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#016 Seeing Black & Blue
Is eating concrete worth it?
Common Discourse is a free weekly briefing designed to help others (and myself) think through creativity, focus, and intentional work. It hits your inbox every Tuesday at 9:17am. If you love it, please consider sharing it with a friend.
Seeing Black & Blue
I was totally overwhelmed this time last week for a couple of reasons.
The response to this briefing was so encouraging and so many new people subscribed. I simply do not recognize the names that are signing up each day. These projects always get exciting (and scary) when you’ve reached that point.
I blasted this email off from my bedroom in DTLA in excruciating pain with a bag of ice loosely strapped to my ankle by a towel.
In my mind I’m 25 years old and amazing at skateboarding. I see myself in this video in my daydreams.
In reality, last Monday morning, I tried to ollie a 3-set extended staircase and all my weight came crashing down on a folded right ankle. (I’ve been sure to tell people I landed it sloppy the first time and tried to do it a second time more cleanly. It’s for my ego.)
I hate the doctor and all things medical in this country but I couldn’t walk and my foot was the size of a softball. I didn’t have much of a choice.
I took calls all week with both my camera and microphone off, and I had a lot of time to think about whether or not it’s really worth continuing to risk my body for some style points as I get into my mid to late twenties.
A few days before my incident, Mackenzie and I met a new friend through are.na, Emily Nabnian (I highly recommend you follow her). She’s been helping us think of new ideas to shape the future of PDA and one of her conceptual ideas surrounded skate culture.
She said, “I've always been obsessed with skate culture and the poetry of that movement, the dedication it takes, how many times you have to fall down before you master it. I think the same idea extends to love.”
It’s the poetry of anything really… Relationships, work, & general interests.
Skateboarding is so attractive because it’s not easy to do. It’s beautiful, poetic, and hard to reach but easy to admire. It takes time and practice. There are no shortcuts. And a hard enough fall will lead to you believe that maybe it’s not worth it.
There’s reward in mastering rare and/or valuable skills. Along with that, a price that comes with the amount of time, resilience, and courage it takes to get there.
Skateboarding might not be worth it to you.
So what is?
Ideas from me
I. COOKING AS A MEANS TO CREATIVITY
Everyone struggles with a different parts of the creative process. Whether it's coming up with ideas, getting the pieces in place during preparation, executing, or even shipping the creative work for people to see.
Maybe we should all cook more. Think about this...
Eating, or the end goal, is impossible without each step of the process along the way. And while the meal is truly never perfect, almost nobody cooks food without the intention of consuming it at the end.
If you want to satisfy your physical need for hunger, you'll have to work through the things you struggle with. Additionally, getting better at cooking can only happen if you (1) eat the meal and (2) let others try it so you can self-criticize in addition to receiving feedback from guests.
And if you want to get better at creative work, you'll have to do much of the same.
II. LOW BATTERY
When I can, I try to work from my computer unplugged. And when it dies, I go for a walk. That way we can both recharge at the same time. It isn’t designed to go forever and neither are you.
III. TRUE LUXURY
In the present day of information overload, the only true luxury is meaning and context. Questions like “What value does this offer?” or “How does this benefit myself and others?” have never been so important.
A quote from somebody else
Creating things isn’t necessarily about pain and sacrifice as people tend to claim, but it is often about risk, intimacy and vulnerability. If you are gung-ho confident about your creative endeavors, it is likely you are not risking anything. For me, at least, this is often a mark of boring work.
— Mike Rugnetta
Links worth sharing
🌱 A new publication highlights studios around the world and the environments in which they produce work. Work environment is everything.
📀 Go support your favorite music artists on Bandcamp instead of Spotify this week.
🪑 I’m not sure where this newsletter can go from here, but I’m very invested in Sitting Pretty after one short collection of words.
🖥 MOUTHWASH Studio was nominated for studio of the year by Awwwards. Wow. Thanks for voting if you already did.
📈 Reset NYC is probably good for everyone to follow.
📰 NY Times on the CIA Rebrand. I know this is old news. But I still can’t believe it. Also am personally invested in anything that has to do with Ryder Ripps after he came at my neck on Twitter. Whoops.
Thanks for another week!
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