That Time Daisy Jones Reminded Me of Why I Read

Published by The Connected Reader on

Why do I read books? 

I read books because, sometimes, they provide that soft place to land when I am spiraling and nothing feels right.

***

I’ve been in a spiral lately.

It’s just been one thing after another.

I try to use my coping mechanisms, but as things have piled up, I’ve just felt … bleh. The scroll mindlessly, feel paralyzed, then feel anxious and upset about feeling paralyzed kind of bleh cycle you can’t break out of.

After a few days of the bleh I forced myself to go on a stupid walk for my stupid mental health. I was listening to Daisy Jones and The Six, which I’ve read already but never listened to. 

There’s this part where Daisy, who is a singer trying to break into the business in the 1970s, is talking about making her first album. She wanted it to be a certain way and the record company had other ideas. She was refusing to record the album until they did it her way, until a conversation with the producer, Teddy.

Daisy: I am an artist, so you let me record the album that I want or I’m not showing up. Ever. 

Teddy: Daisy, someone who insists on perfect conditions to make art isn’t an artist. They’re an asshole.

Daisy: I was sitting in the living room of my cottage, looking out the window, my songbook in my lap realizing that if I didn’t start trying, I mean, being willing to squeeze out my own blood, sweat, and tears for what I wanted, I’d never be anything. Never matter much to anybody. I called Teddy a few days later and said I’ll record your album. I’ll do it. And he said, “It’s your album.” And I realized he was right. The album didn’t have to be exactly my way for it still to be mine.

Then Daisy reflects on the album after she’s recorded it.

Daisy: I felt like I’d made something that wasn’t exactly like I’d envisioned, but it was maybe good in its own right. I said it felt like me, but it didn’t feel like me. And I had no idea if it was brilliant or awful or somewhere in between. And Teddy laughed and said I sounded like an artist. I liked that.

This resonated with me as a writer. I’ve slowly been learning to write and click publish, even when those perfect conditions don’t exist. I’ve learned that this feels good.

I’m having a harder time with this in life, generally.

 As the “artist” of my life, I get so frustrated when the perfect conditions don’t exist. 

Sometimes it feels like I’m just surviving from one crisis to the next.  It truly is the“series of cascading events” described in this recent New York Times op-ed about millennials reaching mid-life. TL;DR: Our millennial childhoods were bright, but starting with the dot com bubble burst and September 11, it’s just been one crisisthing after another. 

All of this on top of the personal crises that pop up at every turn as a mother of young children (including two pandemic babies), a professional who has been laid off twice in the last eight years, and the daughter of two Boomers in their 70s. 

I can feel the weight of these crises in my shoulders and across my chest, creeping up and into my throat.

The recovering perfectionist in me has a breakdown when things are spiraling. Because it just isn’t possible to keep all the balls in the air, all the plates twirling on their sticks. It’s not just one crisis. It has been many. Simultaneously. Always, in my 20 years as an adult. 

I feel like the emoji that best represents millennials is that yellow smiley face melting into the void. 

On my walk, listening to this section of Daisy Jones and the Six, I paused. 

You can’t insist on perfect conditions.

I know this. I just don’t like it. I don’t want it to be true.

But I also know what it feels like to refuse to try and resist imperfect conditions. It feels like I can’t breathe. It feels like I’m stuck. It feels like a grind. Like a shadow life. 

I’m not instantly comfortable with imperfect conditions after reading this part of Daisy Jones and the Six. I’m not yet in total control of my spiral.

But those words? I needed to read them. I needed to pause and roll them over in my brain, to breathe them in and out. They were a parachute that slowed the spiral just a bit, so I could land safely on the ground.

***

Why read books? 

Because sometimes they get the right words to you at the right moment.

Sometimes, they provide that soft place to land when you are spiraling and nothing feels right.


4 Comments

Kaitlyn · March 22, 2023 at 2:53 am

I love this entry, Denise! Thank you for sharing these inner thoughts as I have very similar ones. It’s nice to know we aren’t alone in those moments. xoxo

Trisha · March 24, 2023 at 11:38 pm

Girl SAME! Also It was so hard for me to get into the series. The book was WAY better! #TeamBook for life!

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