I'd never heard Rina Mushonga's music before two nights ago when I watched Carter Smith's new film Swallowed. More on that in a minute, first I want to open today with the track used in that film. Taken from the 2019 album In a Galaxy, this entire record is fantastic. My elevator pitch would be Tracy Chapman meets Tune-Yards, but that's just meant to whet the appetite; comparisons really do Rina's music no justice, as it is extremely unique and wonderful.
Another light NCBD this week, which is fine since Night Fever dropped last week and that was a $25 cost I hadn't figured into my initial budget. Light maybe, be it's quality that counts, right? Yeah, and it's a good week:
Saga #65. Lying Cat on his back begging for belly rubs! Looks great, until you remember this is Saga and that means there's probably more horrible stuff for the people I love who live this book.
The first issue of the newest series in Jeff Lemire and Andrea Sorrentino's Bone Orchard Mythos, I'm pretty psyched for this one. I loved Ten Thousand Black Feathers but felt it ended just as it began to build into something revelatory. I guess that was intentional, as Lemire has said Tenement is the book where all the disparate pieces begin to connect. There are only three issues solicited so far that I see, but whether it's three or thirty, I'm on board.
I'd had Carter Smith's new film Swallowed on my viewing list since hearing him interviewed on the Colours of the Dark podcast a few months back. MAN did this blow my expectations away, which, incidentally, were fairly high.
Not for everyone, but if you're willing to take the ride promised by the trailer, this is a super solid flick, with great performances from everyone involved. Like, really great performances. Also, great to see Mark Patton kicking ass and taking names in a flick. Very cool.
Godflesh - Purge
Fen - Dustwalker
Sinoa Caves - Beyond the Black Rainbow OST
Carpenter Brut - Blood Machines OST
Rina Mushonga - In a Galaxy
Tune-Yards - WHOKILL
Pastor T.L. Barret and the Youth for Christ Choir - Like a Ship Without a Sail
Isaac Hayes - Truck Turner OST
Ghost - Impera
• Eight of Swords - Interruption
• XV The Devil
• XI Lust
This one's all about distraction. I've found that writing for long stints over successive days equals an eroding lack of attention that actually manifests physically as an almost obsessive/compulsive awareness. This "distraction radar" widens my attention to include anything and everything, which in turn gets me out of my chair and away from my work for things that a moment later, either seem unimportant or I forget completely. This is all compounded by a generally erratic nature when in this state, which is the very definition of counterproductive.
All this just means I'm on the correct path.
I haven't had this in a long time, and it means I'm expanding my writing stamina. At my peak performance, I remember sitting down and writing a script for someone in a little over a day. That happened two times, I think, and in doing it, I remember the process that helped me build the 'muscles' to get there. It wasn't easy, because it was a lot of fighting the exact behavior I mentioned above. Which is actually a lot like Yoga, Meditation, or any aspect of Magick in general.
Years ago, when I went through a period of reading works by Aleister Crowley's works on Magick, I began trying Raja Yoga. I believe Crowley talks about this in The Book of Lies, (or it might be Aha! - been a minute). Crowley introduces the idea of Raja Yoga, then talks about how to start practicing Yoga, one must first learn to sit completely still for long periods of time. The idea is, Stillness is a first strike at the crazed torrent of Horror the modern body feels at being asked to sit still.
Think about that for a minute.
No matter how old you are, or how educated, or successful, if you have no practice in keeping still, your body will act like a child and find a way to make you move. A tiny itch on your nose, a cramp; in more extreme cases, you'll hear things like a knock on the wall, or the snap of a twig. These aren't necessarily auditory hallucinations - although sometimes they might be. This is what happens to our brains in Stillness: we begin to hone in on our surroundings and seek beyond the filters that usually buffer our consciousness, so we can concentrate on the 'important' stuff. Once we can successfully apply the Will to keep Still for a considerable amount of time, we can then focus on controlling our Body in other ways, ie Raja Yoga. To paraphrase the most important morsel Crowley offers on this, "How can you hope to affect change on the Universe with your Will if you can't use it to keep still for five minutes?"
The joke at the time I implemented this was, I had no experience with any Yoga, so beginning with a considerably more severe form like Raja was doomed to fail. That said, man - I could almost perform and hold the Thunderbolt. That shit ain't easy.
All this Theory/Practice I'm talking about above is what led to me being able to sit at a desk for an entire day and write a script from scratch. One of my favorite writing memories, even if that project went nowhere. This is a great example of why I'm reformatting this section of the page to dip back into these ideas. If I am to look at my Practice as having built the life I have, then it makes sense that some of the systems I've put in place would need a tune-up now and again. Although I have maintained a ritualized practice of writing every day for close to a decade now, the duration of the sessions has dwindled. Time to rebuild this engine. In that, I've also added a Duration section to end the page with. This section (below) will be my personal journal of how long I wrote the day before. No hiding my failures now.
I have long used an app called ATracker PRO to 'punch in and punch out' for writing sessions. I get sloppy about using it sometimes, and when I'm as distracted as I was yesterday, I have to turn it off and on as I flit away and back again. In that, I have to get better. I want truthful accounts of solid writing time. I have never used the export function, so I'll probably tweak this as I go. Looks like dedicated time yesterday was roughly two hours and twenty-four minutes.
I use another app called Focus Keeper concurrently with ATracker for sessions within the overall session. This allows me five-minute breaks - which I often skip if things are rolling - after 25 minutes of dedicated writing.