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Epiphanies can linger if you let them

Epiphanies can linger if you let them. Again, as we all will have and will endure, I suffered a great and sudden loss. A woman I grew up with, a second mother type figure, passed away today. She was a lot younger than anyone should be content with dying at and she wasn’t known to be suffering from any life threatening illness until one day she was diagnosed with a developed stage of cancer and within three days (ending today) she was dead.

Now the past few days have hurt. I’m thousands of miles away in another country, I can’t go to her side and even if I could she was comatose and so whether she heard me or not would have been debatable. She knew I cared for her and my family loved her but repeating that message would serve me more rather than her. She had more goals, more aspirations, more hopes… But the metaphorical plug was pulled and that was that.

Epiphanies can linger if you let them

As with everyone’s experience, when a death occurs you realize and understand how finite and short life is. A friend of mine texted me back with “It can be” when I stated that. No, it’s not can, it is. Immortality is fiction. We are here for just a blip and yes, it’s what we do with that time that matters, but if you’re me or billions of others, that epiphany exists for a short period around such tragedy. We then revert back into our routines of behaviour, habit, hope and insane repetition, always hoping for a more rewarding tomorrow but never quite pushing the areas that need that extra shove and stagnating at the hope until the epiphany repeats itself with another example of our ticking clocks, only to forget them again.

I’m not interested in forgetting this epiphany, I intend to wallow in it. Forever. I don’t want to keep reaching that “Ah ha! Oh yes, I forgot” moment, I want to utilize it to force myself into shape and I’m doing so. Now. Today. You can too. Remember the pain of what you lost and find ways to make the here and now as amazing as they can be. Never withhold telling someone you care for them or love them that you do. One day it will be too late and then you won’t have the opportunity to do so.

Remember the cliche, which has plenty of truth, “Give people the flowers while they’re still around to smell them.” And carpe diem. Todos los días.

Also, remember the fantastic quote attributed to Sam Harris; “Wisdom is taking your own advice.” That means if you’re always complaining about someone or something, you know what to do. Action a change. Time is finite.

Death serves as a reminder for you to utilize your time here, not squander it arguing. Use it to propel you to get where you want to go.

Daily quote:

“Kindness is as important as knowledge.” Megan Smith

*** Like most things online it’s hard to say whether these quotes originate with the person they’re attributed to. Regardless, they’re a tool to hopefully inspire you and so does it matter as much as the point the words convey?

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Two weeks is a long time

I argued with a friend recently that I thought two weeks was ample time to make a significant change in your life. They responded that it wasn’t. I tried to break it down into the potential free hours a person could have and illustrate that two weeks is a long time, more than enough to take you from where you currently are to where you want to be heading. Again, they argued.

You, dear reader, or fair-weather reader, can take this in for a moment. How often have you perceived two weeks as being a long time to wait? Probably not a huge amount unless you’re still south of thirty, but even then, if you’re missing someone or something or in anticipation, you feel that length of time and how vast it is.

Now take for example a stereotypical or “traditional” work week in the western hemisphere. Yes, salaries alter what that typically means, but for now let’s ignore professions like law, medicine and the film industry and look at the tried and true, overly referenced, 40 hour work week.

Two weeks is a long time

Viewing a person’s life in this manner, you’ve got your “standard” eight hour day, with let’s say an hour’s worth of breaks, a commute there and back (which could be of any length) and sleep. If you’re in a relationship or have children, you likely have other commitments on top. But beyond that, you have I’m hoping a good one or two hours a day you can commit to entering towards your goal or aim. You may need to sacrifice certain things, defer a load of laundry for a little while or not watch the latest episode of whatever show you’re enjoying, but think of how many hours you could possibly apply to getting yourself corrected and starting or completing whatever you need to.

Looking at it with digits

Conservatively that two weeks would amount to 14-28 hours of free time if you’re working daily. If you’re working five days a week, that could be expanded to 46 if you have two free days per week where the time was re-allocated to whatever you’re trying to do. Add two hours to both of those days and squeeze all you can out of that time and that’s 50 potential hours including your work and commitments you could utilize over a two week period to literally anything you desire to.

I’ll also imagine that you’ve got a ton of commitments in a professional field. Try to view the challenge to make changes or improvements as a short effort over a fortnight (not to be confused with that relatively successful game, “Fortnite”). The word is literally derived from old english for fourteen nights.

What you can do with a fortnight

Attempt to dedicate fourteen nights to incrementally go towards your goal (yes, that’s vague, but you can insert whatever you want to achieve or do in place of “goal”).

It’s often stated that it takes 21 days to form a habit, but I’ve also read some people say that it takes just 15 and variations between that. If it is 21, you’ll have gone through two thirds, if it’s five you’ll have covered it nearly thrice over. Make time work for you. It doesn’t slow down and it doesn’t bend according to your hopes that it may, but it can be harnessed and those two clusters of seven days can easily help you wherever you want to go.

Never underestimate the value of compounding and how your efforts towards your goal are vital. Do nothing, nothing changes. Do a little every day and you’ll surprise yourself with the volume of progress you can reach extremely quickly.

Be selfish briefly, focus on your goal.

Don’t worry, it’s not the end of the world if you don’t allocate the time to achieve your dreams. If you don’t, they just won’t happen and that’s fine. Isn’t it?

Two weeks is a long time if you make use of it and don’t allow yourself to be dragged down by people’s negative action and negative people.

Daily quote:

“Of all lies, art is the least untrue.” Flaubert

*** Like most things online it’s hard to say whether these quotes originate with the person they’re attributed to. Regardless, they’re a tool to hopefully inspire you and so does it matter as much as the point the words convey?

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blogs

Why as an artist you should be applying for arts grants

In any country that has them, but this is something that more artists than I can count either decide that they can go without or they solely aren’t aware of it. Either that, or they simply believe it’s a mind-bending prospect to write a simple proposal. It’s not.

Why as an artist you should be applying for arts grants

1. The world functions around the exchange of money for goods and services and while the idea of being a starving artist may seem romantic from the outside, being one and enjoying that journey you’ll soon find isn’t. A roof over your head and food in your stomach matter. It’s not that complicated of a concept.

2. Governments globally understand the healing power of art and the need for a society to expand their minds/escape. They offer these grants as part of their budgets, so why not throw in your hat?

3. A proposal isn’t as hard as it seems and if it doesn’t end up paying out to you, what have you lost? Some wasted time arguing with a loved one? A few more episodes to binge watch? It doesn’t take long to give a grant proposal a try.

The problem a lot of younger people assume is that they’ll be denied, this seems to have such an impact the people don’t even try.

What becomes a revelation is when you pass a certain age and these grants are no longer applicable, a situation I’ve now encountered. I’m a tad regretful of this, but I accept it. I kept warning myself of the constraints of time, but didn’t actually take heed of my own warnings and the years passed with distractions of different forms, as you’d expect, and I just didn’t. However, there are many available to me. Many which I shall apply for. My advice is that you should be applying for any and all categories that you qualify for. It’s not hard to see the reasoning behind why as an artist you should be applying for arts grants, it’s obvious.

Daily inspirational quote:
“Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.” Theodore Roosevelt

*** Like most things online it’s hard to say whether these quotes originate with the person they’re attributed to. Regardless, they’re a tool to hopefully inspire you and so does it matter as much as the point the words convey?

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blogs

Why waste time comparing yourself?

One of my main problems also was the fact that I wanted to compare to my more successful but now estranged friends. We hadn’t fallen out just moved in different directions and to different places. But since moving countries I put a lot of stock in how they were and to a degree, I suppose, pined for the time missed and the accomplishments I saw them achieve from afar. I asked myself, “Why waste time comparing yourself?” Because that’s what I seemed to keep holding myself back by doing.

I later started hearing great quotes like “Comparison is the death of joy,” and it made a ton of sense. Nobody has had your life. From your childhood, to your family, to your tastes, to your sense of self. You’re unique. Yes, organ wise and overall you’re likely a human (or a robot, this is being posted on a website), but your experiences, even when close to someone else’s, are entirely unique. So are your stages in life. When you’re ready or something happens to you, it’s not a milestone for anyone but you. It’s important to recognize that. We do have limitations in our days; physical and health constraints primarily influence those, but even they can be controlled to a certain degree if you eat well and exercise regularly.

We also tend to only compare our life situations in the Facebook era to how our friends, family and acquaintances are doing in life. Often ignoring them showcasing primarily things which happen positively and are brag worthy. But if you were to compare yourself to someone wrongfully imprisoned or a cancer victim in their teens… The notion that comparing yourself is beneficial is ridiculous. Judge yourself on how you feel about yourself and see what you need to fix or improve for you to be happy. Those acquaintances portraying a great life may have monkeys on their back that they will never disclose.

Sometimes you’re doing alright. Gain some perspective on where you actually are in life and who you can depend on, evaluate who you are as a person and what you can do to improve your life and others. If you’re not where you want to be, that’s when you need to start employing changes.

Why waste time comparing yourself?

And don’t let your time be wasted. Know when other people are wasting it. Informing them of that isn’t the smartest idea, instead know yourself and let them know know you’ve currently got too much on your plate. Don’t end up somewhere resenting your minutes being spent where you don’t want to be and don’t feel appreciated.

Daily inspirational quote:
“You cannot start the next chapter of your life if you keep re-reading the last one.” Michael McMillan

*** Like most things online it’s hard to say whether these quotes originate with the person they’re attributed to. Regardless, they’re a tool to hopefully inspire you and so does it matter as much as the point the words convey?

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blogs

Which is better? Day drunk or night drunk?

Which is better? Day drunk or night drunk?

There used to be a term known as the “working lunch,” one which I’m still impressed existed based on how alcohol can affect me.

Deeth stands off to the side watching their interaction.
EMILY: Have you tried the cherry?
MALE STRANGER: No, is it good?

EMILY: Absolutely delicious. I don’t usually go for flavoured yoghurt, I like to get the plain and add fruit, but it’s so tasty.
She walks over to Deeth, doing his best to keep a lid on his simmering anger.
DEETH: What the fuck was that?

EMILY: What was what?
DEETH: With that guy?
EMILY: What? The yoghurt?
DEETH: Fine, yeah, the fucking yoghurt.
EMILY: I recommended a flavour.
DEETH: You work for the fucking yoghurt company now?
EMILY: No, but —

DEETH: Then come up with better reasons to talk to strange fucking men. Don’t you dare disrespect me like that again.
EMILY: I’m sorry, I…
INT. NORMAN’S BEDROOM – THE DRAKEFORD HOME
Martin is watching a movie with Norman. Blaise enters the bedroom.
BLAISE: Have you done your homework, Marty?
MARTIN: Why?
BLAISE: Because I’m asking.

MARTIN: What does it matter to you?
BLAISE: I’m your father and I’m asking you. Have you done it?
MARTIN: Really, Dad? You’re telling me I have to do homework? When’s the last time you went to work?
BLAISE: Excuse me?
MARTIN: You haven’t made a movie since Mom died. It’s lazy. Stop using her as an excuse.
BLAISE: Don’t be so disrespectful.

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blogs

Nobody has the answers and unless we make huge advances in science they never will.

Let’s get one thing straight. Nobody has the answers and unless we make huge advances in science they never will. That’s a great starting point for us all to be aware of.

If you’re like me, you identify with the demographic of westerners in their 30’s. If not, obviously the same doesn’t apply but hopefully some of this advice will resonate.

People assume that there’s a predetermined path of how we should live our lives and that if we don’t, if we falter of veer away from what’s expected, that’s offensive, that’s tragic. It’s not.

Most people watch the news, indulge in some form of social media or watch something that presents the ideal nuclear family-esque life and while in many ways that looks wonderful. Arguably it’s not always what it’s cracked up to be. We all have issues, we all have problems, but we don’t allow the world in to understand that. Depression and pain aren’t sexy. Breakdowns, money worries etc. hardly inspire the masses. But they are real, and they are unpredictable.

Comparing isn’t helpful. Stop it.

What you need to do is to stop making comparisons using yourself as some sort of simple metric whereby if you’re not doing as well as a friend or an acquaintance, you’re inferior. You’re not. Your path, your set of choices, your life, all of that matters in its own right. Whether you find your story boring or inspirational is subjective. If people can enjoy music you think is absolute trash, why wouldn’t they necessarily be able to find your life intriguing and or amazing? There’s something you’ve done or will do that no matter how small it may appear, could be monumental. Keep putting yourself out there. Act like Chumbawumba and get up again.

Michael has the answers. He has a million dollars and three kids

Good for Michael. He’s the exception. Now move on. I’ve already told you that nobody has the answers and unless we make huge advances in science they never will. So stop ignoring me.

Also, while you’re at it, entertain yourself with some cool trivia by purchasing Brewer’s Dictionary of Phrase and Fable book. It actually does contain the answers you’re looking for with questions you never knew you wanted answered.

Daily quote:

“They showed you who they were the previous year, don’t get amnesia this year.”

*** Like most things online it’s hard to say whether these quotes originate with the person they’re attributed to. Regardless, they’re a tool to hopefully inspire you and so does it matter as much as the point the words convey?

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blogs

Cutting yourself off from distractions

Cutting yourself off from distractions is the first step any internet savvy and loving individual must be aware to take yourself further. In order to meet my goal, I’ve decided to go on a social media and news restricted diet. I adore both, but they tend to soak up a huge amount of my free time and thus the only times I’ll be really using both will be to strategically further my plan to get in the black and get my life back on track. In my mind there’s nothing wrong with the term “engagement” as a metric to track how websites perform. It’s legitimate and makes sense. But depending on your goal, that term should be labelled “distraction” because your attention can only be placed in one area at one particular time.

How can you start cutting yourself off from distractions?

Start monitoring where you spend the majority of your time and from there determine what’s your best system. Some people can eliminate them altogether, for others it’s slowly phasing out or rationing. Keep a record of when you spend time on distractions and for how long. Eventually, hopefully, you’ll be taken aback by the time you’ve spent elsewhere and concentrate it upon where you should.

Place bets with friends, or give yourself ultimatums and deadlines. Use whatever you can to convince yourself. Remove things you enjoy, just follow something that will shock you into changing your own behaviour.

Addictive personalities

As you grow older you start to truly discover who you really are. And when you’re honest with yourself about your flaws and your faults you can start to address them. It’s often hard to see them at first, but as you grow you discover them. I’m aware of mine, especially with regards to distractions. I fall into them with ease often and so my personality tends to be an all or nothing at all approach. I do indulge every so often to satisfy the craving, but it tends to affirm what I thought about it being a problem – whatever the distraction is isn’t as great as the goal I have.

How to focus

You must determine your own rhythms and habits. Is isolation from distractions the key, or are you able to control your habits?

Airplane mode and solitude are great. Control and discipline. The understanding of what you can or cannot do to help a situation. If you’re worried about someone or something happening, are you the best go to or are the authorities? Can you provide the help needed?

Things must change in order to improve. Sometimes you have to disconnect from things you enjoy in order to further your aspirations.

The one guarantee in life is that things will not just get easier. People will get sick, nothing will be predictable. That’s why you have to put yourself in as good a position as possible, tell the people you love that you love them and view this life as a challenge that can be met.

If you actually starve yourself from the time distractions that social media provides, you’ll realize you’ve really not missed out on much. Whatever your focus, have that remain at the forefront of your mind and your goals. Most news isn’t something that will propel you forwards. While it’s important to remain informed, it’s more important to remain on the path to maintain your sights on what will take you and those you care about into a better position.

Distractions hold you back and end up a rabbit hole.

Cutting yourself off from distractions isn’t only a social media based maxim. It also extends to the wonderful world’s of YouTube, Netflix, Amazon Prime Video etc. Anything that soaks up more time than you can afford.

News media (both television and print) can also further send you down the path of concentrating your time on less important things.

Daily quote:

“The only safe thing is to take a chance.” Mike Nichols

*** Like most things online it’s hard to say whether these quotes originate with the person they’re attributed to. Regardless, they’re a tool to hopefully inspire you and so does it matter as much as the point the words convey?

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Books

Use Your Years book

As cited in the Use Your Years book, B991: Alright. Next time we see each other is the conference room. Confirm and fold.
One by one the group break away from each other with discreet nods before leaving the area and walking away to either a respective car or leaving the parking lot altogether.

INT. EL BURRITO BULL
Marko and Lara are seated opposite one another consuming burritos.
MARKO: Best restaurant in this city, hands down.
(beat)
We should bring Ivanka and JP next time. Maybe Mireille.
Marko takes a large mouthful and chews through Lara’s reaction.
LARA: Ivanka and JP, yes. Mireille? Fuck her. I’m done trying.

Use Your Years book

INT. STOCKROOM – EL BURRITO BULL

Luisa double checks her fridge and freezer inventory, both storage units are packed, covered by icy walls that emit a beautiful scarf trail of cold air when the doors are opened.

INT. LOCAL INDEPENDENT COFFEE SHOP

Disguised in shades and a low worn baseball cap, Blaise sheepishly stands by the bar waiting for his latte to be made. He can’t stop himself from staring at the assorted female chests and tries to correct his vision when he notices he has been ogling the BARISTA’s for too long.

He feels his phone vibrate, it’s Emilio. He silences the vibration after reading the caller ID he’d input, “Emilio – annoying producer.”

BARISTA: Mike?
Nodding and grabbing the drink, Blaise begins to walk off.
BLAISE: Thanks.
A COFFEE DRINKER fan notices Blaise and after nudging her FRIEND about who he guy is, approaches him.

Kindness matters. “Take a cup of kindness now for auld lang’s syne.”

“The secret to your success is found in your daily routine.” John C. Maxwell

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Books

The Get Rich or File For Bankruptcy book

The Get Rich or File For Bankruptcy book. Unless you’re in the position you want to be in, you don’t want to allow yourself to become comfortable in a situation you don’t appreciate. How many years become too many to perpetually just manage to make ends meet? Mentioned in the Get Rich, or File For Bankruptcy book, yes, the small things matter, but your life’s goals and ambitions do more. If you continually stay in the region of “just getting by” where your debts seem to push you further and further down, you must find a way to excel or simply restart.

A994: I tried too. I don’t know.
B998: There’s no way of knowing if it is a set up or genuinely focused on the cause.
A997: (incensed) Are you fucking stupid? It’s obviously a set up. This is clearly a precursor to capture anyone reading it.
B998: You all can’t be so naive. The cause comes first, this is blatantly entrapment.

A BARELY AWAKE FATHER pushes his TODDLER in his trolley towards the group. They notice and immediately back away from one another, trying to convey they’re strangers. He doesn’t notice. As he reaches the trolley rank he takes his toddler out of the trolley, grabs his coin for returning it and heads to his car. They then slowly reconvene.

Get Rich or File For Bankruptcy book

A991: No. This is the change we need. I like the way it’s laid out. The writing is smart, the ideas are smart. It’s sound and it’s feasible. It would couple perfectly with what we’ve been developing.

A993: Right, as long as it’s synchronized it’s fool proof.
A997: That’s not the point. Even to the simplest of us, you don’t smell a rat? It just being laid out there for all to see? If we have access, so does the world.

A BUSINESS WOMAN in a rush darts into the group, nudging past to grab a trolley. The group fall silent until she clears the area.

A993: It won’t be followed to the “t.” We’ll modify as we see fit and spread that through the networks.
B998 and A997 are appalled that this is even slightly being considered. It’s insanity. Planning an attack because of a couple of well written posts?

Daily inspirational quote:
“Nothing is more dangerous than an idea, when a man has only one idea.” Alain, Propos sur la religion

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Books

The Afflatus book

The Afflatus book. What does “afflatus” mean? Afflatus: divine creative impulse or inspiration. 90 day sprint.

INT. B991’S BEDROOM
B991 reads The afflatus book while he visits the website and comes across Mireille’s posts on the “Death of Expertise” and how to “Live like the Egyptians.” He reads it in its entirety and notices the post is closed for commenting. It’s invaluable in its insights. Inspired, he writes down the long and complicated url by hand twenty times and cuts it into small pieces of paper.

The Afflatus Book

INT. FAST FOOD RESTAURANT 2
Sipping on a coffee and using a cloaked back-end method on his laptop, B991 tries his best to trace where the posts originate.

INT. MISCELLANEOUS COFFEE SHOP
Repeating his efforts in the fast food restaurant, B991 continues his quest to find the source of the posts.

INT. MIREILLE’S STUDIO APARTMENT

In awe that her backdoor efforts have now worked, she accelerates and hones her plans.

“To forgive is human, to forget divine.” James Grand

Categories
Books

The Protean book

The Protean book. What does protean mean? Examples… A remarkably protean composer: versatile, adaptable, flexible, all-around, multifaceted, multitalented, many-sided. The Protean book details inspiration around this word.

EXT. SKATE PARK
Various young and teenaged SKATEBOARDERS attempt tricks and mess around on their boards. Martin has brought along his little brother to teach him how to skateboard.
Martin attempts to calm Norman’s nerves walking backwards, coaxing his brother along. His forearms act as safety bars for Norman to rely on initially to glide on the board.

MARTIN: Good, very good. Don’t be nervous, if you fall you’ll be fine, at worst you’ll scrape a knee. You can handle that. You’re not a boy, you’re a man!
Martin stops and encourages Norman to release his forearms before he walks away, hoping to proudly watch his younger brother progress by himself.

Norman starts from a distance and kicks along with his right foot to gain speed. He quickly forces himself to stop, clearly discouraged and afraid.

The Protean book

MARTIN: You have to get both feet on and skate, Norm! Don’t be afraid, you’ll be fine.
(beat)
Watch me. I’ll show you, it’s easy. Just takes practice.
Attempting to show off, Martin runs over to where Norman started and in the same fashion gets some speed going. Once fast enough, he puts up his other foot and glides along, jumping up on a curb and taking off to do a kickflip.

“When I worked on my first project, Nostalgia, Ultra, I hardly told anyone. Even people I was working with at the time didn’t know about it. There’s something that happens when you say what you’re doing before it’s done, and most of it is not positive.” Frank Ocean

What do you need to know about “The Protean” or protean books?