Margaret Atwood: ‘If I waited for perfection, I would never write a word.’

“If I waited for perfection, I would never write a word.” ― Margaret Atwood

“If I waited for perfection, I would never write a word.”

Margaret Atwood

Perfection is the antithesis of inspiration; it prevents you from getting started. If you’re struggling to get started, do it badly.

Advertisements

How to unthink

via giphy

Knowledge can be a hindrance. The more we know, the more likely we’re to hesitate in times of execution.

So the overthinking basketball player misses a wide open layup, the tennis player misses an easy return, or the painter or writer can’t seem to get their inspiration to convert on a blank canvas.

Stalling is a symptom of facing the resistance. When we try too hard to be perfect, we may do nothing at all.

So how can we stem the tide of excess contemplation?

One of the ways to think less author Flann O’Brien once said was to act “calculatedly stupid” and to enjoy what we’re doing. As Vincent Van Gogh put it: “Just slap anything on when you see a blank canvas staring you in the face like some imbecile.”

We are at our best when we’re relaxed and instinctive, free from the chaos of the monkey mind.

Unthinking is the ability to apply years of learning at the crucial moment by removing your thinking self from the equation. Its power is not confined to sport: actors and musicians know about it too, and are apt to say that their best work happens in a kind of trance.

So do the work and let go, let God. Let inspiration be free-floating perspiration.

Read Non cogito, ergo sum

Support my blog

Your support goes a long way: for every contributed dollar, I can keep the blog running and continue to provide you interesting links.

$3.00

Newsletter: We crave irreality

giphy (10).gif
via giphy

Give the drummer some! Below are some interesting reads in creativity, culture, and tech from this week. Listen to the track ‘Glue’ from Belfast-based electronica duo Bicep after the jump.

web gems

    1. The actor turned painter/sculptor, Jim Carrey, makes art as a form of catharsis in order to bring some color to his life. His work is impressive. As he puts it in the video, “artists make models of their inner life.” Watch Jim Carrey: I Need color.
    2. “Museums shouldn’t be trending! They should set trends,” says the former Met director Philippe de Montebello. Great read on How the Metropolitan Museum of Art Can Reclaim Its Glory in the age of cell phone screen irreality.
    3. “Analysts warned of several metric tons of dopamine and cortisol careening through the global economy.” This business piece made me laugh.
    4. The internet seems to be part of the air, ubiquitous and invisible. But what if you could get closer to the servers and cooling fans and take a listen? Explore What The Internet Sounds Like.
    5. Facebook is surveillance, and we give Big Brother the benefit of the doubt in selling our information to marketers in exchange for the ease of communication with so-called ‘friends.’ Thoughts?

https://wellsbaum.blog/2017/08/05/hooked-on-facebook/

Thought of the week

“Remember our rule of thumb: The more scared we are of a work or calling, the more sure we can be that we have to do it.” — Steven Pressfield, The War Of Art

New track on loop

Bicep – Glue

Digging in the crates

Bullion – Caroline, No

Thanks for reading. Have a great weekend!

Wells Baum (@bombtune)


This is my daily collection of interesting reads and new music. I spend a lot of time digging the web for cool stuff and remixing them here. If you dig the blog, please consider making a donation or buying a book. A cup of coffee to helping out with hosting goes a long way.

Donate with PayPal

ORGANIC

Jim Carrey: I Need color

giphy (6)

What does making art tell us about ourselves?

For actor Jim Carrey, making art was a vocation that chose him. One New York winter, he felt compelled to bring color to his life, so he painted it out. As he puts it in the video, “artists make models of their inner life.”

For Carrey, art has become a form of catharsis. He also delves into sculpture, learning about himself through clay molding.

Whether it’s in the studio or on stage, creative diversions seem to be a form of self-healing for Jim Carrey. Perhaps it is the playful state of mind is what puts us at peace.  Uniqueness can be our moral compass.

“People that are different have a shot at being original.”

The internet could save your life

jj-ying-215319.jpg

The internet could save your life because it allows you to skip the process of being picked. Anyone can be an author, musician, photographer without waiting to partner up with a label or a distributor.

Standing out in a sea of DIY artists is the real challenge. Ryan Holiday argues that most people should not publish a book. But why not?

The internet encourages possibility and weirdness.

Your work, even if you’re a so-called ‘amafessional,’ is doing nothing to get in the way of die-hard professionals who make a living off their art. Just because your creations don’t belong in the Louvre shouldn’t hold you back from showing others what you made. The market generally favors the marketing budgets anyway.

Mediocrity never hurt anybody. If you really want to go pro, you’ll spend the extra time to improve and seek the feedback that makes you better. Everything good comes from practice, trial and error, allowing your creativity to pour and shimmer.

Remember, Van Gogh only sold one painting in his lifetime, and to his brother. With a leap of faith, casual work can turn into your most important work and stand the test of time.

Newsletter: Take the stairs 👣

source (3)
via kirun

Happy Friday! Below are some of the interesting reads in creativity, culture, and tech I recently discovered. Composer Kara-Lis Coverdale ‘Grafts’ is this tune of the week.

web gems

1. 105-year-old Japanese doctor Shigeaki Hinohara shared his six tips for a healthy life before he passed away in July.

‘6 tips for a healthy life’ (in summary):

  1. Retire late (very late)
  2. Watch your weight
  3. Have fun
  4. Share what you know
  5. Don’t worry about material possessions
  6. Take the stairs

2. Perhaps one of the biggest issues of our time is the ability to stay focused in the age of distraction. NPR’s Hidden Brain interviews computer scientist Cal Newport on the value of deep work.

3. Can we improve our craft over time? The Japanese artist Katsushika Hokusai(1760-1849) seemed to think so. Read his story about the importance of persistence. 🌊

4. External reflection is what philosopher and sociologist Charles Horton Cooley called ‘The Looking Glass Self’ theory. “I imagine your mind, and especially what your mind thinks about my mind, and what your mind thinks about what my mind thinks about your mind.” Watch Jason Silva break it down.

5. I’m reading 1984 even though today’s politics and culture – the fusion of controlled democracy combined with screen culture — seem to be more like Brave New World. Writes Shadi Hamid: “we are now condemned to live in exciting times.”

Thought of the week

“Hard choices, easy life. Easy choices, hard life.” — Jerzy Gregorek

New track on loop

Kara-Lis Coverdale – Grafts

Digging in the crates

Calibre – Manchester Nights

Thanks for reading. Have a great weekend!

Wells Baum (@bombtune)


This is my daily collection of interesting reads and new music. I spend a lot of time digging the web for cool stuff and remixing them here. If you dig the blog, please consider making a donation or buying a book. A cup of coffee to helping out with hosting goes a long way.

Donate with PayPal

ORGANIC

‘This is not an apple’

fullsizeoutput_c59-768x1075.jpeg
Ceci n’est pas une pomme by Réne Magritte (1964)

You can go ahead and try to eat this apple. But the representation of the apple is pure fiction; you can’t eat it. It is a mere rendering of something you could consume. Like a map, it displays territory that exists only in mind.

Nonetheless, the picture provokes all the emotions that go in eating a real apple: the unpeeled texture, the juiciness, and sugary smell.

The first taste is always with your eyes. The imagination recasts the image into a vicarious eating experience that triggers your hunger.

Pictures inherently lie just as the lines fabricate the authenticity of lines of territory on a map. What it is is the robust interpretation of the present in the fairytale of the movie-making mind. The dimension is here and now, neurologically tangible, but you still can’t touch it.

The marketing is only as good as what you tell yourself.

 

A studio state of mind 

Photo by Wells Baum

The studio satisfies the residue of attention.

It is a room with a view, one that faces up to the resistance, and compels us to push on with god-willing persistence.

But the studio can be anywhere. It is mobile, a canvass in hand, the imagination at play, anything that cultivates attention for periods at a time.

Deep work requires periods of focus and habitual disconnection.

We develop ideas by doing something — taking deliberate breaks — to discover new ideas by doing nothing.

Discovery begs to be lived out, beyond the studio and into the open space.

The value of making up stuff

Art is what we do with our extra time. It is more leisure than life. “Art is everything you don’t have to do,” as Brian Eno put it.

The starving artist is compelled to have a day job. We can’t make art without the backbone of cash. 

However, the cashless value of writing a poem, painting a picture, or photographing the trees could save your life. 

It is in making up stuff we find meaning. The canvass enhances our lives, inspires us to express ourselves. That freedom can be liberating. 

Writes Louis Menand in his latest New Yorker piece entitled Can Poetry Change Your Life?

“But I got the same painful pleasure out of writing prose that I did out of writing poetry—the pleasure of trying to put the right words in the right order. And I took away from my experience with poetry something else. I understood that the reason people write poems is the reason people write. They have something to say.”

Art translates life. It takes us places. We need stories and memes in order to keep the everyday exciting. 

Satisfaction in black and white

Processed with VSCO with kx4 preset
Photo by Wells Baum

Black and white satisfy the color of consciousness. The yin and yang create space in between the simulation of chaos.

Excessive stimulation dulls the senses and taints the routine.

“The best way to get to know a place is to be bored there, because the curious mind will begin to probe the surrounding space.”

— Václav Cílek

We compel ourselves to see the subtleties, to bring extra light to the obvious.

The simpler the palette, the more conspicuous the texture.

All Photos by Wells Baum

Newsletter: Reality is too sober

giphy (36)
A floating cloud speaker

Below are some interesting reads I collected throughout the week about arts & culture, philosophy & productivity, social media & tech. Peep the new tune from Four Tet after the jump.

web gems

  1. “I wish I had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.” The Top five regrets of the dying are essential lessons for those looking to reprioritize their life.

  2. We were in high spirits the night until we had to shed the release of toxins the morning after. To free ourselves from the grip of a hangover, we mourn like blues musicians, “The blues is played to get rid of the blues,” and then we poison ourselves all over again. Reality is too sober.

  3. How do we measure GDP when robots and AI take all the jobs? “The computers are not in the productivity statistics precisely because they are so powerful.” Productivity growth is irrelevant.

  4. How do we develop better intuition? Take a page from chemists. Keep tabs on the obvious and learn from other fields and disciplines. As scientist Robert Oppenheimer once put it: “Tea is where we explain to each other what we don’t understand.”

  5. Give the drummer some: Watch birds modify sticks and seedpods to make homemade drums. Their beats “could be a clue to understanding the evolution of music.”

New Track on loop

Four Tet Two  Thousand And Seventeen

Digging in the crates

Red Astaire – Love to Angie

Thought of the week

“Never trust the artist. Trust the tale.” – D. H. Lawrence

Thanks for reading. Have a great weekend!

Wells Baum (@bombtune)


This is my daily collection of interesting reads and new music. I spend a lot of time digging the web for cool stuff and remixing them here. If you dig the blog, please consider making a donation or buying a book. A cup of coffee to helping out with hosting goes a long way.

Donate with PayPal

ORGANIC

Combine your disciplines 

Photo by Wells Baum
Do you want to be the thinker or the doer, the unifier or the diversifier, the critic or the artist?

There’s no shame in preferring one versus the other. Someone has to originate and birth a concept, and someone else has to test it and give it light.

But what if you combined disciplines

With a little moxie, the observer and the maker can become one of the same: a scientist.