I dove back into the analog world yesterday, trying to stay way from a computer for most of the day, working on my motorbike, painting some furniture…. and yes, reading an actual book! I’m a big fan of Bukowski, and I’d recently picked up two new books edited and put together by a friend of mine David Calonne. They’re both phostumously published collections of short stories and essays by Bukowski. In one story, ‘Upon the mathematics of the breath and the way’ Bukowski talks about the the importance of living in order to become a writer.
You can’t write without living and writing all the time is not living. Nor does drinking create a writer or brawling create a writer, and although I’ve done plenty of both, it’s merely a fallacy and a sick romanticism to assume that these actions will make better of one. Of course there are times when you have to fight and times when you have to drink, but these times are really anti-creative and there’s nothing you can do about them.
-Bukowski, exerpt from ‘Upon the mathematics of the breath and the way’ in the book ‘Portions from a wine-stained notebook‘
I saw this passage and immediately replaced the word writer with designer. I think this ties into two things we’ve been talking about in class. First, the notion of actually being there in terms of ethnographic research. And second, something we touched on briefly in Jon’s class last week, which was the designers ability – or inability- to actually and effectively lead a life in which they can truly alter their their own perspective.
A writer reflecting on a world which they do not know is like a designer who designs for a world in which they do not live. We must be careful not to live entirely inside the world of design, but also to live in the world for which we design, and with which we should design.
I’m going to go paint some more furniture in ‘designer’ black.