Sunday Reading: Portals, Solitude, & Rest

This week I have not read very much so mostly I have been saving things to read and consequently don’t have much to say about each thing. 

Our Dust by C.D. Wright

I was just thinking about all this last night. Last night being any night.

Arundhati Roy: ‘The pandemic is a portal’

About COVID-19 in India. About the future. Looking forward to reading this when kiddo is asleep or distracted with My Little Pony.

Standing on the Shoulders of Solitude: Newton, the Plague, and How Quarantine Fomented the Greatest Leap in Science

Since this started, I’ve been increasingly curious about how previous outbreaks of illness have been handled, written about, etc. I’ve also been thinking about solitude, physical and otherwise. Haven’t read this yet but looking forward to it.

As grind culture slows down, will you? by The Nap Ministry

It’s no secret that people often use work and busy-ness to avoid looking at themselves, their history, their pain, and to deny a future of change. I’ve been following their IG account for a while and it’s like a balm every time I read a post.

Pandowrimo, prompt 8 by Adrienne Maree Brown

“choose a future for all of us”

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Solitude vs. Isolation

I often seek external and indirect permission to do things. Sometimes it takes an embarrassingly long time to realize that I am doing it.

A lot of the fumbling that I do with blogging comes from asking myself, constantly, “Should I be writing this? Is it worth sharing? Why does it matter what I think or feel?”

The truth is that it doesn’t matter. Yet while I keep waiting for a worthwhile excuse to share or, even better, for at least a handful of people to say, “I’m interested in your thoughts and feelings,” the fact is I’m not sharing anything and writing less often than I feel inclined. Personal momentum carries me far, but with about a third of the way left to run, I start to think, What’s the point?

The like follows:
Where could this possibly be published?
Am I wasting my time?
Is it useful to even worry about where the writing ends up?
It’s nice to get paid. How do people get paid for things they write?
I don’t want to write short opinion pieces that simply amplify the latest outrage. So what should I hope to accomplish with my writing? What are realistic goals?
Is any kind of writing in service of Writing? 

I don’t know answers to all of those questions, but I’m fairly certain the answer to the last question is Yes.

In college, it was really hard for me and most of my peers to grasp that there is no way around the unglamorous, diligent work of being an artist. No matter how well you draw or how mature you are conceptually, your practice is just that – a practice. It wasn’t until, a few years in, I took a Figure Painting class that I observed first hand how beneficial it was simply to work regularly. Is painting a foot over and over conceptually rather dull? Yes. That is unless you can get over yourself, stop fantasizing about your future masterpieces, and earnestly take up the tremendous challenge of seeing and translating.

I could write privately in my journal – actually, I do, all the time – yet somehow I still feel the need to send out my thoughts and feelings. Maybe that’s weak or narcissistic or petty. I would like to think it’s because, sometimes, I need to be reminded that while I am working in relative solitude, I am not in isolation.

So, I’m going to try something new and different for me. I am going to write when I want, about whatever I want, and worry less about future masterpieces or permissions or appearing “poorly” to The Internet. I may regret this later and drop the whole thing. But for the time being, Hello.

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