if you’ve been following along you’ve noticed that i’ve once again encountered the problem with words, in that that they’re abstract and incomplete and volatile.
every word is both an overstatement (in its inherent categorization) and an understatement (in its representation of reality).
to say or write anything true is arduous.
so instead of my own words what you’re getting is a lot of posts about art and philosophy and poetic things. and the apocalyptic visions of each, but that’s always been the case. these are the things i’m thinking about and struggling with and it’s where my head is (school). and it’s all very disorienting, to sit and read and talk and think about how your self and your culture and society and world is constructed/deconstructed/constituted for hours and hours and days and days.
please forgive the resulting lack of coherence.Filed in autobiographical, blogging, me myself and i | Comment (0)
Filed in art, blogging, philosophical ramblings | Comment (0)
The expressive word does not simply choose a sign for an already defined meaning… It gropes around in a significative intention which is not guided by any text…If we want to do justice to it, we most evoke some of the other words that might have taken its place and were rejected, and we must feel the way in which they might have touched and shaken the chain of language in another manner and the extent to which this particular word was really the only possible one if that meaning was to come into the world. In short, we must consider speech before it is pronounced, the background of silence which does not cease to surround it and without which it would say nothing.
my mom was just visiting. and she said my personality hasn’t changed much since i was 5. i was an anxious child. i was reticent.
this blog is 12 years of subjective proof. reading backward, i can see myself change only ever so slightly.
i’m not sure if it’s comforting or terrifying to know we never really change.
i guess the point is more about growth than change. the whole tree is inside the acorn. the tree is always the tree.Filed in blogging, me myself and i | Comment (0)
oh hey! look! i have a guestpost on Offbeat Home today!Filed in blogging, fashion, most linked/commented on, personal favorites | Tagged with NaBloPoMo, offbeat | Comment (0)
The thing I always wonder, on all those websites and in all those books and in all those workshops and speeches, the ones tell you to stop right now, to make your life the life you want and how to make your dreams come true one step at a time, that it’s hard but you can do it, is this:
What if you don’t know what your dream is?
DING DING DING DING DING
follow your bliss. do what you love, love what you do. etc etc etc.
sure, if you’ve been dancing ballet since you were 4 or always dreamed of writing a novel or reeeeally love woodworking, i can see how this kind of advice is useful for people who have passions. real passions. things they dedicate themselves to. things they lose sleep over, get up at dawn for, give up everything else for, cash out their 401ks to fund.
i am now 35 years old and after attempts at various endeavors in business and the arts, i still have no idea what my “bliss” is, which makes it difficult to follow.
last sunday morning, i attended a 3-hour Yoga for Writers (Y4W) workshop with one of my longtime favorite irreverent SF columnists, Mark Morford (so much so that i’ve had a blog category devoted to him since 2004. god i’m such a fangirl.) Mark is also a yoga instructor, and after many years of regarding them separately in his life, he recently learned that combining them is double the pleasure, double the fun. so when i saw the workshop announcement i thought hey! i’ve been doing lots of yoga and writing for over a decade too! so i should go - this is for me! maybe this will unlock some of my confusion around what AM i doing with my life??
prior to, my mind had totally been occupied with all the Occupy stuff all week. endless reading about economics and tax models and discussions about consensus and active democracy and rights and all kinds of dense things. so i hadn’t really thought much beforehand about the workshop or what i was going to work on, writing wise. so i was a little mentally exhausted and a little unprepared.
in the opening minutes of the workshop, Mark talked about reasons why we might all be there, as writers, and how the physical and mental practice of yoga can be used as a tool to unblock our creative energy and really let go of our egos in order to write freely, fluidly. and i immediately recoiled, because, as far as i can tell, i don’t have that problem. i’ve never really had ‘writers block’. in fact, i have the opposite problem: SO MUCH TO SAY SO LITTLE TIME. i wasn’t quite sure how to reframe what he was talking about to fit that problem, and so i was like “oh, shit. this workshop is not for me.”
and then he talked about how so many writers live too much in their heads and neglect their bodies, these pale weaklings who never leave their basements and spend days in their sweatpants. um, also not me. see: the 2+ hours of exercise i get most days, and all the dancing i do. i am WELL AWARE of how much body movement affects my mind: my best blog posts are written while biking/dancing/yoga-ing.
so what was i doing there?? i started to fret.
the thing is, i am trying to figure out WHY i write. and whether i should be trying to channel it into something more productive than blog posts and facebook screeds. the idea of “monetizing” my blog has always caused me to wince, and writing under deadlines for someone else’s umbrella also seems painful. to date, my writing has been purely CATHARTIC. and i have always been happy with that. it gets things out of my head. and occasionally, someone else tells me that they appreciate it too, that something i wrote really resonated, or they were glad i wrote about something they were too scared to say. and that has always been enough.
but right now i am going through what some might consider a “transition” phase in my life, and one of the ideas embedded in that is i am considering *gasp* graduate school. and one of the programs i have been looking at is Writing focused. so, this means i really do need to consider the question: do i want to be a Writer, and how?
and so it was that i found myself in a writing workshop, not so much trying to be a better writer as trying to figure out What The Hell I Was Doing There.
one of the pieces that Mark handed out was this, from Teachings of Rumi:
There is one thing in this world that you must never forget to do. If you forget everything else and not this, there’s nothing to worry about; but if you remember everything else and forget this, then you will have done nothing in your life.
It’s as if a king has sent you to some country to do a task, and you perform a hundred other services, but not the one he sent you to do. So human beings come to this world to do particular work. That work is the purpose, and each is specific to the person. If you don’t do it, it’s as though a priceless Indian sword were used to slice rotten meat. It’s a golden bowl being used to cook turnips, when one filing from the bowl could buy a hundred suitable pots. It’s a knife of the finest tempering nailed into a wall to hang things on.
You say, “But look, I’m using the dagger. It’s not lying idle.” Do you hear how ludicrous that sounds? For a penny, an iron nail could be bought to serve the purpose. You say, “But I spend my energies on lofty enterprises. I study jurisprudence and philosophy and logic and astronomy and medicine and all the rest.” But consider why you do those things. They are all branches of yourself.
Remember the deep root of your being, the presence of your lord. Give your life to the one who already owns your breath and your moments. If you don’t, you will be exactly like the man who takes a precious dagger and hammers it into his kitchen wall for a peg to hold his dipper gourd. You’ll be wasting valuable keenness and foolishly ignoring your dignity and your purpose.
and my God if that didn’t make me immediately anxious and depressed. IT’S TRUE. I AM DOING A THOUSAND THINGS BUT NOT THE ONE THING. FUCK. WHAT IS IT???
in the end, i still don’t really know. when i walked out, i felt like the balance was definitely tipped more in favor of Yoga than Writing in terms of things i am really into doing right now. would the workshop have been different for me if it were framed as Writing for Yogis instead of Yoga for Writers? maybe.
anyway, i have no conclusions, but in the spirit of the workshop, letting go of your ego and not caring what anyone thinks about what you write and letting it just come out, here are the (mostly unedited) things i wrote in the workshop for the 3 writing sessions we did in between bouts of yoga. i’m not too personally impressed with them, but here you go:Filed in autobiographical, blogging, morford worship, not poems | Tagged with mark morford, rumi, yoga for writers | Comment (0)
obviously, this blog is public, and comments are allowed. anyone who can spell my name correctly can find this blog and read all about my life. i also have a pretty open policy about who i “friend” on facebook. i know a lot of people who don’t friend their old high school classmates, or their cousins, or their in-laws, or their coworkers/bosses/professional contacts. totally understandable. but i have been staunch in my philosophy of totally open communication with this. i am not sure why.
there have been a few unfortunate incidences where people were offended or hurt, and i learned the hard way not to write about other people very much. especially people in your family. but not write about politics or social issues? i am not going to avoid that. in fact, i encourage dissent/disagreement/discussion. how else do we learn about or from each other or the world?
Back a few years ago, before we had access to everyone we ever knew and all of their ideas, disagreement had a different place. Yes, there were still the same people who thrived on debate. Those people who relished sparring and matching wits. But for the most part, we kept our opinions private. Especially opinions concerning religion, politics, child-rearing and lifestyle.
Disagreements with these big topics were handled privately, rarely.
But now, in this digital age, we share our thrill about an election on Facebook and people come out of every nook and corner of your past to tell you how wrong you are and make you defend it.
Sure, there’s something to be said about the broadening of ideas and input being a good thing, but emotionally? I’m not prepared for this. We haven’t been properly trained in critical thinking in a way that allows us to separate disagreement with an idea from rejection of us.
When people we like or respect disagree with us, it still feels crappy.
i had to stop for a minute and think about how i struggle with this. i do. and i find that for myself, doing one of the tactics she goes on to talk about, “agree a little”, for me often becomes acquiescence. i end up saying “oh, ok. you’re probably more right than i am”, because 1. by this point i am usually tired of the argument and 2. i don’t want the person to be angry with me/ruin the relationship. so i “let them be right”.
overall, that’s not the worst thing to do sometimes. but if it leaves you feeling like you didn’t stand up for yourself, over and over again, it is.
h.t. arielFiled in blogging | Comment (1)
i think my writing has improved considerably, but this hasn’t really become anything other than what it’s always been. and that’s fine with me. it warms my heart when other people say they like/read my blog, even though the amount of content has dropped off due to a lot more of my commentary going through twitter and gReader, but i still actually feel a little sad when people i assume to be my friends (or my PARENTS) don’t read this, because while those other outlets are more interactive, this is where i write the things i really want to remember. the personal stuff.
on a larger scale, thinking about me in 2001 vs. me in 2011 is on the one hand pleasant (still sticking to my guns on ethics/lifestyle, no major life calamities have occurred, i’m happy and healthy person) and on the other hand sort of depressing. i am living almost the same life now as i was 10 years ago. same city. same partner. SAME JOB.
also: i turn 35 this year. shouldn’t i have done something by now? i don’t mean marriage/house/kids/grad school/standard metrics of growth. i mean….. something **ME**. something more than what i’ve done. some boundaries pushed. something of ME to show. something that FEELS substantial. but what is that? GAH. i don’t know. that’s what drives me crazy (and i’m sure i’ve driven some of my friends crazy going around and around about it too). i haven’t accomplished anything really personally noteworthy yet and i feel like i’ve already “settled down” not just without meaning to but in fact, actively working against. how does that happen?
this post took me a couple of weeks to write because of all the things going on and also because it just sounded repetitive and whiny (eh, still does). but i spent a lot of time thinking about it – this 10 year period – and when i really thought about it, one significant change is that 10 years ago, i worried a lot about being pretty enough. i’m (sort of) done with that. now i worry a lot about being smart enough.
also: the realization that knowing who you are and knowing what you want to be are TWO VERY DIFFERENT THINGS. now that i think i have a fairly good grip on the former, the latter is really starting to make me angsty. (yes, i know that this is a Beatles song, ORANGE.)
in general, things are feeling really purgatorial here in my life. February has been rough for me emotionally, and i have some spirits dwelling in me that need to be exorcised. March 2011 is going to involve some exorcisms. some will be gentle. others might hurt. the rest of 2011 then needs to involve something that feels substantial. i really don’t want to delve more into that right now. just know that i think about it all the time, and whatever happens, this blog is where it will be recorded. because this is my autobiography.Filed in autobiographical, blogging | Tagged with exploding dog | Comment (0)
speaking of hyperbolic publications, i have been quoted over at Jezebel.com on the subject of flexisexuality:
As for the word “flexisexual” itself, it’s also not new, despite the Mail’s headline (“the new word for the women who refuse to play it straight”). If we want to get liberal with our definitions (flexilingual), blogger Amy LeBlanc wrote a post dropping “flexisexual” back in March 2004, using the word as a potential synonym for a metrosexual vegetarian who ate free-range and organic meat (“flexitarian”). More relevantly, our friend the Urban Dictionary lists several like-minded definitions of flexisexual dating back to March 2008, when an anonymous Noah Webster-type defined it as a “straight, heterosexual person who flirts with gay homosexual people. Usually seen at clubs, part of the hipster scene.” A few months later followed a new definition: “a girl that is bisexual only on weekends.” Finally, a third person chimed in with, “a person of flexible sexual orientation.”
the piece then goes on, predictably, to discuss how the term degrades women.
semi-related, on the subject of what i perceive as an issue with having feminism as a focus point for a revenue generating website, namely whether or not that sometimes taints your ability to stick to a positive “empowerment” message and not resort to making things up/exaggerating for hits: Feministing vs. Jezebel:Filed in blogging, culture and random linkage | Tagged with feministing, NaBloPoMo | Comment (0)
well, i missed a day of National Blog Posting Month because i went to tahoe and it turned out we didn’t have internet in the cabin, and since i don’t have a smart phone….all i could do was twitter via txt. i set up some other posts to post on thursday and friday, which i know is still cheating, but then saturday i hadn’t scheduled anything and so, no post. i was thinking that it’s a little ridiculous to schedule NaBloPoMo for the month during which a large percentatge of amercians travel, but whatevs.Filed in blogging | Tagged with NaBloPoMo | Comment (0)