Thursday, June 26, 2014

Polyphasic Sleep Patterns vs. Classic Insomnia

Polyphasic sleep.  According to recent research, this is perhaps a more efficient form of insomnia.  Supposedly, Einstein slept in four hour increments. 

Photo by James Graham
I have always been a restless sleeper, accustomed to eyes-open-eyes-wide-shut thrashing in the dark for hours, hot-then-cold, fever-chills, listening to music, reading, turning the lamp on and off.  Maybe it's the brighter lamp, then it's too much.  Then the dimmer lamp is not quite enough...and the sunlight blaring at 6 am with a different kind of heat.

Writing notes-to-self reminders, trying the distraction of documentary films or a trite, mindless movie before eventually surrendering to epic dream adventures that are so vivid they stay with me for hours and inform parts of my writing...This kind of insomnia is akin to a torturous fairytale curse, rearing it's head like a hungry dragon between the hours of 2 am to 4 am.  

These days I cannot stay asleep for longer than 4 hour intervals.  I wish I could "Einstein It" and have the wherewithal to perform science experiments in the middle of the night...But I'm exhausted.

Sometimes I can cohesively work past it and write, finish client proposals, or clean the apartment in the middle of the night, hoping the vacuum does not wake the neighbors. Then, abruptly, sun in the eyes, and the whole cycle starts all over again...a vague sense of dread that morning has come before I'm ready for it.

It's taken a while to get used to having two days in one.  Although I'm not particularly an advocate of this pattern, I absolutely love the night.  That silence when everyone else is sleeping, when there are less cell phone radio waves, less of a din on the city streets.  It's so unbelievably peaceful.


# # # 

Here's some research on the subject, per Wikipedia. 

Polyphasic refers to the practice of sleeping multiple times in a 24-hour period—usually more than two, in contrast to biphasic sleep (twice per day) or monophasic sleep (once per day). The term was probably first used in the early 20th-century by psychologist J.S. Szymanski who observed daily fluctuations in activity patterns. It does not imply any particular sleep schedule. The circadian rhythm disorder known as irregular sleep-wake syndrome is an example of polyphasic sleep in humans. 


# # #

And since I am fond of a theme song accompanying every essay, I give you an Arcade Fire song from the brilliant "Suburbs" album.

We Used To Wait

I used to write
I used to write letters
I used to sign my name

I used to sleep at night
Before the flashing light settled deep in my brain

But by the time we met
By the time we met the times had already changed

So I never wrote a letter
I never took my true heart, I never wrote it down

So when the lights cut out
I was lost standing in the wilderness downtown

Now our lives are changing fast
Hope that something pure can last

It seems strange
How we used to wait for letters to arrive
But what's stranger still
Is how something so small can keep you alive

We used to wait
We used to waste hours just walking around
We used to wait
All those wasted lives in the wilderness downtown
We used to wait
Sometimes it never came
We used to wait
I'm still moving through the pain

I'm gonna write
A letter to my true love
I'm gonna sign my name

Like a patient on a table
I wanna walk again
Gonna move through the pain

Now our lives are changing fast
Hope that something pure can last
We used to wait for it
Now they're screaming "sing the chorus again! "
I used to wait for it
Hear my voice screaming "sing the chorus again! "

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Circe: A Creative Collaboration

There is something so calm and beautiful about any creative collaboration with other artists...the ones you know well, and admire aesthetically.



Lately I am putting most of my energy into expanding my new media company and leaving creative writing for weekends. But balance is vital.  One needs to input and recharge the proverbial brain/soul batteries in order to output anything of interest.

A few weeks ago, I was dying for inspiration...and to actually talk to another artist who might have some advice in one arena or another. Perspective is everything And Circe, the talented photographer with a mythic name, came to my apartment to shoot some photos.

I've always delighted in feminine accoutrements. Lipstick as armor...







Sunday, May 04, 2014

Alphabet City vs. The Neverending Story

Anyone who lives in New York City has a plethora of stories that serve as a testament as to how long they've lived here. The battle scars. The romances. The break-ups. The friends who remain constant. The acquaintances whose names you have trouble recalling.  The faces you vaguely recognize on the street.  The way that where you are originally from is the distant fragrance of a half-remembered life. 

Winter 2013 / 14 was the most extreme in years. The harsh weather wearied everyone to the bones and it felt like a major shift of chafed skin and global warning.

In the midst of it, a lot of changes in the East Village and Alphabet City.  For starters, 7A closed after being a 24-hour neighborhood landmark since the mid-19080s

Rents began to raise exponentially. All of a sudden, on Avenue B (which is now overrun with NYU students, by the way), businesses began to shut down.  My favorite cafe suddenly closed its doors without any warning.  When I walked next door to pick up my dry cleaning, building workers were literally dismantling the rows of washers and dryers.

"A developer bought out most of the block and our rent has doubled overnight," they told me. "From $7K a month to $14K a month. So we're out of here."

Several new, luxury residential buildings have gone up in the East Village, Lower East Side, Alphabet City lately. And a lot of people have moved in...people who would have thought this part of town was dangerous, even just a couple of years ago.   

When I moved here in 2008, it seemed like the last pocket of true New York.  It had personality. And I fell in love with the grit - a certain humanity that I never felt in Midtown or the Upper East Side.  It used to be edgy:  Avenue A for Alert, Avenue B for Beware, Avenue C for Caution, Avenue D for Death.

But now there is a different sound on the streets, a different temperature in terms of vibe.  A bit more frantic.  The noise levels have increased
Atreyo and Falcor
Atreyo and Falcor
significantly:  Frequent sirens, people yelling outside the window. I am so audiologically sensitive that even the harsh, tortured cadence of a bird immediately takes me out of Dreamtime and into insomnia.

The best analogy for the vanishing of Alphabet City's last pivotal monuments is The NeverEnding Story, a film from 1984 which meshes the dystopian cultural dread of the time with several layers of phantasmagorical fantasy.

PLOT SUMMARY:   The NeverEnding Story explores the space between dreams and reality in a universe of endless possibilities, as viewed through the eyes of a young boy named Bastian in a distant land called Fantasia.  He finds respite in a book which chronicles the plight of this magical land created by the dreams and imagination of humankind, now threatened with destruction by The Nothing, a shapeless, ominous force created by human despair.

The Empress of the land is very ill and the cause of her illness is thought to be connected to The Nothing.  One of the elders of the palace announce that they wish to find a great warrior who will fight the nothing, to find a cure for the Empress who they believe is dying. 

"The Nothing is destroying our world," he says.  

Enter Atreyo, the great buffalo warrior (and therefore implied to be Native American), who thousands of little girls immediately had a crush on.  He was sort of the pre-adolescent version of Han Solo. 

www.copiousamounts.com
The Empress and Bastion
And the Empress...I thought that she was so fortunate to be allowed to wear beauty-queen make-up and a tiara, so that was all I could focus on with regards to her character.

"What is The Nothing?" Atreyo asks the bad black wolf who serves the dark entity.

"It exists because people began to lose their hopes and forget their dreams, The Nothing grows stronger. It's the emptiness that's left, the despair that is destroying this world."


That said, the idea of the disappearance of a mystical land is exactly what seems to be happening in Alphabet City. I wonder what will happen to the families who have grown up here.  The buildings. The sound of music in the streets.

As for me, as much as I love my apartment, gorgeous walks along the East River, the local businesses who are still surviving in the 'hood, the graffiti on certain walls, I am also gearing up for a change into something quieter.  Neighborhoods change, and we change along with them.



Monday, March 03, 2014

What Silence Looks Like (In the Winter that Never Ends)

We are having what is pretty much the most brutal East Coast winter in a decade or longer.  This means that we city folks without cars intrinsically try to avoid the skin-shredding cold as much as possible, in and out of meetings, gravitating towards central heating and hot cups of tea.

Research for a top-secret-amazing project today led to the below cool image of Jack White, which seems to epitomize the duality of the artistic nature.  In my experience, most artists feel one way within their skin, then look in the mirror and see truth and poetry and a face that might look like someone else.  

Sometimes, all you crave is silence (especially when you are woken up at 6 am to the harsh sound of shovels scraping the cement sidewalk in an attempt to remove the incessant snow).

Jack White


















Since we just finished #FashionMonth, the #Oscars, etc people are more concerned with pop culture and pretty dresses than musings, so I am going to take pause and try to warm up for  a sec...



Wednesday, February 05, 2014

Adventures By Way of New 2014 Business Ventures

Perhaps because 2014 has been hailed as "the year of the Digital Age" acknowledging the fact that this crazy thing called the Internet means that the importance of social media in business has gone well past the point of debate. So grateful I was an early adopter.

This is why I am thrilled to announce the launch a new venture for 2014:
www.copious-consulting.com

Copious Consulting is a boutique agency that takes a 360-degree approach to brand building. Connecting with people is at the core of everything; we craft conversations, direct dialogue, and cultivate communities to help share an artist's or brand's story.

The key is to develop a unique tone of voice and visual content that best reflects personality and message, going beyond the initial customer connection towards conversion, retention, and advocacy, offering multi-platform strategies that guarantee results.

Survival means anticipating what will happen next.

And before you speak, you have to listen.

A game of chess.

A game of you.

Digital strategy.


Monday, January 06, 2014

Home: A Commotion

Photo by Gigi Stoll
They say that you can never go home again.

An allegory for the fact that we all change so much throughout our lives that when we return to origins our perspective is highly altered, and we don't derive the same comfort from what once placated our tension. 

It's been several years since I was home for the holidays.

After a long time in New York without a car, I was pleased to find that I still have serious skills when it comes to parallel parking - a vital skill in Canada.

A lot of the streets have changed due to construction, and I got lost almost everywhere I drove...spinning down forgotten roads, then finding my way again.

Reflecting upon the past, planning for the future, reconnecting with friends and family.  Explaining my renewed passion for 19th Century Lit and business books.  Existentialism discussed over afternoon tea.

How I am focusing on writing a new novel while giving comic books a bit of a break, because I want to measure the landscape of digital versus print when it comes to what people actually collect.
My serious business ventures for 2014 (top secret for now).

One of the most profound things I've noticed here is that my flesh is on fire here, burning hot indoors.  The rooms of the houses feel overheated, and I crave the brisk ocean air, opening windows and doors as much as as possible. I used to freeze when I lived here, and right now everyone around me is chilled, wondering whether I have a fever because I tear my layers off everywhere I go, skin reeling from the heat.  Perhaps I've just gotten used to the brutal East Coast winters.  This is simply a metaphor for how I've changed.   

My mantra has always been "Let go of the things that no longer serve you".  We constantly need to re-evaluate where we have been and where we are going next. The year of 2013 was tempestuous for many, and January is always a fresh start.  

Last year, I attempted to conform to things that did not resonate in my heart because they were expected if I was going to climb the traditional corporate ladder. But without asking myself what I really wanted.  I learned a lot, sure...but I put some of my most profound artistic projects on hold, and briefly forgot that I flourish when I create content, whether my own work or that of my digital clients.

For a writer, the voice is everything. And the ability to write in other voices is a gift, paramount to success.

So let's take it back to music and lyrics.  One of my favorite songs of 2013-into-2014 is by Feist, a nice Canadian gal that my friends from Timber Timbre toured with for her album, Metals.  Lyrical passion.  Rare crescendo.     

 

"A Commotion"
- Feist

It flickered to light
It turned broke what was right
Got the roots by the hair
What was no longer there
It blocked out the sun
It climbed up the stairs
And then it slipped through the cracks
I wasn't watching my back

A commotion

If it rips you all apart,
Glad you've still got your heart

It stalked through the rooms
And then it tore the sheets off the bed
It ripped the books off the shelf, it turned heaven to hell
held me down tight
took all my fight
It broke all the windows
In came flame from the candle

A commotion
If it rips you all apart,
Glad you've still got your heart.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Happy Holidays circa 2013



Happy Holidays and thanks for the support.

The latest Minx 2013 comic book is all yours, via a digital download: http://bit.ly/1cQ8fFE.

Art by Chris Royal


Wednesday, December 11, 2013

How to Be Alone

Another creative film project I worked on this fall with my talented director friend Donari Braxton is part of a series of shorts called How to Be Alone.

Donari's films are experimental and evoke the interior landscape of an artist. 

My film is entitled How to Make An Art Video and you can watch it, below.



how to make an art video || how-to-be-alone.com from how-to-be-alone . com on Vimeo.


This is the inspiration for the series: 

these videos are intended to most directly benefit people who do not know how to be alone.
personal feelings indicating applicability for personal-use of these videos may include:


- general discomfit/malaise
- attenuated attention span / "browser finger"
- fear of dark / etc.
- compulsion to share lunch photographies
- desire to be more handy around the house
- complicated relationship status or elsewise
- addiction to online chess
- preoccupation with liking and/or aversion to love
- lack of purpose in executing remedial tasks (completion of charts, etc)
- lack of self-confidence in executing rudimentary tasks (walking up the stairs, etc.)
- systematic refusal to worship celebrities (two or more celebrities)
- insincere text-messaging
- is currently trending
- cartoon deity angst
- easily distracted by cats (one or more cats)
- irresistible impulse to apologize
- number symbol
- melting
- persistent fear of public forums
- for iron
- just tagged
- delusions of grandeur (encyclopedic compendiums)
- tunnel vision / opposite
- delete delete delete
- general longing 

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Evan Ønly Music Video

It's true that due to tech issues last summer I abandoned WordPress. But I've worked on some creative projects that I am proud to showcase, and this is a venerable medium for such things.

Enter Evan Ønly, and a video shoot from Fall 2013.





Under the alias Evan Ønly, New York songwriter Evan Brody is making music that’s decidedly more streamlined than the ramshackle guitar pop of his old band, Family Portrait. “From The Stone” is an early taste of this new aesthetic, and it’s all ice-cold synths, processed vocals and cassette-quality drum kicks. It has the minimal pulse of 1980s radio fare, but also some unsentimental, texturally gritty elements that reflect a contemporary ear for production. The track will appear on his forthcoming No Matter What EP, which drops in February 18th via Underwater Peoples, the label Brody co-founded. He’s teasing the release with a series of short, surreal videos directed by Charles Poekel.

Tuesday, November 05, 2013

Digital Narcissism vs Digital Fatigue

So I spent the 2 weeks' worth of evenings on what was about to be a digitally-brilliant essay - and the WordPress deleted it upon my final edit WITHOUT MY HITTING ANY BUTTON ON THE KEYBOARD.

Taking it as a sign of my recent research: WordPress blogs are antiquated because people view media in a different/more visual way.

Therefore, I am abandoning this platform.

Follow me on Instagram instead - it's way more visual and fun: www.instagram.com/andreagrantminx

Thanks xo
AG