Monday, November 28, 2011

An Introvert Jackpot?

On Black Friday, I joined my visiting sister and her husband on a visit to a local casino and horse track, about half an hour from here. Poker for my brother-in-law, slots for my sister and myself.

I don't frequent casinos, though I have been to them once or twice before. I am too intimidated by table games, so when I do go, it's all about slots. But it has been over ten years since I even did that much.

I ended up buying 20 dollars worth of spins on a nickel slot machine. Good news: I doubled my money by the time I cashed out. Better news? I came to an interesting realization while I was there. One that perhaps seems oxymoronic at first glance:

Casinos are an introvert haven.

Read that again if you must. If I had read it on someone else's blog before having gone to play slots myself a few days ago I may have had to do a double take too. Yet despite the crowds, the lights, the noise, and the general hullabaloo in a casino, I was not overwhelmed, like I at first feared I would be.

What I discovered was simple. At a casino, nobody gives a shit about you. That isn't to say they wouldn't call an ambulance if you had a heart attack or something, but all things being equal, people are there to gamble, in one way or another. And the vast majority of gamblers want to just be left alone to their gambling rituals while they do so. Their rabbit's foot, or lucky clover, or prayer, or dance, or whatever it is they do. It isn't always a solitary act, but it sure as hell isn't a social/community undertaking either.

Even if one is not superstitious and is just there for a good time, there is something about gambling oriented games at a casino that makes people quite isolated, mentally. They are almost cocooned from everything else going on. They shut out the things around them that have nothing to do with their immediate task, and bristle at the audacity of anything that interrupts their dance with lady luck.

Does this sound like a certain temperament we all know and love?

Sure, people sometimes make friends, or find one night stands while at a casino. Of that I have no doubt. Plus, extroverts gamble too. Yet in the midst of all the lever pulling, button pushing, whirring sounds of countless 7s, Bars and Watermelons clicking into place, and the occasional beeping or horn blowing of a big winner, there really isn't a lot of opportunity or desire for mingling and small talk.

The casino is rather accommodating to this desire to be left alone to one's own devices in the middle of a crowded room. So much is automated, to minimize the need to interact directly with people. You can break a 20 into a bunch of ones, cash out your winnings, even choose which horse you want to bet on, all through computers. Unless you are ordering food or a libation, (which they let you take with your back to your bunker of one armed bandits), you could spend both hours and hundreds of dollars and not talk to anyone.

Then there is the eclectic nature of the people who show up at a casino. I wore jeans and an orange fleece. I saw people in jackets and ties. Evening dresses. But also in sweat suits. Young, sexy girls on eight inch heels and skin tight pants accentuating their every curve, amongst frumpy, stooped over old women who didn't even speak English. Goths. Nerds. Jocks. (And because of this people watching, I imagine more than a few observant writers such as myself.) Introverts like that sort of scoffing individualism. There was, I guarantee you a broader swath of humanity represented within the casino than there is in the West Virginia town outside of it's gates.

A casino is not for everybody, whether an introvert or extrovert. Those bothered by loud noises or given headaches by lights shouldn't be there. And I of course would grow tired of it after a while. It isn't an everyday sort of activity. Yet if you are an introvert and have never been to a casino in fear of it being exhausting in the way that a club or large house party can be, I'd encourage you to reconsider your evaluation. You may just find it easier to disappear into yourself there than at other places you frequent.

Check it out. Some of you may hit the jackpot in more ways than one.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

My 2011 MVPs.

On this Thanksgiving it is of course appropriate I show some gratitude in my blog post. In this case, I am proud to present my list of social media MVPs!

A bit of explanation is in order to begin with.

This list was difficult to compile. I started thinking about it in early October. It is not even close to an exhaustive list of online friends and acquaintances that I appreciate. That list would indeed run very long. Too long for a blog post. So instead I present a rather particular list. Those that do not appear on it are of course not without value, and I hope that is clear. I didn't want to create a popularity contest. Simply to make sure on this day of thanks that I acknowledge those who have meant the most to me in 2011, in various different categories.

To narrow down the list even further, I decided that the list would include only people that I met initially through some sort of social media. Twitter, blogging, or, back when I was still active there, Brazen Careerist. I also limited those in this list to people I have known for at least the entirety of 2011.

Nor do I want anyone to assume that I am necessarily on intimate, personal terms with everyone on this list. With some I am, and with others it is more professional, or distant. But in all cases, each person mentioned has made what I am calling a positive, sustained impact on me or on some aspect of my life in 2011.

I present the list of nine individuals in no particular order. I hope each of them will accept my deep and sincere gratitude for whatever part they played in my perceptions and observations in the last year. I hope that if you don't already follow these folks on Twitter, or read their blogs, that you will consider doing so after reading this.

Here we go. My 2011 Most Valuable Players from social media are as follows:

J. Maureen Henderson

One of the very first people that paid attention to this blog, and took it seriously. From the beginning, though with much more intensity this year, she has pushed me professionally, and is directly responsible for at least some of my online success this year. (I never would have heard of the site in which a piece of mine appeared this year without her telling me about it, and encouraging me to send something to same.)

But she does these things without sacrificing acceptance of my personal eccentricities and concerns. She may not ever understand why I think much of what I think, but unlike many within the internet career advice circle, she has never made me feel of less value for thinking it.

I admire her motivation and determination, even if I have yet to replicate them myself.

@GenerationMeh on Twitter

Becky Benishek

One of the kindest, warmest people I have met through social media. Her personal support and constant friendship over this year has buoyed my spirits at times when they have been low, (such as the last month or so.) If she doesn't consider herself an optimist, it is certainly quite easy for others to assume she is one, as the bright side is always more apparent when talking to her. At times the most valuable commodity a person can give to someone else is a reminder that they still matter. Becky has provided and continues to provide me that.

@bbenishek on Twitter

Laryssa Wirstiuk

The only one of my social media contacts that I have met in person so far. Though I suspect that my introverted, quiet, and sometimes withdrawn personality probably resulted in my being quite the disappointment to her and her friends earlier this spring when I attended her smashing birthday party, the whole experience as well as her graciousness in hosting me for the whole weekend did have a major impact on me this year. She reminded me of the importance of spontaneity, trying new things, and of trusting someone else to guide the action sometimes.

And the reason I began to read her blog and follow her on Twitter in the first place was her thoughts on the writing life. Not just the nature of the actual prose, but the style of her observations and analysis on everyday topics. A writer who doesn't know how to observe doesn't know how to write, and Laryssa's knack for observation and dissemination has inspired the writer aspect of me this year.

@ryssiebee on Twitter

Noel Rozny

Noel has been an outspoken supporter of my blog and other writings. Her expression of appreciation for my writings this year has gone beyond simple stroking of my ego. She has confirmed that I have accomplished with my writing one of the goals I consider most important and most gratifying; I have made her think. She also has admired my candor. Knowing that I have had such an important impact on such a professional, intelligent fellow writer just by being honest and well written has done me a great service this year, and I am grateful to her for it.

@NoelRozny on Twitter

The Thawer Sisters

Mehnaz and Zoyah. (I flipped a coin to determine which of them I would list first.)

On Twitter I call them the "Sisters of Asskicking", though I of course recognize that they are not some amalgam. They are two individuals, each with their own unique perceptions and lives. I don't overlook that. Yet I include them both here in one section because it is their team work, the nature of their relationship, and the way they both counteract one another's weaknesses while complimenting one another's strengths that makes them as a unit so valuable.

In them, I see perhaps the single greatest example of the yin-yang concept known to me personally. Through their differences and their similarities, (neither of which they are shy about sharing with the internet via twitter and their blog) I am reminded that nobody can be shoehorned into their own personality, including myself. The obvious love they have for one another despite the opposing nature of their personalities is something I envy…I do not share that with most of my siblings. I do not even get along with most of mine. So they are refreshing and encouraging to me, both when they are getting along, and the few times they are (quasi-publicly) not getting along for a time.

@mehnazt on Twitter

Two Spectacles (Their joint blog.)

@zoyahthawer on Twitter

Steph Auteri

The nature of her writing success is probably the best example of where I myself would like to be someday. (Meaning her marketing skills and clips are enviable to this writer, who has at present, almost none.)

But it isn't simply her high rate of writing success that makes her an MVP. I know many successful writers. It is her humanity and lack of pretense about it. My default position, I will admit, is to recoil from people who are highly successful in the same field as I am trying to conquer. They are more often than not difficult to relate to, inaccessible, and overall not easy for me to get to know. Their rags to riches stories annoy me more than inspire me.

Yet with Steph Auteri I was finally able to see a successful writer as a human being much like myself, with difficulties and worries of their own. She of course is not the only one, and by now I have met a few more like her. Yet her initial and continued willingness to share herself, her story, and to include me sometimes in same have gone a long way in altering for the better my feelings towards those of the same level of success as she.

@stephauteri on Twitter

Melissa Breau

I first met her even before I joined Twitter, or had this blog. (She in fact was one of the people that sold me on Twitter, though I still remain less impressed by it than she initially promised. ;) )

Not only does Melissa have an enviable amount of drive, energy, and marketing savvy, I am personally grateful for the time she has dedicated to sharing with and explaining to me certain concepts of her success. It is my own thick head, and not her lack of effort that causes some of the concepts she has related to me to elude me even now. (Especially when it comes to the nature of the internet.)

Yet she has allowed me to be a part of Moxy Mag, a project that is of great importance to her, and in so doing has given me a bit more focus during times when I had none. I value my small contributions to her "baby", and hope I can continue to meet the expectations she has been kind enough to have of me.

@MelissaBreau on Twitter (The zine she published.)

Paul Edmondson

Quite literally one of the world's foremost Shakespearean scholars, as well as an ordained minister and intellectual. Despite his undoubtedly busy schedule he has often taken time to comment upon my activities, and to inquire as to same. It is that generosity of spirit and time from this gentleman of academic prominence that I am grateful. How easy it would be in his position to turn his nose up at anyone, yet how thoroughly unlike him that would be. He reminds me that I should not hesitate to approach or speak to anyone in any position, so long as I feel I have something worthy to say.

@Paul_Edmonsdon on Twitter


I hope my list has convinced each of these people, if there were unsure of it by now, how much I value their advice, or friendship, or observations, or simple presence. Each is very different from one another, and yet they all possess that quality of generosity in some form or another which I appreciate. Especially on this day of Thanksgiving here in the United States. 

Who are your MVPs for this year?

Monday, November 21, 2011

The Post I Didn't Write

Friends, this is the first blog post I have written from the spare room in my mother's house in which I will be living for the foreseeable future. I have mentioned a few times that I would have to be moving out of the (rather unpleasant) apartment in which I have been living for the last three years, and that process is mostly complete. Anything vital to my identity and daily functioning is now here in this room. Only some random sundries and a few large pieces of unwanted furniture that require a borrowed truck to be hauled away remain at my previous residence. I took the bed apart the other day while I was packing boxes. I didn't have to, but I wanted to. Something about the bed being apart made it feel more final. And I wanted that finality.

Not that I had slept in it in several days. There was already a bed in this room, and I have been sleeping on that since the transfer. A transfer that passed a milestone before I knew it was going to. For you see, when I went to bed in the apartment for the final time, I didn't know it would be my final time sleeping there. I figured I'd have at least a few more evenings there.

Yet a few unforeseen circumstances made it easier to sleep here one night. The next day I had moved several more pieces than I thought I would, and before I knew it, I was back here at night permanently. I never bedded down with the sensation of it being my final night in what I have called home since 2008.

I've decided it was better that way. It decreased the likelihood of me dwelling on this already difficult step I am taking.

I do have the tendency to dwell. To be sentimental about change. Believe me, I won't miss this particular apartment for very long, as I have wanted to live elsewhere for at least a year. Yet I will miss the idea of having an apartment, as I have covered on the blog already. That's its own thing.

Yet even if I had moved directly into another, better apartment, I still would have had the tendency to observe the "last meal in this apartment. Last shower in this apartment. Last full night in this apartment." That's just what I am, and in about half the cases it not only is unproductive, it is probably counterproductive.

This week, I haven't had time to do much of that. A separate crisis here, a fire to put out there. All happened during the already stressful final week of moving out. (Luckily I have been moving bit by bit for the last month.) So I have really only been catching brief glimpses of my soon to be former apartment this last week as I wisk in to pack a box or two and wisk out again. All of a sudden, very little clue remains in that building that it was my home for years. Just a few things.

And I was going to write a post about them. The markings on the wall. The indentations in the carpet. The last vestiges of my three years there which have remained unpacked, sitting where I last put them when I still lived there, serving now as the only reminders that someone had a life in Apartment A for the last three years.

But I opted to not write that post.

I have been doing a pretty good job, as I said, of not thinking too much about this whole unfortunate situation. The extra flurry of unfortunate events that has surrounded my move has forced me to push some of those mental tendencies off to the side of my mind, and focus more on actions. And while the sentimentality is still very much present, standing on top of a nearby hillside looking down on me as I move about, there simply wasn't room for it to stand right by my shoulder this week where it normally would have been. There was too much extra shit going on outside of my move, and I just refused delivery.

And you know what? I discovered that some of this has been easier as a result. And though the manic running about and crisis management has stabilized in the last few days, I have been unwilling to allow the sentimentality monster to take its frequent place beside me now. Even though there may be room for it again. It's not a horrible creature, and in some cases it serves an admirable purpose. But not in this case.

When I pack what few boxes still need to be packed, I consciously make the choice not to ponder the symbolism of a now empty room, or the outline of the framed picture that I took down from that section of the wall. I have been making the choice to be as clinical about all of this as possible. Being forced to be so last week showed me what an advantage such an approach can have.

Plus I know that times ahead will be difficult enough in some ways without being all poetic about what is over. That place was home. It no longer is. I do not live there anymore. It is nothing more than a storage facility that my rent entitles me to hold on to for another 12 days. And it's not like I had my first child there, or that it was the first place I had after getting married. (I may have allowed a bit more nostalgia if that had been the case.)

I now reside in my mother's spare room, which I have painted, furnished, and continue to tweak so as to allow for maximum privacy and seclusion. (Though I will admit I have arranged certain things in a manner similar to the apartment, so I feel a bit more "at home" as it were.) It is from here that I have to rebuild and reboot certain things. Things that in their own right, by the sheer volume of the energy required will take up quite a bit of thinking.

I admit I am not sure I am up to the task. But I do know that I now have every intention to just let the apartment go. Let that chapter go. As fate would have it I won't even be in town on the final day of the lease to turn in the key. I have to have someone else do so in my stead, because I will be out of town. It's as though everything conspired to prevent me from dwelling too often on this situation.

So, other than to mention that this blog, my Twitter presence, and the vast majority of people from social media came into my life whilst living in that apartment, I will take no further time in considering the end of my residence there. I have work to do in the coming months. (And a pie to bake in the coming days.)

Monday, November 14, 2011

Even Extroverts Need a Break

Those of us who are introverts can get annoyed with extroverts sometimes. Even those extroverts that we count among our friends can get to us. Their need to always be talking. Always moving. Their seeming inability to understand our needs and desires. A frequent lack of empathy for our way of processing the world. Their attempts to bring us out of a shell that is in most cases non-existent in the first place.

Yes, extroverts can be tiring to us.

However, we must be careful not to do to them what we don't want them doing to us.  We must not assume what we can and cannot do around, with or to them simply because they are extroverts. It may sound unlikely, but think about it.

Have you ever needed to rant, and without question called an extrovert? Have you enlisted the help of one of your extroverted friends to be a wing man at a party, assuming they'll love to help out. Do you avoid deep conversations with them because you know they haven't been introspective enough to consider such things? How about calling them at 2 in the morning when you can't stand the silence of your own home any longer? Or maybe you buy them rock concert tickets for their birthday every single year, because, "they are really into that kind of noise. They are extroverted."

Yet hold on a moment. Remember what has often been mentioned in this blog, and by psychologists all over the world. That introversion and extroversion are spectrums. And that nobody is 100% one or the other.

You, my fellow introvert, are certainly not. Sometimes you actually want to be at a big party, because you don't want to be alone. In the right situation you even enjoy meeting the right kinds of new people. You may even want to be the center of attention sometimes, and work the room. These are infrequent but nonetheless very real moments of extroversion.

It's just as natural then that your extroverted friends will have moments of introversion. Irony alert: as an introvert you may have to work extra hard to respect those moments for them than you do for fellow introverts. You expect it from others of "your kind", but you may find yourself getting comfortable with the extroversion of certain good friends of yours, and come to expect it from them, whenever and wherever they happen to be. It makes it easier to overlook their need to be introverted at times, and leads to an assumption that whenever you happen to need a shot of extrovert, you can tap them for it, without question.

"Hey, they get their energy from people doing that kind of stuff to them all the time, right?"

Well, once in a while, wrong. Quite wrong.

I have an extroverted friend who posted on Facebook recently mentioning that her extroversion didn't mean she was emotionally available all the time to everyone around her whenever it was they wanted her. That she was feeling crowded and wanted a bit more space in her life in the coming months. Another wrote of how he wanted to take a break from "new people" for a few weeks. Some of them that felt like this wondered if it meant they were sick, or becoming depressed. The answer of course is no. They were just coming into contact with the introvert that is inside all of them. Just as even I at times explore the world with the extrovert inside of me.

Remember how you feel, introverts, when you are deprived of the things you need to recharge, or stay calm? How frustrating it can be when those things are not respected by those with whom you work or live? Believe it or not, the extroverts you know and love can feel that way too. It is the minority report within their consciousness, and they may not always recognize it for what it is when it comes round, so they may not express those needs and frustrations as well as those of us who live that way almost all of the time. Yet it remains just as vital to acknowledge those times in their lives as it is for introverts.

You have to remember to consider the person when you are dealing with anyone, and not the extrovert. Their level of extroversion is merely an aspect of their temperament. It does not define the totality of who they are, anymore than preferring sometimes to be left alone for a few hours defines all of what an introvert is.

In short, assume nothing just because a friend of yours is always at a party, is not often alone, and gets antsy when she is at home for too long. This gives you no right to assume what will and will not be acceptable behavior with them in any circumstance. They are a person, not a type. Just like you.

The good news is your beloved extrovert will recover more quickly in most cases than you will. They will not require as much of that time alone, and will not want the excitement to stay away for an extended period of time. In short order after needing to be left alone in the quiet of their room, they will probably be right back out in the living room asking you if you are okay, and wondering why you don't want to dance. It may in some case be so fast that you don't even realize that their inner introvert has come to call. (We are the ones more likely to  brood over these things for nine hours at a time, remember.) Yet those moments are still there, and extroverts are entitled to them.

Yin and Yang for everyone, my friends. A little of the opposite in everyone. Respect that dash of the opposite in those you know, and I think you will get further with them.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Of Sweatshirts, Paint, and the Familiar

The other day I was goofing off. I got home, took off my sweatshirt and swung it around like a lasso, before tossing it onto the couch. (I think many of you have done this at some point.) Only when I picked up the sweatshirt later, I realized that my little mindless stunt had torn a big hole in one of the sleeves. Large enough to render to garment basically worthless. I could still wear it, but the torn fabric would be dangling all the time, and that would get on my nerves. So, I managed to ruin my own favorite sweatshirt.

Actually, it is my only sweatshirt at the moment. Mom thinks she might be able to sew it, but the point is, it is my only sweatshirt. As of next month, I will have had it for three years. More than one person, my mother included, has told me that this is about one year longer than anybody should expect to have the same sweatshirt anyway.

True, the once deep blue of the fabric has faded to a dull blue-gray. Tiny holes have developed in it here and there. Just last month I managed to stain it with food. The majority of people I know would have replaced it a while back. Yet I rarely spend money on clothing, outside of socks and undergarments. (Even when I have extra money, which isn't often.) I keep the same clothes for years and years. Even if I had plenty of money to do so, I doubt I would buy a new wardrobe every few months.

You see,  my sweatshirt was still comfortable, and still kept me warm on chilly days after three years of ownership. Ergo, I wore it everywhere during the colder times of the year. Not a uniform per se, but if ever I were at a friend's house and left it there, there would be little question as to who it belonged to. People are probably used to seeing me in it. The same with other clothes.

It's not that I fear change. (In this regard, anyway.) Nor am I making some kind of statement by wearing the same clothes for years. When I am gifted new clothing, I am perfectly capable of liking something new. (Indeed much of my new clothing over the years has been from other people. Which I will then wear for years after the fact.) But as I said, if something is working, I don't tend to go out of my way to change it for the sake of change. I don't know what it says about me. I don't have a diagnosis. And in some areas I very much long for variety. Yet in other areas, like clothing, food, to a large extent music, I just don't change often.

Many people do. Most, in fact. When I tell people I have listened to some of the same albums since I was seven years old, or that the shirt I am wearing has been around for five years, they think I am joking. Once they believe me, they explain how they would feel trapped if they did that. They extol the importance of "remaking" themselves. Getting new shirts, pants, dresses, hats, albums, diets, (in rare cases, boyfriends...) every two months or so. Not to mix in with their old stuff, but to replace it. My mind spins at the idea of having to get used to a new wardrobe every eight weeks. And getting rid of the old music to which I listen would be impossible. Even as I do discover new music periodically, and embrace it.

Change for its own sake. It's not usually my thing.

Though this week I have done it a bit, believe it or not. As I mentioned the other day, I am going to have to move into my mother's home for awhile again. But I have spent the last few days painting that bedroom. The same room I lived in for years during college. (The same room that looked of course mostly the same for years.) I up and decided to paint it. Totally different color. A light greenish, which they say stimulates reading and writing, by the way. I also plan to have different furniture in there when I move back in. Same space, different room. Perhaps being away from it for these years has made me less attached to it. As has the fact that it has been several things in my absence. Or perhaps I am just ready for something new in this crossroads era of my life. The room will hopefully reflect more of what I am now.

This is a big decision for a guy who is not always demonstrative outside of his writing. And there is little fear of me becoming the guy who never wears the same shirt twice. I'll always be content to leave some things the same far beyond the point that others think I should. Yet a little paint, and a lot less stuff in a space may just be the catalyst for a perspective shift that I quite need in the coming months. We will see.

How often to you change the outward expressions of yourself?

Thursday, November 3, 2011

A Crucible of Comfort

November is to be a month of uprooting for me, though I have known about the impending changes for some time. I have hesitated to make a point of blogging about them, but have decided putting it out there may help illuminate the positive sides of some of the impending disappointment.

I have lived in this apartment for over three years now. It was intended as a stop gap measure until something better could come along. Until my writing was solid. Until I had some money saved up. I have never especially liked living here, and have for at least the last year wanted very much to leave this place.

I will be doing so, but only so as to move in with my mother for a while. I am not proud of this, as you can imagine, but the depressing fact is that the money is not there. Not from writing. Not from any kind of side job. Not from anywhere. This place is a dump, but I can no longer even afford that.

Plenty of you that have read what I write or tweet will without a doubt conclude that the reasons I have not been able to support myself totally is because I didn't want it enough, or that I didn't establish a personal brand. That I use Blogger instead of Wordpress. That I am an introvert. That I haven't made up my mind to just positive think my problems and obstacles away. I haven't made the effort each day to step outside of my comfort zone and be scared. I don't network enough, and when i do I don't do it properly.

That insulting and inaccurate list goes on and on. None of it being applicable. But to those who apply it to myself and to others who have not met their goals, you cannot be convinced otherwise anyway, so there is no point in my attempting it. Circumstances, and not my lack of drive are responsible for this particular failure.

And it is a failure. It is at least the 11th or 12th timed life goal that I have set for myself in adulthood that I have been unable to reach. (Moving out of here under my own power by the time I did so, to a place of my choosing.) If I think about it too much, I will spiral into a depressive state which can be of no use to anyone. Yet I will not pretend that the anger and sadness isn't there. It is. I cannot, once again, make any fucking thing work.

My biggest fear at this point is that living with my mother in her home will remove any spirit that is left in me to continue doing the things I do. The novel, this blog, the freelancing, (if you can call making a few hundred dollars a year freelancing.) I fear that once I move back in there, the final blow will have been struck to my desires to improve myself, and after a long string of failures comes into sharper focus, the awful clarity of the situation will reveal that I am simply not cut out to succeed. That I will sit in my room, and come out for dinner, and nothing more.

This worrisome descent is of course not my plan. It is not what I want. And despite the potential for crippling self doubt at this point, I will follow the advice of many of you out there as far as I can. I will look at this situation and evaluate what could be made to work in my favor. I won't give a comprehensive list of what opportunities this may entail within the darkness, but I will point out a few things, so as to keep this post balanced for you "think positive" types.

For one thing, I will be getting rid of a lot of shit. I don't own that much to begin with, but if I am going to live in a room instead of in my own place, now is the perfect time to cut back on the sheer amount of matter for which I am responsible. I estimate that if all goes well, I will posses on third less material than I do at present by the time I complete the move. Less is more.

That applies to mental stuff as well. If a person can only process so many things in their brain at any one time, then the less mental energy and stress I spend on maintaining an apartment and finding desperate ways to afford same, the more of my brain will be freed up to dedicate to writing and creating. Part of me feels that I have never felt truly free to delve completely into my writing, from both a creative and business angle. Reducing my universe to a smaller entity with fewer outside distractions may help me at last determine what the miss X Factor has been. An even more minimalist approach to my daily existence.

I may even be able to become one of those reclusive writers that becomes so absorbed in the nature of what he is writing, and for whom, that he has no need for anything else very often. My life reduced to a dark room, books, tea, and ideas. I come out to shave once a month, and do what networking I need to do online, (as usual) until such time as I need to go do an interview or meet a publisher or something. I don't know exactly how that stereotype works, but if becoming it would help my writing, I am all for it.

It can be a convenient rebooting point, (assuming I don't get swallowed by depression.) With a new surrounding will come a new perspective that is ripe for an altered approach to things. In theory I can use the change of venue and pace to view what i am doing differently, and perhaps come up with something more effective.

Then there are the more practical things. I will no longer live within a block of an ambulance, fire and police station, each with their own sirens that go off 30 times a day.

I have no idea what the future will hold in this move. I was talking to a friend of mine on the phone the other day, and she put it this way. "Do you really have any choice but to succeed?" I saw her point, but the scary thing is, that won't help matters if I can't get the job done. I may need to succeed in the new environment in order to survive and to change things, but just because I need to, that doesn't mean I will be able to. People fail to get what they need all the time...

Yet I may find myself, at least for a while, in what I am calling a Crucible of Comfort. Wherein certain pressures and worries will be removed from my daily life, thus necessitating and even greater focus upon that which I am built to do. Write. Act. Create. Once moved in, I may face the truest test of them all in regards to my goals about writing. I will have literally nothing else to think about, and nowhere else to go. If I can't make it work under those conditions, I may not be doing the right thing.

In any case, I plan to hit the ground running. I want to be moved out of here by Thanksgiving Day. As soon as I am there, I want to begin rearranging the way I do things. Simplifying. Maybe hiring someone eventually to offer some suggestions. Build a new website. I don't even know all of what I will do yet. But I won't be tarrying. I cannot afford to do so.

Thoughts? Advice?