Elan Morgan is a writer and web designer who works from Elan.Works, a designer and editor at GenderAvenger, and a speaker who has spoken across North America. They believe in and work to grow both personal and professional quality, genuine community, and meaningful content online.

Schmutzie.com's Best of 2013

Here are some of the best entries on Schmutzie.com over the course of 2013. Enjoy!

At coffee with @palinode

January:

Keep Your Eyes On Your Own Work
Constantly altering measurement of the joy in my own pursuit with perceptions of how others are doing it better or less well than me means that I also alter my perception of my own work based on either how I am failing measured against someone whose work is not what I do or against how others are failing based on what I think they should be doing.

How about we all do something that makes more sense? Like make stuff we believe in? Yes.

feets of focus

February:

We Are More Than the Stories of Our Fears
When I am living inside my fear, it is so easy to forget that all these other stories are also going to unfold. It is so easy to forget that all these other stories will become possible both inside of and after the ones that are already happening now. It feels like a revelation every time I remember this:
Bits of yourself speak to you from your past about what happened then, and the you of now speaks to those stories about how they sit in the context of all that has happened since, and you become a powder keg of stories informing stories.

arty photo of my serious face 3

March:

How to Forgive Yourself When You've Hurt Someone You Love and Lost Them
I want you to know that you can and will heal. You are faulty and wounded, and you might have wounded others, but we are all faulty and wounded. You are not alone, and although it is terrible and hard to confront the harsher and more objective reality of yourself, it is also a gift and an invitation. All endings are the first stages of beginnings, and, even though that might sound like the most trite bullshit you've ever read, it is not the most trite bullshit you've ever read. It's actually true.

groceries

April:

The World Has Stories to Tell Us About Ourselves If We Listen For Them
This idea, this extended welcome, is behind how I write, design, consult, and speak, but I was unable to find the right words for it until I watched a four-year-old showing his extended family how all the parts of his favourite space worked and why he liked them.

It reminded me to watch the world more closely and the stories it has to tell. Our personal narratives — the very stuff that describes our goals, beliefs, and understanding of who we are — are informed and illuminated by these stories, and they can speak profoundly to us in the smallest, incidental moments.

egg

May:

A Beautiful Thing Will Grow Out of This Very Hard Thing
This course I take repeatedly through anxiety, depression, and the hard work of sobriety is difficult and terrible at times, but the most beautiful parts of my whole life grow out of the soil it helps me to turn over.

Fear is gripping, but love and belief birth hope, growing capital-c Courage larger than the self.

Faulkner's story notes on his office walls

June:

How's Your Blog Doing?
You don't have to be the picture of your success right now to be in a great position to foster its possibility.

Your own, actual, present success is your best guide to tell you how you are doing, and the best part? Success is not a stagnant pond. It begets itself, even in its smallest pieces, and sometimes all it takes is for you to recognize your success where you have already created it.

bus trip

July:

Keep Working At Being Less of a Jerk
You? You're a baker. It's true.

Before we get into the baking portion of this entry, though, I must be clear that you do not have to be a baker to successfully make these scones. I am not a capital-B Baker, myself. In fact, it has been approximately 5–10 years since I last baked, so, if you think this baking thing isn't for you, you're wrong.

It is really very hard to mess these up.

me

August:

5 Things I've Learned During 3 Years of Sobriety
I'm not saying it all gets better once you sober up, but some things get a lot better. You're still a jerk sometimes, fear still exists, and big emotions are hard to deal with, but sober consciousness, bright and occasionally fiery awakeness, declares its own possibilities.

Mindful sobriety lays out a clear and practical hope that gets good stuff done, plain and simple.

The Instructions

September:

The Mortar Between the Bricks
Life is circular and multi-spiralled, the mortar between the bricks, the stories that build the helix we call Meaning. The stories themselves are not linear, and no absolute truth can lie on a plane, but we use this blunt arithmetic of language and grammar to create an alchemical shift which allows us at least a peek, some kind of sensible entrance, to the love and the meaning held by this fathomless universe.

Aidan along the riverbank in Saskatoon

October:

How to Stalk Someone's Vision On a Photowalk
Watch where the other person points their lens and for how long. Stand where they stood and look through your lens there when they move on. Imagine what they chose to focus on and how they framed what they saw through their lens.

The world is a different place for them than it is for you, and that's magical. You can be doorways for each other into places you would otherwise never see.

me painting our new condo

November:

From Naked to Self-Employed: 10 Things That Changed My Life
With no real reason to believe that I could successfully leave my job as an administrative executive to freelance full time, I decided to use what I had learned after years of blog and design side projects to do just that. I had already mastered failure, so what was the worst that could happen? I have since learned that it is actually possible to find and craft work you love and that the work you love might sometimes turn out to involve things you never expected, like public speaking. Who knew?



December:

14 GIFs About How I Am Over Stuff and Will Learn to Be Slow With More Words
I just want to move more slowly, write more words, and save my heart for things other than dissecting a story about a guy who lied about being a jerk on a plane or how some website created linkbait I don't like, because my heart has better things to do than fool with foolishness.

I want my heart to remember what meaningful intention and quieter movement look and feel and sound like so it can make things that are meaningful for longer than a weekend news cycle.

Have a favourite blog entry you've written in 2013? Share it in the comments!

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