I want to apologize in advance for a post I made a while back (not to mention the continued ugliness of this site), entitled Everyone’s So Literal, which made it seem like I was still up in the air about going to NYC. I’m not. I’d say it’s like 85 percent pretty likely to occur. But, I had just sent out some job resumes out and I figured it would look bad if, when they hit my website, there were references to me wanting to live in NYC in a few months, so I wanted to downplay it. That would be the post where some friends came in and posted comments, though, so I’ll leave it there.
So, no jobs in SF for me. I’m done. My next paychecks will be from Oasis and the publisher of my book. My next hourly pay will be in NYC, although I doubt it will ever come to that again. I’ve probably mentioned that the book and my weight and everything got bunched up there for a while, due to lack of money, and suffice it to say that issue is resolved for the longish short term.
Family and friends bring up the money issue, and honestly, it’s not something I can discuss. Here’s the problem. My vibe now is all about visualizing a future and following my passion and love to make it happen. It all has to come from a good place. So, whenever I get asked: what if you run out of money again? how much do you think you’ll make on your book? isn’t the book done yet? etc., etc., I’m just really not going to answer those questions. To answer those questions is to allow doubt and fear into the mix, as well as putting me in a position to defend my position, which then brings ego in to let people know I know what I’m doing, but is also a negative element. So, these questions aren’t really going to be entertained. Keep your well-intentioned fear and worry to yourselves. I’ve worked hard to suppress my own, so I don’t need help in that regard.
Here’s the short answer to all of this: I’d rather do something I’m passionate about and fail, than settle for far less and succeed.
In any event, today was fun. I decided that I needed to start wrapping up the end of my San Francisco run by doing a lot of the things I’ve always said I wanted to do. It is ridiculous to delay easy things in your life. Also, a lot of things I thought I would do in NYC, well… I can do them here.
Today, I started renting a shared office space down in The Mission. I’m way too cooped up in the house, and the balance between work, personal, business, fun, life, etc., was way too blurred. I started feeling like I was buying into the multitasking bullshit world that everyone else claims to deploy. But it was feeling like every hour had some personal stuff, some novel stuff, some Oasis stuff, etc., and blurring them all into one thing hour after hour, well, there were no boundaries. Everything was a tug-of-war. I’ve always said I need to get out of the house and find a way to do that. So, on craigslist, I found a place 7 blocks from where I live, and I have the keys and 24/7 access to it. I intend to go there every day and work on the novel and Oasis. When I come home for the day, I will not do anything in regard to either.
The office just happens to be directly across the street from the Bikram Yoga studio I wanted to go to. Bikram Yoga is a hot yoga, so you go 90 minutes of slow, sequential poses in 105 degree heat. You don’t wear much in there, and you sweat profusely. Sweating out toxins is part of the practice. The heat also warms up your muscles and joints and enables you to more easily settle into the postures.
I like it because it is sequential. One thing I disliked about yoga I’d done before was it seemed to constantly be “dealer’s choice,” and every class was different. Some people like variety, but I’ve always wanted the notion that I am building a yoga practice, and learning how each position flows into the next. Many practices have a specific order for a reason.
To be fair, most people do yoga to de-stress and, honestly, I don’t really have much stress. I want to use yoga to supplant going to the gym, as far as shaping my body, because it just seems holistic and natural to use your body to heal and change your own body. It is also meditative, and I really want to do something that is calming and inward-focused. Yoga means “union,” and that is the point. I want to bring my mental, physical, and spiritual sides together, which is the whole point of yoga. To me, the whole “random” yoga thing is OK if you’re there to unwind, but I want yoga to be part of a spiritual practice. There is a natural desire to have things flow a certain way. Christians going to church on Sunday wouldn’t want their mass to start with communion, and then go into whatever the priest was “feeling” in the next moment.
So, yeah, today was all about “What am I putting off in my life that is, for use of the proper word, stupid.
Right now, my main goals in life are becoming more centered, and using that energy to further the novel, Oasis, my body, and my life in general.
One thing that also needs to change is that I’m not really feeling the whole club scene right now. I’m actually thinking of doing the early yoga class all week, and my age doesn’t allow a sufficient refractory period anymore to adapt my sleep schedule after staying out until all hours. I’m not saying I won’t go out, but I plan to be far more Cinderella about it. But, if people tend to crash at my place after last call, they can still have their own keys and sneak in at 2:30a. I’ll just already be here, asleep.
Oh, my goal (as per the guy who started Bkram Yoga suggests) is to attend yoga classes every single day for two months (they have great intro rates, it isn’t as bad as paying for them one-off, by a long shot). So, that’s 7 days a week of profuse sweating, stretching, looking inward, etc. It’s going to be pretty intense.
One other thing I did today was to subscribe to the Sunday New York Times. I was sort of mixed on this, but we’ll see how it goes. The fantasy of the NY Times, of course, is part of being in a relationship and having those lazy Sundays in bed, reading about the latest theater, books, doing the crossword, etc. But, you know, it’s silly to link practical thing like this to a future relationship. I mean, if this is something I desire doing, it should be done, not delayed. So, that starts up this week.
That said, I probably won’t be reading a lot of the news sections. I have really gone out of my way to limit my intake of the news. I know what’s going on, just not the details of it all. I think I’ll have enough time to decide who I want to vote for in 2008 without starting 20 months before the election. And I hit enough blogs to glean the headlines of the day.
So, the paper is all about the arts and entertainment stuff (shock!). News is part of a larger thing I’m trying to escape, which is the negativity that seems to pervade everything in our society. I’m just opting-out.
Even with Oasis, I’m avoiding interviewing people who I think do not contribute a positive message. Ode Magazine is sort of my template for Oasis, finding the people that tell the same stories, just with a different spin.
I think one of the biggest problems we have now is negativity. For example, in a few days (I forget the date), there is a big anti-war rally in San Francisco. Now, I am against war, and this war specifically. But I don’t want to go to an event where the rallying force is negativity. I don’t want to be against Bush, against war, against capitalism or any of it. Now, if it said, “March for Peace,” I’d be more inclined to go, although despite the change in naming, it would probably still result in the same negative hectoring mess.
I think people unifying to send a message of peace, and creating a program around that message, has real power. Rallying around negativity breeds negativity. Calm Fisher once said: “Optimism can make you look stupid, but being cynical always makes you look cynical.” I’ve done a lot of work to remove as much of my cynicism and sarcasm as possible (saving it for the novels, though, don’t worry, but as a straw man for my real intent).
It carries over into everything. The Republicans had been winning because their voters went to the polls voting FOR something they believed in, and we were always forced to vote AGAINST the person they were running. It’s easier to get people to act when it comes from a positive place, so they had an easier task of it all.
The other issue, and the one that makes me long to go ex-pat and leave the country at times, is that I think that, in order to write thigns that pierce the culture, you can’t really be a part of it. It’s a basic rule. When they shot nature documentaries, they know that whatever they are filming can’t know they are there, or else what they film is just how that animal acts when it knows it is being filmed.
Now, do I think society changes specifically because it knows I’m watching? No. But the issue is that I don’t have as much perspective because of that immersion.
It can be done, though. People can stay here and get that detachment. It just takes a lot of work. And I’m certain it involves getting a boyfriend and losing a television, both of which I’m more than amenable to.
But that’s the only way, really.
So, yeah, it’s all one big paradox. I want to step outside the culture, so I plan to move to the cultural center of the world. Part of it is that I just need to see what it’s like. Maybe it’s like the hurricane, calm in the center? Not to mention, a lot of what NYC exports doesn’t interest me. I’m not heavily into fashion, finance, advertising (although I hope my publisher hires a GREAT agency). I’m really going there for theater and music and taking acting lessons and being closer to the family and, of course, it’s still a huge gay mecca.
That was the point of today. Doing things I’ve put off, but felt the impulse to do. The lease on the office is month to month, so no huge commitment. Yoga is a 30-day subscription, followed by a 90-day subscription (once the first 30 goes well). The NY Times is 12 weeks. So, nothing here is life altering. I’m still going clubbing (just coming home earlier). Will probably shake up the family schedules a bit, as the Sunday calls are starting to seem too… planned. I’m my own boss, and they’re retired, so they can happen whenever. That can mean more often, but shorter. Whatever. It will find its own groove.
The big change is, my days will now be away from the apartment. So, if anyone needs to reach me (starting Thursday), hit the cell. I will only check my jeff at oasismag dot com e-mail there, so separate things out. If it’s about Oasis, hit that. If it’s personal and not about Oasis, stick with jeff at jeffwalsh dot com (I don’t even know why I bother, I don’t think I can get more spam at this point). Also, I am VERY down with having lunches at Herbivore (a block away from my office!), so if that tickles anyone’s fancy, I’m there.
So, tonight, I’m wrapping up reading a book for an Oasis interview, and Tuesday and Wednesday are about reading a draft of a friend’s book that I’m bounced off the schedule for way too long now, so that will be read then. I’m starting yoga Wednesday and the office stuff on Thursday. Yoga and the office will be seven days a week, maybe six, we’ll see. The weekends will only be the novel, no Oasis, so only half-days. I’m also planning to go for walks and eat a lot of my lunches over in Dolores Park, just to add some sunshine and nature to my days.
There’s the update. And within 30 days, I should get a yes/no from the Stanford writing thing, which will further crystallize NYC in some direction.
Oh, people do ask about my NYC plans, and I love chatting about that. But I really don’t have any. I am really just focused on the tasks at hand. For instance, right now I’m writing a blog entry, then I’m reading a book. That’s about as far into the future as I’m trying to go. So, yeah, I look on craigslist for NYC roommates, and get a handle on the neighborhoods, etc. (I plan a trip back home/to NYC to check them out in better detail before I make any proper move). But, a lot of the plans most people would make for a move of that magnitude? Not happening.
I do little projects. Right now, my kitchen table is full of cookbooks. It’s a bit obscene, really. It’s such a huge stack. Any cookbook that gets to stay in my life is making its case at present. Anything with meat is pretty certainly on its way out. Books that are heavily ovo-lacto… on the fence. All vegan books get to travel east.
The cookbook thing has resurrected another revived pasttime, too. I need to start cooking more experimental things again. Part of the work is life and life is work (despite the seeming lack of progress achieve in either) routine is that I’ve gotten really good at the prepared meals. They are great-tasting and healthy and vegan and low-fat, but you know, I just need to push the boundaries more. Try new cuisines, new cultures, new spices, new dishes.
Oh, that is one other thing. Another project, I suppose. I’ve been going through my pantry/freezer/spices and finding all of the neglected items (pink lentils, was there a reason I bought you?) and cooking them. So, I’ve stormed through most of the abandoned ingredients at this point (red lentils + Susan Powter’s Herbed Lentil Casserole recipe = no more lentils), just figuring out some of the spices.
So, I’m definitely thinning things out. But it’s more of a subconscious NYC thing than a checklist. There is no list. There may even be a trip to Thailand before NYC happens (depends on the pace of the completion of the novel).
Hmm, and I’m studying an ancient Tibetan text, “In Praise of Dependent Origination,” for two days in April, with the Dalai Lama. Nosebleed seat, but I figure he’s not speaking English, so no use buying the more expensive seats. That’s on a Friday/Saturday. He’s also doing another talk that Sunday, which I may attend, as well. I bought those tickets, but passed on decent tickets to see The Police. Who would have thought?
But, anyway, now ya’ll know about as much as I do…