Writing habits

Do you remember the first time you fell in love? Of course you do. Kind of like discovering chocolate for the first time, you just wanted more and more.

My first proper relationship was notable in that it was mostly long distance. Soon after we met I went overseas to study and decided to pour my heart and soul into keeping the relationship going. And a writing habit was born.

We were prolific. The amount of words written in letters, emails and text messages was at an almost Shakespearean quantity. Every single day, for months on end. Quality was highly questionable, but quantity was admirable.

This laid the groundwork for blogging and writing regularly for the rest of my life to date. I’m thankful. Thankful for the habit, thankful for this blog, and thankful my current relationship is in person.

What are the origins of your habits?

Happy Monday chimps.

Purpose

After years of blogging – I have finally realised why my website exists at all: It is to help husbands.

Initially, I thought this blog was about music, or maybe psychology, or maybe self-improvement – but now I realise that it is actually about the situation I found myself in.

6 years ago, I moved in with my wife after our wedding and I felt frankly lost. There had been so much celebration and planning for our married life, but once it actually happened, there were several problems; I had nowhere to call my own space (interior design and marriage negotiations). I had no creative outlet (personality type). I had no sense of self (again, psychology and personality type). I was getting unfit and unhappy fast.

The themes of Design, Negotiation, Psychology and Creativity have all been catalysts for change in my married life. I have decided to take responsibility for my own marriage and my own health. I write and create podcasts centred on these themes.

There will be lots more people who can relate to this. To date this site has only helped myself, but from now on Chimpwithcans has a purpose – to enable a husband’s health in the home. 

Not a lot will change, but I will treat this writing and podcasting as more of a job and you can expect things to become a bit more professional. There will also be Patreon content created and available to Patrons only.

Happy Wednesday Chimps.

Love and War

King of your realm? Everything in its place? You will inevitably receive a challenge to let the spirits of War or Love come in through the front door. Accept the challenge and then everything changes. You have a choice to let them in or not. To stay where you are, or to take on the responsibility.

Years ago we let a dog through the door. A long haired mutt called “Trumpet” – Hair and damp spots grew in the realm. We fed him, changed his name, took him to school, gave him haircuts and a bed of his own.

Other spirits heard our doors were open and started to arrive in different forms. We let in more dogs, fish, grownups and finally children.

If you let them in, Love and War can take over the realm. This is not ideal and can lead to eternal battles that will burn the realm to the ground leaving nothing but scorched earth. So what to do? It is tempting to enforce discipline on the spirits no matter what. To shout and push them around. This works to a point, but the realm loses something in the process so too much discipline and fear will hurt the realm. Once upon a time we shouted and ordered spirits around for three whole days and the realm turned grey. No more color was left. It was as if the realm was sick with a cancer.

Instead we recommend you provide a stage in the realm for Love and War to play out their fantasies. This stage needs to be thought out to a degree, but really you just need a snug place to sit, some open space as a stage with sunlight to light up the spirits, and some clean air. Maybe a bit of music in the background for atmosphere. Once the stage is set, sit back and watch for the magic. Note that this can be messy and cleaning up after a performance will be up to you, but pay attention when the play is on because the magic is oh so beautiful. Carry a glass jar to capture some of the magic if you can. Then you can hang the jar on a piece of string and let the children sleep easy under its light.

This will come with practice.

Bail out mindsets and remedies

Sometimes my brain will flick a switch and bail out. Just like a wrestler tapping out of a choke hold, when my stresses build up and become too much, the brain seems to automatically hide from responsibility. It searches memories for simpler times and childhood. Sadness creeps in. The search for distraction and pleasure creeps in. It bails out of life. This happens quickly and quietly.

Inevitably when this happens, and when I take the time to look at my life, I will see a pattern emerging. Usually this “bail out” mindset happens when I haven’t looked after myself in one of three ways. Either I haven’t done any exercise in a while, I haven’t done anything artistic in a while, or I’m not sleeping enough. Or some combination of the three.

So yesterday my brain bailed out. So I ran in the afternoon….yes….endorphins! Then i went to bed early. Today I’ll try find some time to doodle on the guitar or work on the podcast….Yeah, the podcast I reckon.

Do what you can. Which is more than you think.

The price of art

Art is subjective. But to my mind, as an artist the price you place on a piece of art is reliant on three major drivers – marketing, reputation and purpose.

Marketing – this boils down to the things that can be defined and measured and tracked. Who is the piece of art aimed at? What is the minimum viable audience? Who is expecting your message as something anticipated, personal and relevant? The clearer this is in your head as an artist, the easier it is to price your work.

Reputation – this is linked to perseverance and track record. The idea of showing up and consistently shipping what you say you will ship is important when you need to put a price on your work. With each promise you keep, your reputation is solidified and this gains you a most valuable form of currency in the internet age – attention. Wit attention comes pricing power.

Purpose – Are you trying to change the culture, and by how much? A couple of examples run through my head:

  • Your purpose may be not ambitious enough – As an artist, you are well known as a ‘reproducer of the masters’. All you ever do with your art skills is reproduce Van Gogh paintings for tourists to buy as cheap mementos. In order to remain relevant to your chosen market (and it is a choice) you have to keep on churning out the sunflowers and keep the pricing at a level defined by the going rate for copies of others’ paintings. It’s not changing the culture, it might make you a living, but the prices remain low and the labor required very high. In essence you are a factory selling a commodity.
  • Your purpose may be too ambitious – a performance artist wants to rid the world of human trafficking through the clarity and poignancy of her message. Dancing and reciting her viscous poetry on the street corner, she ends up shouting at passers by who do not give her much attention or currency. Her stated purpose was too broad and difficult to achieve. Her market is not refined enough. Her price bottoms out.

What makes you pay a particular price for art?

Making it interesting

Check out this passage from a book I am reading:

The eardrum is connected to three tiny, loosely hinged bones inside the middle ear. Each bone is delicate and exquisitely shaped. One looks like a hammer and is called by its Latin name, malleus. The next, the incus, looks like an anvil. And the third, the stapes, looks like a stirrup. When the eardrum vibrates, these bones vibrate in tune with its movement and with the movement of the air.

Three bones make all the sound you hear in your head! This sort of thing blows my mind, and yet I gave up biology at 15.

Maybe if my biology teacher had linked it all to music I would have paid attention.

Buildings through different lenses

One way to view a building is through the lens of a developer. Using this lens, a building is a foundation, a frame, and finishes (interior and exterior — windows, doors, penetrations) plus the surface finishes (floors, walls, ceilings, interior doors, rest rooms, mop closets, central plant) and the HVAC, electrical, plumbing, fire protection, controls, elevator systems.

Buildings can also be linked to health and emotion. A house can be a safe space and a home full of joy, or it can be full of anger, the scene of a divorce. Creative spaces can give you a sense of freedom and purpose. Pressurized space characterized by disjunction and poor design can give you a feeling of unease – it may even make you sick.

Depending on what you want to achieve, it helps to have the right lens. For example right now I need to sort out several functional things in our old house such as the garden lawn and the crumbling driveway. Developers lens helps here. I also have to manage a big family’s needs and expectations with my own. Seeing our home as a space for emotional fulfillment, health, and personal development is perhaps the lens to use here.

Footage

I received a video yesterday from my dad. He was fronting a full on soul band. A blues brothers style suit on, he was singing on stage playing his Stratocaster next to my sister who played saxophone.

It made me think that not many families have such cool footage. It reminded me that my family roots are creative, bold, and musical.

It was such a great video to receive and I was so proud of them. Thanks dad.

Keeping it alive

Daily life can most often be distilled down to a single question: should I keep this alive?

Whether it is a pet fish, a job, a relationship, a website: burn the dead wood.

And possibly the goldfish??

Happy Tuesday chimps.

Balance the Sun

Too much sun can lead to DNA damage – sun burn and eventually cancer.

Too little sun can cause vitamin deficiencies – rickets.

Design yourself a living space with some sunshine. Not too much but definitely not too little. The Sun’s light impacts mood and physical health in a massive way.