Epistemic Status: pondering. Assumed Audience: someone who didn’t freak out to ponder about the end.
News About Death
News about death was always felt so distant. Hundreds life is taken away almost daily, yet it could feel like a statistic. Not this week, though. Right after the night of new year's eve, a local man was found dead in my neighborhood. It was suspected murder, as the authorities found shoelaces trace ensnared the neck.
I didn't know the dead man, but it felt so close. For a moment, I stopped and got a literal chill, probably due to fear that the neighborhood we know could be unsafe and we could meet death anytime and anywhere.
As if it was not in my face at all, in the same week, my uncle passed away.
To be honest, we weren't that close, so I didn't want to pretend that there was some profound realization or regret. The only emotion I could process was sadness, especially for my Mom, after I sympathized with her, and thought to myself, "how does it feel to lose a twin sibling?" I can only imagine, of course. It turned out you think a lot more about death when it finally hits your closest circle, like the local man and my uncle in the first week of 2023.
Not in a suicidal way; I even had some thoughts about "if mankind got to choose, how do they want to die?" It's an interesting question to ponder. In fact, it was a real philosophical reflection on the meaning of death.
I started a basic drawing course that will span throughout the year. My yearly theme this year was to "Revisit," and one of its manifestations is revisiting something I thought I already knew how to do.
I don't consider myself a beginner at drawing, but I never took it seriously, either. As a result, sometimes I felt stuck when trying to express something through drawings, which made me realize I never really studied drawings.
The course was very encouraging. The instructor said, "If you can write the alphabet, you have enough hand-eye coordination to draw a masterpiece. Tight, complicated little letters require good hand-eye coordination." That made me think, huh? He's right.
The instructor continues, "There are two aspects of drawing, the physical and the intellectual. The physical is about the hand-eye coordination thing. It's training your mind to have subtle control of your body and execute any type of stroke with confidence… and the only way to be good at it is to practice a lot."
The only way to be good at something is to do it a lot. No shortcut. However, it's possible for someone to get stuck. Suppose they already do things a lot, but if they don't also work on the intellectual part, the reflection, the pondering, and the knowledge, they will get stuck.
"…Constantly analyzing what you're looking at and trying to put it down on paper. When you can't figure out how to draw something or why your drawing doesn't look like what you imagined, it's because of gaps in your knowledge. That's where the intellectual side comes in."
So, the only way to be good at something is to do it a lot and think about it as much. No shortcut.
This week, I visited a farm stay over the weekend, where they have a library, and I found a book called Rome Sketchbook. The book was so simple; it consisted of beautiful drawings of Rome and writing about places around the city.
Suddenly it sparked something in me; this is something that I want to do for my endgame—going to places, drawing what I saw, and telling stories about the place or people. It was a simple and pretty selfish endgame, but I already had this idea years ago. So the goal is not to become a professional artist. I remember doing it when I went to Dubai circa 2014.
I'm excited to become a beginner again this year. To unlearn things that I thought I knew — like drawing — and revisit other aspects of my life too.
Things I Enjoyed in the Past Week
Tunjuk-Tunjuk gave me homey comfort food, so I visited twice to dine out this week. I love their delicious cooking and relatively low price. It was like warteg with much more options for protein and veggies, which change daily. The drink is free-flow, and the experience reminds me of visiting a friend's house and being offered to have lunch there.
New Year, New Jeans. I thought they were a band from South Korea like Hyukoh, so finding out that they are a girl band surprised me. Their song Ditto was unlike any other I have listened to, so it was a unique experience. The lyrics were incredibly catchy, emphasizing syllables that mimic the dense rhythm.
However, while writing this note, I came across a YouTube video that explains how "different" the music video was—telling the story of meta-escapism. Give it a watch, too, if you're curious.
It's refreshing to see religion, mysticism, and myth discussed academically. I came across Religion for Breakfast channel when their video on the Evil Eye pulled my attention. My favorite one so far was their video discussing the breakdown of pork prohibition across cultures and religions and how it may come to be.
Questions for Next Week
If you could live for 50, 100, 1000, or eternity, what would be your choice, and why? (assuming you will live long with full health and able-bodied).
What is something that you could rediscover and pick up again? Perhaps you enjoy doing the things in the past, but you need to abandon them for some reason.
What is one thing you want to be good at?
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if drawing consider as a hand-eye coordination, do you think writing could be considered as a hand-mind coordination? I was thinking about that we, human, is an artist in a unique way.