It’s been a while.
Much has happened these last few months. And yet, nothing has really changed.
I’m still the same person with the same interests, fighting the same demons!
My focus these last few months has been entirely on overkill. It’s a company now, which makes me a business owner? Writing this still feels weird; I feel like a guy trying to figure this out. Then again, I guess that’s what we all do.
overkill grew quicker than I expected, I guess anyone expected. I believe the success to be a mix of luck, timing, and work. Hard work. Hard, taxing, mental work that occupies my mind 80% of the time I’m awake. I like it, though. I believe I need this. It keeps me going. It keeps me sane amidst the insanity that is living. Hard, creative work, I think, hope, is the reason I’m here. So I’ll keep it going.
But I still felt like something was lacking. I have many interests. Gaming and tech are but one (well, two). Ask Chris, my cofounder, and he’ll tell you my mind is all over the place all the time. My brain is broken this way.
Which is why I revived The Letters of Clio. It’ll be a monthly newsletter (for now, I might experiment with the rhythm), filled with things, words, pictures, and thoughts that occupied me the weeks between the emails.
By sharing what I care about, I hope someone somewhere will benefit from it.
So thank you for subscribing!
Let’s get to it.
I rediscovered books
I started reading again after not having touched a book in, what, close to a year?
I would have loved to say it came easy, but that would have been a lie. I had to make „sacrifices“ to become a reader again.
I needed to make time. The thing about reading is that no one has time to read. If it isn‘t something you want to do, you‘ll find enough excuses why you can‘t read right now. And even if you want to read, it has to be a conscious effort. So I had to make time. Find something somewhere that had to go, to make space for reading.
While I haven‘t read a book in a year, I have been reading a lot — timelines, mostly. And while reading a book and reading a timeline are not even close to comparable, both things use up the same space and energy in the mind. They occupy the same mind space, only that one of these two things is just filled with trash upon trash upon trash. You can guess which one is which. So timelines had to go. I removed every social media app from my phone (except for Discord, but that is a communications tool, it‘s how I stay in touch with my friends). I still use social media, but when I‘m on my Mac, I use them less as a consumer and more as a creator for overkill. And I guess, now, this thing.
Anyway. I finished reading Ryan Holiday‘s Discipline is Destiny. It‘s the second of four books in his Virtue series after Courage is Calling.
I preferred this book to the first one. It felt closer to home. I sometimes lack discipline when I try to rely on motivation alone. A fleeting muse, much more fickle than just putting my ass down and doing the thing.
I like Ryan‘s writing: he tells a story about a historical figure, distils the lesson based on this person‘s life, and then shares how it applies to the reader. It is a style he adopted from his mentor, Robert Greene, whose book, Seduction, I‘ve started reading but couldn‘t finish.
I plan to get into YouTube (the first video is here), and I figured I might be able to use some meta-skills taught in this book to grow on the platform. But the book is all about sexual seduction, all the time. So I gave up.
I‘m currently reading Rick Rubin‘s The Creative Act. I‘ve only started, so I don‘t have any opinion yet but know that after reading two chapters, I started writing this.
On my mind
Two things (besides overkill) occupied me the most in the last few weeks.
I‘ve finally been taking my exercise routine and diet seriously. I lost a few kilograms, mostly in body fat, since the beginning of the year. For the first time in my life, I have something resembling abs.
I‘m on a high protein, low(er) carb, slightly caloric deficit diet and have been tracking everything I eat. I use this app, by the way, but any other app is good enough.
It‘s been fun for me (like some math game: what do I need to eat to fill my macros), but probably very annoying for anyone else. I‘m no longer interested in going to restaurants, as I can‘t correctly track my diet. And when I go to restaurants — I still try to be kinda social — I spend a good chunk of time guessing what macros I have to log. I still love my occasional pizza, though.
I‘ve also been looking much more into the science of exercise. I‘m a nerd when it comes to these things. While I hated school, I sometimes wish I had studied human psychology and physiology.
I have been watching this podcast series on exercise and nutrition by Dr Andrew Huberman and Dr Andy Galpin. It features 6 over three hours long episodes covering everything from how to gain muscle, lose fat, how to drink water best, what supplements to take, how to create an exercise routine, and more.
I added all these videos to Reader by Readwise. A fantastic app, by the way. If a YouTube video has captions, it saves them and then synchronizes the captions with the playtime. Highlights are then automatically sent to my Obsidian vault.
Something else that occupied my mind was the interior design of our apartment. We moved furniture around and put the couch in the middle of our long living room to divide the room into two. We now have a dedicated living room area and a work area with three(!) desks: my girlfriend‘s desk, my desk, and a third one that I call the "focus desk".
Unlike the other two, it has no monitors, keyboards, mice or anything else. It‘s just a grey surface with a few items that I love seeing: a succulent, my two typewriters (an Olympia SM3 and an Olivetti lettera 32), an Edison lamp, a coffee mug in the morning, a glass of water in the evening, and from time to time either my iPad (like right now), or pen and paper.
It is where I write my journal in the morning and where I write stuff like this newsletter. There is something romantic about sitting at this desk compared to my other one. Sitting in the middle of a large room, my mind has more space to wander and think. No screens mean no notifications that can pop up and scream for my attention.
Here is a picture of what it looks like right now:
I like it!
I recently discovered Ren, a musician from Brighton. I can‘t tell you what genre Ren belongs to because he‘s home… in all of them?
He is a fantastic storyteller and has a way with words akin to a poet. I think he‘s the closest we might have to a modern-day bard.
Do yourself a favour and listen to "The Tale of Jenny & Screech":
And to „Hi Ren“.
Ok, I‘m running out of steam. A lot of words for a single newsletter. But I liked it, though. Writing this was fun; I may have missed this more than I expected.
I might have to do more of this writing. But it‘s a struggle. The world tells you to focus, specialize, and do the main thing. Which, in my case, is overkill (and maybe, you know, my full-time job?). Every minute I write something else is a minute I don‘t spend on overkill.
But I think that’s a mistake. Because every minute I spend writing whatever, is a minute I spend emptying my head, making space for other things. Including overkill. Here I can experiment. Here I can throw stuff against the wall to see what sticks. And whatever sticks, I‘ll refine and turn into a gem for overkill. Be it prose, audio, or even video (I have some video ideas I want to try out on a personal channel).
Playing just for the sake of playing and creating just for the sake of creating is so damn important. I need to do more of it where the path, the act of doing something, is the goal and not some metric, like ratio or clickthrough rate.
So what I want to say is: expect more from me on kvn.li.
It’s good to be back!
P.S.: I created that cover image up there in Midjourney. My prompt was:
office of creative writer, typewriter and edison light bulb on desk, flying books, starry, sublime, cinematic lighting, watercolor, dark souls, bloodborne, matte painting --aspect 3:2 --c 50