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#017 I Want To Forget More
How forgetting enables us to remember, further enabling us to tell better stories.
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.
I Want To Forget More
Mayer’s first record, Room for Squares, reminds me of long road trips across the midwest.
It was easier to let the Sony Walkman CD player replay the same disc instead of changing it every hour. The lyrics are burned into my brain along with specific visions I have from staring out the window from my parent’s ‘97 Mercury Minivan.
When I listen to it today, I can see the HELL IS REAL sign and this particular fireworks store in my head. I can smell fresh corn growing and feel mosquito bites on my forearms. A football is falling out of the sky as I try to catch the last throw of the night before the light is completely gone an hour after sunset.
I’ve been thinking about the way our sensory feelings trigger memories and emotions of the past. How smells, sounds, and sights can immediately rush a wave over us, and in that moment, we seem to remember everything all at once. And how remembering is the vessel that encourages us to tell stories.
Think about this sequence before I touch on a couple points I want to get to…
Experience > Forget > Remember > Tell Stories
(1) END GOAL: TELL BETTER STORIES
Every creative person should be working toward becoming the best storyteller they can be. At MOUTHWASH Studio we do everything rooted in narrative. We write about everything and share our thinking with our clients before it’s turned into a logo, website, photograph, or any other visual manifestation.
It’s the reason we believe our work isn’t just another thing that looks cool. Personally, I believe it’s the only way that our creations have a shot at lasting longer than the current moment.
“Have you ever wondered why we tell stories? I’ve heard a lot of reasons over the years, but the big one, the important one, is that stories are a human necessity. If dreams are the brain’s way of transferring memory from short term to long term storage, stories, it seems, are the brain’s way of helping us make sense of emotions. A story that doesn’t make you feel anything isn’t a story worth telling. This is why we rely on stories to help us work through our emotions.”
(2) RISING OBSTACLE: ERASING OUR ABILITY TO FORGET
All the tools and technology in the the world have made it seemingly impossible to forget anything.
Write down your grocery list, snap a photo, make a calendar event. And while these tools are primarily helpful and make us more efficient humans, I’ve been wondering what happens when we’re not able to forget anymore.
Forgetting enables us to remember, further enabling us to tell stories.
If we can’t forget we may soon run out of capacity to remember as well as the ability to experience the world through these kinds of sensory stimulations. It’s part of existing in the world today. And while more tools and technology pop up left and right to prevent us from forgetting, perhaps we need to protect our ability to forget.
It’s possible that this ability to forget is not our weakness, but our bliss; that which essentially makes us human.
Ideas from me
I. PROCESS VS OUTCOME
Process is entirely more important than outcome for a number of reasons.
The first being that if we allow outcome to drive our processes, we’ll only end up in places we’ve already seen or have been to in the past. But if we allow process to drive our outcome, we land in new and undiscovered places.
One might say the place we end up could be truly “creative.”
II. TWO WAYS OF GETTING THERE
Working alone means less systems of approval, fewer objections, and nobody to point fingers at whether the ship is floating or sinking. Working together means having a support system, challenging perspective, and various skillsets.
There’s an old African Proverb that says, “If you want to go faster, go alone. If you want to go further, go together.”
We spend a lot of our time waiting.
Waiting until we're ready. Until we have enough experience. Until the perfect opportunity arises. Until somebody else does something for us.
Some of the most talented people I know are still in the same place. Still waiting.
Other people I know were never entirely ready but took the next step anyway.
Perhaps, those who are waiting until they're ready will always be waiting.
A quote from somebody else
“The internet enables any niche interest, as long as you're the best at it, to scale out. And the great news is that because every human is different, everyone is the best at something... Escape competition through authenticity. When you're competing with people, it's because you're copying them, it's because you're trying to do the same thing as them. But every human is different, don't copy... don't imitate, don't copy, just do your own thing. No one can compete with you on being you.”
Links worth sharing
🔍 Just a quick check on what humans are turning to the Internet for right now
💭 How Nothingness Became Everything We Wanted by Kyle Chayka for the NY Times. This is a long one but probably the best thing I read all week.
🌳 I watched a film called Columbus this week that I highly recommend. So wonderful. Also I’m pissed at my younger self for not realizing or caring that the midwest had such beautiful architecture. Columbus, IN is only 2.5 hours from where I grew up.
🎧 I’ve been listening to this playlist by Alice Otieno.
👩💻 What other designers on Twitter are inspired by lately.
📺 Short conversation with James Baldwin on What Ruins Other Artists
🌐 I don’t know what designed memory is but this page has an interesting thought.
🖤 PDA is a lifestyle label practicing compassionate curiosity that me and Mackenzie partner in. We’ve sold out on both releases so far and a new collection is coming at this time next week. Follow for updates.
🎙 New episodes of the MOUTHWASH Podcast are on the way. We started recording this last week. I forgot how much warming up it takes to get used to recording. Revisit old episodes on our website here.
Thanks for another week!
Common Discourse is a weekly briefing designed to help others (and myself) think through creativity, focus, and intentional work. It hits your inbox every Tuesday at 9:17am.
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