With a 99 cent can of iced tea in one hand and a well-worn copy of Infinite Jest in the other, I walk forward.
Through frantic days of broken cell phones and bullshit bureaucratic hoops made of memos I must jump through, and unchecked e-mails, and piles of ungraded papers and unopened bills, and a dwindling bank account, and where does my money go? Bills and booze and art. That's where. Some days I feel like a fucking mess, my head reeling with too many thoughts to hold all at once.
With a canvas bag strapped to my back (filled with papers, a notebook, books, and pens), I walk forward.
Through lazy depression days when the laptop sits on my lap like an anvil, pouring mindless shit into my eyes. How does an anvil pour shit, you ask? It just does. I am allowed sloppy metaphors on lazy depression days, on days when I take long day naps and wake up more tired, on days I do anything BUT grade papers, papers that loom over my other thoughts like henchmen.
I take long walks through downtown Fullerton, listening to punk music and dreaming of running for City Council, and ideas for novels, and art projects and songs. I take photographs of vomit and call it art.
What is happiness? Is it pleasure? If that's the case, all I need are cigarettes and cheap vodka. But when I awake with pounding head and sour stomach, I feel the opposite of pleasure.
Is life a struggle to escape pain? If life has taught me anything, it's that there is no escape from pain. Once I accepted that fact, I became happier. I stopped walking around, shaking my tiny fist at God for my digestive problems, for my depression/anxiety/detachment, for my loneliness. I stopped feeling like God, or life, owed me something. I started feeling like, if I am going to get through this life, I have to say "fuck it" and start living. Right fucking now.
I wanted to start a punk band, so I did it.
I wanted to open an art gallery, so I did it.
I wanted to write the great American novel, so I wrote the story of my life.
I wanted to make a zine about pop music, so I did.
I wanted to start an art magazine, so guess what? I fucking did it.
I wanted to create a variety show. I did it.
I have learned a valuable secret that gets me through my anxious mornings, my depression afternoons, my lonesome nights. If you want to do something, do it. Don't wait for a sunny day or perfect health, or financial stability.
And please, by everything that is holy, don't wait for retirement to do what you want with your life. You will find that you have wasted it.
Do it now. There are no excuses. If you really want to do it, you will find a way.
I am finding my way.
I have like 412 bucks in the bank and a maxed out credit card. Fuck it. Let's get drunk and play music all night. We will survive.
Let's be gangsters, not of violence and crime, but gangsters of love. Let's rip our pleasures through the iron grates of life.
And sometimes we will be happy, and sometimes we will not be happy. Let it come.
David Foster Wallace once said, "The more vapid the cliche, the sharper the canines of the truth it covers." Some cliches become cliches because they are true, and ghastly deep.
With this in mind, I will tell you a vapid cliche that is deeper than the Atlantic: follow your dreams, follow your dreams, follow your dreams.
The world needs you.