Wednesday, September 4

making is the new thinking?

I can't remember if I knew about this Russell Davies fellow back in 2006, but I probably did. that was my true designery phase, that year. working what seems to have been my only full-time job ever at in web development and graphic design. it was a very neat slice of my early-twenties life.

Russell Davies's blog has been and still is in my feed reader, though I don't remember how or when it got there. the posts that show up these days are often very short, image-based snips. I kind of miss the days when Mr. Davies wrote longer bits and kept up with his few endearing little projects. I remember being enchanted by the idea of Eggs, Bacon, Chips, and Beans and A Good Place for a Cup of Tea and a Think. there is this tumblr version of EBCB now, but it isn't the same, is it? these old celebrations of British food and drink make my inner anglophile yearn for that rainy little island.

it was somewhere completely else, in the comments of Mr. Kleon's blog or tumblr or something the other day, maybe, that I again came across this 2006 post from Davies. It is called "how to be interesting." go read it. there is the usual vague advice about going out and being interested, which will somehow magically make you seem deeply interesting to all the people you talk to--but there are also ten really pointed, specific suggestions to put on top of that. some of the things are things you probably already do. but others could shake up your life in some unexpected, interesting way. you never know. number nine is my excuse for taking little crochet breaks from all the academic brainwork I am so wrapped up in all the time. and I think number five would be excellent for a revival of the podcast I started two years ago. I very much want to do number seven. basking in conversations sounds very relaxing.

number eight also sounds fabulous and easy. it reminds me of the mini book reviews I just threw together for blog-friend Gina, who was hosting a virtual summer reading club of sorts and asked her readership to review at least five books. I sent her short thoughts on twelve of the barely more-than-twelve books I was able to devour inbetween spring semester and now--including a few I've already blogged about here, plus What a Piece of Work is Man (written by friend Melanie's own brother), Gibson's Pattern Recognition, and Gaiman's The Graveyard Book. maybe I should start a mini-review series of other media too. video, or music, or postcards, or people's handwriting. there would be no pressure and no reason. I could just do it, whenever and however.

the comments on Davies's post also provide some cool thoughts on how to be interesting. like taking steps to randomise your life (they're British, you know. yes they spell randomise like that) by getting off at the wrong bus stop. someone else suggests trying to listen with your toes, which the yogi in me is all excited about. there is an advocate for flirtatiousness. I am not good at flirting. but could I be? if I tried?

but speaking of randomisation and low-pressure enterprises, this very short essay popped up in my hourly dose of internet the other day: The Power of the Meaningless.

there are some odd claims in the piece (is there really any such place as a place with no consequences?), but the overall breakdown of risks and play and freedom is very nice anyway. space for doing lovely yet inconsequential things, for no real reason other than you feel like doing them... well yeah, why not?

I want to try, anyway. I may still spend every other week of my life torn and tossed along a spectrum between the awful, helpless, drowning feeling that comes from realizing that so much of my life lacks concrete meaning and at the other end a brilliant, scintillating, glory-colored feeling that accompanies the same realization, just on different days. does anyone else feel the strain of those two extremes? I know dichotomizing it like that is a little dramatic. but really. meaninglessness is so double-edged.

the motives we claim (or don't) might not matter a ton in the end. maybe it's the ends that matter, much more than whatever gets us there. a desire to be more interesting or a need to take things less seriously or whatever mood it is that claims you and your short set of strung-together split-second nows, do something with it. it might matter, it might not. it might change your life, or it might not. it might hurt, or you might love it. it might be everything or too much or just right. you don't know yet. but you'll figure it out.

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