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DHH on Effort

Effort is not accomplishment. If you repeat the same lesson a hundred times over, you’ll be left behind on the path to insight by the person who advances through a hundred different lessons.

[...]

So please, for fuck’s sake, the next time you reach for that tired “hard work” compliment, just stop and think: Why am I celebrating mere effort? Celebrate creativity, insights, breakthroughs, rebellions, anything but mere effort. Effort has gotten enough praise to last a century or two without another serving.


Blogging with a small b

Small b blogging is learning to write and think with the network. Small b blogging is writing content designed for small deliberate audiences and showing it to them. Small b blogging is deliberately chasing interesting ideas over pageviews and scale. An attempt at genuine connection vs the gloss and polish and mass market of most “content marketing”.

And remember that you are your own audience! Small b blogging is writing things that you link back to and reference time and time again. Ideas that can evolve and grow as your thinking and audience grows.


Creative work is good for the soul

I am now in my sixties and drawing comics again has rejuvenated me. It is not only that I am doing the kind of work I did in my youth, but that I am directing my mind to think along the same lines that it did back then. [...] To do creative work is good for the soul. As long as you have an enthusiasm, you have happiness.

  • Paul Kirchner
  • “Awaiting the Collapse” (2017)

Frank Chimero on work

I read once that hunting and gathering societies only work about 20 hours a week. Learning that got under my skin really bad. Wednesday is just as much a part of your life as Saturday, but you have to remind people of that. [...] My life is going to be filled with just as many Wednesdays as Saturdays, and I would like to claim more than 2/7ths of my life for myself, thanks.


Kirchner on visual storytelling

I like telling a story without dialog. It forces the reader to fill in what’s happening, and as long as the narrative is clear I think the reader gets satisfaction from that. I’ve heard it said that a humorous story always leaves out a key element that the audience must fill in, and the satisfaction of making that connection – “getting it” – provokes the laugh. Omitting dialog is one way to force the reader to fill in the blanks.

  • Paul Kirchner
  • Postscript in “The Bus”, June 2015

Look at me creating

My essay was garbage. But it was my garbage.

So I kept at it, day after day. I once again started feeling smugly superior to my fellow bus riders. Look at me creating, I thought. Look at me contributing to the world, while these reptiles just distract themselves with their phones until they die.

This arrogance lasts for a few seconds until I re-read the stream-of-consciousness dogshit I’m typing into my phone.

  • Tom Cleveland
  • TJCX.me
  • August 21, 2019

Louis Cole on Money

This song isn’t me asking for money, and this song isn’t me saying that its bad to make money. In fact ever since I released the song “bank account” (when money was real low a lot) I’ve been living pretty comfortably. The point of the song is: my mission with music is not to make money, my mission is to make the best music I possibly can. And shittily, that is not the mission of a lot of music you have heard. A lot of music is money driven. And that $ mindset dilutes the absolute FUCK out of the realness and spirit of art. So I’m saying I want to keep the money separate from the art, and I really actually only need enough money to be able to live a life where I can create freely (food, shelter, instruments, no day job), that is TRULY the ultimate dream life as a die hard artist.


Magical scientist ability

[...] metaphor is more than a classroom aid. It is a crucial element of discovery and invention. Scientists are not blessed with a magical ability to apprehend the world as a vortex of symbols and equations, as Neo appeared to do in the film The Matrix. Scientists, like everyone else, seek to cast what they see in terms of what they have already seen.


Ordinary superpower

Draw ten five minute cats. Use a timer. Don’t stop. In less than an hour you will get to know some cat that starts showing up under your brush. No by willful effort, but by some sort of being together over a period of time. A drawing of a cat can be that, a being together with the image you make of the cat and then five minutes later you can draw the same cat to see what it is up to. Maybe it’s in the same position, maybe it has gone to sleep. But I like to imagine this place where the cat is being itself and I can somehow pull up pictures from that place onto the paper. It becomes a kind of conjuring. And ordinary superpower.


Read promiscuously

To read promiscuously is to comprehend the caresses of one work in the arms of another—and the promiscuous reader is a pedagogue par excellence. How should we read? We would read as gourmands eat, gobbling down huge gobbets of text. No one told me not to pivot abruptly from Valley of the Dolls to The Brothers Karamazov—so I did; anymore than they warned me not to intersperse passages of Fanny Hill with those written by Frantz Fanon—so I did that, too. By reading indiscriminately, I learned to discriminate—and learned also to comprehend: for it’s only with the acquisition of large data sets that we also develop schemas supple enough to interpret new material.


Writing is a process of discovery

There is, however, one thing to learn from writers that non-writers don’t always understand. Most writers don’t write to express what they think. They write to figure out what they think. Writing is a process of discovery. Blogging is an essential tool toward meditating over an extended period of time on a subject you consider to be important.


Joakim on modest art

Everybody is brought up with the idea that you need to make great art. But most of the things that I listen to and I really love is very modest art. Like, even if you think of library music, it’s not made to be art. It’s made to be used for commercials. But there’s so much love in the craft that it becomes amazing. And it’s very modest. I think this struggle is a good thing to go back to, and retreat from. It makes you progress. Even if you’re not going to make the greatest record or write the greatest novel, the process of doing it helps you progress.