But not a real green dress, that’s cruel.

I just finished a semester at IUPUI. There comes a certain point when you’ve just had enough and need to take a break for a while. I had my math exam a couple of Fridays back and shut down completely after all the studying and effort required took its toll on me.

Math comes easy for some people. My brain works better with words, themes, concepts, thoughts, theories and expressions. My brain does not like the idea of one solution. It just doesn’t suit me well and as a result my math classes are a source of haggard desperation which results in hardcore studying a few days before an exam to make sure my mind is condition to perform the tasks at hand.

That’s not an excuse for not writing though. It’s interesting how much pleasure taking the time to write gives me and yet how often I avoid it. I wonder if other writers have that problem. If you do, what’s your solution for getting through it?

It is difficult juggling passions in life. I have several passions and sometimes it feels like I’m stirring too many pots. I have my beautiful wife. I have two adorable kitties. I have two guitars that I keep plucking at trying to learn how to play. I bought some running shoes because I’d like to try and run a 5k next year. I have my writing. I have this degree that I’m trying to figure out how to pay for. I have my job. I find that I have at the end of the day a strong desire to just reside myself to the couch and call it a day, tomorrow will be better. But it never is. It is never a good time to pursue everything. Multitasking is fundamentally flawed at its core.

The reality of trying to do everything at once is impossible. In order to pursue something, a task, a passion, a dream or even a family, you have to focus on them. While most of my tasks and passions don’t have feelings like my wife does, imagine how your tasks would feel (if they had feelings) if they were constantly ignored as you shuffled your attention around the room. How much longer does it take you to accomplish a simple task if you constantly shift between tasks? Or in my case, how many tasks do you simply never get around to by your own prioritization?

So what are the priorities here? How I strive to define them:

Separate things you can live without.

Example: Do I need to learn how to play the guitar right now?  No, so why do I stress out about not having time to play? I made a decision today. I’m selling my guitars. If you’re interested in a beautiful sounding acoustic and a relatively inexpensive starter electric, let me know.  I might be willing to make a deal.

Decide what is important to you.

Example: My wife is extremely important to me. She makes a lot of the things I am capable of possible by simply believing in me. Faith can be a very powerful thing.

Example: Writing. No better thought in my mind exists than these words from Rainer Marie Rilke

“There is only one thing you should do. Go into yourself. Find out the reason that commands you to write; see whether it has spread its roots into the very depths of your heart; confess to yourself whether you would have to die if you were forbidden to write. This most of all: ask yourself in the most silent hour of your night: must I write? Dig into yourself for a deep answer. And if this answer rings out in assent, if you meet this solemn question with a strong, simple “I must,” then build your life in accordance with this necessity…” ~ Rainer Marie Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet

Execute

This is the tough part. In order to succeed in any of your passions you must be willing to execute the plan. My advice is to set aside time for everything and not time for doing everything at once. Define a time when you will write pursue your passion; if that’s 4am, when your wife is sleeping, do it. If it’s on your lunch hour, so be it.

I am currently working on a short story or flash fiction. I suppose it matters what the word count is. I need to make the time for it. I hope to share it soon.

Thanks for reading!

Medicated Creativity

It’s been a few days since my last post. I have come to realize that pain killers mixed with muscle relaxers (I have lower back pain) result in an unhealthy concoction of right brain impairing reactions. In short, it has been difficult to focus on creativity lately. I have been of course, following Twitter and Facebook with an eye for stealing ideas for the next post.  I decided to make this post a reaction to things that have been happening in the meantime.

Action: A 12 year old girl was forced to give up her Facebook password to school officials in Minnesota.

Reaction: This is sort of the same idea as asking someone to hand over their diary. This is absolutely wrong. This is tantamount to a violation of civil rights. It would be different if the 12 year old were asked to give up their Facebook password to their parents. I believe parents should be involved in what their children do online, especially at age 12. What gives Minnewaska Middle School the crazy idea of entitlement that says they can rummage through a student’s personal online presence? This isn’t digging through their backpack to look for drugs, examining their locker for weapons, or anything reasonable. Minnewaska Middle School has gone on record as saying when the details are released that the school system will have acted within their so-called rights to obtain the password.  This is expanding their influence beyond the school system and on to the internet. I consider the possibility of this being a case of Cyber Bullying or complaining about a school official. I still contend that this is a home issue and that the school system may contact the parent directly about this and have the parent deal with the situation. <Gump> And that’s all I have to say about that… </Gump>

Action: Greg Smith quits Goldman-Sachs and publishes an op-ed piece “Why I am leaving Goldman-Sachs” in the New York Times.

Reaction: When I initially read this piece, I felt compelled to side with this guy. I thought about what amazing morals and strength of character it took to write that letter. I empathized with how he felt. I felt much the same when I finally left Best Buy in February of last year.  Inevitably, I began to question his motives. Why did he stay employed for 12 years, wait until after bonus season, and then quit with an incendiary letter compelling both customers and executives to change their ways. It became clear to me that while I am sure that Goldman-Sachs doesn’t always do what is in the best interest of their clients, they also exist to make money.  Those two objectives do not always allow for joyous harmony.

I’ll use my experience at Best Buy as an example. Best Buy claims to be customer centric. I worked there, the reason they are customer-centric is because it allows their sales people to offer accessories and other items that may or may not fit the customer’s lifestyle. The focus is always and has always been on the number of items per transactions, the amount of margin (markup), service plans, and services. It is not always in the best interest of a customer to buy Geek Squad services or the service plan. However, even if a Best Buy employee listens to you and identifies you as a customer who really doesn’t need services, accessories, etc. They will still try and sell these things to you if they are following their indoctrination. I was a Geek Squad manager for a few years with Best Buy. I admit to training people to take your money even if you didn’t need it. That’s what we were there to do.

Back to Goldman-Sachs, I realized Greg Smith is no great champion. Greg Smith is me. Greg Smith is you. Greg Smith is the same type of person we all are. We work, do what we’re told, and eventually we grow tired of being asked to lie, cheat, and steal to squeeze a few extra dollars onto the bottom line and we eventually opt to do something else. We’ve all worked that job that we didn’t feel quite right in. If you haven’t, consider yourself lucky or maybe just blind. Greg Smith would have been more impressive if he had made great strides in attempting to change the putrid culture that he came to despise. Greg Smith, congratulations to you for leaving the job, finally. However, you have long way to go before becoming a hero. Fin.

Action: Inspiration to Art.

Reaction: While looking at some early design work I did involving magnetic poetry. I have decided to create a few new examples of word-art. I enjoy taking text and graphics and generating a poetic fusion.

Looking forward to posting again soon, hopefully without the influence of chemicals!