Posts tagged with "inspiration"

New Hampshire: Day 2

Thumbnail: Training

The train­ing is light and relaxed. I avoid wear­ing my name tag, but not the awk­ward round of intro­duc­tions every­one has to make around the class. We fin­ish ear­ly for the day, and I won­der if there’ll be a test at the end as part of my cer­ti­fi­ca­tion.

I vague­ly remem­ber that Dave Seah, my online men­tor and per­son­al coach, lives in New Hampshire. We met four years ago when I joined 9rules, and imme­di­ate­ly devel­oped a con­nec­tion. His writ­ing, ideas, and achieve­ments have always inspired me, and he’s been the only per­son to make a guest post on my blog.

I call him, and as fate would have it, he lives 10 min­utes from my hotel. For years, I’ve won­dered if he had a New Hampshire accent, and I final­ly find out he speaks just like me.

Thumbnail: Factory 99

Thumbnail: Photo studio

Thumbnail: No parking
Thumbnail: Mailboxes
Thumbnail: Climbing stairs
Thumbnail: Metal star
Thumbnail: Creepy aloe

Thumbnail: Photo studio

Dave picks me up and whisks me away to Factory 99, an open artist stu­dio con­vert­ed from an old fac­to­ry, to meet Sid. Sid is a pho­tog­ra­ph­er try­ing to turn his pas­sion into his liv­ing. I see his pho­tos, and pick his brain about off-cam­era flash­es, expo­sure, post-pro­cess­ing, back­drops, and light­ing for much longer than I should have. I can’t even explain how many ques­tions he’s answered. I feel like I’ve been through a work­shop, and leave with an urgency to try every­thing I’ve learned. It’s easy to see why Dave is such good friends with him, and the syn­er­gy con­tin­ues.

Thumbnail: Dave on brick
Thumbnail: Creep statue
Thumbnail: Factory
Thumbnail: Fence
Thumbnail: Triangle manhole

From there we take a stroll to down­town and onto Main Street. It’s only sun­set, and many stores are closed, a sign of the eco­nom­ic down­turn. It’s a small city we’re in1, and there’s almost noth­ing of note, save for the tri­an­gle man­hole cov­ers.

Thumbnail: Dave's house
Thumbnail: Basement studio
Thumbnail: Daves drawing
Thumbnail: Jeff with cat
Thumbnail: Fortune

We make a quick stop at his house, nes­tled among ever­greens and a cosy part of town, to check on a turkey he’s been slow cook­ing. I final­ly get a chance to see his stu­dio in real life. I rec­og­nize the lap­top he pur­chased for his project. I see his hand­writ­ing. His gun vault. His OLPC lap­top. His cats. All the lit­tle details I’ve glimpsed from his pho­tos are in front of me now.

Thumbnail: Korean appetizers
Thumbnail: Unagi
Thumbnail: Bibimbap
Thumbnail: Kalbi
Thumbnail: Dave approves

We look for a place to have din­ner, and decide on some Asian food. He takes us to a Korean/Japanese restau­rant. I let him order every­thing for the both of us. Just from hear­ing him describe the una­gi, I can tell he’s one of the few peo­ple who ana­lyze and study and appre­ci­ate food the way I do.

Over our steam­ing bowls of rice and tea, we talk as if we’ve known each oth­er our entire lives. I real­ize just how sim­i­lar we are, how we’re at the same stage in life, both self-aware, emo­tion­al­ly intel­li­gent, won­der­ing the same things, fig­ur­ing out the mys­ter­ies of life, and try­ing to sus­tain our­selves on what we love doing.

I don’t feel so alone any­more.

  1. Compared to Ottawa, at least, at only one tenth the pop­u­la­tion []

Pain Is Better Than Emptiness

I’ve come to real­ize that I cling to pain and yearn­ing because they give me inspi­ra­tion. They may not be the sole source, but cer­tain­ly a great deal. I always lis­ten to Leonard Cohen and Elliot Smith dur­ing such moods, as they have the abil­i­ty to inten­si­fy and deep­en the sad­ness.

I can tell it’s some­thing of a destruc­tive habit. It’s almost like I sub­con­scious­ly choose to dwell on things that have been resolved for the sake of some­thing to write about.

It makes me think of the last lines from King Missile’s song Ed:

Yes, this is the answer. This is the end­ing. I shall keep on run­ning, because a body in motion tends to stay emo­tion­al, and it’s bet­ter to feel. Pain is bet­ter than empti­ness, empti­ness is bet­ter than noth­ing, and noth­ing is bet­ter than this.”

Is this how I feel alive, a way of bring­ing sig­nif­i­cance to my life? Or is this the way I tru­ly feel, and I’m sim­ply a slow heal­er, and too much of a thinker?

Or per­haps the bet­ter ques­tion is this: does hap­pi­ness inspire me just as much?


I’ve been blessed with friends who paint, sculpt, carve, design, sing, and com­pose, and I’ve been for­tu­nate enough to find a print­er and framer who are artists them­selves in what they do. Even though they have dif­fer­ent medi­ums and ways of express­ing them­selves, they’re all dri­ven by a sense of pas­sion. Some can explain where it comes from, some can’t, but you can tell it’s root­ed deep with­in their beings.

Passionate peo­ple have always attract­ed me. When you talk to them, you become filled with ebul­lient ener­gy. You feed off each oth­er, like a dia­logue of ideas and inspi­ra­tion.

It’s warm­ing. It’s mov­ing.

Together, you become some­thing that’s greater than you are by your­self.