With everything going on in the world over the last few years it has felt selfish to work on creative the things that I feel matter to me.
Full Show Notes: https://www.thejaymo.net/2022/03/05/301-2209-things-unfinished/
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I already wrote a whole episode for this week. About Game spaces, video games and landscape writing. Inspired by J David Osborne’s new book ‘You Pray for Dry Weather at the Sight of the Sun’. A 50 page experimental essay on life, fatherhood, connection and the video game Death Stranding. You may remember JDO from his guest episode last year. Episode 2123: The Dark Souls Method. A show about Dark Souls and Petscop.
JDO seems to be playing with, toying with, developing, a new kind of video games writing. The essay is experimental in form as well as content. Its structure and pacing is something I am deeply appreciative of and find inspiring. Reading it the other night felt like a friend had passed me a rasp. I really recommend both the book and his episode of Permanently Moved. Check ‘em out.
Anyways, so a new script now, after throwing away a complete draft. A rare occurrence, but unavoidable if you make it into the 5th year of a weekly podcast.
It hasn’t happened in a long while – in fact I looked it up September 2021 – Episode 2135 ‘This Week’s Podcast’.
Throwing 1000 words away is of course frustrating. It may never see the light of day. But once written, things cannot be unwritten. Writing things down exposes and explores a subject. It reveals blind spots. Positions or rather orientations I took with words become points of reference for future thinking.
This is why I write a diary/journal/morning pages everyday. Brain dumping whatever is front of mind. Sometimes I’ll write 500 words, other times over 1000. But every day for 20 mins I will write things that can’t be unwritten.
It is of course a practice.
To perform (an activity) or exercise (a skill) repeatedly or regularly in order to acquire, improve or maintain proficiency in it.
So what exactly is this exercise in proficiency I am working on or towards? Originally it was to learn how to write. But it has developed into the ability to plug my brain directly into my fingers. To get out of the way of myself and type as quickly as my thoughts arrive. An activity I have come to appreciate.
Back in Jan 2021 I made a show called Thinking Out Loud. Episode 2103. It was about how ideas don’t come fully formed, instead they arrive as a sequence of ideas that pour out of you, one after another. Not a flash of insight, but sequential gemination happening in a cascading instant.
The other week I spoke about the need to stay in a creative pinhole. When you stay with an idea and its energy, for as long as possible. Surf it, ride it like a great wave. Perhaps, I should have used the word cascade.
When riding that wave, I type at 55-60 words a minute. Which is about the upper limit for me. If ideas are arriving faster than this I’ll resort to new lines and bullet points to keep up. The first draft of a document may consist of paragraphs, snatches of sentences, one word lines. Single words that will unfold into complete paragraphs of their own.
Once you have the ability to type and capture ideas at the speed of thought, you don’t necessarily need uninterrupted time to write, or to produce. You just need the thoughts themselves. I’ve said before in another episode somewhere that morning pages, diary practice or whatever clears the pipe. The way British people born in a house with a water tank in the loft will run the mixer tap to clear stale water before filling a glass.
This is all very well and good of course. But why shelve the first draft? the first 1000 words? In part it was because of the blind spots that arose. Another part is just not being happy with the first draft. The effort required to re-write and fix the text in the edit outweighed by just starting again and working on something else. Dyslexic teenage me is horrified by this cavalier disregard for words. But it’s fine.
And yet, there are other kinds of words I have, and the other kinds of efforts I’ve made. Things unfinished because of the fear of finding out.
We are now in March. One sixth of the year already gone. There are big things, creative things that have been set aside and shelved. Not because I am unhappy with them. Not because these ideas don’t matter, or contain blindspots. But because they are ideas that matter to me a great deal.
With everything that’s happened in the world it has seemed selfish over the last few years to come out of that weather and work on the things that matter – to me.
I realise as this stream of consciousness episode has become an exercise in reminding myself that once again, that I must take responsibility for where I place my own attention.
The first episode of this year’s title are the first words I see whenever I open this document.
I must look away at the things I can do nothing about and toward the things I can, should and will do.
Because there are things in my life that need doing, and in January I promised myself that I would get them done.
The script above is the original script written for the episode. It may differ from what ended up in the edit.
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