Podcast · Electrocuting yourself for clarity, moving faster than "maybe I shouldn't," sidebar on Issue 34.
This is a rumination: creative inspo, thoughts-out-loud, sidebars. Complementing art/animation shop talk on TLB. You can opt out here.
An interesting little podcast for your Sunday enjoyment.
Did you know that zapping your brain could instantly make you a legit sniper, double your language comprehension, reveal the secrets of stereograms, free you of anxiety?
The topic of Issue 34, “animating to quiet the noise,” was triggered by a RadioLab episode called 9-Volt Nirvana:
The tl:dr; is that a science journalist used herself as a guinea pig for the podcast, juicing her noggin through a battery wired to her temple. She was shocked (ahem) when she immediately went from 15% to 100% shooting accuracy in a military training simulation, and even more surprised when mental cacophony completely turned off for the first time in her life, albeit only for two days.
On reflection, she felt that the afforded serenity allowed her to look at the world “as it really was,” without the distractions of “I don’t know, I don’t think, maybe I shouldn’t;” what she called her “angry gnomes.”
She said: “It’s as if someone wiped a steamy window.”
OK, I’m not going to run out and electrocute myself,
but this story got me thinking about where I might be in life were I not constantly second-guessing my desires and decisions, if it were easier for me to just do what I feel like doing: just try it, why not, it’ll be fun.
I’m not naturally sanguine or tranquil, so I’ve long had to figure out ways to reduce friction when I decide to do something—take a job, leave a job, finish an animated short, move to New York.
One trick is to move faster than doubt.
If I have, say, an idea for a project, I try to take a minor first step as soon as possible, then step 2 immediately after that. “This project probably isn’t worth exploring” becomes irrelevant if I’ve already finished a mood board and begun animating vignettes. (Too late, sorry!)
Obviously this isn’t a one-formula-fits-all. But investing in instinct and putting effort into figuring out what I want long term, has provided valuable insight for ostensibly “rash,” on-the-spot decision-making.
Last month, in addition to writing a biweekly TLB issue, I added the the creation of Ruminations to the same due date. Suddenly I had a lot more work than usual; I had to move briskly to meet the deadline.
At a glance, it may seem like I just added another section to this newsletter.
But deciding to kick off an experiment in the context of a big picture (that may not make sense to anyone else for a long time), reassessing what that big picture is (what do I envision for TLB? Who am I writing for? What’s the “value” for both of us? How do we have fun?), then addressing all the things connected to it in the larger system (e.g., timelines, goal posts, copy and conditionals throughout the publication), requires soul-searching, organization, and strategy.
However straightforward and simple it might seem, experiments foremost mean change, and change almost always brings with it fear, labor, and headache.
Angry gnomes ask, What’s the point? Why bother? Who cares?
But I haven’t had a chance to respond.
Sometimes in a project, I reach some stage and think about telling the client. Or I have a question for them and it’s going to be kind of tough to talk about it. Especially in the latter case, I force myself to contact them immediately. Too many times they call me or write me and say “how’s my project” and I have to say “ I was just going to call you” and it sounds like a lie.
As a reader, I'm not sure if I'm chasing a specific value. Is enjoyment a value? I read for enjoyment then. That's why I'm super happy that you launched ruminations. Loving it!