I find it very hard to be alone in the world without my headphones in the ear. Even when I’m just walking five minutes to meet a friend and will have to take the them out in the middle of a song, I put them in. I’ve never liked silence—I spent a lot of my childhood on the phone or watching movies or talking to myself—but I didn’t realize that part of that dislike was because I loved distraction. I loved not being too alone with my thoughts. I loved that through anything I could think some other voice, some other world would always cut through it, so the threads in my brain were half-finished stitches, cut short by bridge in “Find U Again”. The latest Quartzy newsletter, the fruitful monotony edition, is an intriguing read on boredom, prophetic dull moments and creativity. It talks about how these days we’re always looking at our screens or ingesting something—podcasts, music, Instagram posts. It suggests that despite the constant input we are not really more creative or more informed. We’re just stuffed with sound and graphics; were stuffed with distraction. The rest of the newsletter goes on to talk about the boredom boom: boredom is in right now and it shows that it may be the source of creativity. Silence and embracing the dull moments so as to let your mind work on its own, without wondering how you will ever be as good as Lorde or @influencer643. Silence gives space for all the things we’ve stuffed in our head a space to breathe. And then they become something worthwhile, something we can work with, instead of stuffing for the gaps in our brain. The idea, and appeal, of disconnecting has dominated our social and media channels for the past few years. Just think of all the celebrities who announced social media detoxes in 2017. But simply deleting Instagram and Twitter don’t necessarily mean disconnecting or silence or boredom. One of my favourite people on YouTube, Rachel Nguyen, recently went on a solo road trip for a video series titled, The Art of Loneliness. It was a way for her to find inspiration by disconnecting from social media but also removing herself from her everyday experience. At times, I wondered if her documenting the experience for her viewers to watch later voided the aim of disconnection. Yet, her talking to herself, even knowing she’d eventually share it, forced her to think beyond her usual approach to slowed down productivity and creating work (or so it seemed). We don’t all need to rent a car and drive somewhere far away, but the concept of putting ourselves in a new environment, even just mentally, seems to align with boredom and dull yet prophetic moments. Maybe it’s not about boredom and silence solely (because, as the newsletter recognizes, sometimes boredom is just boredom) but turning off the world we know and turning on another that we’ve never thought to explore. I don’t know. I’m just lying in bed thinking as I type.
Music Video Friday (but it’s not Friday)
Over the years, Angel Olsen has perfected introspective, dramatically angst-y music for crisp and grey winter mornings. Her new song “All Mirrors”, takes everything that’s good about Olsen and elevates it: the drama has intensified, the weariness has taken over, and yet she sounds more powerful, more bold. The accompanying music video makes me think of a recent divorcée, who is relegated to her country home (the only thing she got out of the divorce) and has to face herself now that everything’s been stripped away. Paired with the song’s lyrics (“losin’ beauty, at least at times it knew me”) it’s a thirties, female driven fantasy.