JR’s Not-So-Literal Blog

A Lesson on Stepping Outside Of Your Comfort Zone

Posted in Uncategorized by notsoliteral on June 24, 2009

A tale of two adventures:

1. I always wanted my motorcycle license and to buy a motor bike. Speed and death defying stunts never inspired me to do this. The fact that all of the male figures in my life growing up had motorcycles made me want one. The idea of getting the hell out of the city for the day and going somewhere remote was also an attractive idea. Not that I can’t do any of that with a car, but I figured it’d be all the more reason to get outside and experience nature and the open road.

However, as a young, injury prone child, I was always warned of the danger of motorcycles. The women and men in my life told me to never get one and I defied them repeatedly with my efforts to get a Class M permit and give it a go.

Well, the past two days I finally took a motorcycle course and drive a motorized bike for the first time ever in my life. I learned how to drive a motorcycle by myself. Was it fun? Yes it was fun. But, I made the bike fall twice due to my mis-coordination of the accelerator and brake and had trouble making the precision turn course. The instructor was concerned and I was pretty much shaken up both days on the road course. Basically, after my first shake up, I tried pushing through the fear and nervousness, but in the end I was asked to forfeit the right to take the last two hours of the lesson. The instructor suggested I come back and do the entire class over again.

So, I tried soemthing I always wanted to try. I kinda sorta failed at it. I was nervous and under pressure to keep moving by all the people on the course. Could I have done better by myself in a parking lot teaching myself how to do simple drills? Probably. But, will I invest in a motorcycle like I planned to do before the class and press on despite my clear fear and lack of skill? No, I will not. Maybe I’ll try picking this up again later in life, but right now I value the prospect of my future and don’t trust myself enough to put myself out there anymore such as I did.

2. On a far less physically dangerous assignment, I took the opportunity to pose for Scott Erb’s Red Room project where he photographs as many people as possible over the course of a year to see how much personality and characater he can pull out of each person he photographs. He put a lot of technical and conceptual constraints on himself, some of which are limited equipment for the shoots and only natural sunlight can be used.

Scott wanted me to come as something goofy; I wasn’t sure if I wanted to come at all. I never felt photogenic taking pictures all my life and to have someo0ne on the other side of a camera trying to get something picturesque out of me and my persona was intimidating. Even though he suggested I come dressed as Abraham Lincoln, I just opted to come dressed up business casual with a few different shirts and a jacket.

After getting started I lost my awkward “I’m being photographed” smile and simply engaged Scott in whatever he wanted to talk about. I did my best to take direction as well as offer something more. The whole process was flattering, but introspective overall. We reviewed some of the pictures after and he told me he’d edit them and pick four for the portfolio by weeks end. I was so anxious to see what he was going to pick, but I waited patiently.

The pictures just came out the other night on his facebook site: http://www.facebook.com/home.php#/album.php?aid=65873&id=678802762&ref=mf .

I was so shocked to see nice pictures of myself up on Scott’s page. I never expected to see pictures of myself that look so distinguished and grown-up. I’m so grateful to him for asking me to be part of the project. I’m hoping that lots more people who may not have experience being photographed give it a try as breaking that barrier is a unique experience that I can’t quite compare anything else to.

These are just two profound things that I’ve decided to write about that have happened in the past few days. Somehow, I think there will be quite a few more exciting things happening in the near future. Taking chances and making the best of these opportunities is what I’m really excited about too.


False Starts To A New Begining

Posted in Uncategorized by notsoliteral on June 21, 2009

I find myself at a loss for which way to swim seeing as I’ve finally cleared myself of a sinking ship. I had patches some holes, did some engine work, fashioned sails from the fabric of my soul and despite my best efforts, this boat wasn’t going anywhere. That’s fine, but all I know is that I’ve got to make it to shore.

I may be known for a series of false starts. Getting the ideas generated in my head is never the problem; picking one and committing to it is what I struggle with. That being said, whatever my next step is won’t be a false start because I absolutely must begin my next campaign of self-completion.

There are few things that inspire change and development more than a finite ending. After the finite ending, I am left not moving anywhere rather than trying to alter course. False starts have to be less likely when you’re needing to simply get moving in any direction.

Pick a place and go there. Believe in something and do it.

Note To Self – Run Far Away

Posted in Uncategorized by notsoliteral on June 15, 2009

Today was a day I would never choose to run from. I spent the later part of the morning with a friend as I posed for one of his conceptual photo projects and we talked about life, business and whatever guys in a modeling shoot talk about (blue steel, mostly).

Later in the dayI spent some of my afternoon in a cafe doing work, reading some completed writing projects, contemplating my new potential life paths and chatting with a cousin about some exciting plans she has for herself.

Lastly, I went to an art event called Pecha Kucha in Worcester’s best Tapas bar, Bocado. Local artists and performers (and one professional skater) talked about what they do, why they do it and how they do it. They had 20 slides, with 20 second to describe each slide. 8 presenters gave great stories and tips about what inspires them and I too got inspired.

I was inspired to get away. I thought about all of the places I’ve once associated with art and creativity and peace and how I haven’t experienced those sensations for myself, or outside of a business perspective in a long while. I compulsively grabbed my phone and put on the calendar for next weekend: “get out of town.”

Not sure where I’m going or what I’ll be doing or if I’ll even go with anyone. All I know is that I have an urge to flee and re-group seeing as I’m facing a short summer with a lot of potential for good stuff to happen throughout.

So, I’m going to run away to somewhere beautiful and maybe quiet or maybe bustling and find another day that I wouldn’t run away from.

There’s Time All Around, You’ve Got To Take It

Posted in Uncategorized by notsoliteral on June 10, 2009

Alice.com has posed an interesting question in their sweepstakes for a nifty HD hand camcorder/camera; what would you do if you had more time each month?

As late nights roll around and I’m wrapping up whatever side projects I’m working on after my day job, I’ll often times mumble aloud, “not enough hours in the day!”

But, I never quite say what I’d do if I had extra hours, I just complain that I don’t have them. So this post has prompted me to examine at surface level what I’d do if I had more hours afforded to me in a month’s span.

  1. Sleep More! – I wouldn’t go for 10 hours a day, but I’d definitely try to get a rounded out 8 hours of sleep every single day to help my mental clarity and overall well-being
  2. Write More- I don’t write enough fiction or poetry right now. I feel guilty dedicating time to my own projects when I’ve got people who want to pay me to write for them.
  3. Develop My Biz – My side business is bare bones. No excuses. I don’t have the time or money to develop a sweet website or marketing materials and I wish I did.
  4. Spend More Time with Loved Ones – I hate to feel rushed when I’m hanging out with friends and family because of work or life-stuff. I’d love to see more people more often and not talk shop at all during those times.
  5. Travel More – I like to get the hell out of dodge sometimes. Sometimes getting away from the city is the best bit of therapy I could ever ask for; especially when nobody knows where I am!
  6. Healthier Hobbies –  Rather than spend time on Twitter so much, if I had more time I’d like to get my vegetable garden running on all cylinders and take up kickboxing or jiu jitsu again.

So, if anyone can give or sell me some time, I’m interested.

Listing out all these things has inspired me to go out and find some time!

Providence versus Worcester

Posted in Uncategorized by notsoliteral on June 9, 2009

I won’t try to quantify the qualities of these two cities, because both of them have been second biggest next to Boston at some point in the last 20 years. I spent some time in Providence, Rhode Island last weekend for my birthday. It was gorgeous; actually much prettier than most of Worcester, MA, but it had a sense of hollowness to me. Lots of great restaurants and culture, but not too much diversified commerce going on at any point. You can’t build and maintain a great city on retail and tourism alone and it seems that Providence is running on reserves as it’s unemployment rate stays above 10%, among the highest in the nation.

I know people who are planning on, or have already moved to Providence for it’s proximity to Connecticut, Massachusetts and it’s low cost of living. It’s astounding how little the amount of money you could spend is on a beautiful loft compared to Worcester, Hartford and ESPECIALLY Boston and New York. We’re talking $1200 a month for a 1300 square foot loft in a art district wasn’t hard to find for a young couple looking to move in about a month. How about that? The nice, downtown area of Providence seems pretty clean and civil. I did wander outside of the downtown area and it’s pretty hood if I may say so myself. Nothing worse than Worcester, but definitely nothing I’d like to stroll around on a late night.

Worcester is comfortable for me. I grew up here, I know where the bad areas are, I know what areas have good food, good music, good art, etc. Framingham and towns of the like are decent in the way of cost of living, but they definitely lack most of the urban charm associated with smaller metros like Worcester and Providence. Boston doesn’t seem to be an option unless I magically made a bunch more money at my gig(s) or unless I took a completely different approach to where and how I wanted to live.

What do I take away from my bit of time spent in Providence? It’s beautiful, cheap to live and has lots and lots to do at night. Do I want to live there? I don’t know! I don’t there is much of an economic scene to be had for a marketer and writer such as myself. You never know, though. I hope the couple I know moving down there really likes it. Maybe they’ll convince me to follow suit!

The Summer Heat Rises – Do You Step It Up

Posted in Uncategorized by notsoliteral on June 3, 2009

Apparently I’ve already started my summer vacation with the poor presence I’ve had on both of my blogs lately. Work, side-projects and general summer-distractions have kept me from putting in the necessary effort to have a blog. I look at my life and realize there is little to no excuse to not blog regularly as there are many high profile bloggers who have as busy if not busier lives that mine and still manage to crank out high-octane content on the regular.

Gary Vaynerchuk said that if you’ve got the passion for anything then the work and inspiration will keep coming. But, when you don’t necessarily loose your passion but get say, “worn out,” how do you recharge and come back with fresh ideas and perspectives?

How are you dealing with the summertime distractions? Do you feel side projects get neglected for in the summer or rather get picked up to another level because people tend to have more free time?

Tagged with: , , ,