Here are 10 things I thought were worth sharing this week:
“Artists must be allowed to go through bad periods! They must be allowed to do bad work! They must be allowed to get in a mess! They must be allowed to have dud experiments! They must also be allowed to have periods where they repeat themselves in a rather aimless, fruitless way before they can pick up and go on.”
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about creative propagation: I wrote about watching Meg perform cactus surgery and what we do with the thing that sticks out about our work.
I seem to be revisiting my teenage years of wanting to be a philosophy major: I’ve been reading Seneca’s Letters from a Stoic, Nietzsche’s The Birth of Tragedy, and researching Artistotle’s “The Doctrine of the Mean,” which I think I might make into a zine for Tuesday’s letter. (A Mean Zine?) All this reading is feeding into my theory of creative tensions.
Jessa Crispin on how the “superhero entertainment system” not only creates a lot of not-so-good work, it creates a not-so-great audience. (Bill Hader: “I remember going to a movie once and being, like, ‘Why are we going to this?,’ and this guy I was seeing the movie with goes, ‘Well, we’ve got to be part of the conversation,’ and I was, like, ‘No. I don’t want to be a part of a f***ing conversation.’”)
I thought a lot about the re-packaging of old properties and the selling of nostalgia when I read an advance copy of Box Brown’s book, The He-Man Effect: How American Toymakers Sold You Your Childhood. I think it’s Box’s best book and nonfiction comics at its finest: Well-researched, perfectly paced, clean lines, fun drawings. A+.
A Van Gogh painting gets renamed thanks to a chef/painter. (Thanks to reader Mary for this one!)
Summer is right around the corner, and I’m dreaming of escape. During the pandemic, I got really into castaways and people lost at sea and bonafide hermits and the lady who lived in a cave for 500 days. (A gentle reminder for myself and all of us: instead of going to those extremes, you could just keep a sabbath.)
“The fact is that anybody who has survived his childhood has enough information about life to last him the rest of his days.”
As I predicted last week, the owlets have fledged!!
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"Some vegetarians say they won’t eat anything with a face — maybe I’ll say I won’t read anything that didn’t have a childhood."
Love this so much! I was having a discussion with a friend about AI last night--we were talking about what it means to be creative and whether AI can be creative ... we were kind of all over the place, as you might imagine. I wish I had read this quote from your 5/11 blogpost beforehand, because it gets at something I tried (and am still trying) to articulate about the role of memory and idiosyncratic experience plays in creative expression. This gets me closer.
(Also wondering if I'm interested in art created ("created") by anything that doesn't have a body.)
Bad periods are fertilizer for the good periods.