I didn’t realize that one of the side-effects of writing less and listening more would be that I can’t write when I want to. Everything gets rusty through disuse & l’entropie est le seulement dieu. I should have realized this from the get-go, but wasn’t paying enough attention. There are plenty of things I wish I could pay more attention to, but my biggest struggle for the last 18 months has been trying to find a happy mental state. You can’t take time to breathe with trees when you’re trying to escape some dark bear chasing you. Doom meditation helped until the class instructor changed and it became golden light craft time.
This is not a criticism of that methodology; it simply does not work for me. I haven’t been a golden light person for 25 years & while I love craft time, it typically involves an indecent amount of whiskey and lots of black and red ink.
Marie Kondo is the big shit these days; her methodology for reducing material clutter has been helpful — I’ve gotten rid of a ton of things unneeded. This is mostly a physical reflection of how I’ve gotten rid of less tangible things in the last 18 months. I got a call from someone I’ve collaborated with a few times over the past decade. The Lottery League is coming up again this year, and I’m not being included. This is totally fine, but I thought it was funny that someone I haven’t seen or talked to in 3 years told me he wants to make sure our friendship continues. This is a main reason I’ve stopped using most social media. The pursuit & maintenance of ersatz friendships & relationships is not something I have capacity for while being bear-hunted. Out of the 300 or so people I was connected to online only 2 ever reach out to me for frequent hangouts. I like knowing who’s real & very much enjoy not having to read everyone’s shower thoughts. Instagram is the devil, my QoL has increased since deleting my account.
Lots of cleaning house. Lots of podcasts. Lots of realizations that, in my middle age, my capacity to shift with culture decreases proportionally with my desire to do so. Give me heavy metal t‑shirts, weblogs, diners, a beagle howling after a rabbit, retro video games, Richard Brautigan & David Bowie.
I’m doing my best to be Switzerland in the culture wars — civility & politesse get you pretty far, but seeing yourself in the dumb shit other people think is even better. I’ve had some really ignorant opinions in my 38 years, and I’ve changed them and will continue to change them. I basically try to determine if the person has fundamentalist beliefs about their side in the war & if that’s the case, I remain civil & polite until I can disengage. Racist uncles get the same treatment as the folks who think men are trash. I used to think gay folks were deviant and that I deserved to date a model. Dumb shit, but I have been, and hopefully always will be willing to learn more and change my mind. Plenty of people aren’t & I consider them kondo-ed.
I get that the largest impediment to my happiness is me — my high standards, how quickly I might write off something before I understand it, how scorched earth I am when I perceive betrayal, or my extremely low threshold for putting up with the simple bullshit that keeps society’s wheels greased. I’d be the worst politician. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy simply doesn’t work for me. I’m not going to brainwash myself away from the bear, I need to learn how to wrestle it and not get mauled to death.
I stopped writing because I wanted to listen to others. I forgot that writing is mostly how I listen to myself.