September 8, 2023
It has been a whirlwind of a month. There is literally no other word for it. Maybe ‘rollercoaster’.
I’ve been seeking inspiration everywhere, but it’s the disturbed, frantic kind of search. I usually get like this when I’m not excited by whatever I’m doing at the moment. On regular days, I’d look appreciate these projects for what they are: well-designed, well-thought out, well-intentioned. But lately, I’ve been approaching them with a sort of raw hunger that I recognise comes from the lack of… something. I think it’s the lack of play. And it does feel like my self-actualisation tank is running on empty. What fills it up is putting care, effort and attention towards any tangible thing that I can look back on and say, “hey, I made that”. The peace I’d made with many things— the economy being the way it is, the compromises I need to make, the temporary prioritisation of work over play—has been slowly unravelling. It’s all very frustrating.
Possibly stemming from all that: I’ve decided to trial a pilot project where I help people get unstuck on their writing. I miss the process of going over someone’s draft with a fine tooth comb and helping them achieve clarity and a nice flow. I think more people should write who don’t, and I’m hoping I can find those people through this exercise. More here.
I finally read Cleopatra and Frankenstein. I… did not like it very much. It felt pretentious and stuck-up even as it dealt with some pretty harrowing topics. It might make for great TV, but it did not make for the kind of book I would 100% love. That said, I read it in two days, so there must’ve been something about it that I liked. I think it’s the writing, because I loved that almost as much as I loved Hanya Yanagihara’s in A Little Life.
I now have over 600 subscribers to my newsletter. Six Hundred! And a handful of them are paying for my writing! I try to imagine that many people packed into one of my favourite bookstores, intently listening to what I have to say, and that just makes the number even more overwhelming.
I’m all caught up on Only Murders in the Building, patiently waiting for new episodes to come out each week. It’s nice that they’ve managed to move the story along despite being three seasons in and still keeping the crux of the show—three mismatched friends make a podcast—the same familiar one. Parallelly, I’ve started watching The Wheel of Time — jury’s out as of right now.
I've been thinking about agency, and how it's often confused with ambition. I've written more about it somewhere on this website.
What you can read next…
Or, breaking away from being a train running on tracks laid down by others.