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Another attempt, because I would really like to get back in the habit of writing. I'm sick of the silence in my head, this wordless mental slump I've been in for the last couple of years. Not writing isn't making anything better, and facebook, tumblr or flickr won't help in this respect, I need an old-fashioned text-based medium, and a paper diary apparently isn't motivation enough. What also – partly, or even mostly, I guess – triggered this resolution was that I was in Eisenstadt in July for the two-week Russian course I already took three years ago, and our teacher used Yuri Lotman's Talks on Russian Culture, one of which was about the art of letter-writing, in the 19th century specifically, but also more generally; quoted as a reminder to myself:

Письма писались большие, писались часто, при этом важно, что пишущий имел перед собой как бы двух адресатов. Он писал своему другу или возлюбленной и одновременно писал сам себе. Когда он создавал письмо, то как бы смотрел на фотографию или в зеркало. Пока перед вами нет этой отражающей пластинки, вы не знаете, как вы выглядите. Когда вы свои чувства или мысли высказываете другому человеку, они становятся реальностью для вас самих [...].
Поскольку мы не пишем писем и очень редко пишем книжным стилем, мы не только не сообщаем о себе другим людям, мы сами себя не знаем. Человек узнает себя, конечно, в своих поступках, но и в своих мыслях, а мысли, не высказанные словами, это еще не мысли. [...] И тем не менее, конечно, в писании есть акт самопознания. В этом смысле ни телефон, ни телеграф заменить этого не могут. Когда мы смотрим на контакт только как на техническую проблему и думаем, что любое техническое усовершенствование облегчает и улучшает систему контакта, мы заблуждаемся, и в результате получаем обычную для нас картину. Мы легче технически можем связаться друг с другом, но гораздо труднее можем понять друг друга и уж совсем не умеем и даже не считаем нужным понимать самих себя.
Таким образом, далеко не всегда усовершенствование в области коммуникаций (в области обращения человека к человеку) является реальным успехом человеческой культуры. Вернее, каждый первый шаг есть потеря: надо новые технические средства еще как-то освоить, еще как-то ввести в культуру, каким-то образом научить их быть не только техникой. Техника остается техникой только на первом этапе, потом она должна стать культурой, превратиться в некоторое действие самопознания человека и общения с другим человеком. А это, по сути дела, одно и то же. Ведь весь смысл нашего разговора в том и был, что нельзя, не общаясь с другим человеком, познать себя, нельзя, не познав себя, общаться с другим человеком. И в этом смысле, конечно, важно не только письмо. Письмо — это только одна из форм. Еще важнее общение с книгой.

(Mainly about the importance of writing letters and writing in generally, because in the process of writing we also get to know ourselves, since our feelings and thoughts only become reality once we express them verbally. He also makes an interesting point, which is perhaps even more relevant today than it was in the Soviet Union of the late 1980ies, about the dangers of looking at media only from a technical point of view of facilitating communication, as opposed to furthering understanding both of others and oneself.)


So. Here I am again.

(Even if this entry still feels superficial and blah-ish and nowhere near what I want it to be. But maybe I'll get there, eventually.)


What has happened since February: I'm giving therapy another try since May, not entirely unprompted, because in my desperation re. the impending job situation I did a Potentialanalyse, whatever that is called in English, in the vague hope that hours of testing might reveal talents or inclinations I hand't been aware of previously (no such luck; computer-generated recommendation, among other things: archaeology. ha-fucking-ha.), and not even an hour into the first meeting the advisor recommended seeing a therapist to get rid of my negative thought patterns. Hearing this from someone who didn't know me at all... kind of did help, and I undertook the scary task of looking for a therapist, found one whose website I liked, almost talked myself out of it again in the process, had my sister convince me that, no really, I absolutely should do that, and in the end did. (Go me.) Work in progress, so far.

I also started with The Artist's Way about ten days ago, not so much because I have any lofty aspirations, but because my inner creative desert was genuinely scaring me. I've always enjoyed expressing myself, whether it was drawing as a child, writing journal entries, writing depressive poems, ceramics, photography, writing meta, and for the last few years this has dried up to a frightening extent, reduced to dragging the camera along on my hiking tours at best. un_crayon_rouge has been doing the morning pages for as long as I've known her, and we have the book in stock at work, so it seemed like a good starting point, especially for lack of another.

Now I absolutely can't get behind the conception of creativity as a force coming from somewhere outside yourself, and do I ever have issues with the entire 'Wünsche an das Universum' school of self-help books, because this is all very well when you're only ever focusing on issues like 'I want to be more creative', but (imo) immediately becomes highly problematic once you take even a cursory look at history, or the world. Am I supposed to believe that God or some kind of divine force will actively preoccupy him/her/itself with my creativity while at the same time not giving a fuck about [take a brief look at the news and insert wherever]? Or am I supposed to believe that all those people just are not wishing enough, or the right way? Hard to say whether this is egocentrism or plain naiveté. And seeing that this is the issue where I and religion parted way in the first place, we do have a bit of a problem here.

On the other hand, spiritual angle aside, there are also a lot of things in the book that I can connect to. I do believe that creativity is absolutely inherent in the make-up of the human brain and that everyone is happier creating, science suggests the brain can and does learn constantly, and it seems obvious that not keeping your eyes shut because you're afraid and in the end, better the misery you know than the scary unknown, probably will let you see opportunities you'd have missed otherwise, so I just might make do...

I probably won't stick to the schedule either, I've already realised I'll need more time and the last weeks would be in December, which, gah, but I've been doing the morning pages and artist date and at least given the exercises a thought, even if they don't quite fit, because I don't remember any particularly traumatising experience that might have blocked my creativity; I feel I can only blame my own cowardice. It seems to work at least to an extent – today I bought watercolours on a whim, because in the end just it's easier. Photography I do enjoy, but I'm pretty self-critical. With ceramics I've already worked myself in such a state of artist's block-cum-self-hatred that I'm afraid to even touch a piece of clay. Writing (other than the morning pages)? Fiddle-chisle-file-fiddle-some-more-revise-rework-lather-rinse-repeat-ad-nauseam. Watercolours, on the other hand? Covering sheets of paper with brightly coloured amoebas until I lose interest? Perfectly doable. I never could paint – at all –, or specifically wanted to, meaning I have sub-zero standards or expectations in this respect. It's kind of relaxing. It was fun.


The results of this week's 'artist date' (Taking the camera out specifically, instead of just taking it along; I'm not sure if that was the point, but I haven't doing this for a long time, and I wanted to.):



















Comments

( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
elisi
Aug. 26th, 2014 07:31 pm (UTC)
Hi!

Sorry, I've had this open for days. Meant to comment when you first posted, but ~life happened. Love your photos (as always) and am glad you are trying to move forward.
solitary_summer
Aug. 28th, 2014 10:41 pm (UTC)
No problem and thank you! :)

(It seems to be a x steps forward, x steps back kind of thing, but... I guess I'll see.)
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )

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