This is a week of ennui. Is it only Wednesday? Work is steadily busy. It’s that final push before the end of the semester. Students, faculty, and staff (myself included) are working to wrap up the semester in the next couple of weeks.
I finished a short-short story yesterday and now it wants editing. Editing is my least favorite part of the creative writing process. I have a longer piece I’m working on but I’m mucking around in the muddy middle right now. I’m not riding my bike this week because the wind had been peculiarly strong.
See? It’s just kind of bleh. Nothing egregiously bad, just the boring mundane shit of another work week.
All that was abstractly floating around in my brain when I read —
“Scarano: I go back and forth on this in my writing and my relationship to my writing. I think the main burden on my writing is capitalism; it’s the main thing that keeps me from writing as much as I’d like or being a more prolific writer. I struggle w/ depression and anxiety—as many people do in our current climate—and I feel like a large percentage of it would not exist if I didn’t have to deal with capitalism, if we weren’t in that system. So much of what we need is just time to do what is important to us, and time is what is taken from us because we have no choice but to work to continue to survive. 40 hours a week plus something else sucks mentally, like it literally sucks energy from you. The challenge of sitting down and thinking, “I’m going to sit down on and do an hour or two of writing this morning,” when I just want to lie on the couch and eat a cupcake.
“So where does that leave me? Do I just beat up or criticize myself for not waking up at 4/5 am and working on my poems? Or do I have some patience and grace for myself within this very inhumane system? There are so many reasons I already feel shame and blame that I don’t want to add to it because I’m not writing as much as I think I should. The main reason I would want to make money as a writer would be so that I could quit my job and have more time to write. I’ve never been very interested in being rich or famous. Money is an access to time, which is the actual, valuable thing.”
It’s like she’s been reading my journal!
The above is from “Why Deer and Poetry Mix So Well: A Conversation with Caitlin Scarano.”
I’m not familiar with Scarano’s work, but she caught my attention. Here’s her website.
And this bit of self-revelation caught my attention as I was eating lunch and browsing the internet —
“Since the pandemic started, and for many disparate reasons, I’ve made a habit of leaning into my more obsessive tendencies, partly to dig a bit into my own personality and tastes, partly because I keep making “jokes” about how I’m interested to find out who the hell I am once the pandemic is over, but, well, who knows when that will be? I might as well try to figure out who I am now. And partly (though I hate to admit it) because I genuinely think the world is ending, so I’ve been trying to be as present as possible for the last few years, and to give myself what I want as much as possible, just in case I’m not present at all in the near future.”
That’s Leah Schnelbach writing a review of Geoff Dyer’s Zona.
And, just to follow the rule of three, here’s an excerpt from a poem I read this morning –
A short guided meditation by a thought leader
As a thought leader, I’ll be leading your thoughts in today’s guided meditation.
Think of this exercise as a form of change management. A way to move the needle on your future potential. A chance to touch base with yourself. Are you ready to take things offline? Let’s pivot.
Close your eyes. Collaborate with your breath. Action that in-and-out. Be purposeful. Be the champion of your diaphragm. Get yourself in the loop. Connect to your own best practice and really put those boots on the ground.
Whoops, I suppose this breaks the rule of three I just invoked, but the above parody of buzzword spirituality reminded me of a book I tagged for buying for work: White Utopias: The Religious Exoticism of Transformational Festivals.
“Transformational festivals, from Burning Man to Lightning in a Bottle, Bhakti Fest, and Wanderlust, are massive events that attract thousands of participants to sites around the world. In this groundbreaking book, Amanda J. Lucia shows how these festivals operate as religious institutions for “spiritual, but not religious” (SBNR) communities. Whereas previous research into SBNR practices and New Age religion has not addressed the predominantly white makeup of these communities, White Utopias examines the complicated, often contradictory relationships with race at these events, presenting an engrossing ethnography of SBNR practices. Lucia contends that participants create temporary utopias through their shared commitments to spiritual growth and human connection. But they also participate in religious exoticism by adopting Indigenous and Indic spiritualities, a practice that ultimately renders them exclusive, white utopias. Focusing on yoga’s role in disseminating SBNR values, Lucia offers new ways of comprehending transformational festivals as significant cultural phenomena.”
(100 Days of Blogging: Post 080 of 100)