Sunday, June 26, 2011

The past is prologue- whatever the hell that means.

My Name is Jeff.
I live in Texas.  I have never shot a gun, or an animal. I don't drive a truck.  I do like beer.
I like comic books, movies, music.  I work in a used bookstore. 
I have a degree in fine arts.  I have a very expensive degree that says I've been taught to paint, draw, and make intaglio prints, but I rarely do any of the three any more.
My best friend made me become and actor and playwright, and director.  That's right, I said, "made me".
You're caught up.

This is my second go around at attempting a blog.  I had a blog once, a long time ago... I guess as far as the internet goes, I still have that blog.  But I haven't written in the damn thing in 3 years.  I had some crazy success with that blog.  I was flying high with that that blog... and then I had blogger break down.  I started to think, "who am I?  Who am I to think that someone would find my pedantic life interesting?"  Then every little problem that I started to write about started to seem insignificant.  I didn't have one of those blogs where I was trying to accomplish something.  I wasn't working my way through a Bobby Flay cookbook.  I wasn't reading Shakespeare's cannon in alphabetical order.  I wasn't trying to loose weight, or gain weight.  I wasn't trying to run a marathon, I was just going to work and living life.  So I put away the blog, and just lived my life for awhile. 
   I gotta say, I was content to never write a blog again.  I was totally happy nestled up in the suburbs, wrapped in a life of watching television, and reading people's Facebook updated, and Twitter postings.  I was happy reading tiny little news blips on Gawker, and listening to music that Pandora decided I should hear. 
  
   Then something happened.  Actually a few somethings happened, and triggered a stunning set of events that lead to me typing words out onto a computer screen once more 

1)I got dumb.

See, this was a slow process.  I was never a Rhodes scholar, but I wasn't a cast member of the Jersey Shore either (I don't have the abs for that anyway).   I had a wide array of knowledge from which to pull interesting little tid bits to add to a group at a dinner party.  I could hold my own in a conversation.  I read.  I listened to music.  I watched artsy movies.  I went to the theater.  I was kind of cultured. 
But then, I went through a rough patch where I seemed to link my self worth to my social life.  And my social life took a couple of hits in a row- mostly in the form of women who attempted to perform open heart surgery on me by ripping my heart out of my chest cavity and stepping on it repeatedly.  Then going off to sleep with other people. 
That kind of thing can kick you square in the nuts.
So I decided that maybe I should just go into hiding.  I stopped reading interesting things.  I stopped attempting to write new short stories and plays.  I just rolled out of bed.  Worked my retail job- which I had been working for the last nine years (so I went on automatic while I was there... not really thinking, but somehow managing to get through the day). 
Occasionally I would poke my head above ground and do something worth while- but that was a rare occurrence.
Mostly I went about my days working at work, reading comic books, watching Cops on television, checking Facebook, and sleeping.  My brain started to atrophy.  It wasn't really being used anyway. 

Then I got a promotion at work. 
It's odd how you can stumble through life, and get rewarded for it.  That's a bit of a lie.  I did/do work very hard for the company.  It's not the most difficult job ever, but it does beat digging ditches.  And I am good at it.  And everyone I worked with was surprised that it took me nearly a decade to climb into upper management.  But it wasn't anything I really wanted when I started with the company.  When I started I wanted to be a painter.  Then I wanted to be a writer.  Then an actor.  Then a director.  Then I threw in the towel on all of that, and decided to be the manager of a used bookstore.  (well assistant manager). 
I thought, "Well this will give me a bit more responsibility- this well get me to get the old brain juices flowing again!"
It turns out the guy I work for is a bit of a micro manager.  I'm actually doing less now, than I was before.  At least I'm getting paid better to do less... right?  But this step backwards in the responsibility department didn't stem the tide into dumbdumbsville.

2) I got lucky.  Very lucky.

Somehow during all this stumbling and bumbling around I managed to get a girl- a new girl to go out with me.  Suck on that ex girlfriends (except not the ones that I broke up with.  For the rare few of you out there- I'm sorry.  It's me not you... still).

Yeah- I got an attractive, smart funny girl to like me.  That's awesome right?  But oh crap!  I have to talk to her?  I mean, on occasions when we're fully clothed I have to talk to her?  And be interesting and funny, and make a coherent thought?  I should be able to talk good grammar. Right?  How else am I going to impress this girl? 

3) My friends went and did stuff.

Holy crap!  I have to be charming!  I have to be affable.  I want this girl who has already professed to liking me, to keep liking me.  I should like talk to her and stuff?  I should sound interesting and some such and so forth right?
I turn to my friends for advice- but it turns out- they didn't run into the same ditch I ran to.  I'm sure if you'll ask them they'll admit to having a whole different set of problems that drive them insane- we all do.  But they didn't stop reading, or thinking the way I did.  They were off getting jobs doing voice-overs, and writing and acting in one-man-shows.  They were starting their own blogs, and their own businesses.  Me?  I was getting paid to babysit adult retail workers. 

That was the epiphany I had.  I was sitting in the back of a used bookstore, realizing that I had become dumb. That all my friends were still doing interesting things with their lives.  That I had managed to convince a girl I was worth dating.  And yet when I stacked myself up to who I once was, or who my friends were, I wasn't convinced of that myself.

It was time to turn this ship around.
So this is part of the new plan. 
Part 34) Read more books.  Like real books.  Like- not just the current issue of Captain America, or what ever- but the biggest, baddest- Steven Jay Gould, David Foster Wallace books I have on my book self. 
Part 17) Write more.  This blog is part of that.
Part 45) Don't worry about the lame job.  Do it, and get out.  Let the lame job be the thing that pays the bills. 
Part 2) Do more in life. 

Hopefully something will come of all this.  We'll see.