Some thoughts on the Final Challenge of Project Runway…

Goodness! What an interesting episode!

First off, I have to say that it was refreshing to see the designers challenged with interpreting a piece of inspiration that they got to choose themselves from the Getty in LA. I felt like, “Yes! That’s the essence of costume design! To be inspired by one thing and translate it to another, with a purpose and a context!” I felt like I could wrap my head around this challenge.

Secondly, I was so happy to hear them get a decent amount of time (2 days) and a decent budget ($300) to put together their look. Why can’t all the challenges be like that? I dunno about you all, but putting together a piece of industry-busting fashion that can be wearable in the crowds my posse runs in simply can’t happen on $100 and 24 hours…

Thirdly, I have to say that I am shocked that Gordana went home. Goodness, of all the designers, she was the most consistent, the highest quality, and the most competent in translating most of the challenges. I think we will see wonderful things from Gordana–of the lot I would choose her to design and create something for me before any of the others, that’s for sure!

It will be interesting to see the three ladies pull off something for Bryant Park. Fashion is a hard nut to crack–if anything I am personally anti-fashion, that’s for sure, so it’s hard for me to wrap my head around what appears to me to be a “game” that dictates to a flock of sheep what is “good” and what is “bad”, but I guess I’m never gonna get it so I can’t be too judgmental, can I? Part of me is happy that I don’t understand fashion–I think perhaps as an industrial “concept” fashion is going through so many changes that one can’t define it easily anyway, so I’m in good company. I certainly don’t want to wear something that makes me feel good simply because others think I look good… I guess I just don’t run with the kind of crowd where other’s opinions of my appearance are that important… But that’s me knockin’ something I just don’t get so why bother?

Suffice to say, I guess Project Runway is good television for my particular consumer bent–those push-up bra commercials will linger in my mind for a while, and I guess that’s what TV is about anymore–selling advertising, right?

I still don’t understand Nina Garcia’s opinions from week to week–“Take a chance–no that’s too much! Too safe, not safe enough…” Oy. Not sure I’d be a subscriber to Marie Claire since I just don’t get her…

Meeeeow! Okay. Claws in, Corey!

Anyway, for once I was intrigued by the episode and I’m curious for the next one.  Live life with Relish!

“Getting to know you! Getting to know all about you…”

Alrighty. It’s been almost a week since my last blogposting, and that’s far too long for my taste. I have a lot to update you on, and some observations that I have gleaned via my “travels through the blogosphere”.

Remember how I had to set aside that ebook I had been reading, Creating a Blog Audience by Sister Diane? I had reached a point where I didn’t want to progress further until I felt confident to answer some of the questions she was posing. At a certain point in the book, I realized that I didn’t know enough about the blogging communities that I was posting my blog for– art, craft, and business–and I really needed to do some investigating.

Well, I can say with absolute certainty that’s easier said than done. The blogosphere at this point is rapidly increasing, and the more I felt I was visiting “the community”, the more I realized I was simply scratching the surface… I felt (and still feel) that I had reached the outskirts of a major urban hub, and said to myself, “Aha! My community!” when I actually should have waited and read some more signs to realize I had a long way to go… I think that getting to know the community you are writing for as a blogger is a never ending journey… I could visit blog after blog and post comment after comment, but I’ll never reach the end. 2 or 3 years ago, perhaps, there was a finite nature to the whole experience that implied there were edges to the blogosphere community that one could reach, depending on your interest. Not so much today. It’s like saying, “Get to know your internet!” Hah! See ya in 5-10 years when that’s done…

OBIT  KERR

So at this point, I have endless numbers of bookmarks and doubled my blog subscriptions. And I have 30 open browser windows on my Mac’s dock, waiting for me to get back to read them. I keep finding great stuff!!!  The book did exactly what it was supposed to do: make me think about what it was I was putting out there, for whom, and how it fit in.

And that’s led me to realize there probably isn’t much I can add to the fabric of the blogosphere, really. What can I do but what everyone else is doing–“spins” on information that’s already been explored in depth? How many purse tutorials can a person read? Redoing what others are doing is not what I’d like to do…

So. I’ve decided to continue reading Sister Diane’s book, and hopefully I can progress forward on posting information that’s interesting to a specific overlap of my chosen communities. The book has profoundly opened my eyes to the concept that I need to recognize what my niche is. It’s made me realize that my particular “spice” that I add to the recipe of information that I post needs to be uniquely my own. It’s finding and recognizing that niche that I have to think about. And the more I explore the blogosphere, the more I realize those niches are very very hard to come by.

I find a lot of similarities (in my head) between the blogosphere and reality. In the rush of globalization that’s been made possible by mass and social medias, we’ve moved beyond embracing the whole and turned inward a bit. Our instinct is to pull in and find our diverse uniqueness that separates us and makes us distinct. The Handcrafted/DIY movement is part of that, I think. Our individuality as people was lost in the emphasis on our individuality as a culture, and now we’re trying to get it back through our creative expressions. Yes, we need and strive for social connections, but now we seek them not through our identification as part of the whole (by doing/believing the same things) but through our uniqueness that demonstrates our variation on the identifying culture. We want to belong, and yet we celebrate our distinctiveness.

Being part of any blogging community presents a quandary: belonging on the one hand, being different on the other. Being just enough alike, but not a copy.

So I’m going to move forward. I’m realizing I will never see the larger whole of my communities in the blogosphere, never truly grasp how they all fit together, who are the movers and shakers, who are the followers. And I think that means I will never really know if my blog is distinctive from the larger whole that it’s trying to identify with at the same time.

But I guess that’s ultimately like the business, art, and craft worlds, too, isn’t it? Someday, I may find someone doing what I do and doing it much better, or realize someone’s taken what I thought was my own uniqueness and is using it for their own. “Like business, like blog,” I guess.

But I can’t let that stop me, can I?

The Last Theatre Show

The last theatre show I have on my docket closed tonight.  I went in for strike for Noises Off, and the finality of it has hit home.
This is an unusual point in my life.  Several chapters have come to a close in rapid succession, much like a series of epilogues at the end of a book.  As I move on from a relatively secure job at my former university, I am also finishing up my current employment in theatre, which is what I have my Master’s Degree in.  At this point, I am not doing anything in the field that I had spent my life preparing for.
And that’s a scary situation to find one’s self in.
It’s odd…  At this point in time, many a man has started to go through a sort of “mid-life crisis” for themselves…  And on the surface it seems to me like there are a lot of similarities…  Not only have I chosen to cut ties with one aspect of my career, another aspect has finished up naturally.  Working in theatre has been the driving force of my life thus far, and it’s terribly disconcerting not to be either teaching it or working in it.
I’ve also had several personal things in my life come to an end–organizations I used to belong to, even friendships that I had thought were more solid than they were…  I’m left with the feeling of being sort of adrift…
On the other hand, I am in an enviable position.  I am starting out with a new beginning.  I have opened a new book, and starting a new chapter.  I am investing my time and energy into a different direction.  A sequel, if you will.
And that is a good thing.  The trick is to stay diligent.  It is easy to flounder…  I’ve been feeling confident one day and despair the next…  To choose a path through the forest (and yet be open to watching for clearer pathways) is not always the easiest thing to do.  And sometimes it seems like a dark forest that I’m entering right now…
But I have to remember that there are wonders of nature that are waiting for me to see them.  Vistas of sunlight cascading through the forest, streams that turn into tiny waterfalls, and birds with songs that echo through the woods.  I’ve felt that feeling before, literally…  As a second grader, my family lived in a housing development called Oak Run, outside of Dahinda, Illinois.  There were forests and animal trails, and beautiful hidden valleys with creeks that dazzled the eyes and stirred the imagination.  That dark forest is only dark until you find your way and make your mental map of where you are.
Wow, I forced that analogy through the wringer, didn’t I? Haha!
Well.  I have to keep progressing forward, working diligently at what I enjoy.  This business is going to succeed, I feel it.  And relishing every single moment–even the unsure ones– is what this is all about.
Live life with Relish.  Because otherwise, what’s the point?

The last theatre show I have on my docket closed tonight.  I went in for strike for Noises Off, and the finality of it has hit home.

This is an unusual point in my life.  Several chapters have come to a close in rapid succession, much like a series of epilogues at the end of a book.  As I move on from a relatively secure job at my former university, I am also finishing up my current employment in theatre, which is what I have my Master’s Degree in.  At this point, I am not doing anything in the field that I had spent my life preparing for.

And that’s a scary situation to find one’s self in.

s_sunset23

It’s odd…  At this point in time, many a man has started to go through a sort of “mid-life crisis” for themselves…  And on the surface it seems to me like there are a lot of similarities…  Not only have I chosen to cut ties with one aspect of my career, another aspect has finished up naturally.  Working in theatre has been the driving force of my life thus far, and it’s terribly disconcerting not to be either teaching it or working in it.

I’ve also had several personal things in my life come to an end–organizations I used to belong to, even friendships that I had thought were more solid than they were…  I’m left with the feeling of being sort of adrift…

On the other hand, I am in an enviable position.  I am starting out with a new beginning.  I have opened a new book, and starting a new chapter.  I am investing my time and energy into a different direction.  A sequel, if you will.

And that is a good thing.  The trick is to stay diligent.  It is easy to flounder…  I’ve been feeling confident one day and despair the next…  To choose a path through the forest (and yet be open to watching for clearer pathways) is not always the easiest thing to do.  And sometimes it seems like a dark forest that I’m entering right now…

forest

But I have to remember that there are wonders of nature that are waiting for me to see them.  Vistas of sunlight cascading through the forest, streams that turn into tiny waterfalls, and birds with songs that echo through the woods.  I’ve felt that feeling before, literally…  As a second grader, my family lived in a housing development called Oak Run, outside of Dahinda, Illinois.  There were forests and animal trails, and beautiful hidden valleys with creeks that dazzled the eyes and stirred the imagination.  That dark forest is only dark until you find your way and make your mental map of where you are.

Wow, I forced that analogy through the wringer, didn’t I? Haha!

Well.  I have to keep progressing forward, working diligently at what I enjoy.  This business is going to succeed, I feel it.  And relishing every single moment–even the unsure ones– is what this is all about.

Live life with Relish.  Because otherwise, what’s the point?

Quality of Life

Will: No, I need to provide for my family.
Emma: But provide what exactly?  The understanding that money is the most important thing?  Or the idea that the only life that’s worth living is the one that your really passionate about, Will?”
Glee, Pilot Episode
I watched the rerun of the pilot episode of Glee tonight.  I’d not seen it, and with all the promotion it had been getting, I decided to check it out while I was flipping through the channels.  I landed on it seconds after it started, so I figured this was my chance-I was president of my Select Choir  in high school… I wanted to test it’s veracity, I told myself.
I enjoyed it.  Still a little High School Musical cheesy, but with an edge.  Not dramatic like fame, but more like a sugar coated black comedy.  Sometimes sharp, sometimes needing to be sharper…  Still feeling a bit Disney-fied in the end, though.
But this exchange between these two characters hit me like a ton of bricks.    It reminded me of another conversation between two very different characters in a totally different kind of film:  Golden Boy from 1939.  I’ve never seen it, but I’ve shown this exact clip of it in my old intro to theatre classes.
Anyway, Golden Boy is a Depression era movie about a man who is struggling between choosing the life of a prize fighter and instantaneous financial success, or the life of a classical violinist which is his heart’s desire.  He wants to support his parents and siblings, and tells his father that money is the answer.  His father, on the other hand, wants his son to do what makes him happy.
In the clip, a debate ensues between the two, where the son says that his father wants him to live for tomorrow, but tomorrow may never come.  The world moves too fast, and owning things makes people happy, and money is the answer to it all.
His father says that things and money don’t make a person happy.  He tells his son that only when he does what is in his heart will he truly awake and sing and be who he was meant to be.
We’re in the middle of bad times economically in this country.  But the lesson is the same:  Life is not printed on the back of dollar bills.
Follow your passions.  That’s what life is about.

Will: No, I need to provide for my family.

Emma: But provide what exactly?  The understanding that money is the most important thing?  Or the idea that the only life that’s worth living is the one that your really passionate about, Will?”

Glee, Pilot Episode

I watched the rerun of the pilot episode of Glee tonight.  I’d not seen it, and with all the promotion it had been getting, I decided to check it out while I was flipping through the channels.  I landed on it seconds after it started, so I figured this was my chance-I was president of my Select Choir  in high school… I wanted to test it’s veracity, I told myself.

I enjoyed it.  Still a little High School Musical cheesy, but with an edge.  Not dramatic like Fame, but more like a sugar coated black comedy.  Sometimes sharp, sometimes needing to be sharper…  Still feeling a bit Disney-fied in the end, though.

goldenBut this exchange between these two characters hit me like a ton of bricks.    It reminded me of another conversation between two very different characters in a totally different kind of film:  Golden Boy from 1939.  I’ve never seen it, but I’ve shown this exact clip of it in my old intro to theatre classes.

Anyway, Golden Boy is a Depression era movie about a man who is struggling between choosing the life of a prize fighter and instantaneous financial success, or the life of a classical violinist which is his heart’s desire.  He wants to support his parents and siblings, and tells his father that money is the answer.  His father, on the other hand, wants his son to do what makes him happy.

In the clip above, a debate ensues between the two, where the son says that his father wants him to live for tomorrow, but tomorrow may never come.  The world moves too fast, and owning things makes people happy, and money is the answer to it all.

His father says that things and money don’t make a person happy.  He tells his son that only when he does what is in his heart will he truly awake and sing and be who he was meant to be.

We’re in the middle of bad times economically in this country.  But the lesson is the same:  Life is not printed on the back of dollar bills.

Follow your passions.  That’s what life is about.  Live life with Relish.

The Strength of Heat

The strength of heat
Lately, it’s been really hot here in San Diego.  Abnormally hot.  And the humidity has been pretty high, so it’s felt a bit warmer than it actually is.  Yesterday, we set a heat record for 88º.
Yeah, I know what you’re thinking.  “88º!?!?! What a wimp! That’s nothin’ compared to how hot it gets where I live!”
And you’re probably right.  The difference is not in the varying degrees of temperature, but in the varying degree of people.
I moved to California a little over 15 years ago, and it was a startling culture shock.  I had never seen palm trees that I could remember, or juniper trees, or bougainvillia.  I certainly had never experienced such a subtle change in the seasons–I was from the midwest and had just finished graduate school in Minnesota!  When it was winter, you knew it!  When it was summer, you carried shotguns to ward off the mosquitos!
But living in southern California all these years has somehow changed me.  I am not the same person that I used to be when it comes to my body’s reaction to climate change.  Cold seems colder.  Hot seems hotter.  And that’s because I simply don’t experience the radical changes in temperature that most of the other country experiences.  Consistency can be a blessing, but it can also be a curse.
And that’s the point.  Let me say it again:  Consistency can be a blessing, but it can also be a curse.
Right now, in my development of Relished Artistry, I am experiencing the equivalency to a lot of “heat”.  I’m not in my comfort zone, and I’m certainly not living a life that compares to anything that I have lived before.  Being an entrepreneur in the world today is not what being an entrepreneur was like many years ago (make that even 5 years ago when it comes to the internet)…  I realized that a lot of the books that I was reading were inapplicable to the economy as it exists today.  That was clear.  The references that worked in the past weren’t going to work for today.  But doing something about that is what’s really the challenge:  what exactly does one do?
One gets used to the heat, I guess.  One starts to become comfortable with inconsistency.  One doesn’t let is stand in one’s way.
So.  Screw the heat.  I’ve got work to do.  : )
Live life with Relish!

Lately, it’s been really hot here in San Diego.  Abnormally hot.  And the humidity has been pretty high, so it’s felt a bit warmer than it actually is.  Yesterday, we set a heat record for 88º.  And there I was, pluggin’ away at a new vest in my non-air conditioned garage studio, sewing under halogen lighting…

Yeah, I know what you’re thinking.  “88º!?!?! What a wimp! That’s nothin’ compared to how hot it gets where I live!”

And you’re probably right.  The difference is not in the varying degrees of temperature, but in the varying degree of people.

Heat Exhaustion 2I moved to California a little over 15 years ago, and it was a startling culture shock.  I had never seen palm trees that I could remember, or juniper trees, or bougainvillia.  I certainly had never experienced such a subtle change in the seasons–I was from the midwest and had just finished graduate school in Minnesota!  When it was winter, you knew it!  When it was summer, you carried shotguns to ward off the mosquitos!

But living in southern California all these years has somehow changed me.  I am not the same person that I used to be when it comes to my body’s reaction to climate change.  Cold seems colder.  Hot seems hotter.  And that’s because I simply don’t experience the radical changes in temperature that most of the other country experiences.  Consistency can be a blessing, but it can also be a curse.

And that’s the point.  Let me say it again:  Consistency can be a blessing, but it can also be a curse.

Right now, in my development of Relished Artistry, I am experiencing the equivalency to a lot of “heat”.  I’m not in my comfort zone, and I’m certainly not living a life that compares to anything that I have lived before.  Being an entrepreneur in the world today is not what being an entrepreneur was like many years ago (make that even 5 years ago when it comes to the internet)…  I realized that a lot of the books that I was reading were inapplicable to the economy as it exists today.  That was clear.  The references that worked in the past weren’t going to work for today.  But doing something about that is what’s really the challenge:  what exactly does one do?

One gets used to the heat, I guess.  One starts to become comfortable with inconsistency.  One doesn’t let is stand in one’s way.

So.  Screw the heat.  I’ve got work to do.  : )

Live life with Relish!

Artfire and Etsy and Facebook! OH MY!

Relished Artistry is well on it’s way!  Not only have I finally opened an Etsy storefront, but I also have an Artfire studio as well!  I’ve listed items on both, and I’m really excited to see what happens next.
Unofficially, it’s been calculated (by volunteer Etsyians) that the most common length of time between opening a storefront and making your first sale is actually 23 day, or approximately a month.  Since my Etsy store went live with items about 8 days ago, I’ve had over 230 visits to the store…  There are over 170,000 Etsy stores, so I guess I have a lot of promoting to do.  Considering that in July, according to web2list.com, Etsy had just under 5 Million visitors, it’s bound to pick up.  I hope.  But some work, obviously, is in my future.  (More on that below…)
My Artfire store, in contrast to Etsy, isn’t going to reach nearly the number of people but will probably touch a more handmade-centric audience base…  Artfire got just under 350,000 visits for July (according to web2list.com), but they’ve grown exponentially since being launched just this last November ’08.  They have approximately 25,000 sellers, but at the exponential growth rate they’ve demonstrated thus far, 2010 will be a force for Etsy to reckon with.  Already populated with disgruntled Etsyians, it’s growing by leaps and bounds, so we’ll see what happens.
Having a store in both places can’t be bad.
But what’s really interesting is that people can access my stores through my Facebook profile page.  Can you believe it??  I’m not talking about a link, I’m talking about full fledged “apps” that allow you to click directly to my Etsy storefront from pictures of my items on my Facebook page, or click on one of the tabs in my profile boxes to actually see my entire Artfire studio!  I’ve got both on there!  I’m really hoping they’re going to take off.
But there is a downside to all of this…  Putting my storefront on my Facebook profile seems…  somewhat “cheap” to me…  I’m not sure what I feel about that.  I have a Relished Artistry Facebook profile, but all of my friends are on my own personal one.  I feel very odd hitting them all up to make sales.  That seems somewhat callous to me.  I wouldn’t want them to use their personal Facebook stuff to blatantly blast-promote their business… It’s one thing to share what you’ve worked diligently on with your friends, quite another to use the system to advertise to them.  One is a bit more… I dunno, “personal” I guess.  The other reeks of cold self-aggrandizing.
I have historically had a problem with advertising, business, and unbridled capitalism in general…  Not good to feel if you’re trying to be a merchant artist, huh?  I just don’t want to fall into the predatorial trap I see so many others succumb to.  What I have is what I have–if you don’t want it, you certainly shouldn’t have to have the burden of toning out my incessantly droning advertising.  I’ll let them know I’m there, but once that’s done, I won’t be one to push myself.  Informative news is one thing, but parasitic publicizing makes me sick–how could I inflict that on someone else?
So I have to figure out where the line is, somehow.  And constantly releasing Tweets, email blasts, and Facebook wall announcements is not what’s in my future.  Tasteful is my mantra–what that actually means is something I’m gonna have to explore…
Live life with Relish!

Relished Artistry is well on it’s way!  Not only have I finally opened an Etsy storefront, but I also have an Artfire studio as well!  I’ve listed items on both, and I’m really excited to see what happens next.

Unofficially, it’s been calculated (by volunteer Etsyians) that the most common length of time between opening a storefront and making your first sale is actually 23 days, or approximately a month.  Since my Etsy store went live with items about 8 days ago, I’ve had over 230 visits to the store…  There are over 170,000 Etsy stores, so I guess I have a lot of promoting to do.  Considering that in July, according to web2list.com, Etsy had just under 5 Million visitors, it’s bound to pick up.  I hope.  But some work, obviously, is in my future.  (More on that below…)

My Artfire store, in contrast to Etsy, isn’t going to reach nearly the number of people but will probably touch a more handmade-centric audience base…  Artfire got just under 350,000 visits for July (according to web2list.com), but they’ve grown exponentially since being launched just this last November ’08.  They have approximately 25,000 sellers, but at the exponential growth rate they’ve demonstrated thus far, in 2010 they will be a force for Etsy to reckon with.  Already populated with disgruntled Etsyians, it’s growing by leaps and bounds, so we’ll see what happens.

Having a store in both places can’t be bad.

But what’s really interesting is that people can access my stores through my Facebook profile page.  Can you believe it??  I’m not talking about a link, I’m talking about full fledged “apps” that allow you to click directly to my Etsy storefront from pictures of my items on my Facebook page, or click on one of the tabs in my profile boxes to actually see my entire Artfire studio!  I’ve got both on there!  I’m really hoping they’re going to take off.

But there is a downside to all of this…  Putting my storefront on my Facebook profile seems…  somewhat “cheap” to me…  I’m not sure what I feel about that.  I have a Relished Artistry Facebook profile, but all of my friends are on my own personal one.  I feel very odd hitting them all up to make sales.  That seems somewhat callous to me somehow.  I wouldn’t want them to use their personal Facebook stuff to blatantly blast-promote their business… It’s one thing to share with your friends what you’ve worked on diligently, and quite another to use the system to advertise to them.  One is a bit more… I dunno, “personal and honest” I guess.  The other reeks of cold self-aggrandizing.

I have historically had a problem with advertising, business, and unbridled capitalism in general…  Not good to feel if you’re trying to be a merchant artist, huh?  I just don’t want to fall into the predatorial trap I see so many others succumb to.  What I have is what I have–if you don’t want it, you certainly shouldn’t have to have the burden of toning out my incessantly droning advertising.  I’ll let everyone know I’m there, but once that’s done, I won’t be one to push myself on them over and over.  Informative news is one thing, but parasitic publicizing makes me sick–how could I inflict that on someone else?

So I have to figure out where the line is, somehow.  Constantly releasing Tweets, email blasts, and Facebook wall announcements is not  in my future, I know that.  Tasteful is my mantra–what that actually means is something I’m gonna have to explore…

Live life with Relish!

Moving On from the Past

After having my discussion with my two friends on Sunday night, I realized I still have “unresolved issues” regarding moving on from my former job.  But then I saw this somewhere online, and it hit me like a ton of bricks.  I had to share it with you… I’ve since closed the window where I found this, so I can’t link to the original where I found it…
This is a traditional Buddhist tale:
Two Buddhist monks from the same monastery were traveling through a heavy forest. The older, more experienced monk walked in the front while his younger counterpart walked behind. As they traveled alongside a river, they came upon a beautiful young woman. She appeared troubled and concerned, standing at the river’s edge looking across.
As they approached, she called out to them for assistance. She needed to cross the river—but the river was far too wide, deep, and strong-moving. She wasn’t strong enough to fight her way across, nor was she tall enough to keep her head above water. She didn’t know what she was going to do to get across, but she defiantely had to cross.
The two monks were from a particularly strict, rules-driven sect. Their temple rules and regulations disallowed any contact with women; the monks weren’t even supposed to look at women, much less talk to them.
The experienced monk promptly walked over, picked up the young woman, and carried her in his arms safely across the fast-flowing river. He put her down on the opposite bank, where she graciously thanked him for his kindness and help.
The monk returned across the river and continued on his way—but the younger monk was astonished! How could his experienced elder even think about looking at the woman, much less actually carry her in his arms! How could he get close to her?
They continued walking through the forest, the older monk in front of the younger. They walked for a mile—with the less experienced monk’s frustration getting worse by the minute. When he could take it no more, he stopped in his tracks and shouted at the older monk.
“How could you do such a thing! How could you dare look at that woman, much less touch her and talk to her?! You know we’re not supposed to have contact with women. It’s strictly against the temple’s rules. How could you?!”
The older monk, having felt the younger monk’s building frustration, paused and turned around.
He smiled thoughtfully and said, “Are you still carrying that woman with you? I put her down a mile ago.”
Time for me to let go.  I will remember this.

After having my discussion with my two friends on Sunday night, I realized I still have “unresolved issues” regarding moving on from my former job.  But then I saw this somewhere online, and it hit me like a ton of bricks.  I had to share it with you… I’ve since closed the window where I found this, so I can’t link to the original where I found it…

This is a traditional Buddhist tale:

Two Buddhist monks from the same monastery were traveling through a heavy forest. The older, more experienced monk walked in the front while his younger counterpart walked behind. As they traveled alongside a river, they came upon a beautiful young woman. She appeared troubled and concerned, standing at the river’s edge looking across.

As they approached, she called out to them for assistance. She needed to cross the river—but the river was far too wide, deep, and strong-moving. She wasn’t strong enough to fight her way across, nor was she tall enough to keep her head above water. She didn’t know what she was going to do to get across, but she defiantely had to cross.

The two monks were from a particularly strict, rules-driven sect. Their temple rules and regulations disallowed any contact with women; the monks weren’t even supposed to look at women, much less talk to them.

The experienced monk promptly walked over, picked up the young woman, and carried her in his arms safely across the fast-flowing river. He put her down on the opposite bank, where she graciously thanked him for his kindness and help.

The monk returned across the river and continued on his way—but the younger monk was astonished! How could his experienced elder even think about looking at the woman, much less actually carry her in his arms! How could he get close to her?

They continued walking through the forest, the older monk in front of the younger. They walked for a mile—with the less experienced monk’s frustration getting worse by the minute. When he could take it no more, he stopped in his tracks and shouted at the older monk.

“How could you do such a thing! How could you dare look at that woman, much less touch her and talk to her?! You know we’re not supposed to have contact with women. It’s strictly against the temple’s rules. How could you?!”

The older monk, having felt the younger monk’s building frustration, paused and turned around.

He smiled thoughtfully and said, “Are you still carrying that woman with you? I put her down a mile ago.”

Time for me to let go.  I will remember this.

The E-Myth Regurgitated

I’m in my studio working on my next project, and I’m listening to The E-Myth Revisited by Michael E. Gerber, and I had to rush in to my computer and write this blog post in response to it.
This man, Mr. Gerber, is advocating and promoting the very essence of what I feel is wrong with business.  I don’t know whether to laugh or cry.  His statements are so infuriating to me, it’s going to take all my strength just to get through the rest of the book–I’m not even halfway.
One of his major tenets is that people who create their businesses are product focused instead of business focused.  The inner worker-bee in all of us simply wants to make the product, but we don’t realize that going into business demands that we develop and use other skills.  Makes sense to me–don’t like it, but it makes sense.
But then he goes on to say that most small businesses fail because the owner isn’t thinking about how to make the business run without him.  That good, growing businesses should be able to operate without you.  That a business is not an extension of yourself, it must be able to create without you needing to be present all the time.
And then he goes on to hold up McDonald’s as a good example of a small business that grew exactly because the owners were more interested in the methodology of the business and the process of creating the product, and not on the product itself.
<sigh>
I am so fundamentally entrenched in the opposing belief of this philosophy that to listen to this man makes me constipated.  Literally.  You wanna know why business is in trouble today?  Because people took this guy’s perspective to heart and simply exploited the consumer as a wallet, not a person.  If your product is only just a brand to you, if your product is simply a means to an end…  Yuck.
What’s the point?  Vacations?
People don’t want that anymore.  They know they are cogs in the wheel, and the last thing they want is to be reminded of that.  They are consumers, yes, but supporting business that is without heart and presenting a total disconnection between supplying and caring is what has got us into this problematic economy in the first place.
Good business is not continual growth anymore.  Today, good business is not consistently rising profit margins. It has to be deeper than that.  “Sorry, but that’s business,” has now come to signify morally bankrupt entrepreneurial sharks.  People want to patronize businesses that WANT to be there for them.  Business has to be deeper, it has to  matter, it has to actually care about the consumer and not just put up the pretense that they should as part of their process.  There are too many options out there to spend money.  People have a choice, and they’re wary of big business.
Business is people now, not consistent product en masse.  You can get product anywhere.  Why should anyone support that machine, especially when it’s given us the economy is has?
Okay, back to turning the other cheek and finishing up listening to his blather.  I have got good stuff out of it.  I just don’t like where he’s taking his ideas thus far…

I’m in my studio working on my next project, and I’m listening to The E-Myth Revisited by Michael E. Gerber, and I had to rush in to my computer and write this blog post in response to it.

This man, Mr. Gerber, is advocating and promoting the very essence of what I feel is wrong with business.  I don’t know whether to laugh or cry.  His statements are so infuriating to me, it’s going to take all my strength just to get through the rest of the book–I’m not even halfway.

One of his major tenets is that people who create their businesses are product focused instead of business focused.  The inner worker-bee in all of us simply wants to make the product, but we don’t realize that going into business demands that we develop and use other skills.  Makes sense to me–don’t like it, but it makes sense.

But then he goes on to say that most small businesses fail because the owner isn’t thinking about how to make the business run without him.  That good, growing businesses should be able to operate without you.  That a business is not an extension of yourself, it must be able to create without you needing to be present all the time.

And then he goes on to hold up McDonald’s as a good example of a small business that grew exactly because the owners were more interested in the methodology of the business and the process of creating the product, and not on the product itself.

<sigh>

I am so fundamentally entrenched in the opposing belief of this philosophy that to listen to this man makes me constipated.  Literally.  You wanna know why business is in trouble today?  Because people took this guy’s perspective to heart and simply exploited the consumer as a wallet, not a person.  If your product is only just a brand to you, if your product is simply a means to an end…  Yuck.

What’s the point?  Vacations?

People don’t want that anymore.  They know they are cogs in the wheel, and the last thing they want is to be reminded of that.  They are consumers, yes, but supporting business that is without heart and presenting a total disconnection between supplying and caring is what has got us into this problematic economy in the first place.

Good business is not continual growth anymore.  Today, good business is not consistently rising profit margins. It has to be deeper than that.  “Sorry, but that’s business,” has now come to signify morally bankrupt entrepreneurial sharks.  People want to patronize businesses that WANT to be there for them.  Business has to be deeper, it has to  matter, it has to actually care about the consumer and not just put up the pretense that they should as part of their process.  There are too many options out there to spend money.  People have a choice, and they’re wary of big business.

Business is people now, not consistent product en masse.  You can get product anywhere.  Why should anyone support that machine, especially when it’s given us the economy is has?

Okay, back to turning the other cheek and finishing up listening to his blather.  I have got good stuff out of it.  I just don’t like where he’s taking his ideas thus far…

Project Runway Thoughts

I just saw the premiere episode of Project Runway on Lifetime.  I’ve watched it for several years now–never regularly, though.  I caught an episode here and there, and I recognize the designers from past seasons.  The “All Star” 2-hour special that preceded the premiere was really interesting.  Seeing all those old designers come back and meld seasons was trippy.
But I have to say, the television show is so far from reality that it’s laughable…  Having some experience in clothing construction, I know what it takes to make a garment actually work, and the time constraints they are put under are ridiculous.  That’s not design, that’s “what-can-I-get-done-as-fast-as-I-can”…  I shudder to think of the quality that’s sacrificed simply to staple things together so they can be worn down a runway for 30 seconds (if that).  I laugh when I see them struggle to try to rethread a serger or change the needle…  Good grief, what world have they been living in that they don’t know how to operate the machines they’re working with?
I am the first to say that I know nothing about the fashion industry.  I blissfully developed what skills I have without having to dip my feet in that cesspool.  And I call it a cesspool with respect–it’s a damn vicious one where survival of the fittest is the rule of the day.  But life is more than that.  Theatre taught me that.  Life is more than how you look and how you give that first impression.  It’s more than letting your clothes dictate your “cool factor”, or dressing “appropriately” for the job.
Underneath all that industry is a world of real people who buy what comes out of the fashion factory.  And the people that I live and breath with, that I value, that I admire and that I ultimately want in my life… well…  They’re not the people that drive the fashion industry.  They’re the multitudes of people that wear clothing 3 and 5 years out of fashion.  They’re the masses that don’t pay attention to the latest line arriving at Sax or Nordstrom.  They’re the average every day joes that have to put two cents together to come up with four.
Fashion is not “the new”.  Fashion is belief in one’s self.  Fashion is confidence.  Fashion serves whatever purpose is required by the wearer for whatever situation they are in.
It’s not slamming together a dress in 24 hours with a bunch of carpet from a restaurant.
That’s simply thinking on your feet.  And the industry may have an element of that, but it certainly isn’t everything.
I would urge you to take Project Runway with a grain of salt.  Speed and ingenuity will always take a back seat to heart and care.  Real fashion isn’t about the designer at all, but how it makes the person wearing it feel.  And if they feel good in what they’re wearing, that’s all that’s important.
And the people in my world understand that.  They don’t want Mr. Blackman judging them on a best/worst dressed list…  They don’t need him to dictate what “looks good.”  According to whom??
Wear what you love.  Express yourself, and the people who should matter in your life will respect you.  If others don’t, then they don’t deserve to be in it anyway.

I just saw the premiere episode of Project Runway on Lifetime.  I’ve watched it for several years now–never regularly, though.  I caught an episode here and there, and I recognize the designers from past seasons.  The “All Star” 2-hour special that preceded the premiere was really interesting.  Seeing all those old designers come back and meld seasons was trippy.

But I have to say, the television show is so far from reality that it’s laughable…  Having some experience in clothing construction, I know what it takes to make a garment actually work, and the time constraints they are put under are ridiculous.  That’s not design, that’s “what-can-I-get-done-as-fast-as-I-can”…  I shudder to think of the quality that’s sacrificed simply to staple things together so they can be worn down a runway for 30 seconds (if that).  I laugh when I see them struggle to try to rethread a serger or change the needle…  Good grief, what world have they been living in that they don’t know how to operate the machines they’re working with?

I am the first to say that I know nothing about the fashion industry.  I blissfully developed what skills I have without having to dip my feet in that cesspool.  And I call it a cesspool with respect–it’s a damn vicious one where survival of the fittest is the rule of the day.  But life is more than that.  Theatre taught me that.  Life is more than how you look and how you give that first impression.  It’s more than letting your clothes dictate your “cool factor”, or dressing “appropriately” for the job.

Underneath all that industry is a world of real people who buy what comes out of the fashion factory.  And the people that I live and breath with, that I value, that I admire and that I ultimately want in my life… well…  They’re not the people that drive the fashion industry.  They’re the multitudes of people that wear clothing 3 and 5 years out of fashion.  They’re the masses that don’t pay attention to the latest line arriving at Sax or Nordstrom.  They’re the average every day joes that have to put two cents together to come up with four.

Fashion is not “the new”.  Fashion is belief in one’s self.  Fashion is confidence.  Fashion serves whatever purpose is required by the wearer for whatever situation they are in.

It’s not slamming together a dress in 24 hours with a bunch of carpet from a restaurant.

That’s simply thinking on your feet.  And the industry may have an element of that, but it certainly isn’t everything.

I would urge you to take Project Runway with a grain of salt.  Speed and ingenuity will always take a back seat to heart and care.  Real fashion isn’t about the designer at all, but how it makes the person wearing it feel.  And if they feel good in what they’re wearing, that’s all that’s important.

And the people in my world understand that.  They don’t want Mr. Blackman judging them on a best/worst dressed list…  They don’t need him to dictate what “looks good.”  According to whom??

Wear what you love.  Express yourself, and the people who should matter in your life will respect you.  If others don’t, then they don’t deserve to be in your life anyway.

“Ya got talent, kid!” Part Two

Okay, I just finished listening to the audiobook I told you about yesterday, The Talent Code by Daniel Coyle.
Coyle’s premise is that talent is actually well-practiced skill that develops over time, ignited by some inciting incident that inspires the drive to hone the talent, and encouraged by outside mentors.
In a nutshell, he says that neuroscience now understands that talent has a physiological base.  Our synapses fire faster when we execute our talent/skills, and those neural pathways are strengthened by biological insulation which allows the electrical impulses to fire and travel faster through our brain.  This results in our ability to do things more naturally, quicker, and seemingly pick up things faster.
Fist off, the reviews that I have read say that he forgets to address one particular aspect of “talent” that in some fields is absolutely required: creativity. The ability to think outside the box.  To develop new pathways and methods of thinking of things and perceiving things.  Most of Coyle’s examples involve sports and music–actions that rely upon muscle memory and repetitive learning to develop.
He says that great artists come from years and years and years of practice and contemplation: “deep learning”, or the act of breaking things down and isolating the components, addressing our errors, and then repeating.  Slowly.  For artists, that means doing your art over and over and over and over…  Building the insulation around those synapses and getting better at doing our art.  Moving to the next step constantly, without pause to celebrate the previous step’s accomplishment.  Driven by our own motivation and guided by others’ coaching.
Coyle, of course, isn’t so simplistic.  I’m mangling his idea by oversimplifying it and leaving out substantial parts of his perspective that explain his idea in more detail.
It’s an interesting thought.  Diligence is everything.  Mistakes are required, and should be sought not avoided by constantly overreaching bit by bit once each aspect is acquired.
I guess one shouldn’t ask how one creates a success, but why we don’t honor the process of analyzing our failures.  It’s not what we’re doing right, it’s what we’re doing wrong that needs our attention.  Success will come.  Practice makes perfect.  Literally.

Okay, I just finished listening to the audiobook I told you about yesterday, The Talent Code by Daniel Coyle.

Coyle’s premise is that talent is actually well-practiced skill that develops over time, ignited by some inciting incident that inspires the drive to hone the talent, and encouraged by outside mentors.

In a nutshell, he says that neuroscience now understands that talent has a physiological base.  Our synapses fire faster when we execute our talent/skills, and those neural pathways are strengthened by biological insulation which allows the electrical impulses to fire and travel faster through our brain.  This results in our ability to do things more naturally, quicker, and seemingly pick up things faster.

Fist off, the reviews that I have read say that he forgets to address one particular aspect of “talent” that in some fields is absolutely required: creativity. The ability to think outside the box.  To develop new pathways and methods of thinking of things and perceiving things.  Most of Coyle’s examples involve sports and music–actions that rely upon muscle memory and repetitive learning to develop.

He says that great artists come from years and years and years of practice and contemplation: “deep learning”, or the act of breaking things down and isolating the components, addressing our errors, and then repeating.  Slowly.  For artists, that means doing your art over and over and over and over…  Building the insulation around those synapses and getting better at doing our art.  Moving to the next step constantly, without pause to celebrate the previous step’s accomplishment.  Driven by our own motivation and guided by others’ coaching.

Coyle, of course, isn’t so simplistic.  I’m mangling his idea by oversimplifying it and leaving out substantial parts of his perspective that explain his idea in more detail.

It’s an interesting thought.  Diligence is everything.  Mistakes are required, and should be sought not avoided by constantly overreaching bit by bit once each aspect is acquired.

I guess one shouldn’t ask how one creates a success, but why we don’t honor the process of analyzing our failures.  It’s not what we’re doing right, it’s what we’re doing wrong that needs our attention.  Success will come.  Practice makes perfect.  Literally.