In the right place at the right time…

Coffeeshops ??????? part networking, part addiction, and not just to caffeine. What is it really? The addiction to the solitude of plugging in your laptop, sipping a chai or macchiato, nibbling a scone and interacting with yourself. The perfect place to hone your ability to write in peace and be productive while being totally distracted.

I went to Starbuck????????s late yesterday afternoon for a meeting. I had planned on getting their earlier but, having a four year old, that doesn????????t always figure into the equation. Instead I arrived on time after having gotten a call from the person I was to meet saying she????????d gotten there early (she doesn????????t have kids) and was waiting outside because it was packed. The packed part came as no shock. Starbuck????????s is the home away from home for so many of us at times. The fact that any place would allow you to partially ???????move in??????? as you unpack all your gear in their shop is always a plus. Goes along with being able to sit on the floor in the aisle of your local Barnes & Noble.

After the meeting, which went well, I decided to go inside and snag one of the three highly coveted, overstuffed comfy chairs in the corner and take up residence for a couple hours of writing. I set up, went to the counter and bought my tall Vanilla latte, eyed the butterfly cookies. I decided my sweet tooth was partially dormant for once so I behaved and, drink in hand, returned to my little nesting area and began to write. Mid-sentence I ran into a friend I????????d not seen in a while, a regular at the local Improv show. We chatted pleasantly a few minutes, discussed her new show she was rehearsing for at Civic Theatre, promised to catch up, exchanged current info and hugged our miss you????????s and goodbyes.

It????????s funny. At home if I am interrupted while I am working I have a hard time getting my focus back. There, in the middle of one of the most active places in the city, I have no problem at all. Is it because I know how to drown it all out? Or is it that I expect to be interrupted so I????????m more flexible. I think it is a little of both.

I settled back in and started writing again. A young woman, with a smile that instantly warms you and draws you in, came over to a table nearby and joined into a conversation about the Trans-Siberian Orchestra (how we couldn????????t believe that someone had never heard of them) without missing a beat. She immediately made me feel comfortable, like I had known her all my life and just hadn????????t seen her in a long time. I heard her mention to a friend that she????????d gotten into doing Mary Kay and I waited expecting the normal sales pitch. I was pleasantly surprised and scolded myself for being so negative as we both sat quietly working at our laptops after the music discussion and laughter had subsided, TSO????????s music still playing in our heads.

You know me, I????????m a ???????motor-mouth??????? and have never been one to let the opportunity to meet someone pass. It????????s how I am, how I network, how I make friends. I struck up a conversation on ??????? I don????????t even remember now on what ??????? and we happily talked for about two hours. As it turns out she is very much a kindred spirit, another artist and someone I have already begun to play muse to as she needs more outlets for her work. She has some amazing black & white contrast pieces that I am hoping to help her get out around town more and online. She and I both enjoy being creative and working with all kinds of media though primarily pen and ink. Neither one of us is afraid of art and like to dig in and get our hands dirty.

An acquaintance of hers came in and she introduced me. After another hour????????s worth of banter between the three of us I wrote down my information for the two of them, we all ended up exchanging numbers, and then finally had to say my goodbyes. She stood and hugged me which, by this time, I had expectedly welcomed and we made promises to get together after our hectic weeks.

Every once in a while, being in the right place at the right time rewards me with a new lifelong friend.

Dance like no one is watching…

A post from Veerle today made me think of what advice I would offer my child. My daughter just turned four and as a responsible mother, an alert mother, I’m concerned about the world she is growing up in…

Make time for friends. Make time for your self.

Go to museums and art galleries. Look closely at how things are made, the composition of things.

Reverse engineer. Figure things out.

Listen to the stories your grandparents and the elderly have. Those who have experienced life longer know more; it may not always be right for your life but you should show them the respect they have earned. They have fought their own battles and you could learn something worthwhile.

Smile.

Find at least one positive thing about EVERY situation, even if it is bad, because it could always be worse.

Dance like no one is watching. Be silly about it.

Always tell people how you feel. Be up front and honest but always tactful and compassionate.

Love with your whole heart even if you have been hurt before. Never make the next person pay for the last person’s mistakes. Each person has their own way of doing things. Follow your heart and love them unconditionally. Pay attention to how they treat you … if it’s bad, leave … if it’s good, take notes because that is how they want to be treated too.

Never start a fight but always know how to end one. Always try verbally first but if someone takes a swing at you use their own action against them. Momentum is a good thing.

When defending yourself, don’t hesitate to use anything and everything you can get your hands on. A shoe can be a weapon, keys, anything you can grab quickly. Scream “FIRE!” to draw attention and always yell “NO!” Be afraid enough to respect the situation but don’t let fear make you a coward. Be strong and take action. Use your mind.

Never trust a religious leader who is opposed to dancing.

Laugh, even if people tell you that you laugh too much. Laughing reduces stress. Never laugh at someone else’s expense. Laugh at yourself though, never take yourself too seriously.

Express yourself through art, singing, writing … anything you can do even if you don’t think you do it well. Never be afraid to try and never give up if it is something you really want to be good at. If one way doesn’t work, try another.

More to come …

The US is taking over the world

Wired News posted a very interesting article. Though I am a US citizen, I have always tried to keep a somewhat non-ecocentric view of things. I admittedly find this article very disturbing.

An experiment in frustration

Recently found this through another blog. A designer’s exit project from a University in Germany; it is not a research company and states as such in the imprint at bottom right.

[ http://www.dontclick.it/ ]

The site is VERY well done; well thought out and accurately executed. I wouldn’t even attempt to try to code something like that for several reasons; my main two reasons being that I found the site to be stressful and not aesthetically pleasing.

Being an artist I like interactivity on a different level, my senses. I like a site that I can sink all of my senses into like a good story. I like being able to visualize what the author is trying to tell me. I like being comfortable or inspired by the graphic elements. I am drawn to use of color, typography and content.

Personal Opinion: Dontclickit … an amazing concept and thorough content but it makes me never want to go back to it.

I went through the whole site with a conscious stream of “DON’T CLICK!” running in my head which didn’t allow me to fully enjoy the site. I got through the whole site without clicking, like most people I’m sure, until you were asked in a section called “Crowdshout” to enter your name, email and a message that gets displayed on the site. I clicked to edit a portion of my message, a mispelled word, and an annoying static screen scolded me for a full 10 seconds about my clicking. I went through the rest of the site after posting my little note.

Before leaving the site I composed an email to the author of the site with kudos and feedback. I went to edit again, mistakenly clicked, got scolded and was returned to find my whole message gone. Disregarding my first instinct to close out the site, I sent him a short note with kudos, and recommended that he fix the erasure problem. I also let him know I wouldn’t be back.

So the question is … why am I linking to his site if I found it so annoying?

Answer.

An amazing concept that shouldn’t be missed.

If nothing else it will make you realize just how much you like to click and how easy we have it. I think the clicking, almost a Pavlovian response, is similar to a book collector’s addiction symptoms. As an avid collector of antique books, it is the feel of the paper, the smell of the book, the look of the fonts .. the aesthetics … that are the draw.

Oh, and as a society if we find something that really irritates us or grosses us out we always have the urge to share it with those we love. Can’t fight human nature.