A Virtual Space Odyssey

Last week I drove up the Pacific Coast Highway, over an ocean of clouds, camping under redwoods in Big Sur and next to a heron sanctuary, on my way to create the future.

An ocean of clouds

I was listening to the audiobook SAPIENS the entire trip. It’s taking me a long time to read it because I keep scrubbing back to make sure every idea sinks in and becomes part of who I am. It’s a history of the human species, the ways our shared fictions have created us.

I was traveling toward an important meeting in San Francisco, camping along the way, listening to SAPIENS, thinking, brooding over our shared fictions —

It felt like the opening sequence of Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey. Traveling from the dawn of man to outer space.

But what is the monolith in this story? The machine built by an extraterrestrial species that, once discovered by the hominids, prompts a shift in evolution toward tools and weaponry and eventually leads to space colonization?

One of the best pieces of writing advice I could give you is —

Slow down.

We’re rewiring our neural pathways now.

I mean both slow down your thinking — pause — and slow down the moment. Take more time. Take more space in the world.

We have charted a course from the arrival of the monolith — our earliest and most primitive tool — all the way to our lives off this world.

It was a Heart of Darkness journey for me. A shared fiction. This is our earliest and most primitive tool.

Camping beside a heron sanctuary

Venturing into the unknown to find and recapture the wild feral part of yourself. Shared fictions. This is our monolith.

She knows a secret

Slow down.

Let the moment land.

Inspiration will get you almost all the way there. Whether toward a shared fiction or love or off this world.

Inspiration will get you to Business Town

I made it all the way up Highway 1 to Business Town, where I was sucked up the elevator inside the W Hotel and straight into VIRTUAL REALITY.

To paint is to love again.

Well, first we had to do some rewiring of the hotel room’s neural pathways and cover all the shitty mirrors on the ceiling with copies of USA Today we found in the hall.

Wall text at SF MoMA

Then I was sucked up — from my long heart of darkness voyage listening to SAPIENS from the dawn of man (camping in Big Sur) all the way up into an HTC Vive where I walked among galaxies.

Creating the future

And the mystery, story, symbol, dream — the shared fiction I’m left with — is one I’m ready to create. We started in that room.