Monday, December 22, 2008

25 Lessons Now Available in Paperback!


25 Lessons Now Available in Paperback
Originally uploaded by lorenzodom

Happy Holidays! Give the Gift of Inspiration! 25 Lessons Now Available in Paperback, $9.99

Happy Holidays to all my friends and family around the world.

I am excited to announce that 25 Lessons I’ve Learned (about photography) has just been published in paperback. It is now available online for only $9.99.

If you are looking to inspire someone this season, if you are looking to make someone happy, if you are looking to motivate someone you love to appreciate all the wonderful things about life—this is the perfect gift for under $10. Consider buying several copies to hand out to all your family and friends!

Click on the following link to purchase and see a preview of the book

25 Lessons I’ve Learned (about photography) Synopsis:
In the spring of 2005, in the wake of my marital separation, I lived for three months in a little church in the middle of Manhattan. At the time I had a choice to make—either sulk in my situation or make the most of it—I chose the latter.

Subsequently, I took to the streets of New York City with my camera and learned I had a latent talent for photography. Since then my photos have been cited, posted and published by over 330 other blogs, websites, and print publications. And this last year my story and photography were chosen in 2008 to join the ranks of style icons Gwen Stefani, Vera Wang and Jake Burton as part the international advertising campaign by Hewlett Packard (NYSE: HPQ) Be Brilliant – What do you have to say? (www.hp.com/go/bebrilliant)

More importantly though, during my stay at the Little Church I had a lot of time to reflect on the meaning of life and the secrets of success—25 Lessons is the story about what I learned.


OTHER BOOKS BY LORENZO
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Monday, December 8, 2008

Wishful Thinking


Wishful Thinking
Originally uploaded by lorenzodom

"The only cure for vanity is laughter, and the only fault that is laughable is vanity."
Henri Bergson


November 14, 2008, New York City:

Wishful Thinking


Until very recently, just last week in fact, I thought I was immortal.

Well, perhaps I didn’t feel I could beat death, but rather, somehow, often hubris got the best of me and I felt that I aged better—less rapidly—than others.

Thus, until now, I mocked my mortality.

Any time that I noticed a sign that my years were numbered—a grey hair, ailing bones, tired muscles, weight gain due to ABD, withering eyesight—I merely accepted the inevitable and laughed my worries away.

That is, until now.

For last week I nonchalantly and naively went to get a haircut.

I thought nothing of it. I had a very long day ahead of me for I was managing both a 4-hour senior managers meeting for 80 people in the morning and our department’s annual holiday party for 400 people at night, so I got up at 5 and was at the barber shop by 7.

I told him, “Just give me a trim.” I didn’t need to say much more because Edie, a Russian Jew from Israel, had been cutting my hair for almost nine years now, the same amount of time I’d been working at the Company right around the corner.

Together we’ve been through two divorces, a second marriage, and four kids.

After he held up the mirror to show me how the back looked, I smiled and asked him to give me some hair gel.

He immediately responded, “No, no leave it like it is, your hair is getting thinner.”

“…my hair is getting thinner?” I thought to myself, both momentarily shocked and immediately thrown into a vertigo-of-explanation.

“What do you mean, my hair’s getting thinner? Really, my hair’s getting thinner?” I asked. And after spinning woozily through all the possible explanations—I didn't gel it this morning, knowing I was getting it cut, so it felt soft to him; I've been using a lot more conditioner lately, thus its lithe texture; it hadn't been too long since I got my last haircut—I finally accepted that my barber, the guy who knows my hair better than anyone in the world, was telling me my hair’s getting thinner.

He knew I was suddenly taken aback and somewhat in shock and tried to console me by lying, “Yeah, yeah, you know the gel can do that to your hair.”

I wasn’t satisfied by his ruse though and probed, to my dissatisfaction, even further. “Really, my hair’s getting thinner?” I grimaced, dazed and confused.

Tight-lipped, he raised his brow and conceded, “Yeah, it is getting thinner on top.”

Handing him his money, I smirked back and tried not to blame the messenger .

*

The rest of the day I worked literally nonstop from 7:30 AM until 9 PM, so that I had little-to-no time to ponder this startling revelation.

For the most part I shrugged it off, half in disbelief, half banking on 40 years of good looks and being told I had great hair.

I’ve been told numerous times by barbers and girlfriends alike, “Mexicans have great hair.” And they do. And I am.

But what I’m not, apparently, is immortal. Because, just like everyone else, Mexicans lose their hair too.

Thus on Saturday evening, when Chelsea and I were attending Anna’s art opening with the kids, I told Enzo that he must milk the recent compliments about his golden locks of curly jet black hair while he can.

Apparently, since his mother finally conceded to my pleading to let his hair grow out, women now constantly tell him, “I love your hair!”

Enzo received one such compliment after I introduced him to Sharon at the opening. His reaction was a nonchalant and unamused “Thanks,” walking away as if he had heard those same words a million times before.

*

Apart from this moment of paternal wit, I had successfully ignored the issue for a couple of days, focusing more on the shock of hair, a goatee, that I was growing and grooming on my chinny-chin-chin, than that which apparently had stopped growing atop my head.

That is, until later that same Saturday night.

Chelsea and I had just left the kids behind with the babysitter and we were walking briskly across 62nd Street to the Empire Hotel for Jennifer’s birthday party. It was snowing and bitter cold, so to warm us up I decided to share the funny anecdote about how Sweeny Todd, the demon barber of 28th Street, had told me my hair’s getting thinner.

I fully expected Chelsea to simply laugh with me as I mockingly made fun of my age, my diminishing sense of manhood, and my realization that I was on a journey of no return, but instead she said, “Yeah, that’s one of the first things I noticed about you when we started dating (a year ago).”

“What?,” I reacted, startled more than ever.

“You must be kidding,” I honestly questioned in disbelief.

“No, you're losing hair on the top of your head,” she said, without a losing a beat, without any thought that I might not handle this news very well.


“There is nothing so agonizing to the fine skin of vanity as the application of a rough truth” Edward G. Bulwer-Lytton


Thus, once again, within a matter of days, I was injected with a painful dose of reality—as wise as I may be, the price is determined by the rising costs of age; no comps or free passes here, no Pass Go and Collect $200, no exceptions to the rule this time.

Thus, for the rest of the night I had to allay my growing fears with self-deprecating humor.

Thus, began my obsession in earnest.

Thus, I had to come to terms with my hair-o-noia, the fact that my hair is thinning—i.e. it is falling out, I am going bald, I am getting older, and I’m not half the man that I used to be.

*

I kind of wish that I had learned this lesson before I blew out my candles a few weeks before for my 41st birthday.

Alas, that is only wishful thinking.

Nonetheless and allthemore, I think I’m over my crisis now. Writing about it has always been a great and reliable catharsis for me.

Besides, I have much to grateful for and a gradual loss of hair should be the least of my worries. For there are many-many-millions of people out there without jobs, without homes and without any hair right now.

Moreover, Chelsea said she’d still love me no matter what, with or without hair. So, I’ve got that going for me.

I love you too Chelsea.

Lorenzo

“The surest cure for vanity is loneliness.” Thomas Wolfe


Related Stories:

Stubble Trouble
It’s Not Easy Being a Baldwin…(I’ve got ABD)
Seeing, Into The Future
The Exuberance of Enervation
I am beginning…
But a Number
Aging and Anonymity
It was a good 40 years
Almost 40

*

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Saturday, December 6, 2008

A Letter to A Muse


JUST PUBLISHED: A Letter to A Muse
Originally uploaded by lorenzodom

A LETTER TO A MUSE JUST PUBLISHED! December 6, 2008, New York City:

A Letter to A Muse is a collection of poetry which was written almost entirely in the Fall of 2002, as a letter of introduction to poet and writer I hold in high esteem.

There are 222 illustrated poems in this volume. Half are originals created solely by the author. The vast majority were written between August and December of 2002.

The subsequent half of the book consists of entries inspired by other poet's celebrated work. Some are purposeful parodies, others playful parities—all serious inquisition and introspection. The vast majority of these poems were written in response to the reading of the other poem, and a scant few simply thematically matched previously written work. There were 100 referenced works in all.

BONUS: In addition to the 222 poems that make up the original concept of the book, there are also 27 other extra poems that have never been made public before.

"Much of life becomes background, but it is the province of art to throw buckets of light into the shadows and make life new again."
A Natural History of the Senses, Diane Ackerman


Click HERE to see a preview of the book!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Got Milk? Join The Campaign for Life, Liberty & The Pursuit of Happiness


Got Milk? Join The Campaign for Life, Liberty & The Pursuit of Happiness
Originally uploaded by lorenzodom

“Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing, there is a field. I will meet you there.” Jalal ad-Din Rumi

December 2, 2008, New York City:

Got Milk? Join The Campaign for Life, Liberty & The Pursuit of Happiness


Happiness is honesty.

However, critical to the successful tenure of honesty (and thus happiness) is tolerance.

People often lie because they are afraid of being rejected, afraid of being judged, and know, based on experience, that they cannot be honest, lest they face unfortunate consequences, because they are “different” and not falling in line with the program.

Although I spent almost 8 years studying international relations at the university and thus learned a great deal about d├ętente, diplomacy and compromise, my oldest son, who was four at the time, taught me my greatest lesson about the importance of truth and the tolerance of others.

We were eating dinner and I was being stubborn and making him “eat everything on his plate,” as I often did, as I still do on occasion. The torment of this poor child was justified by some adulthood nonsense like “I work hard to put food on the table, so now you’ve got to eat it.”

But the ugly truth was that Enzo didn’t like what I had made for him. To the health-and-money conscious chagrin of many parents like me, this is often the case with kids. Thus, getting them to “eat their vegetables” is often like trying to push a square peg into a round hole.

However, as “right” as I may have been to force my child to eat what I had served him, I was also inadvertently teaching him—intolerance and importance of learning to lie. Because, although the honest truth was that the meal was distasteful to him, to survive and avoid an unpleasant experience, he had to learn to deceive me by placing the half-chewed morsel in his napkin.

When I caught him, I immediately recognized my own folly and simply laughed, kissed him and excused him from the table. I felt somewhat ashamed that I had tortured my innocent four-year old son in the name of an ideal, and immediately recognized why and where and when we begin to learn to lie; where the innocence of childhood is lost and where the misery of adulthood begins.

In sum, it is often when we are up against intolerance, when we know that speaking or being or acting honestly will only get us in trouble that we hide, disguise, deceive or lie by omission.

This is why teaching and learning—to compromise our ideals, to accept that our truths are not necessarily the truths of others, and making an effort to accept others, regardless of their differences, is so vital to the health and well-being of humanity and the world today.

"How far you go in life depends on you being tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving and tolerant of the weak and the strong. Because someday in life you will have been all of these." George Washington Carver

*

On Sunday morning, after standing in the cold pitter-pattering of rain for thirty-minutes, I got to go inside to see Milk.

Film critics are already saying that Sean Penn deserves an Oscar for his leading role as Harvey in this heroic and inspiring movie.

Milk is the story of Harvey Milk, the first openly gay publicly elected official in the United States, if not the world, who went from feeling lost at 40 in New York at his new corporate job in New York City in 1970 to leading and tragically becoming a martyr for the gay pride movement in San Francisco when he and Mayor George Moscone were assassinated on November 27, 1978.

Writer John Cloud remarked on Milk’s influence, "After he defied the governing class of San Francisco in 1977 to become a member of its board of supervisors, many people—straight and gay—had to adjust to a new reality he embodied: that a gay person could live an honest life and succeed." In 1999, Time Magazine listed Harvey as a hero and an icon and as one of The Time 100 Most Important People of the Twentieth Century.

Until Harvey came along in 1977, there was much to be said for the lack of tolerance in the United States. Although the nation had witnessed and been changed by the women’s and civil rights movements, millions of people whose love, affection and desire for others of the same sex were still hiding in the closet for fear of being judged, imprisoned and often subject to the threat of violence.

(By the way, much like the use of the misnomers of “black” and “white” have long been used to abet the division of races throughout history, I strongly believe that we should stop associating being “gay” primarily with one’s sexual orientation. Because being homo-sexual means a lot more than who you are apt to sleep with. As per Keith Olbermann’s recent commentary, it is also very much a a question of love, affection and the pursuit of happiness. )

As Time Magazine summarized it in their June 14, 1999 issue, being Gay and accepted in America still had a long way to go a mere thirty years ago:

"In the 1970s, many psychiatrists still called homosexuality a mental illness. In one entirely routine case, the Supreme Court refused in 1978 to overturn the prison sentence of a man convicted solely of having sex with another consenting man. A year before, it had let stand the firing of a stellar Tacoma, Wash., teacher who made the mistake of telling the truth when his principal asked if he was homosexual…To be young and realize you were gay in the 1970s was to await an adulthood encumbered with dim career prospects, fake wedding rings and darkened bar windows."

Thus, due to the brave actions of a man like Harvey Milk, a vast number of normal, loving, productive, creative and happy people all over the U.S. were encouraged and instilled with the courage to come out openly about who they were and fulfill one of the basic tenets of the Declaration of Independence signed over 200 years earlier—“that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

"If a bullet should enter my brain, let the bullet destroy every closet door." Harvey Milk


*

This morning I read an article in amNewYork, courtesy of Mike Swift of the San Jose Mercury News, titled “Homosexuality in Genes…”

According to this article, recent studies have shown that “compared to straight men, gay men are more likely to be left-handed, to be younger siblings of older brothers and to have hair that whorls in a counterclockwise direction.”

Although one might argue that this new scientific evidence strengthens the notion (i.e. the obvious truth) that homosexuality is a natural, normal and innate inclination, I was also alarmed by the way this news piece presented the significance of the study results. Because by focusing on identifiable, physical traits one might be giving license to bigots to discriminate.

That said, in light of the recent controversial passing of Proposition 8 in California and the release of the critically-acclaimed film Milk, these study results are timely, encouraging and will hopefully lead to some intelligent conversations and conclusions about human nature, living life honestly and the value of tolerance.

As always, thanks for reading.

"I used to think anyone doing anything weird was weird. Now I know that it is the people that call others weird that are weird." Paul McCartney


See also: A Question of Love