2021-01-11: Smokey: Back to your regularly scheduled madness

To say I keep a pad of paper next to me at my desk at home would be silly.

Last night I counted 5 pads. Graph pad, 11×17, a big art pad for drawing mind maps and such on, a couple notebooks, a simple 8.5×11 pad, and I really have to count the 3×4 foot whiteboard that’s within arms reach.

The idea of course is that if any idea strikes me at any time I’ve got someplace to put it.

“Yeah, Total Wilson move” I can hear people saying.

Now, people who REALLY know me know what I’m going to type next.

They’re all completely blank.

There’s very little as intimidating as the blank page. Some day (maybe in a couple paragraphs if my head goes that way) I’ll walk you through the thought process of what that actually looks like. But suffice it to say it’s true.

At the other end of my desk is my long boxes of 3×5 cards that are full of decades of “The Idea Deck” and about 500-700 new cards.

It occurred to me that one of the things that makes the page so daunting (I can’t use the word daunting without thinking of the Princess Diana interview where she uses the word like 6 times with her head lowered in that insufferably practiced English way to try and indicate the gravitas of being hounded by the media, but I digress) is that any single idea can’t really justify a whole page.

Yeah yeah I don’t pretend it makes TOO much sense outside the level to which I understand it.

Suddenly last night all of that occurred to me at once. I realized it was simply unacceptable.

So I grabbed a little stack of 3×5 cards and just started blasting ideas on them. As a goof, here they all are. Not entirely unrelated:

  • Topic: The Idea Deck (Is the post already out there?)
  • Topic: 3×5 cards for ideas: Thread from bite-sized chunks
  • Topic: “Don’t judge your enemy by your morals” isn’t right. It’s closer to “Don’t call out your enemy for invalidation of your morals”
  • Topic: Snack Madness
  • Idea: 3×5 carry-around wallet/case. “Shirt pocket 3×5 card wallets” just suck. Little leather box maybe?
  • Topic: Rebalkanizing The Internet
    Federated Social Media
    Tim Berners Lee (and his SOLID initiative)
    I blasted those out in… I don’t know 3-4 minutes?

Now, I’ll expand on those in their own time. But removing that weird little barrier to entry for getting shit down on paper is of immeasurable value.

I’m really tiring of being able to feel an absolute tornado of creative energy that feels like has absolutely no outlet. Now “no outlet” is one of those weird emotional-based traps I get myself into, I know. Knowing that doesn’t dispell it outright. It’s not one of those seemingly external emotional gambits I play with myself like survivor guilt was (i.e. something that, once well defined and boxed just sorta ran out of steam on its own.) But it does have some of the virtue of being a containable border, if I’m paying very close attention.

So solutions start suggesting themselves if I force compartmentalization of the issue.

Without that it’s a thing that sits in the background of my mind, ready to pounce on on me like Hobbes waiting around a corner for Calvin with a bucket of snowballs every time I move towards making something.

But if I can sit on the box I can usually get past it. If I define it I can point an accusing finger at it. It’s when it’s not defined and identified that it has the power to be sneaky.

It’s interesting stuff that I’m essentially realizing as I write about it.

It doesn’t immediately reveal the solution, just a way to defend against it. I still get myself tied up in unbelievable fucking knots with the need to create something.

ANYthing….well, no not anything.

I can see something else kicking around in there, malevolent and undefined, that’s doing something similar. But playing the game of trying to turn around fast enough to catch yourself sneaking up on you hasn’t borne the fruit that it usually does with this one.

I end up leaning back on the vast number of pursuits I’ve got as some kind of defense. But the “for any one thing you do, there’s an infinity of things you’re NOT doing” doesn’t seem like it’s the problem. I know that pretty well. And sure, I find it REALLY tough to give up on ancillary pursuits. I mean hell, look up there at that list: Am I going to get some leatherworking tools and a big sheet of veg tan to make myself little box for 3×5 cards? (Trick question: I already have just about everything I need.)

No, there’s a sense of hesitation in crossing the finish line on all kinds of things that has boxed me out to the point where I tend to sorta dick around on projects and not finish all that many. It’s less true of making physical things (out of wood, steel, etc.) since it’s just so much more glaring to walk past an unfinished piece of craft than it is to pass over a directory of unfinished writing or software projects.

It’s still there though, in the “longer term pursuit of the hobby.” Straight up Peter Panism seems a hollow explanation, however well it fits.

But hell, maybe it is that simple. It doesn’t suggest so easy a solution.

“Dude just pick something or…somethings” just rings pretty shallow. I mean yeah, but that’s unsatisfying and unproductive.

I’ve clearly got to figure a way around it. It’s there to be examined if I can find the proper approach to it.

Fuck it. Post it undone.