Archive for funny

Happy Trails

Dear Adair,

I find myself lacking the ability to begin a paragraph today. I’ve done this enough times in my life. I do this daily. Tens or hundreds of thousand of paragraphs later and I am stalled. I can’t think where to begin this end. How do you start a goodbye?

When we (unsurprisingly) unanimously brought up the end date for this project, the date seemed symmetrical and convenient. September makes sense since that is when we began. But as the month has come and gone, it has been remarkably challenging to write these final pieces. The deed seems so much more weighted, even though we are beyond practiced at it at this point. But still the end seemed to add stakes to a very low risk idea. These letters between friends became final thoughts in a conversation that has lasted all night but you still cannot end even as the sun begins to rise.

But end it must. The limits to the format and the range of topics we are willing to explore here is becoming clear. New projects have hijacked the creativity this project began to stoke. And like so many productions and rituals from our lives, this too must end.

I’m proud of this blog. It made me write every week, it made me more practiced and made me work at something only for its own sake. I’m pleased that the outcome could be consistent and as polished as we could get it. And I’m glad that the works created were of great enough impact and interest to us to start a second writing endeavor and began plans for others still. The spark it fanned will not be dying in the near future.

But real gain from Tales from Two Cities was not the habitual writing, but the exploration of a friendship. Through all the new discoveries, forgotten connections, hurt feelings, and perceived digital pressure, we know each other better for having embarked on this together. We have shared family history, hidden passions, cursed our shortcomings, and rallied behind our creative strives. Working together on this made the apathy of long distance friendship impossible. We had to talk, and share, and grow. With new works coming together, I know we can be sure of this continued growth as writers and people.

I’d like to say thank you for suggesting we do this. I feel more involved in your life and more connected as an artist because of this. In fact, the community I’ve felt from working with you has rippled out to every corner of my creative life. For your impact, your editing and your friendship, I thank you.

For the last time, but not the last time,

-Danimg_5123

Wake Up

Dan,

The leaves are starting to explode into colors here in the Pacific Northwest thus confirming what I already knew, summer is over. This summer has been particularly busy and eventful for us both, it’s been the end of some things and the start of others and it is remarkable how much things can change in three months let alone this last year.

Looking back to last fall I am overwhelmed by the amount things have changed and the amount we have both transformed as individuals. We have been writing these letters for nearly two years and it’s amazing to see how much we have learned and how we have grown since that first “Dear Dan.”

We have created a collaboration that we both invested time, creativity and energy into and it has opened us up to the beauty of shared ideas. There are so many projects to look forward to this next year with each other, as individuals and with new partners. Working with you these last few years have been the gateway into feeling comfortable embarking on these new endeavors.

I look to the changes I know to be coming, changes in schedules and careers. New adventures both in person and on paper and the ongoing hilarity of my friendship with you.

I hope to continue to grow and support my relationships with friends and family, staying in better touch and creating wonderful memories with the vibrant people who fill my life. I want to continue to write, rewrite and submit the words I feel are so necessary to put down, I hope the despite not having this weekly commitment I remain steadfast in my goal to create.

Most of all I hope to seek out new adventures, to not shy away from what seems unknown or peculiar. I want to leap into experiences that bring me inspiration. I want to love and learn as best as I can and I want to tell whatever story I have to tell.

Hopefully the next year will bring us more experiences than we could ever have fathomed and maybe some of them will be together. No matter what, I know you will be just a call away.

Your partner in crime,

Adair

I Guess That’s Why They Call It The Blues

Adair,

If there is one thing I know about myself, it’s what I can’t do. The list is long and includes welding, drawing, tailoring, Russian folk dancing, and writing jokes in Braille. I’m not great at making lists either, but it seems odd to mention that now.

I’m accomplished in a very finite definition of the word. I excel at using grandiose words to describe my leviathan-esque inferiority complex, but I have trouble spelling my own name. I’m okay with these facts, because I have done many of the things I want to do in life, and I’m working towards others.

But for all my attempts at humor and striving towards some sort of excellence, I know I do lack certain skills. Some, like cooking, I’ve managed to pick up and become competent. But there are some skills that either age, inclination, time commitment, or another excuse have kept me from pursuing. And one such unobtained skill haunts me above all others.

I wish I could play piano.

I sing like I’m trying, I read music like a toddler, but I still perform a fair amount. But I have never had the patience or the diligence to acquire any real level of piano proficiency. This is much to the chagrin of my various piano teachers over the years. Oh yes, it is not opportunity or specialist training I lack, but the wherewithal to focus in an academic setting to master a skill. Because who likes practicing, am I right?

I am reminded of another hack, Kanye West. The man cannot sing, but he still wanted to make music. I can’t play, but I want to make music. If bands still had “front men” I might be in luck. And if I never compared myself to Kanye again, I might actually get ahead in life. But here I sit, barely able to hit the right keys on a laptop, and counting black keys when I find a key signature in a song.

If I could, I’d play the entire Billy Joel catalog. And if I get my life together, over the next 50 years I could get there. But I had a couple shots at gaining skill at piano playing, and I wasted them. This is par for the course of my life, but something I am actively trying to correct as we speak.

Some day, I may play Root Beer Rag with the greatest of ease, but it is not today or tomorrow or five years from now. The truth is I should be a piano player and I am not. But someday I might be better, I might push harder, I may even play a song I love and sing along as if I had been doing it for years. Today, I hunt and peck around middle C and sing songs nice and loud.

Plunking out his part,

-Dan

I’ve Seen Better Days

Adair,

You and I both have a good deal of experience leaving. We’ve moved from home towns and states to faraway places. We’ve left lovers, friendships, and more than once a bar vowing never to return. Leaving is a natural part of life and it’s healthy and necessary. But for everyone who is leaving, there is someone who is left.

Being far away from the people you know and love best is always hard. The distance is easier to make up for with phone calls, texts, and blogs. But no matter the distance, it is always harder for those who are left behind than for those who do the leaving. While one moves on to a new adventure, the other returns to status quo only without whatever joys the now missing person in their life brought.

This apt, albeit dramatic interpretation of the experience of being left isn’t far off from my memory of being twelve and watching Norman Tang, one of best friends in the world drive off in a U Haul. While Bozeman isn’t far from Billings at all, when you can’t drive and your friend leaves, that town might as well have been another country.

I can’t remember when Norman told me he and his family were moving, but I can remember being pretty upset about it. As time went by, we had the last big water fight in his backyard, the last birthday party he would come to, the last time he tried to get me to be better at video games. And with each “last time” I could feel the end ticking nearer.

When the day came, I helped his family pack up. As a thank you for helping them, they took me and my sister with them to Golden Corral for some “food.” We laughed and told jokes, Norman informed me that the human stomach can expand to the size of a basket ball and that he was taking full advantage of that fact by hitting the buffet as many times as he could. But eventually the day ended, and they drove off Fairway Drive never to return again.

Of course we visited. I took the bus over, eventually we could drive and I would stop in. We talked on the phone a lot, and worked on a comic book scratch or two. But with time Norman went on to school in New York, and me to Missoula. We’ve seen each other a few times, my 21st birthday, a New Year’s Eve. But over the years it’s been hard to maintain the everyday friendship of our youth. More than the reality of moving apart physically, we have the reality of getting older too contend with.

No matter how life may twist or lead us away from friends or towards new adventure, there is a constant need to break bonds and move into new situations. Stagnation is death for some people. But the truth is far more complex. And for every new adventure, there is a forgotten story of all that came before. This is why leaving will always hurt, no matter what we run towards. And this is why I still miss my friend.

Looking back and sighing,

-Dan