FOCUSED INTENT


Time seems to be increasingly scarce. How does anyone manage to cram everything they want to do into a life. I wish I could work until two and wake up at seven-thirty feeling refreshed and satisfied every day, but it’s impossible. I have tried, and by Wednesday I’m incapable of anything short of staring into space.

As a response to the truncated, impulsive, flatulent state of modern communication, I have decided to try to sit down and write long, intentional letters to people. My way forcing myself to think something through, even if it takes shape gradually as the letter progresses. I wrote justification of this idea to my new friend Sam:

Dear Sam,

In true Canadian form, let me start by apologizing if this is an imposition. 

I just read a giant biography of John Steinbeck, maybe my favourite writer. The book includes excerpts from a lot of letters John wrote over the years. As you might imagine, these letters are a delight to read. It had me thinking a lot about a time when that kind of focused, intentional, and direct communication with someone was truly one of the only ways to learn anything about what was going on with them. Combined with the exhausting and tragic repercussions of social media re: Trump and everything, I have resolved to make a much greater effort to write directly and intently to people I want to know. Our time is very fragmented; that is at the root of my apology. No one asked to have my consciousness dumped on them. But I think that are you are someone who might appreciate this line of reasoning. You have only yourself to blame. If you hadn’t been so interesting to talk to, you might have avoided this. 

 

I am never writing enough. While these letters could be seen as a way of winding up the brain to be ready to write, they could equally be seen as yet another distraction, a way of convincing myself that I am working when I am not. Every possible situation feels like a minefield this days. And yet it is precisely those stakes which make any and all progress so rewarding. I wish I knew where to step next. Regardless, I will try to step decisively.

Tyler is keeping a record of our exchanges here.

I don’t write letters to Lizzie unless I’m travelling. In the meantime, she gets attempts at poetry.

I am really going to try and do this blog thing right as well. Post weekly updates on Friday afternoons or something. Develop a bit of routine. I really do have things to say. It is a matter of uncovering the courage and the conviction to believe they are worth saying. The dubiousness I have toward that sentiment is only amplified by the increasingly dangerous state of contemporary discourse, in which everyone believes they are entitled to an actionable opinion. In this decade people armchair quarterback their way to great acclaim seemingly every day. I think we could all benefit from taking a step back, and writing at length to our friends. It might be surprising, what we learn about each other, and ourselves.

Until next time.

Dylan – Edmonton, AB

 

 

 

 

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