Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Brian Eno Got Me Unstuck

I am sitting here at this screen, staring blankly again, about to just say screw it all and retire to bed with a pile of Batman comics. Again.

Perhaps it's because I do it for work, but blogging is more and more of chore. I do it at work all day, marinate in all types of strategies in my little carpeted pen -- then when I get home it's just bluuagh and consequently I've seen seasons one and two of 'Lost' TWICE.

This time last year it was another story entirely. Now that I'm entrenched in the community a little more, more knowledgeable in my field, I dream of drinking with real pirates, stroking sharks undersea and long journeys to distant lands where I am the one with the accent.

I feel time whistling by, second by second, and each second not spent moving toward exactly where my life would be hurts. Yes, people, I know I have a flair for the melodramatic.

I turned to the Brian Eno Oblique Strategy Generator for ideas for this post tonight. Read more at the link, but essentially Eno developed them as strategies to jog the mind -- to simulate pressure when there was none, or to release pressure when there was too much.

The card I drew read: Imagine a caterpillar moving

And I imagine myself, my trajectory through life, as a caterpillar.

I start each stage of my life all nervous and bunched up, full of potential energy. Then the head gets going, moving along one step at a time until it's as far out as it can get, and I'm covering as much ground with myself as I possibly can. Then the back starts to trundle up towards the front, building that potential energy again and covering ground the whole time ... until eventually I'm in a whole new place.

So to my head, time is standing still and the world is whizzing by, but really what's happening is my ass is just catching up. Lord knows your head can be ALL over the place, but your ass location determines where you're really at.

And that, my friends, brings me a little peace and makes me think I've earned my bedtime.

What do you do when the pace of your life frustrates you? How do you get unstuck?


At 9:14 AM, Blogger Reya Mellicker said...

I love your blog but it makes me sad to think it's frustrating for you. You do produce great posts on a regular basis ... from my vantage point, I never think "Oh that poor guy is stuck for something to write about."

Timing is everything and by that I mean that not everything has to happen chop-chop like our culture demands. Some things take more time than they're "supposed" to. Stew is awful unless it simmers a long time, same with smoked fish or many other foods. Opera singers can't really let their voices out until after they're forty! No scientist in his/her right mind would try to push through research just to get to the end. Poets read their work slowly, carefully. Speed poetry reading? Why?

Let yourself stew a little bit. Go to bed with Batman comics whenever you want, blow off the blog. You're great; believe it!

At 10:46 AM, Blogger bodo said...

she's right. you've got a good thing going. so you should just relax, and write when you feel like writing. not because you feel you have to write.

the only way to "unstick" yourself is to get out of your comfort zone. put yourself out there. it's invigorating.

the last time i felt stuck, i moved cities. the next time, i guess i'll ask for suggestions on my blog.

At 1:32 PM, Blogger Rothko said...

I'm finding myself a bit stuck these days, as well. The caterpillar analogy is a good one. I think Reya has a great point about taking one's time. I find my mind racing with ideas, and then I quickly become frustrated by the time it takes to carry those ideas out. I mostly blame the Internet for this impatience. So I'm trying to unplug more and get back to reading books. It takes time, but I forgot how rewarding it can be.

At 6:40 PM, Blogger Nics said...

I'll let you know when I've figured it out. Go easy on yourself Jeff.


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