Archive for childhood

The Artist

Dan,

I grew up in a house filled with music and voices discussing said music. I grew up in a house filled with laughter and doors opening and closing as my family wandered in and out of our vast backyard. I grew up in a house that smelled like coffee percolating and vegetables being sautéed. And I grew up in a house where the walls were never bare, a house filled with art that remains vibrant in my memory

I can play piano (not particularly well anymore but still), I can write a story or a poem with some ease and I can even break into song on occasion. But I have zero skill when it comes to the visual arts. This fact bothers me because I love art; I have a decent collection of original pieces for a 28 year old even.

I would love to draw the images I see in my head, capturing the essence of how a view inspires me or leaves me with my jaw dropped. Unfortunately I can only admire the work of others or attempt to capture the image with my words. Perhaps this is why I’m drawn to poetry, it allows me to paint a picture of a moment using the most beautiful words my vocabulary has to offer. This doesn’t quench the thirst I have some days to sketch a face though.

I’m lucky to have artists in my life, people who make my photos into oil paintings or take instruction so I’m able to have a unique image on wall. People who don’t see sketching as complicated and messy, but as second nature. I cling to those people in the hopes to have the pictures in my head eventually put down on paper so I can share them with the world.

Yes I could probably take classes to develop a basic skill, but I would never capture things as beautifully as I see them in my head. I would end up disappointed. So instead I will leave the visual arts to the skilled people who can make simple things beautiful and I will do my best to create a masterpiece with my words.

Typing along,

Adair

Live and Learn

Dan,

It fascinates me how much the people of this country differ as you travel across it. The world feels simpler in a city filled with so many like minded individuals, but it wasn’t so long ago that we both lived in a state that varied so extremely with each road trip you took through it. Even the people we know from childhood differ so completely; contrasting career paths, life choices and beliefs.

You talked of the memories of our country, how they hold us together when it seems like so much is able to fall apart. I look at what our generation has gone through alone and I have to agree. For as much crap as “millennials” receive for our flakiness and dependency on social media I would say we have also suffered some serious blows in our short lifetime.

When we were in middle school the world felt simple, our lives were planned out for several years and most of us weren’t wanting for much. The idea of adulthood was a distant threat and the biggest fear was often which color backpack to get for the first day of school. Then we were hit with a harsh reality, the world was not as safe as we previously imagined. People could be shot, buildings could fall and bombs could go off.

In our current reality, chaos feels like the new normal but in the days of our childhood the world seemed to be filled with fewer jagged edges. For years after it felt like our generation was playing catch-up, like an excelled learning course for why the world wasn’t fair. And then we found ourselves becoming adults, and we were all unified by being so suddenly on our own.

Politics aside, when Obama was elected President I feel a lot of our generation felt hope again. We needed something to believe in and something about that election felt like things were getting better, the country was becoming whole again. The future felt less exhausting even if it was all in our heads.

Our generation is so different but often so passionate, we don’t always agree on what the best path to take is but we don’t wish to repeat some of the history we all lived through. We want something better, something stronger. What makes us a tribe is our need to prove that we can learn from our mistakes and be part of something we can feel proud of.

Hopeful,

Adair

All These Thing That I Have Done

Dan,

I could fill this entire post with the names of friends or family that have left or whom I left behind. As you said, leaving is a very real part of life. Sometimes you’re left and other times you’re the one departing. Either way you can learn from the pain or catharsis of life moving along.

I left my hometown, so by that fact I have done some leaving behind of people. I’ve also experienced the dissolution of a family more than once, so I’ve had the experience of being left. These seemed like natural places to look upon for loss but there is one set of experiences, which has affected me more than the others.

When I was seventeen I had a high school sweetheart, yes the lovely cynic you now know was once naïve enough to embark on a serious relationship in high school. We dated until I graduated; he was behind me in school and we broke up when I went to college. That could have been the end of our story but, it turned out, this boy had a particularly strong hold on me.

We continued an on-again, off-again relationship for two years until he left for college in Texas. To say it was tumultuous relationship is an understatement, but there was a pull to each other yet no matter who put in the effort we struggled to fit together.

When I returned from Italy fall of 2008, he and I attempted to start a new friendship but whenever we found ourselves together we attempted the similar song and dance from our past relationship. He flew in and surprised me at my graduation from college; I flew out to see him graduate two years later but one of us was always leaving the other, that was our pattern.

When he finally chose to leave my life for good was in my first year in Seattle. He didn’t board a plane or drive away into the sunset, he simply called. He spoke of finding god and of disconnecting from our ambiguous relationship (later I found out he had met the woman who would become his wife). No matter the reason, he left my life with no fanfare and barely a goodbye to our six years of being in one another’s orbit.

Looking back now, I am glad he did it, I’m glad he left my life in that way. He made it easier on me to be done with that chapter, the messy history I so desperately wished to untether from. To move on to the happiness I hoped would come my way with him no longer in the back of my mind saying, “But what if…”

I gained so much from that experience, I learned what I deserved, what I should work towards and not to mistake emotional drama for passion. I gained friendships with some of the most amazing people I’ve ever known because of him and my time visiting him definitely secured my affection of the lone star state.

I’m heading to Texas in a two weeks, and it’s the first time I’ve gone and not hoped to see him. I recognize his special place in my history and that he is now just that, history.

Leaving on a jet plane,

Adair

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