Archive for the ‘writing’ Category

Sculpture in the wild

sculpture in the wild

No pampin’ last week, I was sick. Looks like this week’s essay will expand on a neighbor’s mysterious backyard sculpture.

The Pamplet—new Substack just launched

Today I’m launching a Substack called The Pamplet. It’ll be a space for letters on art, mind, feels, tech takes, semi-ridiculous self-help, varieties of mystical experience, and whatever else strikes my enthusiasms.

Movable type debuted across Europe from ~1450 on, and in its wake a new form of cheap, mass-scale, short-form publication known loosely as pamphlets spread like wildfire. As we know, these innovations upset the information environment status quo, and it took a few centuries to jostle out a new balance of power. Our time has parallels, though perhaps we’re living it at 10-100x. We have type at the speed of light, with nigh-infinite recomposability—and the party’s just getting started.

Seems like a nice moment to get out on the dance floor. Browse and/or subscribe here. Hot topics for future pamplets:

Pamphlet subjects

Words cont.

Sasha was like, your prose is great, very beautiful and so forth, but could you also try being direct? Polemic? Disagreeable?

And I was like, that’s impossible. My subtleties have subtleties.

So, you know, I tried. Took about 10k words to figure out what really gets my disagreeability riled up. The short list is norms. And materialism. Once I started insulting Silicon Valley types it was hard to stop.

Sasha is pleased with my progress.

Side note, working with a killer coach is my happy place.

For reals, I’m surprised by this latest writing thing. I sidled into it with my signature blend of nonchalant obsessive necessity and no expectations. It’s a practice in art, to care as deeply as we do and be open, focusing on what is—and what is happens to routinely be more awesome than I could imagine. My trends usually begin in nocturnal dreams, and over the past few years my most consistent reaction while dreaming is surprise. First I was surprised by the good things coming to me, and I still am. Lately I’ve also been surprised by good things I somehow have the presence of mind to do. There’s new sauce on board; I get glimpses of marvelous new structures and begin to explore them; I keep meeting all sorts of new friends, then irrepressibly give them hugs. And who knows what else, I’ll be surprised.

Words update

Words

As we know I love a consult, so I reached out to Sasha Chapin for writing coaching and he lit a fire under my atmospheric ramblings.

First, I had to throw open the doors and windows of sayability in the house of my own mind.

Second, I knew he was going to tell me so, and then he told me so—write a stupid amount very, very fast with absolutely zero regard for quality. Which I did. Turns out that’s liberating, even fun, who knew. Well, Sasha did.

All that’s gestating, work-in-progress, but it’s no doubt the speediest 20k words I ever did see.

Side note, I’ve always kind of idly wondered why I made a blog tag called “epigraphs.” I did it without much conscious intention, which is a feature, because in the creative process things shouldn’t make too much sense. I mean, if it makes sense at the start, you already get it, what’s to discover. Dig a little deeper. Anyway, while writing 20k words very fast, without adequate time to censor myself, after how many years I finally encountered my writing denial, shook its hand, thanked it for its service, and realized I really am supposed to write a bunch of stuff after the frontispiece, lol.

For reals, I had no idea how much I needed a tuned pro to read what I was up to and zoom-call-encourage more of it. Seeing the best in each other is a gift. I hope to be pretty good at doing that for others, steadily getting better. Though my biggest thanks are for all you, who day in and out do it too.

Quote dump from Daughter of Fire

Everything I touch turns into a collection of quotes. My fridge, front door, this blog, my actual commonplace book, every journal and computer monitor I’ve ever owned.

Reading is amaze, but the next-level question is how and to what extent we might engage with what we’ve read. The best bits I can’t help but want to inhale into my most micro-alveoli for every molecule of oxygen they give. Been a moment since my last quote dump, so here goes.

In 1961, Irina Tweedie traveled to a remote city in India and became the first woman to be accepted as a disciple in the Naqshbandiyya Sufi tradition. Her teacher, Bhai Sahib (Mahatma Radha Mohan Lal Ji), asked her to keep a journal, and for the next 6 years, she wrote a daily account of his teachings and her experiences, later published as Daughter of Fire. For the past year-ish, this doorstop of a book has been my occasional guide to unlearning. Below are a selection of excerpted quotes, all from Bhai Sahib.

“There are different kinds of hearts. Everyone loves according to one’s capacity. Things will be done through you. At first you will be the postbox; only later you will do things knowingly—you will know what you are doing.

And what pride can there be, for we flow where we are directed.

The saints are like a flowing stream, they flow where they are directed.

Don’t worry if what you say is right or not; it is not you who says it.

All the knowledge you need will come to you automatically, not the least doubt about it.

Speaking of knowledge Bhai Sahib repeated what he said so often: It is not given on the mind level, it is infused.

Knowledge comes through the heart… from the heart to the mind.

Yes, do not run after explanations; some things will be told in words; some have been told already; some are infused; no speech is necessary. They are reflected from heart to heart; your mind knows nothing of it; but it will come up when you need it.

Always remember that some sort of doubt, some sort of imperfection will always remain.

If you want the truth, there is an urge from your side and a swiftness from the side of truth. If you want the truth, truth wants you.

All the doubts, the trouble the mind gives you, do not really interfere with love. Not really. The mind tries, but the love is not really affected.

The human being is love, and Love loves the human being.

If one loves and then loves not, this is not love. Love must be constant, no matter what happens.

Love is without reason.

People want different things; they are after different things. They get it. Never more than what they want.

At the root of every virtue is courage. Live in a way that you are everything and you are nothing.

If you feel the impulse to say, say it. To act on inspiration, without a particular desire, is the thing.”