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On being tired, on love, and the magic of bread
I will go to my grave swearing this isn't about you.
Tired of it being november. of the world falling through our hands. of people using the word love like an excuse for their bad behaviour. Tired of my own voice and tired of being tired.
maybe, we’re all just being spit out the other side of hustle culture, nicely ground through a divisive pandemic dropped into a bunch of wars that remind anyone who ever studied wars that man makes wars. the same man that pops up every few generations somehow ineluctable.
I’m no sage. beats me.
All I know is i feel existentially exhausted by denying everything i currently need to deny to get through each day. Stepping over the bodies, and wreckage of everything we could have had—but chose in selfishness (the source of almost all our foibles) to throw on a pile and burn, because, you know, we have the freedom to do so.
Social media seems profoundly pointless, and yes substack is social media. I’ve picked my camera up once this month, to document some beautiful bread. I’ve all but stopped painting. I write you now from a dark turn on a sunday because I gotta keep those fucking new subs coming in. that’s what they tell you incessantly.
no one tells you why.
I’m okay. Don’t call for a 24 hour psych eval. Work is getting done. Bills are being paid. bread is being made. plans for spring gardens are being, you know, planned. We aren’t entirely crashing here. But the short daylight hours of November in the western hemisphere being burnt through, scrolling lies and half baked wisdom, are taking a toll.
I’ve had to step back from twitter. again. The level of deceit, lack of concern for others, and general manipulation being foisted on me by my own provincial government (to say nothing of how true this is generally) throws me between cycles of blatant rage and fundamental despair.
A word I use so infrequently I had to spell check it.
I’ve got some work to do over here to hold things together till the days start getting longer. I’ll do the work. This isn’t my first trip around the seasons, and it’s not all bad.
I ache for people to care about one another more, but see in my own world how isolated everyone feels. How removed and stunned to find themselves stumbling through a world that looks the same, but somehow isn’t. You can’t quite put your finger on what shifted, or why, but something somewhere did.
If you think about it too much, well, it becomes too much so lets just keep on pretending and hope it all works out.
I said it isn’t all bad. I mean that.
I recently had the miraculous gift of being shifted to 4 day weeks for my work, with no pay cut—which is unheard of in capitalism—and we’re only a couple weeks in and I can feel it transforming my life.
I over schedule my life. I have too many hobbies, interests and long stretches of pain and combat with a wildly broken body. Everything feels rushed, even trying to not rush, i’m rushing that.
Having a new, unscheduled day blossom off the side of the week is nothing short of a revolution.
My first day off was spent nearly entirely with my beautiful daja (daughter for those new to things) browsing the bookstore, eating, and sitting in parking lots talking about life.
My second day off was spent slow rolling the baking process to really dial in and pay attention. It produced two loaves of sourdough, which not perfect visually, are the best sourdough i’ve had since 2008.
I stumble through the normal weekend confused about what day it is and reflexively thinking tomorrow is work. I’m way behind my own list. Saturday is sunday. sunday is monday. I catch myself lost, over and over. Panic. Relief. Panic. Relief.
And this is only week two. The pull to cement something into that free day. A new project. A book? a software company? a local 10 loaf a week bakery. It’s deep and the efficiency expert in me wants it filled. I’ll resist as long as I can but your list of things to do always expands to fill the available time.
I’ll cherish this small window.
this next bit, well, some of you close to me might feel called out. This isn’t about you no matter how true it rings for you. This is about what i see in a 100 people around me. About how i feel about how people close to me have treated me, or treat me. It’s about me reminding myself of what I think.
For some reason I have all these nagging thoughts about the nature of love lately. Though I swore it off entirely. Though I patently reject the idea love is real at all in the literal sense.
This thread of isolation creeping through everything is working in tandem with a structural selfishness both of which, I think are founded on lies about love. Lies about what is healthy and filtered through the whole self care movement. And while I have literally no energy to attack that problem right now I still feel compelled to write, pointlessly, about what love might be if it actually could exist in an animal as selfish as the human animal.
Love is not an emotion or feeling. it’s not something you have, or had. It’s not symbolic or persistent. Love is action. Love is a physical expression of caring about someone or some thing more than you care about yourself. About being willing to subjugate your needs, your wants, in love for someone else’s needs and wants. Loving something is realizing there are things in the world more important than you and your issues, and your comfort.
This is the power latent in love. The power to be free of your own disgusting weaknesses and selfishness for a couple moments.
I realize this goes against everything modern culture tells us about love. careful you don’t get groomed.
If you don’t care about the person you think you love more than you care about yourself, you just simply don’t love that person. nothing more complex than that.
if you don’t think another human could ever mean that much to you, you aren’t ready to love. do the work and by all the gods of kindness don’t go around lying to yourself that you love. I mean, on whole, lets try to lie to ourselves a bit less. It’s not helping.
and generally speaking ignore the word love. it doesn’t exists except in very extreme situations and when most people use the word, well, they’re either lying to you, or lying to themselves, or both.
You don’t have to agree with this opinion. I shouldn’t have to remind you of that.
Making photos of bread is nearly as challenging as making the bread.
I crash against the limits of a photo to convey the beauty. The texture and smells. The flavours. I feel defeated by the shifts in color and tone.
I won’t even address the contrast.
Fred, my beautiful friend, the sourdough starter deserves better than I can provide for now. He who is many. The yeasts and bacteria. Working together so beautifully. The magic of nature and organic processes fully removed from our day to day dramas. Like plants, starters need attention. they need work. They need love to survive and thrive.
This is overly romantic for a glass jar of bacteria and flour. However, the counter argument is my starter has made me happy in ways no human has been able to since probably before the pandemic.
Call that whatever you want.
Some shabby bread photos to close the week out.