The Hexacoto

Listening to the sound of one hand clapping

Tag: journalism

Lessons from a coffee mug on a rainy evening

miloThis evening, as I was sending out more job applications, I decided to make myself a cup of hot cocoa (technically, I made Milo, which is chocolate malt). After a while, I looked at my mug, and I realised that I could see the reflection of the ceiling lights off of the rim of the mug. I decided to look closer and then I noticed the edge of foam that looked like it was climbing out the side of the mug. Other things I noticed were that where spoon touched the liquid, the area around it was slightly darkened, and that the shadow of the top of the mug formed a neat crescent that bisected the cocoa.

I’ve never stared so hard at a mug of cocoa before, and I reckoned if I could see all these individual layers of detail, I must be able to illustrate them out.

I spent a long time trying to replicate each feature accurately: its colour, its location, its details. But after a while, staring so hard at these features, I started to forget that they were actually part of a mug of cocoa. In my excitement at being able to see fine detail, I forgot what the whole thing was.

Have I been similar in my job search? Although I’m trained in journalism and my speciality is international news, focusing only on getting positions that will land you where you were trained to do might have you forget that what you really want to do is write. Maybe applying for business writing isn’t a bad thing. Maybe writing about technology isn’t an end-all (But heavens forbid you write for the New York Post). What you need to be doing is to be moving, because you (I mean me, this is me speaking in second-person again) are currently being stagnant, and that needs to change.

Like what you teach people in unicycling, “Always keep moving. If you stop, you fall.” I should learn to take my own advice more often.

Persisting in fine-graining my search yielded the above snazzy illustration of my mug, but the hot cocoa turned cold, and became slightly less satisfying on this rainy, rainy evening.

Whatever pays the bills

It’s funny how after four years of college, many internships later, when it comes down to paying the bills at this trying period of joblessness, neither my relatively good grades, nor technology-savvy, nor resourcefulness in my work field are any good. In the end, it is still street performing that is keeping me (barely) out of the red.

Today, I set myself a goal to go out and make some money busking. Usually, when I street perform, I never put out a box. The ability to spin freely without needing a permit, being tutted at, and actually having people interested in what I am doing is usually payment enough for me. Washington Square Park has been a very special location for me, because not only do I get such a sense of freedom to do whatever I want there, the space fosters creativity all around, as guitarists and singers play around the fountain why the b-boyers and breakdancers do their thing to the side.

So this time, I put out a box and put in some dollars of mine and hoped that money attracts money. I was also taking a risk by deciding to into the city to perform, since that means an automatic $5 sunk cost in transport, and I was unsure if I could even break even.

I made $37. Not too shabby.

I had on my fancy swishy belly-dancer’s pants, and at the end of the day, it was kinda soaked with sweat. I am achy and sore, but I think it’s worth it. Now at least I’ll have electricity for another month!

It’s funny that during the two hours that I was there, I received various compliments about how good I was doing whatever I was doing; people were saying I should go professional with it, but on the other hand, I’ve never received compliments about how good I was at journalism. I don’t know if I’m actually any good at journalism, but I get things done and I’ve (shameful to admit) done more than my fair share of digging up records of people, etc., to a point that borders on ‘creepy’. I mean, it’s all in the name of journalism, right? This makes me wonder maybe I’m more suited to hold a pair of spinning fans and flags than a pen and notebook.

Right.

The below isn’t from today, but it’s an idea of what I generally do.