Happy Easter to us everyone …


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Here’s wishing you and yours a happy Easter. Whether you celebrate Christ’s resurrection or not.

For me, Easter is a reminder of what I do not believe. I can’t help it. On the social media outlets, you have friends plugging “He is Risen” graphics. Continue reading

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Making metaphors for real life


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Since the middle of last January, I’ve relished in a sobriety that I haven’t felt in a long time. While I have had a couple celebratory drinks since we finished Whole30, I’ve thankfully stayed off a daily diet of at least a beer or two.

When you stay off booze, with it comes a clarity and lucidity. There comes a vulnerability, too. And with vulnerability comes creativity.

I photographed the above photo last Thursday as a part of my 2018 Monthly Photo Challenge. I’m not sure I came up with the idea for the above photo before we started the diet or after. I’m guessing after. But what you see above is almost EXACTLY what I envisioned.  Continue reading

The helpless feeling of anger


Over the past 15 years or more, I’ve sat off again and on again on the couch of a therapist. I’ve discovered a lot about myself and the inner tickings of this old brain of mine.

Abandonment is a large issue for me. I trace abandonment back to adoption, a mental place of loss before I could decipher what loss was. Feelings of abandonment can trigger a swing. Abandonment can encompass betrayals. Abandonment can be triggered by another’s behavior that has nothing to do with mine.

Keep in mind, I realize that the best, most loving result of the situation that occurred before I could walk on my own was that I would eventually be adopted by two incredible parents. But all the good in the world won’t change my chemical and physical makeup for what my head thinks it needs, wants, desires and hopes for.

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A link dump, a dumpster fire, and skating on thin ice, how nice.


When I took aim at blogging again with regularity, my goal was to reach back to what this blog used to be and that was a news aggregate of sorts. That hasn’t happened.

For the most part, I’ve been doing my best to stay away from consuming too much news. It’s like sugar, it tastes good for a few minutes and then you come crashing down after an hour or less. In this media market, there’s so much sugar that it’s causing a crash every second if I let it. So I stay away.

This video below is a metaphor for the mental state I’ve been aiming for, calm beautiful purposeful sounds that relax and encourage.

But occasionally the news of the day seeps in and disrupts my garden of tranquility. Below the fold, I’m going to throw a bunch of links to the shit that I would be posting and discussing more, but it puts me in a negative headspace.

So I’m considering this a link dump. I’m considering it a fire pit. A place where the news that sucks goes. Or news I might discuss and find some negativity about it. In this post, I douse it with gas, light a match, flick it on top and walk away.

If you descend into the link dump, come back to the top and refresh yourself by watching this video playing the sounds of skating on thin ice. Ah metaphors.

 

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How about a quote collection?


You can say I’m milking the quotes I pulled from Tim Ferriss’ book Tribe of Mentors all you want. I’m having a great time reviewing them to see what sparked encouragement to me, and I hope that they encourage you.

There are these two from Max Levchin, a computer scientist:
“Whenever there is any doubt, there is no doubt.” The line is from the inimitable David Mamet, a quote from Ronin, one of my all-time favorite movies. A laconic reminder to always be decisive in battle and in business, and at a most basic level, to trust your gut.
And:
“The difference between winning and losing is most often not quitting.” This famous line from Walt Disney on willpower cannot be more true when it comes to entrepreneurship.

Having an idea and sticking it out till it’s completed became my earliest memory of how to do things. Whether it was chores my mom had for me or little art projects as a kid. This discipline has stuck with me longer and through times when my closest friends and supporters couldn’t find a way to do the same thing.

I love this next one from Dita Von Teese, a burlesque dancer:

“You can be a juicy ripe peach and there’ll still be someone who doesn’t like peaches.”

I find this quote to be true of so much, like music, religion, car purchase, diet regimen, book or movie passion, etc. You might have the juiciest, peachiest faith and belief system, but I’ll be damned if I’m going to get hungry for it. You can LOVE country music and expose me to your favorite tracks, but the likelihood is I’m not going to add it to any of my playlists. I’m sorry not sorry.

This principle works multiple ways. Some people kinda like peaches, so they don’t mind one once in a while. Others like it in their pie, maybe in a candy, but not raw. Point is, some people kinda like religion, but they don’t full on LOVE the one someone else is selling.

And that’s okay! You’re okay. They’re okay. We’re all okay.

And finally, this last 1.15 is from Neil Strauss, author and journalist.

The audiobook I’ve given away most is Nonviolent Communication by Marshall Rosenberg. Though “nonviolent communication” is poorly named (it’s the equivalent of calling cuddling “nonmurderous touching”), the central idea is that, unbeknownst to us, there’s a lot of violence in the way we communicate with others—and with ourselves. That violence comes in the form of blaming, judging, criticizing, insulting, demanding, comparing, labeling, diagnosing, and punishing. So when we speak in certain ways, not only do we not get heard, but we end up alienating others and ourselves. NVC has a magical way of instantly defusing potential conflicts with anyone, from a partner to a server to a friend to someone at work. One of its many great premises is that no two people’s needs are ever in conflict. It’s only the strategies for getting those needs met that are in conflict. Disambiguation: The version you want is a 5-hour, 9-minute lecture. You can recognize it by the cover, which is a close-up of a hand flashing a peace sign. It starts slow, but then gets revolutionary. Do *not* get any versions of the printed book, which has the same title.

And finally, which I’m reminded of a lot in general:

“Learn more, know less.”

Terry Crews sings the hits


800px-Terry_Crews_by_Gage_Skidmore_5.jpgAs you may already know, I read Tim Ferriss’ book Tribe of Mentors last month and I have been sharing different quotes I highlighted throughout the book. These come from former football player and actor Terry Crews.

When asked about book recommendations, he answered (emphasis mine):

The Master Key System by Charles F. Haanel. I have read hundreds of personal development books, but this is the one that clearly showed me how to visualize, contemplate, and focus on what it was I truly wanted. It revealed to me that we only get what we desire most, and to apply myself with a laserlike focus upon a goal, task, or project. That in order to “have” you must “do,” and in order to “do” you must “be”—and this process is immediate.

Focus is such a beautiful and evasive concept. I love it. And I hate it.

More below the jump Continue reading

The paths to artistry are many


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As mentioned, I’m reading Amanda Palmer’s The Art of Asking.

Reading the book is coinciding with lots of goings on. We’re still doing the Whole30 diet. I’m concentrating on being a positive presence in my world. Maybe just my little bubble. In that vain, I’m reaching out to more people purposefully. In turn, they’re reaching out to me.

Palmer’s book feels a little long at times. Or perhaps I want to get through it faster, and I am not directly connecting with her story at this point in my trips around the sun.

But a quote hit me yesterday that I had to share:

There’s no “correct path” to becoming a real artist. You might think you’ll gain legitimacy by going to art school, getting published, getting signed to a record label. But it’s all bullshit, and it’s all in your head. You’re an artist when you say you are. And you’re a good artist when you make somebody else experience or feel something deep or unexpected.

I’ve been mentioning lately that it took me forever to land on the Moon of Artistry, finally jab a flag its surface and declare, “I’m an artist!” Maybe I regret taking so fucking long.

But I got there. So that counts.

Sometimes I think the flag was already sunk in the dirt before I got there, I just pushed it a little further down.

Part of why I dragged my feet was because I thought artistry was unachievable. Musicians and famous painters are artists. Authors of multiple best sellers = artists. Weird people that dress funny are artists.

I create new work almost every day. I get paid to do it. It’s been that way for at least 16 years. Twenty years if you count my freelancing from the beginning.

One day I decided, “It’s time.” And I scribbled on a little blue and white “Hello, my name is:” sticker with the word, “Artist” and I peeled it off the little white part and slapped it on my chest.

I’m handing a “Hello, my name is sticker” to Tina. Time to sign it. Shit or get off … 

Tina and I have worked together since we first met 18 years ago here in Chicago. I pulled her onboard with my company around 2007, and her transition to freelancing with me was scary for her.

She hasn’t been able to identify exactly how she fits into the scenario of our business. Like me, she wears many different hats. In the Adam & Eve since of the word, it angers and belittles her to think of herself as Jeremy’s Support. The Bible calls it a Help Meet. Damn, that pisses her off.

Frequently, I’m seen as “the Photographer” therefore, I’m somehow superior, if only in Tina’s mind. While it’s not a competition, it creates a hierarchy when people say, “What do you do? … Oh, so you assist.”

So you assist. Period. Not question mark.

That’s some bullshit. 

In so many ways, she’s so much more talented than I am. She art directs practically every shoot we do. She also art directs my photo retouching and video editing. I don’t think she realizes how much she does that. But there’s so many times when she makes decisions on video edit or photo delivery that I would never have done personally.

If her hand is in the art, it’s hers, too. Art is, and will always be, collaborative. It’s time for Tina to recognize her role in that level of the partnership.

She’s amazing with people. That alone is an art. She manages business for our company and stuck by her guns when people tried to undercut us or attempt to negotiate lower rates.

She’s got an eye for design and fashion. She has a distinct vision. Every time I turn around, she’s studying some magazine spread, watching a documentary on fashion, or staring at interiors on the internet.  While I would spent every last dime on new gear, she would spent every last dime re-desiging our home.

She’s even more amazing with me. When she see me fighting a light on set, and the client is standing near by, she’s a magician of distraction. When I break something or, just the other day, I plugged in a cord that didn’t belong in a light and it blew my flash tube, smoke bellowed out everywhere from the face of my light, she immediately goes into rescue the situation mode. I love that.

At some point, we have to say, “Damn, Tina, you’re not the support system. You own this company. You have a vision and an artistic eye. You make it what it is. Without you, we do not exist.”

I’ve been meditating on it, and I feel like between owning our company and being a creative force on it, we are blinded by a form of ignorance. There are major roles in business and art that she’s fulfilling on a daily basis.

If I had to give her a title or titles now, I would say that first we’re equal partners in our company. Second, I would call her Art Director. She manages the look and feel of almost everything we do, from style and function of a film to the look and design of a set. And thirdly, she could own the title Producer or even Executive Producer. Producers are, quite possibly, an instrumental and integral part of any photo shoot or video production. Without them, it would be absolute chaos.

She, like me, wears many hats. At one point she is wielding a camera taking photos. Then she’s shooting behind the scenes video. Then she’s consulting the client on where to put the chair, what flowers to add or remove from a scene, what books to put in or take out, etc. etc. etc. etc.

A photography and film company is not all glitz. While we do a lot of photo shoots and film production, there’s a bunch of non-creative stuff involved. Just like I couldn’t call myself an artist for so long, we are having trouble calling ourselves, say, an agency. Or something more than a photography studio. Our talents extend only as far as the fence we build around our capabilities.

I look forward to how Tina’s search for her identity unfolds, literally right before us. I feel it’s only a matter of time before she reaches