Anyone can benefit from these gentle reminders

Photo by Kari Shea on Unsplash

I love my therapist. She’s bold without being obnoxious, kind without being sickly sweet. I respect her, and I try to emulate her. During our sessions, sometimes she will say a phrase that stays with me.

In my list of five phrases, she says number three a lot: Nice breath. I think about my therapist during difficult moments, and I wonder, how would she handle this situation?

If I take in a deep breath, I often hear my therapist’s voice in my head say, “Nice breath.”

Other voices in my head are less compassionate: echoes from people telling me to…


That’s what I keep thinking about lately.


You have to write a lot of really bad prose before you get to anything decent. And along the way, no one will care about a single thing you write…


Perhaps some writers read about Lionel Shriver’s success with We Need to Talk About Kevin, and they think, “Well, that could be me.” And who can argue with that?

But there’s another way to think about it. The way Lionel Shriver sees it, she wrote her previous novels, the ones before Kevin, with the same skill and talent. It’s just that, at the time when she published a novel about a boy who kills his classmates, the subject was hot.

So, it’s not a matter of doing the work, or even completing the work. Success, as a writer, usually falls…


It’s actually quite interesting.


  • How do I devote my waking hours to convincing other people I’m worthy of my share in the global economy?
  • How do I make promises about a future no one can really predict?
  • How do I protect my soul from its rapid decline while pursuing activities that feed other machines?
  • How do I think clearly about what money actually is?
  • How do I “make” money, really?
  • How do I participate in a system designed like a pyramid, if I don’t want to be on top or on bottom or in the middle of one?
  • How do I stay sane while…

It’s nice to be flat, plain, level, smooth. To not be exciting. To be boring. To act in a way that doesn’t disturb anyone or make anyone react strongly. It’s nice to just calmly move through the day, noticing things, but not trying to turn the observations into something relatable or meaningful or important in a larger context. To just notice and be boring. It’s not boring to be boring. It’s only boring when someone else notices how boring you’re being. It’s actually quite enjoyable to just hang out in a dry space. Dry eyes. Dry humor. No thirsty people…


  • birds. to be able to identify them by their songs.
  • medicine. what it actually does to the body.
  • streets. how the concrete crew makes decisions.
  • search engine optimization. the best…

ottilie max

dreamer, poet, philosopher, writer

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