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Coasting and Flapping

Colin Wright
Colin Wright
Current location: Milwaukee, WI, USA
Reading: Immune by Philipp Dettmer
Listening: Inner Symphonies by Hania Rani & Dobrawa Czocher
(if you have a moment, reply with your own 3-item status)

Coasting and Flapping
Sometimes creation is like riding an air current: your arms are spread but you’re coasting along with relative ease, tapping into a natural (if invisible) force and using it to get where you need to be—even if sometimes your destination is different from where you thought you’d end up.
Sometimes creation is more muscle-intensive: a frantic flapping of arms and puffing of lungs punctuated by frustrated, exhausted squawking as you wobble from origin to endpoint, any landing you can manage feeling pretty good in part because it offers relief from the punishing process you’ve endured.
This can be true, I think, of any type of creation from writing a novel to painting a portrait to building a coffee table to preparing a meal.
At times we tap into unseen, borderline magical forces that lift us skyward and allow us to perceive something bigger. They carry us between states of being and help us defy gravity as we venture to bring something nonexistent into being.
Much of the time, though, we’re forced to rely on raw, meat-based propulsion and grit-powered doggedness if we want to make tangible the ethereal.
When the currents aren’t flowing in our favor, we have to leap into the air, pump our arms, and trust that our experience and fortitude will keep us from careening back to the ground before we’re done typing or forging or cobbling or chiseling.
One of the primary distinctions I see between folks who’re able to create consistently and those who haven’t yet found their footing in this regard is those in the former category have not only cultivated their capacity to catch air currents, but also faithfully exercise their flapping muscles.
They understand they have to strain their sinew if they want to reach an elevation at which suitable currents are common, while also recognizing some days it’ll be just them, their arms, and the air.
There’s nothing wrong with gliding, but doing creative work routinely requires we get comfortable with flying, whatever the weather conditions.
If you found some value in this essay, consider supporting my work by buying me a coffee :)
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Base of an Ethiopian lentil stew I sometimes make—it's basically just a whole lot of red onions, green onions, garlic, cumin, berbere spice, and some oil.
Base of an Ethiopian lentil stew I sometimes make—it's basically just a whole lot of red onions, green onions, garlic, cumin, berbere spice, and some oil.
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Projects
Select, recent works from across my project portfolio.
Aspiring Generalist: Perspective Shock
Brain Lenses: Oppositional Effects
Let’s Know Things: Pay to Preserve
Never Not Curious: Nov 16, 2021
One Sentence News: Nov 17, 2021 (podcast version)
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Interesting & Useful
Some things to click (I curate & share similar links weekly via Never Not Curious and daily on Twitter):
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The almost-finished stew, lacking only the spinach added as a final step so it wilts but doesn't break apart. It's heavy on red lentils and uses a little veggie broth to make it more stew-like (I like it with a texture similar to refried beans, and I pair a big dollop with white rice, but you can add more broth to make it a little soupier).
The almost-finished stew, lacking only the spinach added as a final step so it wilts but doesn't break apart. It's heavy on red lentils and uses a little veggie broth to make it more stew-like (I like it with a texture similar to refried beans, and I pair a big dollop with white rice, but you can add more broth to make it a little soupier).
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Outro
I was invited to a few vax card-required events this past week, so I actually saw other people in person, listened to some stories (at a Moth event), connected with some folks in the local creative community, and attempted (but didn’t quite defeat) an escape room.
It felt super-weird at first, and I suspect it’ll be a while before I feel my normal levels of comfortable around groups of other (exhaling, so much exhaling!) human beings.
But I’m getting my booster and flu shots today, which will hopefully enable (and encourage) more such (careful but enthusiastic) socializing in the coming months. Despite my every inclination, I’m doing my best not to become a cozy, sweater-ensconced hermit this winter.
Thanks to everyone who sent me recipe suggestions after last week’s request for them! I’m stopping by the grocery store to pick up some ingredients for those on the way back from getting my jabs, and I’m looking forward to broadening my range of options.
If you have a moment, consider sending me a quick hello and telling me something about yourself. I respond to every message I receive and would love to hear from you :)
You can reach me by replying directly to this newsletter, or at colin@exilelifestyle.com.
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If you’re finding some value in what I’m doing here, consider supporting my work via one of these methods: Become an Understandary member / Buy me a coffee / Buy me a monthly coffee
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Colin Wright
Colin Wright @colinismyname

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