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1000 Black Lines

:: digital coffee stains on the paper of the blogosphere ::

Getting things done... effectively

I finished reading Tim Ferriss's book The 4-Hour Workweek awhile ago. And then I re-read it again. Why? Because the subtitle part "Escape 9-5" is real appealing to me.

Earlier this year I began changing the way I think about work and career and the idea of an office. Am I destined to living in a cube-land existence due to my profession as a graphic designer (or, rather, manager)? Almost two years ago I was benevolently bestowed the title of manager. This means I manage all phases of development, production, promotion and distribution of front- and backlist of book titles. Further I direct/assist editorial contributions, assign and design book covers and page layouts, select cover and text paper based on budget and write, design, and place ads.

I've come to learn that titles don't seem to mean anything anymore nor do they represent the illusion of a pay increase. At least, not for me.

Enter friend, stage right, with book in hand.

Like I said, I'm reading this book, The 4-Hour Workweek, and realizing things I've observed but didn't have words to attach to them and I am re-framing how I think about work and career. Here's an example:
Effectiveness is doing the things that get you closer to your goals. Efficiency is performing a given task... in the most economical manner possible.
Intuitively, I know this. I efficiently file sales reports and place ads. But is that reaching a career goal? More importantly, what is the definition of that goal? Here's another great office observation that differentiates office lemmings from entrepreneurs.
Doing something unimportant well does not make it important.
This is more a philosophical observation than a business or lifestyle strategy. For example, this could apply to religion. An individual may have efficient faith (meaning they do something well) or an effective faith (meaning they are attaining goals). What defines importance? What drives the doing or the ritual? Currently, I am extremely busy. So I ask myself, am I achieving goals or spinning my tires? Here's another kick-in-the-gut quote:
Being busy is a form of laziness--lazy thinking and indiscriminate action... lack of time is actually lack of priorities.
Aw, Scheiße! So, now I have to determine and set priorities of activities in how they relate to determined and set goals. This is hard; like a work out. I can chest press 110 pounds in repetitions of 12 to 15. A single power chest press is closer to my weight. My goal is not body building, it is physical training toward optimum health. I need to determine if 12 to 15 reps is too efficient and more resistance would provide a more effective workout.

I'll share more later. I'm about finished with Harvey Pekar's Ego & Hubris: The Michael Malice Story and somehow these two books seemed to taste great together. One more quote from Tim Ferriss's book The 4-Hour Workweek. before I go:
Stop asking opinions and start proposing solutions.

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One of these things is not like the other

This is an interesting side by side comparison:

Mountain Xpress
Circulation: 28,565 (as of June 2006)

Mountain Xpress is the keen-eyed, eloquent voice of the Asheville metro area.... We focus on local politics, civic issues and the area's vibrant arts-and-entertainment scene -- reporting the news with a magazine flair. Our.... readers are 25-to-49 years old.... [and] are, primarily, active professionals...
[source]

WNCmagazine
Print Run for Premiere Issue: 25,000
Direct Mailing: 15,000
WNCmagazine will be mailed directly to local persons with an annual income of $100,000+ as well as those belonging to community organizations.
Newsstand: 3,800
WNC magazine will be distributed by national agencies to newsstands, bookstores, grocery stores, and other retail stores throughout Western North Carolina.
Hotels: 3,000
WNC magazine will reach the lucrative consumer and travel market through in-room distribution at upscale hotels and bed and breakfasts throughout the region.
Waiting Room Distribution: 1,200
WNC magazine will be placed in the waiting rooms of doctors, dentists, and other professionals in the Western North Carolina region.
Marketing Activities: 1,000
Sales Copies: 1,000

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Kix + Color Wonder = Successful campaign

At breakfast, my oldest child (who is just learning to read) asked why Color Wonder was on the back of the Kix cereal box. I answered dryly, "Because Amazing Savings was selling Kix for $1.29 a box due to an expired marketing campaign and, I suspect, Kix had been cross-marketing Crayola's Color Wonder markers in hopes of reaching its target demographics." My wife snorted. My child asked for milk and then asked again why Color Wonder was on the back of the Kix cereal box. I began again, "The people who produce Kix breakfast cereal thought you might enjoy Color Wonder." After a spoonful of cereal, the child said, "I like Color Wonder and Kix."

Thanks Kix. Your market demographic is secure.

Asheville after the storm


I missed the bus last night. Seems like I've been missing a lot this week. Work has been a storm of activity. A project, a Weekly Planner, I sent to press at the beginning of the month finally arrived and looks fantastic. But like two weather fronts colliding, the Weekly Planner crashes into another project, a paperback book, and it seems the days and nights wrestle for control of my energy.

I missed The Kakalak Poets on Saturday, but caught the Bernstein and Cabanis-Brewin reading at Malaprop's on Sunday. Their reading centered around place; specifically Western North Carolina. It was an unusually balm mid-October afternoon and I felt like a stranger at the event even though I've been to Malaprop's dozens if not hundreds of times. It was the way their work spoke of this region; deeply intimate.

Marvin Bell read at UNC Asheville's Reuter Center Wednesday night. I attend the reading. Arriving early, I found a place in the back and began reading through a copy of the American Poetry Review. It arrived last weekend, but I hadn't had time to read it. Someone kicked my foot and I looked up to find a smiling Sebastian Matthews who found a seat next to me. That reading was marvelous and the conversation afterwards with other poets and writers was equally nice. I wanted to greet Marvin Bell, but I lost courage and remembered I had to get home and check on correspondence with the author of the paperback book project I'm developing.

Thursday night, after missing the bus, I realized I'd missed my exercise routine all week. I had a 30-minute, two mile routine that I try to accomplish three times a week. So I walked to the Asheville Transit Center as a way to get back on track. It's two miles exactly. Since I was a block away from Asheville Brewing Company, I popped in for a quick pint of Ninja Porter and a Rocky's Philly Cheesteak. I think Drinking Liberally was meeting there, but I had to dash off or I'd miss the bus again. I'm glad it's Friday. I hope I don't miss the weekend.

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PRESS RELEASE: Flood Fine Arts Gallery

From Immediate Release:

Sunday, October 28, 2007, at 2 p.m., Flood Fine Arts Gallery will host its monthly poetry reading at 2:00p.m., featuring Kathy Godfrey and Selah Saterstrom.


In addition, Selah will be teaching a three hour poetry workshop on Saturday, October 27, at the gallery at 1:00 p.m. Here is Selah’s description of the workshop:


Using the mode of the question as a path of inquiry and allowing the logic of divination and chance operations to inform our experiments, this writing workshop seeks to engage with the parabolic and mysterious in the idioms of parable and mystery. By infesting our engagements with visual representations and by performing public acts of writing, we will explore the page as an installation space and wonder what it is that binds a book.


If you are interested in taking the workshop please Mark at 776-8438.


Selah Saterstrom is the author of The Meat and Spirit Plan and The Pink Institution [both published by Coffee House Press]. She co-curates SLAB PROJECTS, an artist/writer-curator initiative concerned with exploring the gaps between decay and reconstruction in storm or otherwise affected landscapes. Saterstrom is on faculty in the graduate program at the University of Denver, and Naropa.


Kathy Godfrey writes and teaches in Asheville. Her work has appeared locally in WNC Woman, Victoria Press, Intersections, and Blue Elephant. She is currently shopping two manuscripts around the world of publishing: Kudzu, a collection of poetry, essays and stories, and a novel .Godfrey has been a featured reader at the Fresh Air Reading Series, and Malaprops Bookstore.

Flood Gallery Fine Arts Center is located at 109 Roberts Street in the River Arts District of Asheville North Carolina. For more information, please contact Mark Prudowsky at info@floodgallery.org or call 828-776-8438.

Anyone planning to attend the Handlebar show?

The first time I heard this song (see YouTube vid) it had not been recorded yet. That's one thing I like about Over the Rhine--their music haunts me even when it isn't playing on the stereo.

I've been waiting to hear that song again, but I missed the show here in Asheville due to sick children. Further, friends have lived with me for the last two weeks as they prepared to depart Asheville (yes, yet more people I know who are migrating away from the future home of The Ellington). They left after dark during OtR's performance at The Grey Eagle.

OtR is scheduled to play at the Handlebar tomorrow.

Press Release: Writers at Home Series Continues at Malaprop's

From Elaine Fox:

UNC Asheville’s 2007-08 Writers at Home Series continues with readings by local writers Danny Bernstein and Jeanette Cabanis-Brewin at 3 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 21, at Malaprop’s Bookstore/Café, 55 Haywood St., downtown Asheville. Writers at Home is part of the Great Smokies Writing Program, a consortium of Western North Carolina writers and UNC Asheville. The event is free and open to the public.

Bernstein is the author of "Hiking the Carolina Mountains," published in 2007. She is a columnist for the Mountain Xpress and a contributor to New Southerner, Smoky Mountain Living, Blue Ridge Country and Blue Ridge Outdoors. Bernstein is a hike leader for the Carolina Mountain Club and edits the club’s electronic newsletter.


Cabanis-Brewin has published poetry in "The Nomad," "Atlanta Review" and "Appalachian Heritage" and in the anthologies "Tree Magic," "The Gift of Experience" and "Immigration, Emigration, Diversity." She is a business writer and editor, having co-edited and co-written several books about business. Cabanis-Brewin lives and works at the forks of Blackbird Branch near Cullowhee, N.C.


For more information, call Tommy Hays, executive director of the Great Smokies Writing Program at 828/254-1389.


UPDATE: From Elaine Fox:
Just an update on the previous announcement concerning the Great Smokies Writing Program Writers at Home series Readings at Malaprop's Sunday. Jeannette Cabanis-Brewin will be reading from her new chapbook, Patriate, just out from Longleaf Press. It won the Longleaf chapbook prize for 2007, so it should be a real treat for all!

Over the Rhine plays The Grey Eagle


Wednesday, October 17, 2007
Over The Rhine w/Rosie Thomas

Resignation a bit rocky

For the last four or five weeks I've been tormented. Should I, or shouldn't I continue contributing to Write Stuff. See, I've been extremely busy in my professional life (of publishing other people's books) that I felt that my contributions were lacking the quality I wanted to deliver. So I emailed the site's leader this weekend and politely resigned and promised to deliver one final contribution: Rainless among marram.

This morning I read today's Write Stuff post about defining genres and left a comment that was DELETED! WTF! I mean, is it necessary to delete the comment?

My comment mentioned that genres are mainly decided by publishing companies to help bookstores sell books. In the same manner, the recording industry uses the same strategy to sell albums by differentiating their target audience by marketing a project as 'country' or 'alt country' or 'punk americana country.' I referenced Peter Rubie's book Telling the Story: How to Write and Sell Narrative Nonfiction. It includes a section on how genres are defined. Rubie write to help writers pitch their work.

So, crassly speaking, genres help sell books. Or not so crassly, genres help publishers deliver titles to the correct audiences.

Why would that get DELETED? I don't get it. Whatever. I go back to work now.

UPDATE: Not only was my post deleted, but someone else's (username Square1) was also deleted. Thanks to Google Reader (I RSS the Write Stuff comments), I was able to learn this detail. I wonder if there is a glitch in their comments software, because Square1 left a comment on my final Write Stuff post, Rainless among marram that was not deleted.

analog blogging


A couple weeks ago I attended this local event and replugged myself into the local blogger matrix. The first guy I met I hadn't seen since the Spring. A lot has changed for me and him in such a short time period. Another blogger I hadn't seen in almost two years now has a regular column in the Mountain Xpress. The most encouraging thing said to me that night was by a local blog celebrity; who said he really missed reading my blog and viewing occasionally posted artwork.

I tried to explain to Ashvegas why this blog lacks the type of writing once presented here, but the short answer is really long and complicated and maybe I'll tell you one day--when I actually know what the answer is. For now, I write down in my notebooks what I used to post on this blog. You know the kinds, moleskin note books, student compositions books, hand made note books, and others with ruled pages.

I'd like to write more, but I simply got to hit the road and clear my mind of distractions.

Browsing book covers

"Anyone who has ever been in a bookstore knows that you’re not browsing books; you’re browsing covers. To have a chance in a sea of covers, you’ve got to have a compelling visual that grabs people."

With that in mind, here's three cover sketches (digital sketches meaning these sketches may change a lot before one is chosen to go to press) I'm developing for an upcoming paperback release. What's your pick?

1.
2.

3.

Happy Birthday...

(via gaping void)