Well, it's happening. I'm leaving my home and ancestral seat of power in search of a dream. Leaving safety and security in search of a happiness and fulfillment that I make for myself, putting my fate in my own hands and holding it vulnerable to the world, hoping that it's bright and strong enough to survive whatever lashes the universe casts upon it. I'm venturing out into the storm and will either thrive or beat a path back to my hovel, wet and cold but at least knowing that I tried.
That's a cool way of saying I'm moving to LA.
It's finally official now, everyone at work knows and my stuff is all packed up (save for the basics, which I'll need for July - I'm not moving down until August). I'm first going to Alhambra, then looking for a house to inhabit with my friend Patrick and 1-2 other groovy souls. This is the first time I've moved further than 50 miles away from the house I grew up in, and it's equal parts terrifying and exciting. I've got an incredible support structure behind me - my girlfriend Emy, my family, my friends, even my coworkers have all been super supportive - but even their most vociferous support can't squelch that inner doubt that every artist has. The fear that I'm not good enough, that my voice doesn't say much, that my perspective doesn't matter - but little by little I'm learning to ignore that. I'll share a short story with you.
A couple of weeks ago, we got a bunch of people together to go floating down the Russian River for Emy's birthday. Despite some real gnarly obstacles to the start of the day (late friends and cars in ditches and sun-scorched skin, oh my), we got underway and had a great day. I was floating next to Emy's friend Ivan, who drew some pretty favorable comparisons between me and Charles Bukowski, the infamous everyman poet who found and expressed beauty in the grimy, dark underbelly of American life. While I haven't quite found my poetic voice yet and certainly haven't had the creative tributary of a tough upbringing like Bukowski, I liked the comparison and started looking more into Bukowski's work. I was captivated by a quote of his on creativity (complimented by the words on his headstone, above):
"[Somebody asked me] 'What do you do? How do you write, create?' You don't, I told them. You don't try. That's very important: not to try, either for Cadillacs, creation or immortality. You wait, and if nothing happens, you wait some more. It's like a bug high on the wall. You wait for it to come to you. When it gets close enough you reach out, slap out and kill it. Or if you like its looks you make a pet out of it."
I love that. There are so many people so desperate to create something that they try so hard, and it comes across as inauthentic (see a lot of teenage YouTube creators). Plastic. No soul. But if you allow yourself to listen, to feel what feels right to you wholly and completely and channel that into your work in a way that you can be proud of, then you've created some real art - even if no one likes it. You're creating art for yourself and expressing your perspective, helping to explain the human condition and creating something that can affect others in a genuine way. That is human beauty. That's how I want to live my life. That's why I'm moving down to LA.
Thanks for the comparison, Ivan.