33 Things I’ve Never Told You
This post is inspired by a blog post I came across by Corbett Barr who writes an excellent blog called Think Traffic. His post is titled: 33 Things I’ve Never Told You (or, How to Reintroduce Yourself and Kick Your Watered-Down Self in the Ass) 
The gist of his article is that when we blog we sometimes get trapped into ‘a voice’ that we think is necessary to convey our message.
In my case, I sometimes feel that I have this ‘marketing’ voice here on the Thriving Creative – banging on about customers, product, markets, etc. Sometimes I think I sound like a douche-bag!
So the purpose of this post is to tell you a bit about me. Maybe some stuff I don’t normally talk about on this blog but which will shake things up, introduce a fresh voice, and give you a better idea of who the hell I am.
So here we go with 33 Things I’ve Never Told You.
1. I hate selling. That might seem strange given that much of what I talk about on this blog is about selling. But I hate doing it. And that’s precisely why I have spent many years reading books, doing my Masters in Creative Entrepreneurship, and writing this blog – to find ways to do it that don’t make me feel gross. Also, I engage in selling for the same reason that people who are afraid of heights go skydiving – when you face your fears head on, it’s quite exhilarating. I don’t expect anyone to actually like or enjoy the process of selling, but my mission here is to show you how to do it in ways that can feel authentic (or at least less icky) and nudge you to just take the plunge. The world doesn’t fall off its axis if you ask someone to buy your book. You won’t implode if you put together an offer and post it on your blog. The more you do it, the more comfortable it gets. But I still hate it. And I love doing it anyway.
2. I have a twin brother. And we barely speak to each other. I’m 3 minutes older. We were really close when we were young, and when we were about 11 or 12 we each started to develop really independent lives and we’ve just never really connected since. We’re not unfriendly. There’s no animosity. We just have very little in common other than we shared ‘a womb with a view’ (that was one of his old jokes). I wish we had one of those super close twin relationships where we finished each other’s sentences or felt each other’s pain, but it’s just not there.
3. My first professional job out of college was as a tap-dancing cowboy in The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas at Stage West Calgary. I was 19. My tap teacher from college recommended me for the job, I drove down to the audition with a cast on my arm (I had broken my arm at my college graduation, drunk, while doing ‘horizontal bungy jumping’ – don’t ask!) and did the audition. I think the director liked my spunk because part of the dance routine involved dropping to the floor and doing press ups and I was doing it with a cast on my arm. I remember him telling me ‘you really don’t have do do that,’ and I replied ‘yes, I do!’ I got the job, slept on my brother’s couch for 4 months and had a fantastic time. It lead to me getting my Equity card, which was a big deal.
4. I was a professional student for much of my 20’s. After a year of being a professional actor (see number 3) I fled back to the safe embrace of University. When faced with unemployment as an actor, I didn’t know what to do. I remember applying for some waiter jobs in restaurants and feeling really horrible about doing it. I also felt insecure about my own abilities as an actor (I didn’t know that all actors feel this and it would never go away), but I thought that if I got ‘more training’ I would feel like less of a fraud. Also, I was 19 and 20 and very innocent. I was working in the theatre, was practically a virgin, and the sexual innuendo, flirtations and propositions that are sometimes part and parcel of that world were overwhelming. I felt safer in school, so I decided to do a BFA.
5. I got accepted to my dream school, and then dropped out. Growing up, all the best, most respected actors in my area had all gone through a BFA Acting programme at the local university (the University of Alberta). From the age of 15 I had my heart set on being a graduate of that programme. It was our local prairie version of Rada or the Julliard and I thought that if I came out of there, I would be deemed as ‘legitimate.’ I also thought with that stamp on my forehead it would be clear sailing and I would never be out of work as an actor (young minds create all kinds of things). They only take 12 people a year. And I got in. My first year was ok. I was very insecure and felt not on par with my colleagues. But I got decent roles and overall it was a good year. That summer I got a professional job in Jesus Christ Superstar and I started to get a bit of a swelled head. I started to think pretty highly of myself. When I returned for the second year, the teachers identified my swagger and proceeded to try and knock it out of me. I fought back. I started to get in stupid arguments with my teachers. Basically I was being a dick. It came to a head one day when I said I was going to the bathroom, walked out, and never went back. I became a theatre school dropout, which seemed really cool at the time, and in hindsight was stupid as I was receiving a very good education….
6. Dropping out of University was one of the best things I ever did. It meant that I left Edmonton, where my family was, where I had lived for years, where I was known, where I felt trapped. In order to finish my degree I moved to Montreal and my world went from black and white to colour.
7. I love the French language and Culture. Living in Montreal for two years, as a student in the mid-90’s was a fantastic experience. It was cheap. It was incredibly creative. The French Canadians were interesting, sexy, and vibrant. I was suddenly free from the shackles of Anglo-Saxon culture, living in a much freer, more expressive Latin culture, and I made the most of it. I dated loads. I went out a lot. I danced till dawn. I slept late. I wore a beret (seriously!), drank coffee, had pretentious discussions about art, made performance art, studied with a great singing teacher, took ballet classes, danced with Les Grands Ballets Canadiens, took crazy & interesting classes at Concordia University. It was a hugely life enriching experience. Now that I live in London, my partner and I go to France as often as possible. I love French food, French wine, French cinema. I hope to retire someday to the South of France.
8. I lived in one of the World’s most beautiful cities, and it did nothing for me. After I finished my degree in Montreal I moved to Vancouver – frequently voted one of the greatest cities in the world to live in. I spent almost six years there. It never really got under my skin. Unlike Montreal, it was really expensive, so I spent most of the time working full-time survival jobs and trying to cram art in on the sides. It is beautiful – but with all that glorious nature it is very outdoors orientated and I was more inclined to stay inside and read a book or watch a film. I crave big cities – the noise and hustle of London suits me much more that the tranquil beauty of Vancouver ever did. It was a lesson that just because something is right for lots of other people, doesn’t mean it’s right for me.
9. I love to cook. I can spend hours reading cookbooks, watching cooking programs, shopping in markets and standing over the stove stirring. I find it relaxing and stimulating at the same time. I love eating food as much – although increasingly I find I enjoy preparing and eating my own food more than I enjoy going to restaurants and eating other people’s food. I enjoy the process of making it more that the process of ordering it from a menu. If I’ve made it myself I feel like I’ve earned it more.
10. I love wine. And increasingly I hate ordering it in public. By that I mean that over the last few years, as my partner and I have taken more of an interest in wine, we’ve been ordering better and better wine to have at home. My palate is getting accustomed to drinking decent wine. When I go out to restaurants or bars I start to get annoyed at the mark-up on wine. You either pay two, three, four or more times the value of the wine in a restaurant/bar – or you order cheap plonk and get a terrible hangover. Cheap wine is nasty and vile and makes me feel ill the next day. The combination of appreciating fine wine and being too cheap to pay above it’s value, means that increasingly I drink water when I go out and save the good wine to consume at home.
11. I’m addicted to Pinterest. I discovered Pinterest about 18 months ago and I probably spend an hour a day on it. I find it uses a different part of my brain, the part that isn’t words, so it’s relaxing. I also find something really appealing about seeing random images, responding to ones I like, and filing them on my boards. That selection and filing process makes me feel like I have some control in my life. It’s classifying images I like that is so satisfactory. I also keep my Pinterest boards fairly private. I share quite widely in my life and it feels like a place I can retreat to and have private thoughts.
As this post is already at almost 1800 words, I’m going to break it into three posts of 11 points each. So look out for a second installation of 33 Things I’ve Never Told You