I came to realize something recently: For the past few years I have reduced my opinions and my experiences to short bursts of often ineloquent ramblings that, if admittedly clever on my better days, don’t do a very good job of describing my condition or position. What’s worse, the past few years have also seen an equally disappointing dumbing down of my consumption of media. I don’t have time for thoughtful reads, for long form video, for engaging podcasts; I can’t be bothered with contemplation, with pause, or meditation. It is a direct result of various factors, not the least of which is my daily use of Twitter and its ≤140 form.
But it goes beyond thought. I am a designer, and in my daily work I like to think I make useful things. And sometimes I do, no doubt. But I never forget that my career (or at least as it can be described by my work until now) is the product of an accommodating economy. Push comes to shove, I have very few skills I can use to produce something with real, tangible value for my survival and that of those around me. Some time ago, a friend told me something to the effect of We design things that don’t really matter. Not really. People don’t need what we make to survive. And, for me personally, this needs to change. I need to change.
This is a disservice to my ideas, my intelligence, my body, and my personal growth, and I must change it. I need to learn to make stuff with my hands, to grow food, to tinker, to fix things, to explore the physical world around me; lest I continue down this sedentary path, one that brings contentment and plenty of distractions but which often lacks in profound personal satisfaction.
With this blog, I aim not only to document these explorations but also to cultivate what little writing skills I do have and explore the ideas that keep me up at night. I will force myself to write because, as Merlin Mann once said on a 5by5 podcast (and I’m totally paraphrasing here, seriously): Inspiration doesn’t make you a better writer. Writing makes you a better writer. And I will write about anything; about everything. From what I learn about user interface and experience design, through my rants on political, social and secularist issues, all the way to the occasional no-bull culinary recipe with an attitude so easy that even I can do it, and including a detailed record of all the plants I manage to torture in my effort to grow and maintain a small produce garden in our new home.
As such, this space will be all over the fucking place. As am I. As are we all in the end, I believe. Here’s to New Year’s Resolutions in the middle of a scorching fucking Tennessee summer.