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.
"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