Saturday, January 31, 2009

Day 31

I love a good metaphor … it’s like … ha ha … did you see what I did there?


On Day 31 of my 100 DAY life redesign experiment, an image that has been shaping my thinking is that of a kaleidoscope.

This redesign is not about a shift from ‘this’ to ‘that’ or from ‘here’ to ‘there’. It’s not about making a fundamental change. It’s change of pattern. It’s a process, not an event.

Most of the elements of my life are already in place – and I’m happy with them. Lately, there have been some new people and places – and I’m happy with those, too. I’m even coming to terms with some of the pain and recognising that it also forms part of the pattern.

I’m changing the patterns – as often as I want to and for as long as I like – in the everyday things as well as the bigger issues. Then I can change them again … and again.

There are three things that the image of a kaleidoscope give me:

There is containment
A kaleidoscope has a shape and a structure that enable it to work creatively. The patterns can be changed without having to pull it apart and risk scattering and losing the elements. To me, this represents a framework and a boundary.

There is variety
There are many different pieces in a kaleidoscope – of different sizes, shapes and colours. The permutations can be almost endless, or they can stay the same. Often, a simple turn can produce an amazing new pattern. But it’s not fixed – it’s only static for as long as I choose.

Change is easy
All I have to do is turn the thing around, shake it up, and see what new patterns emerge. If I don’t like it, I can change it again. Although I’ve made many big changes over the years to the pattern of my life, it can – and should – also be about shifting the existing elements around – getting a fresh perspective on things, a new point of view, a different way of seeing.

But I have to do it – it doesn’t happen automatically. It means I have to be fully engaged with the process.

More about that later …

Wednesday, January 28, 2009


I was driving to my friends' house.

I knew where I was going and why I was going there. I've been a few times so I more or less know the way.

But, this time, the road I usually take was closed. I followed the diversion signs until they suddenly stopped.

Using my unerring navigational instincts I took a right.

Big mistake.

I ended up stuck in traffic on on a road I didn't know.

So I did what I always do ... I followed someone who seemed to know where they were going. They turned left, so I followed. They zig zagged up a series of narrow, one-way residential streets. I followed.

Then I realised I was following a taxi that had pulled up outside a pub.

The road ahead was a dead end.

I had to reverse back down a narrow street with cars parked on either side.

I ended up in exactly the same place, stuck in the same traffic.

I crawled along until I spotted a sign that pointed to where I wanted to go. Eventually I got to my friends' house.

When I was sitting in the traffic, not knowing where I was, I realised that if - at any point along the way - someone had asked me where I was, I would have had to reply ...

"I don't know. I'm lost"

Sunday, January 11, 2009


I've mentioned Hazel Dooney's blog before, and I still enjoy reading it ... she's very raw and real. I was amused, though, to read this recent entry ...

Over the last few days I've got back to some work. It's a challenge though because I no longer have everything at hand to work with whenever I want (the benefit of a dedicated space). When I need something I have to go to my Dad's garage and rummage around in all those unlabelled boxes and bags ... and - sod's law ... I can never find what I want at the time but I usually find something else I was looking for previously.

But it's challenging me to improvise and to make art with what I can find around me.

Monday, January 05, 2009


Some time ago I mentioned to a friend that I was meeting a photographer who I hadn't seen for many years (not since we were teenagers in fact!) for coffee and a chat. As I talked she said, "Do I sense a possible collaboration?" To me, it was just catching up with an old friend.

I'm obviously not so smart.

I've just come back from a good couple of days away. I met people, drank coffee, chatted. The people I met (including my photographer friend) are freelancers, like me. Out of those conversations there seem to be opportunities for mutually beneficial collaborations - with them and, possibly, others.

This is what I've been looking for for a long time.

Thinking about collaboration, I came across this:

"The fundamental unit of the new economy is not the corporation but the individual. Tasks aren't assigned and controlled through a stable chain of management but rather are carried out autonomously by independent contractors. These electronically connected freelancers - e-lancers - join together in fluid and temporary networks to produce and sell goods and services. When the job is done, the network dissolves and its members become independent agents again, circulating through the economy, seeking the next assignment."

Thomas Malone and Robert Laubacher,
"The Dawn of the E-lance Economy"
Harvard Business Review

Thursday, January 01, 2009

It's Day 1 of my 100 days.

(I'm not going to give you a day-by-day blow-by-blow account ... so don't worry).

It's been a good day spent reading, getting ideas, making notes and planning. The things I love.

I notice today that I no longer have a house key on my key ring ... only a car key.

I am of "no fixed abode".

I should be sorting out what I'm going to do next ... where I'm going to live, what I'm going to do and who I'm going to do it with (ooh errr, missus!).

Instead my imagination is in August. I'm going to Brazil - to my daughter's wedding. While I'm there I want to go to Sao Paulo and spend "some time" there ... maybe doing some work ... some art ... some workshops.

Day 1 ... and I'm excited. Feels good.

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