The phrase “Left Of Center” is a term I picked up somewhere to describe a persons actions who upon inspection, the observer may have trouble deciding if they are in fact on the cutting edge or perhaps too far out of the playing field to be taken seriously (mad).

The practices I list below are those of which I feel would fall into this category. It is not magic in the traditional sense, but there does seem to be some meta programing (or rewiring shall we say) going on in the context of these rather, out of the box experiments.

Thought Rides

I work in sales and spend a good amount of time on the road, traveling in my car. I visit clients, stop into to prospective customers buildings and continually record information about both, trying to find new ways to get my company’s products purchased by each of these groups of people.

There are however times where I am just not being productive, something is not clicking and a lull comes about. When this occurs, I go for thought rides. Basically, these are long journeys on the road that go no where in particular.

This usually begins with driving through my personal “shire” Woodstock, CT. I will spend sometimes hours just driving. Driving and thinking. These road trips provide a subtle meditative state of mind that pull me away from the doldrums of corporate life and allow me to look at my current sales opportunities and places of error in a new light, often times yielding perspectives that allow me to try things I had not thought of up to that point.

One time, while doing this, I drove so far out into the middle of nowhere, CT and on a back road that was crumbling and had nothing but the occasional house, I found a long driveway curing upwards into the woods.

Following this driveway to its epoch, I found that it was an explosives factory…

Exactly the kind of business that really, you can’t build anywhere else other than out in the middle of the woods, for good and obvious reasons.That was about 6 years ago and they are one of my best retail customers to date.

Deliberate Personality Division

This is a tactic which I would suggest may actually be a rather eclectic form of invocation. During thought rides and other times where I am by myself, I will have a conversation with me. I will ask myself a question to begin the conversation and then respond in a British accent. As the conversation gets deeper, there literally seems to be two personalities at play and I start to come up with ideas I would not by simply pondering them in silence.

Sometimes, I speak in specific character voices such as Gandalf, Harry Potter, Heath Ledger’s Joker, Captain Jack Sparrow, Samuel L Jackson… Really the list goes on.

Not only does this give me time to work on impressions which I enjoy doing just for the fun of it, speaking in character and answering ones own questions really tends to become a conversation with something outside of yourself. Investing enough time into the practice often yields unexpected inspirations.

Guerrilla Art Installations

This is essentially like street art or guerrilla marketing with the main difference being that the artwork I make and leave in various places (IE: inside books at bookstores or libraries, on the surface of tables in coffee shops and restaurants, taped to lamp posts and electrical polls, etc.) has no name on it, no web-link, or any identifying marks. Nothing to identify that I was the creator of the piece in question.

This does tend to create a fair bit of frustration in that I am not able to connect with the audience after they have viewed or experienced the work, but that is also an element of the process that really gives it power as well. There is a great frustration and a great hope within this kind of art installation process and it is rewarding in it’s own way.

 

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