Tuesday, August 9, 2011

On writing, again: finding clarity

Tonight I write from a laptop, a MacBook Pro to be exact, though I like the challenge of the iPhone blog post from the other night. If you are trying to grasp this logic, it's okay, I have not yet worked it out in my own mind.

The big subject on my mind lately is writing – in all of its various forms. And the flip side, for me anyway, feeling scattered as I keep up with other roles in my professional life that mix up a variety of skills: creative and professional writing, graphic design, web design including HTML and CSS coding, the occasional image editing, managing relationships with outside organizations and overall project management with lot's of hands-on involvement. The list can actually go on much longer but I need to stop myself before I completely bore you and myself.  Besides, it's all on my LinkedIn profile for those who want to know more.

I find myself vehemently seeking out focus. Focus in my personal life and professional life. And balance, that would help. Over the past few years my professional role has grown significantly, which is a great thing as it has brought writing our of dormancy and back into the forefront – kind of where I left it a few years after college – while allowing my other skills to flourish. Only now it's back with a [insert burning, raging, or other synonymous adjective here] passion, rapidly consuming my brain when I am attempting to focus intently on a project using five or more of the skills listed above.

And that leads me to this moment as I type this blog post. I know, this wasn't all that concrete, really more of a release. Sharing these thoughts rather than keeping them locked up inspires me to write rather than watch TV or waste time on Facebook. It's helping me reclaim my focus as I go through my scattered day. Seems to be working.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

On my return to school and writing

I must be insane choosing to write this post with my iPhone. Blame it on overtiredness - it is almost 1AM, afterall - and I don't know what surprises lie ahead with the wonders of autocorrect and a very small touchscreen keyboard. I like to challenge myself, even on the most mundane level, though it tends to be more masochism than sensing accomplishment. I suppose if I were anyone else, I would be a self-loathing monk flogging away nightly in a remote monastery atop a 1,000-foot cliff overlooking the beautiful Mediteranean seaside city below, always out of reach yet so enchanting.

So this brings me to where I find myself now. I have overcome a major hurdle in my life, pursuing a masters degree, and most importantly, in writing. Last night I completed my first week at the WestConn MFA Writing residency, I knew from the first few minutes in my first workshop with the talented author Dan Pope that I had indeed found my new home. Actually, my old home surrounded by talented, uninhibited artists from all walks of life - a critical facet missing from my personae since... I don't know when. This group of students and mentors, made up of many established professionals and some younger aspiring creatives, welcomed us new students as if we were never strangers. The talent this group exudes is mind-blowing, to use one of my overused cliches, and I am proud to now be affiliated with them.

So enough gushing for tonight, I need to be able to sleep without the feeling of having turned into the "sensitive male" that I despised so much in the 90s. Not that I have a problem with guys showing emotion, I have a stoic reputation to maintain (really?), and those sensitive male types need to get over their self-pitying watery-eyed selves.

I have no idea where I am going with this and I am too tired to review and edit. Probably a total waste of a post riddled with errors and nonsense considering I consider myself a writer, I forget what I said, I think. I wonder if my surreal lucid state kicked in during any of this? That said, good night world, time to start the real writing in the morning.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

California trip recap

While in California I was heavily consumed with why we were there and managing a series of media inquiries for my job back home, so the blog was left untouched.

Skye with gold medal outside arena in Ontario, CA.
The doll is dressed in the team's competition dress.
We spent most of our trip in Ontario, CA – the biggest series of strip malls I have ever seen containing every retail chain known to America. It was all hotels, restaurants and stores. Hard to tell where people actually lived. The town was nice, well manicured, very clean, but it definitely was missing the historical charm I have come to appreciate here on the East Coast.

Skye's Juvenile level Skyliners team competed against twelve other teams from around the country. Their performance appeared nearly flawless. The results came in while Victoria (my wife) and I ran out of the arena in starving desperation to grab some "normal"  food at a nearby In and Out Burger – our appetites did not adjust with the time zone change and arena food was not appealing – Skye called me with a simple "we won" sounding like she was in disbelief. They had just become the Synchronized Skating Juvenile National Champions. Congratulations are deserved for the other Skyliner teams that competed: Intermediate placed 2nd, Novice 4th, and Junior 1st!

Me kneeling at Humphrey Bogart's slab at the Chinese Theater.
Los Angeles was interesting. Met up with friends on Hollywood Boulevard outside of the Chinese Theater on our last full day in California. We were accosted by a 70s-style Elvis character who wanted a donation for taking a photo with us. Several strange versions of characters of movie/cartoon characters populated the street doing the same to unsuspecting tourists. Several salespeople tried to sell us on "homes of the stars" bus tours. No, we did not feed into this bottom feeder industry. I do not go out looking for the celebrity homes in the NY/CT area, why would I want to do it there? We drove through the city toward the coast, on the way we saw the famous clubs on the Sunset Strip – not at all like I had pictured them – Beverly Hills, Century City and Santa Monica.

Sunset at Venice Beach
We spent the afternoon at Venice Beach – the place is full of fascinating contradictions. We ate at a good outdoor restaurant serving California cuisine on the boardwalk next to a halfway house with miserable guys smoking in their patio watching the restaurant patrons eat. A few storefronts over was a Jewish Community Center with rabbis standing outside talking immediately next to an open storefront selling T-shirts and underwear with obscene statements visible for the kids on their bicycles to read. Vendors selling art, crafts, and vegan causes lined the beach side of the boardwalk. Many people walked around in Mardi Gras costumes, though we never found an actual Mardi Gras celebration.
LA seen from top of Griffith Observatory

We finished our LA visit at Griffith Observatory – best part of the trip. Serene and beautiful setting, amazing view of the city. We saw what was probably the most elaborate, and dramatic, planetarium show. Just a nice experience to wrap up our visit knowing we were headed home the following morning.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Recent posts on TimexBlogs.com

I spent last weekend with the Timex Multisport Team at the Timex Performance Center, headquarters of the NY Giants in the Meadowlands. I was the proverbial fly on the wall observing the various clinics, events and presentations. Met some great people/athletes – they have inspired me to work through my own physical obstacles to become more physically fit. Great stuff!

Read about it at: http://teamtimex.timexblogs.com/author/david-griffith/

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Going to California... for a week

Next week, my daughter's synchro skating team, the Skyliners, is competing in the USFSA's 2011 Synchronized Skating Championships in Ontario, CA, so for the very first time for all of my family we get to visit West Coast. They recently won gold in the Eastern Regional Championship at Lake Placid, NY.

It should be noted that my wife and I are very proud of our daughter's accomplishments in skating, we have sacrificed a lot to give her this amazing opportunity and to develop her talents. Before she was six, I would have never imagined that the world of figure skating would be a part of our collective future. I have found it is a tight-knit community that stretches across the country and into other parts of the world – people involved in the sport at all levels seem to know each other or have friends in common. Just on my own I have met a handful of Olympic skaters from Team USA, a few have even coached our daughter.

As for California, I am really wondering what to expect in the LA area – I have all sorts of preconceptions from movies, TV, books and word of mouth. It will be an interesting personal experience to see how much of Los Angeles lives up to the notoriety. We will be spending a lot of time checking out the city and some of its infamous sites. My CT/NYC-area upbringing has instilled a certain level of disdain for anything West Coast, but I will approach this with an open mind. I'm always up for new adventures, as much as I hate preparing to travel.

More to come from the West Coast... the good, bad and mundane.