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Old 09-26-2006, 01:33 AM   #3
Lee in Limbo
It's Hard To Be Humble
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Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Posts: 2,557
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Hi, Aggie

I'm a bit manic tonight, and can't completely settle down. I've already deleted a few hundred words because I was rambling too much, and it was starting to read like a death row confessional anyway.

I think the thing that's been on my mind lately that I haven't really been able to talk to anybody about, my wife included, is the fact that I've really taken on a lot of responsibility in the last few years. Turned my whole life upside down, in fact. It's a strange situation. I'm the kind of guy who dreams grandiose, utopian, messianic, or just straight up artsy bohemain communal dreams, and then spends years slowly but surely trying to bring them to fruition, with hardly any outward signs of progress. It isn't until years later that I suddenly do two or three things, and whoops, what do you know, I'm a graphic artist, or whoops, how do you like that, I'm a songwriter. This sort of about face stuff has been happening with me for a long time.

I'm a tad biploar. I take medication for it, in fact. Small doses compared to some who use it, but I'm told it's a fairly strong medication; it's classed as an anti-psychotic. There's a cheerful thought, hmmn?

The thing is, back in the days before I started getting therapy, I was a fabulous rollercoaster, up down out and back in again, cycles within cycles, months of intense and wildly unpredictable activity, followed by months of hiding out in my little apartment avoiding people and building my next launching station.

It wasn't until the millenium, when I started dating a woman who was a fair bit better established than me, and got involved with me as I was coming down off another of my fabulous manic sprees, during my first stint as a freelance graphic artist (cartoonist, really; what I called graphic design back then was little more than cartoon drawings with word organized around them. Ghastly stuff. I'm a little better now).

So I got involved with a woman who was a copy editor. She was something else. Very prickly with most people, but warm and tender when you got close enough to her. Mercurial. Intense. Extremely intelligent. Unpredictable. It was a rocky relationship, but I really believed she was the one for me, so I did everything I could to become the man who could keep her happy. I think you can all probably recite the next part yourself without any more hints. Suffice to say, I was wrong.

Of all the things she 'taught' me during our two year on and off engagement, two things really stuck;

1) make the imagery and prose you write very textured and nuanced, to give it a more authentic feel (she wa salso very critical of fantastical fiction that got the real world details all wrong; hard nosed gal).

and 2) You can't expect to keep a good woman in your life if you don't accept responsibility, get a decent job, and start providing for things that a family needs, whether they are planning on children or not. She taught me to get into the game. She didn't precisely morder me to. She just woudn't stay with me unless I showed signs of pulling myself together and, that included having a good paying job.

(Oh, and thirdly, that More Than This by Roxy Music is a wonderful song)

Myself, I've never been able to stick with anything that didn't have a great deal of meaning in my life. Jobs included. I'm one of those horrid creatures who has to find meaning in everything he does, or eventually I just fade away. I'm actually in a place like that right now. That's why we're talking about this. Funny how I finally get to the point when you least expect it, eh? Old Manic Boy habit.

Anyway, I find myself at a crossroads. I've been hermetical for the last couple of years, trying to consolidate my skills and abilities into a relatively successful formula for getting professional work done on schedule (not one of my great strengths, admittedly).

But somewhere along the way, I've lost my reason. Oh, I have material, concrete reasons, like keeping my wife in Canada with me, and wanting desperately to employ a few of my very talented and even-less-appropriately-employed-than-me friends (what is Kaijugal doing working in a bloody grocery store? She's supposed to be doing movie set and costume design, if not working as an animator or comic book artist. It's criminal). I just kind of want to use that Capricorn brain of mine to make magic, and suddenly everyone is making magic and everyone is happy and I'm content. So yeah, I have my reasons, but those are material reasons. When I say 'meaning', I mean, spiritual and philosophical underpinnings. The meaning behind the act itself, not the motivation. It has to mean something to me, Or I can't do it for very long.

And here I am married to a wonderful woman and working sporadically but turning in monstrous hours when I am working (40 of the last 48 hours were spent working on a tradeshow three panel display banner for a water bottling company; 1 and a half of them were spent sleeping; that sort of schedule is very normal for me in work mode), being paid more in one day than I used to make in a week.

And yet, I am supremely dissatisfied, because the work I'm doing is meaningless to me. Absolutely meaningless. I find meaning in the work, and then I meet the people I'm working for, and the meaing goes right out the window. I've been doing this too long. I can't even sell water without becoming jaded.

And so I find myself getting into new projects in my increasingly rare spare time, looking for something to give me a sense of meaningfulness again. I'm writing new songs for my old band, who got back together this year. I had to set aside my notes for a game I was developing with a German programmer, because we started having differences of opinon about what the project had really been about all that time. I've started writing fiction again, slowly getting back to the novellas I was working on before I started running the print shop last year.

I'm making new friends. Younger and more ambitious and directed and hopeful and downright beautiful than I've been in years. I'm finding that I actually have something to offer them in the way of advice, polish, and even certain of my various talents seem to be coming into use.

And love. I have in my heart a number of people who all mean so much to me, some moreso than others, but all in different ways. Very few truly get to be truly close to me. Some that I feel a certain inexplicable closeness to simply don't see me as anything other than some middle aged Canadian artsy guy who talks too much about his work like it's interesting to other people or something.

But every now and then, I find myself accidentally intersecting with someone who, for no really clear reason, just makes absolute sense to me, and I realize I've met one of my people. As I'm getting older, and not so desperately hungry to find that one special someone, I'm finding the scariest thing is, there really is more than one person out there whom you can feel a stong and abiding and flexible and potent connection to. I think some part of me still thinks there's something to the romantic new age concept of soul mates. But I also find that there are people who will be all of those things to you, and others who also seem to meet you in so many place on some many levels that it just surprises you that it hadn't occurred to you before.

There is so much love in the world. But the most important love of your life will always be yourself. That bit about 'if you can't love yourself, how can you love anyone else'? Truth. You can't give someone a woefully empty vessel and convince them that you've given them true love. You have to fill yourself up with purpose, with a sense of self-worth, with a sense of knowing what it is you are giving this person, sharing with them, inviting them to become a part of.

Find the things in you that are worth loving. It's an ongoing process. I'm still fighting with it, even to this day. Believe me, unless your standards are seriously unrealistic, it never goes to your head. Narcisists aren't simply people who love themselves, but who love themselves above all others, because they don't see true beauty in anything.

Okay, losing my train of thought again. Time to take my meds and get ready for bed. That takes about an hour or so when I'm this wound up.

I also tend to get very attached to people who fascinate me, especially if they do things I admire. These don't always turn into romantic relationships, but the way I carry on, you'd think otherwise. I have someone who has just recently entered my life like that. I'm doing a fair bit of mugging right now, but underneath it all, it's a sincere appreciation and fascination. As any mother will tell you, such fascinations do not endure forever. But with me, it's a bit different. What starts as a fascination often does become a life long attachment I wind up keeping them very close to me simply because I can't imagine ever wanting to not have them in my life.

Well, I'm not sure if I covered everything that's been on my mind. There does seem to be an inordinately large amount of stuff floating around in my head these days. If I shared it all, we'd be here a while.

But yes, in my life, I've found that I'm capable of enduring great hardships and personal discomfort if it means something to me, and if the people I'm labouring for are important to me. And the people that I allow into my life, not the mumerous acquaintances staring in from outside the glass, but really inside... they don't get there by accident, and a part of them lingers there long after they've left the room for good. Such connections should be handled carefully, and never taken lightly. But they should definitely be enjoyed for what they are, and for all that they are, if possible. Life's pretty short.

Okay, it's time to shut down. Goodnight, Aggie. Hope you're well.
Lee Edward McImoyle,
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