Archive for Friendship

Oops-es and Updates

First of all, I owe the guys an apology. Last week I blamed them for my stuff, and they rightly took offense. I meant it to be a joke, sort of a “ha-ha, I’m blaming you for my actions” kind of thing, but it just came out dickish. For that I am sorry.

I may not have much of a sense of humor these days. Not that it excuses being a dick.

But things are looking up. I had a job interview last week. Tumbleweed, which is the kind of job I should have been looking for in the first place. So, fingers crossed.


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 Great Winter of Meh

Alright, this has got be one of the crappier winters on record. There’s enough hardship here at GiTH right now to fill two novels and a soap opera.

Some things didn’t pan out last week. Dan and I were going to debut a big thing we were working on, but through no fault of our own it didn’t get done, and some deadlines were missed. Dan was way more bummed out about it than I was, I think due to losing out on a potential payday.

So that big reveal will have to wait some more.

It’s not so much that things are falling apart, it’s that they’ve slowed to a halt. Dan is in a routine he likes, but not one he wants to stay in forever. Clark doesn’t like where he’s at, but likes the person he might be in a year or so. Me, I’m moving forward the only way I know how. Slowly and with more self-doubt than there needs to be.

Not a whole lot of positives in our collective lives right now.

Except that’s not exactly true. We have a lot to be grateful for. Family that loves us, friends that sustain us, and talent that drives us forward.

I forget that sometimes. We all do. It’s especially easy to forget when life comes knocking like it has in the last month. So this is my reminder to me and message to them. It’s tough right now, but this too shall pass. In the mean time, lean on those who love you, and the winter might get a little warmer.

This Was a Triumph

One year ago, Dan doubled down on dreaming big, Austin considered coping mechanisms, and I promised myself a year of hardship.

Today? Dan is declaring the death of his childhood, Austin is watching a loved one fade away, and my year has been overwhelmingly difficult.

Mission accomplished?

I think so.

All cynicism aside, this year has been a massive turning point for the writers of Gold in Them Hills. Dan made huge steps towards publishing his work, Austin helped dozens of kids find a sense of stability, and I completely abandoned my comfort zone on a quest for perspective.

Amid the paralyzing anxiety, forced deadlines, longing for companionship, inability to find my dream job, roller coaster of emotions, and utter confusion, I’ve managed to come out of 2014 with more passion and drive than ever before. Bigger things are coming, and this time I’m going to ride the wave instead of being pummeled by it.

There’s a fire in my heart, and it’s not going anywhere. I have a few announcements in the pipeline for 2015, and I’m sharpening my skills and hitting my knees for the next season of life.

So here’s to 2015. May you all learn from your mistakes, remember the good times, and be brave enough to keep trying when the times are tough.

– Clark

Who says you can’t go home?

As you all know, Austin’s Grandma is very sick. What you may not know, is that I grew up down the street from her. In fact, I met Austin (almost 18 years ago) because he used to go to her house every day after school.

I have many memories at Nanna’s house. Swimming in her pool in the summer time was one of the best. I felt like the member of a special club, and my best friend and I were the presidents of the board. No one got in without Nanna’s say so. And for a few short summers, we played like mad geniuses let lose on the world.

I would walk my dog, Buster, by Nanna’s house. Even if Austin wasn’t there, she would always wave at me. And even though Nanna had choice words about my parents homeschooling me, she always welcomed me into her home.

Nanna isn’t doing well. And on Christmas Day, my dog Buster, died.

My childhood had been over in my mind, but it truly ended in my heart this Christmas. Family and friends have moved away or passed on. My home town has changed dramatically. And that which remains doesn’t mean the same.

I dug a grave with my dad. Austin had to say goodbye to Nanna. Clark is missing Christmas for the first time in his life.

Childhood is over, and I may go on morning it for a good long while.

I pray for bright New Year, as the old one goes out with much pain.


Outta My Shell


I’m starting to get more comfortable with my coworkers, work expectations, and management team. As a result, I’m starting to behave more and more like the silly, stubborn, eccentric Clark I am. Good news: my new friends still like me, and I have a couple coworkers that want to spent time with me outside of work.

I’m elated.

I had been worried that my Western outlook would fare poorly in a big city. Fortunately, that doesn’t seem to be the case. My slightly slower, more personal approach to customer service rewarded me with a company-wide shout that was forwarded to many of my company’s managers. My general manager printed the email out and taped it to her door like a proud mom with a finger painting. I’m a bit embarrassed to admit it, but I was a bit giddy at the time.

I set the bar high, and now I need to work hard to raise it even higher. It feels great to work hard, and it makes the hundreds of NYC inconveniences seem a bit more bearable. It feels great to finally start coming out of my shell.

Friends till the end

When I was twelve years old, all my best friends in the world lived less than a quarter mile away. Down the block, around the corner, or just over the hill. My favorite people were available and accessible, almost all the time. Friendship was easy.

I’m twice as old now, and friendship is a lot harder.

I have more people I care about, and less time to spend with them. I’ve had some amazing new friendships form in the last decade, and I have fallen in love with them all. But, we all have had school, jobs, cross country moves, and even marriages. And all of those adventures, while fantastic in their own rights, don’t leave much time for playing catch up over coffee.

The hard truth that no one tells you, is that the older you get, the harder it is to make and maintain friendships. I still meet a whole lot of people. But, everyone I meet has a full time job, a serious relationship, or is in the mist of an existential crisis. And all my old friends are going through much the same.

I became friends with Austin when we were seven because we were both walking the same way in our neighborhood. Later that day, he was my best friend.

I met Clark in the hallway of a dormitory. We hung out a few times, lived together for a year, and then became real friends.

My friends live in Montana, Washington, and Bulgaria. And now, after ten months, I have friends in New York. Everyone is just a phone call or text or subway ride away. It’s easier than ever to stay in touch, and yet I feel like my friendships, old and new, are slipping through my fingers.

I would say it’s just been a tough week, but I know better. I’m afraid of losing my friends through apathy and distance. But my biggest fear, is that in twenty years, I won’t have anyone to call.

As our lives provide us with more hardships and obligations, it seems like we give ourselves more excuses not to reach out. But, the more complicated life gets, the more that’s exactly what we need.

I’m going to try to make more time. Because lord knows, if we want to make or keep friends, time is the main ingredient.


Something’s Coming

I love reunions, reboots, and resurrections. Whenever a canceled TV show, a band getting back together, or a sequel finally getting green lit, always thrills me. And in a little less than a week, one of the greatest duos in history will be getting back together.

No, not Simon and Garfunkel.

Clark and Dan.

That’s right. After a two and a half year break, my former roommate will become my current roommate. CLark is taking a huge step in his life, and coming to New York City to chase his dreams. And when he gets here, he will be setting up shop in our apartment, and not just to “crash.” His name is on the lease.

Now, I know what you are thinking. “Dan, you’re married now! Won’t that be weird for you and Courtney, a newly married couple, to have a roommate? That will put your friendship under pressure as well, and in six months you’ll hate each other! Why would you do that?” Believe me, I know that it seems like a bad idea. But, frankly, the pros far outweigh the cons.

Clark is a great friend, an excellent collaborator, and a damn good roommate. He is responsible, charitable, fun, and does not sweat the small stuff. Living with him was a blast the first go around, and now it will be a even more fun because my wife will be here too! (Right?)

No one in New York wants a roommate. But, no one could live here without one. When Courtney and I started looking at apartments together before our wedding, we could find no good options in a 1 bedroom that we could afford. And at that same time, Clark was beginning to search for a place to live in the city. It all came together rather nicely. So, we got a month of extended honeymoon, and Clark got a furnished apartment when he arrived. Win-win.

I’m thrilled that one of my best friends is going to be living with me again. Even though things have changed drastically, I remain confident that we will have a blast. In fact, we will have so much fun, that Austin will move out here just so he doesn’t feel left out.

Day Late, Dollar Short

The days are are starting to get shorter, and the familiar chill of Autumn is sneaking through the windows of unsuspecting sleepers. Tonight, I’ll be using a blanket on top of my usual bed sheet.

That happened fast.

It feels like everything has been fast-forwarded. The wedding weekend will be talked about for years, but it already feels like it’s slipping through my fingers. It feels unfair. These are the memories I want to freeze and analyze, to view from different angles. I don’t want to forget the look on Dan’s face when he first saw his bride, or the smell of cigars by the bachelor party’s campfire, or the bitter taste of coffee the morning after the reception.

But time freezes for no man, and my memory has never been strong for details. I will have to relieve the wedding weekend through stories and photographs, remembering only snippets of first-hand experience.

For now, the most I can do is be thankful for what I have – my friends, my house, and the beautiful state I’ve called home for the last 25 years. I may not be able to remember every joke, every beautiful view, or every friend I’ve met – but I will always remember what it feels like to have a family. And that is more than enough for me.

The Return Voyage

Clark, Dan, and I are back, and one of us married to boot. We’re all tired, emotional, and happier than we’ve been in a long time. Pictures and stories are inbound. Until then, here’s the toast I gave to Dan at the reception. People tell me it was a hit.


What can I say about Dan that he has not already told you about himself?

I first met Dan when we were both about eight years old. We lived in the same neighborhood, and one day we happened to be walking the same direction at the same time. We’ve been inseparable since.

I’ve been Dan’s best friend through the highs and the lows. I’ve been a confidant, a cheerleader, and the keeper of several secrets that would utterly destroy Dan if they ever got out.

If anyone wants to know what those are, come see me later, we’ll work something out.

Seriously though, I remember a conversation Dan and I had late last year, I think around November or December. We were talking over the phone, and Courtney came up, as she has in every conversation since. And Dan said to me, “It’s not a matter of if, dude , it’s a matter of when.” And I thought to myself, ‘wow, I’ve never seen Dan this in love,  this serious, or this authentic.’ It was then I knew that those two had something very rare, and very special.

I’ve never seen Dan as happy as I’ve seen him in the last few months. I’m looking forward to seeing the life these two will create together.

I consider Dan family, and am overjoyed to see this family grow.

So, here’s to Dan and Courtney. May the rest of their lives be as special as it is right now.