You’re only going to be as good as the stuff you surround yourself with.

Austin Kleon, a self-described “writer who draws,” emphasizes the importance of your surroundings in regards to creativity:
There’s an economic theory out there that if you take the incomes of your five closest friends and average them, the resulting number will be pretty close to your own income.

I think the same thing is true of idea incomes. You’re only going to be as good as the stuff you surround yourself with.
Hat tip to WordPress Daily Post.

I love it that Kleon draws with words. His site is well worth a visit.

Parentally forbidden topics of conversation

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Agree to Disagree.”

Do you have a good friend or close relative with whom you disagree on a major issue (political, personal, cultural)? What’s the issue, and how do you make the relationship work?

‘A’ close friend or relative, singular? I have several. Whilst it is nice to be surrounded by lovely people who agree with one’s every whim or foible, – this can get a little cosy. I love my close friends dearly, and I wouldn’t change them for the world. In so many ways we share our views on the world, and certainly our values. Nonetheless, areas of potential conflict may be there.

Detail of roof tiles in the Forbidden City

Forbidden city colors” by Drolexandre – Own work. Licensed under CC BY 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

My father told me when I was very young “don’t discuss politics or religion with your friends”. I never have abided by everything my parents told me.I wonder if anyone truly does.
And so yes, my friends and I have some interesting debates around these parentally forbidden topics. We are still friends, I think at least in part because we know where to stop. It isn’t a contest, with the last person standing the winner. We may wish to explore, or even gently provoke, nay tease. But we know where to stop, and crucially where not to even step foot.
We need our friends to challenge us occasionally. For if they may not: who may?