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robertogreco : pause   12

The Triumph of the Quiet Style - The Awl
"The clearest demonstration of the quiet style—the dominant, most provocative, most interesting aesthetic of our time—is in theater, where Annie Baker created a revolution by slowing everything down, inserting long pauses, setting plays at room temperature. Baker is, in America and for straight plays, the unquestioned superstar playwright of her generation. She won the Pulitzer Prize in 2014 and a MacArthur Grant in 2017. Her success is so sweeping that it’s almost hard to remember how weird her style seemed five or ten years ago, and how much it ran against all the prevailing headwinds of playwriting, which, for decades, had been all about making plays faster, more shocking, edgier.

American plays were already fast-paced (quick cuts, overlapping dialogue) and then, in the 1970s, David Mamet figured out a syncopated style that made them even faster. (“Arrive late, leave early,” is his prescription for writing scenes). Neil LaBute, Mamet’s heir, starts his signature play, Reasons to Be Pretty, with the stage direction: “Two people in their bedroom, already in the middle of it. A nice little fight. Wham!” Edward Albee, the reigning granddaddy of American theater, admitted that he wrote The Goat, a play about a man’s love affair with a farm animal, more or less because he couldn’t think of any taboos left to break.

For Baker, studying playwriting at NYU, the contemporary approach to playwriting was a nightmare—a formula to get your turns and reveals as plentiful and as high up in the script as possible, and all of it about as artistic as working in the pit at Daytona. While in graduate school, she had a breakdown (by her accounting, one of many) and, stuck, declared to her mentor that what she really wanted to do was to write a play about her mom and her mom’s “hippie friends sitting around and talking about spirituality for two hours,” which, to Mamet and her NYU professors, would have been like saying that what she wanted most as a playwright was to make sure that her audience had the right atmosphere for a nice, peaceful nap."



"But it’s not as if the quiet style began ten years ago. Chekhov is quiet. Our Town is quiet. Beckett is quiet. French New Wave is quiet. Probably, in every era, ‘serious’ art is quieter and slower than commercial. What I am saying, though, is that something distinctive is happening, and it’s clearly resonating with audiences since the same tendencies are dominant in all these different mediums, producing what for years has been the the most unsettling, most challenging, most talked-about work.

The key figure for the quiet style, the one who lays its sociopolitical foundations, is J.M. Coetzee. In Coetzee, the ruling class relinquishes—reluctantly but voluntarily—all its entitlements and, in humility and debasement, acquires a kind of beneficence. “The alternatives [to the power structure] are not,” he writes in the Diary Of A Bad Year, “placid servitude on the one hand and revolt against servitude on the other. There is a third way, chosen by thousands and millions of people every day. It is the way of quietism, of willed obscurity, of inner emigration.”

For the protagonists of the quiet style, most of whom descend from generations of easy living (their privilege is so patent and so internalized that they rarely deign even to speak of it), institutions no longer have anything to offer them and need nothing from them. They tend to be very willing to relinquish whatever societal power they have to those who want it more than they do. It’s characteristic to be an ex-pat (as in Lerner and Greenwell) or to be in some sort of internal exile (Vermont in Baker’s plays) or to be adrift in the ghettos of the unpublished, unproduced artistic underclass (as in Jarmusch, Baumbach, Heti, Dunham, etc). In other words, to have opted out.

What’s crucial—and, ultimately, what defines the quiet style—is the gesture of abnegation, a recognition by its heroes that success either is not for them or doesn’t matter to them. In spite of its heavy use of naturalism, the quiet style is not realism. Fundamentally, the quiet style is a mode of religious expression and it leans heavily on its confessional aspect, its blind faith that the moments of most abject, most senseless humiliation are also the moments when we are at our funniest and truest and (ultimately) most divine. For me, the great attraction of the quiet style is that it takes the attributes of my much-maligned generation—our restlessness, fecklessness, envy, solipsism—and turns them into something like a prayer."
quiet  quietness  slow  pause  pauses  art  film  theater  samuelbeckett  frenchnewwave  jmcoetzee  2017  style  playwriting  writing  davidmamet  anniebaker  abnegation  restlessness  fecklessness  envy  solipsism  naturalism  realism  antonchekhov  jimjarmusch  sheilaheti  lenadunham  noahbaumbach  filmmaking  taolin  benlerner  mumblecore 
may 2019 by robertogreco
Dr. Lucia Lorenzi on Twitter: "I have two academic articles currently under consideration, and hope that they'll be accepted. I'm proud of them. But after those two, I am not going to write for academic journals anymore. I feel this visceral, skin-splitti
"I have two academic articles currently under consideration, and hope that they'll be accepted. I'm proud of them. But after those two, I am not going to write for academic journals anymore. I feel this visceral, skin-splitting need to write differently about my research.

It just doesn't FEEL right. When I think about the projects I'm interested in (and I have things I want desperately to write about), but I think about writing them for an academic journal, I feel anxious and trapped. I've published academic work. It's not a matter of capability.

I think I've interpreted my building anxiety as some sort of "maybe I can't really do it, I'm not good at this" kind of impostor syndrome. But I know in my bones it's not that, because I'm a very capable academic writer. I know how to do that work. I've been trained to do it.

This is a question of form. It is a question of audience, too. The "what" and the "why" of my research has always been clear to me. The "how," the "where," and the "who," much less so. Or at the very least, I've been pushing aside the how/where/who I think best honours the work.

In my SSHRC proposal, I even said that I wanted to write for publications like The Walrus or The Atlantic or GUTS Magazine, etc. because this work feels like it needs to be very public-facing right now, so that's what I'm going to do. No more academic journal articles for now.

With all the immobilizing anxiety I've felt about "zomg my CV! zomg academic cred!" do you know how many stories I could have pitched in the past year alone? SO MANY. How much research and thinking I could have distilled into creative non-fiction or long-form journalistic pieces?

It's not like I haven't also been very clear about the fact that I probably won't continue in academia, so why spend the last year of my postdoc doing the MOST and feeling the WORST doing my research in a certain way just for what...a job I might not get or even want? Nah.

Whew. I feel better having typed all that out, and also for having made the decision to do the work in the way I originally wanted to do it, because I have been struggling so much that every single day for months I've wanted to just quit the postdoc entirely. Just up and leave.

In the end, I don't think my work will shift THAT much, you know? And I've learned and am learning SO much from fellow academics who are doing and thinking and writing differently. But I think that "no more scholarly journal submissions" is a big step for me.

I also feel like this might actually make me feel less terrified of reading academic work. Not wanting to WRITE academic articles/books has made me equally afraid of reading them, which, uh, isn't helpful. But now I can read them and just write in my own way.

I don't want to not have the great joy of sitting down and reading brilliant work because I'm so caught up in my own fears of my response having to replicate or mirror those forms. That ain't a conversation. I'm not listening if I'm already lost in thinking about how to answer.

That's what's so shitty about thinking as a process that is taught in academia. We teach everyone to be so hyper-focused on what they have to say that we don't let people just sit back and listen for a goddamn moment without feeling like they need to produce a certain response.

And we wonder why our students get anxious about their assignments? The idea that the only valid form of learning is having something to say in response, and in this way that is so limited, and so performative, is, quite frankly, coercive and gross.

As John Cage said, "I have nothing to say and I am saying it." When it comes to academic publications, I am saying that no longer have anything to say. I do, however, have things to say in other places to say them.

My dissertation was on silence. In the conclusion, I pointed out that the text didn't necessarily show all the silences/gaps I had in my years of thinking. I'd wanted to put in lots of blank space between paragraphs, sections, to make those silences visible, audible.

According to the formatting standards for theses at UBC, you cannot have any blank pages in your dissertation. You cannot just breathe or pause. Our C.V.s are also meant not to have any breaths or pauses in them, no turns away, no changes in course.

I am making a course change!"
form  academia  cvs  dissertations  johncage  pause  silence  reading  howweead  howwewrite  writing  2018  lucialorenzi  anxiety  coercion  response  performance  conversation 
july 2018 by robertogreco
Parker Palmer and Courtney Martin — The Inner Life of Rebellion | On Being
"The history of rebellion is rife with excess and burnout. But new generations have a distinctive commitment to be reflective and activist at once, to be in service as much as in charge, and to learn from history while bringing very new realities into being. Journalist and entrepreneur Courtney Martin and Quaker wise man Parker Palmer come together for a cross-generational conversation about the inner work of sustainable, resilient social change."

[Also here: https://soundcloud.com/onbeing/parker-palmer-and-courtney-martin-the-inner-life-of-rebellion

and in clips

“Parker Palmer and Courtney Martin — Learning in Public”
https://soundcloud.com/onbeing/parker-palmer-and-courtney

“Courtney Martin — A New Relationship with Rebellion”
https://soundcloud.com/onbeing/courtney-martin-a-new

“Parker Palmer — Holding the Paradox of Chutzpah and Humility”
https://soundcloud.com/onbeing/parker-palmer-holding-the-paradox-of-chutzpah-and-humility ]
parkerpalmer  courtneymartin  comfort  persistence  rebellion  rebels  humility  burnout  discomfort  2015  depression  sustainability  resilience  mentalhealth  socialchange  savingtheworld  generations  agesegregation  intergenerational  interconnectedness  activism  reflection  service  idealism  privilege  success  efficiency  emotions  learning  howwelearn  piaget  listening  pause  ethics  busyness  resistance  soul  identity  maryoliver  attentiveness  attention  quakers  clinicaldepression  learninginpublic  living  love  flipflopping  mindchanging  malcolmx  victoriasafford  hope  jeanpiaget  onbeing  mindchanges  interconnected  interconnectivity 
january 2015 by robertogreco
Deliberate Rest: A Manifesto | The Rest Project
"Looking at Darwin’s life inspired me to look more closely at the lives of other noted scientists, and then the lives of writers, and then mathematicians, screenwriters, generals, and lots of other accomplished people. I’ve noticed that many of these people share something that usually goes overlooked, but which is essential for their success: an ability to rest deliberately.

The term “deliberate rest” is a play on Anders Ericsson’s famous concept of deliberate practice, the structured, regular, mindful practice that he argues turns people into outstanding performers.

What I see is that many brilliant, accomplished people are thoughtful about how they rest; they’re mindful about it; they do it regularly, almost rigorously; and far from being just a respite from their working or creative lives, it becomes an essential part of those lives.

Those of us who are interested in how to work better don’t think very much about how to rest better."



"We need to rethink our relationship between work and rest. So work and rest aren’t opposites like black and white or good and evil; they’re more like different points on life’s wave. You can’t have a crest without a trough. You can’t have the highs without the lows.

But we also need to recognize that we can learn to rest better. Some of history’s most creative people, people whose achievements in art and science and literature are legendary, took rest very seriously. They found that in order to realize their ambitions, to do the kind of work they wanted to, that the right kinds of rest would restore their energy, while allowing their muse, that mysterious part of their minds that help drive the creative process, to keep going.

Work and rest are not polar opposites. In a good life, rest is not work’s opposite. Rest is work’s partner. They complement and complete each other."
2014  rest  pause  deliberaterest  alexsoojung-kimpang  work  howwework  creativity 
august 2014 by robertogreco
enough about us - Text Patterns - The New Atlantis
"This is all really, really good stuff — vital stuff — and yet I find that reading it makes me tired. More about me? More about us? More about the endless performative dance of selfhood? Even if the analysis is critical rather than consumerist or celebratory, it keeps turning us inward. This kind of semiotic/cultural analysis is my thing, in a very serious way, but there’s so much of it now I just want to go for a walk with my dog or sit under a tree and listen to birds or practice some form of kenotic meditation.

Anyone who has ever tried to think knows the value of escaping, from time to time, the gravitational pull of even those topics that most fascinate you and seeing them in new and vivid ways after re-entry. (“The Eureka Phenomenon,” Isaac Asimov called it in an essay that used to be a staple of freshman composition courses.) This is not to say that taking a break from thinking about the technologically-assisted self is an escape from the self. But it reorients you; it reminds you that the world is bigger than your habitual, everyday experience of it. That’s a good thing."
lanjacobs  exhaustion  timeoiut  2014  digitaldualism  identity  self  joshglenn  judithdonath  robhorning  pause  slow  perspective  backburner  isaacasimov 
may 2014 by robertogreco
Western Prison of Mind | Adbusters Culturejammer Headquarters
"Possibly the worst part of Westernism is the onslaught of introduced, embraced and abandoned ideas. There is never a resting moment from the jostling that we are pestered with from sunup to sundown. Whether you want to go in the direction of Westernism or not is irrelevant. Thinking outside of it presents us with nonsense. There is no language inside Westernism to catalogue what is outside of it."
time  pause  art  2012  westernism  kamigaleana  pace  slow 
december 2012 by robertogreco
aalbright.tumblr : There’s no doubt about it—I love the...
A meandering, evocative post from one member of the inaugural NMY gang. Two choice quotes:

"If NMY has taught me anything, though, it has taught me to ask questions, to put scrutiny to everything and to just plain think about the world I live in—to realize that things are never quite as they seem."

"For a long time, I held the belief that anything other than “hard work” was a waste of time and money. But what happens to you when you trim all the fat off of your steak and never spend a relaxed afternoon in an art museum?

Your morale goes down. Life gets boring. You get fatigued. And in the long run, you’re probably less creative and productive than if you just got outside every now and again. What I am realizing is that just as much as we need to hunker down and get stuff done, we need to also take pause."
anthonyalbright  tcsnmy  tcsnmy8  cv  teaching  learning  pride  life  pause  ego  wisdom  beauty  joy  pleasure  balance  observation  noticing  attention 
january 2011 by robertogreco
Liz Danzico - Adding By Leaving Out: The Power of the Pause on Vimeo
"We tend to think of the pause as awkward. In speech, pauses connote uncomfortable silence, an issue at hand, and as communicators, we smooth over silence with fillers. We’re trained to deliver smooth speech, censoring “um” and “ah” out. As designers, as much as we value whitespace, we tend to fill it. This distaste for the pause — and the inverse seeking an always-on state — is a daily battle we face. We’re impatient with the pause, and as a result, we’re missing out on a great deal. What would happen if we become more comfortable with the pause? As it turns out, we can add by leaving out. From Edison to Underhill to web-based software, learn where the pause has power."

[Something very brief that I wrote about pause a few months before: http://robertogreco.tumblr.com/post/626105538/hustle-works-best-when-paired-with-pause-time ]
lizdanzico  pause  slow  slowness  design  webdesign  words  comments  collections  whitespace  impatience  patience  behavior  smoothness  wabi-sabi  fluency  speech  speaking  communication  understanding  thomasedison  toshare  classdieas  jonathansafranfoer  awkwardness  webdev 
december 2010 by robertogreco
Blog: Frank Chimero (It’s hard to hold it all in your head. All the...)
"I forgot who said this, but someone once told me that we come to other people’s creative work out of a secret desire and hope that someone understands us better than we understand ourselves. We come to Austen and Kubrick and Basquiat and Aretha under the hopes that they have the same acute feelings, but more able hands and voices that can some how capture that fleeting emotion and crystalize it. We quote, because someone said it better than we can. But, some days I want it all to stop. I can’t keep up." ... "A year with no poems. A week with no news. A day without kerranging. I don’t long for focus. I long for negative space. Pause. Full rest. Declaring a space that is to remain empty, with the presumption that because a portion is left vacant, it makes the whole better. Pause. The world will keep charging and accelerating. But, as my friend Drew said, “There is no catching up.” And because of that, I raise my white flag, and crack another dusty spine."

[Wayback link: http://web.archive.org/web/20100604035146/http://blog.frankchimero.com/post/654094925/its-hard-to-hold-it-all-in-your-head-all-the ]
frankchimero  polymaths  infooverload  time  pause  balance  rest  nicholsonbaker  theanthologist  books 
june 2010 by robertogreco
BBC News - The joy of daydreaming [via: http://twitter.com/GreatDismal/status/15109172899]
"Stillness, meditation, reflection, silence. Radio documentary maker Alan Hall goes in search of refuge from the noise and bustle of the modern world, looking for moments of peace amid the hurly-burly of daily life."
consciousness  reflection  self-knowledge  teaching  self  silence  pause  meditation  stillness  attention  add  learning  well-being  alanhall  children  society  time  productivity 
may 2010 by robertogreco

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