Issue No. 16

Habit tracking freebies for your bujo, creating a personal framework, Etsy sellers telling customers not to shop on the site, why everyone should blog and getting out of goblin mode.

Other than writing, I have been trying to avoid too much screen time. This week, I turned to paper craft and made my favorite Transformer, Galvatron.

We are rapidly approaching the end of Holy Week for Christians. Happy Easter to everyone celebrating! To my Tamil friends, Puthaandu Nalvalthukkal!

For those who are into bullet journaling, the Creative Block Party has a bunch of freebies for the price of an email address. I like some of the ideas they have for habit trackers.

I have struggled to find a habit tracker interesting enough for me to stick to it and I’m hoping that I can use some of these to complete my circles. Most of my habits will revolve around reading, writing and prayer.

Anna Havron urges you to create a personal “Yes and No” list to have a framework with which to guide your life. Such a list helps you document what you are committed to doing and what you are committed to not doing. Here’s a good example from Anna’s own list that I’m trying to put into practice:

Respond, don’t react. Whenever possible, I iterate on my reaction to something important for 12-24 hours before talking about it. Applies to work emails too.

I’m currently in the middle of watching Ken Burns’ documentary on Ben Franklin. This reminds me of Franklin using his 13 virtues to guide his daily life and decision making. He had 12 virtues, but was bragging about how good he had gotten at implementing them that his friend suggested adding a 13th: humility. Franklin thought the best way to introduce a touch more humility was to imitate Jesus and Socrates.

I was going to order a bamboo back scratcher to get at those hard-to-reach itches this week, but Etsy sellers are asking their customers not to buy from the site between April 11 and April 18. Mia Sato profiles the sellers from the online marketplace Etsy who are going on strike to protest changes to the platform. She interviews a seller who is participating in the strike and for whom Etsy is not what it once was.

But for the last few years, changes at Etsy that she feels hurt sellers were piling up — rising fees, mandatory marketing programs, and an influx of drop shippers — and the marketplace no longer felt like somewhere where artisan products and hand-picked vintage items were prioritized.

I have also noticed a change in Etsy over the years. It sometimes feels more like eBay than the online crafts fair it used to be. I can't speak to the fees and other things that sellers are protesting, but I've definitely seen the impact of the drop shippers. It sometimes seems like you may be just as likely to come across a mass-produced item as you are something bespoke and handmade.

Etsy Sellers Will Go On Strike In April And Want Customers To Boycott | The Verge

Greg Morris realizes he doesn't need a blog, but ponders how much it benefits him, anyway.

The benefits of it run far deeper than the sum of its parts. No person should judge their blog based on the number of views the posts get because it always serves a different purpose. It allows you to publish whatever it is you want to publish, get it out of your brain and own it from start to end. I don’t need a blog, but everyone should have one.

I totally agree with Morris that everyone should have a blog. I’m trying to get a friend who is currently sending out thoughts about the situation in Ukraine, globalization, etc. to an email distribution list. His emails are insightful and informative, and I’d love to be able to point people to a blog post that lays out what he is sending through email.

I Don’t Need A Blog | Greg Morris

There has been recent talk of people going into "goblin mode," a pandemic-associated mode of isolation and hunkering down. Sam George from the University of Hertfordshire argues that this is a mischaracterization of the goblin.

Most goblins depicted in literature and folklore are active, playing pranks and generally causing trouble for the humans around them. They do not sit passively at home, surrounded by creature comforts, lazing the day away.

Instead, George says we should look to the vampire for a more direct comparison. Vampires have gone from being thought of as hideous, odious creatures to being sex symbols (think the Twilight series). We too can come out from our dark cocoons and into the light.

But over the last 200 years, Vampires in popular culture have evolved from plague-ridden creatures like Nosferatu to sparkling, aspirational sex symbols. Instead of holing up and resigning to a fate forever in goblin mode, we should follow the example set by vampires and aim to emerge from the pandemic as better versions of ourselves.

George has fun with the mythology behind these menacing creatures being brought into contemporary times as points of reference for our behaviors.

From the blog

The Slide from Epistemic Bubble to Echo Chamber
We are trees rooted alongside each other, and tearing up the roots of one tree threatens to encroach on the rootedness of another.