Gaining Creative Confidence

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Today, the Wall Street Journal illustrated beautifully (and unintentionally) our societal crisis in confidence.  An article by Elizabeth Bernstein (http://is.gd/rdcpkO) touts the benefits of celebrating intimate relationships with little niceties: love notes, compliments, filling up our beloved’s car with gas.  The article, in sum, says this: Be nice to your partner.  She’ll appreciate it, and you’ll feel better, too.  Also: don’t do it so often it becomes an expectation, but often enough for it to count.  To support these utterly obvious findings, the article calls on a Professor of psychology and brain science (!), a postdoctoral scholar at the Institute of Personality and Social Research (!), and - rather low on the academic totem pole - a licensed marriage and family therapist.  The article - itself a celebration of the current fetishizing of data, includes no less than 13 references to data to support appreciating your spouse, taken in order:

  • Experts say
  • Studies show
  • Researchers call it
  • The research was
  • Research shows
  • Researchers call this
  • Studies show
  • Experts say
  • Studies show
  • Experts say
  • Research shows

Do we now need a brain scientist to tell us to be nice? How have we lost our confidence in such obvious things?  As a society, we rise and shout, "Give us the data!"

Here’s the problem: We need to trust ourselves - and what we know, deep down - to live, to act, to create.  Without a powerful inner compass, we’re lost.  I know - I’ve been lost a few times, and had to remember how important this is.

The Germans have a word that’s fun to say: Grenzbegriff - which means, “That which is real but beyond analysis and description.”  As a creative person, I depend on this.  There have been lots of times people thought I was nuts, but I saw the grenzbegriff - and went forward.  Think of the movies that tested poorly but went on to become hits, or significant creative achievements later termed brilliant.

If your motivation is strictly mercantile, fine - but most of us see creativity as something personal, something with human significance.  Sometimes, you need to believe in something you can’t test, you can’t get into data.  You have to believe.  Faith is a central creative characteristic: faith that something that doesn’t exist can exist.

Still, how can I find my confidence in a world where we can’t find North without a GPS?

I got good news, people. You gain confidence by making stuff.  No tricks.  No hacks.  No research required.  You want confidence?  Go make stuff.  Keep doing that until you get better. 

We Interrupt This Blog To Get Some Things On The Record

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(For regular readers, I spent about 20 years as a producer in Christian music, and worked with a legendary, tortured genius named Rich Mullins.  He died in a crash after a concert.  A film has been made about Rich’s life, and this post concerns that film.  We’ll be back to regular “creativity” programming next post)

About a year ago, I got a phone call from a guy named Dave Schultz, who said he was making a film about the late recording artist Rich Mullins.  I was Rich’s producer, so I was naturally interested in Dave’s vision.  He said he’d call back.  He never did.  Last night, I went to see the film he made, Ragamuffin.

(Earlier today, I reached out to the film’s writer, Ashleigh Phillips, and relayed much, but not all, of what I’m including here.)

 I’ll begin with some impressions of the film, try to set the historical record a bit straighter, and end with a Rich story I’ve never publicly shared before.

About the movie: I walked into the theater with apprehension.  Mostly, I didn’t want it to suck.  Most “Christian” movies do, of course, because there are so many dramatic problems in message movies.  This is true of all message movies, by the way.  Try to sit through The Day After Tomorrow.   But Rich was a special guy, and a cheesy movie about him would have been painfully ironic. 

The movie isn’t cheesy.

It’s flawed  - it’s flabby, probably a half-hour too long - and has some other issues.  But it feels like a story about a real person, and I recognized that person as the real Rich Mullins.  A version of him, certainly - but true in its way.  The film has heart.  Also: to Ms. Phillips’ credit, there’s very little Christian speechifying in Rich’s filmShe deserves a lot of credit for this.

I think making a movie about a person in an existential crisis is about as difficult a task as there is in film.  It’s such a weak engine, compared to say, “Saving the World”, or “Getting the Guy Who Killed Your Father”.  Hell, Batman combines bothBut, “Tortured Artist Finally Understands God’s Love” - that’s got about 1 cylinder, Baby.  Yet the Philips screenplay, directed by Schultz, gets that engine to run. I felt stuff watching the film.  There are a lot of technically brilliant movies that don’t do that. So, I say, “Well done, guys.”  And especially to Ms. Phillips, who had the most difficult job. 

Something I wish had been brought forward: how wickedly funny Rich was.  My man was King of Sarcasm, and you did not want to be on the receiving end of that (especially women, with whom he had a complex relationship generally).   But I can sincerely recommend the movie, and I didn’t think that was going to happen.

Next, a bit of historical housekeeping. The film depicts Rich’s relationship with Reunion Records are far more adversarial than it was.  It shows 2 executives, who clearly represent Mike Blanton and Dan Harrell, basically being materialistic jerks and condescending to Rich. They beg him to make “happy” songs and intimate his playing and material could be better. (Unfortunately, a scene like this is in 1 of the trailers).  Now, I know this is going to make the heads of some fervent Rich fans explode - but at no time did Reunion pressure Rich to change his music.  Ever.  I made 8 records with the guy.  I was in every song meeting.  Obviously, I was present when every note went down.  And I never had a single conversation with anyone at Reunion to change one note or word of his music (I was not an employee of Reunion, but an independent producer).  You know what Reunion did? Gave us money and left us alone.  In fact, I was left completely alone 90% of the time, because to my consternation, Rich was rarely around for a Rich Mullins record (more heads exploding, probably).  Every record began with the same ritual:  “Please, Rich.  Stay in the studio.  How am I supposed to do this if I can’t even ask you what you think?”  But Rich was remarkably passive in the studio.  On the few days he showed up, he left early.  Off to pals, and sometimes, a bar.

Mike and Dan were, and remain, businessmen.  But the movie gets them fundamentally wrong.  If anything - and I shared this in my email to Ms. Phillips - Mike Blanton’s great flaw is irrational optimism - the faith that somehow, everything is going to work out.  This is the flaw of every successful producer, though: faith to believe the unbelievableYes, Rich and Reunion fought sometimes.  But the people there loved Rich Mullins.  I watched the film with Rich’s A&R guy on my right, who is as soulful a guy as there is.  To my left was one of Reunion’s former staffers, who broke down into tears during the film’s end credits, when some actual footage of Rich is shown.  Reunion, as a group of people, loved Rich Mullins.  You fight with the people you love sometimes.

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I’m the guy on the left with the magnificent porn ‘stache

For those interested in the experience of recording Rich’s Ragamuffin record, considered his greatest work, here’s an interview I recently gave with Christianity Today on that: http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2013/october-web-only/legacy-of-rich-mullins-ragamuffin-band.html?paging=off

Okay, a story never-before shared. Rich wrote a page of prose most days.  He had notebooks full of the stuff. Now, it happened we finished a record early in the morning.  Rich had a flight out in just a few hours.  I left the studio about 3 am, and I was asleep when the phone rang.  It was Rich, calling me at 5 am.  “I left my notebook in the studio.”

            “Okay.  I’ll go out and get it tomorrow.”

            “No.  You have to drive out and get it tonight.”

            “Umm, it’s 5 am, pal.  I’m exhausted, and anyway, the studio’s locked.  I’d have to wake up the manager and I don’t think that would be appreciated.  I tell you what.  I’ll have the manager get it in the morning and hold it until I get there.”

            “Please.  You have to get it.”

            “I don’t follow.”

            “You have to get it tonight, and you have to destroy it.”

            “You don’t want it?  I thought that’s what this was …”

            “You have to destroy it, and you have to promise me you won’t read it.  I can’t trust anybody else to do that.”

            So, there I was: exhausted after a 20 hour day, at the end of a record, and Rich wants me to drive 45 minutes back out to the studio, wake up the manager (who closed up for us at about 2), get a notebook, and - without opening it, mind you - destroy it.  Now, ask yourself? Could you refrain from looking, given what kind of incendiary stuff must have been in it?

I drove out to Brentwood, knocked on the door, got the studio unlocked, retrieved the notebook, got back in my car.  Held the notebook on my lap.  Knew if I thought about it too long, I’d look.  Drove to a big dumpster behind a grocery store and threw it in.  Drove home.  I never opened the notebook.

 

 

 

Google’s Tim Quirk’s plan for music is to turn it all into advertising. Meet the Anti-Steve Jobs.

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It’s not news that Google values almost everything as advertising. Its economic model is built on using things to sell other things.  It’s circular for everyone but Google, because Google sits in the middle and collects revenue on ads and sales for things it doesn’t produce, stock, or deliver.  And this model has proved fabulously effective at generative wealth for Google.  But how far does it go?  This Google way of seeing - that the inherent value of a thing is to sell another thing - is there a limit?

No.  Quirk may actually believe what he says in the quote above - that music can’t be devalued - but  because he’s completely inculcated in Google Think, his practical ideas make music < ads, because at Google ads > E, where E is everything else.  So, his idea to save music is, quite naturally: turn ALL of it into ads.

We saw just how deeply his view runs at The Big Bang Forum held last week.  BBF is a kind of Davos for the music business, where music people get together with tech, distribution and venues people to talk about Big Ideas.  There are always stars at these kinds of conferences.  One of this year’s was Quirk, Google’s head of programming for Google Music.  As you would expect, it’s not possible to be an executive at Google without looking at the world its way - to drink the full liter of Google Kool Aid.  To see, in effect, all things as advertising for other things.

Even, and especially, music.  Now - I don’t mean “use music in advertisements sometimes.”  Quirk’s view is more fundamental, more essentially GoogleIn his view, music is advertising.  How do we know?  From his suggestion for How To Save The Music Business.

1st, Quirk 1st reaffirmed the “tiered fan” model that everyone recognizes:

            There’s the general public, which will mostly no longer pay for music

            There’s the fan, who will pay something for particular artists.

           There’s the “super-fan”, who will pay almost anything for special features, extra access, videos, early tickets, meet-and-greets, and merchandise.  These people are gold.

Now, to Quirk’s BIG GOOGLE IDEA to save musicQuirk says music should be presented as apps, which are given away. So, if Drake has a new record, it’s distributed as a stand-alone app that’s free.  When you open it, you can listen to (most of) the music for free, but then you’re invited into the inner sanctum of tiered access for which you pay.  More songs, or early-access tickets, or videos, or the chance to buy a Drake hat.  In other words, the music serves only as advertising for other stuff.  Sure, you might like it as a listening experience.  But it’s only monetary value is advertising.

 Okay - that’s how Google thinks, so this is natural.  But let’s look at it.

 1. We need a revolution that not everything exists just to sell something else.  Seriously. It’s a sickness.  Music - for God’s sake - if not music, then what?  Is a Bob Dylan record just a way to sell a Bob Dylan hat?  Jobs loved music for its inherent value, which is why he created a platform that paid people for making it.  He didn’t mind making a few billion for his investors along the way, but at least he valued music at some level for itself.  Google’s greatest value is to turn everything into advertising, so Quirk proposes to do that.  It’s just a cultural thing, baked into the executives.

 2. Quirk’s solution is the 1st to actually eliminate paying writers by design.  It’s already very hard for writers.  Mechanical royalties are down and streaming services pay next-to-nothing.  But Quirk’s idea to give all music away to sell something else means writers would be paid nothing by design.  And that’s a new way of thinking that reflects Google’s values. Advertising > Everything.

 3. Music as Apps is retrograde technology. This is the shocking one for me.  Do your really want a separate app for every record you listen to?   The brilliance of iTunes was to bring all music into a single icon on a phone or desktop.  It runs fairly lean, because it’s primarily a locker.  The massive data streams to you once or several times, but always within a single program:iTunes. Or, for that matter, Google Play or Spotify.  Quirk’s idea to turn every record into an app means to unbundle iTunes - to turn every record you “own” into its own program.  How much memory would that take?  Also: picture the bloodbath for icon space.  And these individual programs - remember, they’re not music, but just platforms to keep selling you other stuff.

 And that brings us to the final thing Google wants to turn into advertising: You.

Anna Wintour is the Big Winner in the Lena Dunham Cover Bruhaha

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There’s been controversy over Girls Creator Lena Dunham’s Vogue cover, mostly centered on the retouch/no-retouch issue.  That’s mostly bull - of course Dunham was retouched, and it doesn’t matter that Dunham’s brand is “authenticity”.  A brand is still a brand.  The real winner of this escapade is Anna Wintour, who has once again made her brand relevant.

Creativity requires insight + expertise.  Wintour is fantastically creative, but not in the area of fashion.  She has fabulous taste of course, but taste is an opinion about someone else’s work.  Wintour’s creative expertise is in business.  Namely, in managing the brand that is American Vogue. 

 Vogue has always walked a tightrope with its covers. The Diana Vreeland era featured nameless models who showcased true haute couture, the kind of clothes few mortals could afford and fewer could imagine wearing.  These covers gave artistic credibility for the ad pages inside, which promoted more accessible products.  Wintour’s insight (remember, creativity requires it) was to recognize she could dramatically increase the economic power of her brand by linking it to the broader world of celebrity.  Her expertise was identifying (and wooing) the precise celebrities who could serve her interest without damaging the credibility of her brand.  This is harder than it looks.  A single Kardashian could wipe out millions from her brand equity.She nearly lost her footing, though - only a last minute save kept Lindsay Lohan off the cover, which would have certainly caused a number of more-desirable icons to think twice about agreeing to a cover.  It’s hard for most mortals to understand, but there is a level of celebrity so high that even a Vogue cover takes some wooing.

 So: Lena Dunham.  The least conventionally-attractive person ever to appear on a Vogue cover, which is the point, as Wintour surely knows.  Lena Dunham is not a model, she’s a question.  The question is, “What is beauty for people under 30?  Is it about to change?”  Anna Wintour has moved this question to her brand, and given a few million people who never look at Vogue a reason to do so.  Most important - Wintour has done this without making it more difficult to get the next, more traditional star, to say yes next month.

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     RADIO IS LAYING ON MORE ICE TO SAVE ITS TRAPPED SHIP

 Remember that Russian ship that got caught in the ice a couple of weeks ago?  Well, it pulled safely into port at last yesterday.  It also serves as a lovely metaphor for the state of radio at the moment.

Today’s WSJ released an analysis of how radio is responding to the creative destruction of Spotify, Pandora, etc.  They’re getting more conservative.  This makes sense, short term.  It’s easy, and it pays a quick dividend.  Long term, it’s deadly.

Using research from Mediabase, the WSJ’s Hannah Karp reported that radio is playing far fewer songs than a decade ago, which necessitates many more repeats.  The reason is simple: programmers are afraid that even a few seconds of something unfamiliar will cause listeners to bail.  Here’s the stats:

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Now, a basic principle in business is that the more calcified is a convention, the greater the impact of a disruptor.  Think file-sharing vs. old media record companies.  It’s just devastating.  This is what Spotify, Pandora, etc. are doing to terrestrial radio - these companies are icebreakers slicing through the iceberg of traditional radio, that seems like it will always be around.  Radio’s response: lay on more ice.

Get more conservative.  Put more chips on the same hand.  In other words, don’t innovate at all.

Look for lots of stations to fail at this - and a few to thrive.  Because just as radio stations are picking very few winners for their playlists, the market will pick very few winners among stations. 

 There is an alternative, of course: radio can come together and think about how to be the icebreaker.  Here’s 3 questions to start the conversation … icebreakers, if you will:

1. Can you predict when the iceberg strategy will fail?
2. Is it desirable for your business model to expand listening opportunities - more artists and songs?
3. How can you become the icebreaker, and not just lay on more ice?

The Least Creative Cars of the Detroit Auto Show

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Beautiful, incredible, and desperate.  Of these 4 companies, at least 2 won’t survive.

What happens when innovation hits the end of its road?  When there is no more “forward” in a system of creative values?  The question is relevant to the most legendary names in automotive history: Ferrari, Lamborghini, Porsche, McLaren.  So far, they’re answering the question incorrectly - and I predict at least 2 of these companies won’t survive.  The reason is their core value - the “motive force” of their design and existence - has hit a wall.

Values drive all creativity, because they direct our creative decisions.  For supercar manufacturers the core value is obviously performance.  And not just any level of performance, but performance well beyond lesser cars.  To this shared value each company differentiates itself by nuances: for Ferrari, it’s passion and racing, for Lamborghini, it’s outrageousness, while McLaren expresses technical perfection.  All express exclusivity.  But these are side dishes to the main course of uncommon performance.  Which is now a problem, because there simply is no more performance possible to extract.  Or at least no more if the vehicle is going to be driven by a human being.  Seriously.  There’s nowhere to go.  That value is played out, which creates a creative conundrum. 

The problem is the performance envelope of lesser cars - the level supercars must substantially exceed - is now so high that most drivers can never explore it.  Today, a V6 Honda Accord gets down the road like a 1990’s Ferrari.  Lowly Nissan makes a genuine 200 mph car.  Ford will sell anybody with about 60k a Mustang with nearly 700 horsepower, a figure Ferrari has only exceeded in a single production-car in its history. Sure, nobody cross-shops a Mustang and a Ferrari.  But neither does anyone want a Ferrari that is no faster than a Mustang.

This is why innovation from these companies has entered into the realm of the avant-garde.  At Detroit’s International Auto Show, Ferrari, Porsche, and McLaren showed cars that exemplified how desperate times are for these companies.  In order to be “special” in the traditional supercar value-system, these cars are so absurdly fast that effectively none of its owners can come close to exploiting its performance, even on a race track.  The Ferrari Laferrari accelerates from 0-186 mph in 17 seconds.  The McLaren P1 goes from 62 to 125 in 4.0 seconds - much faster than many full-on race cars. 

The Porsche, McLaren, and Ferrari are justified by their complex hybrid powertrains - a nod to eco-relevance.  But note they’re also voluntarily limited to very small production numbers; the LaFerrari will only be built in 7 units; the Lamborghini only 3.  This shows the manufacturers are forced to increase exclusivity in order to compensate for lowering performance as a value.  Of these, probably none will be driven more than a dozen or so miles.  They’re collector items, million-dollar Beanie Babies..

 So, then: whither Ferrari, Lamborghini, McLaren, and even Porsche?  300 mph cars?  Can a wealthy enthusiast be happy spending a fortune on a car with performance that is essentially theoretical, like some avant-garde art project?  Yes - in very, very small numbers.  But not in large enough numbers to sustain these billion-dollar companies.  Of these, only Porsche, with its more diverse product line, is positioned to survive.

 Meanwhile, new competitors less hung up on legacy will come.  3D printing will soon largely erase the huge investments in machine tools that stand between a new company and success in major manufacturing.  If supercar companies are going to survive, they will have to find a new value to express.  It can’t be “hybrid performance” - technology will democratize that value just as it has traditional performance. Look at what Tesla’s accomplished already.  Yet if the defining value of a supercar company isn’t performance, then how can they be supercars?

3 Reasons Why Maker Culture is Winning Creatively

image1. Maker culture is based on a simple premise: if you can think it, you can build it.  This is pretty close to blind optimism (you can obviously think of things you can’t build, like a nuclear reactor).  But this optimism maximizes the way tech is destroying traditional barriers of skill. There’s enormous power in just trying. 

2. Makers aren’t afraid to fail.  In maker culture, failure isn’t what happens when things go wrong.  Failure is accepted as part of the creative process, and a primary learning tool.  This, by the way, is the precise opposite of how university classes are normally structured.

3. Makers are a community.  Take a look at the massive kickstarter successes in the photo above (none had a goal of more than 10k).  Makers love making things, but they also love sharing what they know.  Whatever they learn, they post. They live and work open-source. These kickstarter campaigns show the massive interest in DIY tech.  But they also show the power of the Maker community to rally. 

The New Fundamentalists of Silicon Valley

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  “I no longer believe freedom and democracy are compatible.”

                        Was this the statement of:

                        a. 12th Century Pope Innocent III

                        b. Karl Marx

                        c. a Taliban leader

                        d. PayPal founder Peter Theil

            Answer: d.

      That the statement above sits easily in the mouth of any of the 4 choices has, perhaps, not occurred to Theil, one of the high priests of silicon valley’s religion of Innovation.  But we should all be concerned.

            Religious fundamentalists who worship Innovation are a force in the valley, well-financed, well-connected, and determined.  Which raises questions they aren’t asking.  To not ask questions is, of course, a hallmark of fundamentalism.

            I once had a very religious friend who was going through a divorce. The marriage was deadly; both she and her husband were slowly grinding down to dust.  Still, there was the matter of the sacred vow.  How could she break it? My friend - a thoughtful, soulful woman -  explained that a counselor helped her see that the vow of marriage was for people, rather than people being here for the vow.  The vow was good; it was to hold us to our word to experience all the hard-won benefits of commitment.  But to actually sacrifice herself on the altar of the vow made the vow more important than a person, which was absurd.  We aren’t here for the vow; the vow is here for us.

            Now, many people in silicon valley have taken a vow to innovate.  They worship innovation, and don’t question it in the same way a religious fundamentalist doesn’t question the Bible.  The religion of innovation has priests, speaking to the oppressed about overthrowing the power structure that’s making them miserable. That power is government and its witless, uninformed regulations.  The usual gifts of salvation are offered: join us and become one of the chosen, the enlightened, a people set apart.  Also present is the marked willingness to ignore or deny facts that contradict the religion’s dogma: “to Innovate is Divine”. 

            A measure of fundamentalism is how literally the need for purity and separateness is taken.  At its most extreme, the separateness is total.  Think of the Amish.  Or, fundamentalist Mormonism in Utah.  Or a Taliban enclave.  In each case, life is separate and crucially, self-regulating.  There are Sharia neighborhoods in London where police don’t travel.  These neighborhoods are far from lawless.  But their laws are their own.

            So it is that the priests of Innovation declare their loyalty to the dogma of innovation, up to and including physical separation.   High in the church hierarchy is Chamath Palihapityi (ex-Facebook, founder of Social+Capital Partnership) who has flatly declared government is “completely useless.”  He advocates a silicon valley free from regulation, a corporate utopia free to worship Innovation.  Likewise, Google CEO Larry Page advocates zones free from government regulation so “innovators” are free to experiment.

            Is there anything ominous here?  Government does meddle, among other virtues ignored by the Innovators.  But people in silicon valley are humans, which means they’re made of the same neurotic stuff as everyone else.  So, when Peter Theil says, “I no longer believe that freedom and democracy are compatible,” he’s moving power from the unwashed to the enlightened, just like Marx or the Taliban.  We can’t let people decide for themselves, poor things.  We are the enlightened, the chosen.  Put us in charge and all will be well. 

            How far are they willing to go?  Another priest, Stanford University lecturer Balaji Srinvasan proposes startup companies exit the US, probably in the form of floating islands operating completely autonomous from government.  But add to this lack of regulation Srinvasan’s founding interest in a genetics startup.  Stir and wait a decade or 2.  What creature this way comes?

            Doubtless, Srinvasan’s response would be, “Idiot.  Ask what cancer cure this way comes.”  Maybe.  Conveniently ignored is the fact that our ability to create new technology is already greater than our ability to control it.  Shortly, it will outpace our ability to even imagine its consequences.

            This is a time when those who make technology should engage in the most deeply-considered conversations in our history.  What if, as seems likely over the next decade or so, technology permanently displaces a net 10% of jobs?  The normative 5% or so of unemployment would become 15%.  This would have enormous social consequences.  And what if, over the next 3 decades, the displacement is, say, 30%?  A number of scenarios come to mind, none attractive, some terrifying.  But the truth is, we don’t know what would happen, because so many other unknown things will have also happened.

           Innovation should be here for us.  We are not here for innovation.  We must not sacrifice ourselves on its altar.  Like good fundamentalists, the priests of Innovation hold fast to their vow, no matter who gets crushed.

            Of course, the religion of Innovation may fail.  Religions come and go.  The Gnostics flew high for a while, then flamed out.  But remember, utopians who fail often have a doomsday plan roaming around in their heads.  In case this doesn’t work, it just proves we need to flush and start over.  The terrorists believe that, which is why we should all really, really hope no mullah ever has his finger on the trigger.  Meanwhile, the high priests of silicon valley are busy making their own buttons, with the blinding truth of Rightness in their eyes.

Masculinity Is Confused About What Decade It Is

Masculinity is coming back.  Metrosex isn’t good sex, and more men are seeking their inner badass.  Thing is, when men want to, you know, be men, they’re looking back to cars their daddies drove.  

Nothing wrong with that.  Hell, I learned to drive in a Ford pickup, and I’d give a pretty penny to drive it one more time. Still, it’s a sign of how confused things still are that men look backwards to declare they’re somebody you don’t want to mess with.

My New Office Is the Ultimate Luxury

I have a pretty great office, which the picture above is not. The office I refer to, and which I’m not using any more (for a while, at least), was purpose-built, with built-in bookcases, a window that looks onto woods, and a proper office-supply closet.  It’s got a $1200 office chair and the desk is full of meaning for me; it’s my Dad’s old desk from his law firm. I love that desk.  Which is interesting, because I just moved out of that office to set up a laptop on a drafting table.

I have to stand.  All the cool stuff in the old office - pictures of the Rat Pack, signed photo of Andy Griffith, model of the space shuttle (signed by Sally Ride) - all that stuff, is, obviously, left behind.  I did it because apparently, sitting most of the day kills you.  So says the research, anyway, and that sounded bad. My wife, who’s an artist, has a drafting table she wasn’t using.  It was stuck in a spare bedroom (you have one of those bedrooms, where you put crap?  We do.)  I’m on day 4.  I’ve written about 6k words, few of which need to be rewritten.  I’m more focused.  I feel better.  Are you kidding?  I took a freaking nap yesterday.

Is this the future?  I don’t know.  But there’s a tunnel effect in having no distractions, and staying on my feet helps me focus.  Look at this thing; it’s just clean.  Writing becomes more like talking - it’s just the result of standing, I think.  I’m standing now, as I write this. My style is less mannered and things flow better.  I think I’ll be standing for a while.