Sometimes you meet someone, and it’s so clear that the two of you, on some level belong together. As lovers, or as friends, or as family, or as something entirely different. You just work, whether you understand one another or you’re in love or you’re partners in crime. You meet these people throughout your life, out of nowhere, under the strangest circumstances, and they help you feel alive. I don’t know if that makes me believe in coincidence, or fate, or sheer blind luck, but it definitely makes me believe in something.
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There's something really beautiful about skilled muscle memory. I was thinking about this today while at work. My job looks easy, it looks simple. Take one box, move the contents to a different box, put it away. But it's a dance. It's a calibrated dance, and one I do really well, very quickly. And I know I do it well because I've been told so, but also because I can feel it. I can feel the muscle memory skill it takes to set the plastic box down on a hollow metal surface and make almost no noise. I can feel the skill of flipping a metal feeder into the correct position, and pouring in food without spilling. It becomes a dance I hardly even have to think about, when I used to struggle heavily to do it in the beginning.
And it's not just my job. That chocolate guy that everyone loves to watch? He's got skilled muscle memory. Maybe he's never crafted the exact thing we're watching him make today, but he's made similar things. He knows the knife strokes. He knows what any particular pressure on a filling bag will produce for him. And it's not just fancy jobs. The folks who pick up garbage in a lot of places have to know how to handle large, heavy cans. Folks on assembly lines can do their motions with speed and accuracy. Even office jobs, with the muscle memory of hello addressee and their sincerely lines experience this.
And that's sort of the thing about writing stories isn't it? Typing is a sort of muscle memory but there's muscle memory in what you do with it. When you do it enough, your muscles remember how to craft a dialogue tag. They know how to conjure adjectives. And if you do it enough, your mind picks up the muscle memory of how to write dialogue and create descriptions and craft a plot, and you do it when you've only set out to write a story, not a plot. When you do it enough, your mind and body learn how to do it almost without you. It becomes a dance.
So I dunno. Keep writing, even if it doesn't feel like you're getting somewhere. You're still building muscle memory and it can take a while, but you'll get there, and when you do, you'll be able to call it your style. But you can't build muscle memory without doing the thing. You can't form a style out of nothing. Keep writing. Keep going. Keep dancing.
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We spend so much energy on made-up competitions that happen mostly in our own minds. Our culture might have made us believe that this way of being is good, but all it really does is increase our sense of separateness and put people against each other, causing useless suffering in pretty much everyone involved.
It seems to me that unlearning this habit is necessary not only for us to live more fulfilling lives but also so we can build better communities with each other.
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