I am home for Christmas.
Being back among the old streets of my youth after years away gives me the happy opportunity to experience them as relatively new, with just the mildest trace of familiarity to sweeten the deal. I wind through downtown and up 8th Street, past apartment complexes I don't recognize, yet at the same time feel certain I've set foot in before. Maybe I lived in them once.
I walk, slower than I'm used to, to the town cemetery where one of my high school friends lies buried. It's a place I've seen mostly in dreams in years past, but I still intuitively sense just where to find him when I enter. I sit with a book and let the bulk of the tombstone block the sun from my eyes.
I don't worry about anything when I'm here, because being home is like stepping out of time.
It's a reprieve from the world, and it's one I've needed.
I need it because I want to prepare.
I entered 2009 full of good intentions and plans, and absolutely no warmup at all. And if I've learned anything this year, it's that new years' resolutions don't succeed by the strength of the initial burst, but through slow perseverance and unsung toil. Think of it as a race and you're already done for. (Forgive me if I wax a bit poetic here, the holidays just do that to me).
If every moment paves the way for the next, and all we've been through shapes, to some degree, what comes next, then the themes for 2010 have already been well developed by now. The mistakes of 2009, if recognized, dictate the work still to be done. And while it's important to recognize the problems and mistakes we've made, it's just as important to take this particular moment to discard the things that might carry over into the new year and cause us to make these same mistakes again and again. Therefore, 2010 will begin with a declaration of amnesty for all offenses, real and imagined. We don't have to be what we have been.
The past can do a hell of a job of repeating itself if we're not careful. And old habits die hard. If we keep telling ourselves that things are a certain way, they'll invariably be that way. If we open to the possibility of change, maybe we stand a chance of getting better.
So as I sit here by the warmth of an electric fireplace, I'm thankful to have the time to think a little on where I want next year to go, and where I want to go with it. About the importance of forgiving myself for the things I've done wrong, and letting go of the wrongs that might have been done me. And I'm feeling grateful to be able to spend time with the people I care about, even if they might occasionally drive me crazy. I'm grateful to have the friends I have, and for the patience they show in putting up with me.
If you're reading this, that means you.
In the spirit of the season, here's a little video that I hope will bring a smile to your face, as you prepare for what's to come.
Thursday, December 24, 2009
I am home for Christmas.
Sunday, December 20, 2009
Unless you're one of the few who track me on other forms of easy internet stalking, you probably didn't know that my planned final radio show of 2009 (did you know I have a radio show? As I write this I realize I never really said anything about it) - had to be canceled due to issues with the station's streaming computer. I was annoyed at the time; I'd picked a nice batch of songs to play for folks that were very specifically for wrapping up the year/decade, closing things out on a good note, etc etc. To prepare it all and be unable to share it left me frustrated, to say the least. It wouldn't be any good in the new year...
Anyway, I had given up on the thought of doing a make-up show another day; time was too tight and I had work and then was leaving for California on Wednesday. It just wouldn't work. And even if I did, the chance of anyone tuning in at a random time slot just so I could get some satisfaction was slim. At best.
Though the magic of computers, I've found a solution that I might not have even sought had the show gone as planned. I took the songs I had set to play, and mixed them together live (in that I arranged them on the fly and manually handled the crossfades) into one long, continuous track. And through the power of the internet, that file is here for you all to hear and enjoy at your leisure, without having to tune in at that rather difficult time slot I currently occupy.
Unlike past mixes, my hope is that by making this one long track (as well as not providing the playlist), you'll be able to listen to it with the deliciousness of the unknown that makes music so better. In an age of cataloging and tagging everything we hear (guilty), it's nice just to listen to music without knowing what we're hearing sometimes.
You know, kind of like listening to the radio.
Thursday, December 03, 2009
It'd be pretty hypocritical to come back for what feels like the hundredth time and give you guys some line about how I have a good bead on things now, and know just what I'm doing this time. If you've been a reader of this blog for any amount of time you know how often I like to do that, and how the bursts of resolve are usually the only thing you hear from me between the long stretches of fearful quivering. I just can't do it anymore.
I've been made aware recently just how capable I am of deceiving myself about who I am. You all know (or you can take my word for it) that I'm generally too hard on myself, and that my life is ruled by standards unrealistic in their expectation and borderline psychotic in their approach to how things should be done (see previous sentence for clues), but it's another thing when someone else is affected. Long story short, I've got a few things to face.
A main aspect of my programming has always been to gauge my own value by how much I could produce creatively. Behind this is the perverse certainty that I must not only Do, but Do In A Certain Way and Up To A Certain Standard (again, see bulk of prior entries). I got problems. But who doesn't?
Here's what I do know: My capacity for self-deception is as strong as it is because I've made practically no effort to change. I've coasted, and I've smiled, and I am none the wiser. Nothing's gonna change for me unless I swallow a healthy dose of Shut The Fuck Up And Get On With It, Already. You don't have to remind me.
For the time being, this means a few things.
First: The Mighty Bu is over.
While I used to enjoy making it, by and large the history of my comic has been a struggle with trying to make things that I thought other people wanted to see (this is because I'm crazy, not because you fine folk made me this way). I went into hiatus, and came back still in the thrall of a backwards approach. And while part of me still loves making comics, I'm much too close to it to be able to simply start doing with a healthy perspective. Even if I return to comics again in the future, there's just too much memory and negativity tied to that title for me to continue. It's my hope that starting whatever I do next with a fresh slate will make it easier to establish new patterns.
Where do we go from here?
The short answer is I really don't know. I'm on a brief self-imposed vacation from making anything at all, just to see how it feels, and to examine what it is that I actually want to do vs. the nefarious urges that drive me to make things lest I be revealed as a useless piece of shit. Forgive the dramatics - did I mention I was crazy?
In place of any regular comic output, one thing I know already is that I'd like to start writing more, if only to clear up some of the space in my brain. I'd like to start using this blog as a place to submit more general writing exercises, rather than a place to poke my head up every few months and make the same old excuses.
I feel myself slipping into the same old territory here, so I'm gonna cut myself off now.
See you soon.