For musician, poet and playwright Kae Tempest, 2020 was a year to ruminate on the small details of life and find meaning in the little things.
In their 2020 book-length essay, “On Connection,” Tempest reveals the dangers of a polarized society out of touch with the deeper elements of life. Drawing from personal experiences, excerpts of Carl Jung’s “The Red Book” and William Blake quotes, Tempest argues that creativity — in any form we define — is a pathway to self-discovery, unity and most importantly, connection.
“We have lost each other under this selfless system of hyper-competition,” they write. “Music is the great invigorator. Artists don’t make their work to inspire your collusion, your submission or your consumption of their ideals. They serve a purpose that is higher. Bigger. Deeper. Which is why you feel higher, bigger, deeper as you connect with their output.”
Tempest expresses two prominent themes that call back to Jung’s “The Red Book.” These are the “spirit of the times,” or the egoist elements of oneself, and the “spirit of the depths,” or one’s inner expression of uniqueness. Tempest calls on readers to channel the depths by trying to feel the world around them a little more: they recommend taking a moment to notice the sunset, observe how the people around them are walking in tandem or listen to the sound of life around them:
Put your phone down.
Listen to the birds.
Build a fire in a quiet place.
Pay attention to the details when you kiss your lover.”
Tempest says these small moments give our spirits the guidance they need: “There are many ways to access a more resonant place. It starts by acknowledging that everything is resonating.”
The first time I read “On Connection,” I felt a sudden wave of relief, as if Tempest was accompanying me during my moments of triumph and despair. The book felt less like an essay and more like a roadmap to mindful living; it teaches the reader how to navigate a world that is complex and exploitive, while still being in touch with the beauty of the present moment.
This book-length essay is perfect for anyone looking for a change of pace, something that will make readers think about life in a way they wouldn’t have otherwise. Tempest’s writing extends beyond the page, speaking to the spiritual and human truth that at our core, we are all one.
Tempest meditates on their past as they create a poignant and empowering narrative of self-acceptance. The author artfully weaves their story into the narrative, which opens doors for readers to reflect on the content on a deeper level.
Tempest delivers on their promise of making readers feel a higher, bigger and deeper connection to the truths the author spoke of.
Jack Porcari is the senior news/features editor and can be reached at email@example.com
Jack Porcari is a senior news/features editor at The Spectrum. He is a political science major with a minor in journalism. Aside from writing and editing, he enjoys playing piano, flow arts, reptiles and activism.