Playing favourites

When you google something and pick Wikipedia, as it was the first link on the results page, and then click on one of those references at the bottom of that Wikipedia page, and from there go to YouTube to see an interview with the guy who wrote the paper that was referenced, and then google something you have read in the comments of that video, a week later you might be hard pressed to pinpoint the location of a particular sentence in all the things you’ve seen and all the pages you’ve been.

I asked Google to explain to me why, at least in my supermarket, Heinz ketchup in glass bottles is cheaper than the same Heinz ketchup in plastic bottles. What I really wanted to know, however, is why they didn’t include long necked spoons with the glass bottles –  but I figured being born in continental Europe and having been exposed solely to ketchup in plastic bottles as a child, I’m in no position to ask Google such culturally sensitive questions, and proceeded by condensing my question about pricing into the search box.

20 minutes later I still didn’t have any answers concerning Kraft Heinz Company’s ketchup bottle pricing strategy, but I learned that salt systems in swimming pools are actually chlorine generators, using a process called electrolysis, and thus are not chlorine free. I also learned that McDonalds’s burger patties are guaranteed 100 % beef since 2011 (before that they might have contained something know as „pink slime”), and that „barley” (the grain) is called „Đại mạch” in Vietnamese language.

Somewhere in between finding those vital bits of information, I stumbled over the class notes of an art student. He quoted his beloved teacher like this: „The first 5000 paintings you’re going to make are just to flush out your system, to get all the bad stuff out of you. Only after that you will produce real art.”

There’s no way I could find that story again to quote it properly, but that’s the gist of it. It sounded a bit similar to the »10,000 hours of practice« rule that made Malcom Gladwell’s bestseller „Outliers” the most quoted book at the time, and stood in stark contrast with any proud parent delighted over their child’s first drawings. But then again this quote resonated with a childhood memory by David Sedaris, reflecting on how parenting was done 50 years ago: „Our artwork did not hang on the refrigerator or anywhere near it, because our parents recognized it for what it was: crap. They did not live in a child’s house, we lived in theirs.”

What I really want to say is, „I don’t know if these blog posts I’m writing, one every day, are any good.”

Nevertheless, for me they are the means and measure of an interesting improvement process: I am writing something every day. That alone is an achievement. I have the feeling, or at least I have the idea (which probably is the lesser version of a feeling), that with every blog post I’m getting better at writing. I’m getting better at the craft itself. And all of this in English, my second language. One day, maybe when I have done 180 days, I will re-read the whole thing, and see how I’ve done.

180 days! strikes me as a huge streak right now, unattainable almost, but I figure it will take a serious commitment to not only substantially improve my writing skills, but also to upgrade my endurance, output volume, and most importantly, my skills for telling apart good from bad writing.

I assume, writing can’t be that different from movement. We need to improve all: the ability to observe, to feel, to sense, to recognise, and to put labels and names on movements, and on movement qualities, in order to improve the way we move (and ultimately: the way we act).

Meanwhile, as much as I love to write these blog posts, I should, I need to, I have to! also attend to my other writing projects. Most of them far more important, financially. While blogging is just for my own development and learning, my other projects feed me, pay the rent, and actually help people. Yet they definitely see a lot less progress and a lot less dedication. Why do I favour blogging?