The Deafening Echo

Yell - BarnstapleI was going to use a “does it make a sound” title for this post, but I already did that. It’d be a shame to start repeating myself so quickly. It might not matter to anyone aside from me, but it’d still matter.

There wasn’t a blog entry yesterday, and that destroys my latest attempt to “blog every day.” Hold on a second while I look up “bootstraps.” Hmmm. The origin of that phrase makes little sense. Let’s not get hung up on it.

This site, which is in its infancy, only gets traffic when I bug people on Twitter or Facebook about a new article. If there is no new entry for the day, the same amount of people visit the site as would if I wrote an entry and didn’t bug the world about it.

It’s really just an excuse, but it’s still hard. Creating without outside reaction is lonely. That’s probably why any god who creates the universe also needs to make people, so they can say “See? Yeah? Pretty good, right?” But then who will react to the people that the god creates? Let’s not get into paradoxes, okay?

So the site keeps rolling, waiting for things to catch on. Waiting for RSS subscribers and links from other sites. Until then, I’ll have to keep yelling out into internet with the hopes that someone will hear the yelling and like it.

Nobody likes yelling. I’ll speak at a reasonable level.

Always Someone More

There is always someone more (blank) than you, from talented or lazy. For example, I consider myself pretty antisocial. But them I met the lady who reeks of cigarettes and reads a paperback alone at lunch while drinking milk she brought from home in a mason jar.

Besides, talent and laziness come in waves. Even if you are the best or worst at something, it’s temporary. You’ll have an off day or a great day. You should probably stop worrying so much about what you are and just do what you do.

To Extremes

Tiger on ParadeI take things to extremes when confronting fears. These aren’t “afraid of tigers” types of fears. If I lived in an area where a tiger might pop out at me for a quick snack, I’d probably stay inside and cry quietly on the floor. No, these are the social kinds of a fears. Like not having anything to say in a conversation besides “unh huh.”

So what do I do? Improv. On a stage. In front of people. I go from the fear of having nothing to say to one person all the way to deliberately going in empty handed in front of a crowd of people expecting entertainment. The stakes are high and I love it.

I’m getting into a rather annoying habit of starting each sentence with a question. I was going to say “did it help?” But now I don’t want to. Let’s try something different.

Fifteen years later, I’m still quite socially awkward. But I have improv to point to. I can say “See? I’m not like this all the time!” Most people are shocked when I tell them I improvise. This leads me to believe I should bring more from the stage into everyday life.

The improv has helped. However, my personality hasn’t done a 180. I’m still who I am, and that person seems to be pretty awkward. But I know I can go to the extreme opposite. It’s in me, and that gives me something to hold on to and continue to work on.

Other extremes? I was a vegetarian for a year because I was bored. Not sure that helped with anything. Oh, son of a gun. I started this paragraph with a question.

Cleaning House

Mr. Clean Sample Bottle, 1958This isn’t an article about how you should brush away the cobwebs of ideas in your own brain and let the sunshine in as you dig through what has been stored in your head attic. This is literally about cleaning house.

I have the next week off of work. And what fun things will I be doing? I’ll be cleaning the house.

In the past, I have been unrealistic about similar situations. I thought “I’ll take a week off and get the house in perfect order!” And then I spend two days cleaning and the next three days thinking that I should be cleaning.

Thinking about cleaning is stressful.

It’s time to get real. I know I’m not going to use the full week to clean. I’m going to make sure I do some steady cleaning for two days, and then a little the next few days in between the playing of video games.

There is no use in fooling yourself. Reaching for the stars doesn’t apply to cleaning your house.

Something to Talk About

Want another reason to try out an idea? Too bad, here it comes anyway. It gives you something to talk about. Something that isn’t the weather or what you had for lunch.

Don’t get me wrong. “How about that tornado yesterday” is a pretty good piece of conversation. But “supposta be 50 today” is boring. Talk about that what you’re doing! And listen when someone talks about what they’re doing.

If folks are bored by what you’re excited about, you have a whole separate issue to deal with. Like, why do you hang out with jerks?

I’m No Expert

WTF With Marc MaronI’ve been listening to a lot of the WTF with Marc Maron podcast recently, which is more than a little responsible for the creation of this site. Take a listen, if you haven’t. Marc has an amazing interview style. He turns most every question into a question about himself. While this might make it seem like Marc is full of himself, he isn’t. Marc’s openness regarding every part of his personal life allows the people he is interviewing to open up and reveal their own guarded triumphs and insecurities.

And wouldn’t you know it? Celebrities are people. The more open Marc is, the more open they are, the more you feel a little better about yourself. This isn’t a matter of taking joy in the misery of others. This is a realization that there are people out there who have gone through things similar to you. People who continue to move on and create in spite of setbacks.

I’m no expert. I like to say that I’m okay at a lot of things, but not great at anything. At least, I like to say that in my head. Not to other people.

This site will fill itself with my personal musings about creative routines and the like. But these aren’t instructional howtos. There are no shortcuts to “hack your brain” here. These are observations from someone who you might see a little of yourself in. Someone who keeps plugging along, because they find joy in creation.

And I’m not trying to be full of myself. I’m simply putting myself out there and hoping it helps out others who feel and work the same way.

And if you don’t work the same way, feel free to laugh at me. But do it behind my back, if you’d be so kind. Thanks in advance!

One of These Days I Gotta Get Myself Organizized

Joseph Gordon-LevittThis site, a project itself, is part of another project I’m working on. Don’t worry, Joseph Gordon-Levitt. We aren’t going any deeper than that.

It’s time to revamp AricMcKeown.com. Right now, it’s a dumping ground for whatever my brain spits out. Or it was. Let’s see here, the last post was from September of 2010. Huh. The site represents my actual laziness pretty well.

Maybe I shouldn’t lead with that. My online doppelganger could use some cleaning up. We’re moving the “projects” aspect and the “where to find Aric’s projects” over here. How do you do?

Brain dumps don’t belong there. They are better left fro Tumblr or Twitter sites. Not to pollute like a sewage line, but entertain like a sewage line with a grate at the end to catch some of the junk.

Next, resume time. Acting resume. When is the last time I updated this thing? What’s my suit size? Maybe I’d know if I bought suits. Oh, and I should get new headshots. And I’ll need to redesign the site. Save the content I like. Remove the rest.

Uck. It’s like cleaning a virtual house. And I’m no good at cleaning the regular kind of house.

Okay. Headshots scheduled for May 10th. Sounds like I gave myself a deadline to clean up AricMcKeown.com. I’ll get started on that May 9th.

Working Ahead

A capsule library at your fingertipsIs something I’m bad at. Did that work? The title being part of the first sentence? Bah. I’ll say it again in case it was dumb. Working ahead is something I’m bad at.

If a project needs to be done at 5pm on a Sunday evening, the project will expand fill the time between now and 5pm on a Sunday evening.

No. That’s wrong. In fact, it’s the opposite. The project will condense and shift. Where a normal person might start working on this imaginary project on Tuesday evening, I’ll get started on Sunday morning. However, I will stress out about starting the project from Tuesday evening to Sunday morning. That sort of counts as working on it, right?

I know working ahead and not procrastinating would lead to more fun, but I’ve delayed completion of projects my entire life. In middle school I’d finish my homework, but not turn it in. Does that make any sense at all? I did the work. Why wouldn’t I turn that damn stuff in? Maybe fear of judgement. Oh boy, let’s not get off topic here.

Saying “it’s how I work” seems lame, but it’s how I feel. I get a lot of good stuff done at the last minute. Then again, a lot of good stuff probably slips through the cracks of time when I leave everything to the last moments.

There must be a way to combat this procrastination. Pretending the deadline is earlier doesn’t work. Knowing that working ahead is good for me doesn’t work. Turning off the TV doesn’t work.

I’ll do some thinking on this. I don’t have any answers. When logic and non-logic don’t work, what other options are left? At least I’m still finding ways to get stuff done.

And if anyone from work is reading this, I’m talking about my free-time creative projects. I’ll get to your stuff in a second.

Trading Spouses and Make Me Watch TV

I ran a site called Make Me Watch TV for about a year. We’ll go into more detail about that project it in a future post, but I’ll give you a quick explanation of the site now.

I allowed strangers to vote on what I should watch every weekday evening. I would then blog about the experience live while on webcam. Pretty simple. Pretty stupid.

The site has been a graveyard for a few years, except for the comments section for one post. I was forced to watch a particularly controversial episode of Trading Spouses. The episode gets rerun every so often, and when it does people look for someplace to fight about it. They find my site.

It’s at 125 comments and counting. It’s pretty interesting stuff. People start by commenting on how terrible one family on the show is, and end up yelling about the reality of reality television. It’s a peek into the minds of the TV watching and internet fighting populace.

And for the Godwin’s law staticians, Hilter was brought up in the 8th comment.

Weekends: The Struggle

Anti- Hobo CouchI sure hope you’re not visiting this site for “life hacks” on better ways of getting things done. Sure, it seems like I’m giving out advice. But I’m really only showing you how I process and work (or don’t work) on ideas and projects. Maybe you see yourself in some of these articles. Maybe you see the opposite of yourself. This site could be a “how-to” or a “do-not” depending on how you work. I’m not sure how to spin this weekend though.

What did I get done this weekend? Ummmm.

I recorded a story for somebody else’s podcast. I finally finished Halo: Reach. I tried to watch City Island. I tried to watch Monsters. I tried to watch Winter’s Bone. I successfully watched The Fighter.

Should I have written something more for this blog? Yes. Should I have worked on scripts for my video projects? Yes. Should I have written more scripts for Blank It? Yes.

It doesn’t feel good to not get things done, but sometimes you can’t get yourself going. It’s difficult to do things in the present so that your future self doesn’t feel like past you screwed him over. I think that sentence worked. We’ll say it did.

Creativity ebbs and flows. Sometimes you’re inspired and other times you want to eat cool ranch chips and watch Kurt Russel escape from someplace. There are tricks to shorten the ebbs and lengthen the flows (gross). Just realize that sometimes you’ll wear yourself out if you’re fighting against the current. There are times to push through and times wait for the next round of inspiration.

You want one trick to take away from this? Sorry. I don’t have one. Sometimes weekends, when you have the most free time to create, are simply for sitting on the couch.