The Delights of Distraction No.21

Hey There,

In April, we - Vivita and Avneet, the co-founders of The Wishing Chair,  released the "Delights of Distraction" newsletters; a grab-bag of some of our favorite links across the internet that lent some diversion, inspiration, and solace during these unsettling times. We hope to continue this weekly correspondence as long as it resonates with you, our readers -  our true sources of joy and delight.

The wise, wiry, and inimitable Bruce Lee once said, “Every emotion expresses itself in the muscular system. Anxiety is tremendous excitement held, bottled up." Since March, it feels like we have been holding our breath in, bracing ourselves as we patiently wait to exhale. Our emotions are tangled up in knots in our gut: a growling mishmash of frustration, fear and aaaaargh! As untapped emotions swirl beneath our skin, sinking into our bones - a touch, a deep stretch or a careless remark can unexpectedly release a flood of tears or a raging screaming match at an inopportune moment. 

You won’t build a great tomorrow with too much of yesterday in you. So allow this week to be that period where you let these bottled emotions burst forth. They don’t mean any harm but they’re banging around your head like a ping pong ball, scrambling your focus, and sedimenting into a hardened anxiety. 

One of the more quirky methods to release the disquietude is called primal screaming. Shout at a park, forest or large expanse somewhere (please do this responsibly with appropriate social distancing). If you have nosy neighbours, then consider a well-soundproofed cupboard.  Or you might want to dance around to a playlist with a banging bass. Or just lie in, with your headphones on and listen to this evocative playlist by a band called Slow Meadow. Its sculptured, hypnotic songs will lull you into a soothing embrace before knocking down that dam of emotions. Let their music untangle the inner, ineffable parts of you. They name their songs rather aptly to indicate their power:

  • "Numinous" ( Experiences of awe, fascination and wonder in the presence of transcendence).
  • " Cauda Luna" (We're losing the moon)
  • "We can only love through suffering"
  • "The grandeur of a modest moment"
  • "Lachrymosia": (tending to cause the shedding of tears/sadness)

And now we switch gears to our faves of the week:

To joy scroll: This "bookstagrammer" pays homage to her love of literature in the most creative, astonishing way. She arranges her huge collection of books into imaginative scenes and characters from her favourite texts. "Each colored book cover acts like a brushstroke that when cleverly combined with others create literary scenes when viewed from above." Check her out here

To read: This is a long read, but an important one. Parenting is proverbially the hardest job in the world, but mothers since the 90s have been made to feel immense guilt of their nurturing never being enough (or too "smothering" much.) In this article, an American mother reads David Lancy's Anthropology Of Childhood and finds herself reappraising her own parenting habits. "A few things that shifted for me: I feel less obliged to entertain my children and intervene in their conflicts; I feel some relief that not having endless patience for toddlers seems to be normal; it surprised me that childcare by non-parents was so common; I was surprised at how apparently universal it is for fathers to be uninvolved."

To cook: If you aspire to perfect the impeccably adorned, tastefully stylized kind of cakes you mostly see on Instagram, then this article is NOT for you. It's an homage to the beauty in the chaotic mess we tend to make in the kitchen when getting together a baked good, and celebrates the cakes that make up through the lack of perfection with much personality. Once you're done with reading that, here's a perfectly imperfect coconutty cake you can try - the messier the better. 

To watch: A video that's under a minute that looks like visual poetry, employing 8 metaphors to evoke the elusive concept of time, "Probably the most optimistic silver lining we can take from 2020 is the forced experience of living an introverted life, one that inherently requires us to be introspective. The uncertainty of today exposed the problems we have as a society. Earth is screaming at us: "It's About Time".

To tryThis simple AI app generates a painting from your photo and turns it into a masterpiece styled through the lens of Renaissance, Pop Art, Expressionism and a few more. It's a fun one to tinker with when you're looking for some stylistic inspiration. 

To listenThis podcast tale is for you and the kids - an arresting show based on the Mahabharat dramatized with Game of Thrones swag. The premise: Several centuries have passed since the great Battle of Kurukshetra. Two souls walk the earth: a warrior monk and a ranger, born in the lineage of Shatanika, one of the sons of the mighty Pandavas. They are on a quest to erase a curse upon their family.

To Ponder: Hemingway proved that an entire story could be told in six words: "For Sale: baby shoes, never worn".  That was the premise of this book by Larry Smith, Not Quite What I Was Planning: And Other Six-Word Memoirs. It's a 1000 glimpses into humanity, 6 words at a time. The results are funny, tragic and insightful. Here are a few:

  • Found true love, married someone else.
  • Found great happiness in insignificant details.
  • No wife, No kids. No problem.
  • I wrote a poem. Nobody cared.
  • Became my mother. Please shoot me.
  • Educated too much, lived too little.
  • Never really finished anything, except cake.
  • Type A personality. Type B capability.
If you had to write a 6-word memoir for 2020 what would it be? Ours might go something like:
Nothing profound, we just sat around. 
Kitchen to couch, mostly a grouch. 

Do write in with your mini memoirs, we would love to hear from you.

Stay safe, make good choices and keep that light on,
Viv and Ami

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