Tuesday, April 1, 2014
Block 2: How to See Seattle: Part 1
Arnold Schwarzenegger claimed that he saw his arms as giant oaks when he began working out. And we all know where he went from there. He applied the same technique--creative visualization backed by relentless action--to achieving the next goal that 'couldn't be done': becoming a top movie star despite his accent and freakish physique. He went on to marry into the Kennedy family and become Governor of California...before returning to the screen in his middle sixties to reclaim his box office crown.
I'm a believer in visualization--not in the sense of just closing my eyes and dreaming great wealth into existence. No, I believe in visualization as a way of maintaining my focus and faith...keeping my actions in line with my goals...stoking my confidence daily. I can spend two years writing a novel because I can see myself doing whatever it takes, day after day, to complete it. And just so:
I now see myself in Seattle, a city where I've never been, as I continue to prepare.
As always,I make use of visual aids. In the old days, before I moved I'd soak myself in seas of ink to help get the feel of a place in my bones: travel guides and Sunday newspapers. But guide books these days are fast out of date and out of town papers aren't easy to find. So I needed to change as the times have. With a little online searching, I found an invaluable resource:
'Seattle's Big Blog' is actually the Seattle Post Intelligencer, now an online newspaper. Colorful and fun to read.
Plus, months ago my friend Felicia researched Seattle employment, housing and transportation for me. Since then, sitting in a virtual drawer, had been a wealth of information and tools to help me visualize. Now that I am in the zone, I submerge myself in her emails and click on the various links. One example: I wanted to know about independent bookstores, since I have long experience in two world-class indies. Here's the link Felicia sent me:
Meanwhile, I'm Googling for personal blogs. And this one has a dandy list of recommended spots:
And finally, for now, I've mined absolute gold in my discovery of The Stranger, the great alternative paper that calls itself Seattle's Only Newspaper:
The goal now is to see Seattle, in increasing detail, to see me through the challenges of the next six months.
In part 2 I'll tell you of the picture that I've formed so far.
4/5: Yesterday I discovered a sensational blog about Seattle neighborhoods. And within the hour I knew exactly which part of town is for me: Capitol Hill: the laid-back, funky new home of the city's best indie book store. Finding My Seattle represents a major breakthrough. Now I'm feeling rrrrreally charged!
4/9: I have an image in mind of the more dashing figure that I want to cut. But I can only bring so much. I decided to dry clean two shirts at a time and test their placement in the trunk. I needed to see how much space two would take. The decision itself proved a blessing, for it forced me to start on my wardrobe's final cut. Equally important: the first folded, plastic-wrapped shirts showed me that I'll have a huge problem if I don't unwrap all shirts and use vacuum space bags. And since five shirts make up a full layer, no more than ten can be placed in the trunk./This small adventure marks a turning point in How I See Seattle: I'm smart and tough enough to make the move in style.
4/12: Concluding lesson for this part: when faced with 'impossible' decisions--e.g., how to whittle 20 killer shirts down to only ten--it can help to change your focus. I don't think now of the twenty--but only of the two shirts at a time. Which next two call out to be saved from the pack? The great vision is essential, yes. But sometimes our focus has to fit on the head of a pin.