J.D. Moyer

sci-fi writer, beat maker, self-experimenter

Month: January 2010

Eating Animals, Getting Eaten by Animals

I’ve often thought about the ethical implications of eating animals.  I can’t say I’ve struggled with the issue, because whenever I’m presented with a roasted chicken or a sizzling plate of bacon, ethics are the furthest thing from my mind.

Would I kill an animal myself, in order to eat it?  Certainly I would, though I’d prefer not to.  I’m all for division of labor in this case — so thank you cattlemen and butchers.  On the other hand, if left to my own devices in the forest, I’d probably try to sharpen a stick and spear myself a deer to accompany my foraged chanterelles, roasted grubs, and wild greens.  As for my chance of success at this imagined endeavor — admittedly slim.  But it wouldn’t be zero; I spent a good deal of my free time in junior high developing my spear-throwing skills (not to mention nunchucks and throwing stars).  An ancillary skill I developed, related to these activities, was the installation of new windows.

Foraging ... perhaps easier than hunting.

Both sides have some good arguments.  No animal wants to be eaten, and many animals show every sign of being conscious creatures with emotions.  If you follow this line of reasoning to its logical conclusion, then it makes no more sense to kill and eat animals than it does to kill and eat each other (and not just because of the prion issues).

Ethically concerned meat-eaters, on the other hand, might argue that many animals have become much more successful, on a species level, exactly because they are so yummy.  Chickens, pigs, and cows excel in this regard (there are more chickens roaming the earth than people).  For this group, the question is not so much if we eat animals or not, but how we treat them while they’re alive.

Unfortunately, most animals raised for food in the United States (and most other countries) are treated poorly.  This sort of animal abuse is well-documented, as on this site.  If you find this kind of treatment of conscious, living creatures to be abhorrent, then you’re probably 1) a vegetarian or 2) a buyer of ethically raised meat whenever possible.  Niman Ranch claims to raise their animals humanely, Glaum Egg Ranch doesn’t cage their hens, and hundreds of other producers provide (or claim to provide) their animals with environments that include open pasture, normal socialization with their own kind, and other animal perks that make animal eaters like me feel less guilty.  Pretty much all the meat, eggs, and dairy products that I buy falls into this category, but there are definitely some items in the unknown category (like salami).

And when I go to a dinner party, I never quiz the host.  I suppose there must some sort of cognitive dissonance going on here.  I do care about animal welfare, but even more so, I don’t want to be an obnoxious guest.  And when the steaming roast comes out of the oven, I’m not even thinking about the life or last moments of that unfortunate beast.  My baser instincts take over — I just wanna eat it.

Care to discuss Omega-3 fatty acids with this guy?

Does this make me a hypocrite?  Probably.  I do sometimes feel guilty about eating meat (especially when I’m not hungry).  I would have no problem with animals eating me when I’m dead, but surprisingly few animals would want to (vultures, mountain lions, great white sharks, tigers, and hyenas would all happily consume my flesh, but none of the animals I like to eat [sheep, cows, pigs, chickens, turkeys, ducks, fish, oysters, mussels, octopus, squid, and snails] would have any interest in reciprocating, thus disrupting the potential symmetry).

What about vat-grown pork?  This will soon be a viable option.  If there’s only pig meat — no pig brain, and therefore no pig consciousness — there can’t really be anything ethically wrong with this approach, can there?  Unless you’re Jewish and kosher, I suppose, or Muslim, or hung up on vague nonsense concept like “natural.”  In any case, it sounds like the meat turns out a bit soggy, and lacking in muscle tone.  I think I’ll stick with Niman Ranch, and tolerate the occasional twinge in my conscience.

What About Health?

The healthfulness of eating or not eating animals, and what kind of animals, and what the animals themselves eat, is a hugely debated, highly divisive topic.  At social events, bringing up the topic of what a person should or shouldn’t eat has become a taboo equivalent to bringing up politics or religion.  It’s just not done in polite company.  Of course I do it all the time (all three) and usually end up regretting it.  These topics are simply too personal, too hot to handle.

When one person suggests to another person that they might be better off by changing their diet in some way, what usually happens is kind of an emotional head-on collision.  The person giving the advice is thinking “I care about you,” and “I want you to be healthy.”  The person receiving the advice is thinking “Do you think I’m so much of an idiot that I don’t know what foods are good for me?” and “You’re a totally obnoxious busybody.”

That dynamic aside, most of us are at least somewhat interested in the health effects of food.  Since there are financial interests backing every single food out there, there are no shortage of industry shills and scientists-for-hire presenting evidence that that you should consume their particular food item in large quantities.  Dark chocolate is good for your heart, as is red wine.  Milk is good for your bones.  Meat can prevent anemia.  Broccoli can prevent cancer.  But much of the information out there is contradictory.  There are advocates for all-meat diets and all-vegetable diets.  You can even get contradictory advice from the same person.  During the time that I was a vegetarian (approximately three years, during high school, which I am now convinced stunted my growth — my evidence for this is my 5’8″ height vs. my 5’11” arm span) I was an evangelical vegetarian, so much so that at my 20 year high school reunion some of my old friends still seemed to be carrying some resentment against my overzealous lectures, those that had occurred two decades previous.  These days I believe in the health benefits of a modified paleolithic diet, but I’m a much more cautious advocate.  I’ve learned that people don’t like to be lectured, and also that the content of my own advice can change over time (radically, in this case).

Eating whole foods and avoiding processed foods (like high-fructose corn syrup) probably has more impact on a person’s health than whether they do or don’t eat meat.  Genetics also has something to do with it — my ancestors co-evolved with cattle and thus I’m capable of producing lactase (which breaks down lactose) as an adult, while some of my friends won’t come near a glass of milk without a package of Lactaid.  So what about meat — is it bad for you or not?  It’s possible that eating large amounts of red meat (even from grass-fed, humanely raised animals) may raise the risk of some chronic diseases.  But if you look at the actual evidence that MEAT = BAD, it’s quite weak.  A lot of diet/health research studies are based on self-reported eating habits, which is about as accurate as  self-reported incomes on all those subprime loan applications.  The evidence that saturated fat is bad for you is even weaker (the latest evidence shows that small dense LDL’s — those that are produced from eating carbohydrates — are much more dangerous than the big fluffy LDL’s that are made from saturated fat).

Michael Pollan, in his book In Defense of Food, warns against “nutritionism,” a dogmatic belief in the value of individual nutrients, or itemized components of food rather than the food itself.  He points out, quite correctly, that conventional wisdom about food changes over time, so we should be cautious about food fads.  (He would probably call the paleolithic diet a fad as well, but at least it’s a fad backed by several millions years of hominid evolution.)

Bottom line?  I’m going to keep voting with my dollars, buying animal products only from suppliers that treat their animals humanely.  I may also continue to feel a twinge of regret when I see a cute pot-bellied pig at the zoo, after having eaten bacon for breakfast (or, if I haven’t eaten breakfast, maybe I’ll feel a twinge of hunger).

And if I’m hiking in the Oakland hills and a mountain lion eats me, well, fair is fair.

You look good ... to eat.

The Joys of Throwing Out Long-term Plans and Lowering Quotas

This year, instead of making New Year’s resolutions or making a list of goals for the year (something I’d done since 2006, with mixed success), I decided to take on one big goal for Q1, and leave the rest of 2010 unplanned.

My planning/goal-setting horizon has been getting shorter and shorter over the years.  I remember having grand life-arc type plans in college, and even as a child.  Once I entered the working world and decided I that I basically liked what I was doing (having my own music business and doing freelance database consulting), the “future-vision” shrunk to two or three years, and finally to one year.

Why shorten my planning horizon to a mere 3 months?

A big part of it has to do with reading Tim Ferriss’s blog and, more recently, reading his book The Four Hour Workweek.  Ferriss makes the point that long-term plans often function as dream deferrals.  Why start something now if it’s on the agenda for 2015?  The problem is, it’s too easy to defer those large, difficult, potentially life-changing actions indefinitely, perhaps so long that we die before we try.  This is true even if the deferred plan of action is a central part of our identity.  I’ve been thinking of myself as novelist since approximately age six, but it took me another thirty-four years to actually write my first novel.  Talk about procrastination.  Anything you’ve been putting off for thirty-four years?

Already a novelist in his own mind.

There’s a natural tension between identity and intention; some parts of our identity evolve out of performing the related actions (if you play soccer enough, you might start to feel like a soccer player), while in other areas the identity and intention come into being first (a high-school student decides to become a doctor and starts planning their academic path).  The distinction has less to do with the profession than it does with the character of the agent.  You could just as easily decide at a young age to become a professional soccer player, or, in your adult life, fall into practicing medicine (perhaps a weak example — of course you can’t just start practicing medicine without a medical degree — but many people do learn a great deal about human physiology as a hobby and end up giving informal health advice to their friends and family).

It’s the intention-related parts of our identity that are vulnerable to deferral, as opposed to the professions that sneak up on us.  For myself, writing is in the former category; computer programming and music production are in the latter.  Who knows why.  What about you?

EASIER SAID THAN DONE

I decided to take on one big, potentially life-changing goal in Q1 of 2010, and that was to write a first draft of my second novel.  It’s a big enough goal to get me excited and motivated, and simple enough to keep in my head every day without constant review (if you have fifteen goals for the year, it’s hard to remember them all — not to mention that by August half of them are irrelevant).

At the same time, I threw out any preconceptions about what the latter three-quarters of 2010 might look like.  Maybe Kia and I and our daughter will spend a few months working remotely from somewhere on the Mediterranean coast (I recently ran the numbers, this option could potentially be less expensive than our current lifestyle, especially if we can get in on some of that free European pre-school — you parents of young children living in the Bay Area know what I’m talking about).  Or, depending on the availability of Spesh or Mark Musselman, maybe there will be a new Jondi & Spesh or Momu album in the works.  In any case it’s exhilarating not knowing.

So — back to my grand plan.  I came up with what I thought was a fail-safe strategy to bang out novel #2.  I whipped out (or rather, clicked on) my digital calculator and figured out approximately how many words I would need to type every day in order to have a more-or-less novel length manuscript on my hard drive by March 31st.  I gave myself weekends off, as we don’t generally have childcare on the weekends (you try writing a novel while a two-year-old is clambering onto your lap demanding to look at pictures of choo-choo trains on your computer) and also planned on taking several “creative sabbatical” weeks where all I would do was write.

1150 words per day, on the regular working days.  That’s what the calculator said.  Okay, no problem.  My work was cut out for me.  Here’s what the first few writing days in January looked like, in terms of actual output:

Day 1: 297 words
Day 2: 402 words
Day 3: 351 words

Ouch.

I wasn’t spending eight hours each day in front of the laptop — nor was this ever the plan.  I still needed to eat, after all, and running Loöq Records takes some time.  I was hoping to hit my quota after two or three hours of focused work, first thing in the morning.

I liked the material I was coming up with, but at this rate it would take me all year to get a draft.  I kept thinking of Stephen King’s observation that after three months, “the story begins to take on an odd foreign feel, like a dispatch from the Romanian Department of Public Affairs, or something broadcast on high-band shortwave radio during a period of severe sunspot activity.” Nope, don’t want that to happen.

It was my favorite goofy-hat-wearing vloggers, Tim Ferriss (again) and Kevin Rose, that came to the rescue, with this video post.  It’s long and (as the title warns) random, but somewhere towards the end Tim makes a reference to a story of how IBM achieved the highest sales by setting the lowest quotas.  The idea was to boost productivity by removing pressure, and in IBM’s case it worked.  Tim Ferriss is currently applying the low quota idea to his own writing project, with the goal of writing “two crappy pages a day.”

That sounded good to me.  I needed less pressure.  The 1150 word quota was looming over me every morning like a flying Nazgûl.  I reduced my quota to 750 words a day.  The next two days my word counts were as follows:

Day 1: 1147 words
Day 2: 1120 words

Go figure.  This was just two days ago, so we’ll see if the trend continues, but at the moment I’m feeling the lower quota.  I think the point of a quota is to get one’s ass in gear, and to have a minimum standard of productivity.  Quality is more important than quantity, but you can’t get to quality unless you produce something. Ideally, you get started and catch a wave, you achieve flow … then you hit your goal before you know it.  But for me having a quota is useful; it’s a guardian against sloth and inertia.

Did Rodin have a sculpting quota?

Willpower as a Commodity, Part II (counterintuitive sleep tips)

It’s strange starting a new blog.  On jondiandspesh.com I mostly wrote about dance music, clubbing, and the like.  I don’t think this blog will have any sort of focus.  Some of my favorite blogs are similarly unfocused.  Art de Vany‘s blog became popular because he posted pictures of his grain-free paleolithic lunches and his muscle-bound 70 year-old body, but he also wrote about statistics, Hollywood films, and economics.  Now he’s made his blog private (his bandwidth fees were getting out of control and he didn’t want to deal with advertising) but I enjoyed the eclectic nature of his writings for a long time.

I think the main reason I like to blog is to make sure I can express myself without boring my friends to death with info-dumps that they may or may not be in the mood to hear.  I assume nobody is making you read this — you’re here voluntarily.  You can stop reading at any time.  It’s a perfect arrangement.  I can “talk” uninterrupted for pages on end about whatever is on my mind, and you can leave at any time without any fear of an awkward social moment.

WILLPOWER AS A COMMODITY, PART II

In my last post I stated my opinion that willpower is more like an expendable resource than a muscle you can build, and that the two aspects of willpower management are:

1) Stopping the Leaks

and

2) Doing What’s Important

By “Stopping the Leaks” I mean finding the areas of our lives where we’re expending effort and tweaking our behavior and rituals so that those areas no longer drain our daily reserves of willpower.  I think most of us can “trim” willpower expenditures in at least a couple of the following areas:

  • Fighting sleep deprivation
  • Fighting carbohydrate cravings
  • Enduring annoying behavior
  • Doing unnecessary tasks
  • Excessive exercising
  • Ignoring inclination and mood
  • Having excessively high standards

SLEEP DEPRIVATION

Fighting sleep deprivation can be exhausting.  Being anywhere but in bed when you’re tired is a fast-track to misery.  When you’re tired, the simplest to-do items feel like Herculean (or Promethean?) tasks.

I’m going to try to avoid saying mind-numbingly obvious things in this blog.  I’m not going to say anything about the effect drinking ten cups of Peet’s coffee every day, or eating an entire bar of 85% dark chocolate right before bed might have on your sleep cycle.  I’m not going to suggest that you wear earplugs if your spouse snores like a wheelbarrow being dragged down a gravel driveway.  I’m just going to mention a few things that have had a drastic positive effect on my own sleep cycle.

ARTIFICIAL LIGHT 30-DAY EXPERIMENT

Last June Kia and I tried a 30-day experiment; no artificial light in the evening.  I first became interested in the effects of artificial light on sleep after reading this book and this article in the New York Times.  We wanted to experience what sleep might have been like in the pre-electrical era, so after when the sun went down (around 8:30 or 9pm), we turned off (or didn’t turn on) all lights, computers, TV’s — we even taped the fridge-light lever down.

A typical evening at home that month involved reading by candlelight from 9 to 9:30 (yawning the entire time), and finally succumbing to sleep around 10pm.  We *were* co-sleeping with our one-year-old daughter at the time (so we were more tired than usual) but nonetheless we found ourselves going to bed significantly earlier than we had the previous month.  It was a bit like going camping every night, except we were living indoors.

For the first few days we both slept longer than usual; I think about ten hours a night (paying off sleep debt).  After that, we probably both slept eight or nine hours a night.  Some nights I would get up around 2am and read for an hour or so (the NYT article discusses how the eight hour block might be a recent norm or expectation; pre-electrical people may have often slept in four hour blocks).

We both felt good that month.  We didn’t get sleepy during the day (which is unusual, considering we had an infant child).  The most unexpected thing was that we felt much happier that month.  We both had the experience of feeling spontaneous joy/excitement at random times during the day, for no particular reason.  This was probably incredibly annoying to our friends and family members.

With these results you might wonder why we didn’t continue the experiment indefinitely.  I can tell you — reading by candlelight every night is BORING.  However we do make a point to turn the lights down fairly early in the evening on nights that we’re just chilling at home.

So that’s one point — if you have trouble getting sleepy at night then turn down the lights.

VITAMIN D

The second factor that improved my sleep quality was taking prescription level doses of Vitamin D.  It was after having two colds in a row that I saw this video and immediately started taking 5K IU of Vitamin D3 daily (I’ve since reduced my dose to 2000-4000 a day).  No colds since, and I’ve been experiencing deeper and more restorative sleep than I have since I was in my twenties (I’m forty now).  The clinical research of this science dude supports my personal experience — adequate Vitamin D levels are important for deep sleep (not to mention reducing risk of nearly every type of cancer, improving mood, improving bone health, and positively affecting 36 organs in total).  Get your blood levels checked and if they’re suboptimal (like two-thirds of U.S. residents) then start taking supplemental Vitamin D (at least 2K a day), or get 10 or so minutes of summer sun on large areas of bare skin, with no sunscreen.  Ten minutes a day shouldn’t burn your skin or raise your chance of skin cancer, and adequate Vitamin D levels may be protective against melanoma (the most dangerous form of skin cancer).

Of course, I’m not a doctor and you should consult your doctor before doing anything.  I’m just sayin’ …

BONE-BENDING EXERCISE

Perhaps you’ve experienced sleeping deeply after exercising hard.  But who really has the time or inclination to consistently exercise the recommended thirty minutes (make that at least an hour with the commute to and from the gym) every day?  Only those freakishly disciplined types … and this isn’t directed at them.  The question in my mind was as follows: could I improve the quality of my sleep by exercising approximately 1 minute a day?  The answer, for me, was a definitive yes.

Try this following right now.  Get up, find the nearest open stretch of street, path, or whatever, and sprint at full speed for about one minute.  Unless you’re sitting there reading this in a Puma tracksuit, you can simultaneously exercise your nonconformity muscles at the same time.

So, how do your legs feel?  (No, of course you didn’t do it).  But try it some time, without doing any other exercise that day, and see how it affects the quality of your sleep.  I’ve found that vigorously jumping up and down for one minute also does the trick.  Undignified, yes, but it helps build bone density and release growth hormone.

One thing that happens when you get enough deep sleep is that your sugar and carbohydrate cravings go way down (and the converse is also true; as little as three nights sleep deprivation can reduce insulin sensitivity to a degree that is similar to Type 2 diabetes).  This post is getting way too long so I’ll discuss my experience with drastically reducing my sugar and grain intake in Part III.

EDIT: The Willpower Part III post is going to cover another topic, but I did end up writing about reducing grain products and sugar here.

Willpower as a Commodity, Part I

Willpower in action

I’m considering two metaphors for the concept of willpower; willpower as a commodity and willpower as a muscle.  I think the second metaphor is closer to the way that most people think about willpower.  Willpower is something that can be exercised and strengthened.  A person can toughen themselves up.  Try hard, and you get better at trying hard.

I think this view is mostly false.  Hard things get easier because you get better at them when you do them.  Skills that have a steep learning curve, that feel difficult when you’re acquiring them, aren’t going to feel hard for that long.  Why not?  You can’t have a steep learning curve without having a short duration.  If you keep at it, the hard feeling part will pass relatively quickly.

So is willpower a commodity?  Is it a raw resource, valuable, scarce, and non-renewable, with multiple potential applications?  I think this metaphor is much closer.  You can renew your willpower by sleeping, and to a lesser extent with breaks, pep-talks, and sugary snacks, but in a given day willpower is basically non-renewable.  Willpower can be drained by any number of innocuous-seeming tasks, anything that requires mental concentration, enduring the unpleasant, complex decision-making, or resisting temptation.  Answering complicated email, having to interact with people you don’t like, searching for the best airline ticket deal, trying to NOT eat that doughnut, making lunch for your kid when there’s no food in the house — all these things can drain your willpower quicker a bullet hole in a gas tank.

Some people seem blessed with an abundance of willpower.  They have incredible powers of concentration, they can stoically endure the most unpleasant conditions, easily stick to the most spartan of diets, effortlessly delay gratification, and regularly complete grueling exercise programs.

Other less fortunate souls struggle with attention-deficit-disorder and are defenseless against all forms of indulgence.  They have to gear themselves up to get the littlest thing done.  If there is cake, they will eat it.  If there is Scotch they will drink it.  If there is the internet, they will waste time on it.

People less naturally endowed with willpower might in fact be the luckier group.  If they want to achieve anything, they will quickly learn that they have to guard their willpower against theft and to conserve against waste.

Those born into the first group might stoically labor their entire lives, getting much done but achieving nothing, because they are never forced to develop good willpower management skills.

Personally I think I started somewhere in the middle (by nature and/or nurture) and I’m trying to better use my available willpower with smart willpower management.  So what do I mean by that?

IMO willpower management has two sides:

  • Stopping the Leaks
  • Doing What’s Important

I’ll cover both in my next post.

The Reward Is The Job – Do You Want The Reward?

Clubbers in Oslo

I’ve been thinking about “long-tail” careers and the people who pursue them (myself included).  For careers where there is no “average” success, “long-tail” describes the success curve distribution.  Most musicians, artists, writers, and athletes are never going to get much in the way of fame or fortune, while a few extremely lucky and/or talented individuals are going to get the lion’s share of the rewards.  So you don’t actually want to end up on the tail … you want to end up as high on the slope as possible (if fame and fortune are what you’re after).

My hypothesis is that the “rewards” of a successful long-tail career are mostly illusory.  If you generate a NYT bestseller or Top 40 hit or get picked up by a big league sports team, then of course you get paid and get famous, but what you really get is the JOB of being a professional writer or musician or ball player.  So you had better like the job itself; the day-in day-out nitty gritty of consistently performing at a high level.

About six years ago I fell into a long-tail career of being an electronic music DJ.  I had co-produced an album (Jondi & Spesh – The Answer) and our label (Spundae) arranged a North America DJ tour to help promote it.  The only problem was that I didn’t know how to beat-match (seamlessly mixing two songs together by adjusting the tempo and manually synchronizing the vinyl or CD’s).  Beat-matching is no longer a required DJ skill (these days laptop DJ’s can let the computer beat-match for them) but back in 2004 it was a non-optional part of the skill set.

Spesh arranged a “DJ boot-camp.”  For weeks he trained me in the mystical art of beat-matching.  Imagine a kung-fu training montage, but instead Shaolin monks with swords and spears, think of two white dudes in a studio garage with Technics 1200’s and Pioneer CDJ’s, drinking lots of tea.

The boot-camp worked, more or less.  At the end of training, my skills were not world class, but I could get away with mixing records in front of a nightclub crowd (and in most cases not clear the dance floor).  During that tour, Spesh pulled more weight behind the turntables, but we played some good shows.  Opening for James Zabiela at Circus in LA was especially fun.  Amazingly, we were well-paid for these gigs, stayed in the best hotels, and were ferried about in limousines.  Ridiculous!

You have to realize that most DJ’s “work their way up” with blood, sweat, and tears, and would kill to have the kind of opportunity that was handed to me.  It would be like playing a game of pick-up basketball and getting offered a position on the Lakers, without even having to try out.

On top of this incredible luck, Spesh and I had the additional good fortune of already running our own successful electronic music event in San Francisco (Qoöl).  Spesh, along with our talented residents and guests, had built up the crowd for years.  Returning from that first tour, I had a resident DJ slot to step into, along with an enthusiastic home-town crowd.  I took advantage of the opportunity, continued to improve my skills, and had a great time playing at our own party and at other parties around San Francisco.  Spesh and I (well, mostly Spesh) organized a European tour, and we played at clubs in London, Bristol, Hamburg, Berlin, Eindhoven, and Oslo.

Jondi & Spesh were even voted among the top DJ’s in San Francisco from Nitevibe’s popular poll for several years running.  For someone more comfortable in the studio behind a computer monitor than on a stage in front of a throbbing crowd, it was all somewhat unreal.

So, was I a DJ?  I was acting like one, and externally I was doing all the things a professional electronic music DJ does.  I was playing gigs, I was getting paid, I was writing and releasing dance tracks, I was listening to hundreds of free promo tracks emailed to me every week by hopeful producers and labels, and (along with Spesh) I was running my own record label and weekly electronic music event.  But I never really felt like a DJ.  I had no problem with the label manager or music producer roles (and still enjoy those), but the DJ role never really clicked.

I had gotten a glimpse of what the next level of success looked like, and it didn’t appeal to me.

I don’t like airports.  I don’t like sleep deprivation.  I don’t like crowds.  I don’t do any drugs except for the occasional nootropic.  I’m happily married and don’t want to chase club girls around.  I don’t adjust quickly to jet-lag.  I don’t like hustling for gigs.  And I don’t like listening to hundreds of bad dance tracks to find a few that I’ll feel good about playing out in front of hundreds of people.

In short, I’m ill-suited to handle any of the hardships of that career, or appreciate any of the rewards.

OK, that’s not altogether true.  DJ’ing is REALLY FUN. There’s nothing like playing great music in front of a great crowd when you’re in the flow.  But I’ve admitted to myself that I have no interest in “taking it to the next level” with that particular activity.  In fact, I’m going to take an extended break to focus on writing fiction and writing music and running Loöq Records.

I suppose it’s possible that if I had a run of success in one of those other areas, I might get disillusioned with all the hard work involved.  Maybe at that point I would run back to DJ’ing.  But I think I’m better suited to these other paths, especially writing.  I like working long hours in quiet solitude.  I like creating characters and worlds.  Revisions are difficult, but also satisfying.

I don’t know what the future will bring.  I’m going to keep writing every day and do everything I can to become a professional writer.  I would love to be able to write fiction for a living.  If it means getting up at six am every morning and locking myself in a room until I’ve written 2000 words, so be it.  That sounds like fun to me.

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