7 things i'm thinking about this week
freedom & femininity
Hi guys! I’m trying to post more often so occasionally I may drop a list of things on my mind, inspired by gynoid.
Lately I’ve been oversleeping, hanging out at Socratica Toronto, and carving out time to write 1000 words everyday. And sometimes studying. Earlier this month I bought physical books which +1 serotonin boost :D ! One of them being On Freedom by Maggie Nelson, where she talks about care. When I’m in transit I’ve been reading Jenny Odell’s new book Saving Time on my phone. I’ll talk about both of these in a bit.
So 7 things I’ve been thinking about:
In On Freedom’s opening chapter, Nelson analyzes the extent to which art is a free realm for expression. E.g. if you make an offensive painting, can you be held accountable for it? Or are you free to express yourself? Not all freedoms are alike, and I really like how Nelson articulates that free-speech absolutists seek freedom from responsibility, consequences.
She also writes that art is what we might want when we’re not under surveillance. And quotes Tala Madani: If you’re making work that your mothers will like, you’re in trouble.
sexism and the aesthetics of rationality. An essay by Becca Rothfield about “just asking questions” and JBP and the emotion/rationality dichotomy.
On a similar note, this passage from “Pure Heroines” in Jia Tolentino’s book Trick Mirror: “Prescriptions about female behavior, Solnit notes, are often disingenuously expressed in terms of happiness — as if we really want women to be beautiful, selfless, hardworking wives and mothers because that’s what will make them happy, when models of female happiness have always tended to benefit men and economically handicap women (and are still, as with the term ‘girlboss,’ often defined in reference to male power even when theorized in an ostensibly emancipatory way).”
My parents recently
interrogatedasked me what my career goals are. I told them I want to write. Then they uhhh.. freaked out lmao. Later that night, I read the opening essay from These Precious Days by Ann Patchett where she talks about pursuing her dream of writing full-time, getting an MFA, etc, despite her father being totally against this. She writes, “It turns out that having a hard wall to hit your tennis balls against is what gives them bounce. Having someone who believed in my failure more than my success kept me alert. It made me fierce. Without ever meaning to, my father taught me at a very early age to give up on the idea of approval. I wish I could bottle that freedom now and give it to every young writer I meet, with an extra bottle for the women. I would give them both the ability to love and not to care.”
Dreams. Several people can cite their dreams as their source ?? The periodic table appeared to Dmitri Mendeleev in a dream, and an Ouroboros revealed the ring structure of benzene to a chemist. Mary Shelley saw “the hideous phantasm of a man stretched out” which inspired her to write Frankenstein.
I was studying for a midterm at the uni library last week. Then I left to go buy tiramisu at a cafe down the street (turns out they ran out :sob: ). At the crosswalk, I encountered a high school friend I haven’t seen in like a year. So we chatted. But I realized that I was acting like his 2 friends next to him were invisible. So I made sure to include them in the convo. I think a lot of people do this and I only really noticed this recently. It’s atomizing, so I’m trying to be more inclusive in group convos.
Been thinking about the phrase “business is business” that I hear people use to defend executives getting rich at the expense of others. It’s weird to act like business is some distinct, amoral plane, while also assigning virtuous properties to cunningness, self-interest, ruthlessness. Celebrating what’s essentially Machiavellianism when it’s profitable makes me think about the roots of the Protestant work ethic, where, in Saving Time, Odell writes that [protestants] weren’t supposed to get rich to spend your money, but to serve God.
Bonus: More 60 sec birds I drew at Socratica last Sunday hehe. I used Line of Action!
Thanks for reading~