“That said, deciding to avoid other people does not necessarily equate with having no desire whatsoever for company; it may simply reflect a dissatisfaction with what—or who—is available. Cynics are, in the end, only idealists with awkwardly high standards. In Chamfort’s words, ‘It is sometimes said of a man who lives alone that he does not like society. This is like saying of a man that he does not like going for walks because he is not fond of walking at night in the forêt de Bondy.”
Grace Lee is an Australian illustrator living in Japan. She went over as a graphic designer and found it hard to find work but then notic that illustration was everywhere, from utility bills to corporate branding. So she changed tactics and pulled out her textas. I particually love her little drawing of Japanese homes and shop fronts.
I'm a perfectionist. Always have been. I was the sort of child who lined my books up by spine length, and then colour order. When drawing, I would avoid sketching people because when I tried to draw in the eyes it was difficult to get the size and shape looking the same for both. But the focus of my perfection has changed over time. I don't mind messiness so much and my drawings are so imperfect they are almost childlike. My perfectionism has sort of imploded and rooted itself to the more heavier things in my life - relationships, career paths, goals, etc. Which can be a powerful thing and fuel ambition. But it can also put one under a lot pressure. It can corner you. It may even discourage you from even starting something because of fear of it being imperfect. It took me years to start a blog because of this, and I really had to push myself to do so. Heck, I still continue to push myself to do so! I spend too much time fiddling over the minor details here and not enough time just publishing what I first set out to do. And this is blogging, where anything and everything flies! "Perfectionism is the voice of the oppressor, the enemy of the people. It will keep you cramped and insane your whole life, and it is the main obstacle between you and your shitty first draft. I think perfectionism is based on the obsessive believe that if you run carefully enough, hitting each stepping-stone just right, you won't have to die. The truth is that you will die anyway and that a lot of people who aren't even looking at their feet are going to do a whole lot better than you, and have a lot more fun while they're doing it."
- Annie Lamott, Bird by Bird.
You can't be a master of something new to you. Becoming good at anything takes time and a ton of practice, and won't be without a few stuff ups along the way. I think that writing is the platform for imperfection - it's those who embrace the honestly and grittiness of imperfection that are on the right path. Writing professor Susan Shapiro, also an author three memoirs, has her students write a three page confessional about their most humiliating secret as their first assignment - not just a humiliating story, but a humiliating secret! She says it "encourages students to shed vanity and pretension and relive an embarrassing moment that makes them look silly, fearful, fragile or naked." She nails it when she says "you can't remain removed and dignified and ace it." You need to let go a little and be more transparent, vulnerable even. Annie Lamott takes this idea of vulnerability further, and says writers should not worry about appearing sentimental, but worry about being unavailable and absent - "If something inside you is real, we will probably find it interesting, and it will probably by universal. So you must risk placing real emotion al the center of your work. Write straight into the emotional center of things. Write towards vulnerability."
This all sounds a little terrifying as I can be a pretty closed book! I think for now instead of sharing my most humiliating secret right here, I'll just take baby steps and just push publish on this post.
I want to ask myself a single question this year. What am I doing now, I mean now now, to actualize some of my wild, untended and half-formed hopes for the distant future. A lot of self-kindness and self-awareness are in order, too. And now we march forward into the fray.
Today's Sunday Life featured a story on comedienne Lena Dunham and her show GIRLS. The lady is delightfully self-deprecating and whip smart. But also a little cringeworthy (check out her Instagram), much like her character Hannah, who Dunham has created based on her real life self. She (both Hannah and Dunham) are a little too self involved and guilty of over sharing, but totally endearing at the same time.
In today's feature, Dunham talks about the show as being about coming of age right now - "People my age are the first people who grew up with instant messages and text messages and these totally new technologically mediated forms of communication, and Ritalin, and the Oprah network."
Another focus of the show is sex - "every generation thinks they invented sex," Allison Williams (Marnie) is quoted as saying. But Dunham is exploring the more grey areas of sex with the show - the weird, embarrassing and messy side of it all. Clementine Ford spoke about this earlier this week in her piece on GIRLS and "Why ugly sex is important."
I'm so glad the show cleaned up at the Golden Globes. I'm trying to not watch any of season two so I can save it all up and have a whole day of GIRLS, rather than just watching it in snippets.
Thelma & Louise is my most favourite movie. Via Jessica Stanely I came across this little gem of an article, in Vanity Fair, about the making of the movie.
I saw what was unique about it immediately. Women tended to get parts as somebody's girlfriend; this was about no one else but them. It had substance, it had a voice, and it had a great outcome, which you could never change. Their decision was courageous, to carry on the journey and not give in.
It seems the coming together of this harmonious cast, falling under the directorship of Ridley Scott, was serendipity. If just one detail had been different, if Ridley had not been convinced to take the leap and direct a "chick seriocomedy," if Geena Davis had not gone a year having her agent chasing Ridley for a part, or if Brad Pitt had not persisted after being previously rejected twice to play J.D, this movie could have turned out very differently.
This last week I celebrated my 24th birthday. I was whisked away to the Hunter Valley for an indulgent weekend of wine and cheese and sleeping in and uninterrupted reading. It was my best birthday yet. We stayed at the Longhouse - an old wool shed converted into accommodation by a group of University of Newcastle architecture students.
On the eve of Susan Sontag's 24th birthday, on January 16, 1957, the writer produced the following list.
Sontag's rules + duties for being 24:
Have better posture. Write Mother 3 times a week. Eat less. Write two hours a day minimally. Never complain publicly about Brandeis [University] or money. Teach [her toddler] David to read.
Inspired by Sontag's own list, I've created my own, taking her first rule for my own and comforted by the fact that even literary icons slouch.
My rules + duties for being 24:
Have better posture Walk/swim/bike everyday Go to bed earlier Buy less things Blog/write/journal daily Let go of things I cannot control.
Image by D.
This is our last week in our blue terrace. Our lease is up and we go away in February for six or so months, so we will spend these next couple of months living with my parents.
I get oddly attached to spaces. I can't really explain it. I don't much mind moving back home, but leaving this room makes me feel rather heavy hearted. It was the same leaving my bedroom in Mexico, even though the paint was peeling off the walls and it was damp. And in the lead up to moving out of home originally, I dreaded the moment of saying a last goodbye to my childhood bedroom much the same way you might dread saying goodbye to a lover at the airport.
Things i will miss about this house:
The shadow of the lace curtains the afternoon sun projects on to the wall.