The Stakes of Live Performance

In a world showered with readily accessible recorded content, the cost and inconvenience of a live show leave many audiences at home. We often forget that live shows open a far greater threshold for surprise and magnetic energy than the recorded medium. Why? Because something might go wrong. The risk of failure is much greater on stage than in a recording. You cannot edit a live performance. If something breaks, thousands of people will be there to see it. As a live audience participant, you share in an exclusive opportunity to witness this single autonomous performance – never to be experienced the same way again. The pride in exclusivity, tension behind the stakes at hand, and energy through sharing it all with others make live performance more engaging, valuable, and expensive. More often than not, it’s worth it. And it may be the only thing that can keep the arts lucrative. But that’s another story.

I’m Not Finished Yet

Happy New Year, everyone! I started blogging daily on February 26th. 274 days ago, I committed to blogging every day for the remainder of 2011. I didn’t miss a single post. This year, writing reconnected me with so many great people, introduced me to new ones, opened doors, landed me interviews, helped secured a job, and changed my life.

I’m not going to stop. I hope you can join me on the journey ahead. If you want to keep up, you can subscribe via email (on the right column), follow me on twitter, or tune in as often as you can. I encourage you to participate, challenge me in every way possible, and share with anyone you feel might connect to the material.

Thank you so much for your readership thus far. I look forward to 2012 and our collective adventures ahead!

Twelve Benefits of a Christmas Birthday

My birth date competes with the birth of a holy savior and the largest commercial holiday of the year. Many people hear that and cringe. Almost everyone asks about combined gifts, getting swept under the rug, or relocating the celebration to the summer solstice. While I wouldn’t mind being able to see friends on my birthday every once in a while, I absolutely love my birthday. My parents always worked hard to make sure I got my fair share of gifts and attention. I am lucky and blessed. Some of the other notable benefits:

1. I get to pick the menu.
2. Almost everyone has the day off.
3. I only need to write thank you notes once a year.
4. You get to spend the day with family, even members who live far away.
5. Old friends are in town, making it easier to connect and party around the date.
6. You’re not the only one opening gifts (it’s awkward otherwise).
7. Presents can be bigger and more expensive.
8. It’s better than being overshadowed by Christmas with a birthday just before or after.
9. Everyone is usually in good spirits.
10. The world decorates, plays music, and anticipates my birthday.
11. It’s impossible for me and close friends to forget.
12. It feels like a special date (rather than just another work day)

My Birthday Wish

Tomorrow, I turn 24. For my birthday, I have only one favor to ask you: let your loved ones know you appreciate them. Be creative, fancy, or just plain sincere. No matter how you do it, make sure they know they are loved. And know that I love you. Thank you for making my 23rd year on this planet a warm adventure.


Collaboration, Not Compromise

To repatriate, rebuild, and rekindle our nation, we need to set aside partisanship and find common ground. To do that, I urge a small tweak to our political lexicon: replace “compromise” with “collaboration.” Compromise implies two sides with disparate interests; collaboration suggests multiple specialized parties on the same team. No one should ever surrender beliefs, but it is important to first discover a platform of common agreement to move forward together under the same banner. At the heart of every issue lies at least a sliver of mutual consent and values everyone can share. Identify that first, and we can move forward together. Easier said than done, but it’s worth a morning shout.

What Do You Get From Social Media?

Today’s major platforms have connected me with people I would have otherwise lost touch with and to a wealth of digital content shared by peers. Beyond that, I am slowly failing to identify with Facebook, Twitter, and Google+’s value propositions. I am very curious to hear from you, dear audience. What do you get from social media? What services do you use and how have they changed your life? How could they be better? If you have thoughts on the subject, I’d love to hear from you – simply post in the comments below or email me.

On the Road Again

I’ve packed for 12 hours today and will leave at midnight to make the 1,033 mile journey back to Denver for the last time (at least for a while, if not forever). A nasty snow storm awaits my return; it will be an interesting journey.

The next time you move, I encourage you to do as I have done: lighten the load. Sifting through the things I accumulated over the years was a nostalgic experience, but it was equally relieving to leave a lot behind. It’s time for me to move on, optimize, and focus. Donating, recycling, and gifting the unnecessaries will help you move forward.

Wish me a safe trip. With any luck, the next post will declare my arrival.

5 Reasons Why I Blog Daily (And You Should, Too)

The college essay ruined writing for me. Having only ever been asked to deliver the formal five-paragraph essay in school, I came to dread the written word. I procrastinated assignments to the bitter end. Determined to revisit writing and heal academic wounds, I committed to blogging daily in March. I could never have imagined how fruitful this journey would become. Today marks my 250th post and over 50,000 words since I started blogging eight months ago. Now, I am in love with writing. I encourage everyone to blog for the following five reasons:

  1. Output – Through a commitment to generating content daily, you condition yourself to build a large personal volume. Little by little, you end up with a novel’s worth in literature. Many authors, including Tim Ferris and Tucker Max, have expanded their blogs into best-selling books. With tact, you can leverage your authored library into strong returns. Output is more than half the battle; a daily commitment can bring it all home. Will I publish a book? Not planning on it, but maybe someday!
  1. Craft – By blogging every day, you hone your skills as a writer. You learn to develop ideas faster, structure arguments more strategically, and define your authorial voice. I lost practice writing after college and blogging brought most of it back.
  1. Experimentation – A blog and its community can be great places to test ideas, develop concepts, start conversations, and collect feedback. Theories can evolve over time through posts, comments, impressions, and personal conversations. If you want to test the validity or integrity of your ideas, throw them to the wolves online.
  1. Memorialization – I blog to preserve ideas, concepts, discoveries, and lessons. I found myself learning a lot, offering advice to friends, and teaching so many lessons that otherwise disappeared into the wind. It felt like a total waste to keep everything in the back of my mind. By publishing, I save thoughts and expand the public reach of potentially useful ideas.
  1. Connectivity – Blogging connects me to readers in ways I never thought possible. Through exchanges in comments, email, and conversation, I continue to develop intellectual relationships with professionals, estranged friendships, acquaintances, and people I’ve never met at all. I learn so much from you. Thank you all for reading! It has been an absolute pleasure. Cheers to many more!

Goodbye, Film Friday

For the last seven months, I have posted film-related topics every Friday. On the whole, the series has underperformed consistently across the board (an average 43% less than topics across the week). Film-related posts on days other than Friday have not performed as poorly, so I can only assume the Film Friday brand is to blame. For those who enjoyed my film commentary, do not fear – film will continue to be a large part of my life and will undoubtedly come up often in my writing. Stay tuned.