January 9, 2011

Philosophy Rethink

“You are biting off more than you can chew.”

That was my wife today in the car as I was explaining my latest email exchange with Spectrum Culture. They are a music, book, food website and I want to write for them. Why you may ask? Don't I have enough on my plate? It is simple, because they want writers and I want some structure. I want a deadline. I want to be forced to write about things that are outside of my comfort zone. Because I think I can and I should. Because I love music and the editor isn’t turned off by my new philosophy.
Think you can and you will. Act as if you have nothing to lose and you will lose nothing.
In short, I don’t want to over think things and lose myself in anxiety or stress of  outcomes. This awakening began before the holiday when I noticed that a conference in Hong Kong was asking for presenters. With the deadline the next day, I quickly typed up an idea for a session, and within twenty four hours I was approved and now I am on my way to Hong Kong next month.

Spectrum Culture was very similar. I saw a Tweet that asked for writers, and so I sent the following email:
I would like to write for you. Please send me the details. See my blog for body of my work.
I was shocked when he asked me to send in a sample after I answered some of the application questions like this:
What sets you apart from the other writers?

I have been told that I can capture what others are feeling but cannot articulate in a simple and easy to absorb style. I ramble and roll and sometimes land on authentic emotions. What separates me from other writers is probably the fact that I cannot answer this question. I do not take it all so seriously, so I will not take the time to manufacture some banal account of what makes me special. Perhaps I am like the protagonist from Singles, where he is caught admitting that not having a game is his game.
I wrote this review for Shogu Tokumaru and waited. I tried to remain anxiety free, but I really wanted this at this point. I am not sure why writing for a third party website seems more authentic to me than writing for my own blog, but I just feel I need to branch out my writing  a bit and see where the roots will anchor me.  I was a bit set back when I received this email today:
Hi Jabiz:

Thanks for this! We really liked your writing a lot. However, there were two things that gave us pause. First, you turned this around in less than 24hrs. That makes us worry you really didn't give the album the proper time to "marinate" and that your reaction is based only on one or two listens. We like our reviews to be well-thought out, with time given to reflection. Second, there seemed to be a lot of hyperbole and superlatives here, but not a lot of analysis.

Since we think you're a great writer we would like to give you another opportunity with a different disc. Let me know if you are amenable to that, taking what I wrote above into consideration. Thanks!
Bam! Wake up call! Philosophy rethink. Maybe I do need to slow down a bit and focus on a few things instead of thinking I can do everything. I am currently about to begin a new semester at work, I hope to reach 50,000 words on my book by summer at the latest, I have enrolled in a MOOC class called ds106, I am involved with a Daily Shoot photo project, I actively maintain two blogs, I am leading our school’s charge to use blogs as e-portfolios, I am presenting in Hong Kong, and about to start my ADE video application this week. Maybe there is a bit too much in my mouth at the moment.

But it all feels so right. I really think I can do it. Oh and did I mention that I am raising two kids under five? It’s a lot I know, but I feel most alive when I am active and producing. I still find time to consume TV, read, and spend time with my wife, so what else is there? There is nothing I feel I am missing, by filling my life with so much activity.

I know the answer, downtime. Meditation time. I think if I slow down a bit and allot the appropriate time for each task, I can do them all better. It’s like I told Spectrum Culture:
Let me start by saying you are right. I am living by this new philosophy you see, and it may have hit a snag. The idea is that one acts with nothing to lose, fast, furious, open and raw. If things work out, so be it! If they don't it wasn't meant to be. This is how I have approached your site from day one, but now I see that it may behoove me to slow down. I like the challenge of making this work, and since you have not yet told me to go fuck myself, yes I would love to give it another go. Please send me another disc.

Just so you know I have listened to little else and Port Entropy has marinated quite well. You are right however I tried to get the review out while it was fresh, but it definitely could have used more analysis and less hyperbole. It was just that I thought about it all day and I wanted to get it down in one take.

I can totally appreciate a slower more reflective process, so send me the next disc and I will give it another go. Thanks for the kinds words and not giving up on me. I think once we feel our groove we could have something special here.
So the answer I seem to have gleaned at least for me right now is a blend of lose, fast, furious, open and raw and a slower more reflective process. Like everything in life I need to find that balance. This is the closest I have been in years to truly being happy and it is because I feel like a well-oiled machine. I'm peaking so to speak. Let’s see how long and far I can make this thing go!

image by supercake
How do you balance your life? What is too much?

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