New Tightrope

A silver lining of the quarantine, the intentional go-slow of the Earth’s populace, is the chance to see something new in the everyday. A quotidian walk becomes utterly fascinating if I see the neighbor’s kitten in a tree, whose hunter’s gaze is fixed on a bird out of range. Or the new colors in the horizon at sunset that I haven’t been aware of or seen yet. Moving here in mid-autumn, every week has brought changes to the monte, the agricultural activity of our neighbors, and my feelings of staying put.

I tested out my microphone yesterday, recording a little bit to experiment in Ferrite. I plugged it into my phone, used Røde’s Reporter app, and used the normal white earbuds as monitors. Strangely, I don’t mind the sound of my voice, only the occasional cadence it takes. But talking to myself down in my basement is something I’ll have to get used to. I do want to have conversations with others as well. We’ll see what comes out of it. I’ve decided on the name Left Abroad. Hopefully a short episode #0 introduction will be released in a week.

There have been rebrotes, new outbreaks here in Spain. The Alcoa plant in Lugo is shutting down, en plena pandemia, laying off over five hundred workers. There is an uprising across the United States. I have a tendency to be digitally swept up in the fervor. But I have to remind myself to stay grounded, even in uncertainty. The future will be strange. But I’ll keep enjoying the new colors of blooming flowers, the shape of the clouds, and the warm air at night, because I’ve gifted the circumstances to be near to them.

How to Be Okay Being Online in 2019: A Listening List

“We’re not meant to be able to understand everything, to be able to take in an unlimited supply of horrible information everyday. Our brains aren’t built to allow us to identify what we can do about something, and what we’ll never be able to do anything about.” — Jia Tolentino

I’m finishing up Ezra Klein‘s interview with Jia Tolentino this morning and also thinking about other recent interviews both she and Jenny Odell gave to the guys at Longform.

Both resonated with me, in part because I feel like they, in different ways, identify the tension of being a person online in an age of social divide while recognizing the personal and systemic themes that come up; trying to live morally in a late capitalist economic system, dealing with attention and time, creating art, self-promotion, having an opinion on the internet, self care, and learning to live and grow in a strange time.

Actually, upon reading that, I’m sure I’ve mischaracterized these interviews. But this is what I got out of them. Anyway, next is to find the time (or rather, a peaceful gap in my scattered attention) to read Tolentino’s Trick Mirror and Odell’s How to Do Nothing: Resisting the Attention Economy.