I’m a knot of nerves and trying to be patient. I’m oscillating between doing things to take care of myself and giving myself slack from doing anything at all. I’ve been reading a bunch of advice on coping and this suggestion from clinical psychologist Darcy Lockman has been extremely appealing: “Lower the bar. Now, look at that bar, and lower it again.”
There’s that old adage “perfect is the enemy of good” but to be honest, I’ve never been quite good at adhering to it. I feel like I have to maximize every second of my time, that if something is worth doing, then it’s worth doing “well.” Whatever “well” means. If I go for a walk, it should be at least half an hour and I should squeeze in an errand while I’m out. If I work out, I must do so for a full hour, otherwise it’s not worth it. If I can’t sit down and write a substantial number of words in one go, I don’t sit down to write at all.
Perfect is also the enemy of consistency. Semi-functioning under less than ideal conditions has been the theme for many years, but this year in particular. In the long run, consistency is more important than getting things 100% right.
Lately, I’ve really tried to take this to heart. I’ve never been into yoga, but I started doing just 10-20 minute Youtube videos (with Adriene, who else?) a few weeks ago just to help me stretch more consistently. I didn’t jump to the hour-long videos because part of me knew that doing so would prompt me to banish my yoga mat after that first session. I’ve been writing again, but completely for fun and unrelated to any of my longer projects. I go on walks, even if they’re just around the neighborhood for ten minutes, so I can catch some sun before the sun sets at 4:30pm.
I’m writing this newsletter, even though it’s not going to be particularly long or as substantive as past issues, because something is better than nothing.
Take care of yourselves. Lower the bar.
- If you’re doing any form of National Novel Writing Month, here are four writers on how to get the most out of the challenge. Also hats off for attempting NaNoWriMo this year of all years!
- “How Can We Pay for Creativity in the Digital Age?” by Hua Hsu
- A collection of websites, tools, and platforms for connecting, co-creating, exploring together online
- Chen Chen On Becoming a Pop Star, I Mean, a Poet: “To write home in a poem, like a poem could be a home—is this happy or sad? Strange yet not uncommon, to weep with and into joy. A form of power, a kind of language: to weep and disobey silence.”
Recent reads & other media
I started Brandon Taylor’s Real Life which follows a Black, queer man as he works towards a biochem degree in the Midwest. I’ve been finding it hard to focus on it at the moment but I’ll leave you with this passage, which feels particularly relevant:
She hates him because he works, but he works only so that people might not hate him and might not rescind his place in the world. He works only so that he might get by in life on whatever he can muster. None of it will save him, he sees now. None of it can save him.
To round out Halloween weekend, I watched The Witches (1990) with a friend, which has some truly bonkers and terrifying puppetry, and Scream with E. I legit screamed six times in the first fifteen minutes and it took me a second to realize that Jughead’s dad is in this movie. I also watched A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood which stars Tom Hanks as Mister Rogers and Matthew Rhys as Lloyd Vogel, a cynical journalist whose life is changed while profiling Rogers. Based on a true story, it could’ve easily been too sentimental and trite, but it uses a clever framing device and I was really moved by its earnestness and of course, Mister Rogers’ wisdom: “Anything that’s human is mentionable, and anything that is mentionable can be more manageable.”
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~ meme myself and i ~
Losing my shit over medieval animal art. How all of my online therapy sessions start. Imagine being chased by someone wearing Doc Martens. You expect me to retain what I read? Oh, to be an omurice bear. How “AM” I??