21 may 2022

black star

The proofs for DoubleZero have shipped. When I receive and review them (hardcover and softcover) I’ll determine if they’re good to go or not. If they need tweaks, I’ll fix them, submit new files to the print, and wait for another proof. If all looks good, I will turn on the print-on-demand option immediately. Stay tuned.

I hope you’re doing well today.

20 may 2022 | sacred space

hunky dory

The idea of workspace as sacred space comes from artist Tom Sachs. It’s explained in the video below, 10 Bullets, a primer for those working in his New York studio. The idea is something that I’ve worked toward for many years but never had words for. I have talked about wanting to work monastically, setting boundaries around my time, and even referenced Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi’s ideas around flow states. Workspace as sacred space encompasses all of that.

Following up on yesterday’s update about how I work, I realized that the biggest hurdle to maintaining the sacred space was myself. Texts and phone calls came in during my structured writing time. They were from people that I probably shouldn’t ignore. I did not want to stop what I was doing to deal with them. The way I ended up handling it was taking a moment to step into the kitchen, text them that I could not talk at the moment, and provide the shortest answer. Then I left my phone in the kitchen, on silent, and went back to writing.

(There exists the possibility, in at least one case, that not answering will lead to the person showing up on my doorstep. That would be a more extensive interruption. Life is too complicated. Mitigate violation of the sacred space,)

At the moment I am editing a chapter on rapid logging for a book on bullet journaling. I was thinking about that while deciding how to best maintain my boundaries. What was the shortest, most concise answer that I could give so I could return to what I was doing? What’s the shortest entry you can write in your daily log so the information is not lost but you can return to what you are doing and deal with the log entry later?

Then I thought about how, as a person that has been described as gratuitously verbose, I have embraced the creative limitations of this daily update as well as the precepts of the Black Box Manifesto. It was at that moment that I realized that rapid logging and workspace as sacred space are both expressions of minimalism.

I hope you’re doing well today.

19 may 2022 | how i work

heroes

As of yesterday, this is my current schedule/workflow. Things of course will change based on unusual events, but this is what normal looks like. It’s based on two factors: the reality that I will slowly run out of spoons over the course of the day, and the fact that as I run out of spoons I become more prone to distractions.

  • 6 am: Wake up and read. Maybe put on some music if I’m in the mood. This block is a non-negotiable sacred space unless for some reason I need to be somewhere early in the morning. Starting the day slowly, doing something I enjoy, puts me in a good mood and somehow makes my spoons last longer.
  • 7 – 9am: Breakfast. This block includes showering, getting dressed, having coffee and breakfast with Katie, and watching a little TV. Note that so far there has been no social media, no email, and only a passive screen.
  • 9am – 12pm: Writing. Period. This block is also a sacred space. If I am in the office, apart from taking a short break I am laying down some word count. Still no social media or email.
  • 12 – 2pm: Lunch. From 12 to 1 I cook, clean, fold laundry, and do other household tasks. From 1 to 2 Katie and I eat and usually watch something. Still no social media or email.
  • 2 – 6pm: Miscellaneous work. Finally, check email and social media. Keep that to a minimum so I can do other things. What I do depends on spoons. I usually edit or write some more.
  • 6 – 8pm: Dinner. From 6 to 7, I cook and do some light housework like folding laundry. From 7 to 8 Katie and I eat and usually watch something.
  • 8 – 10pm: Easy/fun work. I write the Daily Berin for the following morning, update my journal, and deal with email/socials. Usually I put a movie on in the background.

This schedule is a mere 9 hours per day. I am working to get down to 5 days per week. Saturday and Sunday are largely the same as above, except cut out the morning work block.

I hope you’re doing well today.

18 may 2022

Low

If you’re looking for a religious experience, go to Three Amigos and get anything with carnitas. Forget the wonky web address, ignore the spelling errors, this is the best Mexican food I have had since leaving Tucson in 2009 (New Mexico doesn’t count, that’s New Mexican food, which is a whole other wonderful thing). Not sponsored, I’m just a fan.

The library is having a book sale. 5 for $1. I now have plenty of physical books to occupy me for the summer. My beach reads include John Le Carre, Tom Robbins, and Norman Mailer because I’m weird. And yes, I read women and BIPOC authors, too, these are just the books I picked up at the sale.

I discovered Elizabeth Filips on Nebula while looking for something else. There’s a lot of good information in the linked video, including some tips that I’m adding to the way I schedule tasks. My only issue is that she talks so bloody fast. I had to slow the playback to 3/4 speed to understand her.

I hope you’re doing well today.