Using Social Media as a Launching Pad as a Creative

I’ve noticed over the last few years that I have been more and more prone to use posts on social media as a jumping off platform for Transcendence Diaries entries. As I was typing the above I remembered that long before the advent of Facebook Tumblr and Twitter, I was already using these Diaries as a means to communicate regularly with people — though it started out as a social experiment in the very beginning, it very soon became a place to vent, keep track of thoughts feelings and ideas, or just keep friends and fans informed of the latest. Very similar to what we use social media for now.

Remember that it wasn’t too long ago that I posted an entry warning people not to lose track of themselves and their potential great works of art or brilliance in social media — that for all its benefits, social media could very well zap your greatest works by sucking them into the limited confines of a newsfeed that quickly disappears forever; for not only does the newsfeed itself disappear quickly — and therefore your potential audience, but people’s attention is also greatly limited when on social media. Notice how difficult it is to elicit a response from others when posting something sincerely important, let alone just interesting; in other words, wanna tell the world what you had for dinner? Fine, do it on Facebook. But if you’re really attempting to say something, best save it for your next book or at least a blog.

That was a few years ago, and for me that was a big wake up call. Noticing that the decreasing quantity of entries here was almost commensurate with the increasing quantity of posts made to social media. It’s an easy trap to get into, with the lure of all that instant gratification one imagines they may receive from all the potential attention they might get out of hanging out and being seen or saying something noteworthy publicly. But it’s a trap, a lifesuck to be sure. I wouldn’t waste a brain cell on it. And yet we do have a genuine desire to connect with both friends and our audience, to not be a total hermit. (And while we’re on it, there’s nothing worse than someone who outsources their social media excursions to some third party hack or organization that promises they’ll “continuously engage with your fans in a meaningful way so that you can keep doing what you do best”. Yeah, we tried it. It doesn’t work. Your fans don’t want to read randomly generated crap from a 22 year old grad student who believes she’s a “new media” mogul nor from an automated meme generator. They want to connect with YOU. And they can tell when it is you and when it isn’t.

For me the solution came slowly but organically and that’s what made it work out so well and taste so good. I noticed that the immediacy of instantly expressing one’s self via Facebook or Quora or Twitter had it’s advantages in terms of the creative spark it elicits in us; there’s a certain excitement in the wow of being able to personally express ourselves so readily and publicly that we really don’t get from anything else in our day to day lives — it does something to our creative juices, inspires us in a way, that we don’t necessarily feel from any other form of personal expression. Not even blog posts. And certainly not working on a book or a screenplay where it may be months or years before what you’re working on sees the light of day let alone someone else’s eyes.

(As hard as this might be for some to believe — due to this recent wave of anti-smart-phone obsession that’s hit the fringes lately, proclaiming that people are spending too much time inside their phones as opposed to being present in the here-now of what’s happening all around them in the real world — some people don’t realize that other people just don’t have a lot going on outside of their smart phones (as sad as that might seem to some… it’s not really sad; it just is…) so being inside their phones is actually more social, more exciting and more satisfying than putting it down or attempting to take one of those new age “technology breaks” that have become all the rage with the Oprah/yoga/vegan/raw foods crowd. They fail to realize that even personal one on one interactions with many or most people in our lives still may not be as exhilarating as interacting with the people we connect with regularly using social media — at least for SOME people. Frankly I don’t as of yet at least see anything wrong with this fact. Sure it’s weird. But so was the car compared to the horse and buggy and so too were talking pictures compared to the silent ones. The point is that social media posting sparks us in a way that almost nothing else does. And that power can be harnessed. Just don’t waste it all there.)

When I feel inspired to post something or comment on something, i do it. I let it rip. No matter what it’s about and even if it soon turns into a five page rambling essay much too long for a social media post. If at the end of it I feel that it’s still relevant or worthy I hit Enter. Why not? It’s better than more pictures of cats and babies. Most of the time it’s fine. Occasionally it’s length or quirkiness (people aren’t used to intelligent social media posts; they’re considered quirky at best, annoying by most) clogs the airwaves and creates controversy and pandemonium. But that’s rare. Usually it just is. As any other post or comment is.

But it doesn’t end there. 99% of the time that post or comment isn’t too far away from what I’d post to the Transcendence Diaries under normal circumstances; or if social media didn’t exist at all. So I simply copy it over. Usually it’s brief, punctuated by hard stops, road blocks and detours that wouldn’t normally exist in a Diaries entry, so I’ll take the time to elaborate on certain points or amend aspects of it to add fluidity, work it a bit until I feel that it’s complete, worthy of being a Transcendence Diaries entry. Usually there isn’t much left to do with it though, other than edit and clean it up grammatically for essay form — and yet BAM there it is, a something where there might have been nothing.

This post in fact was a reflection on marriage. It started off as that at least. But then it occurred to me how often lately I’ve been using social media posts as a launching pad for Diaries entries. Thought I’d mention it. Remind myself and others how important it is to remember not to waste too much out there in the world of social media. Remember that as creators our job is to create. To complete a “something”. A something that can be saved for posterity, saved to enjoy later, saved to review and revisit, saved to inspire or provoke. Think song, album, sculpture, painting. Don’t mistake interacting on social media as creating something. Hell, don’t even mistake it for “doing” something. Unless it’s going to directly lead to something else. That’s the rule.

Social media is the exact opposite of the above named “somethings”. It’s for that photo of you and the crew enjoying lunch or a video of that kid down the block who can sing like Robert Plant, or a quick hello to friends and family when you’ve been too busy to pick up the phone, or an inspiring quote, or to remind people about your latest work of art, or a goofy meme about the Kardashians. It can also be a truly fulfilling means to connect with others in a meaningful way. Remember, people don’t go to social media to read or think or feel. They may WANT to read what you’ve posted (whether it’s your’s or something you’ve found interesting of someone else’s), and they may believe they want to think and feel; but the structure of social media takes over their mentality and squeezes those desires right out of them before they’re even aware of it. There’s just too much vying for their attention particles to warrant them stopping long enough to take IT in. YOU on the other hand have so much more to offer than the ten seconds that most people are willing to relegate to what you’re offering. So don’t waste it there on Facebook or Twitter. Start a blog. Write a book. Record an album. Make a movie. Who knows… You may just change the world.

Implementing Plan B – Take Two

It’s time to implement Plan B. But first a little background…
Yesterday I spent a little over an hour studying Farsi using Rosetta Stone. Though I am constantly learning the language from being married to Princess Little Tree now, this was the first time I had opened my Rosetta Stone Farsi pack in almost two years. One would think that once a purchase that expensive is made there would be no stopping you from making full use of it. But such is human nature. In business it is common knowledge that nearly 90% of all purchases are impulse buys (all except the very basic necessities) — which makes it easy to sell almost anything to anyone (this is the key to success in sales); and furthermore that most people do not purchase things to use them half as much as they purchase them for the initial rush they get out of the purchasing process (another key to success in sales). Another well known fact in the world of business, sales and consumerism studies is that less than 10% of people who purchase any kind of non-essential luxury items, these might could include educational or improvement courses, books, magazine subscriptions, timeshare resorts, clothes and shoes, etc, actually use the items purchased; less than 1% make use of them more than once. No matter how much they spend. The cost of the item is never a factor.
I heard these statistics early on in life and made a promise to myself that I would never fall into that 99% group who buy things and never use them. I’ve purchased every course Anthony Robbins has ever released (and countless others) and completed every course several times from start to finish. Some of those babies are 30 day courses. Not necessarily easy. At the age of 25 I set out to learn how to speak and understand as many languages as I could until I felt satisfied. When pressed, I consider the practical application of how many would be truly necessary or useful and a rough estimate for me personally usually comes to about ten when I consider every language that I currently am aware of and how many I have a desire to learn. As many already know (this is contextual), presently I am moderately proficient in five, including my native English. The reason? Because once I decide to take on learning a new language I continue with all of the steps in the system I designed many years ago to learn any foreign language proficiently. It’s a simple system, but contains many steps, and usually take about one solid year, or two. It isn’t easy. But I enjoy it. And that’s what really counts.
People who say they “can speak a foreign language” and then only know a few words is one of the few things I find un-pleasurable in my fellow human brethren. There is also that pesky habit some people have of jumping in at any opportunity they get when a foreign language is mentioned in casual conversation among a group of people just to announce that they “used to be able to speak that language” or “lived in that country and spoke that language” but they’ve “since forgotten it all now”. Hey, we all have our pet peeves. That just happens to be one of mine. The reason I bring it up is because having learned these statistics about impulse consumerism early in life, I have always made it a habit to master as much of everything I set out to do, or at the very least attempt to. Unless upon further examination I decide to abort the mission because it no longer interests me or I decide it to be no longer useful. With learning foreign languages, once I established that goal, I created an efficient system with numerous steps based on research and studying the various methods that people have used throughout history. That system I have already written about and mapped out here in the Diaries. No need to go into it again here. But suffice it to say, it takes a lot of commitment, dedication, effort and hours; as anyone who has pursued the same goal can corroborate. At times in the past I have found it excruciatingly tedious to keep on once I commit. But I do it anyway.
That is until the last two years. I have failed miserably in my quest to learn Farsi. I decided and committed to learning Farsi seven years ago. It is the first foreign language I ventured to learn that did not use what we commonly call the English alphabet. I put a few years into learning Hebrew as well, but never approached it wholeheartedly using my system. With Farsi, the process was going to be much more difficult than any other language I have attempted to learn thus far. Learning to speak and understand it is one thing. Learning to read and write in it is another entirely. The former being my goal, not the latter.
Purchasing the Farsi set of language packs through Rosetta Stone I felt would offer considerable help in my goal — normally I use Pimsleur’s system in terms of the audio portion of it. I also make sure to take at least one-hundred and twenty hours in sit down classes with a teacher. That’s how I usually begin. (Again, I’ve already written about all of this in prior posts years ago.) Being married to Princess Little Tree enables me to get the classes portion in on a 24/7/365 basis. And for the last seven years I have been attempting to slowly learn the language through audio and books and studying as I always do. But over the last three years I have fallen behind in many different pursuits I have committed to. Not just in my goal to learn Farsi. I almost completely stopped writing any and all the books I have been working on over the last twenty years. I stopped blogging daily in the Transcendence Diaries. I stopped going to the gym and working out. I don’t even check email anymore. Which people still find impossible to believe. But on and on it goes.
I have been pondering this odd shift in my behavior a lot over the last few months. Wondering why all of a sudden I became such a muggle, or slug, or buffer… terms that perhaps only a few might be familiar with. In other words, where the hell did my relentless ability to commit and follow-through beyond normal-human go? Well for one thing I got married. And in the process I not only adopted a wife and all the accompanying responsibilities that go with that, but two step daughters as well; in addition to the fact that I have way too many jobs and twice as many hobbies. We’ve also been living bi-coastally for three years (something I don’t recommend unless you have the money to afford a decent sized full time staff to help with the sheer giant sized quantity of extra work involved in that sort of lifestyle), and along with all of that we’ve been actively trying to have children of our own.
Making babies may be easy for some, especially when you’re young, which is part of the problem with the rampant pandemic of unwanted pregnancies among the world’s young people. But as women get older it becomes more and more difficult to accomplish such a seemingly natural task. Without getting too personal (one of the reasons I have not been regularly posting in the Transcendence Diaries on a daily basis as I used to do since I started it in 2002), let me just say that baby making turned into a full time job for us very soon after we made the decision to start our own family; it has included numerous doctors all over the country, more “procedures” than I can count, and more heartbreak than anyone should permit themselves to endure in one lifetime. Needless to say we have still not achieved success in our quest to have beaucoup offspring, but we’ve also not given up. I am still very confident that one day we will be proud parents and grandparents of a large brood of little Ambassadors and Little Trees.
To get back to the point, I can now clearly see and understand why I have fallen behind in so many of the things that in times past used to be daily routine for me, such as blogging, writing, exercising and learning foreign languages. But that’s just the “reason”. Discovering the potential reason for something does not necessarily mean that one has to succumb to it. For me personally this just might be one of the single most important keys to success that I have learned. There may be a very good and valid reason why we are not able to do something; but that doesn’t mean that we have to succumb to the limitations of that reason. We may just need to re-engineer our systems and shift a few things around.
Welcome to Plan B. Once I felt comfortable that I had discovered the real foundational reasons behind my sudden lack of being able to accomplish as much as I was used to in the past, i.e. I inadvertently took on a variety of numerous other new duties and responsibilities, I spent the last two months analyzing what possible solutions there might be available to me to still be able to maintain my current lifestyle and all of its itinerant jobs and duties AND add the usual number of extracurricular activities I am normally accustomed to being able to accomplish. I’ve been thinking about the year I spent in military school. Greenwich Military Academy (not the real name for obvious reasons) taught me plenty. The majority of the stories and lessons from those days are in The Adventures of Fishy book. That one, though it was the very first book I started, is presently in position number 5 or 6 on the conveyor belt in terms of completing and releasing the books. For multiple reasons. Just an fyi for me as well as you whoever you are.
The aspect of military school that I have found most useful over the last few months in attempting to find a solution to my current quandary was how regimented and disciplined every moment of every day was. We may have had a few hours off on Sundays; I don’t remember now. But other than that, from 5 am all the way through till lights out at 10 pm during the other six days of the week, every single minute of every single hour was accounted for with a very set and specific task or duty. No, it did not suit the lifestyle of an artistic personality type such as mine, hence my only spending a year there; but it did show me the potential for how much we could accomplish in a day if we set our minds to it or were forced to. In my current case, I both desire to and thus have set my mind to it, AND am being forced to, for a variety of reasons. Not the least of which is because if I don’t, I am never going to continue to grow into the person I have always hoped I would be and always known I could be. This is a change that needs to be implemented.
From my current vantage point, how I see it is that I need to made a conscious decision what my top priorities are both short and long term and set aside time to partake in activities that will lead me towards achieving those goals on a regular basis, either daily, weekly, bi-weekly, three times a week perhaps, etc. We spend much of our time during each day doing things that are not necessary to our general advancement, nor that lead us towards any specific goal. Casual conversations. Group dynamic activities for the sake of the group. Herd activities so to speak. Some of it is sheer laziness. Some of it is resistance to change; or resistance to the seeming enormity of a project, i.e a project seems so damn big that we don’t see how we’ll ever complete it, so we never start it; or perhaps resistance to learning or attempting something new that we’ve never done before. There are a variety of reasons why we do things that don’t serve our bigger picture goals, or don’t do things that would. The key is to just START. Start to make the change.
For me that change is two-fold: limiting the amount of time I spend doing things that do not serve, and this is most easily accomplished by filling our time up with doing things that do serve. If as soon as I wake up each day I jump right into 30 to 60 minutes of studying Farsi, I will eliminate the usual hour or so I spend drinking coffee and chatting or checking social networks etc. From there a work out. Then a shower. Then work. People have no idea how much work-work is now involved in being a rockstar/recording artist. It isn’t like the old days, all sex drugs and rock’n’roll. Lord knows I wish it were. But it just isn’t. Our job has changed tremendously. There is a huge amount of what one might call office work involved in the job now. There is still every bit the need for song writing, practicing your instrument, recording, rehearsing with the band, fashion and styling, making music videos, album production, schmoozing  marketing and promotion, etc. etc. There are just a boatload of other jobs and duties that have been added to our plate.
Let us say we spend the better part of the work day — post morning activities — doing actual work-work. We can then take a break. For me a break, preferably in the form of a 30 minute nap, is imperative to my mental and emotional sanity. No sense in fighting it. If I push my way through, by jacking myself up on something to minimize the tired feeling, I still end up feeling like a nervous wreck by 6 or 7 pm. So I have come to honor my own body’s need for dark quiet time to do nothing but relax and recharge.
Just after break time, we jump to either a few hours of writing and working on one of the books, or blogging. Then a limited amount of family quality time. Limited being the operating word there. The need for quality family time is essential when you’re an active member of a healthy functioning family. There’s no getting around it. Dinner time and an hour or two after that should suffice. But if the fam wants to watch Glee or X-Factor, there should be absolutely no reason you (or I in this case) should feel obligated to do so too. It’s an activity that does not serve. Perhaps the key is to make the family time we do spend with our loved ones as fulfilling and high quality as possible, limiting the hours, but not the quality. That still leaves plenty of hours left in the evening for studying and learning, reading or watching things that are both enjoyable and educational. If you dig learning, then anything educational is going to be enjoyable anyway. So that part is easy. And then once everyone goes to bed I find to be the best time to blog and/or write. That midnight to six am time period when all is quiet and the whole world is covered in darkness.
Today is my second day on this new schedule. I am still working it out, working the kinks out. I spent a bit too much time learning Farsi and a bit too much time on this blog post. But that’s okay. The key is that Plan B has officially started. Time for a work out and shower. I’ll keep you posted.

 

To Moliere or Not to Moliere, That is the Question

Last Screening: Moliere
A French film from a few years ago. A period piece, full costume and all. If you’re already a fan of the great French playwright and actor, then this is a gimme. If you love dry witty 17th Century salon repartee’ and double entendre — where one’s brain garnered more merit in society than mere beauty, or Shakespearean comedy’s twists and turns then you’ll easily find this film a feast for your ears as well as eyes.

For me it was a bittersweet experience throughout. A dualistic reaction swirled within me, on the one hand pure enjoyment as an observer, and on the other a subtle gnawing at my insides by the loss of the libertine lifestyle i so enjoyed as a single man playing the part of artist above all else in a free world. I am not one to believe in platitudes, let alone recite them, but there is something to ponder about the idea that for every path toward one form of happiness another must be forsaken. Though I do not wholeheartedly believe it to be true, I get the feeling that it’s an idea with merit.

The irony seeps so heavy from even these very thoughts like maple from a sapling, for it is true, even here, in these Diaries where I have spent more than ten years pouring out every thought and feeling I’ve ever had — that I now feel a strong reluctance to do so any longer. Talk about double entendre. This grand irony perching its head above ground through the very format I am using to explore it. Truth be told this has been the case for a few years now. Being married it is nearly impossible. More than that, it would be unfit, unfair, inappropriate. And that’s just the matter of these Diaries. I now understand why as a writer, as artists, we must find other ways to get our truths across without such blatancy that these Diary posts once afforded me. The truths that we are compelled to communicate, to let out, to unleash, still exist; they are in that regard existential. It is an existential need, as vital to the living organism of artistry within as blood or clean air is to the body that houses it.

So rather than lay it bare out on the line as was once so easy here, these Diaries have had to transform into a more innocuous form of prose, less revealing, less personal, hopefully no less engaging or powerful; but more worldly and culturally relevant. The real meat of the personal nature of things must be delivered through other means artistic, such as song or works of fiction or poetry. And indeed we are already in the process of that. It will obviously not be as readily or easily available for consumption as the Diaries once were, but I don’t believe that I am capable of ridding myself of the need to let loose with the truths that illuminate our life while here, the very stuff that gives us cause to remain here, any more than I am capable of living without food or water.

There is much to be gained from a life well contented in marriage and family. More so at least for me than I believe I would have gleaned from continuing the life of a bachelor any longer. But perhaps I say that only because I allowed myself decades to enjoy bachelorhood, an enjoyment I would recommend anyone partake with gusto and all their will and might and relish wholeheartedly before succumbing to that next stage of nuptials and commitment, fidelity and trust beyond measure with another. But if one thinks that they can at the same time walk through the world and among the masses naked open and sincere, baring all and more, and still keep said marriage content, they are kidding themselves. It It would be a cruel practice and require a slow letting go of all respect to even attempt. One that would quickly suck the love out of the heart of the other and leave in its place a profound bitterness.

Think Woody Allen and how he never stopped to consider how his showing his cards to the entire world, every nuanced passing whim of his heart and mind, with no regard for his girlfriends or wives. The joke I always observed was that if you are married to Woody Allen and find him uncommunicative, wondering how he feels about you, don’t ask him, just watch his next movie. He’s telling you how he feels right there. He just never possessed the courage, nor respect or chivalry, to tell you himself and in person. I observed this heartless cruelty in the lives of artists since I was a boy, a cold willingness to put their art above the feelings and trust of their lovers. And for a long time, before I matured, I was under the illusion that this was just a necessary component of being a true artist, a truly great artist. But as with many things we play with in our imagination as children this was an illusion, and an unnecessary one.

Any one who uses art or being an artist to treat those who love and trust them the most poorly has simply failed to grow up. They are no more or less an artist because of it. Their art will never be the better for it, their heart will never allow it. The heart longs for only one thing: truth. Which is why we believe that love is the primary thing we long for the most, for love is the most truthful thing we can experience here. Love feels good. But underneath that good feeling is the purity and purpose that only truth can provide. Raw vulnerable untouched unstoried unscathed untainted just free. The closer we get to it, the more pure we become, a never ending and always evolving metamorphosis into something more pure, more truthful and honest. A freedom like no other. And from that place real art can be created like no other, one that can truly transcend, not just the man himself, or the time and place from which he creates, but from the common temporality of human beingness itself. Timeless art is truth in its purest form, even in fiction.

So it takes a subtle discretion, at least for an artist, to pull it off, bridging the life of the contented with the life of restlessness angst and passion. The art must be disguised, though still be true. It must take on a life of its own, one that is separate from its creator, so the artist is free to live the life he or she is equally entitled to (besides that of an artist), a simple normal contented life of ease and struggle, pleasure and pain, challenges and accomplishments, as any other on earth is. We may not get to play Moliere forever, but I dare say life would be boring if we did; and if we are lucky, we allowed ourselves plenty of years in our youth to do so. There is more to being human than reckless abandon for the sake of the genius of creation. Nobler goals. There is the challenge to master the art of living. Most artists never get a chance to experience that side of the coin. Giving into the myths and illusions we begin to harbor in our youth. But I for one am going to try, while at the same time producing some of the best art and works, in whatever shape or form they happen to come at me in, of my life.

A Blueprint for Achievement

Believe while others are doubting.
Plan while others are playing.
Study while others are sleeping.
Decide while others are delaying.
Prepare while others are daydreaming.
Begin while others are procrastinating.
Work while others are wishing.
Save while others are spending.
Listen while others are talking.
Smile while others are pouting.
Commend while others are criticizing.
Persist while others are quitting.

When in Doubt, We Remember These Words by Martin Luther King Jr.

When in doubt as to whether or not I should stand up for or defend something I believe in when it appears it may pose a threat or a challenge or be controversial, I remind myself of the words below by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. who wrote this speech at the same age I am now. I am humbled by his willingness to act and press forward compared to my own tendencies to retreat and take no action even though there are times when I know I should.

For better or worse our lives here on earth at this time in our history are filled with examples of injustice and inequities. They are all around us; though I do not believe it will always be this way. The measure of each of us, of the very lives we were blessed with, is whether or not we make the most of what we were given to make things that much better for all while we are here. Sometimes this is as easy as a smile, a hug, a phone call, a thank you note, a donation, a sponsorship, or a helping hand to someone in need. Other times standing up for what we believe in can appear much more daunting and challenging, even frightening or life threatening.

There is not one of us who is not faced with this dilemma on an almost daily basis. But let us all as friends and lovers and associates and coworkers be inspired that the path has already been forged for us by others as the speech below reminds. And let us each commit to one another in our hearts in silence or aloud that before we pass that we will each do our absolute best. Together there will be no stopping us from creating a truly enlightened world for ourselves and for those who will come after us. –Ed Hale

“I say to you, this morning, that if you have never found something so dear and precious to you that you will die for it, then you aren’t fit to live.

“You may be 38 years old, as I happen to be, and one day, some great opportunity stands before you and calls upon you to stand for some great principle, some great issue, some great cause. And you refuse to do it because you are afraid.

“You refuse to do it because you want to live longer. You’re afraid that you will lose your job, or you are afraid that you will be criticized or that you will lose your popularity, or you’re afraid that somebody will stab or shoot or bomb your house. So you refuse to take a stand.

“Well, you may go on and live until you are ninety, but you are just as dead at 38 as you would be at ninety.

“And the cessation of breathing in your life is but the belated announcement of an earlier death of the spirit.

“You died when you refused to stand up for right.

“You died when you refused to stand up for truth.

“You died when you refused to stand up for justice.”

-Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
From the sermon “But, If Not” delivered at Ebenezer Baptist Church on November 5, 1967

Apartment hunting in New York.

I am in New York this weekend, apartment hunting. I scored a roundtrip ticket and two nights at the Waldorf Astoria for less than $600. Part of me wants to keep this a secret, because its just so damn special, this whole Travelocity.com weekend getaway thing… where they offer amazing deals on flight/hotel combo packages. But I’ll let the cat out of the bag, whatever the hell that means. Often times you can get the flight and hotel for less than the price of the flight on its own. Last weekend was the same. I also just scored round trip airfare and a week at a hotel in the center of Paris for $569. For another $200 I got another week. [Granted, these are two star hotels, but they will do] I will spend two weeks there at a school studying French after our shows in Atlanta, and before our shows in NY. Don’t say no one gave you the heads up. Great deals can be found out there with how competitive travel is now. You can live like a king on a pauper’s ransom. It’s awesome.

The best idea I have had so far is to put everything I own into storage and just travel around for a while. just go from place to place. Been speaking to Giovanna lately. Turns out she is moving from Rome to Egypt to open up a café. May go hang out with her a few days.

The most amazing dinner tonight at the waldorf. the best one I have had in recent memory. Beef tenderloins, cheese crusted mashed potatoes, sautéed artichokes, roasted vegetables, and a pinot noir to wash it all down. God it was good.

A brilliant haircut by Federico at John sahag. Hadn’t seen him in over a year. He is Italian so I told him about my trip to Italy last year to trace the roots of my family, hopping in planes, trains, and taxi cabs going from town to town all over the country meeting people and introducing myself and asking them about my family and all. He says it sounded like an American movie. Indeed it does. “Hey. And you coming over here from Italy to be a world famous hair stylist in new York city sounds like a movie,” I tell him. “And look at this, you made it.”

I went to central park to smoke and write tonight because there is a smoking ban in the entire city now. you can’t smoke anywhere in public. I can understand cigarettes of course, but cigars? The nerve. Anyway, I did find a few groovy smokers lounges where men go to smoke and drink. That was cool. but I wanted some fresh air with my smoke. So I hit the park. At night. with all the homeless people. There was this hunched over old black guy on the bench sitting about ten feet away from me. I called to him, ‘should I be scared? Sitting here?’ “How do I know? I’m not.” “Yeah but you’re black. And from what it looks like, poor. I’m white and middle class. We’re scared of everything” “Aint you something. asking me that.” “Look man, I’m just asking, is it safe or not? If I’m going to whip out a laptop and start smoking and writing and relax here, I want to make sure that one of ya’ll isn’t going to jump me in five minutes. You know, with all due respect and all.” “Man you’s crazy. You aint from here, that’s for sure? Where you from?” “I live in Miami right now. I’m moving back here now. Ten years ago, you’d never sit in central park at night with your computer on your lap.” “You probly shouldn’t be doing it now. But you do what you want. I’ll watch out for ya.” “Thanks man.” Passersby keep staring at me like who the fuck is that white kid sitting on the benches with his laptop with all those homeless guys… is he just crazy? no one knows what to think. But the Transcendence Diaries don’t sleep. They just keep going and going.
Well things have changed here a lot in ten years. this guy didn’t even ask me for money. imagine that. no one does. Five years ago even you couldn’t walk five blocks without someone asking you for money. its like that on South beach now. every five minutes someone is asking you for money.

I haven’t lived here in almost ten years. But I’ll tell you this. I’ve noticed something, and forgive me for narrowing the conversation so that it may only appeal to new Yorkers, but I noticed this back when I lived here before and I notice now just looking around for somewhere to live. when you live uptown you romanticize downtown. like somehow that’s the place to be. and yes when you live downtown, you cannot help but wish you were living uptown. The only solution would be to move every year to a different neighborhood. In five years or so you could take the whole city in.

I have seen more beautiful and eligible girls here in the last ten hours that I have seen in Miami in three years. every minute you look up and you see some girl you would be more than happy to talk with or go out with. Its not like that in Miami. Not for me anyway.

One more thing. it’s the middle of august at about eleven o’clock at night and I’m cold. I’m not freezing but seriously, we’re smack dab in the middle of summer and I have a chill from how cold it is outside. I cannot believe these laptops don’t come with temperature gauges, that’s bullshit if you ask me, but I swear its gotta be at least sixty degrees right now out here. crazy. I guess you just get used to it. but seriously I don’t know how the homeless people take the winters here. maybe they just don’t know about South Florida or southern California.