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Issue #47

Out of Body Experiences (Via Youtube)

John Loeppky

April 1, 2024

 A dirty paintbrush glides across a canvas. The surface is filled with pinks and purples and reds. It appears to be a work in progress.
Different medium, same (relaxing) result/Uwe Baumann from Pixabay

Listening to the Co-workers that I’ll Probably Never Meet

Over the weekend, I’ve been trying to decide what the big summer project in my house will be. To choose it, I’ve been listening to and watching YouTube-focused artists. I have prints from some, like this lovely one from Michigan-based Ten Hundred, but others I just like to listen to as they/I work—like Leigh Ellexson. I cannot buy more prints, I have enough artwork that is sitting behind me unframed as it is, but there’s something, almost meditative, about listening to and working alongside someone who creates in a very chill (or so it seems to me) way.

There’s this concept, popularized/adopted (largely) by neurodivergent folks called body doubling. In-person, it means having someone physically in your space as you do something. That physical presence can centre you and help you finish the task. There are also digital versions of this, the Lo-Fi Girl stream would be one, but there are other options from disabled creators as well.

I do a mix of these, my priority when I’m looking for a body double is someone doing something radically different from me. The only requirement is that the content isn’t too fast paced—I’m not going to have a Gawx art video playing as I try to trudge through a writing problem—or too loud. This could be a farming video, it could be a entrepreneurship video, but it’s most commonly a visual artist doing a studio vlog. These people will never know me, I doubt they’d even view their practice of posting these videos as a reason for others to be productive, but they help me.

In the last couple of days I’ve discovered the channel little tiny egg. The artist behind the channel, Kristen Vardanega, has this really kind way of framing her work and (by extension) her productivity. I did an MFA, though not in visual art, and I feel the warmth from her that you often feel when studio classes are humming along and you get to meet creative people who are like minded.

And, as often happens when I find these channels, I see a video around disability/chronic illness. In that video, she said about her health:

“Missing my family Chrimas was kind of upsetting. I had to cancel a big trip that I had been planning, so I had to grieve all of that and it hasn’t left a ton of space for forward thinking.”

Cripped productivity strikes again. While our conditions often rob us of the opportunity to create and work in the now, they also rob us of our ability to look forward. I struggle with this, too. Disability/symptom-wise, in my adult life, I’ve only ever had one goal. That goal has been to still be able to walk when I’m fifty. The older I get, the more lofty it feels. It wasn’t until recently that I felt comfortable putting money away for retirement. At one point, I took to calling my disability-related savings fund the funeral fund because it didn’t really feel rational to be looking at myself as if I would make it to that age.

Cheery, I know.

Given the narrative of today’s newsletter I do feel the need to tell you that this isn’t suddenly going to warp into an edition where I magically feel as if forward planning is possible. All I feel as if I can do is expand my time horizon out a little bit. I know I am (usually) physically able to work more during the summer months. With outdoor dining being more approachable, summer means I’m more comfortable going out to eat. I get to be more social when it’s warm. My body and my mind hate me less as the cold seeps aways.

So, I’m going to try—through the lens of crip productivity—to plan out a little more. My commitment is that, by Friday’s newsletter, there will be some writing in there about broader goals. If you’d like to, you can try to make these types of goals alongside me.

Until then, go watch some studio vlogs. If nothing else, they always have really chill music.

Until tomorrow!


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I've decided to shift CRPL to a 5 times a week newsletter about productivity as I am fascinated by the topic, am in the early stage of writing a book about it, and want to have a place to think, and write, and create work about this vital area of thinking. Click below to join the daily newsletter and/or to help financially support this project.