by publisher HarperCollins to discuss licensing e-book rights and did not respond to the publisher’s request for assistance related to the 50th anniversary of the publishing of “To Kill A Mockingbird.”

“To Kill A Mockingbird” tells the story of two children growing up in a small southern town. The book addresses racial injustice, as the children’s attorney father is selected to defend a black man accused of raping a white woman. The man is convicted despite his innocence.

It is the only novel that Lee ever published.

(Reporting By Erin Geiger Smith in New York; Editing by Leslie Adler)

(VIA. Reuters)




Farrah Abraham’s sex tape has created a fiery rift between her and her mother — whom she lives with — and now, Farrah’s packing up and moving out.

You’ll recall, Farrah’s mom pretended to be blissfully ignorant of her 21-year-old daughter’s porno — telling us Farrah would never star in such a video … let alone commission it … protesting, “We have religious beliefs.”

Fact is Farrah did it … and when it came out that she was the one who masterminded the sex tape (info courtesy of James Deen) mama flipped out.

Sources close to Farrah tell us, the two have been arguing tooth and nail ever since … so today, Farrah packed up a U-Haul and hit the road.


Sources say Farrah’s mother gave her the boot … but Farrah tells us, “After meeting with my counselor today, I’ve packed up everything and I’m not talking to my mom anymore.”

She adds, “My mother will never be a good mother to me and it is too hurtful to deal with let alone have my daughter Sophia around it.”

Ironic … Farrah preaching about “good mothers.”


A Citi group logo can be seen on an automatic teller machine in Citi Field

Citi profit rises 30 percent as investment banking grows

A Citi group logo can be seen on an automatic teller machine in Citi Field

(Reuters) – Citigroup Inc (C.N) said on Monday its first-quarter profit jumped 30 percent, a stronger-than-expected increase, as the No. 3 U.S. bank generated more money from underwriting stock issues and advising companies on mergers.

Citigroup shares closed 0.2 percent higher after the results, which provided more evidence that a long-awaited turnaround might be under way at the bank six months after its board pushed out Vikram Pandit as chief executive and handed the reins to Michael Corbat.

Investors were encouraged by signs the bank was keeping a lid on expenses while bolstering revenue and reducing losses on bad assets. The bank’s shares have risen more than 80 percent since last June, in part because of the improving economy and partly because of its own efforts to get its house in order.

“Citigroup has been so messed up for so many years, there’s an opportunity for them,” said Mark Mandell, portfolio manager at Dalton Investments in Santa Monica, California, which owns Citigroup shares.

“All they have to do is a get a little better and they can get back to a valuation closer to their competitors.”

Citigroup’s shares trade at a discount to their tangible book value, an accounting measure of their net worth, even as those of many competitors trade at a premium.

(For a graphic on Citigroup earnings, click on link.reuters.com/fuf47t)

The bank’s biggest gains came from its investment bank, particularly in North America. Citigroup hired bankers about two years ago and those investments in staff paid off in the first quarter, said John Gerspach, chief financial officer, on a conference call with reporters.

For North American merger advisory, these hires helped the bank rise to a No. 5 from No. 14 ranking in the first quarter of 2012, Thomson Reuters data show.


First-quarter net income rose to $3.81 billion, or $1.23 a share, from $2.93 billion, or 95 cents a share, a year earlier.

Excluding accounting adjustments, earnings were $4.01 billion, or $1.29 a share, up from $3.42 billion, or $1.11 a share, a year earlier.

Analysts on average had forecast $1.17 a share before the accounting adjustments.

Profitability of its lending, known as its net interest margin, came in at 2.94 percent in the first quarter, up marginally from 2.93 percent in the fourth quarter. Margins at many of the bank’s competitors are shrinking as persistently low lending rates cut into income. But Citigroup has other levers to press for its net interest margin, including the fact that its high liquidity allows it to buy back expensive debt. It also found that the cost of gaining deposits abroad grew cheaper.

Revenue rose 6 percent to $20.49 billion, while expenses came in at $12.40 billion, a bit higher than a year earlier, but down 10 percent from the 2012 fourth quarter, when Citigroup was saddled with new legal costs form related to consumer banking.

In December, the bank announced $900 million of planned annual expense savings from 11,000 layoffs and other cost-cutting moves. Much of those gains will likely be realized in the second half of the year, executives said on a call with investors, in part because cutting staff often requires giving a multi-month notice.

Annualized, first-quarter expenses amounted to $49.6 billion, compared with $50.5 billion of expenses for all of 2012. The increase compares with a 3 percent rise in total revenues, excluding certain accounting adjustments. That means the company enjoyed positive operating leverage.

“We still believe the results of all the repositioning actions will become evident as we go through the remaining three quarters of the year,” Gerspach said.


Revenue from Citigroup’s securities trading and investment banking business rose 31 percent to $6.98 billion in the first quarter. Excluding adjustments linked to changes in the value of the company’s debt and to changes in trading partners’ credit quality, revenue rose 8 percent to $7.29 billion.

The biggest change came from North America, where revenue jumped 48 percent to $3.07 billion, excluding the accounting adjustment. On a product basis, revenues in merger advisory rose 84 percent to $204 million, while equity underwriting revenue rose 45 percent to $225 million.

On underwriting, Citigroup participated in the $2.57 billion initial public stock offering of Zoetis Inc (ZTS.N), Pfizer Inc’s (PFE.N) animal health subsidiary.

One of the deals on which Citigroup served as an adviser was Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc’s $6.5 billion sale of apartment buildings owned by Archstone Enterprise LP to Equity Residential (EQR.N) and AvalonBay Communities Inc (AVB.N).


At Citi Holdings, the unit formed to house the company’s problem assets, the net loss narrowed to $794 million from $1.0 billion. Revenues rose 15 percent and the cost of credit dropped 44 percent, but expenses increased 23 percent.

The bank’s overall first-quarter profit contributed to an increase in Citigroup’s Basel III Tier 1 common equity ratio, an important regulatory measure of capital, to 9.3 percent at the end of March from 8.7 percent three months earlier, the company said.

Citigroup’s book value per share rose 1 percent to $62.51 and its tangible book value per share rose to 3 percent to $52.35.

Citigroup’s shares closed 9 cents up at $44.87 early Monday afternoon on the New York Stock Exchange, have reflected the sign of recovery at the bank. Their 16 percent increase this year compares with the KBW Bank index’s 9.6 percent .BKX rise and the Standard & Poor’s 500 11.4 percent. .SPX.

Last month, Citigroup received Federal Reserve approval to buy back $1.2 billion of its shares.

That was a reversal from last year, when the bank failed to win Fed approval to distribute more capital to shareholders, which proved an embarrassment to Pandit. The episode helped weaken his standing with the board of directors and he resigned last October.

Even with an increase in Citigroup’s net worth during the quarter, the market on Monday morning still valued the stock at only 0.88 times tangible book value per share, while shares of JPMorgan chase traded 1.24 times tangible book.

(Reporting by David Henry in New York and Tanya Agrawal in Bangalore; Editing by Supriya Kurane, John Wallace and Bernard Orr)

(VIA. Reuters)