The Mystery of Leadership: On Kingdomtide, The Secret Life of Bees, and Becoming a Curious Expert

kingdomtide and bees
Kingdomtide, by Rye Curtis & The Secret Life of Bees, by Sue Monk Kidd

If anyone can be a leader, are all leaders experts?

Crazy times, huh? When you don’t encounter as many people in day-to-day life as you used to, you tend to think a bit more. I’m generally more of a pensive person – happy to observe the intricacies and tendrils of life unfolding – but since about mid-March, this pensive side has gone into high gear. Well, in one sense. There is a lot more time to “think.” What’s missing from my “I’m happy to watch” perch is, well, there’s nothing to watch. I can watch my husband and two teenagers, but that could get a little creepy. I watch the dog; she likes it. I go out for daily runs, but there’s not a lot of action out there, folks. So something that I now find interesting to watch is Twitter. Not in a mindless, scroll-yourself-silly kind of way – I try really hard to curb mindless social media scrolling – but, again, in an observational sort of way. Our tangible interactions with others are curbed, so we’re looking for leadership and engagement in different places. Maybe we’re seeking “expertise” too. Well, Twitter’s the place for those who have it – and those who think they do.

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Just for Women! (?) On Olive, Again; Unless & “Domestic Fiction”

Copy of stone diaries body papers
Olive, Again by Elizabeth Strout and Unless, by Carol Shields

A couple of weeks ago, I was sitting in a Starbucks trying to get some work done when I overheard a man and woman talking about Little Women…presumably about the new film adaptation and its Oscar buzz. The woman was trying to explain “what” Little Women is – as in what it’s about – and was struggling a bit. “Well, it’s about four sisters…” To be fair, even if using the most straightforward way to describe the plot, it sounds a little homespun and maybe even boring: “Little Women follows four sisters as they grow up during the Civil War in the Transcendentalist hotbed Concord, Massachusetts.” And? So after the woman trailed off with the “four sisters” bit, the man replied, “But is it for men?”

No, sir, I’m sorry. Men not allowed. (Sheesh.) Continue reading “Just for Women! (?) On Olive, Again; Unless & “Domestic Fiction””

Tragic Yet Cozy: On Where the Crawdads Sing and Brené Brown

crawdads
Where the Crawdads Sing, by Delia Owens

While perusing the book aisles at Target, one back-cover blurb in particular caught my attention. In case it’s hard to read below: “Mackenzie Cooper took her eyes off the road for just a moment, but the resulting collision changed her life forever. Now she lives in Vermont under the name Maggie Reid, in a small house with her cats and dog, working as a makeup artist at the luxurious local spa.” Let’s forget the first sentence (without forgetting that texting and driving is a BIG NO NO); doesn’t the rest sound kind of…charming? Cozy? Maybe it sounds a little boring and/or slow, but I think we all have days where “real life” seems chaotic and stressful – and maybe enjoying a cup of piping hot tea while curled up in a blanket after returning from our probably-the-same-everyday job seems downright appealing. As I noted on Instagram, this blurb sounds tragic…but also like something out of a J. Crew catalog circa 1995.

barn-jacket
Anyone else regret getting rid of their J. Crew barn jacket? (You can get this one on Poshmark!)

We all know this is not real life, but a little nudge toward a comfy and snug life is the same reason some people, in theory, want to be painters or writers or perhaps potters like Demi Moore in Ghost. (Talk about a weird interplay between cozy and tragic.) So I’ve discovered and trademarked a new genre: Tragic Yet Cozy. And by the way, I did a proof read of a manuscript by this same author about 10 years ago, and the plot involved a group of middle-aged mom friends whose daughters all participated in a (ripped-from-the-headlines) pregnancy pact. The women found solace in knitting together in a converted barn in their quaint New England town. I’m just saying: TYC.

 

Tragic

 

 

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