1 month

That’s it! One month of daily postings. I wasn’t sure that I would have the tenacity to maintain a writing schedule. But, knowing that I had to do one every day made it a little bit easier to write, just about every day.

A friend of mine is a writer, of fiction, screenplays, etc. He says that sometimes his wife will have dinner ready, and he’ll tell her just a minute so that he can finish his thought. But that becomes a paragraph, then a page, and by the time he joins her dinner has gotten cold.

She says she doesn’t mind, because that’s his dream and his work. She can wait for him to eat, and it doesn’t bother her that the food is a little cold. (She won’t eat till he joins her, which I think is incredibly sweet.)

But he says he has to write when he can, because sometimes other work gets in the way. But he commits to writing at least a little every day. Good, bad, doesn’t matter. As long as words get to the page.

Well, on to May!

April Reading

Books Bought:

  • My 1980s and Other Essays – Wayne Koestenbaum
  • Browsings: A Year of Reading, Collecting, and Living with Books – Michael Dirda
  • Keep Going: 10 Ways to Stay Creative in Good Times and Bad – Austin Kleon
  • Critique of Pure Reason – Immanuel Kant
  • Plato: Collected Dialogues – edited by Edith Hamilton
  • The Secrets of Closing the Sale – Zig Ziglar

Books Read:

  • Money: Master the Game – Tony Robbins
  • The Essential Rumi (Translated by Coleman Barks) – unfinished
  • The Intelligent Investor – Benjamin Graham (Revised Edition) unfinished

After listening to the Tim Ferriss Show, mostly catching up on episodes I’ve missed, I heard him compliment Tony Robbins’s Money. I had audio book credits through Audible, and decided to give that one a try. So far I’m enjoying it. Some similar threads to Intelligent Investor – a book I’ve had for years but didn’t read much.

I’ve been an investor, and at times a speculator, over the past fifteen years. Mostly I didn’t really know what I was doing. I had success in school with Finance: Micro- and Macroeconomics; & Managerial and Financial Accounting. But mostly I just played around.

I had my first 401(k) in 2004, when I went full-time with NASCAR (prior to pursuing a career in the arts). In five years I think it went up to just over $10,000. I rolled that over into an IRA actually rather recently, in 2014 or 2015. Then, in 2016, I cashed out that IRA entirely. It was at the height of my dark period, and I was getting out of the country for a while.

I think even though I’m back in the country, I’m still somewhere else. My friend Anthony tells me that it’s been a three-year wake-up call, and now I get to be who I was supposed to be in the first place. Honestly, he may be right.

So I’ve been re-looking into the financial markets – which I did used to enjoy learning about.

I’m also newly into Audible, which I had cancelled maybe a decade ago… I like the physical book, more than I did audio or digital. However, I’m finding much more time spent driving or traveling in general, and the convenience of that audio book is nearly impossible to beat. After going from South of St. Petersburg to Daytona and back a few times last year – enough to listen to Ferriss’s 4-Hour Workweek twice, I decided it was time to re-up Audible.

As for Rumi, just another staple in my go-to perusal section. I’ve been thinking about the tavern-goer:

This drunkenness began in some other tavern. When I get back around to that place, I’ll be completely sober. Meanwhile, I’m like a bird from another continent, sitting in this aviary. The day is coming when I fly off, But who is it now in my ear who hears my voice? Who says words with my mouth?

Who looks out with my eyes? What is the soul? I cannot stop asking.

If I could taste one sip of an answer, I could break out of this prison for drunks. I didn’t come here of my own accord, and I can’t leave that way. Whoever brought me here will have to take me home.

This is one of those constant quandaries that invades my thoughts, and reading Rumi not only gives it the poetic air, but also expands my thoughts on the problem itself. Knowing others who share your thoughts, your concerns, makes the load of those concerns a little lighter – even if this person has been deceased for quite some time.

My book purchases were impulses mostly. I knew the name Koestenbaum, but hadn’t read anything before by him. Browsings seems similar to Ten Years in the Tub, which I’ve yet to finish, but it’s right up my alley. I read Steal like an artist before, so I wanted to read Keep Going for a while. Kleon always has something fun and inspiring to say.

Two books of philosophy, for my downtime reading… (here’s hoping I get a lot of downtime). And Zig Ziglar came at the recommendation of Godin, and as I’m working in sales right (along with my other gigs) I thought improving those skills couldn’t hurt.

Video killed the radio star

I’ve been doing my radio program on musicals and local arts for about a year now. I think it’ll be a year next month. For it, I’m always playing around with different recording techniques, looking at new equipment such as microphones and audio interface. I’m not optimized for recording.

And yet, I get it done. It may not be perfect, but it’s complete. And every week I ship a new episode – because it’s airing on the radio. So it’s likely been one of the most important teaching tools for creating my art that I’ve been a part of recently.

After the video game broadcasts gets off the ground, my next goal is a podcast with another recording friend of mine. But since I usually lay out my laundry on this blog, I’ve not a clue what we’ll be talking about yet.

Out of balance

When the alignment is off, even the smallest misstep can throw the system out of whack. Specifically I’m meaning my back which I tweaked just doing a bend to move something on the floor. But, it applies to all things if you think about it. When the system is working, we tend to ignore it. The car that starts at the turn of the key. The laptop that effortlessly connects to the wi-fi. Everything that flows in seamless connectivity.

But when something is off – a spark plug is dirty, the signal is shoddy – it just takes one moment to shut down the system. Now you’re left diagnosing the problem that, had you tended to some preventative task before hand, may never had occurred. It’s important to know how things work, especially the things that we take for granted.

You don’t need to be an expert, but a general working knowledge (or even regular visits for service at the mechanic’s) and you can save yourself a lot of headaches. And back aches, as it were.

Week’s highlights

Inspired by Tim Ferris’s five-bullet Friday, and having a little time at many points during the week to browse and peruse, here are things that I across which you may like:

Be More Chill original cast recording. Check out the animatic version, which rocketed the failing musical to new popularity.

Alex Strohl’s methods for defeating burnout. As a creative and recovering busy-person, I’ve experienced burnout more than a handful of times. Leading a board, raising money, and creating original work all left me feeling spent from time to time. Strohl’s routines may not be for everybody, but I like to take suggestions from those I new face the same challenges I do.

Fundrise. For a minimum deposit of $500, get into the real estate business with this Real Estate Investment Trust. Great dashboard and communication with their DC headquarters makes this an appealing addition to my portfolio.

Japan’s Sea of Trees, Aokigahara. It’s on my list for visiting in 2020, along with other areas of Japan. Following my friend’s wedding in the Philippines, I’m planning on visiting Japan, India, and Thailand.

Seneca on time

“Continue to act thus, my dear Lucilius – set yourself free for your own sake; gather and save your time, which till lately has been forced from you, or filched away, or has merely slipped from your hands. Make yourself believe the truth of my words, – that certain moments are torn from us, that some are gently removed, and that others glide beyond our reach.”

Being mindful of our time is the first key to freedom, to success, and to many other attributes we aspire to. It is a component of Zen, of meditation, of prayer, and of business. Being present.

Seneca’s assertion to gather and save your time is the fundamental principle of mindfulness.

“…if you will pay close heed to the problem, you will find that the largest portion of our life passes while we are doing ill, a goodly share while we are doing nothing, and the whole while we are doing that which is not to the purpose. “

He continues on asking Lucilius to pay close heed to the problem of time slippage. Stick to the purpose! Which means knowing the purpose.

And what is your purpose? How can you know if you’re wasting time not chasing it, if you’re not really sure what it is?

Or maybe the problem isn’t that you don’t know your one purpose – rather, your purpose is so complex and multi-faceted that you must proceed down several avenues at once to achieve it. And if that is the case, then your attention to time must be even more strict.

The Amy apologist

Last year I was in a production of Little Women, the musical with book by Allan Knee, lyrics by Mindi Dickstein, and music by Jason Howland, adapted from the novel by Louisa May Alcott. Admittedly, Alcott is an author I’ve never read (with Senior year English Lit possibly being an exception – I don’t recall), though her contemporaries and acquaintances I’m quite fond of – Emerson, Thoreau, and Longfellow. In the show I was Professor Bhaer.

There is a scene in the show where, after feeling left out by her sisters, Amy burns a story that Jo has been working on. Most people feel revulsion at the act, and Amy’s excuse that Jo has everything and she has nothing comes across as spoiled and bratty.

From my view, though, Amy is nearly a middle child, and shows very little talent of her own. The youngest (who later dies from illness) is loved by all and a budding pianist. Jo writes, and Meg is a proclaimed beauty. Amy therefor feels out-of-place in her own family and thus acts out. It isn’t right for her to do so, but it can be understood.

So, I was labelled an Amy apologist and have been trying to defend my stance for nearly a year. Then I saw a production of Little Women: The Musical just last month, and I thought Amy was a complete brat.