I began composing the following lines as an introduction to a (now forthcoming) post titled, “On the Eroticism of Everyday Life.” As I wrote it, the section seemed to take on a life of its own and, in its entirety, appears more like a preface to a much larger work than the introduction to a blog post. Because of its highly personal nature, I couldn’t bear to delete it. Most of all, I feel I need to share these thoughts with you who have chosen to join me on this little blogging adventure. It is a pivotal post and one that explains a great deal about what I’m trying to accomplish on The Used Life. Thank you for being here.
If I was to say that I’ve identified a purpose for my life, I would articulate that purpose as “a desire to help people enjoy their lives.” More specifically, I would say that I want to arouse in them a desire to live. I want to stir them. I want to move them. I want to wake them up. I want to help those who have lost touch with their will to live, and live fully, regain the source of their vibrancy. It is true that the degree to which that purpose has informed my interests and actions (even the extent to which I’ve recognized it as a “purpose”), has changed over the years. As a series of “experiments in the art of mastering none,” The Used Life, in all of its meanderings, is, perhaps, my first fully conscious attempt to connect with that intention.
I designed this blog to be a space of authenticity. I have expended a great deal of time and energy over the last several years designing projects and entrepreneurial ventures around what I saw as individual creative passions, all with focused, niche concepts. And none of them was, in itself, enough; so, I created The Used Life.
Intentionally unstructured in its concept, this blog functions as a place where I am able to lay my interests side-by-side, hold them in strange or unlikely combinations, and see if any meaningful relationships emerge. What I have been seeking this whole time is an answer to the question: “In the absence of rules and restrictions—that is, if I can simply be myself—will I be able to create something new and something meaningful, to align with my purpose, by fusing my creative passions with my intellectual interests and lived experiences in some unconventional ways?”
The answer to that question, now three months into this blogging experiment, appears to be “yes.” What I see emerging from the mélange of posts on topics ranging from creativity and intelligence to fitness, etiquette, and femininity, surprises me. And yet it doesn’t. Most eye-opening for me has been my own insistence on the inclusion of various forms of erotic content, no matter how mild or muted. I used to have a blog where I published short erotica, but from the outset, I have had serious reservations about turning this blog into a “den of the erotic.” That’s not what I wanted it to be. And yet, my intuition kept telling me that I must incorporate those writings somehow, that they were necessary variables. I now realize the importance of having that content here.
This is, in fact, the first time I have ever put my erotically-themed writings and my thoughts on living in the same place. Having them this close together, almost in a sustained thought, has signaled to me the depth of my interest in the domain of the erotic, of which sex is only a small part. This experiment has also revealed to me the astounding degree to which I value, utilize, and seek to preserve the source of the erotic within myself. As a side note, I suspect some of my readers are chuckling right now, as all of this may have been obvious to you from the beginning–from On the Art of Femininity. I fancy myself to be keenly self-aware, and that awareness includes the recognition that I have some gigantic blind spots. Clearly, this is one of them.
It is worth noting, too, that my thoughts on eroticism, which I started formulating in graduate school (not suspecting those interests would eventually extend beyond the literary), have been heavily influenced by a number of contemporary artists and writers, most significantly, Mexican poet and essayist, Octavio Paz. When I began composing my thoughts for this post and the next, I turned immediately to Paz’s The Double Flame, a compelling and exquisite intellectual and literary history of love, eroticism, and sexuality. It is a text I highly recommend for anyone interested in the subject.
I am beginning to believe that, if I am to work toward my “purpose” in any sort of meaningful way, I must operate on and within the realm of the erotic. That work must also represent a fusion of art and science, of communication and expression, of the perceptible and the poetic. And, I suppose now is the time to begin constructing a plan to bring this idea to fruition. Suggestions are welcome. 🙂
I do not plan on making any dramatic changes to The Used Life at this time, if only because what I am doing here seems to be working. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, as they say. I am, however, considering make some changes for which I will request your input and feedback. Just because I’ve had an “a-ha” moment doesn’t mean I don’t still have a lot to learn from this exercise. Plus, I’m having fun. So, I am going to keep this blog moving in a direction that, I hope, will be both impactful and fulfilling. Again, thank you for reading.