Consistency

Maybe talent isn’t everything; maybe sometimes it’s more about consistency. I wonder how many geniuses who could affect positive change on a large scale are holed up playing video games in their parents basement because they are continually struck by some new pang of curiosity.

Affection for myriad passions was what held my father back and it’s why my brothers and I grew up in a home of half built shelves, dismantled computers and a hoard of musical instruments and unrealized art projects. It’s why the home itself was ripped up and reassembled half way.

This endless pursuit of novelty may have been my father’s fatal flaw, but it is also part of what made him one of the most interesting people I’ve known. As I grow older I see more of Frank in me, and I’m not always sure how to proceed. On the one hand, I like the idea of being a Jill of all trades – it could come in handy for impending water wars, the age of automation and whatever else we have to look forward to in a post Trump era. It will certainly give me things to write about.

On the other hand, I want to move forward, I want to finish something, I want to carve out a space for myself and say, “I built that.”

I have no reason to believe anyone is reading this, save my brother, who has always been really good at supporting my passions despite their unlikely ability to generate income (thanks James!) but I keep writing. I certainly get overwhelmed by fears that I’m just participating in a futile egoic masturbation. All. The. Time. But I’m starting to think that everyone does, and that the voices that eventually break through are simply the ones that never stopped talking.

So, I guess where I’ve landed is that I’m going to keep building many shelves, but I’m also going to fill one of them someday.

XO-H

What are you afraid of? Keep going. You’re enough.

4 thoughts on “Consistency”

  1. Hi Harriet-
    It’s not just your brother! I can’t help make your blog more lucrative, but I am always up for keeping the Platonic Dialogue alive. It actually makes me feel better when I realize how ridiculous some of the Great Thinkers were (Socrates, Diogenes, Blake, a million others… )

    Building a shelf and then filling it is an extremely apt metaphor for talent. Consider that a synonym for talent is ‘capacity.’ I think of talent as a space that doesn’t necessarily get filled (generally for political reasons.) I don’t find this particularly tragic, since there is also a kind of reality-reference-loop between Art (representation) and political action (our ‘real’ lives). As a great man (poet Amiri Baraka) put it “none of this was material without jobs, cars, women… Nothing existed separate from that” (I made up that quote, because I couldn’t find it. But he pretty much meant exactly that in reference to his poetry at the time.)

    That’s the best I have on the subject for the moment. What am I afraid of? I am still afraid of:
    Getting beat up by scary dudes (seriously)
    Missing out on radical lifestyle changes I could be doing that would make it all soo much easier (seriously)
    That our social and political institutions are so deeply rooted that they will only ever condemn us to live in the shadows of a set of laws nobody in particular believes in (seriously)

    On a personal note, I found that my own creativity flourished when I started writing about pop culture. It forced me to slow down and really research what I was writing in a way that more abstract philosophy never quite did- films are glued to a time and place, actors, casts, etc. and combine that with the fact that practically everybody has seen certain films (or at least memes of them) and you can imagine why the genre (film criticism) is appealing.

    All the best, Carl

    Liked by 1 person

    1. PS
      So I think a cheerful question would be, as an adult, what movies do you enjoy?

      I recently rewatched Kangaroo Jack and it was an emotional tour de force

      Liked by 1 person

    2. We for sure share that last fear, yikes! Also thank you for the invitation to view talent as capacity – that really resonates with me; historically I’ve been immobilized by a fear of lacking talent, but if I were to view talent as more of an empty space of possibility – not something you possess or lack but something loved into being, I think action would follow with less resistance.

      As for movies, I have to be honest, I don’t watch too many! No titles really come to mind but I tend to like somewhat boring movies about ordinary people doing ordinary things that are very dialogue driven and capture the hilarity of the beauty and sadness of life. Any recommendations?

      Like

      1. Liking ‘boring things’ sounds kind of zen. I guess the payoff is that you the viewer get to do more work in drawing connections. I would almost say movies like that have a ‘literary’ quality. Or something. There are Indie directors who mine that territory purposefully. I really enjoyed ‘Coffee and Cigarettes’ (Jim Jarmusch. ) It kind of loses some of its charm on multiple views, but the acting is fantastic (each scene involves two characters having a ‘mundane’ conversation over coffee and cigarettes. ) the whole thing is kind of a cult classic. Other movies that spring to mind: Local Hero, Adaptation, Return to Sender, the Bloodline Netflix series, and then there are like a million ‘classic’ movies by famous directors that cater to aristocratic tastes (pretty much any Kurosawa, Fellini, etc. )

        Liked by 1 person

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