My name's Dave. I'm working on it.

Friday, January 25, 2008

From the Sketchbook

I have much to say and to write and to do, with nowhere near enough time to do it all. But between working, cycling, and perfecting the slippery art of time management, I thought I'd share a page from my sketchbook. I grew tired of doing coffeemugs and teapots, and the massive trees outside my window are a bit too daunting for me to attempt just yet. So instead, I've taken to drawing from my LP collection. They're nice to look at and they're good at holding still while you draw 'em.
So without further ado...

Mr. Nick Cave, à la The Boatman's Call.

Nick Cave - People Ain't No Good

Friday, January 18, 2008

Notes from Belpub 17

Hi friends,

Just a quick update to let you know that my lappy is currently off at the Apple Headquarters being fixed up, so I've been pretty absent from the ol' internet lately. This hasn't stopped me from visiting the library's computer system, of course... Ah, it's just like the old days.
It's been nice to have one less distraction at home; I'm actually getting a good bit of sketching done (reading Craig Thompson's Carnet de Voyage has inspired me quite a bit), and reading graphic novels as well. I'm currently starting on the massive tome known as Bone. There's something magical about comics that no other medium seems to get. At least for me. And if there's anything finer than reading comics, drinking tea and listening to records while ungodly crappy weather rages outside, I sure don't know what it is.
That's all for now. Normal life will resume when the lappy gets home, hopefully without disrupting this pleasant new discipline I seem to have found.
Thank you to everyone who made t-shirt suggestions! They were all PERFECT. I intend to make at least one of 'em into a shirt. Keep 'em coming!

Saturday, January 12, 2008

First Impressions, Pt. 1

This year has been throwing off mixed signals left and right. So far nothing overtly shitty has happened to me, but a few friends of mine have already endured some bad news, and it's not even the 15th. The wind and rain have been almost Biblically gloomy, and things are falling apart in subtler ways all around me.
I spoke to one of my co-workers about it, and we agreed: This year is not bad, but nor is it to be trusted.
I never did sit down to write out any resolutions for 2008; I think it might be time (naturally, this will be an ongoing process).
First: I resolve to practice mindfulness in everything I do. I've begun to suspect that the practice of being aware of yourself and paying attention to your thoughts and surroundings might very well lead to better relations with others as well as better creative output. It cuts through the tendency to look anxiously towards the end (of the show, the affair, the high, or what-have-you), and roots you right where you are. This is surely a good thing.
Also, it makes you aware of just how many thoughts you have each day that are really little anxiety-loops, always circling around two or three key nodes of concern. They're usually not much to think about at all. Yet when you pay attention to them, it's startling just how much of your time they actually take up.
This leads to the second (apparent) benefit of mindfulness: things bother you less. Be it a recycled fear, a thought of some unfinished business, or simply seeing an appealing member of your preferred gender on the bus, all the things that come into our systems as raw data invariably get processed, identified, and, as quickly as they came, slapped with a label: Want. Do Not Want. Mediocre. Indie. Cheeseburger. And so on and so forth, ad nauseam. But mindfulness teaches you this remarkable fact (by way of a skill): that there is a moment between receiving new information and judging it when you simply encounter it without trying to make it anything other than what it is. You just see it.
Paying attention in this way teaches you to extend this moment out to the point that you never lay down your automatic judgments. Imagine! Nothing you face has to provoke such responses. After all: what, in reality, do your judgments on a thing, (example: song/film/idea) have to do with said thing? Answer: nothing at all. The way you interpret something has actually got no bearing on what it is unto itself. So if you remove that filter, you free up the room to actually see what you might have missed otherwise. I think the personal implications of this approach are vast, but I will leave you to make them for yourself rather than continue to talk your digital ears off about it.
Second: I resolve to be my own anchor.
My friend S and I have talked on a few occasions about the anchor idea. Basically, it comes down to having a stabilizing force in your life, something (or some-one) who keeps you on task. It's very easy to see why one would seek out a relationship with this in mind: having another person around is a great way to make yourself accountable. But, getting back to my prior discussion (via Amanda Palmer's blog), it's not really healthy to rely on people to keep you on task. For support, yes. But only you can push through the door, sit down at the booth in the coffeeshop, and do the work. No one can make you stop looking at the cute girls across the room (though engineering a device for just that purpose sounds like a fun idea).
So what it comes down to is just being more focused and learning to keep perspective. How often do you find yourself able to guide others out of their creative/personal slumps, but unable to do the same for yourself? It's hard to give ourselves the same slack, but it's important to try anyway.
I am determined to develop a sense of stability this year. So many projects have been born out of the urge to attract others (or at least keep them around); when they invariably go, the projects generally go the same way.
No more of that. This year I will not be moved from my work, though I expect that the nature/direction of the work will change frequently. It does that.
There are so many more I could list, but that'll do for now.

p.s. taking inspiration from Amanda's blog yet again, I want to get some ideas from you all for fun t-shirt slogans. Seriously. Two that she came up with:


I would totally make either of those into a shirt.
But I also want to get some new ideas. Maybe we can all vote! Maybe the winning slogan gets printed on ten super-limited shirts for only the coolest of the cool.
Bring on your suggestions.