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How To Weaponize Boredom

Diriye Osman

It’s three in the morning and this brotherman is twitching from unruhe (shlaka so existential it can only be expressed in German). I’m lying in bed, conjuring up concepts for illustrations, photos, essays, books and short films, desperate for dawn to crack through so I can get clocked-up. With a desperation born of insomnia and inertia, I light some guava-scented candles as a confluence of Gretchen Parlato and Tweet melodies swirl out of the stereo speakers. As I contemplate the banality of my situation I can’t help but think of that stush line in Camus’ The Plague, when homie hipped us to the fact that everyone is bored and essentially spends a lifetime cultivating habits to counteract said boredom.

By creating art, I’m fighting two interlocked elements: boredom and time. Hyper-busyness makes time zip by and there is no need to contemplate boredom. But once the hectic nature of daily living cools down, boredom creeps in, followed closely by anxiety. When I make art in any form, I forget about my neuroses, my natural human hunger, and the present tense is all that counts. I have spent my entire life chasing that illusory high, that futile attempt to freeze time. I sit at my desk every day, fiending for the hit of that moment when inspiration meets its perfect paramours, adrenaline and sweat. This is how I weaponize boredom: not by cultivating rigid habits, but by relentlessly pursuing highdeas that sing in the most staccato rhythms.

The reality, however, is that boredom can be a useful trigger for creativity. In fact one could argue that, without a hearty dollop of boredom, a certain amount of dagdroom, there’s no space for creativity to expand into. In that sense, one needs boredom, and the urge to fight it off is the cause of that initial spark of the imagination that sets the page ablaze.

I take solace in this as I wrestle with my ghosts in the small hours. I take comfort in the fact that when the morning comes, coded with pieni promises, the previous night’s tedium will take on an extrasensory dimension where time is forgotten like a freaknik dream and talent is routed in the right direction.

This is the hope and more often than not, despite my daily reservations, everything evens itself out in the end.



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