Sometimes, you've got some chocolate and some peanut butter and something happens and suddenly they have combined to create a new, wonderful thing. I read these two essays within a day or two of one another. I liked and appreciated each of them, but I really like them next to one another. Here they are with my favorite part of each excerpted.
Letter of Recommendation: Sick Days by Sheila Heti
Sick in bed is a bit like Halloween: a day on which you wear a costume to express the parts of yourself that can’t normally be expressed. In this case, what can’t be expressed on other days is that all of our activity is ultimately worthless, that we are going to the grave, that being busy is largely about keeping up the appearance that our lives mean something, our relationships mean something, our work means something and crossing things off a list means something. It’s true. These things do mean something. But they also don’t. Sick days are like Halloween; days on which you can live and dress up wholly in life’s bleakness. The costume is simple: It’s bed.
How To Keep Writing When No One Gives A Shit by Jennifer Garam
(I say: just replace "writing" with whatever you care about most.)
But as bad as the rejection and all the non-caring feels, not writing feels worse. I have to tell my stories and share my experiences, or I get angry and lethargic and depressed. Without writing, I feel powerless and like I don’t have a voice, like my thoughts and feelings and experiences don’t matter. I get frustrated when I’m sending out a piece that I love and it isn’t getting accepted anywhere and I’m yearning for it to be published so others can read it. I’d prefer if everything I wrote got accepted. But regardless, the actual process of writing is soothing, healing, and necessary for me to feel OK in the world. So I have to keep doing it.
What do you think? Do these articles resonate for you as a pair? I'd like to give Jennifer Garam a sick day like the one Heti describes, and then watch them have lunch together.
What did you like best about either or both essay? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.