Instant Connections: Now Available

Instant_ConnectionsIt’s finally here!  My book, Instant Connections: Essays and Interviews on Photography is now available. Published by Boston-based Doolittle Press, this book includes essays, interviews, poems and quotes about photography. Most of what you will find in this book is coming from my own point of view––that of someone who was a photographer and who is now a collector, educator and gallery owner.

I never in a million years imagined that I would write a book. I have to give thanks to my wife who got me motivated to write and to my editor Debbie Hagan who pushed me to make each and every essay the best it could be.

In the world of photography, I have primarily been a giver. I give my time reviewing portfolios, mentoring students and emerging artists. As a gallery owner, I spend a lot of time promoting the artists that I represent––helping them to build their network, and grow as artists.

You will like this book if you like or can relate to:

Photography, Art and Galleries
Collecting Photography
People who want to be photographers
People who ARE photographers
People who write about photography
People who went to art or photography school
People who are self-taught artists
People who want a behind the scenes look at the photography industry
People who know the importance of having a personal network of friends and connections
People who have had a mentor and it has changed their lives

Click on the book cover or visit Amazon.com or as soon as you can, or contact any one of your local independent bookstores and buy a copy through them.

I will thank you the next time I see you. Maybe I can help you make an ‘Instant Connection’. All you have to do is ask.

Sincerely,

Jason

 

My Life in Heavy Metal

steve almond, heavy metal, book, authorI may be a late bloomer to Steve Almond’s book My Life in Heavy Metal, but I’m glad I picked it up on my most recent trip through the Harvard Book Store.  I sat in on a session with Steve at this year’s Muse and the Marketplace literary event hosted by Grub Street and found him quite funny.

I grew up listening to heavy metal––Ozzy, Metallica, Ratt, Poison, G&R, Aerosmith––you name it, but wasn’t as adventurous with the ladies and my relationships as detailed in the first chapter of his book. Maybe I should’ve waited to finish the book so that I could have given you a more detailed review, but if the rest of the book reads as the first chapter did, well, I’d make it one of my suggested readings to all of my friends.

His more popular book, Candyfreak: A Journey through the Chocolate Underbelly of America, is a non-fiction story about small candy companies doing it the old-fashioned way. My candy vice growing up was Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. Can’t wait for Halloween. Hopefully I can score a few freebie style!

But back to heavy metal, here’s an essay flashback of one of my metal stories for you to read when you got a minute: Driving Around With Metal Heads Without Seatbelts.

Tropic of Cancer: Henry Miller

I was told by someone this week that my writing reminded them of the author Henry Miller. I hope that is a compliment. I plan to pick up his book Tropic of Cancer this week.  May as well start with his first book. I absolutely love the book cover on this edition.

from wikipedia:

“Tropic of Cancer is a novel by Henry Miller that has been described as “notorious for its candid sexuality” and as responsible for the “free speech that we now take for granted in literature”. It was first published in 1934 by the Obelisk Press in Paris, France, but this edition was banned in the United States. Its publication in 1961 in the U.S. by Grove Press led to obscenity trials that tested American laws on pornography in the early 1960s. In 1964, the U.S. Supreme Court declared the book non-obscene. It is widely regarded as an important masterpiece of 20th-century literature.”

henry miller, tropic of cancer, book, paris, banned book, obscene

Reinventing You

dorie clark, reinventing you, bookI met Dorie Clark a few months ago at a literary conference called The Muse & the Marketplace, hosted by Grub Street in Boston. As I sat in on the session that she was leading, I was drawn in by her upbeat and powerful speaking voice and enthusiasm. Following her session, I went out to the mezzanine level where the booksellers had set up shop, but was bummed out when I found that Dorie’s book was sold out.

On one of my recent strolls through the Harvard COOP bookstore, I purchased and read her book Reinventing You. Now, I didn’t read this book because I recently added a new job to my resume (which I did): I read it because the points that Dorie makes within the book can be retrofitted and used to better your life, regardless of whether you are changing jobs, or looking for something new in your current career.

As the owner of a gallery, I spend a great deal of my time mentoring and guiding artists in their careers. Some ask me: How do grow as an artist and How can I connect to a broader audience. This book seeks to help people who are interested in defining their brand and those that are looking toward their future. It starts off with a simple first sentence: Are you where you want to be professionally?

Some of the chapters hint at certain things that I preach to artists. A few chapters that are pertinent are: Recognize Where You’re Starting, Who’s Your Mentor?, and Building Your Narrative.

Here are just a few of the lines of text that I underlined in the book that I didn’t want to forget:

“Everyone has a personal brand.”

“Just as your contacts are helping you, you want to try to add value to their lives.”

“Another valid reason (to head back to graduate school) is when you want to expand your skills and network.”

“It’s your demonstrated expertise––not your academic credentials––that counts in the business world.”

“There may not be one perfect person to be your mentor. Instead, you can focus on creating a broad-based “personal board of directors.”

“There are often underlying themes that guide us professionally.”

“Patience––and being honest with yourself about your real interests, personality, and brand––can pay inspiring dividends.”

“Your status is portable and transferable.”

“Develop Validators”

“One of the most important ways you can maintain your positive brand momentum is to be consistent.”

“You can’t buy goodwill…you need to build it up over time.”

“Taking control of your reputation and making sure it reflects the real you is a critical starting point.”

I highlighted two quotes above that I feel are extremely important for everyone in their careers, regardless of who you are. Think about who is on your “personal board of directors” and who your validators are. They are the key!

Follow Dorie on Twitter @DorieClark

Daily Rituals

daily rituals, book, artists, mason curreySomeone made a comment about my friend Mark a while back. They said that he was “eccentric”. Now this someone wasn’t me––but I understand why they said that. Yes, he does keep spreadsheets about a few things like his running schedule, for starters. As a person who runs a lot, he has his running schedule planned out for an entire year––and it’s a rare moment if he deviates from it. He also keeps a spreadsheet for all of the books that he reads. I don’t find this as quirky as the running schedule––I’ve actually started to keep my own list. Then, there is a spreadsheet for the cities that he has lived in and the sports teams who have won championships while he was living in a particular city. Okay––so what––he’s eccentric. He’s not the only one.

I include a whole chapter on my friend Mark in my yet-to-be published book Instant Connections. You’ll get to read more about him sometime in the near future. You’re now probably asking, where am I going with this? Well, Mark and I were at the bookstore the other day and he was searching for a book called Daily Rituals by Mason Currey. It’s a book about writers, composers, painters, choreographers, playwrights, poets, philosophers, sculptors, filmmakers and scientists on how they create. That’s what the back cover of the book says. Essentially, how they set time aside each day to create their art. Some of these “artists” were organized and some, not so much. Currey analyzed over 160 such artists for his book––so far it’s a great read.

I’m usually a very organized person. I keep a daily planner and check things off once they get done. You need to set goals, whether they are short term or long term. I feel they keep you motivated and give you a sense of accomplishment. As I began writing my book, I was very organized––wrote every day. Now that I’m in the editing process, I’ve been slackin’. This is very unlike me. We both bought a copy of this book––I did it to see how others’ worked and to find some inspiration and quite possibility a new daily ritual that I could put into practice. Mark did it so that he could prove that even with all of his so called “eccentricities” he was now, “looking saner and saner by the minute.”

Adding a few books to my shelf

So yes, we are now aware that GoodReads has been acquired by Amazon.  There seems to be mixed emotions about this throughout the social media circles that I’m in, and that’s normal when any change happens.  It’s a great website, and if you’re into books, then check it out.  In fact, check out my GoodReads page (see link at the bottom of this post).

I’ve been on a memoir quest this year, both writing one and reading many.  Actually, I have another memoir idea that I’m trying to formulate now concerning my paternal grandfather.  Born a twin on Cape Breton Island in Nova Scotia, Canada, as a young boy he was shipped off to the United States to live with his aunt and uncle.  The specifics of why this happened are vague.  I plan to go to Nova Scotia this summer to research my heritage and hopefully learn a little more about my family and myself.

elsewhere, richard russo, the shipping news, annie proulx, books, book suggestions, reading, amreading, Pulitzer Prize

Anyhow, I’ve been getting some nice support from friends and fellow artists about my writing process and suggestions on books to read.  These are the two newest additions to my list.  I will be reading Elsewhere by Richard Russo first, then will tackle The Shipping News by Annie Proulx next––two Pulitzer Prize winners that I probably wouldn’t have picked up on my own.

If anyone is curious what books I’ve been reading or what books are on my shelf, visit my GoodReads page (here).

World Book Day: Read Some Memoirs!

jenny lawson, let's pretend this never happened, author, book, world book day, memoir, taxidermyToday is World Book Day.  Mostly geared toward children and young adults, I don’t see why it can’t be geared toward everyone.  Everyone should know how to read, right?  I used to hate reading.  I always had a list of better things to do with my time.  Later in life I learned that relaxing with a good book is a good way to spend my time.

Since I’m writing a memoir, I’ve been reading a lot of memoirs.  I’d like to share with you a few books that I thought were particularly interesting.  My selections are all over the map: business, cooking, comedy, music, movies––because when you are trying to write a memoir, you need to get various points of view.  By reading, you learn new ways to say what you want to say.  I’m not looking for big words…I’m looking for the right words.  The right words take time and come when you least expect them––when you’re out walking, running, grocery shopping or even on the toilet.

My wife isn’t going to let me go back to college to earn any more degrees, so my MFA in Creative Writing is going to come from the books that I buy on a weekly basis from all of my favorite bookstore haunts, and a few workshops through Grub Street.

Here is a list of my:
Top 8 Memoirs to Read if you’re Trying to Write a Memoir.

1.)  Patti Smith, Just Kids
2.)  Anthony Bourdain, Kitchen Confidential  — Twitter @bourdain
3.)  Jenny Lawson, Let’s Pretend This Never Happened. — Twitter @TheBloggess
4.)  Tina Fey, Bossypants
5.)  Kevin Smith, Tough Shit — Twitter @ThatKevinSmith
6.)  Nikki Sixx, This Is Gonna Hurt — Twitter @NikkiSixx
7.)  David Sedaris, Me talk Pretty Someday
8.)  Mitch Albom, Tuesday’s with Morrie — Twitter @MitchAlbom

Oh yeah.  You can follow me on Twitter too if you feel so inclined. Twitter @Lanrod

 

Zen in the Art of Archery

zen, archeryAlthough the book Zen in the Art of Archery is one man’s quest to learn ‘The Great Doctrine’ of Zen Buddhism, which is taught through the learning of Archery, it is more than getting an education in the use of a bow and arrow or an Eastern religion.

Each chapter was filled with at least one great lesson to help you master the Zen of your chosen art. For example:

“…the right frame of mind for the artist is only reached when the preparing and the creating, the technical and the artistic, the material and the spiritual, the project and the object, flow together without a break.”

As you can see the word ‘art’ is used very loosely.  It could refer to archery, painting, photography, writing, or whatever your chosen art is.

 

Mediate on that!

The Last Of His Kind

David Roberts, Bradford WashburnIt starts off Boy Adventurer – which he was.  Written by Cambridge, MA based author and avid climber David Roberts, this book chronicles the life of photographer and mountaineering legend Bradford Washburn.

This is the book that I’ll be starting this week.  If you are in the Boston area, there is an exhibition of Bradford Washburn photographs on display at Panopticon Gallery through February 25th.

I read how many books in 2012?

There aren’t a lot of books on my list, and I’m not publishing it here for bragging rights.  Fifteen was my magic number.  I have a friend who keeps a spreadsheet of books that he reads – I think for him it’s a little brotherly competition, plus he likes to make lists.  He and his brother tend to read between 40-50 books a year each.  I don’t have that much time on my hands, nor do I think I could ever read that many books in a year.  Anyhow, check out these gems!

Anthony Bourdain: Kitchen Confidential
Anthony Bourdain: The Nasty Bits
Anthony Bourdain: Medium Raw
Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson
Shucked: Life on a New England Oyster Farm: Erin Byers Murray
Richard Branson: Like A Virgin
Ernest Hemingway: A Moveable Feast
F. Scott Fitzgerald: The Great Gatsby
Malcolm Gladwell: The Tipping Point
Malcolm Gladwell: Outliers
Photographs Not Taken: edited by Will Steacy
Inbound Marketing: Brian Halligan and Dharmesh Shah
The Startup of You: Reid Hoffman
REWORK: Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson
Stephen King: On Writing

There were probably a few others, but they are escaping me at this moment.  My goal is to read twice as many books this year.  I’m not so concerned about topics (since some were all over the map) – rather, I’m interested in how people write about their past experiences.  With that in mind, if you run into me in a bookstore, chances are I’ll be in the Memoir / Creative Non-Fiction section.  Where would you be?

There were also a few business-related books in that mix.  I was able to extract a few great ideas and put them into practice.  You can always use a few great ideas.