If I look back at the things I note when reading they fall into maybe two piles. Firstly, things about photography. Secondly, things about doing creative work. So maybe right now this blog is a blog about doing photography.
I recently read 4000 Weeks by Oliver Burkeman (Amazon, Bookshop.org – £), which bills itself as a kind of anti-productivity manifesto, and at its core, exerts us to live in the present moment. I don’t really write about those things here, but that is a great book.
The kind of ground that Austin Kleon covers in his books and newsletters is much closer to what I write about here. In this post, he includes a comment from Alcoholics Anonymous that somehow bridges these two worlds. It is both an exhortation to live today, and to do your best work by only living today:
In Show Your Work! I suggested the day as the primary unit of time for the artist. Building a substantial body of work takes a long time—a lifetime, really—but thankfully, you don’t need that time all in one big chunk. So forget about decades, forget about years, and forget about months. Focus on days. The day is the only unit of time that I can really get my head around. Seasons change, weeks are completely human-made, but the day has a rhythm. The sun goes up; the sun goes down. I can handle that. And in Keep Going, I quoted the classic AA advice to “take one day at a time”: “Any man can fight the battles of just one day,” begins a passage collected in Richmond Walker’s book of meditations for recovering alcoholics, Twenty-Four Hours a Day. “It is only when you and I add the burden of those two awful eternities, yesterday and tomorrow, that we break down. It is not the experience of today that drives men mad. It is remorse or bitterness for something which happened yesterday or the dread of what tomorrow may bring. Let us therefore do our best to live but one day at a time.”30-day challenge – Austin Kleon
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