Slow Learner’s Bill of Rights

A work in progress
version 27.1.12

You have the right
1. To learn about yourself
2. To learn as slow and as fast as you choose (choose/need/want)
3. To rearrange your room (house, garage, life) to make room for your learning
4. To claim space, time, and money for your own learning
5. To learn from people who fascinate you
6. To learn beyond school (at school, outside of school, from school, in spite of school)
7. To ask for and to receive help
8. To learn in quiet with serious intent and without interruption
9. To learn in noise and mess with playful possibility
10. To make a mess and not have to clean up right away
11. To learn what is valuable and to value your own learning
12. To choose your own team of support: teachers, coaches, mentors, advisors
13. To work with people who find you and your visions fascinating
14. To work with people who are fascinated by your brilliant visions and will hold you accountable to live and learn into your greatness
15. To be witnessed
16. To focus
17. To make a difference
18. To make media (make movies, write books, create video games, make art…)
19. To invent new media
20. To study with those you admire
21. To experiment
22. To test limits
23. To contribute to the learning of others
24. To change the world
25. To create your own curriculum and to stick with it
26. To change your mind when it doesn’t work and start again
27. To study in community both near and distant, familiar and exotic
28. To savor the erotic nature of learning
29. To learn from mistakes (to make mistakes in the first place)
30. To join the community of practice of your choice
31. To join the professional network of your choice as a contributor
32. To make learning a priority
33. To pay your dues (do what it takes)
34. To incubate and hibernate
35. To be in action and produce measurable/ concrete results
36. To learn how to discern between the time for #34 and #35
37. To work with people who have some distance and perspective and can help you with #36
38. To dabble (experiment, explore, dream, try it on, try it out)
39. To dive in deep
40. To cross disciplines, modalities, genres, to cross-pollinate
41. To learn what no one can teach
42. To learn so that you might teach others to learn
43. To learn new ways of learning that work for you
44. To practice—to put into practice
45. To pass the torch
46. To be nourished (physically, spiritually, intellectually, socially…)
47. To nourish others
48. To honor yourself as a whole person (you are greater than your goals or anything you do)
49. To honor the yourself as a part of something larger than the parts of your communities (we are greater than the sum of our parts)
50. To set priorities
51. To take care of your needs as a learner
52. To receive feedback both critical and supportive

Henry Miller’s Eleven Commandments

1. Work on one thing at a time until finished.
2. Start no more new books, add no more new material to “Black Spring.”
3. Don’t be nervous. Work calmly, joyously, recklessly on whatever is in hand.
4. Work according to Program and not according to mood. Stop at the appointed time!
5. When you can’t create you can work.
6. Cement a little every day, rather than add new fertilizers.
7. Keep human! See people, go places, drink if you feel like it.
8. Don’t be a draught-horse! Work with pleasure only.
9. Discard the Program when you feel like it — but go back to it next day. Concentrate. Narrow down. Exclude.
10. Forget the books you want to write. Think only of the book you are writing.
11. Write first and always. Painting, music, friends, cinema, all these come afterwards.

— Henry Miller, notebook, 1932-1933 (quoted in The Art & Craft of Novel Writing by Oakley Hall)

new year’s resolution: change socks, wash teeth, love everybody


woody guthrie, circa 1942 (Thanks Maria Popova at Brain Pickings)



Mine, 2012

Note of explanation. The tally marks indicate baby steps toward some goal. My motto: “little and often.”  I draw inspiration from the personal productivity advice from Michael Nobbs: “working on small creative acts on a regular basis can build over time into a substantial body of work.”