On welcoming inputs

Last night I thought about why I don’t feel entertained by novels and movies anymore, and have trouble listening to the news and sometimes even to everyday conversations. I guess there are many factors at play, and different combinations for each situation; still, there is a leitmotiv in my perception that connects them. I apologise for the somewhat vague title, but this is the best fit I could find.

I have realised at a way earlier point in life that I receive information from the outside world in form of a mix of events that can be explained with laws of nature (in the broadest sense) and the opinions about these events. This seeems so obvious that it’s odd to mention it at all. What I recently realised is that I used to give both of these categories the same attention, the same right to be heard; and that I was listening to any input with full focus, genuine intention to understand it well. Not surprisingly I was good at school and I was regarded as a good listener, but I regularly and increasingly got overwhelmed.

The solution that most have suggested to me is “well, focus on some specific topic, filter the inputs the you get, there will always be too many situations that would need your help anyway, think about yourself first”. I understand , but I manage only to half-heartedly agree with that. I recognise my finite resources and I’m working on acknowledging my own needs, but I have no usable logic for picking up a topic. I guess it has to do with my intention to work on a given issue that I met directly, not on what someone managed to convince me to. I would feel horribly guilty to have followed a good marketing feat and have disregarded a more urgent issue just because it was not as brilliantly presented. I think of many examples of great storytelling that made a legitimately good work in raising attention on some obscure yet important topics, but I have the uneasy thought that there is much more in the shadows that can’t sell itself as effectively, and it would be inhumane to expect it to.

Connected to that, I got the increasingly clear perception of that “listen to me, disregard the others, I’ll make you change how you think or confirm your views” in works of fiction. I started to read books in a different way. Until recently, I was reading to discover new topics and the views of the authors, and use them to build my inner world, changing them as little as possible. What happens now when I pick a novel is that my brain defiantly grabs a notepad and takes notes about what views the authors want to bring forward, tries to find out inconsistencies, reasons to stop reading. Same happens, with more success for the brain, when I watch a movie. I seem not to be able to get into suspension of disbelief, and I see the movie as if I were on the set: I can almost hear the director telling what he/she wants to see the actors doing (which brings its own pleasure, as a behind-the-scenes experience). I can only watch videos and read text where the self-irony or self-observation is so blatant that I’m not expected to approve the narrative or have empathy of any sort. The focus moves to the acting ability, the photography, the use of narrative devices for fun. I can watch the Monty Python’s Flying Circus or the IT Crowd over and over, and I am very wary in watching anything new, even when I get suggestions from friends.

I think there is a lot behind this change in my perception and I’m trying to understand it better. I would be curious if anyone has similar experiences or has hints for further exploration on the topic.

Craft and kitchen updates

Here is a small update of what I knitted, painted and baked recently.

My big blanket project is progressing nicely, the wool is a bit rough but very warm. The rows are getting longer and longer due to increases at the corners, and I will soon add a second circular needle! It was odd to start with the row in the middle of the blanket and then add rows around the sides of the rectangle, but it is working out very well and surprisingly fast.

A few days ago I painted a horse without mixing colours, as if I were adding one puzzle piece at a time. I’m not trusting myself with colour mixing, I suspect that I generally use too much water and paint too fast over areas that are still wet.

And last but not least, my last loaf. Before that I baked buns, but they were gone so fast that I don’t even have a picture of them 😀

Stay safe and healthy, wherever you are!

Finger painting experiment

Hello all, after a longish break from blogging here I am again, this time with a painting technique that I tried out for the first time only recently. Well, maybe not, but I can’t remember if I painted with my fingers during kindergarten years.

The inspiration for this painting is the word “mirror”. I have read about the ability of horses to mirror a person’s feelings and thoughts, so I chose to represent this word with two horses. Furthermore, I painted with both hands at the same time, mirroring their movements. For the final touches I used one hand at once, but always the same hand for the same side of the painting.

I used a A2-size sheet of paper, acrylic paint and a base layer of diluted tapestry glue (it kept the paint moist for long enough to edit any part of the painting at will). The whole process took a bit more than half an hour.

I sort of like the left-side horse better than the right-side one. The shadows have more contrast and make it look like it bends its head towards the other horse, which is a bit more static in pose.

I consider this almost as a screenshot of a thought. If I were to paint it again, I would work more on the planning, blocking proportions, and on the actual process of putting paint more accurately on the paper. This version is almost pure movement, which has its purpose and right, but makes me feel it is not a full thought.

And not last, the feeling of applying paint directly with my hands had something refreshing, daring, and direct, a feeling that I want to savour again. Acrylic paint is not toxic (but always check the instructions on the tubes!) and it washes away pretty easily with warm water and soap.

Till next time, take care and stay healthy!