What It Takes

Art and Polarity

By Shawn Coyne | 42 Comments

From the archives, via June 20, 2012. The other day I overhead this conversation: Man #1: “I ran into Frank Smith (not his real name) at the beach yesterday…” Man #2: “Isn’t that the guy who cheated on his wife, got a DWI, and said all of those nasty things about Jill’s daughter in law?” Man #1: “…Well…yes…but I try not to judge.” I run into this “I don’t judge” stuff a lot and it infuriates me on many levels. But as this is a blog about what it takes to create art, I’ll just address why this “moral position”…

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Brian Wilson, Warren Buffett, Albert Einstein, and Ruth Stone

By Callie Oettinger | 22 Comments

From the archives, via May 5, 2017. In the documentary Beach Boys: The Making of Pet Sounds, Al Jardine said Brian Wilson “sees things I don’t think the rest of us see and hears things, certainly, that we don’t hear. He has a special receiver going on in there, in his brain.” What is that special, indefinable “it” about Brian Wilson? Is it really related to seeing, hearing, and receiving? And, if it is, what’s different about how he sees, hears, and receives? What of the rest of us? Why aren’t we all walking around composing “God Only Knows” or any…

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A Correction: Nothing Always Works With Everyone

By Callie Oettinger | 8 Comments

Last Friday I wrote that the list of things below always work. Hard work has always worked. Being honest has always worked. Doing the right thing has always worked. Keeping promises has always worked. Being transparent has always worked. Creating something of value has always worked. Starting small has always worked. Communicating in more than 140 characters has always worked. Picking up the phone or meeting in person, instead of only texting or emailing has always worked.

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The Road Not Taken

By Callie Oettinger | 21 Comments

I can see Robert Frost’s yellow wood. In my mind, it’s always Fall and always the golden hour before sunset. A thick layer of leaves blankets the ground and yet every tree is full, as if not a leaf has fallen. This image has been bubbling up uninvited these past few months. One minute I’m working and the next I’m leaning back in my chair as my mind wanders through a mashup of Van Gogh yellow and Klimt gold and a wee bit of Hudson River Valley, all bathed in amber.

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Do You Believe?

By Callie Oettinger | 15 Comments

For the 14th year in a row, my kids and I drove to Pentagon City Mall for a picture with Santa. Now 15 and 11, they know the fat guy in the red suit is an echo of their childhood. Still there, and still nice, and still happiness-and-laughter inducing, but not the same as before the veil was lifted. How could it be the same? Once you know, there’s no going back.

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First Things First

By Callie Oettinger | 4 Comments

A jab is a quick, sharp punch. It’s the setup for other punches—that seemingly small thing that serves you well in the ring. “It is their most important weapon. Fighters throughout time have spilled blood and sweat attempting to perfect it—to make it fast, to make it sharp, Every punch, heavier than the last.

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Print on Demand Wins

By Callie Oettinger | 13 Comments

Steve announced the release of Black Irish Books’ first subscription-based product earlier this week. Fitting in with Black Irish’s boxing glove logo, the subscription features “JABs” from Steve—mini-books that pack a punch—starting with two books from Steve this month, and then one a month starting in February.

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Sometimes You Win, Sometimes You Lose and Sometimes it Rains

By Callie Oettinger | 21 Comments

From the Archives, via May 10, 2013. The story of David and Goliath is one of history’s greatest reruns—played out on repeat in books and boardrooms and battlefields. Big Guy goes after Little Guy. Little Guy finds inner strength. Little Guy taps into inner strength. Little Guy fights Big Guy. Big Guy falters. Little Guy knocks Big Guy’s lights out. The David and Goliath story is the story of the “win.” Think Luke against Darth Vader, Daniel Larusso against the entire Cobra Kai dojo, and pretty much any Disney classic (insert any princess or talking animal against any evil witch…

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On Gratitude

By Callie Oettinger | 22 Comments

I spent the last month writing hundreds of thank you notes. My son asked why I didn’t have them printed, since the message is the same in each card. It’s the time and the action and the intention.

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Focus on the Person, Not the Product

By Callie Oettinger | 30 Comments

From the Archives, via Sept. 23, 2014. Flannery O’Connor hooked my interest through a school-assigned reading of A Good Man is Hard to Find and her personal story kept me reading more. I was certain that a bit of that geranium she wrote about—“with its roots in the air”—was her, a transplant to New York City, from Georgia, where the geraniums weren’t put on apartment windowsills for sun, but thrived just fine on their own at home. While her body was long gone when I arrived on the scene, her stories and articles about her have kept me re-reading her…

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