A friend was telling me this week what strange pleasure she derives from ripping out her knitting and starting over. It's so easy to become entrenched in doing something just because you've done a certain amount already. But there's a strange elation in liberating yourself from it when you just know it's not working; something victorious about opting out and starting over. Because you know it's going to be better.
But this is at odds with the continual multitasking routine most of us juggle. I find myself wishing instead for prolonged concentration. I remember those darkroom days when I worked on a single print for hours, dodging and burning for a second's difference and weighing the results. And I think about Christopher Pratt; a documentary where he burned his prints because they weren't good enough, which seemed like a tragedy and I thought, I would take his rejects! But he knew better.
Reading the current Acne Paper, I found myself envious of the traditional trades written about because they implied an inherent slowness. And I realized that a lot of the businesses, products, artwork I love have an implied tempo too. And that tempo is steady but slow. And all this week, I've rejected nearly everything I've written. I've made myself rewrite and edit much more than usual. I've read everything out loud and found flaws in the cadence and toiled over words and syllables for hours. And I'm really into it.
And I feel like my industry, digital media, doesn't leave much room for this studied care. We publish stories and fix them on the spot, we get things out the door, we glorify the go-go-go. And that's all fine. But, in my own time, in my own writing and reading and even conversations, I want to let go of that and live in this other rhythm. It's my heartbeat when I'm sitting in a coffee shop and look up from a book, pausing to take an idea. It's the rhythm when I read Yeats out loud, or walk with gentle purpose. It's the tide coming in, fat rain falling. It's the sand through my fingers and the stone I suck on. It's the silence between the beats and the beats themselves.
That's what I'll be doing this weekend.
Image, my own. More here.