Words I Needed Last Week 12/11
You are born alone. You die alone.
Words I saved, read, wrote down, and savored last week. From the space in between life and death, to measuring what matters, to my personal favorite from Charles Bukowski, to stalking your calling, to absorbing everything.
I made a short to accompany “air and light and time and space” by Bukowski.
I hope you enjoy it!
Happy Monday, Friends.
You are born alone. You die alone. The value of the space in between is trust and love.”
How did it feel to write and publish this? Did it make me feel alive, both intellectually and somatically? Did it feel like something no one else but me could have created? Did it feel true to who I am, and who I’m becoming? Did the content of this writing matter to the deepest parts of me, beneath all of the cultural stories about who I think I should be and what I should do?”
How did people respond? Did I strike an emotional nerve? This goes beyond easy, legible metrics like pageviews or social media likes, or even comments, which are at best hazy approximations of external resonance. It’s about looking for signals that something genuinely MATTERED to one or more humans, and elicited a response that’s out of proportion with the average digital interaction. Lots of likes is an okay-ish signal. Lots of comments is a clearer signal. A small handful of comments or private replies from people saying they’ve never felt so seen or understood by a piece of writing – that’s the kind of thing I’m trying to discern and quantify here.
Understanding these two metrics matters more than anything I’d find in a traditional analytics dashboard. What I’m optimizing for isn’t growth, certainty, or control. It’s not the maximization of short-term revenue, reach, or influence. Instead, I’m chasing connection – both with myself and with others. I’m trying to design an infinite game, where I spend my days working on things that bring me alive, hence the internal resonance score, and connecting with a relatively small handful of true fans, hence the external resonance score.
—Rob Hardy, “Measuring What Matters”
“— you know, I've either had a family, a job, something
has always been in the
I've sold my house, I've found this
place, a large studio, you should see the space and
for the first time in my life I'm going to have a place and
the time to
no baby, if you're going to create
you're going to create whether you work
16 hours a day in a coal mine
you're going to create in a small room with 3 children
while you're on
you're going to create with part of your mind and your
you're going to create blind
you're going to create with a cat crawling up your
the whole city trembles in earthquakes, bombardment,
flood and fire.
baby, air and light and time and space
have nothing to do with it
and don't create anything
except maybe a longer life to find
—Charles Bukowski, “Air and Light and Time and Space”
**Everything, even the most beautiful things, normalize. Creative Muscle isn’t built in the most aesthetic place with the newest equipment and unlimited time/budget. It’s built under pressure, with practice, using whatever you have, however you can. regardless of heights reached, awards won, or followers gained, everyone will eventually regress back to their mean. Waiting for the perfect time, setting, or lightning strike of inspiration will only lead to atrophy.
So make the shit you want to make.
Need to make.
“The thing is to stalk your calling in a certain skilled and supple way, to locate the most tender and live spot and plug into that pulse. This is yielding, not fighting.”
—Annie Dillard, “Teaching a Stone to Talk”
“I think the real question is, “What if I have gifts and abilities and in this lifetime I never find the courage to use them?” That is the real question, the real tragedy.”
—Julia Cameron, “Vein of Gold”
“An endeavor achieved without delay, wrong turnings, occasional blank walls and a vein of self-doubt running through all, leading eventually to some degree of heart-break is a thing of the moment, a mere bagatelle, and often neither use nor ornament. It will be scanned for a moment and put aside. What is worthwhile carries the struggle of the maker written within it, but wrought into the shape of an earned understanding.”
“Watch your life as if it were a film. Absorb everything. What you see, hear, and feel will stamp every alphabet of your work.”
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