I’ve been thinking a lot about how much I consume. I spend all day, every day reading things, watching things, and listening to things. Rarely only one at a time. If my eyes are reading, then my ears should be doing something too! I wouldn’t say I feel inundated with images and noise. It’s rare that I feel overwhelmed enough that I need to take a break from it all. But I do think about the quality of the things I’m consuming.
I’m as guilty as everyone else of refreshing my twitter stream even though only seconds have passed since I last refreshed it and, hey, why don’t I check tumblr to see if anyone has posted anything in the last minute, and then after that, I should probably check twitter again because it’s been 30 seconds. At a certain point I realized that cycle is boring and unfulfilling; whatever I’m avoiding is probably more interesting and if I just need to connect with people, I have better ways of doing that.
I get anxious when I think of all the things I want to see and read and hear and experience, so I’m trying to be more intentional about what I consume. As I am prone to do, I’ve been in a rut lately, listening the same music I always do, watching the same shows, and barely reading fiction at all.1 I stick to what’s familiar instead of seeking out what is new. But right now I find myself itching to experience novelty.
To consume sounds so passive, but it can really be very active. It takes some discipline to keep myself moving. Or at least some intention. I’m ready to take that challenge more seriously even though I am as much plagued by a lack of time as always. At the moment, I find myself wanting to consume as much quality content as I can. I know it’s unreasonable, but I keep thinking that I should be able to read a novel a week, listen to a new album a week, and watch a thought-provoking movie a week. I’m going to fall short (especially trying to read a novel a week), but I’m going to try anyway.
What you consume is important, because it becomes part of who you are. And it becomes part of what you create. That’s the other part of this. I’ve been thinking a lot about what I create. I guess I’ve always placed a higher value on creating than consuming, because it requires so much hard work. More than just hard work. It takes courage and talent you’re not sure you possess and so much patience. I’m proud of how much I produce, but right now I’m thinking that I want to say so much more. I want to say as much as possible. For a long time, I’ve had this crazy idea that I should write a novel and fill a journal every year.2
I’m going to keep up with my own ambitions the best that I can and especially focus on reading fiction and listening to new music. I hope to find things worth writing about and sharing. I like the idea of connecting to people through literature and music especially. I’m going to try to post what I’m reading/listening to/watching in the sidebar of my blog (in part to keep myself accountable). If you have any suggestions, throw them my way, and I’ll add them to my long and growing lists of things I must consume right this second.
I’m starting to think there might be something about this time of year. In 2010 I was listening to Contra on repeat and obsessively plotting out the next five years of my life.