Rhyme and Reason

Some days I sit here and I wonder who I’m writing for. I wonder if writing every day isn’t somehow diluting my words, my work. Initially I thought it might be beneficial, training myself like one of those hypothetical monkeys, hammering away at this modern day typewriter- eventually at some point the great work will come tumbling out, right?

I’m beginning to think that I was wrong. It’s become too scattered, too open to corruption. Like throwing dozens (hundreds, at this point) of darts at hundreds of different targets, hoping that at least one sticks. What am I trying to do? Am I trying to strike a chord? Convey meaning? Be funny?

It’s the feedback aspect that pollutes it I think. At what point do you see yourself turn away from writing for yourself and towards writing for others? I would argue that this sea-change occurs precisely at the point where you begin to feel an obligation to an audience, imagined or otherwise. The point where you desire the reaction of an audience more than you desire the release writing affords.

Keeping a journal, I never felt pressured to fill each page, to summarize each day and sign my name. It isn’t the same here, it can’t be.

The birth of these thoughts and my need to excise them can be traced back in a linear fashion to two things: Discovering, then reading, my little sister’s blog; and working my way through Sherry Turkle’s book “Alone Together”.

This is what I was thinking, sifting through my sisters wildly disjointed, chaotic and insightful words while simultaneously perusing the pages of a book about the perils of technology and our feedback culture: Hilary (the sister) wasn’t writing for anyone. I never knew she had this blog, not one entry had a comment and so I assume few others know of it either. She was writing for writing’s sake. Some posts are so obscure that I don’t even know what they describe, what they refer to. But they’re deeply engrossing nonetheless, they encapsulate her so perfectly.

As for Ms. Turkle, the fantastic researcher with a delightful last name, she has built a book explaining word by word what technology does to us while we think it’s working for us. The eternal feedback loop.

At the intersection of these two worlds, the words written by these two women, my mind started retracing its steps. Why did I start this blog?

To write.

I felt like there was a part of myself that was overflowing. In the first post I ever published here, I said:

I found I was getting twitchy, tetchy, without someplace to write. I need somewhere to hold the extra bits of me that won’t fit into snarky emails and hastily written texts…

By sitting down each morning and forcing myself to write – although forcing isn’t quite the right word- am I losing something? Does the quality get lost within the desire for quantity? Am I turning myself into a sort of 24 Hour Fox News channel where the pressure of writing something means that every day I churn out words words words that don’t in fact mean, anything?

How much can be said about a misunderstanding with an online retailer? How many times can I re-tread the worn trope of celebrity worship?

I know that in navigating this terrain, it’s important to remember that life doesn’t exist in a vacuum but it also can’t flourish in an environment so overstimulated, over-fertilized, over-harvested.

I’ll become barren, nutritionally void.

I don’t know what this means. Perhaps it means fewer words and more meaning behind them. Perhaps it means nothing. The truth is probably somewhere in between.

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Drinking All The Words

Hello my darlings, have a seat. We need to talk. About THIS.

 

I’m going to give you a moment, and then – fair warning!- I’m going to start typing in all caps.

IT’S A TYPEWRITER THAT TYPES DRINKS!! 

!!

IT TURNS WORDS INTO COCKTAILS! YOU COULD LITERALLY DRINK YOUR OWN NAME! OR ANY OTHER WORD YOU CAN THINK OF!

I need this. I NEED THIS!

EDITED TO ADD: My mind is still blown, I’m reeling from the possibilities. Imagine being able to drink the lyrics of your favorite song! To type someone a love letter and then consume it! To choke on the incongruous words of Plath or Ondaatje!

Or, as BetterThingsToDo noted, in the Comment of the Day: You could slowly sip a “fuckery cocktail”. Oh my. This changes everything. 

So Efficient

                

                                             Ganesha, by The Wheat Field

Last night, as I often do,  I took a book to bed with me (I got a sweet stack from the library this week. As my teens would say, SWAG!) and while I was hungrily devouring the words of a certain Ms Sherry Turkle, I accidentally fell asleep. It was pretty early and as such, I still wearing my clothes (I’ve been extra tired lately, which usually means it’s time for a blood test and more medication but that, in turn, means I have to remember to get a blood test and pick up more medication, which is next to impossible because as my energy goes so does my memory and at this point even writing things on my hands doesn’t work. Can I have a wife please?)

Anyway, so I woke up this morning a foggy, groggy mess, book jabbing into my spine, still wearing clothing (and makeup) from last night and guys? I feel SO efficient! I just knocked one step off of my morning routine! We should all start doing this! Let’s just eliminate pajamas altogether, sleep in our next-day outfits and embrace our world of rumpled, drool-stained fashion choices.

This is the future!

Also today, (fittingly, given the above intro) I’m going to try and wrap up loose ends on the waking up early/Ayurveda debacle. In case you’re new here, it’s a constant (and boring to read?) mission of mine to wake up early, but a number of factors collude daily to prevent this from happening, including but not limited to: my torrid love affair with sleep, a job that doesn’t begin till 1pm, chronic low energy and a long and celebrated history of hating mornings.

When we last left off in this exercise of navel-gazing I was going to try and stick a little closer to the schedule dictated by Ayurveda and embrace the designated morning schedule for my Vata-type. Do I sound like I’m talking gibberish? Only half-true. Maybe I should back up a bit.

Ayurveda (pronounced Ae-yur-vayda) is a system that uses the principles of nature, to help maintain a state of emotional and physical health by keeping a person’s body, mind and spirit in  balance. it’s thought to have originated in India 5000 years ago and identifies most people as one of three Doshas or mind-body types: Kapha, Pitta or Vata, or some combination of the three.

You can read more about it and see what Dosha you are, here.

I used to eye-roll about stuff like this because it seems a little like astrology- if you read enough characteristics, you’re sure to identify with some of them (“Wow, I am stubborn- oh man, what a Capricorn!”).

But when my friend Chloe started talking about this and then made me take the quiz I became obsessed and read tons about it and did research into it, and gradually it started making sense.

One of the main reasons I’m a fan is the fact that Ayurveda specifically allows for different diets, schedules, and care for different mind-body types. And- YES!

This is one of the most ridiculous things about diets and the medical community in general, we presume that every single human body processes food, stress and environment in the same way. And we don’t.

This is why you see skinny people eat a ton and not gain weight. This is why extreme heat makes some slow and sweet, while it makes me want to rip someone’s head off and suffocate it deep in the depths of my sweaty armpits because AM I IN HELL?! DON’T YOU DARE TOUCH ME!

We can’t approach every body in the same way guys, we are all unique- special snowflakes.

You heard it here first.

SO. I am Vata. Vata people are dry, light and quick. Easily distracted, they benefit greatly from routine because it grounds them, but Vata people are also the most likely to resist routine because they are flighty and easily distracted (SQUIRREL!) .

In the ideal situation according to Ayurveda, my days would look like this:

6:30 am- Wake up. Neti Pot. Full body coconut oil massage, a series of sun salutations.

Throughout the day: Eat warm, heavy, spicy foods to ground my flighty nature. Drink hot water. Avoid things with caffeine, foods with bitter/astringent tastes, or cold foods/drinks as they aggravate Vata.

10:00pm- Bedtime. Coconut oil foot massage. Sleep on my back.

For a Kapha and Pita person, this routine would be totally different, from wake up times, to the type of oil to use for the massage, to which way to sleep. I like having this structure,  it makes sense to me and it also explains why different people do so well with different diets and schedules.

My Father-In-Law recently started an Atkins-type diet to reduce his blood sugar and lose weight. The diet basically consists of eliminating carbohydrates and starches, and eating more red meats, fats etc. This is working incredibly for him. His cholesterol is down, he looks like he’s lost 1/2 his total body weight and he says he has more energy too. He’s a huge champion for his diet and I am also a huge champion for his diet but it would never work for me.

He laughs at Ayurveda but, I suspect he’s a Pita that had a severe Kapha imbalance (too much slow, heavy, moist foods) and this was making him slow and thick and heavy. He’s eliminated Kapha-causing foods and so his natural Pita state is prevailing and he is becoming balanced again.

But, conversely, if I were to eliminate those same foods, and eat tons of red meat, deprive myself of heavy, slowly digested foods like complex carbohydrates, I would become even more flaky and light, my Vata would go even MORE out of balance and I would go insane and end up homeless or getting arrested for stuffing someone’s decapitated head into my armpit.

See? It all makes sense!

Anyway this has been a unnecessarily long-winded post about Ayurveda, when all I needed to say was that I am still not getting up early.

BUT, while I was looking through my archives I realized something funny. Most of my daily posts, the big text ones, are published between 12:00pm-1:00pm. And I started thinking about why, and I finally realized it’s because I usually wake up at 10am, do all my massaging and neti potting and get my coffee and sit down to write at 10:30-11:00 and then have a post finished up by 12/1.

Guys, I DO have a routine! It’s just running about four hours later than I want it to be!

This makes me feel good. Does it make you feel I’m crazy?

(RELATED: How do we feel about the “read more” breaks…would it be easier to have the whole post on the front page, or is it nice to be able to skip it when you don’t want to read the whole thing and are just checking in to see if I’ve posted more embarrassing glamour photos?)