Friday, July 18, 2014

The Journey Updated

Hello, dear. It's been a while hasn't it? Sit down! Sit down. There are stories to tell.

When we last left our intrepid hero and narrator (me) I was looking back on how I had recently graduated and was avidly writing daily. I have continued this routine onwards to the present day and will for the foreseeable future. It seems small at times but in the grand scale of things getting tiny things done on a daily basis makes for a butt load of accumulated productivity! I've written nearly a whole novel worth of short stories. I will soon to be published in Querelle Magazine. Soon I will be unstoppable... or at the very least a bit more recognised in the writing world.

It is so unfortunate that this year has been so scarcely documented. Well, of course it has been recorded in many forms, just not here. So... let's begin. A recap of the interesting events of the first half of the year are as follows:

I graduated back in February and have yet to go on a single life changing road trip with friends who I will bond with for life. Disappointing, I know. I even had a song in mind and everything to play while the sun is setting and casting a beautiful rich yellow glow through the windows like you see in Corona ads. You know: the kind of imagery that makes you think "wow that's beautiful" when you're not experiencing it for real life because if you were you'd be going "ow this is painfully bright and I am risk of crashing and dying. These are actually really unreasonable conditions to drive in."

This is so beautiful... it burns.

That song is Sloppy Seconds by Watsky and not everyone in the car would recognise it when it's first played but by the third time in the playlist it comes up our way back everyone would sing along "I don't care/where you've been/how many miles/I still love you" in unison. It would be a memory that would bring a smile to everyone who was present years later when they reminisce about the great moments of their early 20s...

There's still time though and I did go on a road trip but that's skipping ahead. Patience reader. Patience.

Instead of life changing road trips I was having a small 22nd birthday party with a close crew of friends plus "Beard." Beard was named so after the slang term for "please help convince my parents I'm not gay" and I made a point to refuse to hear his real name for the entire night. This got very confusing later when someone said his name and said he was leaving at which point I went "....who?" He was the youngest person there and it was a strange nostalgic experience interacting with someone younger than I'd normally be friends with. It was a journey into the past... only with alcohol involved. As I sipped my rosé, Beard was eagerly asking me what metal bands I liked and if I'd heard about such and such.

"Oh them! Yeah I used to love them when I was a teenager..." It was strangely nostalgic. I wasn't incapable of appreciating the bands we talked about. I still had their music stored away in folders oft-neglected. My tastes had evolved from the narrow progression of hard rock > metal > heavy metal > European folk metal bands that dress up like Viking peasants and rock the flute harder than teenagers with shoulder length hair rock their guitars as they dream of one day being super famous and getting all the girls.

We've all been there, am I right? Personally that last one is still my favourite sub-genre of metal right behind "Sympthonic revival swing cello metal."

And my mother says I just make up musical genres...

Talking to someone several years younger than you and seeing a reflection of your younger self projected back at you is an odd experience. It feels like the universe is trying to point at your past and go "I told you it was just a phase..." It implies there are limited archetypes and you got stuck with the "metal fan with limited musical tastes" archetype instead of the "popular sporty teen" archetype and now you're trying to lose that extra weight to prevent a beer belly in your future years and have more Korn albums than you're willing to admit owning in normal conversation. I even had hair that went past my shoulders. It's unfortunately plastered all over my forms of ID. This caused me a bit of worry when I shaved all my hair off and caused me to say "world's greatest shave" as a reflex whenever someone checked my ID and their gaze went up from the mop of hair to a bald dome. Thankfully there never was any issue but I feared that it would arise at any time...

See, at this point this would be the beginning of a story of how I came to learn more about myself as a person through the lens of the greater scheme of things. Seeking purpose and figuring out the elusive concept of a "career" would just be this particular phase of life that is shared by many of my age and will seem strangely distant and nostalgic to me five years later, just as listening almost solely to metal is to me now. This journey would have a few twists, turns, a plucky side kick supporting character who was my opposite (as is traditional in comedic duos) but shared a core sense of humour that allowed us to bond. Together, and with the help of a few misfortunes (and that fabled road trip that never was) I would discover something about myself that alleviated all fears for the future and brought this conveniently firm sense of closure on insecurities and woes. The future is bright and wonderful and I am ready to face it!

(Sloppy Seconds by Watsky plays in the background as I put on sunglasses for the sake of a visual pun.)

But this isn't a novel this is life so instead of going on an ultimate singular journey of self discovery I went to Brisbane. It was the first time I'd bought my own plane ticket. I'd flown a few times previously but was not the sole person involved in organising my flights. Previously it was family trips together or business related where I didn't so much fly somewhere as have someone fly me there.

While in Brisbane I went camping for the first time since about 2006. There's something really unusual about sunsets over the land. It's not just because I'm used to being in the West but because they're so... unspectacular if there's a hill in the way. Oh look. The ground. There are indeed some orange clouds peaking out from that land you got there. (And people complain that WA is flat?) The things to see were always in the East. From atop Mount Coot-tha I looked out over the entire city of Brisbane and watched the city lights turn on as the sky above it darkened. It was a sunset with the absence of a sunset.

Sunrises, on the other hand, are more fantastic in the East - only with the dreaded downside of requiring you to get up before the sun rises to view them. This is a more manageable task if you happen to be camping next to a family with small children. I had a brief (not life changing) road trip up the coast to a small town I don't remember the name of and watched the sun rise. And boy what a beautiful sunrise it was...


The small (yet not life changing) road trips continued a few months later with the same person. Dearest Sarah flew over to Perth and, like the faithful photographer boyfriend I am, I spent a lot of time walking behind her so I could get some majestic wide shots of her in front of large bodies of water:


Margaret River.

Margaret River again...

It just keeps happening! 

I clearly have a problem here.

I'm beginning to sense a recurring theme in this relationship... and my creative work...

Then came Supanova. It's an odd experience when you attend a comic convention not to spend all your money on comics but because at least half of your interest in it is because of the indepedant comics companies and panels about the topic. I managed not to spend all my money on signed posters and art that I have no room to hang up. Instead I spent a large amount of time talking to editors and writers in between admiring the artists. The experience inspired me (especially the WETA design workshop which was about the intracacies of costume design in The Hobbit) to go home and work on putting artistic skills to practical skills. We'll see where that gets me in the future in the inevitable update to this blog "The Journey Never Ends." Stay tuned readers.

Of course there were so many more things that happened and I could be here for a long time listing the smaller things. But these things stand out in my mind. There are more famous and iconic moments in a person's adulthood like first car, first time renting, marriage, etc... But these smaller things are still interesting to me. We're always getting older it's only when there's a certain moment that demonstrates just how different you are to how you used to be that we realise the progress we've made. This year has been the year of plane flights. My brother flew off to Singapore, I've been flying back and forth from Brisbane, and my mother went to Texas for a while and I became the head of the household. I've been going on road trips. They're not the corona-ad styled "life changers" that exist in clever marketing campaigns and Young Adult fiction. They're the moments you realise you've grown even more independent than you were before. You're ready for adventure! Yeah!

Plus wow aren't I glad my music tastes developed past "METAL! \m/" That's a really underrated point of development as an adult: appreciating a wider variety of things. Next stop in that "music tastes vs adulthood" continuum: hating everything young people listen to and running the 96.1FMs attitude of only listening to "real" music (aka: things from before the mid 90s that feature guitars).

I've been an adult for many years now but adulthood isn't a singular state of being thrust suddenly upon a person at age 18. That's what 17 year olds think when they're approaching 18 and think "I'm not ready." Chill. You're fine. There are many more small milestones to collect along the way after you turn 18. I'm doing pretty well. My "adult scouts" club has just recently awarded me (and many others my age) the "dissastisfied with the federal budget" badge as well as the "disheartened and disillusioned with the state of politics" badge! It came shortly after the milestone of growing up that is "Senate elections." This will come naturally to you, dear 17 year old reader... I'm sorry... I'm so sorry. With growing up comes adventure, independence, and... politics. You can't have everything to be wonderful all the time, I'm afraid.

But the bright side is you get to drink a lot so there's that... and make your own purchase decisions with the money you earned and buy things like this:

Cheers WTNV.

So, like a Young Adult novel, I must now find an appropriate end with a positive take on the events presented and their running thematic imagery. Growing up is a gradual process and you can find joy in the little things, even if they're not the big life-changing events sold to you by the media and fiction writers ( future fiction will definitely not give into these tropes... *cough* oh my, excuse me). We are always becoming newer people in our own way. At the start of this year I was more concerned about getting published than exploring the coast of East and West but I can see how these experiences have demonstrated a sense of independence to myself. It's good to grow... an adventures can still be fun even if they teach you things.

And, as always... sunsets look better over the ocean:

Brisbane ain't got nothing on Busselton sunsets.

This blog post was brought to you by listening to Sum 41 because things you loved in your teenage years aren't always bad. Speaking of teenage interests: Weird Al has a new album that I look forward to listening to. 2014 is shaping up to be a fantastic year. Here's to the next half of 2014, dear readers

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