Good Morning Good Morning
The week started with a missive from my colleague recommending an article on how to improve your writing. My writing, as I took it. This is not good, I thought, in short because the gist of the piece was largely to not do many of the things I do, or used to do before I stopped writing. This sentence was a good example of what not to do. I won’t bore us with the other points, all valid and worthy of being respected if not obeyed.
Back when I used to write more often, the style seemed fresh and even edgy. Today it seems like just one more potato chip along the road to a slow death due to arteriosclerosis. Everywhere you see this stuff, and what’s worse is that it doesn’t work anymore. We don’t really need a bunch of news masquerading as passion, or marketing wrapped in memefishing.
Not that there’s anything wrong with memefishing. We’re in somewhat of a drought: the Watch, live streaming, and who is buying Salesforce. Thankfully I know nothing about the last but what I read in the press, the best livestream I’ve seen was an hour forty about Periscope on Periscope by Chris Sacca, and the Watch, well where is it is the only question I have. Maybe they should have a trading halt until mine gets here.
I’ve already bought the first Watch peripheral. It’s the new MacBook, which is nothing short of gorgeous in every way. The best way of describing it is to say that it makes the MacBook Air seem like a trip back to the Old West in Back to the Future Part 3. Everything about the Air now feels like my first portable bag phone: big, slow, and devoid of inspiration. The iPhone 6 Plus all but orphaned the iPad Air, and when the Watch finally shows up I’ll be using that to control the Apple TV.
Which reminds me of the Saccacast, which easily outranked any network show save the beautifully constructed Good Wife episode and the ebbing Mad Men winddown. No one has quite captured how transformative these startups are as Sacca does, by virtue of his bridging the poles between the emotional impact of tweeting in video realtime and the creative potential being unleashed by the ubiquity of these incredible devices. It’s not what shows they are replacing or business models they are unseating but what vision they are unleashing.
Writing or streaming is a particular act of performance. I first started writing in high school because I thought it looked like fun. I loved the surreal, the silly comedy of the Goons, the wit of the Beatles, the magic of the laugh. I was too dumb to realize how hard it was, and just egotistical enough to think I could do it well enough to learn. Above all, I hoped it would project the feeling I knew what I was doing. I was trying to invent a me I could respect.
Medium, this place, has the same feeling of high school. The playing field is level; there’s no one to grade you, define you in terms of success or failure, let you in or keep you out of the club. There’s no copy editor to rebel against, no deadline except the one you impose on yourself. The freedom works in your favor, too, encouraging a certain responsibility to the raison d’être of what you’re doing. In my case, no writing for style’s sake, but at the same time, no prohibition from doing something just because it strikes the right note.
Growing older has some obvious disadvantages, but it brings with the years a deepening sense of the balance between inspiration and consideration. Sometimes I miss the thrill, the rush of excitement at the brink of discovery, the anticipation of success and its impact on the scale of life. More and more, though, I enjoy the calculation of what will happen overlaid on the possibilities of what might or might not. It’s not either/or, but rather a hybrid future with elements of both success and limits combined.
Perhaps the interim goal is enough: setting up the next piece, the next logical chunk of idea and form, somewhere between a like and a share. As the song goes, I’ve got nothing to say but it’s OK.