Never underestimate the power of a fresh perspective.
When your body receives new sensory input, you create new thought patterns, ideas, and responses. Feeling something new — whether that’s walking to work a different way, sleeping at a friend’s house, or eating a jackfruit taco for the first time — can trigger your imagination.
That’s why it’s so good for artists to go away for retreats: a new environment is creatively stimulating.
Do something new today. Anything. And then just pay attention to what you notice.
Here are four more new and hopeful things to trigger your imagination.
1. Ann Friedman’s weekly newsletter. This is my main filter for news, resources, and culture. When I stopped reading Twitter and Facebook, I felt more calm, but I also felt out of touch. Then I found Ann Friedman. Every week she posts an amazing, rich round-up of articles, interviews, and news that is always 100% relevant and inspired. You can subscribe for free, but I encourage you to donate $5 or more to pay her for her incredible work. Discerning curators you can trust are worth a LOT in this culture of fractured and alarming noise.
2. It’s Been a Minute with Sam Sanders. My friend Miranda recommended this podcast to me last year, and now Ryan and I are both hooked. It’s my second favourite filter for news, resources, and culture. Sam Sanders invites guest journalists on the show every week for a brief, informative, and fun discussion about current events. He’s compassionate, positive, and basically a force of good in the world. Imagine: a news program that makes you feel better about the state of humanity every time you listen to it.
3. Instructions for the Age of Emergency, by Monica Byrne. This essay came to me via Ann Friedman (see #1 above) and when I read it, I wanted to print it out and wallpaper the streets. This is important reading for everyone, but especially fiction writers. So much good stuff in here, including Byrne’s description of the way she imagines the year 3018, and practical instruction on what we can do to survive this shifting crazy hopeful time. Writers: your art is important. Your vision is needed. Your imagination is crucial.
4. Foundinvoids on Instagram. One of Monica Byrne’s Instructions for the Age of Emergency (see #3 above) is this: Follow artists. Kelly Shaw is an artist who disrupts my IG feed with wild beauty. She’s a digital photographer who knits photos together into mind-blowing visions. Stumbling across her posts often makes me turn IG off, because I don’t want to see anything else that would spoil the surprise and delight that comes from seeing her work. That’s the gift that art gives us right now: an experience that short-circuits mindlessness. Art gives us our consciousness back.
I hope you find surprise, delight, and freshness in your world this week.