Suppy Sup: Penguins In Blue Goo
I woke up today with ideas sloshing around in my head like one of those blue-goo-filled plastic boxes with penguins bobbling on the waves. You know the one, provided you were born in the 90s and visited a souvenir shop literally anywhere:
Instead of two penguins, my blue-goo brain often contains three to five. These ideas collide and compete for my attention. When I can get the penguins to exist in sloshy harmony, magic happens. Such an event occurred in my latest Write Club meeting, in which I synergized the disparate characters and plot points of my to-be novel into one cohesive story arc that actually makes sense. Crazy, right?!
Today, no such melding of the ideas commenced. What did commence was a spiral into the depths of my identity and desires as a writer. Many questions and thoughts emerge during such a descent:
What am I even doing?
Does my work provide any value to anyone?
Does anyone care? Hell, do I care?
The answers, of course, are 1) writing, 2) yes, and 3) double yes. Knowing the answers doesn’t stop my brain from force-feeding me the same questions at the exact moment I think I have an idea worth sharing.
Because in truth, there’s another issue nestled at the heart of this one: why am I scared to be honest in my writing?
By far the most honest and vulnerable I’ve been is in my “Spare Change” issue. I am proud of it. More proud than I’ve been of almost anything I’ve written in recent memory.
This is not to say I don’t find value in my other work, of course. I thoroughly enjoyed my Conga-line issue and all the others I’ve assembled.
What I am trying to say is I feel at my best when I write honestly and openly. When this happens, the writing isn’t that hard from a technical perspective. I have the tools to write good words and sentences. I’ve got a reasonably sharp wit. I want to recapture the secret sauce I felt coursing through my brain when I wrote the pieces I’m most proud of.
The hard part is the honesty itself: taking a chance. Making a change. Breaking away….da da da ‘n da daaaaa.
For real, though. How often do you say something you truly feel, then taper it with a counterpoint or a reason people shouldn’t take you at face value?
I do it all the darn-tootin’ time. For a culture so obsessed with hot takes, we seem equally obsessed with dousing the flames as soon as they warm the bodies around us. It makes my writing feel tempered, lukewarm. It doesn’t have the same edge I feel when I make a joke in person or riff on a dumb idea with my friends.
I get the protective instinct, and I believe it’s a force for good, evolutionarily speaking. There’s a limit, though. When we dilute our thoughts and feelings, we advertise our fear of being misunderstood, and that message overshadows the value of the thing we were saying in the first place. Worrying about what others think is a uniquely human experience. I know this because I have seen my cat go to town on his junk in the middle of the room while we hosted a party.
In other words, we’ve become walking, talking disclaimers, finding reasons for others to discount our claims before they even have a chance to respond.
I’m not insisting we all march around announcing every thought that occurs to us. Instead, I’m suggesting we let those little penguins loose, free to bob into other people’s blue goo.
What does it all mean, though? For me, it’s a sign to write more about what I feel and what inspires me without shackling myself to preconceived notions about what others might think. It’s a kick in my fat, juicy ass to silence the voice in my head (my therapist calls him “Ned”) and allow the things I say to start a conversation before neutering it with “buts” and “maybes” and “that’s just how I felts.”
In short, it’s a plea to myself to let loose and enjoy the sparks of creativity, fanning them into a flame whenever I can.
Last night I watched five episodes of Full Swing on Netflix. I enjoyed it—I’m a fan of sports docs, generally.
What I Liked
Joel Dahmen and Matt Fitzpatrick
Joel Dahmen’sbest friend/caddy
Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth’s friendship/rivalry
Sick golf highlights
Honest portrayal of Brooks Kopeka’s mental struggles
A peek behind the curtain of professional golf
What Gave Me The Ick
The PGA’s clear aim with this thing is to make everyone think they’re the good guys while LIV are the bad guys. Sure, it’s true in a vacuum, and LIV golf is a thinly veiled attempt to sportswash the human rights violations perpetuated by the Saudi government. The PGA has issues too, including sexist and racist views and policies, that need fixing. They aren’t the heroes here, either.
Relatedly, lots of white guys. Later episodes feature people of color, but I have yet to watch them. PRivilege overflows in golf, a notoriously expensive and gatekept sport.
Toxic alpha male energy. YUCK! It’s a sports documentary, so no surprise. Still, YUCK!
A look at Neal Shusterman’s Scythe and how it’ll change adaptations.
I’m on vacation next week (pictures to come)! Thanks for reading, and I’ll catch you when I’m back.
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