Archive for February 2015

The Sunny Side of the Street

I come to you, my blog viewership (hi mom) to tell you something. Something important, that I have been keeping to myself.

I’m happy.

Stop the presses, I know. But it needs saying. Not because this is a monumental moment, but because I have spent too much time feeling sorry for myself, when I am not in a “bad place.” I’m doing well with my job, with writing, and in my personal life.

This isn’t, to borrow from Austin, some “Pollyanna” optimism. This is hard fact. My life is coming together in some respects, and I am aware of my blind spots. I don’t have a perfect life, but I am beginning to see where I am more clearly. And that informs where I am going.

My acting class is amazing. I am learning more about myself and I am focusing on the craft of theatre in a way I never thought possible in school. I am so proud of the people I people I work with in class, and I love getting to share a stage with them. My teacher is master, and his guidance will shape the rest of my life.

My work as a writer is more motivated and focused. My acting class and blog work has me in a good place to write honestly and to explore the nature of things. I am drawn to the grandiose ideas I have always loved, and I am no longer intimidated to try and tackle them.

My time as a bartender is rewarding. As a skill, my bartending has come a very long way in a year. I am now sought after for it, and I am respected as a hard worker by multiple employers.

And through all this, my wife is a godsend. I mean that literally. Her presence elevates me as an artist and a person. I am kinder to strangers and strive to care about all those I encounter (even cabbies.) Having her in my life is the greatest joy and honor I have or will ever know.

Am I a professional “artist?” Not yet, but that dream seems less far fetched by the day. I have had projects fall through, and opportunities not work out. But the connections I am making and the work I am doing, are bringing me further along on the path I wish to walk.

I hope to keep you all informed as I become a better version of myself and a more fulfilled artist.

-DC

An Old Letter

While I was cleaning out my grandma’s house, I found an old letter from my grandpa, addressed to me. I only have two memories of the man. The first memory was him taking me out to Applebee’s for ice cream. The second was of the day he died, though he wasn’t really there for that one. After reading this letter, I wish I had known him better. It reads:

January 10, 1990

Letters to my unborn grandson

Dear __________ ,

          I don’t know your name because your mother, my daughter, and your father can’t agree on a name for you. I suggested several, but kids never follow a parent’s suggestion. Maybe you ought to make a note of that profundity for future reference, which brings me to the point of these and other letters which are to follow. Anyone who has reached my advanced age wants to insure that his progeny (look it up) doesn’t make the same mistakes that he made, as he at least makes an attempt to allow the possibility that his grandson will have a chance for a better life than he has had. It is not that I had a bad life by any means, but we always want something better for our kids and their kids. Beside that, I think it is a good idea to tell you something of the way your predecessors lived. That way you may better appreciate whatever advantages may come your way. Also, I might not be around when you reach the age of understanding.

          In my short life I have seen an enormous growth of technology. Some of these are talking movies, technicolor, T.V., radar, dirigibles, which I used to see fairly often as a small child in Dallas, jet planes, rockets, nuclear power, and a myriad of wonders in the areas of chemistry, astronomy, physics, biology, medicine, and so on too numerous to mention and most of which I don’t understand anyway.

         I have lived through three major wars and never served in any of them. I was too young for World War II (look it up, it was in all the papers); Korea came along when I was old enough, but three of the armed forces didn’t want guys with flat feet. Incidentally, if you have flat feet, you get them from me. All of the males from my mother’s side have, or had, flat feet. I used to fret about not having been in the service, but I have since come to the conclusion that it was a blessing in disguise. I don’t think that you will ever be called upon to serve, much less actually see combat. Events in the last six months have pretty much excluded the threat of any major conflicts in the United States.

The letter ends there. He probably intended to write more. Whether there are more letters hiding in that old house or not, I don’t know. I hope there are.

-Austin

‘Till We Meet Again

Sorry for dropping off the face of the earth for a couple weeks. Dan did it, then Clark did it, then I got infected by it. It’s no excuse, but it’s what I got.

To be fair, it’s been a rough couple weeks. Between the pity party I’ve been throwing myself and the moving into what was once my grandma’s house, I’ve been running on an emotional empty. A few friends have been helping me move stuff, though. It’s always powerful to see who comes through in a pinch.

My grandma is fading fast. Last time I saw her she tried to talk, but words wouldn’t come out. She still figured out how to say “I love you.”

While I was cleaning I found a gift she left for me. It was a necklace, with two pieces. A cross and a dog tag with the serenity prayer on it. on the back of the dog tag it reads: “Love you always. Till we meet again -Nana.” That was rough. It was also beautiful.

I don’t know if we will. Meet again, I mean. I don’t think I believe in that any more. But she believes in it. Maybe she can hope for the both of us. Maybe that’s enough.

-Austin

Back in Black

Well, I’m back.

I would be lying if I said I just “took time off.” I just quit writing. I got bummed out when a webcomic project didn’t launch, and the weather, and life in the city took that disappointment and made it full fledged depression.

The worst part of my failure to post for the last few weeks was that I brought my contributors down with me. Clark followed not too long after, and finally, even Austin stopped fighting the good fight.

I have been depressed. Hell, I still am some days. But I am writing something important to me. Not just this blog, but my other blog, and several other projects. And I have to keep reminding myself that in order to be a writer, you have to write.

You have to write every damn day.

The longer I stay at this, the more second nature it becomes. But with hard times, family trauma, and failed attempts at greatness, the comfort of writing is also a blight. Because no matter how much I write and no matter what the topic, I can’t shake the feeling that I suck at it.

Please, do not comment or message me any reassurances about my “talent.” I am not fishing for anything. I am simply voicing my very real fear that I am, in fact a terrible writer.

I think this feeling comes with the territory. The craft of writing requires a lot of critique and it doesn’t have a finished product like computer programming or architecture. Does the program work? Does the building stand? Job well done. But, do the words sound right?

Maybe. I can’t ever tell.

I’m trying. Not very hard, some days. But, I try. And as I keep growing as an artist and a person, my life is improved not my my progress in the craft, but simply by doing it. I am made more human by the act of  trying to achieve, and striving to be better. And most days, it is still a hard sell.

But, I keep going. I fall, and stumble, and screw up with surprising regularity. And when I look back on these past mistakes, I can become paralyzed with fear. But I have to keep going. And I still ask myself why and and tell myself I am kidding myself, but I keep moving forward.

Why? Because I must. Because that is my task in this life. To push to be a story teller and to try and build something. Not so it can stand the test of time or be the greatest story every told, but because in the act of trying, I am made whole.

So here’s to being back. I’m sorry I ever left,

-DC

It’s Over 9000!!!

I haven’t slept much this week.

I’m not complaining – my sleep deprivation is actually a good sign. I’m starting a new project, and I’ve been too busy daydreaming and researching solutions to sleep. I’ve found something that interests me more than sleeping, which is really saying something. Like I said, this is a good sign.

A couple months ago, my wonderful mother sent me a link to a podcast named “You Have One Life – Set Bigger Goals” by designer Sean Wes. While I don’t agree with everything Wes says, I agree that it’s important to set huge, ridiculous sounding goals – to Dream Big. Sure, I haven’t fulfilled 90% of the goals I’ve set in my life, but that’s no reason to give up hope.

So, without further ado, here is my big goal:

I will gross $20,000 in sales with my artwork in 2015.

Sounds crazy, right? That’s a lot of paintings and marketing for someone that can barely find motivation to write a blog post. $20,000 requires lots of paintings, and lots of buyers.

That’s where the project comes in. I’m currently working on a licensing agreement with a designer in Germany. If everything goes well, I’m going to start raising capital for an art-driven, self-run business that I can run alongside my current job (or a new job, who knows?). If all goes well, I’d like to eventually go part-time on my current job and focus on my new business full time.

I’m not going to say anything more about the product I’m creating, but it’s something that would capture my art style and interests perfectly. I could make money from my passions, and use my skills and profits to help benefit others. I’m really excited to see how this whole thing plays out.

So there’s my sky high, ridiculous goal, and very few specifics on how I plan to reach it. As much as I wish I could tell you more, you’ll just have to stay tuned for updates, and hope that I have good news on my next post.

Thanks for reading, everyone.

Back on Track

There’s been a lot of silence from the blog lately. Unfortunately, part of this is my fault. When one person in a small group starts slacking, it’s easy for the others to follow suit. Even Austin came close to missing a post, which would have been detrimental to the time-space continuum.

I wish I could say I was too busy to blog, but that’s not the case. The reality is, I haven’t wanted to share my thoughts with the public lately. I haven’t had much good news on the job or personal front, so my attempts to find highlights and lessons felt desperate and forced. I didn’t want to air my grievances to our readers.

Fortunately, there was some good news over the last couple weeks. I’m most likely getting a promotion at my current job, and I’m working with a technology headhunter to see if I can get placed in a Fortune 100 tech company as a temporary contract worker. All of this may result in better pay, a more consistent schedule, and more responsibility/training opportunities.

So, to anyone that has been concerned about my silence (hi, parents), I’m doing just dandy, and things are starting to come together. People told me that it takes 6 months to get settled into New York, so I’m right on schedule. I’m optimistic about the future, and I’m pretty happy with the present.

So here’s an update to break the silence. Don’t worry, I’ll have plenty more to say over the following weeks.