Creative professions are oftentimes solitary endeavors. Hours are spent in front of a black canvas, page, or music sheet simmering in your own thoughts. This is enough for some, but for others, like me, the social aspects of life are needed to feed the soul.
Developing a creative relationship with another artist can satisfy your social hungers while minimizing the distractions that come from venturing into the real world. It can help maintain your momentum and even elevate the quality of your work
I’m going to share the lessons I’ve learned from my own creative relationship with a writer on the other side of the globe. She’s been an inspiring and motivating force in my artistic life. Hopefully our framework can help you get more out of your interactions and create the valuable connections you’ve been looking for.
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One of the most difficult things for me to find is the space I need to write. Sometimes it’s a headspace that I need to drift into or a physical space that allows me to stew in my own writer juices. Often times, it’s a digital space that is free from distractions. That last one is damn near impossible to achieve. Many of us use the same machines to do our day jobs as we do for our writing. Not everyone has the luxury of multiple laptops.
I have been going back and forth about buying a laptop solely for writing, something small with a good keyboard and serious battery life, but it’s really fucking hard to justify the expense when there are amazing books that were hammered out only using pen and paper. So in the meantime, I think I’ve found a happy medium. [click to continue…]
Sometimes you get tired of your own bullshit. The excuses, procrastination, and utter nonsense you distract yourself with instead of diving headlong into your passion. Steven Pressfield talks a lot about this in his book “The War of Art” and calls the insidious force Resistance. Procrastination and crisis have been the strongest forms of Resistance in my life. I’m either wasting the time god gave me on this earth or allowing chaos from my life to drain my energy.
The shot clock of my existence shows question marks across its digital display, so I can’t afford to be lazy or distracted anymore. Another great point that Pressfield makes in his book (seriously people, go buy a copy it’s life changing shit) is about Turning Pro. It’s the moment when you make a conscious decision to stop being an amateur with your passion and instead turn it into your calling. [click to continue…]
This month has been jam-packed with personal highs and lows. I flew to the West Coast for the first time in years (had an amazing trip), I hit 2 years of being in remission (which has its own conflicting set of emotions), and I’m still struggling with my recovery. Slowly, I’m beginning to recognize the long term effects of my fight with cancer both physically and mentally.
Then I came across unbelievable news in my Twitter feed. Robin Williams, a man I grew up watching on television and movies who always filled me with laughter, was dead. Depression had cruelly snatched away his talent from this world. I was at a red light when I read the news and started banging my steering wheel yelling “Fuck!” over and over again. People probably thought I was mental. My reaction surprised even me, but in my heart Robin Williams was one of the “good ones.” [click to continue…]
Anyone who’s met me in real life knows that I’m a laid back guy who’s quick to laugh, comfortable in groups, and has never met a stranger. This is me in my element, surrounded by the world in all its deliciously varieties, eager to taste every adventure I can get my hands on.
There are few things in this life that I truly hate or fear. Losing my mind is on top of that list. Second is being trapped, which in a way ties perfectly to my top fear. If I had an animal spirit it would be a shark. Not because of its bloodthirsty nature, but because of its indomitable drive to keep moving. The moment it stops, it dies… period. [click to continue…]
Being diagnosed with cancer removes all certainty from your life. Everything is suddenly thrown into question and you have no idea what will happen to your small corner of the world. If you’re lucky enough to survive the ordeal that is cancer then “being in remission” is your attempt at reclaiming the certainty you lost.
It’s supposed to be the rock we anchor ourselves to when the Ghost of Illness Past assails us. A fixed date that accumulates value over time, one we can look forward to and even plan celebrations around.
I wish my relationship to remission was as robust. Many survivors mark their remission with scans or other tests which give them the satisfaction of receiving a clean bill of health, but it appears that my case is a bit different. [click to continue…]
I’m a huge fan of social media. It’s allowed me to connect with people in ways I couldn’t have dreamed of just years ago. Friendships were created, bonds strengthened, and all through social media. But as much as I love it there’s a cost to its convenience… TIME.
The worst culprit when it comes to stealing my time is Facebook. For my out of state and overseas friends it’s still the best way to keep in touch due its widespread adoption. The main drawback, in addition to the time sink, are all the annoyances that build up into a disagreeable user experience.
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It took a harmless looking email from Twitter to remind me of how long Cuban Nomad has been in existence. When I opened the mail there was a lovely looking cake (which you can see on the right) and a big blue exclamation, “Happy Twitterversary!”
“You just turned 5,” it continued. Five years. Wow.
I started this blog and Twitter at the same time, hoping one would compliment the other. When you first start out there are so many expectations and goals; I’ll write all the time, I’ll build a readership, writing here might open doors somewhere else. As time passes reality wears down your hopes, leaving you with the achievable and the actual.
Perhaps it’s the RPG nerd in me, but I tend to understand things better when I can see them in a numerical fashion. Relationships reveal themselves as do trends. This post is to help me analyze and commemorate the work I’ve put into Cuban Nomad and take stock of things while figuring out my next steps.
One of my favorite forms of procrastination is scouring the internet for nuggets of writing wisdom, all under the guise of research. Yes, I should be writing, but occasionally I stumble upon something that makes the time wasted worthwhile. An article, video snippet, or audio clip catches my eye and increases my storytelling knowledge one iota more.
In this article I’m sharing two such nuggets of wisdom. One is an old clip I saw years ago, but which really resonated with me this time around. The other is from a recent Conversation series held by BAM. Both are after the break.
I’m a huge fan of the Marvel universe in all its forms, but I’m especially enamored with their movies. After IRON MAN reignited the superhero genre for Marvel they’ve been pumping out solid live action comic book films ever since. Their vision is far reaching (check out their cinematic universe game plan) and execution solid. Even the fumbles made money (i.e. The Hulk). As a movie studio their eye for detail and consideration for the fans has been top notch. They are the bar by which all other superhero films are measured.
Yet with such an impressive pedigree they completely screwed over loyal fans by using their fandom against them. I’m talking about Agents of SHIELD, the uneven TV show that was loved by Marvel fans who were patiently waiting for the series to find its footing. We were very happy to see Coulson again and stuck around for the awesome storylines we knew this series would eventually tell. The jaw dropping plots finally did appear, but only by ruining an amazing sequel, CAPTAIN AMERICA 2: THE WINTER SOLDIER.
Before I go any further, please be aware that there are major spoilers after the break. I would hate for you to also have a fine feature film destroyed by this television series. In the spirit of TL;DR – Don’t watch Agents of SHIELD episode 17 “Turn, Turn, Turn” or anything afterwards if you haven’t seen CAPTAIN AMERICA 2.
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Writing about a situation is how many authors come to terms with it. They coalesce thoughts and emotions into words they can touch. Then they take these raw materials and build a framework which allows them to examine, dissect, and finally understand a thing.
I’ve written a lot of words about cancer, my struggles and successes, and I know there’s more in me to tell because I still haven’t reached understanding. It’s a moment in my life that feels miles away yet at the same time right over my shoulder. My words on the matter have stopped flowing for now, but while digging through my files I stumbled upon something just as strong, pictures. I stared at these photos and listened to what they told me. I’m not a Photoshop guy or much in the way of an artist, but I wanted to do something with these moments in time.
I found a site called Haiku Deck whose philosophy is to tell simple and beautiful stories through captivating presentations. I had found the medium, now to talk about cancer in a different way.
This is what I created. All the photos are mine except for the very first one. I don’t know if it’s too much or too little. It’s just what came together.
Created with Haiku Deck, the free presentation app
[direct link to presentation]