Supply? And demand…

Seth Godin once wrote that we may have a supply, but it doesn’t mean that there’s necessarily a demand. That could be a supply of capital, or intellect, or a product, point-of-view, etc.

So of you’re sitting there, thinking how to drum up demand for your supply (whatever it happens to be), the first question you’d better answer is whether you yourself would want it. Because if the answer is no, you’re probably going back to the drawing board. 

Moving Forward

There’s a certain level of commitment needed to maintain a practice. This can be a writing practice, or sports, exercise, relationship-building, whatever. The simple act of showing up is often enough to get the ball rolling. 

I’ve written a lot about routines, scheduling, time management, and organization. Trying to create a life worth living.

As I write this now, I’m looking at where I’m at personally, professionally, and geographically. Where I’m at in the world. I look around to the issues facing us – all of us. 

That’s to say, I’m not sure where this is going. Where my writing will take me, and how my work will shape it. How the world around me might end up shaping it. 

But I know that maintaining this is an important first step.

You can’t pour out from an empty cup

We are vessels, giving of ourselves. It’s human nature to provide, in one sense or another, and it’s something most, if not all of us, relish.

Of course, it’s easy to exhaust the supply. Exhaust ourselves. If we’re not caring for our self, how can we care for others? 
From time to time, it’s important to step away. To refill the cup.

How to be friends

There’s a lot to be said for friendship. Having people around you that you care about, and who care about you in return, is incredibly important. It’s satisfying, it’s stimulating, and it’s exponentially rewarding.

It can also be a bit of a challenge at times. 

I heard once that most people will stop making new friends after they graduate (either from college or, should they not attend college, high school). 

The possibility for work friends exists, as do members of social groups, churches, multiple-participant hobbies, etc… But these are exceptions, and not the norm. 

Not looking so much at how to make friends, though, but how to be a friend – and how to accept someone’s friendship in return. You would naturally think that it would be easy. Two people who share some common interest(s), enjoying talking with each other and spending time together, a mutual understanding should grow and become comfortable, thus cementing a friendship. 

And yet, so many adult friendships (or friendships that could be), seem to fizzle out or disappear. Probably not from any lack of fondness, or even a lack of trying. But the basis of friendship is communication. Without communication, friendship will fall apart. 

Undivided Attention

I feel that the most successful people are the ones who can focus the bulk of their attention on the task at hand. An unwavering attention to what matters most. A driving force towards that pot of gold at the ned of the rainbow.

Those whose interests frequently shift, they struggle more. They may work as hard, or harder, than those with a singular vision, but being spread to then, their dreams may never come to fruition.

Time to think

Looking out the window, letting my mind wander, gazing up at a sun-splashed mountain. (or is it a hill? I’m never sure.) These are the moments when the mind can free itself from the everyday bonds of necessity. Of requirement. Rather, it should be a requirement to free your mind, and it is necessary to let things go from time to time.

That’s a bit of a ramble, but sometimes it’s what the mind does when it wanders. It wanders, it rambles, it moves from side to side, playing leapfrog with ideas and topics – never focusing on one for long, or, maybe, too long, which can only aggravate and annoy. 

The mind is a supple creation, and it needs downtime to enjoy its suppleness. To revel in the frivolity of thinking just for thought’s sake – not to discover, or contemplate, or decide. Just to think. 

A wandering mind.

We’re told from a young age not to let your mind wander. But why? Out at the periphery, that’s where the best ideas live! They don’t come wandering into the light, asking you to find them. They’d prefer to remain hidden away, coquettishly batting their “eyes”, enticing you out of your comfortable spaces. Ideas, the best ideas, are like love letters from the other side. 

So, yes, let your mind wander. Enjoy the unfocused gaze at something that you find beautiful. And don’t trouble yourself with the moment-to-moment productiveness. Explore the outer reaches, and see what sorts of ideas you may find living there. 

The stream’s tipping point

I’ve been digging into streaming services a bit. With or without the launch of CNN+, the market is saturated with providers and their content. Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, Apple+, etc. The list isn’t short by any stretch of the imagination.

Is it more than we can watch? Oh, absolutely! But does it fill a need?

The question isn’t if it’s for everyone. The question is, is there someone (or someones) who will want to watch? As we add more and more streaming content to our internet bandwidth, it’s only a matter of time before we find out where the tipping point actually is.

So much is unknown

Life is a long line of the unknowable. It surprises, upsets, beguiles, upends, and amazes. When we get up each and every morning (or whenever we roll out of bed), the day makes no promises other than, “I am here.”

So what you do, how you do it, the mental acuity you bring to each day – these things change. How well you do something, or recall what you knew, or learn and acquire new information – it can be different from day to day.

But just like that promise, “I am here,” so too should you be.

Many happy returns

When my writings were less sporadic, I’d keep a running commentary of the books I’ve been reading. I got the idea from Nick Hornby’s collected columns, titled Ten Years in the Tub. The past year (or longer), I’ve gotten away from that. But I have been reading, though not nearly as much as I had in 2020. 

There’s a certain joy in writing about books. I mean, I enjoy reading them. Why wouldn’t I enjoy writing about them. Not criticisms, per se. Not synopses either. Just a quick glance at how I feel when reading them, and if there’s something that really stood out to me. 

Recently I was given The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo trilogy by Stieg Larsson. I read them over one week, while I was holed up with COVID. I enjoyed them so thoroughly that I gave a set to another friend of mine at Christmas. 

Plenty has already been written about the series, its author, and its protagonist. But the stirring thing for me is the way such a story is able to grab you. 

I read another book a bit more recently, The Secret History by Donna Tartt. Another thriller of sorts, but this one taking place in a New England liberal arts college for the well-to-do, dealing with the ancient Greek traditions of the Bacchae. 

It was okay. Honestly, I found it very easy to read at parts, though a bit of a slow starter and with an ending that left me unsatisfied. But, not all endings can be satisfactory, and I’m not sure it could have ended in any way but the way it did.

Which brings me to Haruki Murakami’s 1Q84, which I’m currently reading. All 900+ pages of it. 

And, about three hundred fifty pages in, I have no idea where it’s taking me. But for whatever reason, though it’s a bit of a slog at points, I can’t put it down for longer than a couple days before needing to pick it up again. 

Collective Vocabulary

I was revisiting John McPhee’s Draft No. 4 recently, reading the essay “Frame of Reference”. In it, McPhee mentions collective vocabulary – basically, a shared understanding of the commonplace phrases of the age we live in.

Much of what is considered current in pop culture could be part of this generation’s collective vocabulary. But in doing theatre, and in my love of reading, I’ve discovered item after item that were considered popular at the time. Oklahoma and the popular Shave and a hair cut (tap tah-tah-tah tap): both rely on the phrase “two bits”. What we now call a quarter. 

Now, no one is chopping up a US quarter to make 12.5¢, nor did the US ever make a 1 bit piece (to my knowledge). From my understanding, it comes from the Mexican practice of cutting a peso into eight pieces (or bits). Since the Mexican peso and US dollar were practically equivalent, the phrase was adopted and became a part of the collective vocabulary.