You’re under no obligation to be the same person you were 5 minutes ago. - Alan Watts
I used to write a little something in these newsletters. I’m going to get back to that, starting now. It was part of why I started doing it in the first place. No one reads independent blogs anymore (don’t get me started on Medium), but inboxes seem to be places folks are okay with having people stop in and drop a few links and bit of personal perspective on them, so here I am.
I’m glad I decided to keep sending these missives. Thinking about how they’ve become a bit of a link-dump has made me reconsider how I’m taking in a lot of input, but not producing any output of value. Austin Kleon has written a few short bits on the problems of input/output with some very awesome quotes that inspired this line of thinking for me in the last couple of months.
So if all I’m doing is taking in, regardless of the quality of that input, but I never sit and digest it and figure out what it means for me in my life, my problem of input is that it ceases to have any meaning. Over the summer I took some time to skim through Deep Work by Cal Newport. I say skim because I didn’t need to be convinced that the concept of deep work is an important one, though I can see it being a useful tool for someone who needs a hand convincing management that being in meetings all day won’t help one meet deadlines. For myself, I needed the practical bits of the second half.
The tl;dr of it is that carefully curating where your time is going can help you create more value out of your time. That sounds rather like business speak, so I’ll put it like this: the less time we all spend on social media and it’s addictive content, the more energy (not just time) we have for more emotionally, physically, and wholly satisfying work of all kinds.
Pairing these two concepts together has been the work of late, which I hope to build on in the coming months now that my personal crises are fading. It’s never easy to shift your life into a new shape, but so far, it’s been definitively worth the effort.
“Worlds of Ursula K. Le Guin is a feature documentary exploring the remarkable life and legacy of the late feminist author Ursula K. Le Guin. Best known for groundbreaking science fiction and fantasy works such as A Wizard of Earthsea, The Left Hand of Darkness, and The Dispossessed, Le Guin defiantly held her ground on the margin of “respectable” literature until the sheer excellence of her work, at long last, forced the mainstream to embrace fantastic literature. Her fascinating story has never before been captured on film.”
Old friends cannot be created out of hand. Nothing can match the treasure of common memories, of trials endured together, of quarrels and reconciliations and generous emotions. — Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
“Since August 2018 I have run a social network site called Friend Camp for about 50 of my friends. I think Friend Camp is a really nice place, and my friends seem to agree that it has enriched our lives. I’d like to see more places like Friend Camp on the internet, and this document is my attempt to provide some practical guidance as to how you might run a social network site like this.”
We must be a beacon of hope, because if you tell people there’s nothing they can do, they will do worse than nothing. – Margaret Atwood
“An open source checklist of resources designed to improve your online privacy and security. Check things off to keep track as you go.”
If you are going through hell, keep going. - Winston Churchill
“It’s really unfortunate timing, because we’ve got a long year to go and I at one point had many great and luminous cooking plans for it, but they’re all cancelled now because on the afternoon of January 4th, before 2019 had really even kicked in, I ate the best thing I had or will all year or maybe ever — because what would the internet be without some unnecessary melodrama — and I threw it together from a mess of leftovers in my fridge.”
“I tell this story to reassure you that just because everything is heavy and political right now, it doesn’t mean we can’t also fight these fights on our own terms, as nerds.The Utopian qualities that made us love the web have not disappeared, even as it’s become centralized and corporate, and we can find ways to defend and express them in our work.
The important thing is to recognize that there is a fight, and a need for individual acts of creative resilience.
We have to make sure that the powerful don’t get comfortable using our tools. And we have to find ways to dismantle the surveillance economy before it becomes a poltical weapon turned against our democracy.”
“I feel, instead, a new force, latent in the black expanse beneath me. There is nothing predictable or tame about this spirit. Elemental. Androgynous. Chaotic. Not found hovering ghostlike in nature, but the actual engine that drives nature. An atavistic force, the King Kong of Despentes, King Kong theory, a pregendered wildness that we lose claim to when we enter the strict binary. Tehom, the Bible calls it: the deep.”
“I find that there’s a bit of a “let them eat cake” attitude among tech vegan boosters, because they often discount the sheer difficulty of all this stuff. (“Let them use Linux” could be a fitting refrain.) After all, they figured it out, so why can’t you? What, doesn’t everyone have a computer science degree and six years experience as a sysadmin? To be a vegan, all you have to do is stop eating animal products. To be a tech vegan, you have to join an elite guild of tech wizards and master their secret arts. And even then, you’re probably sneaking a forbidden bite of Google or Apple every now and then.”
Currently Reading: Dragons of Autumn Twilight by Tracey Hickman & Margaret Weis
Currently Listening: The Apollo 11 mission in real time
Currently Working On: Production work for the next issue of Luna Station Quarterly!