The Miscellany of Stewart McCoy

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This is the YOLO-ization of cultural experience, whereby the pursuit of fleeting novelty is granted greater value than a patient dedication to an enduring attention—an attention which might ultimately enlarge the self, and not just pad one’s experiential résumé. The notion of the bucket list legitimizes this diminished conception of the value of repeated exposure to art and culture. Rather, it privileges a restless consumption, a hungry appetite for the new. I’ve seen Stonehenge. Next?

What if, instead, we compiled a different kind of list, not of goals to be crossed out but of touchstones to be sought out over and over, with our understanding deepening as we draw nearer to death? These places, experiences, or cultural objects might be those we can only revisit in remembrance—we may never get back to the Louvre—but that doesn’t mean we’re done with them. The greatest artistic and cultural works, like an unaccountable sun rising between ancient stones, are indelible, with the power to induce enduring wonder if we stand still long enough to see.

Kicking the Bucket List, by Rebecca Mead

“Loving yourself, to me, means developing my ability to tell stories, but to also learn from them. And if there’s one thing I’ve learned during my time studying rhetoric and composition and working as a writer and editor, it’s that the best stories are told during the editing process. For me, editing is a dialogic process—it involves talking with your editor about what you really mean to convey; sometimes our words don’t do our ideas justice and talking about the ideas behind the words allows us to choose better words and constructions to more accurately convey those ideas to others. Likewise, sometimes we don’t fully understand the importance or implications of the stories we tell, and in telling them, our friends and family help us to read between the lines, to see what we didn’t see before, and have the opportunity to re-imagine the arch of our grand narrative, to use the time we have to proactively consider our legacy, and not wait until it’s too late to leave the mark on the world that we wish to leave.”

– From a post I wrote last year on telling stories that matter

“Life is punctuated by these in-between times. They’re surreal, fast-paced, full of new faces and places. The in-between times are challenging and cause us to grow. You learn who you are and what will define you for major stretches of your life.”

– From a post I wrote back in 2010.

“Solitude did increase my perception. But here’s the tricky thing—when I applied my increased perception to myself, I lost my identity. With no audience, no one to perform for, I was just there. There was no need to define myself; I became irrelevant. The moon was the minute hand, the seasons the hour hand. I didn’t even have a name. I never felt lonely. To put it romantically: I was completely free.”

Christopher Knight aka The Last Hermit, who lived in complete solitude for 27 years in the woods of Maine.

Read the whole story — I really loved it.

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