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🐢 Letter 54 from a learn-it-all

7 min

Sea turtles, March review, creativity gap, WoP cohort 6 comes to a close

Hello fellow learn-it-all,

Greetings from Chicago 👋

Happy Easter holiday and it feels good to be back home.

I finally spotted sea turtle tracks! I was walking every morning with a  certified turtle-pro Roger who knows an encyclopedia's worth on sea turtles from being on the lookout every spring and summer these past 25 years.

The tracks we spotted were from a leatherback and looked like a mini tractor drove up the shore. They are the largest of all living turtles and are the fourth-heaviest modern reptile behind three crocodilians today. On this beach in Florida, Roger said about 100 turtles nest each season that he sees, and leatherbacks are the rarity.

Since I left yesterday, I won't be around in the 6-8 weeks that this nest will take to hatch. I'm having FOMO, so I went and looked up a picture of some baby leatherbacks. They've got ways to grow. Out of a clutch (nest) of 110 eggs, about .1% survive with all the predators: birds, crabs, raccoons, coyotes, foxes. Once they make made it to the water other fish, and birds can still eat them. What rough odds.

If you are new here or missed last week's edition, you can catch up on the past letters here. If you are reading this for the first time, I’d love you to sign up below to join the other learn-it-alls:

Now, what's in store for this issue?

  1. A reflection on my month of March
  2. A bittersweet closing to Write of Passage
  3. Ponderings on fear
  4. A word that encapsulates my month away from the winter in the Midwest
  5. A quote that I frequently read when I feel creatively stuck
  6. A question to get you thinking about Spring.
  7. A selfie with a new writing friend and my family while strolling Highland Beach
  8. A shoutout to an upcoming workshop to learn how to make Twitter friends

Now, let’s dive into letter 54 from a learn-it-all. Enjoy!

🤔 Reflecting

Over the weekend, I did a review of the past month that flew by. It was extremely helpful to stop and pause. It's super simple and I highly recommend giving it a shot to recognize patterns in the actions that you take.

To follow the format of every 4th letter (like letters 49, 45, 41, 37, 32, 28, 23, and 19). Some highlights include:

What I loved

What I lacked

What I learned:

My habit for April will be to do some sort of stretching every day for 10 minutes, either in the morning, afternoon, or evening.

I still need to complete my quarterly review. I need to go back to my annual review and recalibrate my intentions and see how I can create quests of goals. I was hesitant to set goals for myself but I’ve found that it’s hard to see growth now when I only have qualitative metrics. If you have any ideas of how to solve this, please let me know. I appreciate it in advance!

👩🏻‍🏫 WOP writing group

Yet another cohort of Write of Passage flew by. That's a wrap on the 4th time. I've taken this course. That sounds kind of crazy… I love everything about it. The friends, the curriculum, the writing, the discussions, and the whole entire experience that transforms me into the person I want to grow into more like.

My session did a recap in my last writing session by reviewing our personal contracts, letters to our resistance, research mindset, and systemization. In the last exercise, I had everyone zoom out and write a letter to their future self at where they will be a year from now as writers. To visualize their success and create space for it to manifest.

Lastly, we had some time for reflection and celebration before our final farewell (for now).

💭 Pondering

The homily from the priest I heard with my family over the weekend for Easter mass spoke about the fears we have as humans. We’re afraid of loud noises. The unconditional love of God (or whichever aligns with your beliefs). Lastly, we’re afraid of falling to have unstable footing.

Redefined, falling could mean failure. We are afraid of failure. I know I got scolded for failing exams growing up. For ruining my uniform with bloody knees when I’d flop off the monkey bars at recess. If instead of fearing to fall, we see it a something to seek out to “fail forward” maybe it can be less crucial. If it happens more often, then it’s less futile. Easier said than done.

🔎 Word to define

Reprieve: a break-in or cancellation of a painful or otherwise lousy situation. If you're being tortured, a reprieve is a break from whatever's tormenting you.

An interruption in the intensity or amount of something. To relieve for a time, or temporarily. For some, a night at the opera is a night of punishing boredom during which the only reprieve is the intermission.

Etymology: late 15th century: from Anglo-Norman French repris, past participle of reprendre, from Latin re- ‘back’ + prehendere ‘seize’. The insertion of -v- (16th century) remains unexplained. Sense development has undergone a reversal, from the early meaning ‘send back to prison’, via ‘postpone a legal process’, to the current sense ‘rescue from impending punishment’.

In the 1570’s to "take back to prison,". Recorded in the 1590s "to suspend an impending execution"; this sense evolved because being sent back to prison was the alternative to being executed. Spelling with -ie- is from the 1640s, perhaps by the analogy of achieve.

Example: My month in Florida felt like a refortification of my inner child and a reprieve of Vitamin D from the snowy dreariness in Chicago.

🌟 Quote to inspire

“Nobody tells this to people who are beginners, I wish someone told me. All of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But there is this gap. For the first couple years you make stuff, it’s just not that good. It’s trying to be good, it has potential, but it’s not. But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is why your work disappoints you. A lot of people never get past this phase, they quit.

Most people I know who do interesting, creative work went through years of this. We know our work doesn’t have this special thing that we want it to have. We all go through this. And if you are just starting out or you are still in this phase, you gotta know its normal and the most important thing you can do is do a lot of work. Put yourself on a deadline so that every week you will finish one story. It is only by going through a volume of work that you will close that gap, and your work will be as good as your ambitions. And I took longer to figure out how to do this than anyone I’ve ever met. It’s gonna take awhile. It’s normal to take awhile. You’ve just gotta fight your way through.”
― Ira Glass

❓ Question to think about

With this new season of the year, what project am I most excited about pursuing?

📷 Photos of the Week

Featured above is Jeff Landau, a fellow Write of Passage student.

Serendipity struck in the last breakout of the writing course where I got paired with Jeff. We quickly realized we were three miles down the beach from each other.

He decided last summer to start building a campervan and that he'd drive it around the country. It's quite the project and I've never seen something so cool. His parents are from South Africa, so naturally, Jeff named his new home Naartje (tangerine in Afrikaans).

So often it can be tempting to quit a project like this but his perseverance inspiring! You can follow his journey here.

Secondly, it was Easter weekend with the Vermets down in Florida with a long walk along the beach. Last year (in my 4th letter) we took in some abandoned bunnies and watched mass on TV. This year, things are looking upward and onward.

🙏 Shoutouts

I appreciate you reading this! If certain ideas resonated or you have feedback to improve my future newsletters, I’d love you to leave a comment, reply to this email, or send me a message on Twitter @JenVermet.

Never stop learning 🌟

Until next week,


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