118 Days At Sea

Digest №3: The Lifeboat updates and humble recommendations, June-July 2021

Dear wanderer,

This is the third issue of a part of my newsletter in which I humbly share things I liked together with newsletter updates.

The Lifeboat

I’ve been able to write and publish consistently in June-July. It’s a huge accomplishment for me and I hope I’ll be able to keep that pace in the future. As you could notice, now essays come on Sundays, around 8 am London time. I might change the schedule and frequency in the future if I feel I need to try something new.

The next step for me is to increase the frequency of The Lifeboat's links (this newsletter with curated links). And some recommendations require more words than just a link with a paragraph of text. I really want to talk about them. So, expect I might come up with a new section for this newsletter.

Since the previous updates, I have published seven long-form pieces. A good chance to catch up in case you missed any:

  1. On Watching ‘The Room’. Musings on Tarkovsky, Art, bad films, sincere attempts and my experience of watching Tommy Wiseau’s masterpiece ‘The Room’ in cinema.

  2. On Memories. The one where I indulge in nostalgia dwelling upon childhood memories, graphics in video games and Tame Impala’s song and music video Lost In Yesterday.

  3. On Languages. On my experience with learning English as a foreign language, drinking, travelling and random facts.

  4. Another Stitch On The Wall. A story about one evening when I went completely vegan; on Mind At Large, watching TV and beauty of sweaters.

  5. On Learning (To Be Wrong). Reflections on the learning process, artistic process and acceptance of starting at being bad.

  6. The Innermost Self. Attempts to set up a big dinner party, musings on the true self, and dialogues with my other-selves.

  7. A Satanic Letter. On Satanism, black metal and my notes from reading the Satanic Bible.

Sorry, I haven’t calculated their amount worth in tweets. I don’t care about ‘read time’ and I don’t count words anymore. I disabled it from my text editor. And it feels great.

I’ve started using some fiction elements more. ‘Another Stitch On The Wall’ and ‘The Innermost Self’, two among my favourites, became more of a short story rather than being just polemics on topics that bother me. I am willing to keep that ‘style’ (if we can say so). This gradual transition should help me to dive more into short story writing, which is one of my writing goals.

So, let’s stay in touch. Sign up if you haven’t yet, and find me on Twitter for more short-form updates.

The Lifeboat’s crew has grown up to 76 people. Thank you, everyone! The next milestone is 100 and you can make it closer by simply sharing this newsletter with others.

Share The Lifeboat

Essays, articles, short stories

In random order.

Loneliness Is Other People. It has been more than a year and a half since the first wave of the plague and it feels both like history and new reality, hopefully, transient yet deeply embedded into our minds. ‘Loneliness Is Other people’ is a story about the first months of the lockdown back in 2020, a chronicle of self-isolation, people, relationships, online dating and, apparently, loneliness. “It is actually lonelier to grasp at some simulacrum of intimacy than it is to try and make peace with one’s solitude.”

Moscow – Petrozavodsk. It’s a brilliant short story gleaming with Rusianess about a doctor on a long train journey, written by Maxim Osipov. Thanks for the recommendation to Charlie Sherritz. I’ve been reading Osipov’s stories for the last week or so and that is one of the best discoveries for a while. I link his website so you can find more translations published in magazines and other places.

Urbit and the Telos of the Creator Economy. The article was shared in TJB’s premium Discord and became my companion for a couple of evenings. I read it twice and it finally bought me into Urbit and made me even more excited about the Soaring Twenties.

Everything Is A Remix is already a legendary video essay (as I learned later after watching it) and claimed as one of the best on YouTube. It breaks down modern culture, art and practically everything to prove that everyone is borrowing and remixing ideas of others and things get original not per se but representing a unique combination of something else, better or at least different.

The Video Games That Changed Storytelling. A masterful essay that explorers video games from a perspective of art, philosophy, storytelling, ability to defamiliarize our perception of the world. It’s not only a great essay but it also gives you a chance to find new great games to play.

Substacks

I decided to dedicate a section to highlight my favourite Substack’s pieces from June-July and promote them (and I learned that Substack now can embed Substack posts).

The Commonplace
The Consolation Of Craft
We’ve got some stuff to get through today so I’m going to keep this preamble short and sweet. Obligatory thank you to all of the Premium Subscribers who help to keep the lights on and the bills paid. If you are tempted to join their ranks and want to see just what you get for your $7/mo dues then give the following…
Read more

Thomas J Bevan is responsible for me starting The Lifeboat (blame him) and his recent essay “The Consolation Of Craft” clearly demonstrates why. It is a brilliantly written inspiring piece that shows why finding your craft is important and how it can change your life and your vision of the future.

Every day is a blank page to write upon, a new block of marble to chip away at, a fresh silent space waiting to be filled with your music. The prospect of tomorrow elicits hope and not dread. Possibility and not apathy.


The Burgess Letter
Destroy your audience
Listen now (9 min) | The episode where I try to convince you to destroy your audience. The audience doesn’t exist…
Read more

Craig’s newsletter and Wednesday podcast (the best one about Wednesdays) are things I am looking forward to every week. The concept of “destroying your audience” instead of “building your audience” has resonated the most so far. I believe this is the approach any artist should employ on their creative journey.

A better audience only comes from challenging people from making content that you truly want to create.


The Novelleist
The one where I dream up the future of fiction
I have a dream... That one day we will be able to find and follow the writers we love—just like we do on Twitter. That we will be able to subscribe to those writers—just like we do on Substack. That we will be able to read their books as they come out—just like we do on Wattpad…
Read more

Elle’s newsletter is always packed with deep analysis and insights. “The one where I dream up the future of fiction” shows her remarkable and inspiring vision of the future of fiction. It made me rethink my attitude towards online writing and my plans on writing fiction.


I’ve been reading more short stories and I was happy to discover great pieces here, on Substack. The Artist is a short story by Shifra Steinberg about the old artist and his musings on his past and present life.

Immortality, to me, meant being loved by strangers while I could not even love myself.

Absurdus
The Artist
The unbearable thing about living is not so much being but being oneself. God put billions of us into the world and gave us all, as a joke, our own life and morals. The universe never planned on me, or you, only some specimens based on the original model. Like a car, each made of the same essential central engineering. The only difference being the lice…
Read more

A great piece by Josh Pillay about self-doubt and its role in the writing process, why it’s both an obstacle and the path and why we should keep being doubtful about our own work.

…there is nothing more delusional than a writer who is self-assuredly comfortable at being one.

Wait! Just Listen
Self-doubt is a writer's secret weapon
Welcome to Wait! Just Listen, a weekly series of short essays dedicated to unpacking moments of humanness from the all-consuming web of digitisation. If this type of content enriches your life in any way, please consider subscribing. If you need more reasons to subscribe…
Read more

Books

Ankind by Charlie Kaufman, the best thing I’ve read recently. Charlie Kaufman is among my favourite writers and filmmakers and Ankind truly is a novel that only he could write. The protagonist is a film critic who hates Kaufman (and loves Wes Anderson). The plot is built around him trying to recover a memory of watching a literally 3-month long piece of stop-motion cinema being made by a mysterious hundred-year-old filmmaker. The book, like the protagonist, is quite neurotic, hilarious, and surreal with lots of cinema and culture references that would indulge your cinephile best interests. At some point, you lose track of what's going on in the book (in a good way) and it turns into a dream-like stream of consciousness, subconsciousness, and unconsciousness. This is the type of book I want to study, reread and recommend to those who love Kaufman's films. I am thinking of writing a separate piece about it.

The Philosophy of Andy Warhol by Andy Warhol. The book allows you to get inside the brain of the famous artist and filmmaker, his life and opinions on topics like beauty, art, success, money, sex and others. It’s full of anecdotes, funny quotes, hilarious situations and unusual perspectives on many things.

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood by Quentin Tarantino. A novelisation of his most recent film, the enjoyable read full of remarkable dialogues and insights about 1969’s Hollywood which expands the universe of the film to new frontiers. If you like the film and want to watch it again, reading the book first might be a great decision.

Films

Quiz Show (1994) is really is a hidden gem. The film is an outstanding drama about moral choices based on the true story of corruption within 50's America game shows, masterfully written, directed and performed.

Adaptation (2002). I already mentioned Charlie Kaufman’s first novel, so why not mention one of his films? Adaptation is based on Kaufman’s struggles to adapt the book The Orchid Thief while suffering from writer's block. He needed to make a screenplay out of the book but ended up making a screenplay about making a screenplay. Two Nicolas Cages in one film. What can be better, seriously?

Music

I got into trip-hop / downtempo recently and this is my best recent find:


Until next time,

John