December 27, 2020

Some sentences from my past year


The technology and narrative we call “money” transforms the finite number of things a person can claim to possess into a seemingly infinite number of things and possibilities. In this way it also transforms finite possibilities for injustice into endless possibilities for injustice, which more and more we are realizing will soon reach some catastrophic limit if we let it.

I feel like the algorithms are gently corralling me toward more and more capitalist music.

Over the years I’ve gradually come to the perspective that useful activism is much more about what you’re for and not nearly as much about what you’re against. (But it is still absolutely necessary to clearly name the things you’re fighting against.)

The people who want change don’t have power and the people who have power don’t want change.

Activism isn’t about what’s possible but about what’s impossible. About taking something we’re repeatedly told is impossible and bringing it into reality.

There is one part of me that doesn’t want to write and just wants to be completely aware and painfully alive to everything that’s happening right now. And there’s another part of me that’s losing my mind because I seem unable to write.

When you’re a careerist, everything looks like a career opportunity.

When you see an argument, you don’t view it in isolation. You also look at the source. What they’ve said in the past. Whether or not you trust them. A solid argument from an untrustworthy source can at times be even more suspicious.

To be honest, I write because I want to change the world. But the evidence that I’m succeeding is not very convincing.

Alongside my madness, there also something about me that is almost too sane.

As things continue to get worse, paradoxically, there might be greater opportunities for change, as everywhere people begin to truly feel the severity of the situation and respond accordingly.

I spent my formative years reading about Latin American dictatorships - disappearances, torture, etc. - all perpetrated by individuals trained at the School of the Americas. And every moment of that reading was spent thinking: sooner or later this will all happen here as well.

I’ve always imagined an ongoing game where the purpose is to try to invent an art movement.

Every road and highway ever built was a subsidy to the automotive industry.

I don’t especially like people. I don’t especially dislike them either. I don’t know… people aren’t really my people.

Working on a book and also, every ten minutes, staring off into space wondering if the world will still be here when I finish it, or if it will be in any state that one can actually publish a book.

We are drowning in a very specific form of propaganda called advertising.

the world is ending / the world is unending

Well… I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy. But since I’m my own worst enemy I guess it’s all right.

We all have blood on our hands. But definitely not in equal amounts.

I’ve never really understood why there always seems to be so much infighting amongst the left. Or even if it’s really true.

Why are there so many songs on the internet and why do I feel compelled to attempt to listen to every last one?

It’s my nature to be dissatisfied.

As an artist these days, I feel I’ve only got a few arrows left in my quiver. And I’ve got to make every last one count.

Being an artist is often about the feeling that other artists are getting something that you’re not.

I don’t really know what the right strategy is. My mind is the mind of an artist. It’s not really a mind of strategy and tactics. But whatever the strategy, we’ve got to keep pushing things to the left.

The people / divided / will always be derided.

Honesty without cruelty.

The romantic myth of the artist who struggles an entire lifetime only to be met with an astonishing rush of posthumous fame.

So many people are disappointing. But not all of them.

You finish reading a book and immediately pass it along to a friend.

I always feel better when I’m writing. But when I’m not writing it never really works to force it.

Money isn’t real. It’s a fiction, a story. But money can do things that nothing else can do. So in that sense – at the level of power – it has some sort of greater reality.

Today on the radio I heard the host say “what a frustrating time to be alive” and I felt that.

Watching some online performances this past year has made me realize something I already knew. The thing I like most about live performance is the fact that you’re there in person and it’s live.

desire and doubt

I decided to try to read some of the books I already have instead of buying any new books for awhile. And even though many of the books I already have are really brilliant and compelling, for some reason whenever I make this decision it always leaves me slightly depressed.

2020 was really the year I learned the degree to which I’m actually an introvert.

After nine months of greatly reduced work schedule during the pandemic, and an enormous amount of self-reflection, I have come to the conclusion that I have absolutely no idea what I want out of life.

Instead of trying to be more successful, which has never really worked for me, I have decided to actively attempt to become less successful with the hope that this will also backfire.

Selling Out Is Hard To Do (to the tune of Breaking Up Is Hard To Do.)

The sweet spot between finished and unfinished.


1 comment:

Lucy Bellwood said...

These roundups are always some of my favorite posts—they feel far more accurate as a snapshot of what it's like to be a thinking/working/not-working artist right now than anything linear and polished. I originally thought I'd copy in the lines that stood out to me, but there are too many of them so I'll just say: YES.