Month: August 2016

Blank paper anxiety

Here it goes, it’s like a slight pressure that builds up in my gut, then goes up towards my throat and even if it goes away shortly, kind of stays around me, most likely just sitting on my shoulders. I am describing a typical day when I decide to write something, it’s not always like this, but it happens a lot when I have too many ideas floating in my head. Too much of them, some of them are good but suddenly -BOOM! My head feels like it can’t process it all and the next thing I do is… I give up! Hands up, I surrender. Not this time because in the past couple of months I have realized writing definitely helps with dealing with anxiety, it’s simple: the unnecessary energy that builds up for whatever reason I can transform into words. The process can be more or less painful, but it works. The words are often meaningless, just bits and pieces of my thoughts, making the reader feel like he just got lost in a labyrinth and needs to find a way out as soon as possible. I hope your sense of orientation is better than mine. First simple conclusion: The faster I write and the less I think about it, the better.

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What I wanted to start with is not a general sense of anxiety, it is a specific form that everyone in the modern world experiences at some point – the emptiness of the first page. I remember the feeling since I was a kid and we had to write an essay on some mundane topic such as ‘why I love spring time’, ‘on my way to school’, ‘how I spent my holidays’ and so on and so on.

Growing up as shy and obedient child who didn’t want to get in trouble, I would follow the rules of writing that boring essay, making one sentence the centre of it all and then repeating it in numerous uncreative ways until I could count enough words to finally invent some kind of a conclusion, a finishing touch to an uninspiring story. And guess what? SInce my grammar was pretty much flawless (btw, English is not my native language), I would end up getting an A, or maybe a B on a bad day. That made me think I am a pretty good writer, which is hilarious, but not a big deal. What I find is a bigger deal is the fact that I thought the feeling I had while writing is what it must feel, there’s no other approach to writing your thoughts down. Those weren’t even real thoughts, those were the exact same thoughts of every kid my age who is trying to write something she’s sure her teacher would: a) understand, b) recognize as familiar and appropriate, c) reward with a high grade. That’s how the educational system works, everyone wants you to be creative, but don’t get too creative, it’s like there’s an invisible boarder. Too free and creative style probably means you’ll go crazy sometime in your life, you won’t get a good job, big family and turn out to be a complete and utter disappointment. All that because you didn’t take things seriously.

I’m much more relaxed about it these days, but that’s nowhere near complete sense of calmness and feeling of confidence and content. Maybe that’s how it’s supposed to be, I don’t know, but at least now I’m trying to figure it out by myself. The need to write is present, so I guess I just have to do it every once in while.

Having some experience in journalism, writing news and reports, I feel it’s way easier  in this field because here you have to follow the rules, certain clichés because the readers are used to them to a pont of no return. Also, the rules of newsroom are clear, if you write too much, the editor will cut your text down to a number of words he can fit into the paper or on the web. He doesn’t care about your witty finishing line, we don’t have time for that! There’s no much romance in it. But even in journalism, the first sentence problem and the fear of not knowing how to start your story is still present. Maybe there is a romance in that, after all, it’s just hidden under the rough surface of cold facts.

Writing college essays and seminars can be, you know, soul-crushing, and for me, the beginning is naturally the hardest part. After I’ve finally managed to write an awesome introduction, got started working on the main thesis, it all goes smoothly, with a help of the right sources and literature, the piece kind of writes itself. In the end I would pretty much be happy with the results, especially with those essays where I could choose my own topic. That just reminded me, if I find my favourite Tarantino essay that got me maximum points in one particular course, I will post it here.

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It’s all about leaving the romanticized feeling of what writing is and embracing it as a job with all of it’s pros and cons. What I’m finally trying to say is, I need to learn the mechanisms of how to push myself more, how to start and beat the hell out of that blank page. Meaning not just filling it up with random thoughts like I’m doing now (it also helps, though), but make my point and be able to defend every word I’ve written down on paper, I mean computer.

 

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Pop stars make money, not art

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It’s not a real post, just a short observation. This photo presents why Rihanna is awesome. Rihanna as a brand, not a person, because believe it or not, I don’t know her. She obviously doesn’t give a fuck about her appearance, but that’s not a big deal at all because she’s in a position to not give a fuck. Rihanna who gives a fuck, now that would be a weird surprise, even a bold statement.

The singers’ power doesn’t lay in her image of being a rebel because she’s not a real one. It can’t be compared to genuine punk ways of Sid Vicious, Joe Strummer, Bowie, Iggy or even Andy Warhol and his colourful team. No way. Sylvia Plath, Simone de Beauvoir,  Frida Kahlo, Virginia Woolf, now those were the real punks, rebels with a purpose. I love rebels, but I love Riri, too. Let me explain.

Her main job is not art, it is to make loads of money. She’s in a position where her popularity allows her to set trends that would influence people, mostly young girls, to consume, buy more and more stuff with no real reason. The influence of today’s pop stars doesn’t depend on books or even newspapers or television, it spreads like fire through photos on social media. It’s not complicated at all, no matter what messages Rihanna sends through interviews or her lyrics, let’s face it, she’s not calling for a revolution. And why should she? She is a product of the system we live in, everything is for sale and the product is as valuable as the wealth it accumulates. 

I’m getting to my point. This photo makes me laugh, not only because Riri looks ridiculous, it’s because it will make people buy and wear ugly sunglasses, flip-flops with socks and feel like a boss. Not only will they wear that, they will pay as much as it takes. The higher the price, the better, people are suckers for exclusive things. As the price of a product goes up, it’s Instagram photo with hashtags becomes more valuable. Simple math. #flipflops

Be excited, be creative!!

Ever since I started a project of my own I am aware that I overuse the word CREATIVITY and add ‘she/he is such a creative person’ to describe the people I’m collaborating with. Why do I do that even though I often feel a hint of disgust even after first three-letter C… R… E… ughhh, no I can’t do that, think of something else for god’s sake!

Don’t get me wrong, I love creative people, I love being around them, learning from them, even copying them but not in an illegal douchebaggy way, or at least I hope. The problem with my generation is that we have a lot of time on our hands. When I say ‘we’, I’m talking about European or Northern American privileged young adults who are pretty much broke, but we still live pretty comfortable lives when compared to… you know, the rest of the world. Like I said, a  lot of time combined with access to cultural, artistic, cinematic, etc. experiences from all over the world results in a bunch of individuals who see themselves as modern artsy gods, creative geniuses who’s talent, although not yet discovered should be rewarded by the cruel society. Pretty much thousands of Van Goghs wandering around on Instagram, collecting followers who worship their perfectly aligned photos of morning coffee and bagel next to an overly expensive Mac laptop, or ‘innovative’ fashion escapades inspired by the Kardashian clan, or on the opposite side of the internet sphere – tiny Lolita’s with their petite features giving advice on vegan diet and yoga practises… I could go on forever, if you ever used Instagram, you know what I’m talking about, the stereotypes that we are all becoming a part of. It’s an inflation of people who want to be special, recognized and in the end, famous. The lifestyle, maaan, it’s all about the lifestyle. Of course I get jealous sometimes, but the more perfect the photos, the more suspicious I get when I think about it. And when I don’t think about it, I just scroll through it and  forget about most of the stuff I’ve seen, there’s just too much information, your brain can’t process all the visual stimulation it receives during the day.

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source: incrediblethings.com

I think of myself as a creative person, but maybe not in a conventional way. That doesn’t mean I’m special, au contraire, I am a part of the group with the most members: people who enjoy, appreciate and consume art without having a real talent. I draw stuff, write poems, take photos (who doesn’t these days) but there’s nothing special about it, and even more importantly, I don’t feel the need to share it with a great number of people. Regardless, art is and always will be a great part of my life.

In Woody Allen’s Vicky, Christina, Barcelona Scarlett Johansson plays Christina, a reckless young girl who is not sure about what she wants from life, the only thing she knows is what she doesn’t want. I very much sympathise with that. She also says at one point that she needs to accept the fact that she is not gifted, although she can appreciate art and feels she has a lot to express. She turned out to be a talented photographer, but she had a good mentor, a true artist kind of type. Maybe that’s what we all need, a push, someone who will build our confidence and make us feel relaxed and good about ourselves and what we want to express. In case we want to persue our passion in a professional way, that someone should also be direct and honest about the work we created.

It’s  funny because we live in a place and time where creativity is an absolute must have in probably every type of profession, job interviews rarely go by without the ‘show us your creativity assignment’, creativity is no longer something reserved only for kids or quirky adults, it is an expected part of our personality. At the same time, being childlike or playful is frowned upon. I guess we need to learn how to find a balance between the two. Oh no, now I’m starting to feel sick, like trying to wiggle my way out of a boring school essay and that is not a good thing so I will stop writing immediately.

 

Mr. Robot as if it’s real life

This is just a test. An idea of being a blogger who in my case is actually a masked aspiring writer always sounded appealing. This is definitely not the first time I started writing online, but my lack of discipline usually catches up with me and before you know it, it’s  winning in the first third of the race while I’m breading heavily. It is a feeling very similar to smoking a couple of cigarettes on an empty stomach (idiot) first thing in the morning and then running to catch a bus because you didn’t leave the house on time because you were smoking. All in all,  I don’t even get to see the finish line.

Needless to say, I am a different person now (I just fell of my chair because the lie punched me in the stomach) and I after 60 seconds of googling decided to open my account here on WordPress because, honestly,  it was the first free blogging platform I was offered. I like to write, but only on special occasions and when I do, I write stuff down in a notebook, place the notebook somewhere where it will never be found and forget about it after a couple of ‘diary entries’. After a month or two, I get a new notebook and start again. Never give up.

So, this will be my diary where I will share my thoughts on everyday life combined with my state of mind influenced by the movies, TV shows or even music that I’ve consumed lately. Escapism is my favourite mind set, so there are a lot of movies (cinema is my first not -so -secret passion) and other pop cultural products that I embrace gladly with my arms open widely.

Lately, I started watching the second season of Mr. Robot, the show that makes your mind race even after you binged watched on it’s episodes. Don’t worry, I will not talk about the plot, just share a few sentences of my impressions. The series perfectly sums up the struggles of our generation, but not in an ‘economically challenged young individual’ kind of way, but gives you a broader aspect. While doing that, it’s not condescending, you feel like: oh, yeah, I knew that, but there are also stuff you didn’t think about, so it can at least open your horizons a bit. The parts with hacking and different programs they  work in are not close to me (and many of other viewers I believe), so you just have to trust the storyteller I guess while feeling humble in a way. Oh but you can’t really trust the storyteller Elliot because he’s more unreliable than Holden Caulfield. And that’s the beauty of it. Now that I’ve mentioned beauty – the scenes are perfectly thought about, with no complications in the scenery (there are enough of those in the story), minimalism combined with necessary depictions of luxury of the ‘big sharks’ and messy emptiness of Elliot’s world. All of that would be useless without soundtrack that makes uncomfortable scenes get under your skin without you realizing it at first and make your heart pump a little faster, or slow everything down to a point of numbness. Also, a different song in  the beginning makes me put it on my playlist right away.

That’s it for now, excuse my English, I will do a proper grammar check a bit later today.