SIGAVDI #36: Beef wellington edition

Hello friends,

It feels very right to be sitting down and writing this on a Monday. Normally what I’d be doing right now is dithering over the dozens of things I “need” to do in the coming week. Instead, I am going to write to you and together we’re gonna figure this week out.

My friend Jessica kept talking about “pull” this past week, and this has felt synchronous with my own thoughts about the importance of writing in accomplishing things. For instance: README-driven development. You start with the README you WANT to have, then add/change code until the README is true. In a discussion of “pull” on the Greater Than Code slack, someone mentioned that Amazon even writes up the press release for new products before creating the product.

I like writing as a driver for action because when it’s hard to write, that reveals a lot. I wrote the other day:

Forget living. Write.
Write what you’re doing.
Write what you aren’t doing.
Write what other people are doing that makes you envious.
Look for the holes in the story.
Look for the stories you can’t tell because you haven’t lived them.
Write to make your aches real.
Let the aches crawl up your fingers and onto your shoulders.
Write until you can’t deny what’s missing.
Write and let the words pull you into life.
Write your shadow into existence.
Write until all that’s left is the blank page and then lace up your boots and step onto it.

Someday I’m going to sit down to write one of these SIGAVDI emails and I’m not going to know what to say, and that’s going to be a big fat clue that I need to mix up my life again.

I talked a bit about dancing and about graceful systems in my last keynote, and I can’t stop rolling this phrase around in my head. Fixed problems are satisfying to solve in code, in a way that working in live, constantly-changing systems just isn’t. But is the unsatisfying nature of ongoing change essential?

I go out dancing to electronic music at least once a month. Free-form dancing is like constantly solving a changing problem. It’s extraordinarily satisfying. Why should software be any different?

I feel like we keep edging closer to this ideal with dynamic languages, agile or lean practices, continuous delivery. But there’s a hump we still need to get over. Previous decisions still weight me down in a way that previous dance moves don’t.

P.S. The title I used for that keynote (OOPs) was a placeholder. I’d love ideas for a better title. Thanks!

OK, let’s see how I did.

  • Get the last Tim Riley RubyTapas episode wrapped up and delivered. No, darn it. I still need to do my final cut and deliver this one late.
  • Topic or script review meetings with awesome upcoming guests including Adam Fernung, Brittany Martin, Sean Griffin, Paul Stefan Ort, Brandon Hays, Jordan Raine, Alex Piechowsky, Bethany Haubert, and Louisa Barrett (whew!) Yes! That was a busy, busy week of meetings, but I got through it and I recorded all of them!! I even started sharing the recordings.
  • Do some expectation management around RubyTapas schedule during the holiday season. Yep, I finally got a RubyTapas update out the door.
  • Attend my local poetry slam (tonight!) Done. Here’s a video of the hosts performing one of their amazing and hilarious duet pieces. (It’s an open mic + competition event, but the hosts sometimes perform their own pieces to loosen up the room).
  • Get my dance on. Done. Twice in one week, actually, go me!
  • Attend one local users group (this is a stretch goal, because wow this week is busy) No such luck.

This week I will:

  • Get the last Tim Riley RubyTapas episode wrapped up and delivered, for real this time.
  • Get through my email, which is probably about a month old at this point. This includes SIGAVDI replies from you, if you sent me one!
  • Guest Chef Meetings: Paul Stefan Ort, Corey Haines, Kerri Miller, Alex Piechowski, Nadia Odunayo. I’ve already knocked two of these out this morning.
  • Shop for holiday gifts for my kids.
  • Prep the January 7 episode.
  • Finalize my holiday travel plans (I’m including these personal items because it forces me to confront ALL the different commitments that are going to be jostling for attention in the coming week).
  • Deliver another Flawless Ruby module, it’s been too long.

That’s seven, I should probably draw the line there.

OK, looks like it’s off to Costco and Aldi now for the week’s grocery shopping. Wish me luck! As always, thanks for reading, and write back!

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