I Crave The Memorable

Recently I’ve been thinking about how lucky I am to do what I do for a living, and I think I’ve narrowed all of my favorite parts about my job down to a few key perks: I get to talk to interesting people about their lives, I get challenged on a daily basis, no two days are ever the same, and most of of, I get to travel and see places that most people never dream of seeing.

I have found myself in some of the most picturesque locations in this country on the job, some of the strangest, and some that most people on this planet won’t ever see. I’ve found that no matter how stressful these shoot days are (and they are!) I never cease to stop for a moment and thank my lucky stars that I get to be there, in that moment, doing what I’m doing and getting paid for it.

Hard at work on a beach in St. Petersburg, FL.

The reason I am writing about this is because I’ve been realizing something about myself in the last few months – I crave the memorable. I seek experiences that break up the ordinary monotony that one’s life can sometimes start to wade into. If I go months doing the same thing every day, seeing the same people, without doing things I’ve never done before, not challenging myself to think or act in ways that push me outside of my comfort zone, I start to get a little depressed. I feel like our lives are marked by special occasions and memorable experiences, and I don’t really feel like I’m living if I’m not constantly having them.

This is a personality trait that I’m actually pretty proud of. I know people that are the opposite – they have habits they want to keep, schedules they want to stay regulated and their personal happiness levels suffer when they are pushed outside of their routine or comfort level. I like that I would find that kind of life insufferable, and I think this trait has led me to take chances, go after what I want more aggressively and to live a much fuller life than I would have if I’d accepted an office job in my home town, surrounded the people I’ve known my whole life and never venturing too far from where I started.

The New Years Eve Ball in Times Square – up close!

I think that being a craver-of-the-memorable is probably a good trait for writers. Sure, it definitely is responsible for the fact that I have a hard time finishing projects because I get bored of them, but I also am not afraid to dive headfirst into a new story anytime I feel a spark to do so and I’ll ride that wave of creativity for a while and get a lot accomplished.

But most importantly, always seeking out new things gives me a lot of inspiration and gratitude. There is a reason people vacation to exotic locations with beautiful vistas to break up the monotony of their daily lives – it offers an escape, yes, but it also inspires wonder and reminds people that there is a whole world out there to experience. I love being in places that make me think this: If I would have told my 13-year-old self that I’d be standing here, doing this, 13-year-old me would have said ‘No freaking way!’ And then I’d think my 26-year-old self was pretty awesome.

Shooting at the Austin Rodeo.

I’m about to start the second half of my Jersey summer and I’m looking forward to more memorable shooting locations. So far my favorite places I’ve shot are Brooklyn Bridge Park at Sunset, on the roof of one of the highest buildings in downtown, on another roof next to the New Years Ball in Times Square and on top of a double decker tour bus…..while moving through Manhattan…..and having an audio guy nearly taken out by a low hanging street sign.

One of my favorite pictures I’ve taken so far during my summer on the East Coast. Brooklyn Bridge is beautiful any time of day but late afternoon is my favorite!

Updates to come on how I just spent my two week hiatus!

Apartment Porn

In my last post, I broke the news that I’ve moved to New Jersey for 3 months. I also promised photos of my fun new apartment, and due to the resulting overwhelming reader demand (ie my parents and the few close friends that have booked tickets to see me while I’m here) I’m posting them here. Please enjoy Jersey City at (what I’m told is) it’s finest…..

Not bad, right? It is a great home base for all the shenanigans I’ll be up to from now until mid-September. I could use a desk, but that kitchen table will do just fine for diving headfirst into my writing projects, as long as I don’t face the window….with so much to see, I am far too easily distracted.

That last photo was from tonight…..I started to do some peaceful yoga, until my candles set off the fire alarm, scared the hell out of me and completely sent my chakras into disarray. Oh well, I’m too tired for down dog anyways. Off to bed!

Business Trips and Writing

I stumbled upon the Columbus Day Parade down 5th Avenue today.

I am on a plane taking me back to LA from New York, still reeling from two 17+ hour days of shooting. Thankfully I love my job, but this weekend did a number on me. I did manage to catch up on sleep last night – it was one of the few times I was able to resist the urge to get sloshed with my co-workers after our last day of work – and I even spent a couple of hours wandering around the city today before getting to the airport.

 While the hours I put in on the road are outrageous, I actually love traveling for work because of the writing time I get while in the air. I know I’ve written about how much it sucks to write on a plane, but there is a sense of contentment I always get when I take my seat for a cross-country flight. I know there is nowhere I have to be, not much I have to do and very few ways I can waste time – all I have to do is just wait while I’m taken from Point A to Point B.   My laptop and some reading material is all I have with me, and I have no excuse to leave my computer. I usually talk myself out of buying the in-flight internet so there are minimal distractions, and I can just get to the nasty business of writing a scene or a blog entry without worry of being interrupted or tempted by an invitation to meet friends at a bar.

Also, being in a new place for a few days is a great way to get the creative juices flowing. I read this post last month at Writing Forward about how getting yourself out into the world can give you all kinds of new ideas and inspiration for your writing. I thought of it when I was at JFK airport and I saw a woman get on an escalator as if she’d never seen or heard of an escalator before. She was walking towards the base of it and stopped, staring in awe for a few moments, before going hesitantly forward and putting a shaky foot on the first moving step. She rode it up, looking around in amazement that no one else thought that this was the most amazing contraption ever invented. It was bizarre, and it made me laugh. I thought of Arthur Weasley from the Harry Potter books, and it gave me the inspiration for a character in my novel.

And, while you would think that working yourself to complete mental and physical exhaustion over a couple of intense work days would stifle creativity, I always find that the opposite is true. Last night, I relaxed in bed in my hotel room watching Legally Blond in a vegetative state, incapable of any kind of higher logic or thinking or even basic math, struggling to find the strength to get up and walk 5 feet to the bathroom to take out my contacts so I could fall asleep. But after sleeping 10 hours, this morning I felt sharp, rejuvenated, and full of clarity. It was like my brain had been scrubbed clean of the built up mess of stress and worry that had been there the week before. I de-cluttered it by exhausting it of all energy and then allowing it to build the basics back up during an uninterrupted night of heavy sleep. I don’t know if that makes sense at all – I’m no good at science – but it works for me.

So now, here in seat 38G, I’m enjoying an uninterrupted 6 hours of writing. Thank you, demanding but amazing job, for affording me time to write that I rarely afford myself.