Archive for Being Human

Moh-Jiy-Toes

Lately I’ve been trying Mojitos. I say trying, because I’m learning that they are the Klimpaloon of the mixed drinks. Perfection is impossible, and anyone that’s told you they’ve seen a perfect one is a cartoon character. It’s not a perfect metaphor. I’m getting better at them. The trick is less rum than you’d think, more sugar than you’d think, and muddle everything.

Spring is almost done cooking, and the roasted heat of summer is starting to show. As of press time, I have two fans blowing on me to keep me cool. Albeit, I am a bit of a slavering meat beast with many sweat creases, but it is getting warmer out. I’m considering turning on the air conditioner, but am worried that in runs on pure green money. Sadly, I only have currency in the form of cardboard boxes and vague whispers of future favors.

It’s easy for me to give in to sloth this time of year. Looking for jobs has becomes more and more demoralizing the more I keep looking. I can see opening just outside of my driving radius. Well, not just outside, I’m not commuting to the Miles City every day. I’m considering Roundup. Add to that the time vacuum that is the Comedy Bang Bang podcast backlog, and watch my brain goo coagulate.

In fact, I have it on right now. I’m slowing down, and I can feel my brain

The Green Season

I’ve started fixing up the outside of the house. At least, the green things around the house. This is somewhat worrying, as most green things I own die instantly. I can’t even keep salad in my fridge. The second I put it the crisper drawer, it starts screaming and catches on fire.

I spent most of the day clearing out dead leaves and worrying about how much I will still have to do after that. See once upon a time, my grandma had flower gardens, ferns, bushes, shrubs, and lilacs, all perfectly managed in rows and allotments. Now, as it happens, I have all those things but with a bunch of weeds and dead grass on top.

A bit much for a guy who’s never cared for anything bigger than an office plant.

And the pool. That was a problem for years, back when nana was still around. It kept leaking, she said, and became too expensive to keep filling up. So she put a tarp over and left it for later; a philosophy I can generally get behind. In the intervening time, however, the tarp tore and the water left in the pool became black and, well, alive. I can see foul, lovecraftian things moving in that pool. I would try and get rid of them, but they’re probably so advanced by now they’d just rise to make war on the surface world.

I’m going to try to have a garage sale in a couple weeks. Which means braving the cat pee basement again. If I don’t write next week, it will be because I have died from the pee fumes. If that is the case, do not mourn for me. Just burn down this house like a funeral pyre; it’s safer that way. Preferably with as many ceremonial cats on top as you can find.

Also: reading.

Business as Usual

A couple years ago when we started this blog, it was sort of on the assumption that we led interesting lives. As this weeks rolls around, I’m starting to wonder if this is the case. The most interesting thing that happened to me this week was getting a couple emails that I was not qualified for jobs I applied for. Well, that and a couple Jehovah’s Witnesses. I don’t answer the door now, nothing good comes of people who ring the doorbell.

Really, I’m just passing time between applications. Wheeee, reading is fun!

I have nothing to talk about. Still afraid of cold-calling potential employers. I should just do it, but I’m afraid that when I try I’ll say the secret word, and then that therapist will call all the other therapists, and tell them not to let me be a therapist.

Still have my new house to figure out/take care of. The toilets keep flushing by themselves. I’m starting to suspect a poltergeist. I should be worried about the haunting, but I’m more worried about the implication that ghosts poop.

Things are getting greener outside, which means I should start taking care of them or they will die, and then angry soccer moms from the block will come to my door and tell me that I am the Antichrist because my grass is yellow. Such are the priorities in this strange new world I live in.

-Austin

Blerg?

Well, this is embarrassing. After all the hullabaloo I made about posting stuff, I almost shrugged off making a post today. The only thought I had this morning was a rather childlike “I don’t wanna.” It’s a thought I’ve been having a lot lately, between applications, doing my taxes, and slowly fixing up the house.

God, growing up sucks. You think it’s going to be all staying up late and bacon whenever you want it, but it turns out to be bills and the slow, inexorable hands of mortality and death haunting your every waking thought.

Am I right?

Though, I am feeling better day by day. I’m reading again, and it’s slowly bringing back the creative parts of me that got burnt out over the last six months. Hell, two days ago my friend Kevin and I tried to write a rock opera. We even made it through half a song, a cigar, and two whiskeys before we got bored.

So, slowly getting back to baseline. That’s the cool thing about us humans. Give us three weeks, and we can get used to just about anything.

-Austin

Gettin’ Back on Track

Alright, seriously guys. You need to get back on the wagon, because now your laziness is affecting me. I’m skipping posts because I am infected with your lazy. Fix it.

See, I’m doing it. We can muddle through, even when we have nothing to write. Except I kind of do.

I’m looking for a job, at a snail’s pace. I should be going faster, given how much I need any kind of income right now. But I’m stuck. Resigning from that last job shook me more than I thought. Once the dreams about my grandma died down, the dreams about the ranch came back. Horrible dreams where I’m blamed for constant streams of failures I am powerless to prevent. Gee, I wonder where that comes from.

Shows how selfish I am, though. The second I get any kind of closure from the death of a loved one, I go right back to feeling sorry for myself. Not that I’m dealing with that one like a champion, either.

You ever feel like you need to vent, but you don’t know what or how? That’s where I am right now. Trying to piece together the last three months, while moving forward like a healthy human being.

 

Spring Cleaning

No more letters from my grandpa, sadly. At least, none that I can find. Starting a project and then procrastinating until you forget about it is timeless, I guess.

Something strange has been going on these last two weeks. I asked my friend Kevin to help me take a look at all the work that needed to be done getting my grandma’s house, and he in turn asked his mom to come, who has a lot of experience cleaning out old houses. For the last two weeks the whole Davis family has helped me pack, move, and clean a house that has not had a deep clean in years. they asked for nothing in return, and between them and me, we’ve probably logged over a hundred hours on that old house.

I mention this because I don’t understand. I’ve always heard about this kind of generosity, but I’ve never actually encountered it before. All these favors and time and they get nothing out of it?

Well that’s not entirely true. I did give them an old chair and a veg-o-matic. But that doesn’t really cut it, I think.

It’s been a formative experience. Instructive, too. You learn how to treat others from how they treat you. nine times out of ten, that leads to folks treating each other like garbage. this is the tenth time, the time a person can draw their ideals from. A shining example that becomes the basis of how I treat people from now on.

Which really just adds on to the list of favors I owe them.

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