I’ve recently created a bookmarks folder called ‘inspo’ and I fill it with anything that I stumble upon during my long hours of devoted procrastination. There’s no rhyme or reason to the things I’ve grouped together in this folder beyond that I find them inspiring, motivational, or relatable in some way. I thought I’d share five of the things I’ve been dwelling on this week, all which relate in some way to time: nostalgia, anxiety, memories, etc.
- I’m a little late to the party but I just discovered this amazing interview
with Donald Glover, aka Childish Gambino, on the Juan Epstein podcast. It was recorded two years ago so I can’t comment on whether the views he expresses are representative of how he feels now, but a lot of what he said really resonated with me. Its a surprisingly raw, honest interview between friends who obviously have a lot of respect for each other; its obvious that their conversations are spontaneous and their connection genuine. It makes such a refreshing change from the faux ‘buddy-buddy’ approach you get when most journalists or presenters interview celebrities.They talk about Glover’s infamous instagram post from around the same time, a series of emotionally-wrought thoughts written on some hotel stationery. They expressed feelings of fear, loneliness, frustration – the shit everyone is feeling but no one talks about, as he says. They talk about race and gender in the matter-of-fact way which is missing from most mainstream media outlets. I found it pretty incredible that a male celebrity, a rap artist, nonetheless, was able to be so frank about ‘feeling empty’, having anxiety, and being tired of the maelstrom of bullshit that is the social-media driven, celebrity-obsessed, hyper-judgemental world we live in. Its one of those interviews you listen to and want to be a part of, its a conversation you’ve had inside your own head a thousand times, a moment of sonder in which you feel relieved to hear those confusing thoughts and feelings you’ve had floating around your head articulated so simply.
- One Last Poem for Richard
by Sandra Cisneros
December 24th and we’re through again.
This time for good I know because I didn’t
throw you out — and anyway we waved.
No shoes. No angry doors.
We folded clothes and went
our separate ways.
You left behind that flannel shirt
of yours I liked but remembered to take
Where are you tonight?
Richard, it’s Christmas Eve again
and old ghosts come back home.
I’m sitting by the Christmas tree
wondering where did we go wrong.
Okay, we didn’t work, and all
memories to tell you the truth aren’t good.
But sometimes there were good times.
Love was good.
I loved your crooked sleep
beside me and never dreamed afraid.There should be stars for great wars
like ours. There ought to be awards
and plenty of champagne for the survivors.
After all the years of degradations,
the several holidays of failure,
there should be something
to commemorate the pain.
Someday we’ll forget that great Brazil disaster.
Till then, Richard, I wish you well.
I wish you love affairs and plenty of hot water,
and women kinder than I treated you.
I forget the reason, but I loved you once,
Maybe in this season, drunk
and sentimental, I’m willing to admit
a part of me, crazed and kamikaze,
ripe for anarchy, loves still.
I’m using this poem as a template for one of my assignments for uni. All we have to do is take ANYTHING and turn it into ANYTHING and then write an essay on the nature of creativity and adaptation… Vague, right? I chose to turn this poem into a series of texts, re-imagining how Sandra might speak if she weren’t writing to the abstract ‘other’ Richard depicted in the poem, but addressing him directly. I’ve loved this poem for a long time – I discovered it after reading a section of it in the epigraph to This is How You Lose Her by Junot Diaz – but reading it over and over in the last few days has really given me an appreciation for it.
Now that Halloween is over and November has arrived in all its rainy glory, Christmas spirit is slowly creeping into our shop windows and conversations. This poem perfectly captures that haze of nostalgia that seems to envelop Christmastime – warm, homely images of fire sides and mulled wine mixed with indulgent melancholy. We look at everything with rose-tinted glasses around Christmas and Sandra Cisneros perfectly captures this desire to romanticise a past relationship even as she pushes herself to acknowledge the bad memories and accept that it is over for good. It is bittersweet and uncompromising on the emotion. She doesn’t hold anything back in the language she uses – admitting so openly her lingering feelings for Richard – but there’s a sense that some emotion is lurking underneath it all, just out of the reader’s grasp. I think it is this which keeps pulling me back in.
- What would a list of my inspirations be if it it didn’t mention Patti Smith? LIES.My third inspo-link is this article, from one of my favourite websites, BrainPickings. The site posts wonderful and thought-provoking essays on everything from pop culture to Einstein’s Theory of Relativity, which makes me feel super intellectual as I trawl through it, ignoring my responsibilities. Anything which discusses Patti Smith is going to catch my attention, but this is an in-depth analysis of her prose as I’ve never read before. I love how many quotes from Smith’s new novel, M Train, are in it as I’ve (shockingly, sadly, reluctantly) not been able to read it for myself yet – my pesky degree keeps getting in the way. It takes the ideas she so beautifully writes about and expands upon them, basically explaining to me exactly why I love her writing so much. Reading Patti Smith is like seeing my own thoughts laid out before me in crisp white sheets. I fold myself into them and forget the world.The essay primarily focuses on time. Time is something I – and I’m sure many people – obsess over endlessly. Wasting time, running out of time, passing time, forgetting, remembering, inconsistency, consistency, succeeding, failing, racing against the clock. This essay examines the treatment of time in Smith’s memoir, the way she pays homage to her past at the same time as letting go of it, how she has come to terms with all the losses in her life. I love it because it is a reminder that there is no such thing as ‘too late’ or a time limit on life. There is only perpetual growth and change, even at age 68. Sometimes I need to be reminded of that when I start thinking that 21 is O L D or that I’m wasting my young years.[Disclaimer: Be careful when you read anything on BrainPickings, as every post links to twenty other equally interesting posts and you will find several hours have melted away as you read about things you never before knew you were interested in.]
- DOPENope, not the drug, the film. After meaning to watch it since it came out two months ago I finally watched it this weekend. I feel bad for illegally downloading it but, hey, I’m gonna play the cheapskate student card. The first thing I fell in love with was the clothes. The three main characters (pictured above) are obsessed with 90s hip-hop and make sure their fashion sense matches their music taste. If protagonist Malcom’s (Shameik Moore) printed shirts and flat top hair do aren’t enough for you, check out the girls’ effortless cool.
I liked the film for more than the wardrobe, however. It was funny, sure, but it also called attention to racial stereotypes in America and subverted them without drilling in a moral message too heavy-handedly. Their treatment of white people saying the N-word is hilarious and the main drug dealer, played by rapper A$AP Rocky, is not your typical two-dimensional antagonist.
My one issue with the film is, of course, misogyny. All too often film makers think they are giving audiences strong female characters if the film features a woman who swears, fights, or stands up to a man in any way. That doesn’t always cut it for me. I have a major girl-crush on Zoe Kravitz and was disappointed that she didn’t have more screen time and wasn’t given much of an inner life beyond being the object of desire for the main character. Chanel Iman’s character’s primary function seemed to be being naked, which is fine when it serves a purpose but, in this instance, seemed only to gratify the male gaze. Beyond enjoying the film itself, and much to the surprise of everyone who knows me, I’ve since been educating myself on hip-hop music and have actually been enjoying it! So, if for no other reason than broadening my musical horizons, this film deserves its spot on my Inspirations of the Week.
- Finally, I present you with this stunning gif.
I don’t think I need to explain my reasons for being in love with this beautiful work of art. Just look at it.