The Rule of Thirds

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The Rule of Thirds.

Status: good. feeling great, actually. happy. Didn’t skip the vitamin D regimen on Sunday like I did the previous one, so I wasn’t teetering on the edge of depression like last week Monday. Need to remember not to do that and stick with The Plan.

Writing.

Another very good day of writing yesterday. The ‘up and at ’em’ routine is working better. I’m discovering that my word count for the comic book script is higher than the prose, which is to be expected. Building momentum first thing in the morning positively affects self-esteem and encourages me to move forward, so I’ve found the payoff/incentive I need to sustain this model. I am, however, finding that I’m still fading in the afternoon. I’ll try a quick meditation after lunch to see if that helps. Two other things which stick out:

  1. I’m way happier when I’m writing and I need to spend some time figuring out how I can do this full time, i.e. for a living, without pushing myself into the land of poverty. Because, you know, I like money.
  2. I also need to allow myself some time to daydream – that seems to be the best way for ideas to germinate and to work past the sticking points in the story, and I’ve hit a few of those over the last few weeks. I write and write until I don’t know what happens next and then I have to stop. Which is frustrating, but I think this is part of the creative process, so I need to be patient with it.

Tenant.

Aaaaaaaand they’re back with another list of To Do items. I honestly want to take that nit-picky list, set it on fire, take a piss on it and then return the remains of that list to them. But I won’t do that. The key here is to separate Signal from Noise, so I’ll tackle the legitimate items and then politely decline to address the rest. I’m seriously entertaining the idea of terminating the lease and then placing the unit back on the market. I mean, it would make life a little easier to have an available place to utilise while I make the transition from Here to There. That way I won’t have to source an alternative, and I can focus on upgrading and renovating the unit, which I want to do anyway, without having to disrupt the tenant’s living space.

I’ll mull this over some more.

Nikon D3400
1/100 sec
f/5.6
55mm
ISO 100

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Untroubled Days

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“No untroubled day has ever dawned for me” — Lucius Annaeus Seneca

Status: good. Actually, better than good because it was a stellar weekend. I’m still not drinking, although briefly considered taking the plunge on Saturday night because I went to a steakhouse for dinner and I like a nice glass of red wine as an accompaniment. But, I’m glad I didn’t. Got quite a bit of writing done, plus some photography, plus a little entertainment and bit of reading. All-in-all a very productive weekend and as an upside I’m not feeling all musty and depressed first thing on a Monday morning. I’ll call that a win.

Writing.

Tried an experiment on Saturday with my morning ritual. Got up, meditated and then started writing immediately (versus the “going to the office” process of: shower, eat, make the bed, meditate and then start writing). That really worked for me. Kicked out two usable pages of the comic book script which really set the tone for a productive day. I’ve heard this kicked around a lot on Tim Ferriss’ podcast: Win the morning, win the day. This looks like a truism and I’m going to stick with this for the remainder of the week and see how productive I am.

Quick note about Sunday: spent the afternoon reading and writing at my local Indigo and was able to produce a one page synopsis of another story I’d like to write. The best part about it is: the momentum I’ve built over the weekend has created encouragement and I’m excited about getting this story down on paper. I’m going to call that a win.

Photography.

Note to self: don’t use the auto settings on the camera. Because, (a) you’ve passed by that stage of your photography journey and know how to properly use the manual settings, and (b) the photos are rarely good – they’re either partially out of focus, or the ISO settings are too high (which creates a lot of noise in the photo), or both. The above photo is a prime example of that – so lesson learned.

Food Adventures.

Tried two places over the last two weekends based upon recommendations from other folks – a date and a potential romantic interest. Playa Cabana was great, really enjoyed it and will definitely go there again. Michael’s on Simcoe? Not so much. I’m a huge fan of the steakhouse Jacobs & Co and was told that Michael’s is a much better steakhouse. It wasn’t. I’m not disappointed that I tried it, but at $100 a plate (which was without wine included and is on the lower end of their pricing), I expected better.

Anyway, the box has been ticked, I’ll know not to go there again. Caveat: as I was leaving it was transitioning from restaurant to lounge and loads of people were showing up for drinks and entertainment. Amongst the crowd were loads of cute, single Jewish girls. For that reason alone, I may go back.

Ok, let’s call that a win as well.

Nikon D3400
1/4 sec
f/16
18mm
ISO 100

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Born Again

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Every morning we are born again. What we do today is what matters most.

Status: good. still dragging myself out of bed, but good. Taking a little too much time to get ready to go to the “office”, but at least I’m getting up and putting myself in an optimal position to be productive. I’ll call that a win.

Writing.

Excellent day yesterday. I’m repeating myself, but full credit to a good start to the day which set me up for later success. I need to remind myself of this every time I don’t feel like going through the morning ritual and just want to lounge around reading and drinking coffee when I first get up. Churned out three solid, usable pages of the comic book script which I think is a reasonable expectation for someone who is just at the beginning stages of learning how to do this. Production varies wildly, but the fastest writers will produce five pages per day, or about four books per month. The slowest will be one page per day, or one book per month. I’m going to call this a win.

On that note, I appreciate that not every day will be like this. Creating art can be frustrating and disappointing, but days like yesterday confirm what I’ve always suspected: I love writing. I just love the whole process and it’s what I really want to with the rest of my life.

Opportunity.

That said, I will need to detour slightly while I work on establishing myself. The call yesterday with my network contact went well. They have an open position available, but there are a few hurdles to clear. It’s multi-jurisdictional, which is attractive to me. The organisation is good, and I know some of the key players. The position is a bit more junior than I’d like, and as such it likely won’t meet my salary expectations, or match the offer received from the other company, but let’s see how this plays out.

Ok, let’s get on with it………

Nikon D3400
1/30 sec
f/3.5
18mm
ISO 400

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V Day

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Happy Valentine’s Day.

Status: good. I’m actually not a sucker for the way businesses have commoditized the day (it’s not a holiday) in order to sell you stuff. I also don’t have a problem with it because some people like celebrating the day, it keeps the economic wheels turning by promoting the circulation of M1 and I can choose to either opt in or out. Yay Freedom!

Writing.

The wheels came off the bus yesterday. I’m entertaining the idea that all writers grapple with this – I mean, I’ve had unproductive days in Finance as well – but, I’m also flirting with the idea in order to avoid feeling lazy and like I failed.

I’ll be honest, I let the story intimidate me and I procrastinated as a result. I think the best thing to do is forgive myself for the faux pas, the lack of self-awareness (which is what the meditation is supposed to be promoting with mindfulness), learn the lesson and try again. So, I got up this morning and went through the “going to the office” ritual in order to get my head in the right space.

Is it working? I don’t fucking know. All I know is that I have a burning desire to open up YouTube and watch a clip of a hamster licking his balls, or some other such foolishness. I mean there has to be some value in bearing witness to that act, right? (Don’t lie to yourself, dude, stay focussed and just get on with it.)

Opportunity.

Call with network contact this afternoon at 1pm. An exploratory call. I’m not really expecting this to go anywhere, but making the connection and having that conversation is worth the effort. They’ve managed my expectations up front about potential roadblocks, so thanks for that.

The offer. Deep down I knew I was going to get this response. They’re viewing everything as final and the pre-employment screening was incidental to the process. Then they began pressuring me to start early. Unexpected. Bottom line: I’m employing delaying tactics because I really don’t want to do this. I’ve got to be honest with myself about that. It’s also true that this is the most practical choice – it’s a good idea to have the security and revenue the job provides while I continue to cultivate other sources of income. I’m protecting my downside, which is a wise choice in this instance.

I think I need to employ one of the lessons I’ve gotten from the meditation book, which is to lean into it. This is the best option with the least amount of downside/risk. It’s best to embrace the change, I’ll suffer less.

Nikon D3400
1/60 sec
f/3.5
18mm
ISO 100

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Making Beautiful Things

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I long so much to make beautiful things. But beautiful things require effort and disappointment and perseverance. 

Status: good. kinda. Was awake at 2:30 am this morning and couldn’t get back to sleep. Should have just gotten up and started my day, but I typically run out of juice by the time mid-morning rolls around and then I end up sleep walking through the rest of the day, so decided against it and stayed in bed. Not sure what was rummaging around in my brain which forced me awake at that un-Godly hour, and I was WIDE awake, but it happened. Best not to dwell on it, I think I’ll just focus on today’s tasks instead.

Writing.

Another good day yesterday. The word count on my journal/blog is slowly increasing, as is the word count on my actual story work. I started keeping track of my word count back in December and can see an improvement from then ’til now. I’m much less anxious about the writing and I’m finding it easier to get into the flow. I’m learning to relax and just let it flow out of me.

I’ve set aside the short story first draft which I completed last week in order to let it marinate, and will pick it up again next week to start work on the second draft with a fresh set of eyes. That’s what Stephen King says you should do, so I’m going to defer to his good judgement and experience. Started working on the comic book script which I’ve had kicking around in my head for, oh, about 15 years or so. Realised after completing four pages that I’d rather be writing something else – the Robert E Howard short stories I’m currently reading have awakened my love for the genre, so I’d like to do a little exploring in that space – but, I’m going to finish this one first. Which is what Neil Gaiman says you should do, finish what you start. So, maybe it’s best to follow that advice.

Opportunity.

It’s gone quiet on the offer front, so I reached out to them yesterday to see if they have finished their pre-employment screening process and also asked about next steps. I mean, I think I should be signing some kind of employment contract before I start? I did that last time around, started without having a contract in place, and I regret doing it. Would prefer that we follow the process in the proper order this time around.

Things also went quiet on the contact front, so I reached out to them thinking that the reason for the silence was a lack of interest, but that wasn’t the case. I’m due to have a conversation with them tomorrow about potential roles and how I can add value. My preference is to stick with the offer, but I think it’s best to have a backup plan if it falls through. So, let’s see where this conversation takes us.

I have more to say, but I think it’s best just to get on with it…..

Nikon D3400
1/60 sec
f/4.5
32mm
ISO 200

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On Writing

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I and me are always too deeply in conversation.

Status: good. better than yesterday. I don’t know exactly why I let Mondays derail me like that. I shouldn’t have been as tired as I was. Is age creaping up on me? Is the “OCD” getting worse? Need to mull this over some more. I’m lamenting the lost time and opportunity for doing something productive. I need to remind myself to not allow yesterday’s hiccups to colour today’s outlook. Today is looking good.

Writing.

On Friday I finished the first draft of the short story I was working on. I’ve written stuff and things in the past, notwithstanding this blog, but have never actually finished anything. Appreciate that this is just the first draft and I have one more draft to complete before it goes off for editing, but I think it’s important to recognise the completed milestone and celebrate the win. Go me.

Reward.

Browsing in Indigo, I came across a book of classic fantasy short stories aptly named, The Classic Fantasy Collection (should I be using quotations here?), for $12 bucks. Containing stores from Lovecraft, Robert E Howard, H G Wells and a bunch of other science fiction/fantasy authors I’ve never heard of, all from the early 20th century. No need to overthink this one, 800 pages of short stories from famous fantasy authors for 12 bucks? Yes please, I’ll take one (actually the last one on the shelf). So excited at my find, I tore through the book last night and then dived right back into it first thing this morning. Regular routine be damned (although I did meditate as normal). It’s left me feeling inspired and excited, which is what good fantasy books should do. Life is Good.

Ok, let’s get on with it…….

Nikon D3400
1/30 sec
f/5.6
24mm
ISO 100

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Monday Thoughts

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“Our life is what our thoughts make it” — Marcus Aurelius

Status: jesus, i’m tired. I’m more tired than I should be. I didn’t have a big weekend and I’m still not drinking at all. Was out Saturday night, but got a good night’s sleep. Or so I thought. Spent most of the day yesterday reading. I’ve slipped into lethargy, and perhaps it’s because I let my schedule slip and didn’t do any writing over the weekend? I’m thinking maybe I should do a little bit every day. Which brings me to….

Meditation.

I’ve arrived at the section of the How To book which addresses this very thing: lethargy. Timely. The Universe is sending me a message, heh. In any case, I’ll incorporate this into days where I’m feeling lethargic like this. I always blamed it on the hangover, but I’m seeing that’s actually not the case. So, what’s the cause? Don’t know at this stage. Need to explore this a little further.

Tenant.

Spent my Sunday getting abused by my tenant via email. The emails are now pure noise and the threats are getting more direct. I’ve scheduled the maintenance guy to access the unit this week to remediate the issues, or perceived issues, but that knowledge hasn’t placated the tenant at all. They only seem interested in making me feel uncomfortable. This is also something which is addressed in the meditation How To book, so this is also timely. The Universe, dropping knowledge, heh. Need to focus on the techniques in the book which show me how to separate signal from noise.

Date.

This was better than expected. During the course of the evening she told me that she had lied about her age on the dating app. You and everyone else on there, I thought to myself. It didn’t faze me, I’ve come to expect it from folks who pass a certain milestone in life. In any case, it was a great meal and great restaurant. She recommended it, so I’m super grateful for that. The conversation was pleasant enough; we got along well and there weren’t any awkward pauses or uncomfortable silences. I didn’t get her relationship backstory; I don’t know if she had been married in the past. She did say that she was trying to “put herself out there” after the last relationship ended a few years ago. Gut feel that this is a slight fib, suspect it may have ended more recently than that.

One thing that really impressed me was when I asked for the bill at the end of the evening she turned to the server and asked them to split it in half. I was actually going to pay for dinner, but she didn’t want that. She wanted to pay her own way. There was no belly aching or passive aggressive cold-shoulder punishment like I’ve had in the past when I’ve suggested we split the bill. It was like two friends having dinner and then automatically splitting the bill at the end of the evening, because that’s what you do. I can’t tell you how rare that is, and how refreshing.

I’m not going to pursue this any further, but still, it was a good date.

Nikon D3400
1/100 sec
f/9
55mm
ISO 100

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