• Matt

Work, Dog, Laugh. Chapter Two: Inspiration.

Chapter Two. Inspiration.

Tracey tilted the mount with her camera slightly to the left and smiled even broader; almost laughing into the lens as she talked about the importance of upper back position during the “big toe pose”, otherwise known as Padangusthasana. Big smiles were important for her audience, as well as the clear enjoyment she held for the current topic and activities. Her brand was clearly defined by the cheerful attitude she always displayed, as well as close attention to detail and the calm but intense emotions she shared during her different shows, livecasts and shoots.

For Instagram, it was easy to get a good frame that displayed her style clearly. The videos for Youtube were more difficult, but she had been doing it enough to know how to get the best clips so she could edit it in the least amount of time. Her weekly live broadcasts required a lot more practice; she spent two or three full days preparing the scenes, reviewing her topics and making sure there were contingencies for each of the main areas she was going to be visiting. A few hours of cheerful calm on video took a few days of anxiety and careful planning.

Why was she worrying about her livecast? Tracey had finished it yesterday and she had a few days of relative calm until she needed to worry about it again. Stay focused on the current video! It was a very nice scene for the day, standing facing the sun in front of White Mud Lake. She had used this spot a few times in the past and it always seemed to get positive feedback from her viewers. Her sponsor Yogatrip also appreciated the outdoor scene and she usually gave them an extra 2-3% of sales on the day she posted the video. She was proud of her followers, as they were very active with one of the highest engagement rates in her market.

Deep breaths. Explain the series of poses and the reasons for each one of them. Would they help this part of the body or that part? Which stretches were best for each muscle group or organs? How to customize the exercise to each viewers’ own fitness level and intensity desired? Now time to start. Big smiles at the beginning, then focus on the proper form and holding each pose for the correct amount of time. Breath in. Breath out. Attention to detail was another of her strong points.

After she finished the series of exercises and did a few different takes for her goodbye, Tracey started taking down her different cameras. This was one of those times when the location where she lived really made her frustrated. She knew that many of her peers and competitors who lived in a larger city had one or even two assistants to help with teardown and setup, and they did it for free! What a huge advantage. Wouldn’t it make this whole process so much faster? Tracey supposed she could probably get some assistants from the local college or even high school, but she would have to deal with the same sort of adulation she encountered all over this tiny city. She hated that sort of attention.

Thinking of attention reminded her of Rebecca. Poor lady. In all the different discussions she’d had with her in the past years, it never seemed to bother Rebecca. The amount of gossip and wild theories speculated upon by people in Colville was astounding, and she often wondered how Rebecca seemed to be so relaxed about it. Where her money came from, why all of the rich people flying in on their own private aircraft, why she chose this part of the country; Tracey had never gotten the courage to ask her about them either. Maybe she would soon, since it seemed like in the past month they were becoming closer and perhaps even friends.

Over the past few months it seemed like she was thinking of leaving on nearly a daily basis. Why was this such a popular topic in her thoughts recently? It’s not like anything had changed. Maybe it was the beginning of summer? The weather always had a strong impact on her moods. She sighed, massaging her lower back and forcing herself to refocus. Of course, she wouldn’t leave Colville. The dogs whom helped propel her to success were here, and her whole brand was focused on the outdoors and nature.

It didn’t help her feel any more certain about the decision. If she had to spend all her time in this city, she thought she would probably go crazy. Luckily, in the past couple of years, she took regular trips to LA, New York, Miami and even once to Bali. Plus, it was so expensive to live in those cities. Of course, she would make more money if she was based there. She might even be able to transition out of the content creation business into more sponsor based work or some permanent gig as a spokesperson for a larger brand.

Don’t get too eager, Tracey. She grinned mirthlessly to herself. Who was she kidding? She wasn’t brave enough to do something like that; not when she had it so good here in Colville. What would her aunt and uncle do without her? They were essentially her parents and had raised her since she was seven, after her parents had died in the car accident. She really lived with them still, though they gave her plenty of space and she lived alone in the guest cottage on their property. She also helped them out financially with small things here and there, since she had been doing quite well in the past two years.

Think about something else. What was she going to focus on for the session this afternoon with the dogs? She knew part of it would be sprints, a favorite of her audience as well as something she loved to do with the dogs. It was also one of the easier scenes to film, thanks to her set of three drones and experience she had with the organizational aspect of the shoot. Pilates and some version of yoga stretches would likely feature as well, depending on which dogs were available. Some of them were more patient than others, which limited the positions and duration she would be able to film.

She also had two meetings this evening with sponsors. Tracey needed to finish editing her shoot from today so she could post it by tomorrow morning. It was going to be a busy day! As she drove her classic 1985 Toyota 4Runner back towards Colville in the bright sunlight, she wondered how it was possible to be so busy but to feel so alone. She knew plenty of people in the area, but wasn’t close friends with any of them.

Over time she drifted away from her childhood friends, college friends and never ended up being close with any of the local professional contacts she’d made over the years. In some cases, it seemed to be a mutual lack of interest. In other situations, Tracey made very clear decisions to distance herself from people. She often felt like she was being used for her fame or connections, and this made her distinctly uncomfortable. All she wanted was to be treated like she imagined a normal person would be treated.

It was even worse with the guys. Her last real relationship had been with Steven, and that ended in tears when he decided to move away for his post graduate degree in architecture and she couldn’t leave because of her work. Or wouldn’t? She was the one that decided not to join him, but he was the one who decided to move! They kept in touch infrequently, but no other relationship in the past couple of years had felt anywhere close. Mostly she felt like a trophy or an object and the time it took to maintain a relationship just wasn’t worth it when it wasn’t genuine.

Thinking of guys and there’s a cute one now; it looked like the younger one who worked at Rebecca’s farm, Roger or Robert or something. Younger, now that was funny to think about. He was only a few years younger than her, but it obvious from the few times she had talked with him that he was still a kid. It didn’t stop her from appreciating his butt as she passed him cycling along the side of the road. Ah, youth. Why did it have to make her feel old?

Arriving home, Tracey grimaced as she parked her 4Runner. Why couldn’t any guys be as dependable as her truck? She kept it in as good of shape as her father had, and it was one of her most prized possessions. It was a classic vehicle now and besides being very functional for her, the memories of her parents made it even more valuable. It never made her feel bad or treated her poorly. Yep, inanimate objects were the way to go. Things and dogs. It helped the dogs always loved seeing her.

Staring into her refrigerator, she contemplated what choices she had for lunch. She had spoiled herself last night with steak and a piece of pie from her aunt. Now it was time to go back to her strict eating regime; cubes of spicy grilled chicken with a large salad of baby spinach, orange slices, baked almonds and red wine vinaigrette. Eating healthy didn’t mean she couldn’t enjoy herself, even in a small town like Colville. Especially in the past ten years or so, the availability of healthy and fresh ingredients was greater than ever. She supposed it was due in large part to the Prail shipments that were so effective in transporting a large variety of goods to even the most remote of places.

After eating, she started on her makeup while waiting for Karen to arrive to do her hair. The outdoor sessions with the dogs tended to be exuberant affairs, so she spent more time than usual on the appropriate makeup and a hairdo that both looked good and would wear well during her running. Tracey used to do it herself, but now Karen did it in exchange for publicity for her beauty studio. It worked out very well for both of them.

After finishing her makeup and spending an hour chit-chatting with Karen while her hair was styled, she packed the gear she needed for the afternoon in her 4Runner and headed out of town. She wondered who she would be working with at the farm. Most of the staff were great, though the older guy Sammy was the least enthusiastic about the whole aspect. Hopefully she would not be working with him.

Pulling into the driveway, she hoped Rebecca would be available as well. She really wanted to talk to her about the breeder in France whom they had briefly discussed in messages over the weekend. There was a possibility of a business trip to Europe later in the year and she really wanted to meet with breeders in other parts of the world. The prospect of being able to live and work in another part of the world meandered through her thoughts yet again. Who knows what the future will hold for her?



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