Burning

I work

Drifting, trying to marshal my mind
Trying to force my mind into structure
Trying to manage
Trying to do.

Tears stream
Weeping, weeping
So much death
So much impending death

Tears streaming.
So much pain.
No solution.

Only pain.
Only Echoes.
Stretching across years.

I wield the power
Of Code
Of reality written
In Software

I will mute the pain
The Echoes
The Differences

I will Raft.
I will Hike.
I will Camp
I will live.

But people die.
And the pain does not.

Cycle

Sometimes I wonder if something is wrong with me for how I feel about my job. I know I have a good job (better than any ‘regular’ job I’ve had) that is varied, I’m good at, and has many perks. I’d say it’s a million times better than the full time job I had before this one. The next one I land through working hard at this one will probably be even better. Still, I spend every day at it wishing I wasn’t here doing this.

Is it like this for all artists? Are we all doomed to feel like we’re not doing ‘real work’ when we’re doing something other than our art? I look at other people that are amazing and talented who have ‘regular jobs’ and consider their job their actual job and not just their day job. I can’t help but be a bit jealous. Also, I feel like their advice is always, “find a different job” as if the issue is this job I have, and working for another company or in a different position would make this feeling go away. I know at least some other artists ‘get it’, but I also feel like they’ve all either taken the leap into art full time or have found a better balance (or are closer to it).

I envy them, but I also don’t, because I know in most cases it comes at great sacrifice to some very basic things (money, healthcare, food, etc.). I try to think of all the people that have even less fulfilling jobs than me, or are having a hard time getting a job or one that pays enough to put towards their bills. I feel guilty for not being more satisfied with what I have, and I feel guilty for not doing ‘enough’ or ‘the right thing’ (whatever those are) to change things for the better with immediate results.

Every weekend I try my best to forget about this for two days, and every Monday, this feeling follows me out of bed and through every thing I do. I try to ignore the undertone of dissatisfaction, anxiety, and hopelessness enough to get through the work day, make it to my studio, and spend the small amount of time and energy left on what I feel is my real work.

I do it knowing it’s probably not enough to realize any of my goals. I try not to be sad. I hope that if I keep at it, all of the little bits of time I can spare will add up into great things and somehow get me out of this cycle.

Falling on Your Face

There’s such a thing as being too realistic.

Being too realistic is another way of saying don’t try for the sublime, leave your dreams at the door, and settle for mediocrity.

What’s the worst that will happen if you reach too far? It’s not so dramatic as falling off a cliff, but maybe it’s still as painful as falling on your face. Isn’t that okay?

I’m not so happy sitting down. I’d rather reach. I’m happier when I’m reaching. Even if in some ways it ends up a failure, I still do amazing things on the way. The act of trying itself is a success, never mind all of the other good things that will come of it. We learn, and we can try again.

I’m not saying I want to fall on my face. I’m not going to try for failure. I’m going to reach and do everything to come out of it still standing. I am, however, okay falling on my face. I’m promising myself that I will just get up and brush myself off.

Journey of Journaling

My first attempt at keeping journals was unsuccessful. You get these ideas from people that things must be done a certain way. You say, “Dear Diary”, keep a record of events and thoughts, and write daily. You start on page one, you always write the date, and for the most part, you write.

When I was in high school, I was given another set of ideas behind journaling. Instead of a book of lined paper I was given a book of acid free, white paper that was as great for drawing, writing, or pressing fall leaves. I was told to fill it up with whatever.

The art teacher showed us his. Some pages were writing, some doodles, some serious sketches, and some contained nothing but a business card and some notes. There were saved napkins, random thoughts, lists, and newspaper clippings. He explained that a journal was for all kinds of things. It was there to help us record whatever and it didn’t matter what it was as long as you filled it.

Other journals I would start and write a few dated entires, not write for awhile, begin the next with an apology and a new commitment. Maybe I’d get to page ten.

The first book I filled was still from page one, but I filled it to the end with writing, drawing, painting, collages, clippings, thoughts, doodles, ticket stubs, and anything else.

These days I’ve found that I loathe page one. The pressure of beginning and end doesn’t lend itself to capturing a moment, or any space of real time. You can’t chronical it all in a time line, because when it’s happening we’re out there living it. To try to relive the exact thing on a page is tedious, boring, pointless, and really impossible. Instead I collect bits, reflect, and reassemble. It wasn’t before long that I started keeping a collection of paperish stuff. It didn’t matter if I didn’t have the time to say “Dear Diary” every day. When I went to a concert, I would keep the ticket stub. When I made an elaborate doodle on a post-it, I kept it. Ever wonder what to do with the cards you get, the packaging that seems too pretty to throw out, or the best fortunes you get from cookies? What about the posters that are too ragged for the wall or the wonderful color you saw in the hardware store and you grabbed a swatch of it?


Who ever said that they needed to go into the book the same day?

Years later, my first few folders are now a large leather case and a small plastic box. The big case has full pages and stuff I just haven’t looked at. When I am journaling, I can grab something from the case to put in. I usually cut it up and collage it. The small box is for the little pieces that are left, but I don’t want to throw away. That bit of gold paper might work on another page.

I befriended glue sticks and scissors, magic markers and pens, a utility knife, a glue gun, and colored pencils. I don’t like to be idle while watching TV or a movie or listening to music. I might be giving the book my full attention or just my subconscious.

I have more than one book going at the same time. I add to old pages as often as I start new ones. A bit from 1998 might be on the same page as 2008. I care more about the order of composition than the order of time. It’s how real life works anyways. In a weeks time you won’t remember the exact order of everything you did last week. It doesn’t matter either because you today are parts of your past, but not in any kind of time order. The events from 1998 sit beside those of 2008 in how they’ve shaped you. If that makes sense, they can make sense on a page next to each other.

Why do we try to make a strait line when a journey has twists and turns?

Live It

Stagnant.
I wait for the universe to unfurl for me and
nothing,
blood curdling, sitting, watching
trying to see the moment,
but it’s gone.
Seizing pretty sayings,
trying to remember what or why
so I can make it come back to a
‘if I knew what I knew’,
but I’m only hurdled forward.
I know I was forewarned,
but I still thought that mortality meant
I could do it tomorrow.
Tomorrow.
Tomorrow is never today,
is always a blank page,
a clutched fist,
an active mind,
unsure how to hurl itself onto the page
and make something worth making.
Take heart while you
take your bliss.
Write fiction as if you
don’t live it.
Live it.