Commentary: On

When I started adding quotes to this blog I put a lot of thought into how they were presented. In particular, I decided not to unpack my thoughts about the quote. And more recently I’ve pointed that out, saying that I wanted you to have the chance to stumble over the quote without my muddying your first impresions.

In hindsight, that doesn’t make any sense. Sometimes the quotes appear right adjacent to something else I’ve written, or next to other quotes… and at the very least you’re finding it in the context of my blog (or email.) Worse, I often find I have something I’d like to say about the quote, and I’ve simply let that stuff pass unwritten.

So there are about 700 quotes published here already. I’m going to republish them adding…

gotcha! No, I’m not. I just wanted to point out that you’re going to start seeing quotes paired with my reflections… and boy howdy that kinda looks like the rest of the stuff I do here already, like quote something someone wrote . . . so yeah Craig, what really is/was the difference.

Meanwhile, we’re going back to 7 “posts” within each weekly email. If you’ve been here a while (and if not– Hey, welcome new friend!) you know I’ve been trying to work through the “frontlog” of scheduled quotes. I’ve gotten ahead… or should I say, less ahead? …or closer to being behind?? Anyway, the scheduled queue is down to about 90 days into the future. So back to a post a day. (Because, after all, you can also just subscribe to the RSS feed— all Mailchimp does is check that feed, once a week, and email it to you. ;)

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2022’s touch-phrase shall be…

PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT: I hope these emails aren’t piling up in your inbox. I know of at least one reader who really enjoys them. They enjoy them so much, they keep saving them for a better time to read them, and they now have a pile. That’s not what I meant to do to you; I’m so sorry!

Back on 3/3/2021, I changed this blog from going out as a daily email, to be a weekly email. One of the reasons was that I didn’t want my email piling up in your inbox. I don’t mean “waaaaaaaaa, you’re not reading!” I mean that I don’t want to be making your life worse. It doesn’t actually affect me whether you read in a timely fashion, read later, or not at all. But puh-LEASE think about this:

If you enjoy these emails so much, don’t you deserve to have a specific time that you can look forward to? Your favorite reading nook, a cup of tea (or rum or whatever)… you know: Make a little ritual out of it. If that ritual turns out to make your life better, then you can always remove my silly missives and slot in something actually worth reading. I digress.

Choose wisely.

Those of you who are regular readers will be aware that I’ve been thinkering on the touch-phrase for 2022. Coming out of the fourth turn, it looked briefly as if, Urgency?! might pull ahead in the final stretch to win by a, “U”. But it wasn’t to be; Choose Wisely was hard at it the whole way down the back stretch and simply had too demanding a lead for Urgency?! to overcome. And why did this turn into a horse race metaphor? They do sound like the name of race horses though. Choose Wisely takes up the mantel from a long lineage of winners: “No.” “Simplify” “Hell Yes! or no.” and “Festina Lente” (which is not an assessment of pasta’s done-ness) to name a few.

Hopefully—lest my life have no meaning—I’ve made you laugh, or think twice, in the past year. Seriously though, please consider hitting one of those supporter links at the tippy top. Every dollar really does matter and move me towards making a living doing things I enjoy.

In other news, I’ve hit the “Drop cap” button on that paragraph back there a ways. Why? No reason. Just always wanted to use it, just to see what it looks like in the emails.

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Water pump

Have you ever worked a hand-operated water pump? I mean the outdoor, permanently installed ones for pulling up drinking water. There’s a lot of varability to them, but generally there’s a bit of pumping before there’s any fruit to the labor. In my mind, there’s also a particular sound that goes with the initial machinations.

Sometimes, when I want to create a blog post from nothing, I hear that sound. You start on that pump. Then you’d hear the sound change, you’d feel the water make the action of the pump more leaden as the amount of effort changed.

But still, no water yet. You’d lean into it a bit more. Some sounds of water now. A gurgling rising in pitch which you instinctively know means the space for air is dwindling rapidly. And at a hard to predict moment . . .

You get a blog post about water pumps when you were expecting drinking water.

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Random please

I’m a process process process person. The second time I have to do something, I’m trying to figure out how to either never have to do that again, or how to automate it. (And failing those two, it goes into my admin day.) But being process oriented also means I like to build tools to enable doing things that weren’t previously possible.

Recently, I installed a little bit of code on my site that will bounce one to a random post. This means I can now have a link, which takes me to a random quote. I collect all the quotes because I want to read them. A big portion of the enjoyment comes from their discovery. So any time I can mange to re-discover a quote, by stumbling over it some how, that’s a bonus. So now, each morning, I bounce myself to a re-discovery…

https://constantine.name/?redirect_to=random&tag=quotes

Which is great to bookmark— Except, if you click that, you land on a quote; and making a bookmark is then of that specific quote. Instead you have to manually create a new bookmark—so that’s your homework for today, go figure out how to do that in your fave web browser. In that new bookmark, you can copy-and-paste that URL as the address for the bookmark. Then, any time you go to that bookmark, my web site will bounce you to a random quote.

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Some changes to this week’s email

The heading, at the very top, used to be a footer at the very bottom. Nowhere do I use pop-ups nor attention grabbing baubles, because I respect your time and attention. But I’d very much like to make my living from the various online things I do, and for that to happen I need to ask somewhere. So there it is. I also realized it is not clear what my intention is for these weekly emails. To make my intention clear I added a breadcrumb to get you started. Finally, I added “~ Original” links below each of the sections in case you want to share a specific chunk. Or—if I may be so bold—if you want to attribute something I’ve written, you now have a handy URL to use.

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Lunacy?

But there’s a message all of our readers should appreciate: Blog posts are not enough to generate the deep fluency you need to truly understand or get better at something. We offer a starting point, not an end point.

~ Farnam Street from, https://fs.blog/2017/02/on-shallowness/

First off, I totally read that as, “to generate the deep lunacy …” which is probably closer to the truth than I’d like to admit for my own blog if one tries to just read it. Second, this is so meta. I’m writing a blog post about a blog post that is referring to the other posts on that same blog.

I’ve said this sort of thing before, but it bears repeating: On this blog, I’m showing my process of reflection. I would get the exact same benefit if I did all this writing, and pressed delete instead of publish. (With the notable exception that I do also use my blog as an archive to re-find things.) But I make no claim that simply reading this blog will do anything for you. “Look! Here are my footprints, stumbles, side tracks and snow angels in the woods.” Maybe you can see some art, or some fun, or whatever. But the whole point of having it out there for you to read is to encourage you to do your own reflection.

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Little Box of Quotes

All the quotes

Craig Constantine

You can jump to a random quote. That link targets a new window in case you want to bang on it a few times. ;)

All the quotes are here on my web site, tagged Quotes. If you want to page through them. (But following the tags on a particular quote might be more interesting?)

Finally, there is a small collection of posts about the quotes and how I collect them, tagged Little Box of Quotes.

Weekly email

If you simply love quotes, my ever-growing collection figures prominently in my weekly email. It comes out on Sundays and contains my reflections on interesting things I find laying about mixed with a selection of quotes worth pondering. There are no hooks, no affiliate links, and no guest posts— Here’s what to expect. Like? Sign up:

Podcast

The quotes are also published as bite-sized podcasts. Search for Little Box of Quotes wherever you normally listen. You can also play them in your web browser directly from Simplecast.

Patterns where there are none

Last week, one of your fellow readers hit reply—replies come directly to my personal email box—and shared some thoughts about connections and interesting juxtapositions in the week’s email. After I pointed out that the patterns they commented on, were simply a byproduct of how I write and how the email is assembled automatically, they rightly observed, “Lol, humans finding patterns where they don’t exist. A timeless classic.” I completely agree, and our power of pattern-finding is an awesome tool.

I was reading, and found a new-to-me Einstein quote. (You’ll find it soon, some time in February.) When I capture a quote from someone already in my collection, I have to check; There are ~800 quotes these days and sometimes I “find” one I’ve forgotten. (Surprisingly though, I can usually tell on sight if it’s in the collection already.) This led me to a search for “einstein” here on the blog. (There’s also a tag for Albert Einstein, but the search nets more posts including those I failed to tag.) I found a quote already on the blog—but not the new one that prompted it all—that was so old, it wasn’t in my collection. I fixed that, leading to a very old blog post, with a very high slipbox address, 4a784: Part of a Whole. And also 4a789: Do You Have a Question? Those were posted in 2013.

They’re about curiosity and broadening our sphere of compassion. Which sounds a lot like my just-barely-one-year-old vision and mission.

My vision is a world where everyone can flourish. My mission is creating better conversations that spread understanding and compasion.

So, as a human here finding connections, that’s a breadcrumb from 8 years ago hinting at the path I took to today. Awesome.

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House keeping

A shout-out to Alice who joins us this week. Welcome! :)

The front of my blog includes a random selection of testimonial quotes from readers of this email. It would be helpful if you’d hit reply and write something I could add to those testimonials.

Also, I’ve made a small addition to also show the tags for each of these items. After 10 years and 3,000+ posts, all my tagging along the way has proved well worth the time. If you’re curious, I have two pages for tags; One is an insane “all the tags” page, (there are 1,326 unique tags on my blog,) and the other is a more useful page of “tags with 10+ posts.The latter runs to about 100 tags and is an insightful glimpse into the sorts of things which interest me.

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Escalation, Part 2

Three weeks ago—zoinks, time flies!—I wrote in Escalation that I didn’t want to turn this into a quote-a-day blog. That would also make my weekly email have 7 quotes, plus all the additional daily blog posts.

I’ve got to be honest: I was wrong. I really do want to publish all the quotes, and write all these blog posts. So, “All ahead flank-speed!” This week’s email will be even larger. …and onward thusly we shall proceed.

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