Thoughts on Body Heat and Machine Dependency

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Every year, when the fall chill sets in but it’s not yet cold enough for the heat to turn on, we humans in this apartment are swarmed by The Pets. I know they are mostly using us for body heat, but it’s hard not to conflate the reaction with love.

The sharing of body heat is intimate, regardless.

Yesterday, I remarked to my wife that I have come to believe that her love for me increases by about 20% in the fall. She stand, sits closer to me, holds me a little longer when we embrace.

We’re all awakened into a sort of greater, more primal intimacy, when the weather turns — aren’t we? There’s a shift in body language, an uptick, a sharpening of the stride now that the heat of summer has passed. There’s a vitality to it.

In similar fashion, it has occurred to me over time — that I have initiated production of every one of my films in the fall. Every last one of them.

Something thrives in me, at this time of the year. I’m sure it also coincides with how life and business at large tends to pick up, in the months leading up to the holidays and to year-end financial reporting deadlines — but for the sake of beauty let’s stick to a discussion of nature for the moment.

I got a new phone yesterday. The process took two and a half hours. Granted, I switched carriers. Still, it was a long time. Short of actual labor, or watching a movie — I don’t do anything for over two hours straight. Maybe that’s sad, but I think it also might be typical.

With this in mind, at one point during the process, while in conversation with the sales associate and my wife, I only semi-jokingly wondered aloud whether, at this point, we were working for the machines — versus the other way around.

I know I struggle with device-addiction. It’s a real issue, and one exacerbated by big businesses constantly battling for the newest most precious commodity after our labor — as much of our divided attention that they can win, and leverage to their interests.

That’s not entirely a judgement. The battling is necessary, to a point.

But these wars are often bloodless, not in terms of a lack of victimhood (there are certainly victims), but rather the exact primal terms that my dog and cat, and some ancient part of you and me, instinctually turn to and understand.

I worry about this erosion of warmth. This overcrowding of the human by the machine. Science fiction has given us plenty of examples of the singularity apocalypse. They’re big and dramatic, and effective for all their melodrama and loudness.

But the actuality of a loss of humanity is often much less glamorous, slower and more sad. This is what we have to fear, I think. It helps me to remember why I tether myself to my phone — to help keep me productive, moving forward in my vision, and entertained (in moderation) in the meantime.

It also helps to take a moment to allow my animals to crawl over me, despite the fact that the laptop is open and ready. To linger in my wife’s arms as we express love and combat the incremental chill of life — together.

 

11903868_10102022863132862_3363202786901023781_n-1My name is Michael. I am a Writer and Filmmaker of hopeful stories for complex people. Lately, I have been sharing some reflections and stories every morning. Once per month, I send a special note to those on my email list. They get exclusive stories and advanced (sometimes free) access to my work. You can join this exclusive group here. Thanks for reading.

The Dangers of “The Project Wheel”

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I have been itchy lately. I don’t mean in the pants.

What I mean is that I want to make something. Direct something. Shoot something. This seems to happen every year around this time. The Videoblogs, Multiverse, The Confession, all were shot in the fall.

I’ve got an idea. A random one. Again, this is how each of those projects came about.

This doesn’t have anything to do with the new script, or the other new script. It’s a separate thing. That has concerned me a bit — am I just spinning The Project Wheel?

I don’t think so. It’s an understandable question. But I’m not sure my situation is any different now, as a completely independent filmmaker, that it would be if I were taking meetings. The Videoblogs is done but still out there, so the question naturally occurs as to what is next.

At the same time, I just can’t manage a production of that scale, at such an effectively high budget (at least in terms of labor) right now. I can’t fit it into my life, and I won’t sacrifice my health again.

And yet staying in the creative mindset is healthy for me. So, what to do?

I think it might be best for me to do what I’m doing here, with this daily blog post experiment. Namely, to jump in. To fit the idea into the space, and give it the resources, that I have. Nothing more, nothing less.

Writers write, directors direct, I’m a writer and director.

The Project Wheel only becomes a danger if and when we turn it but never let it stop to rest on one idea, that we then execute. Or if we constantly change the face of the wheel. There will always be fears, and/or legitimate challenges in the way of completing a thing. We can’t let fear rule — I want to lead with an open heart.

But Simon Taufique and I spoke about this on the podcast. People — the audience, decision-makers and gatekeepers, collaborators — are always looking for new and different things. We need to keep on creating, not only for ourselves but for our careers.

So, I’ll probably scratch the itch. Glad we had this talk. More later.

This is part twenty-eight of a thirty day trial, during which I am writing and publishing a post every day. No refunds. Comments welcome and encouraged!

Day 01: Struggles and Wonders and Dying in  Chair

Day 02: Fear, Panic, Identity and Anti-Focus

Day 03: Purple Sky of Towering Clouds Over a Far-off City

Day 04: Circle Up and Laugh

Day 05: On The Future of Labor

Day 06: Appreciating Difficulty, Harnessing its Momentum

Day 07: The Word for World is Earth

Day 08: It’s About The Dreaming, Not The Dream

Day 09: Moments of Presence: CWC Interview (Writer Laura Goode)

Day 10: Simmering Little Wrath of The Annoyed Man

Day 11: Tragedy, Remembrance and Wonder

Day 12: A New Light Borrowed or Discovered

Day 13: Productivity Tips for Anyone Prone to Overwhelm (Like Me)

Day 14: Legitimately Va-goo

Day 15: Sex-Bleating and Cat Vomit

Day 16: The Waiting Place

Day 17: 6 Ways to Bring Balance to the (Artistic) Force

Day 18: How to Decide What to Make Next

Day 19: Take Faith for Yourself, Give Them Skepticism

Day 20: All I Need Is My Lamp and My Dog!

Day 21: Why I’m Writing and Publishing, First Thing Every Morning

Day 22: The Routine Dance: Rewards and Perils

Day 23: How to Be Better: Perspective and Self-Compassion

Day 24: Still The Finger, Silence The Vlog

Day 25: A Light Chill Wind in Early Fall

Day 26: The Case for An Open Heart

Day 27: How Can I Help? CWC Interview (Composer/Producer Simon Taufique)

A Light Chill Wind in Early Fall

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It’s nice to get the windows open. To feel a touch of chill in the air.

I like the cold. I find it bracing. I like the change of season.

I’d miss it, I think, if I lived somewhere with less-pronounced changes of season. There’s something to be said for environmental shifts, whether natural-only or when they occur when we go to other places.

Our worlds can get too small, without interruptions to our everyday observations and routines.

Something as simple as the reminder, from the chill air, that change is coming, that time and the spin of this planet continue on, outside our influence — it can be humbling. Comforting.

Nothing is permanent. The bad or the good. If and when we find ourselves enjoying more good than bad in our lives — even down to the basics of food, shelter, community, and wifi — it becomes helpful, I think, to take a moment to express gratitude.

Even if we do that privately. Quietly. Perhaps it’s even more effective when we do it in this way.

I’m having a nice weekend. The weather has been beautiful, I’ve kept good company, some creative work is brewing. I’m enjoying time with my wife and my dog (and my lamp). The cat is around, too.

It helps to remind myself why I’m here — in this space, sharing with you. It can get tricky, deciding to publish every day. If I publish but for the wrong reasons — for attention, to get it over with — then the whole point of the exercise is nullified. There’s no vulnerability and no connection.

So, instead, I try to just let come what may.

This can get difficult.

There’s a lot that goes on, every day, that saddens and upsets me. But I have learned to wait before reacting. To do what I can, where I am, rather than burn energy on anger only. I can only take care of what’s in front of me, to the best of my ability, each day — and in the process do what I can to help others when and as I am able.

I have spent enough of my life on recycled outrage. There are other, more effective responses available to the injustices of the day.

For me, much of the time, this means providing some food for thought. Some intellectual or spiritual conversation. A new or different or revisited perspective — advocated. I’m learning and accepting this fact, more and more, with each passing day.

To be honest, it’s an honor to be able to do it.

Perhaps it might seem a small task to some, but it feels good — and right — to me, to publicly converse, and to listen.

I feel human here. It often becomes hard to continue to feel human out there, not in the world at large necessarily, but in the society we’ve built that has commoditized the human spirit. Yoked it to so many exploits and outcomes that are ultimately, effectively, insignificant.

On many days, especially here in this city, it seems like the greatest madness.

But there’s beauty to it, too. There are the basics, that are never lost to us. Such as a light chill wind in early fall. This is what I where I want to turn my attention, and my exploits. To protecting and advocating for the small, poetic moments that make life what it is.

This is part twenty-five of a thirty day trial, during which I am writing and publishing a post every day. No refunds. Comments welcome and encouraged!

Day 01: Struggles and Wonders and Dying in  Chair

Day 02: Fear, Panic, Identity and Anti-Focus

Day 03: Purple Sky of Towering Clouds Over a Far-off City

Day 04: Circle Up and Laugh

Day 05: On The Future of Labor

Day 06: Appreciating Difficulty, Harnessing its Momentum

Day 07: The Word for World is Earth

Day 08: It’s About The Dreaming, Not The Dream

Day 09: Moments of Presence: CWC Interview (Writer Laura Goode)

Day 10: Simmering Little Wrath of The Annoyed Man

Day 11: Tragedy, Remembrance and Wonder

Day 12: A New Light Borrowed or Discovered

Day 13: Productivity Tips for Anyone Prone to Overwhelm (Like Me)

Day 14: Legitimately Va-goo

Day 15: Sex-Bleating and Cat Vomit

Day 16: The Waiting Place

Day 17: 6 Ways to Bring Balance to the (Artistic) Force

Day 18: How to Decide What to Make Next

Day 19: Take Faith for Yourself, Give Them Skepticism

Day 20: All I Need Is My Lamp and My Dog!

Day 21: Why I’m Writing and Publishing, First Thing Every Morning

Day 22: The Routine Dance: Rewards and Perils

Day 23: How to Be Better: Perspective and Self-Compassion

Day 24: Still The Finger, Silence The Vlog