The Obstacle Will Be the Way

So I need to remind myself.

Over and Over Again.

It is always something. And this blog had to be put to the side for a little bit. It was also a lesson/reminder to make time to Do the Work. I was keeping up with my notebooks. But not really assembling any of those notes into some actual “product”.

I found this quote.

“Life is trying things to see if they work.” – Ray Bradbury

There were and still are some challenges in my life that I need to deal with. I will spare the details. But there is no way to use any form of technology without swearing at it.

I keep going back to read sections of the book The Obstacle is the Way by Ryan Holiday. It is good to have a personal library in my reach.

And it brings yet another Ray Bradbury quote.

“A college cannot educate you; a library can educate you. You go to a library to find yourself. You pull the books off the shelves, you open them, and you see yourself there. And you say, “I’ll be goddamned, there I am.”

The part of summer I like is being able to sit in the yard and feel the grass on my bare feet.

I was trying to read Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman and for reasons I can’t understand. I kept getting interrupted. I mean more the usual amount. So I will be going back at this book at a later time. I do like my mythological tales when it comes to reading. And with my movie watching. But there comes a time when I have to draw from the experiences of others. And find a book for that.

So, I went through my shelves and pulled out D-Day June 6,1944: The Climatic Battle of World War II by Stephen Ambrose. I am not comparing my present-day challenges to those actual men who landed at the shores of Normandy. The book for me is about ordinary people taking on an extraordinary situation. How they took on challenges that time where there was no guarantee of success. It is the story about how all the planning that went into that day was altered quickly once the gunfire started. How the Allied Forces were able “to face and surpass” the challenges. I wish History was taught like this in terms of a narrative. And as something to learn from. It was a lot more than just date in time.

And I am now on to reading the new Chuck Klosterman book Raised in Captivity: Fictional Nonfiction. His writing always seems to make my brain work in a new way. And that is a challenge I need to take for myself.

When dealing with “obstacles” I need to return to the books and writers that make me think. And spark my imaginations. And to stay away from the reading sources that are nothing but rhetoric and cliche. They are just “static noise”.

I was thinking about a song to link to for an ending here. And I started to think about the differences and similarities of “mythological heroes” and “ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances”. I came up with two titles.

John Williams, The Superman Theme

Emerson, Lake and Palmer, Fanfare for the Common Man

Element /(ary)

I am not sure who said this quote first. “If you want to make God Laugh, then tell him your plans.” And I sure do have Him “bellyaching”.

And it was not my Intention to go over a month without posting. Things happened. Details will be spared.

Before I get into this post. I am going to share and two unexpected finds that I have had repeated listening of. 

Humble the Poet on the James Altucher podcast. I had never heard of this guest so I went into without knowledge or expectation. His book “Unlearned” is refreshing voice to get into. For me it is similar in ways to the book “The Daily Stoic: 366 Daily Meditiations for Clarity, Effectiveness, and Serenity” by Ryan Holiday. (It is an almost daily read for me.)

WWE wrestler Becky Lynch on Brian Koppleman’s The Moment podcast. I am not a regular watcher of wrestling anymore. But the story told here of her journey is something that should be heard. And why you should be Authentic to Yourself.

I am starting looking at elements of my daily surroundings. And seeing if I can reduce them in some way to their basic elements. I kept breaking them down to water and oxygen.

I am going to start with water. Or being in the realm of my own Creative Flow State.

This quote from Bruce Lee is becoming an almost daily mantra for me.

“You must be shapeless, formless, like water.When you pour water in a cup, it becomes the cup. When you pour water in a bottle, it becomes the bottle. When you pour water in a teapot, it becomes the teapot.          Water can drip and it can crash.

Become like water my friend.”

The parts of the speech from the late David Foster Wallace used in the video This is Water.

Writer Neil Gaiman’s Commencement speech.

For me it is all about rediscovering that Flow of Energy that puts me closer into a Better State of Action to do My Creative Work.

Another Note. 2 Books I am Reading and Rereading for: My Own Process.

An Audience of One: Reclaiming Creativity for Its Own Sake by Srinivas Rao with Robin Dellabough

Start with Why by Simon Sinek

The other element is Oxygen. I have read this idea or decree from many sources. “If you don’t put on your own oxygen mask first, then you can’t help anyone else.”

Humble the Poet reminds us Putting Yourself First is Not Selfish

I have been looking at my existence in various of life’s situations. And I wonder if my presence there is giving me oxygen. In other words, are my creative efforts being seen. And what I can do. Is that able to give oxygen to others?

I ask myself, “Am I only showing up there, just to be seen? And not really heard.” Why waste the “oxygen”? It is not personal for me anymore but more of an act of energy conservation. Not to mention the cost of gas for my truck.

It is coming down to this for me now. I need to be Present First with Myself.

Am I going to have Oxygen there?

And does it Keep My Flow State in Motion?

Closing music that comes to mind as I close up this post. Usually I can only think of one song. But this is what came flowing out of my audio spicket.

Disconnect –The Rollins Band

Merchandise – Fugazi

Sabbath Bloody Sabbath – Black Sabbath

Assumption, Apprehension, Surmise, Presumption

I don’t write immediate reviews of the books, movies, music and whatever else personally. I am a bit envious of the people who can. And have to ask how they avoid the constant interruptions of people when you do try to be more “expedient”? The real reason is I think my thoughts need more time to digest for myself. And I am going to delude myself into thinking that all my ideas are the result of my own notion of “genius thinking”. (MEMO – Stay away as much as possible from people who do think they are “genius”.)

I also wonder how after a TV Show or Movie is shown for the first time that people can post explanations of the show and show all the hidden “Easter eggs” within hour of seeing it.

I did not see John Wick when it first came out. I looked at the title and I was a bit underwhelmed with it. I had no expectations other that this will probably go to the DVD bargain bin pretty quickly. AND I WAS SO WRONG. I just saw Part 3. And all I have to say for now that there is still a strong story to tell around this character. I can’t wait for Part 4. Which is something you never hear around a movie trilogy. I still don’t know how they pump out movies in The Fast and the Furious franchise. I only saw the first one last year because I wanted to see what I may have missed with all the hype. As a starting point for a franchise, I do not know how they continued from there. But they seemed to have found a way. Good for them. It is just not my thing.

Enjoy movies but beware of going in expectations.

Speaking of expectations. Two fan bases that have a bitter love/hate relation with the art they are always consuming. Metallica and Game of Thrones fans. (And let’s not even get into with the Star Wars crowd.)

Please remember Game of Thrones was not the first to give a WTF ending.

And here they both are in one mash-up video.

The Sopranos did one of the best endings ever to a show. I remember watching a friend at the time watching and then blowing close to aneurysm over it. How could they do this to him? Someone should have been whacked at that moment. That was his expectation.

However, now more than ever we live in the era of Keyboard Crusaders who have opinions over everything. And are pretty much for the most part unhappy about almost everything.

I have noticed more often than not the people who are Hyper-Critical on most things are the last people who are willing to actually do any effort to make the change. I use to try to brainstorm ideas with other people. All I used to get was a reply that “I was not making any sense.” That might be true. But THEN they would tell me what I should be writing and how. So instead of me being a writer I was so supposed their secretary. I am not saying I always right with my ideas. In fact, whenever I write something about 40-60% of them never survive past my brainstorming or I have to edit them into something else. But as I listened to their ideas which they felt so High About, all I could think was that they were not very good. And going in a different direction that was not very useful or helpful. The Lesson: I Had To Protect My Time and Space. And Be Careful to Where and With Whom Get My Energy.

Maybe Burger King ruined people by saying, “You Can Have It Your Way”. But as I get older, I begin to be more sympathetic with Michael Douglass in Falling Downwho was also have the same existential crisis over the burger. But I did work in retail and I know customers intend to be a self-absorbed idiots.

As for the final season of Game of Thrones, I think I will have to go back and re-watch the season. It is a matter once again of stepping back and digesting my own thoughts and opinions. I will admit that it seemed different. I did read the books but after Season 5 the show had to be done with no actually source material from the books. And writing for a book and writing for TV/Movies is actually different.

This was so far the better explanation of the last season in terms of writing.

https://www.wired.com/story/game-of-thrones-plotters-vs-pantsers/

The other problem I have with a lot of criticism is there is at times too much of Mob Mentality. It is either Too Much Praise or Too Much Virtual. And I don’t even want to get into The Team Blood Sport when people mix in their political slants into the criticism on an art form. Because most of the time reading them when that happens, all I can say is “Really?” The effort of the artists regardless of the medium really has nothing to do with you.

Funny, I keep getting back to Theodore Roosevelt’s “Man in the Arena” Speech. Could you imagine him delivering the same message today to the Keyboard Crusaders? I so wish he could.

And I was researching I came into this quote.

“Expectation is the root of all evil”

–Shakespeare

And as I was writing this quote showed up on Instagram Feed.

“It is easy to criticize and break down the spirits of others, but to know yourself takes a lifetime.”

– Bruce Lee-

And with that, I have to go work on the next thing for myself. And the other unexpected inconvienances that are happen at this moment.

I really need to hire an assitant. Or figure how to maybe get an intern for a better cost savings.

Closing Song “Mob Rules” – Black Sabbath (Heaven and Hell Line Up)

It is Always a Conundrum

Found this quote in the midst of my daily reading.

“Don’t let your struggle become your identity” – (Source unknown)

conundrum5

As I do my daily effort of trying to live a Creative Life, I realize that it will be a puzzle. One that I never fully solve. I just need to show up more for it. Embrace the Conundrum.

I came across a TED Talk on “On Puzzle Hunts”

The next part of the thoughts in my head came from two different people.

“When someone is properly grounded in life, they shouldn’t have to look outside themselves for approval.”

  •                                     Epictetus

 

I am not looking for approval. However, I am looking for engagement. It would be nice to have a conversation that is not just a one-sided one in my own head. But reading social media postings have made me weary that such a conversation is possible. No one seems to be to “give and take”. Many people seem to be “doubling down” on their position.

It would be nice to have some extra eyeballs to look at my process. And sometimes extra hands to help pitch in would be nice. Or someone to split the driving with on a road trip to explore a place unknown.

Rollins-Quote-Destroy-You-1024x1016

This goes along with a quote from James Altucher, “Explaining is draining.”

I hate talking with people and the conversation seems more about gossiping. Also, nothing is more draining than to listen to people who are hypercritical of practically everything. They know how it should be done. However, they never show up to help with “the work” aspects. It is what I learned in the book The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron. Eliminate the Crazymakers as much as possible. (And I have to be honest I had to see the same tendencies within myself. And serve up a slice of “Humble Pie” for myself to chew on. And just continue to be a “Work in Progress”.) I am not going to get on soapbox and say who did what. It is just best to let some distance happen.

 

What goes. Goes. What stays. Stays.

 

But I also need to very much get out of my own Echo Chamber with My own Creatives.

 

 

Some final points that came as I was writing this post.

Mentorless.com (another must read site for myself) posted Art and Money. And I know how much a source of tension these two have with each other.

As I was searching for a photo to use. I came across this Futurama clip. And I want to remind people keep searching when you are curious about something.

 

 

Closing Song: UFO Gettin’ Ready (This week song was about the lyrics)

This Week’s Listening

It is always the “unforeseen” that mucks up the plan. In this case, this week’s posting that should’ve been last week’s posting. But as I was editing my notes for it, I really had two separate Main Ideas that didn’t gel as a single posting.

podcast icon

Four Podcasts to recommend

The first two, I have listened to a few times.

Tim Ferriss interviewing Adam Savage (Mythbusters). The big takeaway is to just keep practicing various skills and with time you can become a better Creative. Don’t worry about Perfection. (Another lesson in Wabi-Sabi) And I found this quote from the late Anthony Bourdain. “Skills can be taught. Character you either have it or you don’t.” And once again another related reading from Brainpickings.org about how photographer Edward Weston on the value having of cross-disciplinary curiosities

Marc Maron interviewing Brene Brown. Her writings having been a part of my reading over the last year. And Marc is one the best conversationalist to listen to.

The maker’s behind Welcome to Night Vale have started a new podcast called Start With This. It is about finding ideas and executing them. I rather take leads from people who are actually doing the creative work then from lectures who are spouting from their own echo chamber.

Wolverine: The Long Night. I like storytelling. And it helps to keep my mind off the clock at work. Plus, I am interested in how a comic book character translate into an audio drama.

And Please

Any Recommendations for fictional storytelling podcasts would be appreciated

 

And My own High Fidelity continued again with these three songs.

I pace about my day with my earbuds in. And then for reasons unknown the lyrics hit. Even though I have been hearing the songs over and over for a long time.

Barracuda by Heart. “If the real thing don’t do the trick.

You better make up something quick.”

Armor and Sword by Rush. “Our better natures seek elevation
A refuge for the coming night
No one gets to their heaven without a fight”

The Show Must Go On by Queen. “Empty spaces – what are we living for?
Abandoned places – I guess we know the score”

 

And now I have to go and edit my notes again for the next post.

RE/Connecting

(Or do I need to be thinking about reconfiguring what is with my work)

 

Here are two other sites where I am posting my work.

(Click the Icons for the links)

new-instagram-logo

 

This is for my almost “daily” artwork postings.

 

l62697-new-twitter-logo-49466 I have not been as active on this lately. I found the platform polluted with too much “political outrage” over the last few years. But I am slowly returning to it. The character limitations are a good way to practice my editing skills. It is just time to rethink my approach to this site. And my expectations.

 

If you like what you please click to follow me on those sites.

 

The-Reconnection_Image 2

 

Now on to what has been influencing me over the last week or so.

I have been on some sort of High Fidelity kick for a bit. (By the way the title is both a good book and a movie) I have been doing some deep thinking over some of the music I have been listening to. And musically, I am like a squirrel lately. I am all over the place. And may end up being run over by a car. In a metaphorically sense.

Two Songs I have been replaying quite frequently.

“Rise” by Public Image LTD. Listening and watching John Lydon singing this song now makes me think about how the words and meaning working together changes over time. As a younger man questioning things with the lyrics “I could be wrong, I could be right”. But the same man with more age to him those lyrics sound like those of a person accepting things for what they are.

As another lyric line goes….. “May the road rise with you”

And then to “Anger is energy.”

I am not sure if I want to focus on that. But when it comes to anger for me it manifests itself as “Resistance”. The idea of this form of resistance comes from The War of Art by Steven Pressfield. And here is a bunch of quotes from that book.

The Second Song is “Come as You Are” by Nirvana. To me this is a song to remind myself to “just try to be in the present” given the situation. Also, the “Unplugged” album I have been listening over and over because the songs to me seem to have an underlying narrative that connects. What I think that is. Is still a mystery to me. But I will keep listening until I think “I cracked the code”.

 

The Tim Ferriss Podcast recently had another episode with Amanda Palmer. And that lead me to rereading this Brain Picking article about her TED talk and book The Art of Asking: or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Let People Help.

We all need help. And we have to help too. But in this current political climate, I am not sure if either is sign is truly asking for real pragmatic action. Though there is a lot of demands coming from “top of whoever’s soapbox”.

But I know for the most part. Regardless of the Noise Volume. No one is really listening anymore at this moment.

I am going to stop here before I go into a tangent on this idea.

 

And back to Brain Pickings with this one from Oliver Sacks.

 

And finally, I do need my “Reminders and Recharging” Books.

Austin Kleon just recently released Keep Going.( I have read through 3X’s. )

 

 

Starting Off

As I work on trying to figure out the format and layout of the blog. I still have to get things out. Waiting for perfection is a trap that catches me. And way too often. Right now, the posts are the main drive. And I work from there.

Here are two quotes that I found this week.

“It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.”

  • Henry David Thoreau

“Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.”

  • Theodore Roosevelt

About my resetting. Or how I try to set my day each morning.

Morning Pages. But they have not been easy during the winter months. Getting up early is hard in the pitch-black morning. The furnace running signals to me that the bed is a comfortable place to be.  But each morning is a chance to go again. I try to do 3 pages but I am content with a page for the moment. I modified this exercise by keeping my notebook nearby during the day. I try to make a list of my ideas throughout the day. Along with anything that catches my attention like quotes, songs, articles, etc.

  • I do not turn on the news in the morning. Unless I need a weather or traffic update before work. Most of the news is about things that I can’t control anyways. And why would I need that daily reminder? And maybe you stop with the news too.

Also, I check out BrainPickings for a morning read. I may print out the article to read on break. It is a good site for curated reading of the works from people of the past. I find more insight and wisdom in reading that has been digested over time. Daily Current News articles I am finding are more about “inciting fear”. And by the way, both and all sides are fully guilty.

  • Music is a better way to help make the coffee work in the morning. I stream WFMU’s “Wake-N-Bake”. (From 6:15AM to 7AM) It is an eclectic blend of music.(Just take a look at the playlists on the website) And very different from what I listen to throughout the day. New and different music in the morning helps me to start to tune in with my thoughts for the day ahead. And not be bogged down the same music over and over again. (It is why I hate most of my local music stations.)

ReStarting Here

restart

“All of our days are numbered. We cannot afford to be idle. To act on a bad idea is better than to not act at all because the worth of the idea never becomes apparent until you do it. Sometimes this idea can be the smallest thing in the world; a little flame that you hunch over and cup with your hand and pray will not be extinguished by all the storm that howls about it. If you can hold on to that flame, great things can be constructed around it; things that are massive and powerful and world changing. All held up by the tiniest of ideas.”

Nick Cave, 20,000 Days on Earth (2014)

I read Outer Order / Inner Calm by Gretchen Rubin. It is about decluttering your life and reorganizing your life to fit your needs. I realized that I had a lot of ideas on paper, various projects in various stages, lots of questions, along with a lot of things that I find interesting. All of it. Is just clutter. It is time for me to start dealing with it.

So, as I work to reinvent myself through various “creative methods” across different platforms. I realize that I need a format to do at least a once a week check in with.

In order to….

Get my ideas out there.

Ask the questions I have.

Share lessons I have learned.

Show more of my work.

And to remind myself.

(Process > Product) / Time

If you are reading this blog, you might find something useful. Or you might be able to share something from your own process or experience.

As for my Blog Title Name here.

It is about what I am Putting Out and Showing (the Skin).

And the “Ups and Downs” of the Process (the Bruises).