The Artist Project – Toronto – February 2019 – Part 1

From collectors and curators, to gallerists and designers, visitors can explore and discover works of art from over 250 top contemporary artists from Canada and abroad. This is a unique opportunity to meet and buy art directly from artists at Toronto’s favourite art fair.


Location: Better Living Center, Exhibition Place, Toronto

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Safe Distance


It is easy to be brave from a safe distance.

Status: good. I wonder how Aesop would feel if he knew that someone was using his name to sell skin care products? Disappointment or, show me the money? Maybe a little bit of both.


Had a mild anxiety attack yesterday thinking about all of the things I need to and want to do before starting the next chapter in my Finance career. I have 3 months left. Three months of freedom. I’ll be handsomely compensated in exchange for my freedom, but will I be happy? Can I go back to something that was making me miserable? Can I go back to the place which was making me unhappy? Appreciate that this is a practical choice. It’s also the safe choice. So, I’m essentially exchanging my freedom for security. My life mirroring an aspect of the current zeitgeist.

I’ve thought this through already and have made my choice. I suspect that I’ll continue to struggle with this…or, maybe I’ll like it. I won’t really know until I get there and experience it for myself. And, I’ve promised myself that I’m going to give it a year and see how it fits. If it’s making me miserable then I’ll take stock of where I am and re-rationalise the strategy. The good news is that I do know what I want to do long term, and I can continue to prepare for it while collecting a paycheque.


I’ve had my best week yet, and my word count is getting progressively higher as each week goes by. Seven thousand words so far this week compared to four thousand last week compared to three thousand for the week previous to the last one. I’ve been able to build up some good momentum and some good habits which are allowing me to be productive. I’ll call that a job well done. For The Win.

I think it’s time to take the next step. I didn’t quite finish the first draft of The Patriot story this week as expected, but I’m close and should be able to complete it over the weekend. I’m finding that I’m very productive first thing in the morning if I wake up, meditate and then start writing, which is good, but then I’m fading in the afternoon. My energy levels drop and then I start procrastinating and then the ball starts rolling in the opposite direction. I need to figure out how to reverse this trend. I talked about using a temporary site-blocking app to help me stay focused, but never pulled the trigger on it. Perhaps now is the time to do that.


Spontaneous coffee date this afternoon. Out of the corner of my eye, I can see a red flag flapping in the distance. Girls from that dating app who are available to meet on short notice are typically bad news. Most people who have their shit together (and have a life) are not available to do that. In her photo she has wild hair and a mildly crazy look in her eyes. I bet she’s lying about her age.

(Then why you meeting her, bro?)

Because of the entertainment value. That’s it. The crazier they are, the better the stories.

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The Rule of Thirds


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.


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.


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.

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Untroubled Days


“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.


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.


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.

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Born Again


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.


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.


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………

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V Day


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!


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.)


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.

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Making Beautiful Things


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.


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.


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…..

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