I’m greeting the new year at peak blob while battling January’s “faux-tivation”—the impulse to plan and plot for the year ahead, while being exhausted and in no mood to actually do anything.
Last week, I wrote about intention setting and creative processes in the spirit of the new year. I’ve since marinated more in it. I keep coming back to the word juice—the sweet, sweet nectar made from the fruits of our labors, the fresh squeeze of ripe ideas. To me, it’s a word that encapsulates abundance and flow. I associate juice with the radiance and swagger of Lizzo, who blames her infectious charm on it. I think of the viral TikTok in 2020 of that guy skateboarding to Fleetwood Mac, taking swigs out of a bottle of Ocean Spray Cran-Raspberry, just vibing. A throwback to the 90s, I remember Sunny D and Welch’s Grape commercials on TV, poking impenetrable Capri Sun packs with straws, Kool-Aid punch at birthdays, mixing Tang at home, the Juicy Juice in my lunchbox—all conjure up a sticky nostalgia for childhood sugar highs. There’s the fresh-squeezed OJ from the diner at home that my dad drinks with his pancakes, the mixers at house parties, my first (and last) wheatgrass shot a friend convinced me to try in San Francisco, mulled cider in the autumn, the golden memory of walking along the beach in Tel Aviv with a cup of pomegranate blood made-to-order from a man at a cart. I’m thirsty for that hit of flavor and energy, that vibrant sweetness.
Here at the beginning of 2023, I’m feeling out of juice. And I’d like a refill. I’d take a shot glass at this point.
I’ve been working on an essay that I’m enjoying writing so far, in fitting with Volume 06’s theme of art that anticipates the future, but it’s taking me some time to reign in. I’m trying to pay more attention to how creative projects feel as they develop and how to pace them so that they’re sustainable (and enjoyable!) alongside the rest of life. I’m grateful for deadlines, but they’re often set before we’re fully immersed in the process. I’m trying to be ok with taking more time, especially if I’m digging it.
This week, I’m thinking about ways to replenish the juice, and how to keep the flow consistent.
I also keep returning to this question posed by artist Yumi Sakugawa that I shared last week: “What if creativity is less about giving and more about receiving and allowing?” I’m not sure what this exactly means for me, but it’s a starting point with radiating paths.
Yumi explains this question further:
“...I am thinking about how I think I can push and muscle my way into creating something or making something happen— and certainly, sometimes that is important. It is also seductive because there is the illusion of complete control if you are always actively DOING.
But there is also the subtle art of receiving. There is a difference in the energetic frequency between “I AM GOING TO MAKE THIS HAPPEN'' and I am going to allow creativity to flow through me, and I am simply transcribing what comes through…”
I think these ideas are connected—this metaphor of squeezing the juice out and allowing the flow rather than trying to control it. It reminded me of a conversation about creativity I had with my friend Itai—one of the most creative brains I know—at the end of last year. In it, I framed creativity as a practice, requiring a kind of discipline like any skill, sport, or craft. He responded thoughtfully with, “I feel like creativity happens to me.” I appreciated the poetry of his perspective, but also balked at the seeming passivity of it. Deep down, I wished I trusted that creativity would happen to me in the way he described experiencing, untethered to action or production.
Perhaps it’s a balance—you practice and creativity shows up for you. But you have to let go to let it. Allow and receive.
There’s a kind of violence in extracting juice. It takes years for trees to produce fruit, then the fruit itself takes months to grow, and with a forced press, you eviscerate the soft flesh within only to chug it down in seconds. You’re left with the peel, the pith, and the pulp—some zest but mostly bitter waste. With the constant squeeze of deadlines, I wonder if there’s a way to harvest consistently while staying more intact.
I don’t have advice on how to generate the juice, or maintain reserve stockpiles when the flow is good. I wish! But I want to spend this year paying more attention to the allowing and receiving of creativity, exploring what restorative practices feel fruitful, and seeing what happens. I’ll keep ya posted.
Maybe you’re also feeling this way too? Let me know in the comments!
We’ll be back next week with our usual scheduled intersectional programming.
Thanks for reading.
Sometimes you gotta drink some juice to have more juice
Loved and connected so deeply to this - I sent you a v long email, but not sure if you have that feature enabled or not. Too many thoughts for a comment box!