Tuesday, June 07, 2011

I Am Grateful for An Abundance of Thoughts

I've been trying to decide on one idea to focus on for a book proposal, but settling on one subject seems an almost impossible task. There are SOOOOO many thoughts that run around my head, it's like the proverbial herding of cats. Mental Cat Herder... that's my next job title, I swear. In fact, I might just go order business cards from Vista Print with that on it right n...

...crap! One thing at a time! Must focus on blog writing!!!

This is also why I haven't been posting many blogs lately... there is simply SO MUCH I want to post I have three thoughts about other things I want to share while I'm working on posting the first one. (You have no idea how many partial blogs I have saved that I haven't posted.) Blog posts sometimes honestly take me hours to write, short as they seem, because I am too much for editing and re-editing, and not enough for just GET IT OUT THERE.

I would like to accept *what is* more often and worry less about how it comes across to others.

I know I cannot please everyone all the time, even tho I have apparently made it my life's mission to try. I believe my obsessiveness when it comes to expressing myself clearly is born of a lack of adults' understanding when I would try to communicate as a child. Looking back, I see where I would often try to relate to adults on their level, but because I was a child they weren't expecting that (or didn't take me seriously, which I assure you I very much was a serious kid), therefore they would misunderstand, hence I rarely got the results I was after. But that's just one of my charming neuroses readers probably need not concern themselves with. Like how I combine eight ideas in one sentence through the abuse of parentheses and too many commas.

So about that book proposal (SEE?! HERDING CATS!!)... I try to placate myself by thinking, "Well, it's not like you'll only have the chance to write ONE book." I would hope anyway. Although if you're trying to gain a certain target market, writing about nine different non-related subjects from separate corners of the Universe is probably not the ideal way. Unless you're doing memoirs (which is perhaps the answer for me).

Not to be conceited, but I think my writing is pretty well done and the idea has been confirmed by others, so if I DO get a book deal then look out Best Seller List (and my apologies in advance to my future editor... and her shrink) and if I don't, well, I'll just have to learn how to make more noise about it and keep writing until something sticks I suppose. As I said, it's not like I lack for subjects - well, technically I do lack subjects, but only as a noun, which is why I'm not famous yet. Oh geez, now I'm making bad grammar jokes and it's only 11:30pm.

Moving on...

Tonight, a friend posted this article on her Facebook about Crowdsourcing and the graphic design industry. Having worn the graphic designer hat in the past, of course I was interested and of course I had an opinion, which I posted in a comment on Facebook after much careful thought and editing and re-editing to make sure I was understood by the adults. Which I then felt I wasn't, so I had to post again. Oh well. (More *what is*... more *what is*... serenity now...)

The good thing about the second comment though was that it forced me to reorganize my thoughts and more stuff came out of my head. Interesting stuff, even to me. In fact, it may have even given me an inkling of something that MIGHT turn out to be a life's passion as well as focus for a book, but I'm not putting too much light on it yet for fear of chasing it away. Some things are better to let come to you in their own time. I've spent 42 years trying to figure out something I might be passionate about, but so far nothing has moved me for long. Plenty of things I'm interested in, but nothing I can really say I have a true passion for. If this turns out to be something long-winded (as most of my writing is), I certainly don't want to kill it with premature zealousness. (That is so a word. Look it up.)

When I read the Crowdsourcing article, my thought was that I agreed with the author's assessment that crowdsourcing as a business practice creates a decline in the quality of design and allows an opening for cheap, unskilled labor to take over yet another industry. This is a wee bit ironic since altho I am not cheap (and will not participate in crowdsourcing), I would probably be grouped in with the people the designers are complaining about because I didn't go to design school, yet I can and have made designs and logos just as well as anyone else because I've picked up some skill and understood the principles along the way. Oops.

The deeper thing I was thinking though, is that crowdsourcing is not a real problem in itself. It is a symptom of a much larger problem - the collapse of American society. Here is the answer I posted... I know it's a bit out of context, but in the interest of GETTING IT OUT THERE and not overediting, I'm just going to post it as is.

Oh I agree! I do graphic design too and the prices people want to pay - it's stupid. In fact, I've pretty much given up finding another "normal" job at this point and have decided I will either have to find a new career or find a new lifestyle.

I didn't express myself very well before... I don't see the crowd/cloud thing as the problem. I see that as just another symptom. The problem is corporations always wanting to improve profits because they're not in the business of helping humans find love/happiness, they're in the business of making money (which is an *illusion* humans subscribe to - that money will make them happy :). Just like everything else, companies don't care where the designs come from or the quality of them, they just want to improve shareholders' dividends every quarter, so if the market is such that they can't sell enough to improve profits, they cry about inflation and start cutting costs. Employees just bend over and take it because what are you gonna do? You're already addicted to your lifestyle and that lifestyle costs a certain amount. Are you going to give up your job and risk losing your house or not feeding your kids? Not likely. Even if you (or even a group of you) quit on principle, there's 20 more people out there to take your place before you can pack your things, so the companies still win - they don't even feel the wind from the door hitting you in the @$$ as you leave.

You can apply this to ANY industry or product. (Ikea for furniture, any brand name label for clothes, Walmart for general items...) Nothing is a problem until it's the boss' problem, which means nothing will get fixed until Big Business feels the effect of no longer having an unending supply of humans to exploit. The last time Americans tried to say hey, we want better compensation, Big Business (read: Our Lovely Former Bush Administration) just said "No problem, we'll just get cheaper people in India and China. Let us know how that better compensation works out for ya America." And the human race just keeps cranking out more bodies to saturate the market and work for less money, so I don't see how anything is going to correct itself until the supply no longer meets the demand and the pendulum heads back the other way. Eventually it will happen, and honestly it makes me afraid to think of HOW that might happen but worrying about that too long will drive you insane.

Unless the people pull together and take a stand as a larger entity than Big Business, we'll just keep heading towards the cliff until we're over the edge. The neat trick Big Business has pulled is that they've programmed us to think it's an impossible task to motivate enough people for a mutiny. But organizing something like that only appears overwhelming because when we think in terms of "one person" we're thinking of each of our individual selves. If you think of "one person" as the human race in general, it's really just a change of mind. Group mind, mind you, but still one mind.

Apply the 100th Monkey Theory and suddenly Group Mind doesn't seem that terribly hard to access. Except it still kind of is because of the rate of growth of the human population… you're chasing a runaway train. But that's a whole other story and now what I really really really want to thank you for is the catalyst you gave me to write all that because I believe I have the basis for my book proposal that I've been looking for - or at least a good start. :)


My friend said I was awesome too and went back to discussing crowdsourcing as the root of the problem. I guess it IS the root of HER current problem as an individual, but this just totally illustrates my point... everyone is so focused on being their individual selves and figuring out how to solve their own individual problems that they forget the power they have to change as a larger entity, be that a small community, or a large company, or the entire globe.

What I failed to do right there in that entirely too-long dissertation on the troubles of the capitalistic world was instill in her the idea that she is not just one lonely raindrop adrift on the ocean... she is part of that ocean. She may not be able to change the tides as one lonely raindrop, but certainly if enough raindrops get together the wave will have an effect. I believe the popular description of this theory is:

Think globally, act locally.

or to relate it more closely to the individual:

Be the change you wish to see in the world.

That kind of thing. The choices each of us makes in our individual lives EVERY DAY... from where we live to how we live to what we say and especially what we spend our money on... affects the Whole. No one is exempt. We pay these ideas plenty of lip service, but how many of us actually make the effort to walk our talk? (And don't think I'm ignoring the three fingers pointing back at me when I say that.)

If we shift our minds to focus on the Higher Good of the Whole in all our decisions, then the lot of the individuals improves exponentially.

I don't know where this is coming from as I'm usually a details person, not so much about the Big Picture, but there it is... I'm GETTING IT OUT THERE.

Now who do I talk to in order to get paid to do this every day?

(And by the way, if there are grammatical or other errors in here, deal with it because I'm not going back to edit it again or I'll be here ANOTHER two hours!)

There. I am taking the Johnny Depp approach to my work! (He never goes to see his own movies after they're done.)

(Damn... this is hard!)