One For the History Books

When it comes to reading material, I prefer non-fiction over fiction. Usually. As we've moved into the 21st century with all of the access we have to so sources once impossible to find, along with the 'Freedom Of Information Act', anyone with the time and patience to go looking for the 'Truth' just might find it...And it probably isn't anywhere near to what they taught us in school.

History is almost always written by the 'Victors' and very seldom do we ever get to hear the other side of anything. Why this person did that, or what motivated a leader to declare war or where the whole mess started in the first place? All of these questions usually boil down to greed for the most part and history is filled with bold stories about our ancestors fighting the good fight to win the country we live in today...Only history isn't simple. It's not always about right or wrong and 'Truth', that's like a used slinky, twisted and impossible to fix so that it works anymore. Everything we have in this country, in this world, is so filled with the sweat and blood of others, names we'll never know with lives we can't even begin to understand because we've become a world of comfort...It's too much for some people to get up and actually change the television channel by hand because they don't know where the remote is so they'll just watch whatever is on. Everything we use to see as treats, excuses to get out of the house and interact with others, movies, fairs, rodeos, whatever, are almost always seen from a distance.

On television.

When I was young and in college, working on the college newspaper, drawing my cartoons and having college fun, I enjoyed the adventures of meeting new folks, of walking into a room of strangers and not knowing what was going to happen next...Real life isn't like a well planned novel, it's spontaneous, sometimes exciting, sometimes dangerous, sometimes life changing. I use to picture writing the 'Great American Novel', whatever the hell that meant...I just thought of finding that book on a shelf in a bookstore would be really neat. Well, I actually did get to have that feeling, walking in and finding something I'd worked on on display (We all didn't get complimentary copies back then). It wasn't always a fun thing because there were those publishers out there who, more or less, stole your work and printed it without your knowledge or payment. That happened a lot and it never got easier. 

Life has ways of changing all our dreams. One by one bookstores started to vanish and in this world where lawsuits were a national past time artists and writers often used a variety of names...I had a few of my own, don't even know where some of the work I did ended up, and then there was the gallery work...I had one patron buy a boatload of my work at a showing and I honestly don't know his name. (I wasn't a good business person back then). 

Now I've seen more than a few of my peers and friends vanish from the industry and the world, one of which I discovered this morning was actually homeless and only because of a news article about his losses did I know where to send money to help. Some have died, some are dying, some couldn't move with technology and just...Stopped.

In the end what does a single artist or writer really accomplish in this world beyond inspiring others to take up the mantle and continue the grand tradition...What tradition is left. There isn't a lot of originality out there, the 'Greats' have had many books written about them and their lives weren't always so...Great. The world doesn't need another non-fiction book about another artist/writer and the works they've done, mostly on paper, canvas, watercolor paper or whatever, is so very fragile when left without care...It, like their creators, are temporary.

I'd thought about writing that book, started several times and stopped each time. There were nights I'd look up into the darkness and think about those moments which were special to me and those I shared them with and discovered that's what life is about...Those little moments. Precious. Words will never do them justice and no artist can possibly bring to life the joy or sorrow or excitement of those things we did. Some should probably remain silent and buried with the owner...Any other reason to tell some stories would be as a confession, I suppose.

So I'll continue to draw. Work on getting better...Sometimes I'll allow myself to have those ideas for a book...But I'll let it vanish into the night with a bittersweet smile on my face. I had a moment here on this planet, I touched, I tasted, I loved, I cried...I lived. That's all any of us get in the end:  We get a lifetime.

Some longer than others. Far too many shorter than they should have been. Still, whatever we had was ours for however brief it might have been. 

My only suggestion: Never give into fear or let a chance of happiness pass you by. You'll regret not acting when you had the chance and you'll blame everyone else for your inaction. Even if you fail at that chance, you'll know you had the courage to try. And the thing about life: As long as you live you'll get another chance somewhen down the line.

Take the chance.

It's worth it.


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