An Insatiable Urge of Disregard

Prologue

Six impossible things before breakfast

My resolve to do what I’ve set out to do is stronger than me. Even if I end up dreading the task at hand, even if the objective is absurd in its impossibility, I have to finish what I start. I have an insatiable urge of disregard—for believing there is an “impossible.”

There is a name for that phenomena: the Zeigarnik Effect. Or at least, sort of.

Named after a soviet Psychologist, Bluma Seigarnik, the Zeigarnik Effect is “the tendency to experience intrusive thoughts about an objective that was once pursued and left incomplete,” (from her 1920 doctoral thesis).

My objective for the fall of 2014: get to Montreal on bike and/or train and find a way to stay a while. It was a complex objective that bloomed brighter and larger and taller as time went on and as I barreled forward in fulfilling that goal. Once started, it would not be left incomplete.

Over this past “sabbatical” year, I thought of my objectives less as looming tests of willpower (or, more honestly, ignored the possibility that they were simply flagrant displays of stubbornness) and instead thought of them more as a collection of impossible things to believe before breakfast.

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Impossible thing # 1: Build a functioning touring bike from a bare frame-set with no prior bicycle maintenance experience, in a month.

 

Impossible thing # 2: Bicycle to Winnipeg from Minneapolis without having ever bicycled more than 5 hours in a given day, in 7 days.

Impossible thing # 3: Live and work in a new country legally (but with no visa), knowing hardly a soul in Montréal.

Impossible thing # 4: Throw yourself into art projects, performances and festivals with no social or artistic (or logistical!) inhibitions, despite being a total newb.

Sub-chapters (for future blog retrospectives):

  1.  Winter Rations for Café Concret
  2. Sexy Male Gaze Halloween Costume/Performance
  3.  Le Derby des Toboggans festival and workshops
  4.  Laboratoire de Festival Phénomena (Les Tremplins des Echanges Culturels)
  5.  Lubberland National Dance Company with Bread and Puppet
  6. Art Hives — La Ruche and Le Milieu!
  7. Printmaking & Workshops
  8. Poetry and Letters

Impossible thing # 5: Don’t turn back now. Keep going with no savings, no plan, only vague ideas and strong ambitions.

Sub-chapters (for future blog retrospectives):

  1. Hacked: Treasure of the Empire with Caravan Stage Company in Red Hook, Brooklyn.
  2. What is American Culture? 4th of July interactive street project  in Eastport, Maine
  3. The Golden Mushroom costume and photo story in Eastport, Maine
  4. Beehive Collective’s Blackfly Ball in Machais, Maine
  5. Artist Assisting to Anna Hepler in Eastport, Maine
  6. TIMA’s Regional Bike Map in Eastport, Maine
  7. Fróðá puppet show and play in Rif, Iceland

Impossible thing # 6: Know when to sit still. Know when to stop. Know when to believe in the possible. Learn how to “go back” while moving forward.

 

And so I have returned to where I started but not to where I was.

May the Zeigarnik Effect take full force again. Onward to new adventures and new objectives!

Of course I have many more stories than I could begin to tell here—lessons, obstacles and moments of sheer naivete—but this blog is just a little snip-it, a short summary for prosperity and a reminder for myself to see the big picture, the overall accomplishment and not the individual ups and downs (and really low downs, and rock bottoms, and hell too). We can talk about those in person. 😉

Love to everyone who has put me on my path or with whom I have crossed paths! From the first ever wading pool tour to the waffle party extravaganza to cavorting chanterelles to the last night in Reykjavik. You’ve held me up!

In reality, I owe nothing to me or the Zeigarnik Effect, I owe it to the folks who have encouraged me, taught me, challenged me and helped me on the way.

—Allison

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4 thoughts on “An Insatiable Urge of Disregard

  1. Pingback: post script – saucers in the sky

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