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Last year I burnt myself out on introspection and developed a personal philosophy to “take action towards things I think I want until I can come up with a good reason to stop.” Operating in this way might make me look flighty from the outside but on the inside, I know it’s one of the main reasons my life continues to feel like it’s getting better and better — experimentation till I find the things that feel really right.
And really right is what I’m going for. Not right on paper, not right only if I turn off my brain, and definitely not right only in the eyes of others. In my book, a good decision is one you know in your heart, mind, and body to be true for you. Some call this discernment, others call it wisdom. All I know is that it’s really hard to find.
It’s my job to make loads of decisions that I have no way of possessing this level of certainty on and accept I won’t be able to get it for at least 5 more years. Unlike most jobs where structure and company benefits superficially cushion all the unknowns, investing (especially on your own) is rare in how blatantly the uncertainty of the job lives right at the surface in the form of a mountain of raw decisions you made.
Now, uncertainty is a fact of life — one of the few universal rules to this grand, intricate game we’re all playing. As I understand it, the game goes as such: First, conquer your fear of rejection. Second, conquer your fear of uncertainty. Along the way, you’ll need to reckon with your fear of cringe. None of these are easy tasks!
But you know what helps? Actually listening to yourself. Not just the insecure parts of you that have something to prove and find it fun to root around for meaning in the struggle. No. It’s the voices that care about your experiencing day-to-day contentedness, belonging, and don’t believe that everything should feel hard that deserve the megaphone — they often sound quite similar to a best friend or parent.
It’s probably clear by now that I don’t believe unconditional love corrupts motivation (or at least, that’s not the way I’d like to motivate myself). In my experience, being loved completely actually does the opposite — it motivates me to become more concentratedly myself by providing the comfort of verified belief in my own value.
I mention the love thing because I think it has a lot more to do with what makes a decision good than we like to admit (maybe because it’s cringe!). But as Julie Dempsey says in Before Sunrise: “Isn't everything we do in life a way to be loved a little more?”
Scenes and Villages by Skunk Ledger (essay)
“The spirit of the village is the spirit of Humanity; the spirit of the scene is the spirit of The Thing. ‘There's no place in the world like this,’ people say in scenes; they're right. Would you rather be in a place like no other or a place that contains every other?”
Glimpsing God by Nadia Asparouhova (essay)
On god and (being happy while) writing!
Land Ho by Gaby Del Valle (essay)
On the underlying politics to the popularity of tradwife aesthetics.
Omens of Exceptional Talent by Alexey Guzey (list)
A good list of signs of intelligence — I want one for signs of wisdom too.
Dan Mackinlay blogroll (curation)
The motherlode of internet writing.
E unibus pluram by David Foster Wallace (essay)
"Fiction writers as a species tend to be oglers. They tend to lurk and to stare. The minute fiction writers stop moving, they start lurking, and stare. They are born watchers."
Of Being Numerous by George Oppen (poem)
A good, weird, and long poem about cities, ordinary people, and their histories.
Surprised by Joy by C.S. Lewis (book)
"It seemed to me self-evident that one essential property of love, hate, fear, hope, or desire was attention to their object… You cannot hope and also think about hoping at the same moment; for in hope we look to hope's object and we interrupt this by (so to speak) turning round to look at the hope itself.” Also: I love these C.S. Lewis explainer videos.
A Horse at Night by Amina Cain (book)
A gorgeous short read on writing and joy.
The Decisive Moment by Henri Cartier-Bresson (book)
One of my favorite books from art school on how everything is about timing.
Trailcam Twitter (curation)
I love this account.
Hide and Seek by Imogen Heap (song)
Insane that this song is only vocals + vocoder. Futuristic and before its time.
Maggot Brain by Funkadelic (song)
A classic, crazy good guitar solo.
Moth Minds episodes (podcasts)
The second-grade films - where are they? No more are they made, and yet they were by far the best films for holding hands at, and wasn't this always the main purpose of the cinema?