“What do you do?”
This is a question for which I have no answer. I get asked this often, and it is the prerennial american question, we are defined by what we do. We are our jobs. I don’t have an answer because I don’t get my identity from my job description, I don’t see the connection between what a person does to earn a living and their self description. If one is to answer the question truthfully it can’t just be the description of your day-job, since that is only a small fraction of your duties in life, but that is what the questioner is asking, ‘what is your day job?’
Why does it matter if I scrub floors in a hotel, or meet with investors, or drive a truck? Perhaps your janitor is also an amateur electronics engineer, or the professional negotiator is an aspring actor, or the truck driver writes mystery novels…Of what use is the question: ” What do you do?”
I do everything.
I fail to capture the nuances of thought on paper.
My brain is constantly zipping and zapping back and forth bits and bites of great ideas, if only I could capture some of it here on paper! These thoughts are as tiny whips, they buzz by my ears faster than I can capture them, and almost always they come when I am in no way able to write them down.
I am reminded of a bit from the great ‘Terry Pratchett’ who said that the really great ideas just come down from the sky like great cosmic rays and implant ideas into our heads. That an idea just seems to strike us because it does. These ‘Idea Rays’ are where we get inspiration.
I feel like that when I am out working and something wonderful and new, brilliant in its simplicity falls down from the sky and finds me. Then as soon as it has arrived, it is gone once again.
Moleskines are now cliche objects of perceived creativity. They have a cult following and are everywhere. You can’t go into a coffee shop without finding someone sitting with macbook on one side, and a Moleskine open beside it.
My first Moleskine was back in 2004 or 2005, I found it by stumbling on a conversation thread on a Daytimer forum. I used to use Daytimer planners religiously, but they were more for job scheduling and not for creativity. I didn’t really journal or keep any sort of permanent notes, I wrote on legal pads and in spiral bound notebooks. The concept of using a permanent notebook for archival journaling was not in my mindset.
I did write a lot at the time, but it was exclusively on the computer and was fiction writing only.
Now I use Moleskines everyday. They have become constant companions to me and I reply on having them near to capture my day and whatever scraps of poetry I come up with.
During the 8 or 9 years I have been using Moleksines they have become very popular, and now you see them everywhere. I remember when they were mostly unknown, and actually bound in Italy, seems like they have lost out for becoming popular.
I miss the days before they were iconic and everywhere.
My first computer was an ATARI 1200XL
I was in seventh heaven! I can still remember the smell of the plastic when I opened the box,
(it was used, but still in the box) and I remember the sound that 5-1/4″ floppy would make when it was seeking.
I had an INDUS GT drive (which was pretty fancy for its day) and I had an ATARI tape drive as well. The tapes were fun, you were supposed to use ‘real data tapes’ because they were of higher quality, and would retain the data better, but I never could afford them: so I just used erased music tapes. (which never lasted very long)
I would spend many hours up at night laboriously typing BASIC commands, and learning how to write programs myself. I had a few books, and some old Atari magazines to go on, but a lot of what I learned was by experiment.j
I would craft this work of art, and then when the last line was done, I would pause a second, and then type: RUN, and press the return key……………..
That moment of expectation, and the (often unpredictable) results is an aspect of computing that I miss. Now I am grounded in expectation of what a computer ‘should’ do. I don’t modify my experience; I don’t create new programs.
I do use the computer to create, and to code, but on another level; in a more sanitized operating world. Sometimes I miss that wonder and amazement from executing my program just to see what it would do.
2 hours a day doesn’t seem like much, but over 4 days a week, that is a full 8 hour day.
These few hours are the key to my sanity and point to my future. I use these hours to design, to write, and to make the future come to me. I have so much that I wish to accomplish, that I must make this effort.
I wake up early and bike in to the local Coffee Shop; then I sit and allow myself to be absorbed into my work. I design and tweak my sites, and I open Scrivener and write.
I usually put on my headphones and lose myself in the moment.
In the years to come, I want to look back at this moment, and at this time. I want to know that these 2 hours a day have made the difference between success, and failure.