Hi <<First Name>>,
It's been a rough week. How are you? Seriously, reply and let me know how you are.
Me? Well, I’ve been sending out The Highwater Weekly since October of 2015 and I’ve had the podcast since April of 2016. I realize now that I have never fully articulated the purpose of either, at least not in print.
Humans have an evolutionary-rooted need to seek out danger and negativity as a way of protecting ourselves. Many online publications and content platforms appeal to this need for clicks, website traffic and ad revenue. I know there are a lot of well-done, inspiring, funny and creative things online and offline that get pushed down in newsfeeds and passed over every day. In addition to curating creative advice and resources to help artists make more art and creators create more, I wanted Highwater to promote the inspiring. That is where the “Amplify Awesome” tagline comes from.
Recently, and far too often, there have been truly dangerous and frightening things in the world that flood our timelines, newsfeeds, inboxes and screens. After learning about the Pulse nightclub shooting last Sunday morning, for the first time in a long time, I got severely depressed. As someone who has had clinical depression since I was 16, it was my first real depressed episode in about three years. I’ve been sad and angry since then, of course. But the numb, disconnected, inactive nature of depression is different. It is a sign that something hit me so hard that my emotions are trying to shut down.
I ordered some food and ate it in bed. I cried on my mom’s shoulder, and for a moment, the depression was replaced with deep gratitude that I was able to do this.
I tried to write and wasn’t able to get anything out. Even music and film wasn’t immediately soothing at first. Thankfully, that shifted, and I was able to seek art. I watched the first three parts of the ESPN documentary series OJ: Made in America, which I didn’t expect to cheer me up, but it is one of the finest documentaries of any genre. The quality, even separate from the violent subject matter, lifted me.
I blasted ANTI by Rihanna in my car and had car karaoke. The angry and sultry savagery spoke to my spirit. I don’t feel like being aspirational right now.
Luckily, the words are coming back and art is helping again. The words are coming back even faster than I can type them. Writing has become more necessary and urgent.
I'm continuing to seek art. I’m filling my weekend with stand-up comedy, painting, photography and the new season of Orange Is The New Black on Netflix, which premiered today.
I understand why people extend thoughts and prayers after tragedies, and I do the same, but I also pledge to fight apathy and helplessness as much as I can. Art, as always, helps a lot.
I’ve talked with many Highwater Weekly subscribers personally and I know that many of you are artists and creatives, but most importantly, you are sensitive. I’ve never met an artist or a creative person that wasn’t sensitive in some way. So be mindful of your input. Don’t feel guilty for wanting to disconnect. Seek beauty, especially when it is the most difficult to find.