Scatterbrained

60s dresses in 2011

Time doubles over on itself. Randomness has always been my normal.

How a photographer, writer, and artist was raised by a sheet metal worker and a tobacco farmer’s daughter, I’ll never know.

My parents were extremely hard-working, hand-to-the-plow types. Their son was, and is, a dreamer with a schizoid proclivity for the most immediate stimuli within nostril’s reach.

Something here doesn’t line up.

I for one, believe the milkman probably was to blame. As a kid, I used to lament the fact that the Schwan’s truck never stopped at our house. Over the years, I’ve come to assume that at one point, our little brick home was one stop that maybe lasted a bit too long…

Are you familiar with the concept of imprinting? The notion that certain animals learn, very early on how to establish behavior patterns of others of its own kind. The impulse is so strong that it can pick up on habits of those not its own kind. The most famous case of mistaken identity being that of ducklings confusing a soccer ball for Mom.

Clearly, I was the bald little gosling who, shortly after kicking his way out of a restrictive shell, followed a child’s soccer ball as it passed me by. Weary in the grass from my extrication, I followed the black and white checkered form, quacking out, “mamma.”

Unlike my upbringing, which unflinchingly encouraged me to point myself in one direction as soon as I could tie my shoes on my own and hoist myself up, I’ve followed my gnat-like attention span.

There has been a price to pay for this, and it was more than my parent’s confusion.

Are you a person who runs at one speed?Are you deeply involved in things you adore? Are those adored things part of your day job? Do you constantly wish you had more time to do the things you really love to do? (I was never a big Jim Croce fan, by the way.)

Damn, I love variety.

There are so many colors and scents and textures and sounds out there to swim in, and blast it all, the only thing getting in the bloody way of reveling in all that sensate yumminess is that which I’ve simply marked as…

The Day Job.

TDJ: Men's room

The most peaceful, creative-inspiring space at TDJ

If you follow my Twitter feed, you know that when I mention, “TDJ” it’s as if I’m muttering a loathsome obscenity under my gin-saturated breath.

TDJ is all about shutting up and going in that one direction. This is clearly a problem for me. Most Geminis have this issue. Now, don’t make fun of us with high pitched mocks of “Ooh! Look at the pretty colors!” because your brand of theatre just  won’t capture our attention. In fact, we’ve already moved on once you’ve started your preening.

True Confessions and A Renewed Approach

Although it’s true that TDJ no longer involves anything on my passion list, and hasn’t for many years, I’m coming to realize that it hasn’t all been a sacked lot of wasted time. In fact, my current intensity of passion for creative production could only be what it is precisely because of the last decade of challenge.

Waiting isn’t wasted time if you’re aware, and paying attention. Or at least able to make good notes. Thank heavens for Moleskines and iPhones.

The last several years have been rich, rich fodder for observing personalities, experiencing sensual highs and scary, crushing lows of many kinds. TDJ involves big subjects like health, healing, illness, and death, and somehow, the idyllic hopes of an art school student gave way to this litany of positions where I’m actually responsible for crafting lures for your doctor.

Someone has to seduce health care professionals into writing prescriptions for the concoctions of Big Pharma, why shouldn’t it be me? Some creatives persuade you to buy soda and cars. Me? I get you to think you’ll actually live longer if you’ll pop these little scientific recipes.

Sarcasm aside, this creative’s mind field (pun intended, of course) has been richly sown, and even the weeds in this pasture bloom in interesting colors and scents.

red office chair. green office wall.

Red, white, green. Aren't Italians passionate? Can this be a conference room?

TDJ presently enables what I call, “Real Life;” the life I want to experience without interruption or obstruction. So I have to walk my tightrope carefully; to be in the world but not of it, so to speak. I’m realizing, more than ever, that I need to convert any angsty negativity into the positive kind of gyration that gives birth to pearls.

What about you? Is your day-to-day living satisfying? Or are you “on the way” to doing what you think you’ll eventually love. Are you fooling yourself, or are you inhabiting Now?

Lots. That’s what’s on the menu.
What exactly are you doing now? Right now? This moment?

In addition to TDJ, my tapestry is bolted firm to the loom and the threads are vivid enough to have made Janice Joplin squeal with delight. Here’s a comprehensive list of all the balls I’m juggling, simultaneously, right now.

The Louisville Palace Theatre

I saw my first concert here in June of 1983: A Flock of Seagulls & The Fixx

“Damn you! I’m not an actor, I’m a movie star!”

I auditioned for and was cast as the colorful bisexual theatre director “Geoffrey Duncan” in a local community theatre’s production of the Tony Award-winning play, “The Sisters Rosenswieg.” Rehearsals are ongoing. Performances here in Cincinnati occur in October. Acting demands absorption. Ideally, you filter every moment through that character’s persona. You eat with that character’s mouth, and you’re sampling every second. Huh. Every second? Did I mention TDF? Believe it or not, I actually view my days through Geoffrey’s eyes. He’s a hoot when he’s writing copy that’s about to be sent through FDA clearance, let me tell you.

Life is better when you’re the engine
I’m a cyclist. I attempt to commute to work as many days as possible on my 14-mile route.  But to cycle 14 miles in the morning you have to get to sleep at a decent hour. TDJ doesn’t always allow this. Nor does a running list of interests as long as your leg. When I do cycle, it’s a culmination of everything I love: self-determination, self-actualization, sensualism, movement, speed, grace, unity, and challenging what you think are your limts.

Sophie, I’m yours
Ducatis demand attention. After all, they are Italian machines. That means they are temperamental, passionate, and sometimes, simply unreliable. Like the female Italian stereotype, however, when she puts out, she blows you away. Sophie is no exception to this. When I’m not riding her, I’m repairing her. Or upgrading her. Or polishing her. Or lusting after her. Because, after all, Italian machines are nothing if they are not utterly beautiful, and their kind of beauty will never be satisfied with anything less than a love slave. Sophie is my Duc, and I’m her bitch.

I’d rather make images
Two years ago this February, I plunked down the investment in my Nikon and it’s assorted lenses, a veritable golf cart of speedlights and tripods, and other photo tools. I’ve created two incarnations of www.samlowephoto.com, developed mass emails with the beautiful www.mailchimp.com, utilized the fantastic services of www.moocards.com for my business cards and recently, postcards, and am still in the process of marketing myself as an on-location editorial, portrait, and commercial shooter.

this blog
which hasn’t been updated prior to this post since June. June! That’s just broken, baby. Time keeps on slippin’, slippin’, slippin’, into the future. I keep a running list of thoughts that eventually coalesce into this blog, or a new photographic pursuit, or a new book chapter or direction. Are you dreaming your life and stacking up “want to’s,” or…are you doing something about it?

The dolphins: My 3 sons, swimming

My boys are each other's best friends. I always feel like I'm watching from a distance.

My family.
Why do we work? If you have a family, you know why you punch that clock. But if the clock is punching you back and winning, you have to develop an exit strategy. My family mistakenly believes that I choose the touch of the punching bag to theirs, sometimes. This is a dangerous twist of perception. I challenge you to find out what your family thinks about the time you’re spending at your job. Correct that misperception. Get their support.

The Great American Novel
Ever since 2006, I’ve put a line here, a page there, a notebook jot here towards one of 2 potential novels. Once is about a dangerously misanthropic advertising creative director named Alan, and the other is an homage to my Dad, told through my eyes as an incessantly nervous, spindly kid growing up in the 70’s. When I am writing, I’m as immersed as when I’m photographing; it’s a delicious kind of consumption. Time ceases to be. All is worthwhile. However, writing fiction requires a sort of tip-toeing into the pool; it requires ramp-up time. Argh, time and TDJ. They really can’t stand to share the same bed.

Sensei. Sifu. Stop, drop, and roll
My WW2 dad was incredulous, and not a little miffed when he learned that I wanted to study an Asian martial art. It took moving over 600 miles from my childhood home to contribute toward finally committing to what would amount to over a dozen years of study. I last kicked, punched, and grappled as part of a school back in 2006. During that time I was much more focused, internally quiet, and even more creative. I very much want to take up the formal study again.

Boredom is an insult to Life
My interest list, combined with the need to pay for rent, utilities, food, gas, insurances, and debts, sorta conspires against me. My body needs sleep, and I glance frequently at that old warden, the clock. The Saturnian voice bellows, “You have work in the morning,” and poof, spell broken.

TDJ strikes again. Like it does every night, and every morning. I go to sleep dreaming of all the things I didn’t do today…

But the war is long from over. Focus hasn’t completely eluded me…

Variety, and lots of it, is a very good thing.
It’s often been said that the best writers write about what they know, and the richest writers know a lot. What I personally know is that art, and story, and the universal appeal of beauty, and sensuality all binds us together. We have an innate, moth-to-the-flame need to be connected by these things. I am motivated to create, arrange, and share these things.

Whenever I am prevented from doing so, I become sad, surly, and miserable, and begin to think that the lady over there next to the dairy products is plotting against me. Do you ever experience this 180-degree flip?

Bengals stadium. Horse-drawn carriage. Sunset.

For a recent Cincinnati photo contest where the theme was simply, "motion," I hung out the passenger side of my car and snapped this. Random. Beautiful. Open your eyes...

I have some very specific ideas for samlowephoto, so that my passions can ultimately become my sustenance. I want to share them with you, my samloweblog! and Twitter readers. I believe my scatterbrained life, with all its variety, will ultimately sync up into a unified fabric. Next samloweblog!, I’ll share with you my personal “manifesto” that I tapped out on my now retired iPhone 3 summers ago. The discipline of that exercise helped me to dive into samlowephoto, and has given rise to several of my current activities, making them much less random.

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