This morning I sit with the awareness that I was nearly sucked into responding to a comment on an Instagram post: a post with an excerpt from one of my diary entries about getting off Facebook – about my longing for discussions rather than debates, for something other than slogans and soundbites.
Something other than excerpts.
The excerpt was intended to provoke curiosity, to get people (not readers or followers) to click over and read my whole missive.
The irony is that I still find myself skimming and looking for the bullet points in other people’s texts. Wanting tidy responses in easy packaging, so I can move on with my own opinions. I don’t read an entire article before forming counter opinions and criticism. I think I reshape those opinions and criticisms as I read more of the article, but I don’t refrain from drawing conclusions at any point along the way. At no point do I just listen.
I’m tightly pressed to the writer’s words, hounding them, countering them – blocking them from my own mind. It’s a weird dance.
I read defensively. I had no idea there was such a thing. So I’m now wondering if this is about my age, my education, my social media habits? Am I feeling that the comment section “includes” me in a kind of debate of sorts – a performance arena? Do I feel it obligates me to participate?
Was there a time when I would read an entire book before forming an opinion instead of sketching one as I go? Part of my consciousness taking in the other, part of it very consciously obstructing understanding with these loosely formed, amorphous – but presently forming and reforming – prejudices.
And is all of this connected to a fear of being “irrelevant”? No: really, the phrase in my head is “not relevant”. The contemporary insult. The fear of which seems closely tied to the fear of ageing.
|Paying attention is one of the kindest things we can do—for ourselves, for others.|
I’ve joined Medium. Which is interesting.
Because nearly all the articles I’ve seen about mindfulness, about self-awareness, about spiritual growth, are bullet points of advice.
I am pulling Annie Dillard off the shelf again. I’m looking for writers who are asking questions instead of offering conclusions. I want to see the workings of other people’s minds at the point of their mushiness, their unbaked, reptile-fetal promise exposed.
I want to see moments of negative capability. More poetry please.
And I’m open to suggestions.
I saw a tweet this morning by a person looking for “more intellect, less wisdom” in their poetry. I’m curious what they mean by that, but seriously doubt that a fruitful conversation can be had about the subtleties of those words in soundbites and “threads”.
Just thinking about attempting it in that form makes me anxious. I want a cup of coffee, a deep chair and a long, well-formulated exploration of ideas.
I want to fall in love with the world again.