Thursday, October 21, 2010

Unearthing secret geekdoms

I guess the last word of my last blog entry wasn't entirely accurate.

I'm having that feeling now where I'm so behind on my blog - too many stories that need telling, too many thoughts that need sharing, too many musings that need processing - that I've no idea where to begin.

As with my personal journal, there's always the conflict between wanting to relay tangible events in my life for the purposes of chronicling and memory preservation and urgency to somehow render my experiences permanent, less ephemeral than they really are - and the desire to just elaborate indulgently on all the crazy thoughts and ideas that have been spinning around in my head lately. I always tend toward the latter.

But for the sake of posterity, the tangibles include: being 4 weeks into school now...Alan and his daughter Kristin being in town for a week and a half of Seattle sight-seeing, great meals and many trips to Old School Frozen Custard, cozy evenings of cooking and board game-playing and movie-watching...road-tripping to Leavenworth for Oktoberfest...pumpkin-carving parties and art parties and fancy schmancy wine and cheese parties with good friends...the increasingly regular Seyeon-and-Yitka get-togethers of frenzied TED-talk, UTNE Reader, and book sharing...Cam and Avey's gorgeous wedding in beautiful, wild Washington...multiple visits to Seattle's homegrown chocolate factory, Theo Chocolate. The list goes on and on; it's been a gorgeous month here, of sunshine and stunning colors and crisp autumn air and wonderful adventure.

As for the intangibles? I can't even believe how much my life has felt lately like a jigsaw puzzle with pieces flying into place at light speed. I'm sure there's a better, less hackneyed metaphor out there for what I've been feeling lately, but the puzzle one really tells it like it is.

Here's the deal: I can't imagine myself having majored in anything but creative writing at Oberlin. Creative writing was the reason I ever even looked at Oberlin in the first place. I met "my people" in the creative writing department. I unearthed a love for creative nonfiction there. Nothing, absolutely nothing, sets me on fire the way putting words on paper does.


My grammar and vocabulary and storytelling geekdom is not my only geekdom. I'm a geek about other things, too: hex codes, acronyms like XHTML and PHP and MySQL, obscure keyboard shortcuts, feeling a warm affinity for people who recognize "& n b s p ;" as a meaningful combinations of characters.

Now, not only do I readily point out shoes and grammatical examples in every day life to people who could care less (e.g. "Hey random stranger, how do you like those Salomon XA Pro 3D's on your feet?", or "Damn you, grocery store, it's 10 Items or FEWER, not less!"), I've also begun pointing out typefaces to my poor unsuspecting friends and loved ones. (e.g. "That pilates studio is branded with Helvetica Neue Light...nice.") Thank you, Typography class. Bored, finally, of keeping a daily Subaru sighting count in Seattle, I've started tracking Papyrus sightings on business signs and posters instead. Atrocious...

I guess I'd just forgotten how unbelievably fired up geeking out about tech stuff gets me - and how being in school for an IT field now makes me feel like so many threads in my life are all coming together in big, exciting ways.

Seamless connections between disparate aspects of my life crop up everywhere:

In my how-to-be-a-webmaster/web designer/web programmer/content manager/project manager/freelance business owner class (not its official name, of course, but that pretty well sums it up), my teacher Mike shows us a website he designed for David Lemley - the man behind major corporate rebranding projects for Starbucks, Home Depot, and...REI. I read about his work, fascinated by the driving forces behind this company I work for and admire that's succeeded in maintaining a pretty darn loyal, happy base of employees. How? Rebranding efforts a few years ago.

I have some rebranding(ish) ideas for Outdoors NW, even though it's on a completely different level. Yet truly, the skills I'm garnering in school, week by week, I get to turn around and apply immediately in my creative work for the magazine. As well as in building an art portfolio website for my friend Jenica. Jenica hosted an art party several weeks ago in a big art space basement studio on Capitol Hill. When I got to the party, I found none other than Oberlin's semi-famed Kalan Sherrard chopping vegetables in the kitchen, talking about Oberlin-nostalgia-friendly topics, but with a Seattle touch: dumpster diving at Pike Place Market, doing puppet shows and performance art on the streets of Capitol Hill...

See how it works? Web design -> REI -> Outdoors NW -> Seattle -> Oberlin -> Creative writing -> Web design...Full circle; small world.

My friend Tom (originally met at REI) recommended to me the blog several weeks ago. I didn't make the connection then, but the author of it, Leo Babauta, has written "The Power of Less" - a book for which I'd just put a special order request in with the King County library system, independent of Tom's recommendation to me. Got the book last week, plowed through half of it, called Seyeon to rave about it to her. Turns out she'd put a special order request for the exact same book from the Seattle Public library system, and was in the middle of reading it when I called.

Seattle's an awesome city. It's an unbelievable hot bed of amazing energy and creativity and inspiration. Every time I stumble across another blog or website or book that completely changes the way I look at the world, I swear, 90% of the time, the author is either from Seattle or lives here now. So many incredible people here with big ideas living out big lives...I want to be a part of it all. Life doesn't feel long enough.

That's probably one of the top ten best problems in the world to feel like you have, though.

No comments:

Post a Comment