Scribbled in a notebook after reading the first two sections of Joan Didion's Slouching Towards Bethlehem. I thought I was going to write about my frustrations with Didion's writing, but soon found myself thrown in a direction which unraveled my relationship to art and a major life change. I post this here not because it's a great or even good piece of writing (it's not), but because I want to pin this in my mind as a moment when everything changed.
Didion seems to be working in a tradition of then-interesting rebellion which lost its teeth sometime in the 90s and is now painfully boring and out of touch. The kind of superior detachment and smug superiority to all those who care and are interested in the world. She's the South Park writer of her day, and I hate that.
"On Keeping a Notebook" is one of the most brilliant things I've ever read, however. My complicated thoughts about the work as a whole (which I might explain in detail another time) are making me abandon scores. Not because I think scores are not capable of capturing that nuance. I never thought they could. To me they were a tool, something to come along with those feelings for the purposes of logging, reference, and comparison. I still think they're a wonderful way to achieve that, but what's more important to me is that I escape the tension they introduce. I don't want to feel like I need to explain myself, justify my scores, or sort out the feeling that it doesn't quite match the totality of my feelings. I've never really lost myself in that contradiction like I've seen others do, but I'd like to purge the possibility entirely.
I think I've had enough of art consumption for art consumption's sake. The wording there—consumption—when talking about my approach to watching, reading, playing, etc is something that's always grossed me out. I try to replace it with other terms, but they're all awkward. I thought of this before as a sad limit of either the language or my own vocabulary, but I think there was something screaming from that word that for whatever reason I couldn't hear.
I have to address that that was and is simple consumption and no phrasing can escape that fact.
As a coping mechanism for lack of direction and, more to the point, depression, I reshaped my mind to accept consumption as a form of personal development. Experiencing more things became its own reward, and what that saved me in my darkest moments, I think that it now limits me.
The path that I went down years ago when I joined rym and the like is now at an end. I'm not sure if I'll delete my accounts, but but I'm leaving behind the attitude which made these places my center.
Of course, art is still there, an immovable part of my center. What I want from it now, though, is something more authentic to who I am right now. I don't want to chase the high of making a number go up or finding a new 10. Those drives got me to try new things and kept me looking forward, and for that reason I still suggest those paths, but now I want to find and collect the beauty, the wisdom, and the connections I can take out of art. Those things, and of course my immediate feelings. I want to collect quotes, emotions, and thoughts both from the art itself and from me responding to it. I've done and do all this already. I don't mean to suggest that I've been a slave to my mentality, but I want it to be very clear to myself what matters and what does not. I'm not going to be a judgemental asshole about this, we all have different needs and even our own change over time. I just don't need this shit anymore.
To anilist, glitchwave, mal, vndb, ifdb, imdb, librarything, goodreads, and most of all rym:
So long, and thanks for all the lists.