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I live in Brooklyn, NY and I love it here.  I came here for my career in 2009 and haven't once looked back. 

Monday, June 28, 2010

Late night/early morning ramblings on the importance of comfort for efficiency...

Lately, I've been obsessed with organization, particularly of the space in which I work. In fact, I've taken a look at my space and realized that it alone is probably the largest detriment to my productivity and I've been neglecting it, trying to just get by the way it's set up now. For those of you who have not seen my bedroom/office let me describe it:

It's a 9 X 9 box that barely fits my bed, a bookshelf, my dresser and a desk chair. I've found that it's much easier to roll my yoga mat out in the living room and do my stretching out there in the mornings. On days when my cousin is home and watching TV though, I have to do upward facing dog with my face two inches from my dresser drawers. Not fun. The dresser itself is currently functioning as a desk with the computer taking up most of the five foot wide, 19 inch deep surface area. (CRT monitors may have great resolution but they aren't exactly a space saver...for crying out loud, my keyboard is resting on my half open sock drawer!). My guitar amp is crammed against a wall with my oscillating fan resting on top, rather precariously. My MIDI keyboard is slid underneath my bed and resting on top of some plastic drawers that I use to store office supplies and software CDs. One of the guitars and the mandolin are both shoved under the bed along with boxes of things I don't use that often, like old music scores, while the other guitar that I play most often is sitting on the floor in its case next to my chair. My laundry bin is close by along the opposite wall from the door, squeezed in between the radiator and the dresser, giving barely enough clearance for me to open my jeans drawer. I have installed shelving on the wall where my desk is which has added marginal storage space that I'm not even sure helps that much. The closet. My cat's litter box takes up the floor, my clothes barely fit and the top shelf is given over to a cat carrier that had to be disassembled to fit and a tent which I can't use because it has no tent poles (as I recently discovered).

The biggest problem here is that I don't have a comfortable and ergonomic place to sit at my computer and compose. Whenever I write using my MIDI keyboard, I have to pull it out from under the bed and put it on top of the bed, plug it in and sit in a chair that does not recline, swivel or properly support my back. Whenever I type, my hand is not parallel to the keyboard nor the mouse. And whenever I get papers or bills I have almost no space on my desktop to stack them and the pile gets overwhelming way too quickly.

I dream of the day when I can have a separate room to do all these things I do. Imagine what I could accomplish if it were actually comfortable for me to sit at my computer and if the space was a lot more functional then it is at present. In order to do this though, in my current space I need to somehow fit a desk and a dresser where only one seems to be able to fit currently.

It would also be nice to have a different room to work in, separate from my bedroom, so that I can have a place to escape my work at the end of the day. And really, honestly, when I think about it, I really do have two rooms worth of stuff crammed into one.

And floor space is important too. Not just for yoga but for giving the room an uncluttered feel. I stumbled across this article linked from this article linked from a fellow composer's blog. The site that the first two articles originated from is great and is actually most of the inspiration for this post.

These are things that have been on my mind for a while, but unfortunately, I don't have the extra money to make a real change in my living situation, and I don't have the option of moving to a new apartment with a second bedroom or office. As much as I value location when apartment hunting, I'm quite certain that the next place I move into will likely be a lot more spacious regardless of where I have to live.

At any rate, I can't do much about where I live at the moment but, while it's daunting to think about, I can change my space and I may not have to buy too many things to make it work...or let's hope anyway. I need a desk and dresser option that will work in that space and I need a comfy chair. This can't that huge an investment.

As I get to thinking about it though, I start to remember why I settled with things the way they are now. Cost and the hassle of getting rid of the old stuff and then physically moving everything intially led me to accept that my dresser does work as a desk and, in a pinch, it would have to do. If I can make this work now, maybe I can make it work just a little bit longer until the next time I move (potentially as long as a year from now). Then when I move I can make having a second room a priority. That way, oh man, the ideas of what I can do. Comfy reclining chair, desk that makes ergonomic sense and a computer that doesn't take up the whole damned work surface. Then perhaps a keyboard stand. And I can do yoga in my bedroom again!

But right now, my problem isn't solved. I think with the consideration of decluttering and perhaps another look at how my work area functions, I can probably get by. But it's nice to dream meanwhile.

Got a late night tonight and will think of some of this stuff tomorrow. I have to finish some editing tomorrow and possibly record some more takes for the dancer's piece and then I can send it out. Nearing the end there.

Saturday night, Peeper: A Sort of Love Story screened at Inivisble Dog Art Gallery in Boerum Hill, Brooklyn at 9pm. I was able to stop by and make an appearance before heading in to work (actually to cover the writer/director's shift who took off to have the screening in the first place). Only got part way into the movie before I had to bounce. But, it was great seeing everyone and meeting a few new people. The director and the lead actor were there and we were all introduced, including yours truly, to the audience before the film started. The director and writer always have really gracious things to say about my score and I always appreciate that. I wish I could have stuck around to see how the film was received by this audience. I even had to miss the Hoboken International Film Festival screening but I hear it went well.

I'll keep you up to date on how things progress as I work on finishing the dancer's music and as I work on some new electronic music.

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