Happy Easter

Hey folks,

A very happy Easter/Passover weekend to you and yours from us and ours.

Sorry I haven’t been around much lately, but some things are starting to come about that have taken me away from blogging for a bit. Some good, some bad, all different.

Now, I’m hoping you all have a great weekend, and I’ll catch you up next Friday.

-DC

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.

 

Bad News

My grandma passed away last Tuesday. It was about as peaceful as it could be with brain tumors involved. She looked around, took her last breath, and that was it. I wasn’t there. I was painting her, now my, house at the time. I like to think she would want it that way. Mom was there, and I was out bettering the family holdings. She always did like it when her family was industrious.

I don’t know how much of her was still there when she went. Brain diseases don’t just take your life, they take your identity, your soul, before they do. It’s hell to watch, but it might have been a small mercy for her. Death is probably easier to take if most of you is already gone when it happens.

I’ll remember her as a matriarch, the latest in a family line that goes back centuries. When things fell apart, she was the anchor. I learned a lot from that. She was also a hell of a penny-pincher. A lot of that spit-and-duct-tape way of life is a part of mine now, too.

I don’t think its fully hit me yet. I’ve been busy with the house, and staying busy like that puts grief on hold. I don’t like thinking about death on a good day. Seeing it stare me in the face like this fries a lot of my circuits.

The funeral is on Wednesday. It’s going to be rough.

Wet Paint

Pretty quiet week here. I’ve spent the week either getting ready to paint my new house, or actually painting my new house. Two weeks ago the only thing I knew about paint was that it was not a thing I should touch. Or have anything to do with.

Because, as we all know, if you get a drop of paint on the floor, the house will immediately burn down. Still, I won’t have a better time to do it, and no time like the present, as they say.

Doing the DIY thing is a pretty big confidence booster. In retrospect. In the moment, it was kind of just a stream of “Oh god this is expensive and I’m screwing it up so bad,” followed by a string of curse words.

But now that it’s mostly done with? Bam. it turned out well, the living room looks good, and I can take pride in something I did with my own two hands. There’s the lesson, by the way. Do stuff with your own two hands, it makes you feel better. Helps take your mind off of how crappy life can be, too. So, win-win, I guess.

-Austin

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

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.