Issue No. 24: Reality

“Powerful people have no regrets.”

- Gregory David Roberts, Shantaram

In April of 1999, when Columbine happened, I was 14 years old and a freshman in high school in Hawaii — the same age as one of the victims.

When Aurora happened in July of 2012, I was recently married and living in Austin, Texas. After the shooting, I was hesitant to go to a movie theater. When I did finally go, I found myself evaluating fellow moviegoers for malicious intent and taking note of the exits.

When Sandyhook happened in December of 2012, I was living in Santa Monica, California. I woke up to the news that 20 children had been murdered at school and I sat in bed before work watching President Obama address the country, fighting back tears, with my own tears streaming down my face.

When nothing significant changed after Sandyhook, something in me shifted: I started to go numb. I knew it would happen again, and I also knew that I couldn’t feel THIS much each time it did.

By the time of the Las Vegas shooting in October of 2017, we were getting settled in Seattle. I now think twice about going to large, crowded events, and avoid them as much as possible.

Then there was Parkland in February of 2018 and Sante Fe in May of 2018. And I wonder what it’s like as a parent to send your child off to school when so many shootings have happened in places of education. Or what it’s like to be a student wondering if today is the day that gun violence and hate comes to you.

After Parkland there was hope that we’d hit the breaking point, that something would finally change.

And now we have El Paso and Dayton in August of 2019, within hours of each other. I’m no longer surprised when I get the inevitable New York Times alert that there has been yet another mass shooting. And it’s only a matter of luck that I — or you — haven’t been at the wrong place at the wrong time. This is, unfortunately, our collective reality.

I had a therapist tell me several years ago that our lessons keep coming back, bigger and bigger each time until we learn them. Until they stick. And I’ve also been told that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.

We as a country, as a society, apparently have not learned our lesson as we continue to do nothing, yet we expect different results. Unless we actually do something different, something big and bold, mass shootings aren’t going away. They will only get worse.

The Art of the Edit might seem like a strange place to discuss gun violence, but if not here, where? I don’t have any answers. The only thing I do know is that it doesn’t have to be this way, this doesn’t have to be our reality. It’s entirely within our collective control to edit gun violence and mass shootings out of our lives. (To start → Call your congressional leaders, donate to Everytown.)

I’m well aware that gun safety is only one of the issues at play here — but it is a key piece of the mass shooting puzzle. I’m also well aware that the right to bear arms is written into our constitution, and that many people view it as a foundational right. But my question is: At what cost? Is your right to bear arms more important than my — and your — right to life?



  1. Kicking off 35 with a commitment to a 5-year memory journal.

  2. Adding Mara Hoffman to my sustainably-minded-fashion-brands-to-try list. So much simple and effortless style.

  3. Listening to Adam Grant explore why “follow your passion” is bad career advice.

  4. At my mother’s gentle recommendation, snagging a copy of Meditations for Women Who Do Too Much. As they say, like mother like daughter.

  5. Wishing I could swing The What Summit in San Francisco in October as I love Gina Pell (partner of NextDraft’s Dave Pell) and Amy Parker’s newsletter.

  6. Admitting that I absolutely have full-fledged conversations with my dog, Emory, and now I know I’m not alone.

  7. Rediscovering that bibliotherapy is a thing. Of course it is! “Reading has been shown to put our brains into a pleasurable trance-like state, similar to meditation, and it brings the same health benefits of deep relaxation and inner calm. Regular readers sleep better, have lower stress levels, higher self-esteem, and lower rates of depression than non-readers.”

  8. Having a good laugh at this comparison of working for a company vs. working for yourself.

  9. Steaming sweet potatoes for the first time ever, and slathering them with Tahini Butter.

  10. Downloading Ray Dalio’s Principles In Action app to take his wise decision-making advice with me wherever I go.

  11. Advocating for our right to have a say in national forest/public land decisions. Want to edit healthy and vast public lands into your life? → Get on it.


I loved hearing all of your responses to my issue on bankruptcy, including this great tip from Miriam B.:

"My favorite trick is to redirect all of my email directly to archive when I'm on vacation. When I get back, my inbox is empty but I can go look for messages in my archive if I want to. Guess what? I [usually] don’t need anything."