Photo: me petting an emu named Yoda, who has since passed away.
I haven’t posted a “personal” blog here in a long time. I’ve kept the audience at a distance, maybe. Or only shared information that seem relevant to strangers.
I have nothing life-changing to report, but I feel like writing. And this is my website, and I can do what I want, so here goes.
I’ve been under a ridiculous amount of stress for the past few weeks. Overwhelmed with projects and work. I’m not proud of it. I say ‘yes’ to an inhuman amount of things. Running the studio has taken all of my energy. As much as I’ve never wanted to have a child, the studio is like a screaming creature that needs to be fed and paid attention to 24/7. Several wise sources have advised that I should hire more people. But it’s just not the right timing for that. Maybe in 2013.
It’s Saturday and I’m exhausted. As an irrational coping mechanism for the stress, I’ve been eating bad food that tastes good. I’ve gained weight. When I look in the mirror, I think my body is saying, “I really want to be in shape, but you’re pushing it, buddy. I can only take so much.” I saw some overweight guys yesterday when I was out on errands, and I felt better, knowing I am NOWHERE near that. In fact, I could probably just drop 10 pounds and look great, and a lot of people would wonder what the hell I’m complaining about. I overestimate how bad I look just because I feel so bad, physically. And I’m definitely not depressed, just fucking tired.
(For those who’d say I’m a hypocrite for not following the advice I wrote in my book, let me remind you that it originated as a list of things I wanted to make sure I’d remember. I don’t think I even have my own copy of the book, so I guess I’m screwed.)
My wife, Belén, has been extremely supportive. I come home at the end of the day a total zombie, and collapse. She takes care of everything, gives me a peaceful place to return to, a feeling of safety and home-ness.
Good news in the Morgan Ågren Documentary department. Morgan is coming back September 10-15, and everything is falling into place. Well, not that easily — I’m FORCING IT into place. But that’s my job as producer. There’s a *tiny* voice in my head that says, “You’re going to ruin this whole thing, it’s going to fail!” But looking at the evidence at hand, it’s a pretty spectacular success so far. I’m not even sure how it could be better than it already is, because I’m achieving everything I’ve set out to do. Morgan is, as Mike Keneally says, a total “sweetheart.” He goes along with almost every idea I have. And what makes it better: he has a million ideas of his own, and emails me probably 10 times a day, making sure everything is taken care of. I couldn’t ask for a better creative / business parter for such a project.
Tomorrow, I turn 37, I think. It’s a prime number, and I like those. I don’t feel old, but I feel mature. For most of my 20s I wondered what it would even mean to become an adult. I think acquiring so many responsibilities has done it. With so much going on, I have no choice. And it’s a welcome change from the days of being a musician and living with my mom, where all I had to do was stay up all night, record weird songs, and eat fast food. I look back at those days and just shake my head. Fear kept me in a tiny box, and I’m glad I broke out of it and grew.
I sometimes think about my old friends from Florida, and I have to admit I don’t feel like I relate to them at all. I’m not saying I’m an ideal model of humanity now, but in the old days I was a traumatized kid who desperately wanted to escape what he was born into. I can’t entirely blame my old friends for it, because they were just playing into a game that I subconsciously set up. They reinforced my own lack of confidence and obsession with failure. But they helped me through dark times, just by being there. They played the role of parents, which they weren’t capable of doing at such a young age. It truly backfired! We were a bunch of kids, and we tortured each other, because that’s what kids do. My 20s were a huge delusion of preparedness. We were idiots. Still, I’m glad I found a few people at that time in my life who could somehow inspire and influence me. Through all the bad, there was a willpower in me, and I made the right choices (even if they seemed insane at the time) that got me to where I am now. And there are some things about me that haven’t changed, and I’m proud of holding onto those things.
Friendship has taken on a new form. It’s no longer based on having grown up in the same stupid place. It’s about sharing a sort of “peace” in the midst of responsibilities. We no longer have energy to waste.
Speaking of which, some kids gathered outside my window by the lake last night and screamed horrible young-person-songs and banged on an acoustic guitar. They were just teenagers doing what teenagers do, probably feeling great that they were out there in the dark on the weekend and having fun. My first reaction was anger, as I was trying to relax in peace and quiet. Then I tried to be thankful for and respectful of their youthful energy. I spent maybe a minute on that. Didn’t work, so I shut the window and watched Community.
Side story: back when I lived in Florida in 2004, I was a fan of a personal blog of an extremely negative and funny guy. No one else I’d show it to thought it was funny. At all. He had a story about a sick kitten he brought home, and various blog entries about getting dumped by his girlfriend / fiance / whatever. (Edit: Holy Shit, I found it on Archive.org!) I’d laugh forever at that thing. The site eventually broke and disappeared. The following year, Will Maier took me to a party when I moved to Los Angeles. It was there that he introduced me to a drunk guy hanging out by himself in the kitchen, who happened to be Dan Harmon. I still had no idea who he was, (in L.A. terms, that means how famous he was going to be) but I shook his hand and told him how much I loved his website, and that I wish it was still up. He was really nice to me, and seemed so happy that anyone had even read it. In my mind, if Dan Harmon is a writer, then no one else deserves the title. He’s honestly a virtuoso. A few years later, I saw him eating at a restaurant, and was star struck. Of course, the person I was with had never heard of him. My point of all this is, I’m pleased to finally watch a TV show he made. It makes me laugh! It’s good natured and smart, lifts my spirit. It doesn’t make me feel that there’s no hope for the human race. I don’t feel insulted watching it.
Back to what friendship is about these days, at least for me: maybe the people I identify with most have lots of responsibilities, and maybe they’ve run into some inevitable health problems. Maybe we realize life isn’t all about entertainment or chasing a fantasy. And instead of being preoccupied with making symbols to represent who we are, we just live.
What’s next for me? For the first time in my life, I don’t know, and I’m pretty OK with it. I have no 10-year grand scheme of “becoming.” There’s nowhere I’m trying to reach, no vague goal of “making it.” Maybe that will change, and if so, fine.
I’d like to spend more time with the family at home. I think I’ve already done so much creative work / art in my life that I’ve learned it’s an endless cycle, a treadmill I’d run on to avoid committing to being alive in society. Yet I feel every day that I don’t get to play with my dog or spend time with my wife (or get attacked by my bird) is a day lost.