Here in the U.S., we’ve been entertaining ourselves by letting lots of outrages from factions we oppose stand in for our various personal grudges and grievances. I would like to say I’m hopeful we can find common ground somewhere, but I’m not sure that will happen soon.
I have my own personal beliefs and desires for helping the greatest number of people the most, but some of my beliefs are concerned with ways to live and those aren’t always objective, superior ways. We need some compromising largesse toward each other.
But we can keep sending more art into the world. More expression, more passion, more remixing and recombining old ideas into new ones. When times are troubled, creative work can act as both refuge and inspiration. It’s the place to channel your energy and focus after they’ve been hijacked by TV ads and yelling heads.
They couldn’t stay in view of the city, couldn’t count on roving eyes not looking for them, and needed distance as fast as possible. One of the bridges was heavily trafficked. The other only by rail, still the best way to move large amounts of goods across long kilometers of wilderness between cities and territories, but maybe they could get across and head for dense forest and some valid cover. It didn’t seem to Bluesong any madder than hanging out with a talking bear in a copse next to Pearl City.
A Realization and a Decision in the Middle of a Crisis (excerpt)
“Well, we can’t stay here, they’ll find you, they’ll capture us and take us back to Pearl City. We have to find a place to stay hidden, at least for a while.”
He felt his stomach drop a little, as his panic rose again. What if he never got back to the city, to his life? He had a momentary thought that his life didn’t amount to much, at the moment. But he was on something of a career path at work, a supervisor. It was a typical qualifying job, one that allowed him significant down time for personal pursuits.
Distraction Is a Boon and a Curse, but You Can Use It Wisely
Sometimes, when life matters become overwhelming, it helps—for a time—to indulge in some intense trifles to distract ourselves with stories, music, video, memes. As long as we don’t let that go on too long. Scott Thompson, as his Buddy Cole character in The Kids in the Hall, said in a sketch, “I believe in moderation. Within reason!”
Indulge completely and work completely. Too much of either can burn you out or waste time that shouldn’t be wasted. Once you’ve wasted some and fed the furnace with either energy of inspiration, it’s time to undistract.
Stuck in the Middle of a Seemingly Inescapable Position
His father and mother had both been musicians, as well as his grandfather, who he’d only know through vague memories and family images in cloud storage. His parents had insisted he learn keyboards of both type: computer and piano. This let him work out song paths on either physical or virtual instruments whenever he felt like it, and it was a freedom that fed his soul, the practice and art he longed to do whenever he was working his job, or traveling there and then home, afterward. The fact that they’d named him Bluesong was as hopeful as it now seemed inevitable.
Questions started to rise, rapidly, as the immediate crisis—being escorted by corporate security goons—faded and bigger ones loomed. They were outside the city walls. They were in the wilds. There’d be others coming soon, right? Drones flying out in waves, looking in all spectra, they’d surely be caught immediately.
I’m doing NaNoWriMo this year, National Novel Writing Month, where participants try to finish 50,000 words as or of a novel by November 30th. I’ve done it once before, but had no real plan and petered out around 12,000 words. But since I have to keep up so much, I thought I’d post an excerpt from the day’s work here as a placeholder to keep up the daily routine. We’ll see how that goes, eh?
But maybe, he thought, he didn’t really know anyone. Maybe Manola was bad news, and his two guardians wanted information on her. Maybe they weren’t after him at all. He didn’t understand this train of thought, but when nothing made sense, everything seemed possible.
Excerpt from Over the River and Through the Woods and Also a Bear (working title)
The impact of scaring ourselves deliberately is a magic trick of the mind. We aren’t the only ones who do it: I’ve watched our cat pretend I’m terrifying just to get a good chase vibe going through the apartment.
But we should acknowledge the delight that a little fear can bring. It motivates and stimulates, and we can apply the same principle to the work we do as creators. Go scare up some magical art moments.
Fighting Nihilism May Be a Neverending Battle With Yourself and the World
Nothing matters, everything is ultimately meaningless, all art is pointless effort.
So says a really powerful voice in my head that shows up with annoying frequency. I’m not going to tell you how to defeat that voice for good. I do not know.
But there’s a way out of any kind of defeatist spiral, and that is to understand that the opposite reaction is strangely as valid. It’s very human to observe and to create. It makes us who we are, in part. If it doesn’t matter whether or not we make art, we might as well keep making it because it speaks to our existential core.
It might be the case that the universe doesn’t care about our work. To be fair and frank, it almost certainly doesn’t, at all. But even if it doesn’t matter in an ultimate sense, it matters in the moment. It matters to us. And since we’re the ones who like it and are inspired by it, art has an arbitrary present value for both its creators and its experiencers.
Enchanted On-Site Installations by Cornelia Konrads Explore Transition and Portals
The photo above is typical of German artist Konrads’ site-specific installations. They’re often transformations of space and concept, with everyday objects either flying apart in pieces or forming a new doorway into their surroundings. She remakes the environment around her pieces by alternately sinking objects into it and pulling them out of it.
It’s really amazing work that takes the most mundane materials and creates magical planes dividing reality. h/t #womensArt (@womensart1 on Twitter)