Craig Mod wrote two powerful paragraphs in today’s edition of his Roden newsletter. Like the sentiments that led last Friday’s post, these words serve as a guide for how to deal with challenging times. “Life is a protest,” says Craig, and I’m planting this here as I’m not above needing a reminder:
I’ve written this before but I constantly need to remind myself of it, so, once again: A certain kind of work, lifestyle, mode of living — in and of itself — is protest. That is, work that is curious and rigorous is implicitly an antipode to didactic, shallow bombastity. It is inherently an archetype against bullshit. That to be committed to this work or life of rigor (be it rigor focused on “art” or, as they say in Japanese, sakuhin, or family or athleticism or whatever), and to share it with the world is to opt-out of being paralyzed by idiocy, and help others who may be paralyzed find a path back to whatever fecundity of life it is that they deserve.
I’ve held this belief in my pocket these past four years. Wrapped my fingers around it as needed. Along with sane, productive, brilliant friends, a therapist, and a loving partner, it keeps me from seizing up. Who knows what this week or month will bring, but please remember: The very act of living, moving forward, not seizing up, is a protest, and a damn strong one at that. And, shit, if our collective brains are, by chance, uncoupled from the eternal low-level Doom Vibe of Unkindness in Power, use that as a boost to go even further. Take that energy and run with it. It’ll be a gift more now, than ever before. You know what to do with it.
I’ve spoken about how optimism is a form of resistance but, today in the US, as trusted institutions (like, uh, voting) are getting trampled under despotic ambition, that’s easier said than done. But ceasing to move forward, to stop creating, to let ‘that guy’ invade your thoughts 24/7 is the kind of defeat those evil forces savor from you and me. Living your life — for yourself and those around you — and putting new things out in the world inspires more benefit than news-fretting nonstop in our heads and on social media.
Creating sends a signal that we believe in the future. And our creations point to the world we want to live in. Let’s pledge to continue doing these things — to resist — no matter what unpleasantness this week holds.