Short post this week. I've spent the last few days in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina for work, where we arrived during the off-season. There are about 20,000 people here now, a local informed us, but that number will swell to 300,000 visitors per week when things hit their peak.
For now, it feels like we mostly have the place to ourselves, aside from a Baptist Couples Retreat that took place on Saturday night. It was easy to tell who was who. The Baptists wore their Sunday best and walked around carrying bibles, while my crew slunk around in our t-shirts and jeans and our two-day beard stubble. Think "unkempt," not "ruffian."
I did finish reading Matt Haig's Notes on a Nervous Planet, which included this quote from James Baldwin's Nobody Knows My Name:
...this collision between one's image of oneself and what one actually is is always very painful and there are two things you can do about it, you can meet the collision head-on and become what you really are or you can retreat and try to remain what you thought you were, which is a fantasy, in which you will certainly perish.
This idea is more or less the same one I found in Soren Kierkegaard and Bonnie Friedman, which was the point of last week's post. And as you've probably guessed, I picked up Haig's book in the first place because I'm still working my way toward some set of tools to help blunt the sharp edges of creative despair. Where Friedman tends to put an emphasis on getting back to doing the work, Haig's approach to the problem is to simplify, unplug, and be mindful. These aren't really that different. To do creative work in the way that Friedman describes essentially requires mindfulness and full attention of the kind that Haig also endorses.
Simple, but not easy.
(What does Kierkegaard have to say for himself? The Sickness Unto Death is an incredibly detailed description of the experience of despair, but it's short on solutions. This may be because Kierkegaard's grand conclusion is that the opposite of despair is faith. For someone of his theological background, maybe he thought the solution was obvious. Knowing Kierkegaard, though, I'm going to guess the answer is actually in some 500-page tome I haven't gotten to yet.)
Now, a few quick pictures from Kitty Hawk:
A trip to Kitty Hawk sort of requires a visit to the Wright Brothers National Memorial, in the wonderfully named town of Kill Devil Hills. I have to say, for a small exhibit it really does drive home what an incredible achievement flight actually was. It's still hard to wrap my head around the fact that it took human beings about sixty years to go from this to the moon landing.
Things got a lot more gray, rainy, and cold on day two. That didn't stop me from taking a long chilly walk on the beach. Especially once I realized I had the whole place to myself.