I need to show you some photos of what my office is turning into — essentially, I’ve been filling it with stickers, art, books, and plants, plus trinkets that remind me of the person I want to become and the life L and I are creating together.

It would seem like I would not be the kind of person who has a cluttered office, but I don’t necessarily think it looks cluttered. It looks curated. Everything in it is there for a reason, and the stuff that has no reason to be there (like junk mail) gets taken out immediately.

Also, that green Mason jar in the header photo still needs to get filled up with origami flowers… either that, or I’m going to have to say “yep we have really given up on the origami project” and put something else there instead.

I mean, we have plenty of projects going right now. We’re into the second half of Gödel, Escher, Bach and the second half of La Valse. I’ve completed 25 chess lessons on Chess Dot Com (I know, because they gave me a badge) and have already played one game of chess this week (I lost, you’d think all those lessons would have done something). We had a very good conversation last night about when a performance becomes indulgent that is probably going to inspire a longer blog post (titled “On Indulgence,” naturally).

And next week, as I promised myself, I’m going to shift Mozart, Stravinsky, and Chopin into “maintenance mode” (with a little extra maintenance on the third movement of K332, since it’s still freshly learned) and begin spending the majority of my practice on La Valse and the Ricercar a 6.

There are two (related) articles I think you should read this afternoon (if you are looking for articles to read this afternoon), and only one of them is written by me. The first one is by Paul Graham, and it’s about the value of filling your life with these kinds of intense creative projects:

There is something special about working on a project of your own. I wouldn’t say exactly that you’re happier. A better word would be excited, or engaged. You’re happy when things are going well, but often they aren’t. When I’m writing an essay, most of the time I’m worried and puzzled: worried that the essay will turn out badly, and puzzled because I’m groping for some idea that I can’t see clearly enough. Will I be able to pin it down with words? In the end I usually can, if I take long enough, but I’m never sure; the first few attempts often fail.

You have moments of happiness when things work out, but they don’t last long, because then you’re on to the next problem. So why do it at all? Because to the kind of people who like working this way, nothing else feels as right. You feel as if you’re an animal in its natural habitat, doing what you were meant to do — not always happy, maybe, but awake and alive.

The second piece is mine; it just got published on The Write Life, and it’s about how to use deliberate practice to improve your writing:

Let’s say, for example, that you have trouble writing an opening sentence. If you want to improve your writing skills, you could set yourself the goal of understanding the difference between GOOD ENOUGH OPENING SENTENCES and GREAT OPENING SENTENCES. Then, you can use that information to get your opening sentences to GREAT.

If you’re looking for even more articles (of mine) to read, here’s WHERE I GOT PUBLISHED THIS WEEK:


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