Is this another way of saying, “Am I a workaholic?” I’m not sure. I do think it’s weird that I don’t feel well when I’m not working in a stressful environment or that I’m not really working if I’m not stressed. That’s the kind of mentality the dark academia fandom bonds over, actually. It’s a weird, toxic thing.
I did a tarot reading on this and it turns out that the normalization of burnout and stress is very hard to decondition yourself from (I know that’s not very profound, but it just hit me this sh*t is deeper than I thought…). Abandoning calm and comfort while working is one of those things we as a society just decided to agree on? I was even advised to make sure I work at a desk so it feels like work (since the majority of my work is done at home) and that my bed should be for rest only… Nah. I love working in bed. I love that I can do my studies and my writing in the most comfortable place in my home. I’m only up and about for photoshoots and music recording. Shouldn’t that be enough? Does professionalism and career building have to be a suffocating experience? Does the daily grind really benefit me if I feel worthless and depressed when I’m not working myself to death? I’m pretty sure we each have our own work-life balance that works best for us, but sometimes mine feels…I honestly don’t know how to describe it.
I think the rigidity of Western work ethic is very unsettling. Why does it thrive on compounding on societal pressures? Does it also thrive on brainwashing me into thinking what I do will never be enough? How dumb… How scary…
Many creatives are caught in the rat race while trying to maintain the status of being a valiant competitor just to make ends meet. Doing this almost kills us.
As creative and critical thinkers, whether neurotypical or neurodivergent, being forced to follow a regimen is something we can excel to keep AND completely fail to achieve because our potential provides us with everything we need to be successful at whatever we put our mind to. That potential, however, is redirected to someone else’s agenda, like the mission of a company or the tradition of a culture that encourages assimilation for the their own sense of validation, and in that, we become invalidated as the call inside ourselves beckoning our potential to take a more fulfilling path is scolded and oppressed. This almost kills us, but it doesn’t succeed.
The artist can cultivate this near death experience into the first step towards a more suitable life. Recently, I reflected on an old job and sketched a drawing representing how drained and powerless I felt. I don’t miss the job or that feeling, but I hope I can upgrade that (rough/messy) sketch into a digital painting someday since this feeling is all too common and like many artists before me, I’d like this artistic expression to be whatever “sign” a fellow artist needs to push themselves to get out.
This has been a wonderful read so far. The narrative style is specific enough for the sake of immersion, but also jumps into the action of the story without too much wait. Traveling through Hell from the perspective of multiple characters is mesmerizing; each chapter isn’t too long nor short for me, which contributes to this work being a delightful page-turner. I’m always excited to witness a new area of Hell, another god, the growth of a revolution, and the developing external and internal conflicts of each character overlapping with one another without being confusing or sloppy. So far, I truly enjoy Lost Gods with all its ruthlessness and narrative poise. This was a book I started reading on Scribd, then had to order in print.
Still reading…but close to dropping it…
Deadly Education by Naomi Novik
I was excited for a magical/occult dark academia work to dive into. Unfortunately, the info dumps are incredibly bothersome, but are a good example of why authors need to show rather than tell. The most exciting part about magical systems and their environments is the experience, after all. I’m also concerned with how each character is portrayed, whether through their choices or their description from the protagonist’s perspective, leans into ignorance and racial prejudice. My first impression of the world building and character design overall isn’t good; I’m underwhelmed and keep hoping for actual storytelling and more active characters. I do enjoy the protagonists’s sarcastic and cynical tone, but I would prefer she would stop ranting to me about her conflicts and motives in life and just go after them. She gives me Slytherin vibes, but good gods, stop bitching about everyone and everything around you and do what you claim you’re going to do.
Still reading and loving it
The Demonologist by Andrew Pyper
I heard many people compare this book to The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova so I started it a while ago. So far, I really like it. The narration style is believable and fresh, meaning it’s a style I don’t really come across often. Similar to Brom, Pyper’s writing jumps into the heart of the story with good pacing. I’m a sucker for the stories about an academic who is recruited for some kind of mission that turns out to be more dangerous than it is educational, but is educational nonetheless. I love the narrator’s perspective on things, mostly because his tone of voice is certainly someone who is haunted by many things beyond his control, but isn’t drowning in cynicism necessarily, which must be due to the love for his daughter.
Listening and very intrigued
The Death of The Artist: How Creators Are Struggling to Survive in the Age of Billionaires and Big Tech by William Deresiewicz
This was a featured audiobook that was a recommended read on Scribd and I absolutely love it. I think many people, especially artists, may think it’s all doom and gloom, but I like a good wake up call to the reality of artistry in our time. I think any artist and creative entrepreneur should read or listen to this book if they’re stumped by the question “How do I make a living doing what I love?” Deresiewicz provides research and testimonials from artists who answer the question with, “Well, you may not make a living. That’s kind of the point.” It’s not as pessimistic as artistic souls may think. It’s more of a realistic, big picture view as to why it’s so damn hard making a living doing what you love and that it’s simultaneously harder and easier compared to how artists fought for their careers in the past. I’m not contradicting myself; Deresiewicz breaks down the conundrum of the art and entertainment industries so we as artists can have a more grounded view on the many roads of success that inevitably come with obstacles, failures, and a hell of a lot of exploitation from corporations. (I’m on the chapter about writers, publishing, and fucking Amazon right now…and if I told you how I feel about all this information, this post would be a long ass rant.)
I plan to provide updates about my current reads to stay in touch. I’m actually reading a lot more at once than what’s posted here. That will be another post.
I hope you all are well. I’m finally getting back into a good working groove again for my art projects and my novel, which reminded me about how much I miss blogging about my progress/research.
Starting with the progress with my novel series, what really helped was using a cork board and sticky notes to jot out the main plot. My first draft was written with more of a pantser mentality. I kept beating myself up for it before, but now that I’ve accepted that I’m at where I’m at and there’s no changing that, I can lean more into my plotter side.
Using a cork board and sticky notes to track the plot/character arc of one of my protagonists has helped tremendously. I think seeing the story’s progression through one character’s point of view and having more of a visual/tangible mode of seeing my work brought it more to life. Specifically, I was able to pinpoint how many other characters cross the path of this protagonist along with what areas and events they come to interact with whether they expect it or not. It’s an interesting process because initially I was down on myself for not plotting more for my first draft, but it was pointless to think that way. I’m learning to trust my creative process more and I’ve accepted how chaotic it is, but it’s also has a natural order to it. In other words, there’s an order to my chaos and I should never have compared myself to other authors/writers to begin with. It does help to learn about the creative process of others, but at the end of the day, just do your own thing.
As for the Russian/Slavic witchcraft venture, I previously posted of a podcast I listen to where author Natasha Helvin describes her own experiences. I’ve been reading both of her books Russian Black Magic and Slavic Witchcraft. Both are intriguing reads and are very inspiring for a specific character of my novel, which I hope I can capture well with the utmost respect of the craft.
Here’s the Instagram of one fellow writer I follow who reminded me of cork board plotting.
Now, for my art projects. I focused on my poetry collection for most of the winter season. While working, I kept having these visual ideas being paired with my poems. I’ve done photography with poetry before when I was younger (like a teenager), but looking back on my creations in the past, it’s not really up to my standard of quality today, although I love that I tried my best back then. So what’s the next level? Photomanipulation. I’ve been taking lessons with photoshop, photography, and digital art to see if I can bring my dark fantasy vision and poetry to life through a darker medium. The surrealists and dark self-portraiture artists of the photoshop composite world are amazing.
Danny Bittencourt is a Brazilian visual poet whose work I’ve fallen in love with.
Another is Flóra Borsi, whose fine art self-portraits are surreal and captivating.
I hope to enter this world one day, so I’m working hard. Diving into the world of photoshop and photography was very unexpected while working on my poetry. At first it felt like I was distracting myself from the main goal of the project. Quite the opposite; this is exactly what I’ve been wanting to do since I was a teenager. I don’t want the poetry collection to just be in a book. I want each work to be a masterpiece.
Here’s to ambition and the crazy chaos of creativity.
First, I just want to say I’m really grateful for all the visitors I get on blog, who I’m noticing are mostly occult and metaphysics enthusiasts! I’m glad my posts have caught your attention and I hope they were helpful.
Second, there have been a lot of website changes. I’m trying to polish the platform so my future works will be better displayed. There was just too much clutter before, but hopefully the investments and changes I’ve made will bring clarity to my vision for Authentikei.
Thirdly, along with my psychology studies, I’ve been doing a lot of pagan and occult research that I hope to blog about soon, but when I’m not studying, I’m usually writing poetry, my novel, searching for aesthetic inspiration ravenously, or just…thinking about everything. I swear I’m going to make time for more blogging/article/ social media content very soon. In fact, I’ll share the writing sources I run into soon.
Lastly, I’ve been feeling the healthiest I have ever been and I’m so grateful. Actually my gratitude for my life has been exploding and all I want to do is share it with you, but I know that making high quality work requires patience, focus, introspection and adaptability. Although I’m busy, you’re more than welcome to chat with me on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, or Instagram and you can take a look at my Pinterest too if we have the same aesthetic vibe.
I hope you’re all well, safe, and healthy. I can’t wait to show you my work when it’s time.