Metamodern Multimedia Infodumping
(VIDEO) ROUND-UP: bridging the bio + the social, refocusing on felt experience, and art-making as emergent process
Just a quick reminder that if you have not yet posted in this month’s discussion thread of our non-linear book club for people who don’t finish books, come on in, the discourse is warm!!! We’re reading Restoring the Kinship Worldview, and you’re not too late to jump in, because time is a river:
This week’s compost pile of ideas is mostly video-based — I thought I’d try talking into a camera about a book I recently read on metamodernism and see what came out. It’s mostly unplanned thoughts on how I see this emerging cultural code/worldview/vibe applying to my own work around neurodiversity and identity, and I also read you some of my favorite lines from the book.
If you missed this post where I explain metamodernism with memes, definitely go read that:
Video still feels like the most accessible, most exciting medium to me, one that puts me in a flow state like no other — you know the kind, where you get to exist outside of time for a while? That transcendental holy feeling, like a sort of rapture. I get this when I’m editing a video. But still, I find myself avoiding it, falling back into the written word where I’m most comfortable.
I keep finding myself abandoning video projects half-way, and I think this is because the medium forces me to confront imperfection more intensely than writing an essay. It’s a lot easier to proofread text and make sure there are no mistakes. With video, everything takes so much longer, and it’s impractical to re-shoot if you say something wrong. It’s also a new skill, and while I never feel satisfied unless I’m learning something new, I paradoxically always feel crushed by a learning curve.
As I told Sarah recently, I’m always “trying to skip the bad first draft and write something immediately good.” But this is not only impossible, it’s actively harmful. It gets in the way of making anything at all.
An essay by D.L. Mayfield, who writes Healing Is My Special Interest, reminded me this week of Pete Walker’s work on the inner critic. Walker is a therapist who wrote a very popular book on CPTSD, and he says that engaging the fight response — tapping into a sense of righteous anger — is actually a crucial strategy for quieting the perfectionist within.
One of his suggested rebuttals to the inner critic has gotten stuck in my head: I have a right to make mistakes.
It struck me, this line, because it goes beyond the usual self-compassionate platitudes. Fucking it up is not merely inevitable or forgivable, but my right. This suggests that there is something desirable in mistakes, as if failing is a portal to somewhere new that the perfectionist does not want us to go.
So I decided to go against all my impulses for control and purposely didn’t script this, and because I didn’t plan, it became an emergent process in itself. New directions revealed themselves to me in the practice of surrendering to my mistakes. I actually discovered even more exciting work while editing this, beyond the book I wanted to tell you about, which I’ve included below.