Elana Kopelevich

Begin again (and again)

September 01, 2023

purposeon writing
tldr: I'm starting another blog. I will share my thoughts about things that confuse and interest me, reflect on my projects, and use this as a space to practice writing for for both myself and an audience. I've done this before. I'm doing it again. Life is iterating until you die.

I've lost track of how many blogs I've started and abandoned. From showing off my art, to gratitude journals - honest but shallow, to rambling personal posts, reminiscent of food blogs (Like, I know you came here for mushroom risotto, but here is an update about Jim's knee injury and look at this adorable picture of Susan dressed as a porcupine for Halloween, and if you want context about who the hell these people are, you're going to have to go back to 2006 and read from the beginning). I've written many-an-update along these lines but, to my shame, I never even shared any recipes.

So why am I here again?

In short:

  1. To organize and share my thoughts in long-enough-form, in a space that isn't controlled by bloodsucking corporate demons.
  2. To share updates on my projects, as well my learnings from said projects.
  3. To have a place to share the things that don't fit elsewhere.
  4. To move at my own pace.
  5. To develop thoughtful opinions in a way that others understand.

In long:

To organize and share my thoughts in long-enough-form, in a space that isn't controlled by bloodsucking corporate demons

To organize [my thoughts]

Modern life is chaos by design. There is too much to do and not enough time or space to figure out what we think about it. I am presently lucky enough to be able to make some of said resources in order to organize my thoughts. In addition to the research and synthesis (sitting and staring off into space) of ideas in the magical Arcadian fantasyland that I live in, I hear writing helps one organize thoughts, so I'm giving it a shot.

share my thoughts

But, why in public? Why can't I use a Care Bears diary, with a little pink plastic lock, like every reasonable child that came before the narcissism of the modern web?

To be honest, my motivation is genuinely not (at least mostly not) exhibitionism. I actually think that I might write something interesting. It's possible that my personal experiences and reflections will be useful to some lone individual (and that's actually enough). I hope that the research-based posts will contribute to some kind of collective understanding. A little voice in my head is saying everyone has already said everything, and I'm not really a specialist in anything, but just because the information is out there doesn't mean people notice it. We all function as information synthesizers.

in a space that isn't controlled by bloodsucking corporate demons

I'm writing here so the material is not, you know, systematically analyzed and distributed by an algorithm to better control me and others in my demographic.

To share updates on my projects, as well my learnings from said projects

I have intentions, okay. Probably similar intentions to many thousands of other humans who want to use their energy creating fun and useful things. I am writing a scifi / speculative fiction book. I am starting a web comic. In addition to writing this blog, I am formulating a more focused blog about living a better life. I'm also going to make random shit. And you know what? If you check back here frequently, you're going to know all about it.

To have a place to share the things that don't fit elsewhere

There is so much that I don't understand (or only partially understand). I would like to understand more and I feel that reading someone else's article is often not enough. Everyone has their own bias and so many scientific studies are actually corporate-sponsored shit.

Some things I'm interested in exploring:

* Capitalism, I basically know it's late-stage capitalism, but I would like to better understand that concept, as well.

And so much more. If I can explain the thing, I'll better understand it.

The other thing that doesn't fit anywhere else is fiction. I am writing some and I certainly hope that it gets published in some reputable (or disreputable) publications, but I'm likely to post some shorter pieces here as well.

To move at my own pace

I love reading long essays that respond to someone else's long essay or book (I'm thinking Joan Didion, Roxane Gay, and other proper essayists). It's like a casual badminton game, where the players enjoy the back-and-forth without working up a sweat. I think that is neat and I want to play too. I am not even worried that my would-be opponent comes back to read my perspective. Let the shuttlecock flit peacefully into the wind.

I'll get to engage in slow, thoughtful debates in the style of a Victorian aristocrat posting letters from the comfort of their manor - no threaded replies, no femicidal DMs, no SEO. Just contemplating my perspective on a subject over a cup of Lady Gray tea, as I gaze wistfully into the British countryside.

Yeah, I'll probably add comments as a feature and post it on the socials because I do actually want to engage with people and have conversations, but I can at least take my time to write my thoughts here.

To develop thoughtful opinions in a way that others understand

One key point here - I'm writing for myself first. My intention is not to write content for SEO and engagement. It's really important that you know that I'm not writing for you. Elsewhere, in other contexts, I might write for you, but here I'm writing for me. I'm writing what I mean to say, not what you want to hear.

The other important point is that I'm also not writing in a private journal. For my own growth as a writer, I am not going to post content without context or updates that wouldn't be interesting to me if I wasn't me. So, I'm writing for me, but I aim to be writing in a way that others find interesting and useful.

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Begin again

In concluding this precious piece of procrastination, in which I tell you what I'm going to tell you so I can put off telling you precisely what it is, I want to pause on something useful that I've incorporated into my thinking lately.

In meditation practice, you will lose your focus. Your attention will wander away from where you intend it to be. The more you practice, the more quickly you will notice the wandering little bugger and the more efficiently you will bring it back, but as far as I've understood, your mind is going to wander.

A common reaction to a wandering mind is to frame it as failure. To get upset with yourself. This is counterproductive and a literal waste of time. A better approach is to let go, and begin again.

You get off track. Pause. Let it go. Begin again.

This applies to all aspects of life, especially projects. This blog (and all the blogs that came before it) is a project. It doesn't matter what iteration I'm on. It doesn't matter that the first draft of the book has been gathering (digital) dust for three years. It doesn't matter. With this post, I begin again.

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