I shifted into school this last week. It has been ten years since I've been serious about being in college, so my recent mindsets, the ones completely focused on being productive at work a month ago, are now being translated into something wholly different. Productivity still concerns me because I’m worried that secretly I’m not smart enough for college. My friends tell me that these worries are bunk, a bunch of self-critical garbage, but that doesn’t dispel the anxieties I’ve built up over the course of a lifetime. Classes started this past Tuesday, and everything feels different now (even though it’s only a change of perspective and frame; life remains much the same, complex and confusing).
School has my attention, but not my complete attention. Here is what I’ve been reading:
- Lynda Barry has become a mentor figure to me since Austin Kleon wrote about her practical relationship to money. The Best of Marlys is a welcome retreat from the present dangers and bores of life by resurfacing the feelings and frames of being young, very young.
- Look Mum No Computer is an example of someone in an area of expertise that I have no desire of mastering (similar to appreciating the art and effort of animation without ever feeling the need to spend time practicing it for myself), and this enables me to enjoy the work he's doing without the self-inflicted stigma of comparing myself to someone "successful". He opened a museum of obsolete technology that is full of delightful, functional junk.
- When I get too involved in one train of thought or technique, I'll read poetry (often David Whyte) or something else unrelated to whatever I'm focusing in on or trying to improve. Special Books by Special Kids interviews people (mostly children and young) with developmental issues. I was recommended an interview that, upon watching, had that same grounding effect that's needed when I'm too far deep in my own mind and my own personal struggles.
- I felt the same when I was reminded of Tom Brier. I used to bring sheet music to the accompanist in my high school choir so she could masterfully play the Yoshi Athletic Theme for my pleasure. The real challenges of real people are humbling.
- For the last five or so years I've been working on building out my wardrobe, developing a personal style I can be proud of and slowly absorbing what the fashion industry is, so discovering Threaducation, a YouTube documentary series about influential fashion designers, is a welcome addition to my watchlist. (I've only watched the ones on Maison Margiela and Rick Owens so far, but intend on watching many more.)
- A poem about being a plant by Ella Freers.
- A poem that blesses, reaches far by Naomi Shihab Nye.
- A poem that tumbles over itself and the day it lives in by W.S. Merwin.
- There is an HBO documentary about Nora Ephron (directed by her son), and it is ripe with inspiring metaphor and material. As a newcomer to the crafts of writing and journalism (and someone who used to watch You've Got Mail as a child), I have a newfound adoration of her in all respects.
- Journalism that intersects with poetry and presents the realities of economically disfavored people, and that seems like something worth my time.
I feel proud of myself for compiling this. Good job me, and thanks to you for reading it.