Learning to Drive

Posted on 21 August 2010 | No responses

As I’ve been considering how I’m doing with finding my groove, I’ve felt a little unaccomplished.  A good friend told me that having pivoted my life so decisively with conviction, I should give myself credit for that, and allow myself some time to heal.  After being sidelined for 2 weeks with kidney stones, I wanted to hit the ground running, and started making some decisions and taking some actions about the future, while also remembering to try to have fun.  I’m still a little frustrated, but I just had a bit of an insight which may provide a helpful perspective.

The problem-solving analytical part of me isn’t inspired, it’s driven.  When something that should be easy isn’t, there’s some reserve of motivation (and possibly a cognitive reserve – I’m still listening to Clay Shirky’s book about that) that I tap into, where I come up with a tree of possibilities, and quickly experiment by iteration through the branches.  When I run out of possibilities, it’s as though I kick in even more motivation — simple problems bore me.  Were I to write a poem about it, it could be entitled The Curse of the Dilettante.

I need to set some creative goals that require me to push myself, but which are fully within my and only my control, as that’s how I’ll be able to iterate quickly.  Concrete, definable goals.  I need to replace some of the bravado in my confidence with sage experience.  And with that, I’m going to summon a quad venti skim latte (which I affectionately refer to as a QVSL) from a green-apron-wearing barista on the corner.

Setting the Table

Posted on 19 August 2010 | No responses

After having someone mention Charles Bukowski in conversation, I went to look him up, and found out from Wikipedia that his gravestone says, "Don’t Try", which was ultimately his philosophy about writing — wait for it to come to you.

I’ve put something I was writing on hold because I found myself unhappy with how it was going — I’ve always had a weakness at editing, a preference for whatever came out originally despite being something with which I’m not quite satisfied.  I realize that it leads to the disclaimers I’ll throw out there sometimes.

I think it’s really hampering me right now.  I’ve been stuck and scared to move on and not come back to it.  Mr. Bukowski might tell me to wait, or that I didn’t wait long enough… but I need to get started soon.  I’m glad that it’s not long before my workshop starts, but even that is too far out for me now.  I’ve historically tended towards two topics, idolatry of women or the need for change.  Women are either on a pedestal or they’ve ripped my heart out in some way.  They’re often the reason for change, whether it’s coming or going.  I need to explore new things, play with ideas more.  One of the things that inspired me at last week’s The Inspired Word reading was the way that the artists took ownership of absurdity.  Poetry, like comedy, often uses absurdity to attack truth from an unexpected angle, which in turn allows the reader or listener to really feel a responsibility for having arrived there.  That little bit of a jump the "consumer" adds, even if only following where led, adds to self-satisfaction and ultimately a happier experience than simply being told.

I’ve been listening to Regina Spektor a lot lately because she seems to be a queen of absurdity in quite a funky way.  I wonder, though, how limited I am by my conception of what’s possible or what’s normal for a human voice.  I think that I need to think about how to break down those guard rails as well.

But I’ve also come to the conclusion that it doesn’t have to be good, that I don’t have to wait it out.  I need to set the table for providence.  I need to experiment.  I need useful practice.

Thinking of this reminds me of something I wrote when completely blocked when trying to write anything emotional.  I wrote it at an open mic at the college bar (sober, underage), with the goal of being cheesy, which I accomplished.  It’ll usually get a chuckle, though I think that the delivery might be responsible for that.

I’ve seen the man in green, hair trimmed neat and shaven clean.

I’ve seen the boy in blue.  HIs jeans are old, his sneakers new.

I’ve seen the woman in red, with a beautiful body and an OK head.

I’ve seen the girl in yellow who went to Sweden and became a fellow.

I’ve been to hell and I’ve never been back, I guess that makes me the man in black.

Not much, but it still gives me a chuckle 15 years later, and actually came right before I got out some things of which I was quite proud.  I’d planned for the subway ride home tonight to be a chance to find characters, and when I sat down I thought I’d have a good collection to observe, but then I became obsessed with the woman I was sitting next to precisely because of the way that she was essentially hiding her face from me.  Despite being fairly blind uncorrected, my field of vision is fine, so I could tell that even if I looked more than a few degrees left of straight ahead, she’d turn her head away from me, covering her face with her dark hair.  I’m no Sherlock Holmes, but observing a shiny surface directly across the train car, and remembering some high school physics about the angle of incidence of light upon a reflective surface, I confirmed that she would look at me any time that she thought I couldn’t see her, but hid her face when she thought I could, or was possibly going to try to.

Super shy?  Did she think I was Jack Bauer?  Just psycho?

Maybe there’s a story somewhere in there… but I’m almost tempted to simply sleep with a nicotine patch on.  I’ve had some of the most surreal dreams like that — what I have to assume is similar to a psychadelic experience.  It’s time to start putting pen to paper, even if it’s crap.  If it’s crap, I’ll get something upon which to practice editing.

Living an Inspired Life

Posted on 17 August 2010 | No responses

Just 15 minutes into my 36th year, I was given someone else’s words to use as my vocabulary.

My whole life passed before my eyes, and it wasn’t even interesting to me.
      -Edward Garlick (played by Forest Whitaker) from Good Morning Vietnam

I’ve recently come to the conclusion that I am ready to be great, or to die trying.  I’ve seen friends old and new who are here to do incredible things, and with my eyes open, I’m seeing it more and more.

"There are roughly three New Yorks. There is, first, the New York of the man or woman who was born here, who takes the city for granted and accepts its size and its turbulence as natural and inevitable. Second, there is the New York of the commuter — the city that is devoured by locusts each day and spat out each night. Third, there is the New York of the person who was born somewhere else and came to New York in quest of something. 

…Commuters give the city its tidal restlessness; natives give it solidity and continuity; but the settlers give it passion."  -EB White, Here is New York

As much as I have a "grass is greener" romanticism about lawns and the freedom that driving offers, I came here four years ago because I wanted to "make it in New York".  By some measures, I did that very well.  A few promotions at work, rising the ladder, respected by those whose opinions I care about and many others.  I was living with a woman I loved and who made me laugh.  Though I cherished her and wanted to find a way to give her what she needed, and she’d have sacrificed quite a lot for me, what we need to be happy was different.  She deserves to be happy, and so do I.  I really hope that she can be.

Inspiration can come from anywhere, and it’s been coming fast and furious lately.  From understanding more and more my ways of thinking, to reading something I wrote long ago, to surprising people with the passion I can exhibit when I’m in my state of flow.  I’ve become more confident and less afraid of loss.

Not long ago, I saw someone smiling while in a state of flow, and it reminded me of an early poem of mine, a favorite titled Smile.  I’ve had what you might call "less literary" folks tell me that they don’t like poetry, but they liked this, and I’ve seen several people cry when reading it.  My crossroads was different then, I was afraid and trying to convince myself that I wasn’t.  I don’t have much of a visual memory, but there was a smile burned into my mind which got me through.

In the smile from a few months ago, I saw a glimpse of real passion, of self-actualization, of confidence of purpose.

It was in that moment that I realized that I became one of White’s settlers here for a purpose.  And I was reminded of a strength I used to have, a confidence that I developed as my writing became less about personal therapy and more about words, images, and perspective.

I’ve registered for a poetry workshop called Catching Fire (interestingly, the domain I use for my personal e-mail, registered almost a decade ago, is litfire.com) at New School University.  I visited an open mic poetry night called The Inspired Word which, well, inspired me, both the performers and the welcoming environment.  They, too, are White’s settlers.

It’s time for me to make it here for real, with grit.  And now with my eyes open, I see just how much there is that New Yorkers give to each other to keep the art in their hearts alive.  While there’s plenty of bullshit in this town, there’s nothing quite like it’s community of settlers and I know that they’ll welcome and nourish me because they already know my soul, even if they haven’t met me.  I just have to show them and learn from them and give back.

On this, my 35th birthday, I decide to live my life with purpose, to "pay it forward" with inspiration.

There are a million ways to do it.  Even sharing stories about my own self-discoveries has, I think, struck a chord with some people I care about.  I hope that follow-through may inspire them.

In the mean time, I’m going to continue to choose to try things a bit outside my comfort zone.  I’ve come to realize the disparity between the risk and reward.

The rest of my life starts today.  No more waiting for my real life to begin.

Please join me, and don’t forget to smile.

Is that cashier high?

Posted on 13 August 2010 | No responses

In January of ’07, I visited the Bed Bath and Beyond store on 6th Avenue in Chelsea, and when I got home fuming from the experience, I blogged about it.  It got a few comments, and before I knew it I was atop Google for "Bed Bath and Beyond Sucks".  It’s been that way for quite a while now, and on my low-traffic blog, it’s noticeable.

More interesting to me than the "sucks" searches is the interest in whether or not they drug test or perform background checks.  Since BBBY can only see what keywords sent traffic to them, it makes me think that there might be a business to be made.  Companies may very well have someone scouring Twitter, Facebook, or blog search data streams to see what people are saying about them, but it seems that for a real 360 degree "know your audience" perspective, you need to know not just what they say, but what they want to know, but would never ask you.

 

Thought I’d share the list of terms so far this month for a chuckle.  Enjoy. 

The Composition of Successful Art

Posted on 10 August 2010 | 1 response

I’ve done a lot of thinking about art, the process of creating it, and the process of developing as an artist.

I’ll admit it – my motivation was to consider what makes art successful, with the assumption that there’s a degree of success that validates the utility of art.

I’ve come up with three aspects of art which seem to be connected yet can independently contribute to the success of a work of art in establishing a connection from producer to consumer.  These elements, as I see them, are the portion of the world that the art reflects, the perspective of the artist, and the manifestation.

Independently, each can be the reason that someone loves a work of art.  Hitting on more than one can get a big following, and making the right moves on all three is what, to me, defines what we consider to be great art.

Some artists simply have great technique, creating effortlessly things of beauty, regardless of the subject or perspective.  A beautiful voice, playfulness with pointillism, or athleticism and grace of a dancer can make an arbitrary subject or motivation and create something that people will appreciate.  Whether innate talent or learned technique, an artist skillful solely at the process of creation of the manifestation of art can still enjoy a modicum of success.

Other art gets a modicum of success simply because people identify with its subject matter, the fraction of the world the artist has chosen to reflect.  Art, as a representation of something, is inherently smaller than the whole of nature, and reflects some portion of the world, even if that portion of the world is simply as perceived by the artist (which allows for the imagination to be that which is reflected, even if abstract).  There are people who will be drawn to songs about love or images of strength, despite their other qualities.

Third, art contains a perspective.  Sometimes the perspective is shown by the selection of subject matter, sometimes it’s intertwined with the physical manifestation, but other times perspective itself is the draw.  A comedian may have the voice of a puking camel, look like a bridge troll, and be talking about laundry, but whip out a punchline that can only be looked at as masterful.

Mastery in all three areas seems almost a guarantee of success, and there are many who’ve gone far doing well with two of them, even with a "fatal flaw" in the other.  I submit Radiohead and Neil Young as evidence of this — neither Thom nor Neil has a voice that could earn a living as a wedding singer, yet their musical works are exalted for their artfulness.

Furthermore, I believe that if one were to classify success as critical or commercial, that strength in performance and subject matter selection for the audience are the keys to "popular" commercial success, performance and perspective lead to moderate levels of commercial success among those who consider themselves critical consumers of art, and that subject matter and perspective gain traction among those who are actively seeking out artists’ perspective on things, often critics or people emotionally attached to a subject.

Those who manage all three become cultural icons, sometimes entering the public consciousness wholly deified, and others by garnering attention with success in two of the areas, developing in the third over time.

I don’t need to be a cultural icon, but I’d like to be useful in an artistic capacity, and so I’m using the framework I’m developing to figure out where to focus efforts in a way that’s most likely to make me happy, with the given that I’d like to provide people with a meaningful artistic experience.

As always, I’m open to discussion.

Forgiving Myself

Posted on 7 August 2010 | No responses

As I prepare for the future, I’ve done a lot of looking at the past to find the parts of me to renew and the parts to leave behind or change.

Doing so with an open heart allows emotions from the past to flow back in, and while I’ve found many things to cherish, preserve, or revive, there are a select few which hang like dark, heavy clouds I’d left behind me.

The one feeling I don’t quite know how to overcome is powerlessness.  I’ve had a few times in my life where I felt completely powerless and simply shut down, becoming a non-participant in my life.  I’ve always minimized the notion of "I did the best I could" when told it from other people who seem to be making excuses, because I often feel like I’ve fallen short of the maximum possible.  When I’ve wounded others, it’s often when I was most hurt or scared, and frankly, I just don’t want that in my life anymore.  Baggage doesn’t help anyone, it just hides the wounds and prevents them from healing.  I’m truly sorry for the pain I’ve caused, and that which I wasn’t able to heal, whether within myself or someone I loved.

I’ve made mistakes, and good intentions aren’t enough for the present and future, but when looking at the past, and taking mitigating circumstances into account, while I may have failed in some ways, I still recognize the goodness and capability within myself.

I’ve begun the process of forgiving myself for my biggest regrets, and taking steps to change the future in ways that I hope will help me grow past my weaker self.  I have to quell some of the perfectionist self-criticism, know when I’ve given all that I reasonably have to give, and remember that as analytical as I can be, I am not a robot.

I’ve heard it said many times that "the only thing holding you back is you", and it’s time to leave behind some of the chains with which I’ve bound myself.  I need to be free to feel without fear, be open about my limits, and to try to push beyond them.  I can feel responsibility, and learn from my mistakes, but still free myself from shame.

I’ve got too much to do, too much to give, to define myself by my mistakes.

What people seem to be missing about Google Games

Posted on 5 August 2010 | No responses

 I’ve seen some talk about Google’s failures in "social" with respect to things like Buzz, Orkut, and Wave (wave byebye to Wave), and cynicism about the value in investing in Zynga, and in their rumored purchase of Slide.

Folks… Google’s doing this to ensure the success of the Android platform for tablets.  Google’s on the verge of having an ecosystem which can rival Apple’s, from a customer continuity perspective.  As it is, I hear Android phone owners who’ve switched phones rave about how since all their data’s in the cloud, they can move from phone to phone seamlessly.  With the exception of having to deal with the horrid iTunes on Windows, that’s what Apple’s given me with the iPhone and iPod.

The iTunes store is incredibly successful because of how easy it is to make an impulse purchase which then is usable not only on your phone, but also on your iPad… music, video, apps.  Small payments I don’t even think about.

Google has Google Checkout.  Music‘s on the way.  Video?  Leverage the Youtube brand and get studios on board to supply content that you can deliver to any platform, including Google TV.  They’ve got the e-mail, phone, online docs, and map stuff down.  Games completes the picture, folks.

And for those who laugh at Wave’s demise, remember that great companies fail because they try many things.  The real failure would be the failure to try, or maybe slightly worse the failure to learn.  I’m sure they’ve learned quite a bit.

 

It’s the message, not the medium

Posted on 2 August 2010 | No responses

 In searching for the ways I can "practice art", I’ve decided to try songwriting.

Tonight, I hit "save" on what I think is enough to be a complete song, from the lyrics perspective.  I’m not happy with the chorus, I think I need something more soulful without being forced… but anyway… I’m not yet ready to share with all of you.

I did share what I was working on with a few folks, one of whom I think was quite genuinely surprised that what I had so far really seemed to him headed for a good song.  I think it is, too, but I expect that, and I’m willing to take the time to craft it, take a knife to it, tear it down to a few symbols and build it right back up from something fundamental to it.  When I left writing poetry regularly, I was playing with the sound of it, as part of writing for performance.  I think I can reach back into that place and pull out even more.

I’ve had a few different times in my life where I’ve had a little outburst of creativity in a different medium, sometimes never to be followed by another quite the same way.  

Here’s just an example after a break-up in ’99.   Bye Gail

Not Love

Posted on 30 July 2010 | No responses

 

Chapter 1 — The Fall

"This isn’t love, you know"

The words hung in the air. Before and after they came, the air conditioner rattled and hummed and sirens outside wailed, but while those words were being spoken they encompassed the entire room. She was resolute. Jeanne drew strength from the conviction she’d found that morning, before she sat up and faced the window, her back to me. When she’d stirred, I’d rolled to my side and faced the other direction. I’d known it was coming. I’d felt it in the way we no longer kissed when we made love, if one could call it that. It was fucking, plain and simple. It was empty, lonely, uninspired fucking.

I lay there with my eyes open, not acknowledging her. I strained to keep my breathing as it had been when I was sleeping. Of course, by then awake, I had no idea what pace that had been. Even if I’d believed it to have been deeper, that was something of which I was physically incapable. My abdomen was tense with that nervous fear that the charade was over, that my pretending hadn’t worked, and that I would again be alone.

I was thankful that this was all happening within the walls of my own apartment. I didn’t have to figure out a place to go when I realized how empty I was. Noone would notice me hiding from their attention. My comforter would live up to its name, protecting me from the cruel world. I felt the bed move when she rose, and then heard her let out a controlled — but not composed — sigh. The noise of the blind giving way marked what I knew would be the last time she’d peer out of my bedroom window. I heard her breathing unevenly as she earnestly tried to keep her balance while pulling on her jeans. I thought about how those jeans were a half-size too small, and how they’d leave a pink ring around her body when she took them off. I thought of the times I had put my hand in the back pocket of her Levis as we walked along the boardwalk, stopping to kiss every few minutes. I thought of the way I’d dreamed about a future with her back when I’d thought I’d been in love with her.

My closed-eye daydreams were interrupted when I heard her shuffle out, her shoes only halfway on, the heels clapping the hardwood floors just a little too firmly for her not to have been angry. There was the jangle of her white-trash-too-many-keys keyring, followed by the sharp two-click noise of the lock hitting its strike plate and then snapping back once inside. I must have been trying too hard to sleep after that, since I didn’t hear her slip the key under my door. Yet I found it there when I arose what I can only presume to have been hours later. The state I’d attained through a deep desire for unconsciousness blurred the line between sleepy facts and dreamed fiction, and only moving my leg to the side in a large, sweeping arc proved her not to be there with me, and the coolness of the uninhabited area of sheet reaffirmed that she’d left some time ago.

Within seconds, I was dizzy and sick and my brain was on the verge of imploding from the pressure which surrounded it. Closing my eyes and pulling my knees to my chest did nothing to help but to make me feel suffocated, which felt somehow appropriate. Words, images, sounds flashed through my head and left again before they’d left any more with me than the knowledge that not only was I alone, but I let her have the final words. Goddamn it! How could I have been so weak? As long as we’d been together, it had been on her terms… perhaps if it were to end any other way, it would seem perverse. Is there anything more humiliating for a man to be crushed by a woman he didn’t even love? Even that thought couldn’t stand up to the barrage of memories that jackhammered my sensory inputs.

Eventually I ceded control of my mind and body, rolled onto my back, and closed my eyes. I must have just tired myself out with all that thinking and tensing of muscles. When I again woke up, there was golden afternoon sun on the brick apartment building across the street, and though it crossed my mind that I was emotionally empty, my stomach yelled a little bit louder that it was even emptier. I shuffled across the floor in my underwear and socks, slide-dragging my feet across the cool hardwood. That was the thing about the air conditioning in my apartment. It had been an afterthought, and used the same vents in the floor as the heat. In summer, the floors of my third-floor apartment were colder than they got all winter. That explained the socks, somehow. And maybe the socks just reflected what was happening with Jeanne. For the past two months, sex was an afterthought which only happened if we were drunk and frisky. Otherwise, I wore socks to bed.

No Pop-Tarts. The expiration date on the eggs was a faint memory, and the celery sagged when I lifted it. No mold on the bread, though. Peanut butter sandwiches and Diet Pepsi it would be. I grabbed a plate, faked my way through making sandwiches, and put away the peanut butter. I walked to the Black Leather Recliner of Solitude, put the plate and can of soda on the end-table, and slammed down into the chair rather harshly as my body gave out below.

Clicked the power button on the remote, then reclined the seat only part-way so my feet wouldn’t block my view. Uninspired peanut butter consumption led to the need for Diet Pepsi to loosen things up, which led to the need to drag my ass back over to the refrigerator to grab two more cans so I’d not have to get up again. Upon my return, I finished the sandwich and a half that I’d had left, and another can of soda, and then found that my television was tuned to Magnum, P.I., dubbed in Spanish. The reason wasn’t nearly as worrisome as the fact that I’d been sitting in front of it for ten minutes without it having registered the tiniest bit within my skull.

Jeanne provided routine. She’d provided a set of rules I’d lived with, grudgingly. She gave me context. I was her boyfriend, and was expected to act like it. I’d be allowed minor transgressions like forgetting dates until one of those mid-relationship “talks”. Eventually, she accepted responsibility for all dates except her birthday and our anniversary. Given that she also cooked, and was anal enough about cleaning that I didn’t have much to worry about in my apartment, the context formed around my irresponsibility. I’d never be good enough, but that made her comfortable. I should shut up, make money, be “romantic”, and everything would be fine.

But it never was. She started showing signs of utter disinterest a few weeks ago. She started “working late”, and not eating after she got home. 

I wrote this about 8 years ago, when I was thinking that a novel was what I had inside.

I’ve never written things that were very long, and I stopped early in the first chapter.  I suppose that I had only really envisioned the first scene, and expected the rest to flow.  For those wondering, this is not autobiographical, and precedes my most recent relationship by several years and relationships.

Part of why I stopped, I think, was that I was paralyzed by fear that I couldn’t conceive of another person’s "whole life", imagining enough details to seem authentic, without making it obvious that I was "hitting points".  I had another person in mind, who I didn’t really know, as the model for the character… and since I didn’t know him well, I didn’t know his life.  Maybe I should stick closer to home.  Or just not worry about it, and learn how to edit in details later when I do research.

Even though I’m sharing this with you here, I, Anthony Ortenzi, retain and reserve all copyright, of course.

Comments and criticism welcome.

What gets you up in the morning?

Posted on 27 July 2010 | No responses

At 23, after living in my first apartment for a week, still fresh at my first real job, I came home from work one night at about 2:30AM (I worked a 4PM to 2AM shift), sat down on the carpeted floor in the middle of my living room in the dark, and asked myself, "Is this all there is, for another 40 years?"

Having fought depression while in college, I knew that I just needed to pour myself into industriousness.  I worked incredibly hard, moving to a daytime shift, going through two title changes in a year before saying goodbye to it for an adventure working in London.  I worked hard there, partly just trying to carve out my own niche when things were slow.  For about a decade, I carried some kind of electronic leash and was on call in one way or another on a pretty much permanent basis.  I think that I’ve clung to work in many ways because I could tell myself, "No matter how bad it gets, if I’m still showing up to work, I must be OK."  I’ve made myself invaluable at work, and barring a specific vendetta, I’d always be the one you’d keep around even if there are layoffs, so I’ve really never had to really worry about being able to make a living.

I’ve recently undergone a change in responsibilities at work because I felt like someone else could do at least as good a job or better at my role, and that there are things for which my expertise and passion could be better leveraged.  I’m still in the process of that transition, and the most interesting thing to come out of the process was the kernel of finding out what "gets me up in the morning".  That process was both the beginning of what I consider to have been a personal breakthrough, and the result of something I’d been building up to subconsciously.

I’ve been feeding my head for the last few years, fairly incessantly, with audio books, podcasts, online and dead-tree articles of all sorts, and a few dead-tree books.  Some of the subject areas?  Educational courses on history (Civil War, Industrial Revolution, the history of various sciences and various aspects of mathematics), political theory, philosophy, and language.  Malcolm Gladwell’s books Blink, Tipping Point, and Outliers (MG is better as audio than text, I find).  Thomas Friedman’s Flat books, Fareed Zakaria’s The Post-American World, and Nassim Nicholas Taleb’s Black Swan.  Books about the reasons for flaws in human judgement.  Podcasts about science, technology, entrepreneurship, language, business, security, and politics, in addition to those that bring me the Old Time Radio with which I relax.  I watch the English-language Chinese channel CCTV9 sometimes, or CurrentTV, when I get fed up with the "science" and "history" on the Science and History channels.  I’ve sought out material from a variety of disciplines, and let it all wash over me.

I’ve felt an incredible thirst for knowledge.  And I’ve had a rising feeling that I was headed somewhere good with it.  In the last 6 months, I’ve found my brain working differently — when I’m doing my best level of thinking, I’m summarizing concepts into symbols, distilling them to their essence, and even begun to visually arrange them in my head.  It may sound a little strange, but it’s like I’m participating in the junior league version of how John Nash’s visualizations of mathematics were presented in A Beautiful Mind.

Having lost some weight this year, I recently started testing my blood sugar again, to see how I was doing with the diabetes I was diagnosed with at 21.  While I’m not yet ready to say that I’ve beaten it completely, my blood sugar’s now usually not maple syrup, like it was even a few years ago.  I don’t know how much of the change is due to what I feed my mouth, and how much what I feed my brain, but I do believe it’s both.

What does it all mean, though?

I came across this tweet from Ani Difranco at the end of June.

If ‘art’ is why you get up in the morning check out the new Ani poster contest w/ @creativeallies, details here: http://tinyurl.com/2djubyw

Why do I get up in the morning?  I looked at the contest entrants, and I thought, "What I really love about Ani isn’t depicted in any of these.  When I think Ani, I think about the way that she’s so incredibly into the music she plays so hard she’s always breaking guitar strings."  There’s an essence to her that I wished I could reflect in an entry of my own.  Visual design isn’t a strong point of mine — historically I’ve been far more auditory.  But I realized that the art part of what I wanted to do was the kind of passion I feel.  The art is in seeing and sharing.  It’s in giving perspective to the world, sometimes beautiful and sometimes ugly.  I feel now something I’ve never felt before, an understanding of purpose.

It seems that the biggest changes in the world come from changes in perspective.

When I’m explaining ideas with radical changes in perspectives, people often ask me if I’ve thought about being a teacher.  I get excited not just by ideas, but by redefining problems in terms of what I think their essence is, and integrating ideas from various disciplines to present non-traditional solutions.  I try to simplify the explanations in the same way that I simplify them in my head, reducing components to symbols to relate concepts.  Wonderfully compatibly, it’s also how I find imagery for my writing.

What’s going to get me up in the morning, when it comes down to it, is something that lets me effectively both create and share the understanding I have of the world to give back in the form of perspective.

It’s good to have a litmus test, though it doesn’t tell me exactly what to do — I have to figure that out for myself.  In order to get any credibility, I’ll have to produce, but damn I’m feeling capable and ready.

5 years ago, I put the following in an online dating profile.

I want to experience life with someone who picks it like fruit from a tree and sinks her teeth in, juice spraying all over, but it makes no difference, because she’s laughing.

Now I understand that I have to be that person.  With a sense of purpose, there’s happiness in striving, even in failed attempts.  Screw failure, though.  Now I know what’s going to keep me trying until I succeed.

What gets you up in the morning?

 

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