Love your body (of work)

And your physical body too. Both of them.

How we are at the small scale is how we are at the large scale. The patterns of the universe repeat at scale. 

adrienne maree brown

Here are some things you might not know about living on a tropical island:

  • It’s not always hot. I mean, it’s never cold, but it’s not always hot. Right now (March) it’s absolutely perfect.

  • Everything costs more. If it’s not manufactured here, it’s shipped in and that means tariffs and taxes and shipping costs. Those get tacked onto the retail price.

  • Life does move at a different pace. The phrase island time has real meaning, and it means: quit setting arbitrary deadlines and timelines that create urgency and cause stress. Find a rhythm. Flow from one thing to the next. It’s okay if things get delayed a bit. Take a breath. It will happen in time.

  • Sometimes living on island time clashes with the expectations of people not living on island time. I don’t check email more than a few times a day. I’m rarely on social media. I avoid phone calls and meetings unless they’re necessary. I meet my deadlines, but I don’t set arbitrary ones for myself. I focus on the 20% of the work that matters, to the best of my ability, rather than scurrying around, urgent and stressed, trying to do things that make me look busy and feel accomplished, but don’t aid progress or create value.

  • There are so many kinds of BANANAS! I had no idea. And they’re all delicious.

Body of work

What internal framework supports the external body of work that people see?

One of the most inspiring things, for me, is to see someone's collected works (or some major/categorized portion of them).

I love seeing the individual pieces lined up, the consistency and flow of years of creative work, in various ways:

  • an artist's entire discography on Spotify

  • the list of books on an Amazon author page

  • tens or hundreds of blog posts under the blog menu

  • an About page with a list of projects and research

  • a beautiful portfolio of art, photography, design, etc.

Like your own physical body, a body of creative work has parts that are unseen: internal workings, systems, and pieces that don't show up on the public side of the list.

If the unseen parts of your physical body are in good order, working as they need to, the rest of your body--the seen parts--can function. If those unseen pieces aren't working well, though, everything pauses, slows, or grinds to a (sometimes painful) halt.

The seen is what gets the attention. The unseen is what powers the seen.

Creating a body of work is something that necessarily requires time. You can't sprint for it. You can't hustle through the pain long enough. You have to give attention to those internal pieces and systems. Are they working? Are they efficient and healthy?

They're the skeleton--the necessary support--for the outer wrapping: the body of work that everyone can see. Taking time to make sure your internal supports are streamlined, sustainable, and helpful isn't a waste. It's a necessity.

❋ Let us discuss the long and illustrious history of writers who prefer no capitals in their names.

e e cummings

Edward Estlin Cummings (E.E. to his friends, I guess) was fabulous in so many ways and if you haven’t read his poetry go do it now, but also read this about how he liked his name written:

Cummings' publishers and others have often echoed the unconventional orthography in his poetry by writing his name in lowercase and without periods (full stops), but normal orthography for his name (uppercase and periods) is supported by scholarship and preferred by publishers today.[39] Cummings himself used both the lowercase and capitalized versions, though he most often signed his name with capitals.[39]

That’s from Wikipedia so you know you can trust it.

That’s right.

ee cummings of the no capitals/no punctuation fame himself most often signed his name with capitals. With periods after the initials, too, do you think?

Okay, that’s it. I know I said long and illustrious history but I’m kind over this topic now. Let’s have an E. E. Cummings poem, instead.

Also, if you haven’t read adrienne maree brown, click on her name and start reading. Rich deep good thoughtful soul-food stuff.