Issue 40, The Last Thing by Ada Limón
On trusting your gut and following the thread of your creativity
Go on your nerve
After the last issue, I got quite a few notes from some of you navigating your own creative journey, or trying to. In a world inundated with capitalist endeavour, trying to balance the needs of your soul (or even know what those needs are) is not easy. So I wanted to delve deeper in how I am doing on my own journey and how I am learning what my soul wants.
When you’ve spent so long working in forced routines, packed meetings, and delivering on ‘organisational needs’ – it’s easy to disassociate from your own gut instincts. These instincts don’t always make immediate sense to my rational mind, and they do not care about ‘success’ in the way we usually think of it. But whenever I have made space and conscious effort to really listen, I have always been better for it.
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It starts with noticing, and noticing is only possible when you challenge and disrupt your routine.
Today I want to share with you a poem by Ada Limón, for how clearly it exemplifies what it means to really notice the ordinary things around you. I love how successfully she plucks seemingly mundane moments, keeps them in her memory, ultimately enshrining each one in a poem.
The Last Thing
by Ada Limon
First there was the blue wing
of a scraggly loud jay tucked
into the shrubs. Then the bluish-
black moth drunkenly tripping
from blade to blade. Then
the quiet that came roaring
in like the R. J. Corman over
Broadway near the RV shop.
These are the last three things
that happened. Not in the universe,
but here, in the basin of my mind,
where I’m always making a list
for you, recording the day’s minor
urchins: silvery dust mote, pistachio
shell, the dog eating a sugar
snap pea. It’s going to rain soon,
close clouds bloated above us,
the air like a net about to release
all the caught fishes, a storm
siren in the distance. I know
you don’t always understand,
but let me point to the first
wet drops landing on the stones,
the noise like fingers drumming
the skin. I can’t help it. I will
never get over making everything
such a big deal.
Noticing, observing, is showing me how much of the art that we want to create is already all around us, if we only make “a big deal” out of it so others can see it too.
This line of thought took me to a long-time love of mine, pressing and drying flowers – which I’ve begun to flatten/paint on small canvases, trying to reclaim a fleeting moment of nature and preserve it, as the art that it is.
What I am paying attention to this week
A much celebrated designer, Khyati Trehan (who went to the same design school I attended in India) has just launched a personal project called The Texture Tourist. Its aim is to gather and document textures from cities all across the world. Much like her other work, it has such a clear purpose and sense of play to it – to say that I am obsessed would be an understatement.
My coach recently shared with me this assessment quiz by Positive Intelligence that helps you identify your saboteurs – inner parts of you that can sabotage your mental health by trying to protect you in the wrong way at the wrong times. A simplified variation of the Internal Family Systems model, I found the assessment useful and approachable, helping me name and self manage my own saboteurs.
Last week I went to The Other Art Fair by Saachi Art, an affordable art fair in the heart of Kings Cross in London. It was incredible to see so many different artists who have honed in on their own particular styles and art forms and developed them over years of labour. One particular artist’s work I fell head over heels for was Archana Pathak - an artist who uses textiles and old maps to create mesmerising artworks. The perfect example of following the thread of your creative intuitions, literally and figuratively.
If what you’re after is some more inspiration yourself, I recommend The Sample, a newsletter that curates a new type of newsletter to your inbox every time, or check out some books from my curated Bookshop.org list.