8.19.2016

It feels a little strange to come back to this space after having been away from it for so long, or at least after having used it as quote-storage rather than as a place where I actually dispense my own thoughts. But in an effort to combat both a writerly and spiritual malaise that has set upon me in the past few weeks, I've begun to devise ways to get myself back into the habit of spinning a yarn of words, the discipline of articulating a thought and following that thought to its end.

Distraction is settling for fragments, clipping thoughts and actions before they've run their course. Sometimes fragments can be useful as a form; they allow you to ricochet from one idea to another, a process from which other ideas can spring up, and this is a freedom that allows the complexity of the mind to reveal itself. But at other times, not completing a thought merely reflects a lack of self-discipline. It takes patience, constancy, and a willingness to be mired in the discomfort of not knowing in order to sink into a deep meditative state.

Of course, the technology in our lives complicates our efforts to prolong a thought, to finish a task in a slow and steady way. All the pings and quips and headlines that pop up on our screens, the convenient access to tabs and hyperlinks, the endless stream of notifications — these do not make it easy to remain in one mode for very long, at least not for me, someone who is very prone to distractions. It has been a point of despair and shame that I now often find myself forgetting what I have set out to do, just 30 seconds after I set out to do it. It is all too easy to lose myself in something of little significance, something so banal and frivolous that my attraction to it is certainly a moment of weakness, a lapse in judgment. I need more structure to anchor myself to activities that matter; these structures will hopefully act as a stopgap measure against the paralysis of self-loathing, which I inevitably fall into when I let myself float among the debris of the Internet / social media / etc...

I will also use this blog again as a place to collect my own thoughts rather than as a vehicle solely for collecting the well-articulated thoughts of others (though that will surely continue). Even writing a full sentence, whether in email or in a lonely chamber like this blog, feels like a tiny feat.

8.05.2016

"A certain comfort with vulnerability might be the most prominent aspect of Hill’s personality. At lunch, he gets the hiccups. He warns me that his face sweats a lot, but that the rest of his body produces a normal amount of sweat, and he occasionally mops his forehead as politely as anyone can mop anything using a napkin that he has folded into a tidy mopping rectangle."
-What I have in common with Jonah Hill

7.12.2016

these are notes to myself

1. Everything changes. Change is not bad. Do not be afraid of change. Do not be afraid to change.

2. Never let jealousy or insecurity ruin a friendship. You will regret it.

3. Always be kinder and more generous than you think is possible. You will not regret it.

4. Remember there is a wide, wide world out there. Get outside your own world, even when it is uncomfortable.

5. Friendships will change. People will come and go. That's not always in your control.

6. But when you can, make a big effort to keep your friends. Make an effort even when it is hard. And it will be hard.

7. You have the freedom to change your attitude. You have the freedom to change your mind. You even have the freedom to change the way you act. But don't forget that freedom does not exist in isolation—whatever you choose will affect the people around you.

8. Swallow your pride and say sorry. Admit you are wrong even if you feel just a twinge of wrongness.

9. Open your ears—and your heart—when people have feedback for you, even when it is painful to hear. Especially when it is painful to hear. Do not cut your friends out when they are correcting you. Your friends—the good ones—are probably right.

10. Stay curious. About people. About the world. Keep moving down the paths you have stumbled into, and go deep, burrowing as far as you can. This is the richness of the world.

11. Stay in community, even when you want out. This will save you. Reach out for help when you need it. Reach out to just one person when you feel you have no community.

12. Don't be afraid of being uncomfortable. Notice the discomfort. Stay there.

13. Stop being afraid of losing people, of losing a place, a position, a title. You are not entitled to anything. Unto you things are given and unto you things are taken away. It may be no less painful to accept this fact, but try. Do not attempt to preempt loss. You cannot defend yourself against it. Do not live less daringly, less courageously, for the sake of safety. Do not be afraid. Fear ruins many things; fear will cause your heart to waste away.

14. Help others. Be brave. Playing it cool serves no one. Your heart grows larger when you act out of love. Not the other way around.

15. Don't waste your time convincing people that you are worth loving. You are already loved.

16.  Pray. Journal. Keep writing. Just keep on writing. Fight to keep writing. Work hard, but love people more than you love your work.


7.11.2016

"So you protected yourself and loved small. Picked the tiniest stars out of the sky to own; lay down with head twisted in order to see the loved one over the rim of the trench before you slept. Stole shy glances at her between the trees at chain-up. Glass blades, salamanders, spiders, woodpeckers, beetles, a kingdom of ants. Anything bigger wouldn't do. A woman, a child, a brother - a big love like that would split you wide open in Alfred, Georgia. He knew exactly what she meant: to get to a place where you could love anything you chose - not to need permission for desire - well now, THAT was freedom."
-Toni Morrison, Beloved