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I have remained employed  through the last  year and a half of what I refer to the “Abbey Normal” . But I have been pretty much on my own at work due to social distancing. I am by myself in a 10,ooo square foot room to do my work. But the work load has been very low most days. So I try to keep myself amused. 

Social media is a gift and a curse. I am posting mainly to keep my mind active during the day. Can I find something amusing? Can I possibly write something amusing or interesting to go with it? I just need to keep going. I have to amuse myself. And I post just to get these various ideas out there.

I want to learn new things daily. Explore my own curiosities. Channel surf. Example. I need at times music playing in the background as I attempt to take my notes and with “Some Assembly Required” make them into a blog posting. (Which lately I fell out of habit with doing. ) And the song by the band Missing Persons – Destination Unknown for me was the right song on my feelings of curiosity. And came to find out the singer performed on Frank Zappa  albums. It is a detail like this that puts me into “The Wormhole”.

There are two books I have been slowly reading the last few weeks. For me. They are about how can I take a.different approach or have a different outlook on my various creative endeavors.

In a world of rules and regulations about what should be created and how. This book is a reminder that you can remember how you started being creative before you came into contact with the “systems”. I have to give credit to where I found out about this book.

https://austinkleon.com/2020/12/19/lynda-barrys-what-it-is/

https://austinkleon.com/2021/08/03/rob-walker-on-curiosity/

And this lead to me reading his weekly newsletters.

https://robwalker.substack.com/

I try to read more these days the articles that inform me. Rather than the ones that are designed to outrage. Those ones are way to easy to find.

I rather want to Stay Curious. 

Explore. Discover. Create.

My laptop computer is down. And this post was written using the WordPress app  on my Kindle.It is just another tool and I have to adjust to its nuances. So Yes. Additional swearing was involved.

And I have quite a few notepad pages to go through and assemble future postings. 

Per Cogitandi

…..Overthinking

Nimis cogitantione

…..Too much thinking

Non satis actio

…..Not enough action

I am not sure why from time to time. I have to take certain words and phrases. And then type them into an online translator to convert them into Latin. I have never taken Latin in my life. Yet, for some reason I find the language intriguing. Am I trying to learn something? Or am I faking some degree of implied wisdom?

Like everyone this last year. Time and Space went to war with each in other. Everyone’s head went spinning. And without direction.

I had intentions of tackling a whole bunch of projects. And they paved a way to my own Hell. That I will spare spelling out the details. Because they are just another way for Spinning Out. Not solving anything either

Behind this door is way too much clutter. Piles of books. DVD’s. CD’s. Etc.

Notebooks. Note Pads. Index Cards.

Pieces of projects that are still Requiring Some Assembly.

I really wish I could finance having an assistant. Or as Neil would sing.

With all of my collective clutter of Works in Process Struggling to Make It to Progress.

I raised by own Audrey Jr. And I became its Seymour. (Hopefully, you get this reference)

It is like this post. I start making notes for it a few weeks ago. And I kept adding to them. But then when I started to actually type out this post. Then came the Interruptions. The Distraction. They were Everywhere. But when I had the notepad out. They were gone. And to keep my moment of peace. I kept feeding the ideas on to the paper. And later as I reviewed them. I have to accept the Ideas where everywhere and going nowhere. And quite a few ideas got broken up and placed on other blank pages for future consideration.

Lou Reed’s 2003 album The Raven. The songs are based on the writings of Edgar Allan Poe. Talk about being a writer with a cursed existence. However, I have been meditating to the last song on the album. Guardian Angel.

Reminding myself. Everyone’s Creative Process gets messy and ugly at times.

Curb the Over Thinking.

The Point to Keep in Mind. Is this….

“I Don’t Know” and…

That is my Starting Point

In my experience, responding to any situation with the phrase “I don’t know” is the equivalent a lighting the fuse on a stick of dynamite. It is a nice way to spark anger and start an argument. Why am I responsible for having the answers other people do not even know themselves? Beware of anyone who entitles themselves an expert. I am not an expert. Yet I have some knowledge of things. I have questions.

It took me a long time to make peace with the idea of “I don’t know”. Why bullshit a false answer? It is better to admit to my own Knowledge Gap. And seek to find an answer or a new and different Possibility. Marcus Aurelius’ stating “The Obstacle is the Way” has become my internal mantra. The last year has proven this to be true. At least for myself.

If you hide your ignorance, no one will hit you                              and you’ll never learn.

            Ray Bradbury

The year that was and the year ahead of me is one of Reworking My Own Process. My own Education. It is more about My Own Process. Real education is about process and not a final product. I need to be more in the library and the workshop of my own making. And avoiding the bureaucracy of learning via the Established System. I do not need to fund Gate Keepers and such to let them tell me how I should be running my process. Though, I am still seeking those willing to take on the role of a Mentor. A fellow Wanderer. Or two. Makers. Builders. Dreamers. Inquiring Minds. It is about taking Direction without being hung up with making specific Destinations.

                        I am always doing that which I cannot do,                              in order that I may learn how to do it.

                                                Pablo Picasso

I became a fan of the show Brojects. It is a show about two brothers who commit to building projects around their cottage. And they are not professional builders. The projects really embrace the idea of Trial and Error.  

I relate this show to a quote from Nick Cave.

“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.” (from the film, 20,000 Days on Earth)

The picture here is a cut from a 70-year-old maple tree that used to be in mom’s backyard. Last fall, as I was cleaning up what was left of the tree. There was this piece and I thought maybe I could make an outdoor table out of it.

How?

I DON’T KNOW.

Right now, I am just working on stripping the bark off. And it has been a very slow process that still has a way to go.

After that is done. What is my next step?

I don’t know.

Yet. Maybe?

This is my Daily Meditation. Something to take a break to focus on.

It is just the time for me to just Make. Do. And just Move about. Rethink and remake my own Workshop Space. And once again. Just Do. Turn on My Music and Tune Out as much of my distractions as possible. Mistakes will be made. But that is what duct tape is for. Why the pencil has an eraser attached to it. And in more extreme moments. Band Aids.

As Chase Jarvis posted “Make It Til You Make it”.

And Maria Forleo’s saying that Everything is “Figureoutable”.

                          The chief enemy of creativity is ‘good” sense

                                                -Pablo Picasso

From Out of the Rabbit Hole… What am I Hearing?

It is the time of Strange Days that seem to continue with no end in sight. Everyone wants a Guarantee of Safe Return to Normal. And how is there going to be one?

People want to known. And want to avoid curiosity. Curiosity is asking questions. That can be a bit dangerous in this climate. Right now, no one is listening to anything out sign of their own echo chamber.

I am only here to state my own Case for Curiosity as relief to these current events.

I have been trying hard to eliminate as much as possible the News that I expose myself to on a daily basis. And I do not start my mornings off with exposure to it. Somedays, it is just to catch a Weather Report. Which can bring about an aggravation all of its own.

During the work week, every morning I start prepping my breakfast and lunch for work. And getting my Creative Work Load of books and notepads into my backpack. I am not a morning person and I need to wake up and get the brain cells firing up. Local radio is for the most part repetitive music that I can tune out into the background. Don’t get me wrong. I do like AC/DC, Queen, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd and Metallica. But do I really need to hear Back in Black, Bohemian Rhapsody, Stairway to Heaven, Money or Enter Sandman again? And I do like these songs. In order counter this dilemma I stream WFMU’s Wake and Bake Morning Show hosted Clay Pigeon. It is an eclectic blend of music that is all over the place. Going into a Sonic Rabbit Hole with music does wonders to help with the waking up process. The Mental Exposure to Wake up. Along with the 2 Mug Fills of Black Coffee.

And then it is off for my morning commute. I have to take Route 33 (aka The Kensington) into the downtown Buffalo area. This road is basically how to quickly get from the airport located in the eastern suburb of Buffalo to get into downtown Buffalo. It is not a road for the timid driver. It is a road where the speed limit “unofficially” seems to be set by a Secret Division of NASCAR. It may be posted at 55 MPH but it goes about 65-72 MPH. And there at times that it has the driving etiquette of a Mad Max movie. I keep pace drinking my coffee and more music. This time I tune into Buffalo State College’s 91.3 FM. I am not trying to relive or reconnect on some level to my past college days. It is that once again the music playing on the station is different. I have to Tune In mentally rather than being Tuned Out with the same routine music.

I channel surf the radio when I am on longer drives. I also keep a notepad on the passenger seat to mark down stations and times when I hear a song that catches my ear. Most stations these days keep a playlist on their websites. I do my own research about what I experienced. I also use the pad to mark down landmarks or whatever I may notice during my traveling about. As I am getting older, the idea of “I will remember later” has become more of myth than a reality. And I should act accordingly. And I Write it down.

An example of this. One morning I heard a song that really made my ears perk up. I looked down at the radio I thought I was on 91.3FM but I had surfed into 91.1 FM the Jazz station out of Toronto. I am not a Deep Diver when it comes to Jazz music. I have some John Coltrane and Mile Davis CD’s and that is about it. But I did my research later that day. And determined the song was Rose Rouge by St Germain. Never heard of them but the song got my attention. And I downloaded their album Tourist. This is no where close to what I listen to on a normal day. I find this album to have a meditative quality for myself. It is different. It works for me. This is good.

Some late nights I have been listening to Gustav Holtz’s The Planet.

And The Best Radio You Never Heard podcast is another way I break out my normal music listening routine.

My Suggestion for you.

Take sometime for yourself and channel surf. Explore. It will not hurt you.

Analog Re- Setting

“Research your own experience for the truth…

Absorb what is useful…

Add what is specifically your own…

The creating individual is more than any style or system.”

– Bruce Lee

A year ago, I was doing my own self review. And what I needed to change up for myself in the months that were ahead. I wanted a more Analog Existence. Do more actual live events. Concerts. Museums. Places. And do actually Experiences. But then IT struck. And I do not want to say its actual name anymore. Because I hear that name almost 100 times a day now.

Due to social distancing with its requirements. And places with reduced occupancy. The upcoming Winter months. I am going to be pretty much on my own until March/April. So I had better make peace with it. Or at least try to get better dealing with it. Especially, towards my own works.

I really have to do better at getting away from the screentime. And accept the irony that my work needs a computer to get posted at some point. In a way, it reminds me of the “cut the cord on the detonator” scene in action movies playing metaphorically in life.

I am Trying and Re-Trying to implement habits that get my existence into more of An Analog Setting. I bought a Journal. This is something I can take with me and leave the laptop or tablet behind. The purpose is to work out ideas for other projects I that I want to try out to see if I can make them work.

The quote I found that I wrote on the first page for myself.

It is helping me to generate ideas. But I am not going to show those pages here. I learned along time ago, until the first draft that ideas get a lot of criticism. Most the criticism is draining rather than constructive. And part of rediscovering my own process is to align with what works for me.

The other Daily Reminder to Myself is to Walk.

Turn off the phone. Take out the ear buds.

Walk. Observe. Listen. And Keep Walking.

“It is only ideas gained from walking that have any worth”

– Friedrich Nietzsche

In a social hypermedia world, doing this is, is a rebellious act.

Pause (D)

NOTE: On My Instagram Page, I usually do not write anything to go along with any “art” I make. I only do that with the camera photos I take. But with this one it was different.

I have been out of synch with routinely doing my Creative Works.

Back in March, with the Quarantine announced. I did not get any time off from my job becuase I work for what is deemed to be an “essential business.” (And I am not going to say which one. But it is not health care related) The work flow at the job dropped considerably. (But given things now. I have a job).

Time on daily basis became more of an abstract for me. So plenty of time. Right?

I bought Extra Art Supplies to fill the time since pretty much everything else was shut down. I was going to experiment with new ideas of working with my own personal artistic work

.What happened?

Nothing.

I somehow hit the Middle Button. And I did it to myself.

As Daily Life became ever changing moment on what the answers were and the actions need to get through this time. And being an Election Year the Volume on Everything got Amped Up. Vasts amounts of Noise.

With the Powers That Are changing where the finish line is and extended the tunnel as not to be able to see the light of the virus. I call the “Abbey Normal”.

I needed to Escape All of It. But I did not. To keep myself amused during the Slow Work Day. As I work in a now Socially Distant work space. Approximately, 100K square feet to myself for the day. I got addicted to Facebook postings. And For Better (Most likely Worse) Facebook just became a way to keep my brain firing with something.

So My Art Time suffered because I let myself get caught up with too much noise about a situation that I can do very little to fix.

There were many days I just stared at the blank piece of paper in front of me. I would take the crayons make a few passes on the paper. Stare back at that piece of paper. And Just Crumple It Up. My Free Throw Game at the Recycle Bin did not improve. But I was making more attempts. At least in Throws.

Finally, got One Art Piece to work out for me.

Because as a now work and create on my own. (For the most part) The problem was (and still is) that I am judging My Work before it is ever finished. I have to remind myself that the Process > Product. Now, More than ever.

I Am Stuck With Myself. And I had Better Make Peace with that.

I have to Stop Myself from Getting Caught Up with the notions of What is Quantity and What is Quality with my Creative Self. Because it makes me sound like a politician. That’s the last person I need!

Recalibrating

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It is hard to believe that I spent this much time away from doing my work with this blog. The 2 week Quarantine is now over 6 months long. The Quarantine seems to be a Hodge Podge of Abrttary Rules and Fragments of Information. I will leave at this.

“Knowledge speaks, but wisdom listens” – Jimi Hendrix

I learned the lesson that I have to put my own “oxygen mask” on myself first. And I did not do such a good job with that for the last few months. I was and I am still writing on an almost daily method. I have lots of ideas on several notepads. However, my daily structure of work also got infected by Hodge Podge Methods. The lesson is that ideas without a specific way measure to measure them is not a course that inspires Action. In order to spark my own momentum I have to reestablish my own Specific Routines.

I do have a lot to say and write as I review my notepads.

I am in the process of reconfiguring them into more manageable form. Even if the environment and society around me seems far off course in trying to do that. And the 2020 Election Noise is not helping. So why look for it to help even?

I just want you to know. I am here. I am working. Again.

There is the song “Blown Wide Open” by Big Wreck has become my current theme song. And for meditation in these days.

F=ma , And I Made Art With It

(Or least in my view something that perceived to be art.)

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The following post is an idea I had last year. And I did not like how it was coming together. I put it aside. It got lost in my files of notes.

Researching items and services on the Net. A lot of noise is readily available. Customer Reviews are pretty much hack and cliché writing. Along with being divided. It is the greatest thing (5 stars) or it pretty much sucks (1 star). Does anyone know the concept of “Ebbs and flows”? There is the compromise of the “middle ground”. Nothing is perfect. But some parts do function. There is the concept of Wabi-Sabi. The Japanese atheistic view that the world is “imperfect”. And yet still is able in some way to be functional.

undefined It seems to be a “broken world”. But there is a chance for repair. The Japanese concept of Kintsugi (“golden repair). They would take broken pottery and fill the cracks with gold, silver or platinum. it treats breakage and repair as part of the history of an object, rather than something to disguise. This what history is. It is the Good. It is the Bad. And trying to amp up one side and deny the existence of either. It is a Fool’s Game.

It is these concepts that lead me to try something different for my

Instagram Art Project.

Searching my book shelves trying to find a certain title. Came across the book “Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff…and it’s all small stuff” by Richard Carlson (1997). I forgot I even had it. And I don’t even remember how I came to have it either. So, over the next few mornings I would skip around and through the various chapters. Chapter 53 really stuck with me that I kept rereading.

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undefinedThis mug was on a shelf. I colored out the organization’s name because what I want to do here is not meant to be a slight to them. The place I got this one from has been part of me for close to 40 years.

I get a mug from them almost every year. Plus, out of them. This one had the color I wanted to use. So, I whacked it with a hammer. And then I set about trying to reassemble it back together. I wanted make a reminder for myself. That things and people have their time and place. But time is going to change two things. It is what time is good at doing.

And at a consistent rate on top of it. History. Good. And Bad. undefined

Ending up “Humpty Dumpty-ing” it.

Less than 30 seconds to make the pieces. And about two weeks to glue as many of them that I could glue back together again.

The pieces would not go back perfectly. Even after trying to grind a few to get them to fit.

A lesson in Unintended Consequences. My original plan vs what happened. Along with me lower quality of mathematical abilities. My “calculations” were very “off”. My imagination for how this was supposed to go vs. the reality of my best of intentions.

Gorilla Glue is a messy “medium” to work with. It does have strength. It does bond. But it is inconsistent and imperfect in doing so. A bit of Wabi-Sabi came to play. In the end, I couldn’t fit all the pieces. Had to surrender the effort. Maybe the empty spaces are those things that need to forgotten. Or maybe it is for the idea to clear space for new things to fit.

undefinedThe Mug with all of its imperfections is back on the shelf. The place and the organization are still going to be there for me. It is what is was. But time is changing what it is in the moment. That is the cycle. I know my view may not be completely shared by those who were and are there now.

Everyone, got their own “Mug”. But everyone views and interacts with it with their own internal process.

Good. Bad. Complete. Incomplete.

History.

Imperfect.

Yet still functioning.

Still evolving.

With and against time.

As it always will. And none of us are the Center of the Universe.

The Resolutions Paradox

It has been a very long time since I posted. The last few months, I have many setbacks and other issues. And being a “party of one” I was strectched to almost have a full force meltdown. I had plans and I had goals.

I fell short but with a solid landing on my face. Metaphorically.

Plus, I hate this time of year when everyone seems to be publishing there Year in Review Top 10 picks. They just remind me of how much I seem to be behind and off course.

“If there is no struggle, there is no progress”

– Frederick Douglass

I know everyone starts a new year off with a bunch of resolutions. There is a lot of energy for them. But it is very easy to slip on a clean slate because there is no real traction to start. So I am taking a slower and steadier pace for myself this year when it comes to make such personal proclamations for myself. It is more of a process of getting back in touch and in tume with my Creative Nature.

So I am researching my own experiences and trying to see what is out there that can help me.

This are a few things I have found. So far. But I have to be cautious of how far I go into the rabbit hole that I created here.

The Accidental Creative podcast episode that has Four Questions to start with. (And there is a downloadable worksheet available)

Tim Ferriss recommends you do a personal review of yourself instead of resolutions

Gretchin Rubin has Six Questions to Ask and 13 Tips for Keeping Resolutions

So I am working myself through all of these and more. And I have to keep an ongoing reminder to myself on the Value of Process. And this is on my wall at home.

And with all of these a very important point to keep for myself also.

And I also have a daily habit of rereading a passage from an Austin Kleon book or a Ryan Holiday book.

Plus, as I was assembling my thoughts for this post on my notepad I remembered this story of the late Gene Roddenberry

SO! I Let Myself Slip

There are two movies that I re-watched over the last week.

Fight Club because it is about a man at odds with the framework of modern society.

And Almost Famous about a young man trying to find his own voice within the noise of those around them. And this scene still holds for me after all the years.

Somehow, I find myself in this moment somewhere in between those two fictional worlds.

Don’t lie about it. You made a mistake. Admit it and move on. Just don’t do it again. Ever.

                                    Anthony Bourdain.

I let myself get out of daily habit the last couple of months. Especially, with writing to keep this block fresh. I did not make time for the Process. And I let myself listen to bad feedback on my product. I tried to make better plans. And encountered other “hiccups” to happen. So, I have been a bit more “angry and frustrated.” I took this week off from work to catch up on the outdoor housework before the chill sets in. But it has rained every day. The Internet went down at my house but I can’t get a time to fix it until I see what the next week work schedule is. I have been going to the library everyday to use their wi-fi to work with my laptop. I do not like working around people because I have a habit of pacing about when I have Writer’s Block. At the library, I have to sit in place to do the work. A habit that is hard for me to do.

But the Work must get done.

All of humanity’s problems stem from man’s inability to sit quietly in a room alone.

                                    Blaise Pascal.

I found this quote, in the latest book from Ryan Holiday titled Stillness is the Key. And right now, it is the reading I need to do. If only for myself. I don’t know anyone in my life at this moment that is able to or willing to talk about the ideas of Stoic Thinking. When I cannot find the conversation, I can find the book. I also have become quite aware lately of people who will not expend one ounce of energy on a thought outside of their own view. And I do not want to go into politics. It is all Noise Over any substance. It is all theater disguised as action. I recommend watching the Marx’s Brothers’ movie Duck Soup. It still works as satire within regards to our current climate.

Another book that arrived from me last week was Creative Calling by Chase Jarvis. I need to take more from the tips and clues of those people like him who are doing the Work. Lecturers and those who just bang on their podium are never going to be people that will make any notable change.

I also recognized I need to work on myself and for myself. Especially, with my own skill sets. As James Altucher says, Choose Yourself. I bought myself the Creative Pass on CreativeLIve.com.

And once again, over and over I have to remind myself to …Just Do the Work.

Do what you can, with what you have, where you are

                                    Theodore Roosevelt

I have also been reading again the short stories by Ray Bradbury. Many of the stories are about people overcoming dire circumstances. He reminds the reader that mistakes will be made on our journey into the future. And yet we will arrive at that point.

I need to get back into a thought process that is more forward thinking than reactive to the moment.

More Mystery.

Less History. 

Do the Work.

P.S. I have to admit to my shortcomings and what is beyond my current skill set.

I have another website that is in need of reworking but I have no skill at web design. Even with What You See is What You Get Website Editors.

I am looking for help.