The Barnacle


#100 Days - Praise the gods of entertainment

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Day 2 (12.24.19) - Writing is about what, exactly?

Writing is about expressing your imagination as it unfolds. If you do this often, on a regular basis, you sharpen your ability to express your ideas with clarity. That means getting better at creating a product.

There are lots of fun ways to develop this ability. Try thinking of something that’s fun to write about. For example, imagine there’s a perfect colony on Mars that would sustain human life and offer all opportunity for a flourishing civilization, but cell phones would be banned. How would that turn out? Would it take days or hours for the boredom to evolve into full-scale massacre? Trampled greenhouse crops and blood-splattered glass domes come to mind.

Writing is about working but not trying to be a writer. Find a public medium that fosters the outpouring of your dark and damaged consciousness. If you churn out dogshit, even the tiniest feeling of accountability and shame will trigger your survival skills and you’re writing will become more clear and entertaining. Start with a blog.

Finally, writing is about realizing that writing isn’t special. Writing is everywhere all the time. Like germs and social chaos. If you feel compelled to write, that’s fine. Do it but don’t talk about it. Just try to make it a habit while focusing entirely on making money. If you can sell it, it’s good. Even the shittiest writing is good, as long as it sells. The Sound and The Fury is a perfect example. It’s over-complicated garbage, but it created innumerable opportunities for literary analysis (more writing! lots more garbage!). And that’s fine. It’s more than fine. It’s a beautiful scam, a craft, a grift. That’s what writing is all about. Production.

Day 1 (12.23.19) - Tips for Watching Film and Television

The first thing to do is go ahead and shut the fuck up. That applies to your mouth and your brain. Watch the thing until the very end. Withhold any and all opinions until one is requested. Just absorb the entertainment. 

It's like meditation. As soon as you notice that your brain has attached itself to another host, just notice it. The brain has a hard time performing when you watch it. 

Watch it in the dark. It accentuates the colors and shadows of the screen. It also makes you feel more like you're alone, which you should be. If you have to watch tv or a film with a person, that's fine but be assertive if they talk during the show. Tell that person that every time they speak during a show, their place in your heart shrinks by two millimeters. 

Try to watch top quality shows like The Wire, Madmen, The Sopranos, Seinfeld, and Curb Your Enthusiasm. If you've seen all these shows, you don't have to watch tv every again, but you might as well. There are some very good second-tier shows like Game of Thrones and Breaking Bad. You can't always control what you watch; especially when you're in a relationship. Enter the second thing you should do.

Learn how to enjoy shows you don't enjoy. This was commonplace in the 1980s when most families only had two channels and choosing what to watch meant flipping a coin or waiting until a sibling had their share. Times were more vicious back then; today we are cursed with abundance. That means someone else often gets to reach into the endless banks of entertainment to pluck out some monstrosity like Gilmore Girls or The Big Bang Theory. These are horrible shows but it's possible to enjoy them if you shut off your brain. Learn to appreciate what these shows are meant to do: Provide emotional catharsis through the resolution of melodrama. These shows stayed true to that vision and the creators deserve credit for sustaining consistency in delivering what they promise; like MacDonald's, Amazon, and drug dealers. That said, always cleanse your brain afterwards with some Twin Peaks, Kids in the Hall, Chappelle Show, or some other masterpiece. Gilmore Girls and The Big Bang Theory will leave tiny holes in your brain that will eventually be filled with resentment and other emotional horrors.   

Third. Stay away from Twitter. Twitter is a forest fire that burns whatever synapses are connected to joy. A well-watched episode is an isolated act, a piece of art enjoyed for what it is and not for it's service to an ego. 

Fourth and finally. Talk about your show with a good friend, over beer. Every now and then, make a night out of it. Entertainment is good. Learn to enjoy it. 

Stay focused.