Monday, 17 March 2014


Oh my goodness!  I found this article wonderful!

What do you think of it?

There’s the overall amazing story itself – and I can so identify.  Only tenuously and in the most fragile way can I hang on to participation in any human community; for me, writing has to be the link I rely on. 

But beyond that, some moments in the article stood out like beacons.

“. . .  she has adapted by forming as many relationships—as many weak ties—as she possibly can. And webs of weak ties are what allow ideas to spread . . .”

Webs of weak ties.  So many people who struggle seek that solution instinctively.  That’s what my father did, who was so ill-adjusted to life on this planet.  To my mother, one time among many many, berating him for who he was and how he went about things, he once said something to the effect of: “I have to live with me every day.  How do you think it feels to be me?”

Webs of weak ties were what he relied on; he backed away from every strong tie he ever had.

And then this question:
“What is your useful skill in a tangible situation?”





Heather said...

'Build Your Own Damn House'- don't you think that is the most useful advice ever? I wish we were all taught that in primary school! I have spent about 50 years learning this and I still slip up, but it's good to be reminded!

Pen Wilcock said...

Oh, yes! I come from a family in which self-employment has been the norm for generations, and that feels like a trustworthy route to me.

Anonymous said...

It's sad and it's tragic and like the Emporer's New Clothes someone will burst the collective bubble and everyone will realise they have been sucked into yet another overpriced and pointless fad.

Pen Wilcock said...

You read it all the way through, Debs? Yes, I guess there'll always be fads but what struck me was the lady's courage and the ways she'd found to make her life work.

Anonymous said...

I really loved this article - thank you for sharing it. I spent a lot of time thinking about it afterwards and reflecting a great deal

I love how she is setting up a way of coping which will lead to her helping others who are struggling coping too.

As for building ou own damn house - hmmm. So interesting. For me that is about making yourself a situation which is comfortabe for you. Interesting you mention self employment as that is where I am at the moment, however an excellent 'proper' job has coome up 3 days a week so I can carry on with my self employment, but with a bit of security .

I am tempted I have to say!

Thanks for sharing such thought provking stuff!

Pen Wilcock said...

That 3-days-a-week option could be a good stepping stone?

Anonymous said...

I didn't read the whole way through. I promise I'll go back and read the rest later today :-D I just got so cross at the first bit. It really does annoy me all the food fads that people buy into and spend too much money on when there are people going without food so that their kids can eat. :-/

Anonymous said...

Excellent article, me too, thrive on lots of weak ties

Paula said...

Pen, I found the article interesting on several levels. Just free-associating:

1. My father lived in San Francisco in the late 1940s. Before the tourist trade took over the cable cars. It was simply home for him. I grew up visiting his friends about once a year or so. I remember one day we visited, and my father told us afterwards that he was shouted at by the cable car operator when he just swung himself up onto the car. "Don't you see all those people waiting for a ride, Mac?! Get at the end of the line!"

2. I now live in Ohio. Moving away from California allowed me to see how the rest of the world views that state--and San Francisco. Giulietta's family is from Cleveland, and so I get that too.

3. I know/have known my share of mentally ill people. This woman is an amazing example of one who has managed to exist in the world despite a terrible illness. Nothing she is doing is in order to be a trendsetter.

4. Fads can start anywhere. And I have sometimes gotten ahead of the curve. When my hobbies of quilting and genealogy became lasting fads a few short years after I began, it wasn't as fun. No longer did other quilters or genealogists feel original to me. The trends were on.

I honor this woman. I wish her peace. And I tip my cinnamon toast in her direction.

(Final note: Has the British term "twee" become faddish in San Francisco? The author used it twice. I've never heard anyone say "twee" unless they were British themselves.)

Pen Wilcock said...

Hello, friends - yes, I think what she has put in place here will be an inspiration and real help to many.

Julie F said...

I thought the article was fantastic. I admire this young woman so much, as I know even the mildest kind of mental illness can be paralyzing. I have always thought toast was simple and sort of soothing. Seems apt that something simple and soothing would be something she would do, needing that herself, and offering it to others in this crazy world who don't know they need simple and soothing. :) Thank you for sharing, Ember. xoxo

Pen Wilcock said...

Yes - she has allowed herself to be a sign of encouragement, in a difficult world.

Jenna said...

I love the article, especially today after receiving my 92,523rd "Thank you for recent application....We wish you luck in your job search" letter just this morning. Thanks ever so much, Pen, for linking to it. I've been considering a similar pathway of late and this bolsters my courage.

Pen Wilcock said...

:0) God bless and prosper you. xx

Anonymous said...

In bed recovering from flu and catching up with your posts. What a great article, combonong bravery, unlikely friendship,food fadism, and schizoaffective disorder. Thanks for sharing it!I hope she gets to build the halfway house.

Pen Wilcock said...

Hope you're soon feeling all better! x

Anonymous said...

My useful skill is to be who I am. Because that is who and what He made me to be.The blessing in aging is that I have been able to achieve a much higher degree of congruity with that as I care less and less about what anyone else thinks I should be.
The toast article was linked before I think. It was wonderful, and thought provoking.

Pen Wilcock said...

:0) xx