The Meaning of Life, the Universe and Everything Else
It's as good as anything else, I suppose. The advantage of actually living to an older age (And there aren't many) is you can look back at your life and it somehow makes sense...Sometimes it's all nonsense...But you can look at all the threads, decisions, journey's, heartaches and fears that led you to a place you never really believed you'd experience. Seriously, back in high school our math teacher had us figure out what our ages would be when we entered into the year 2000 and, firstly...Old! Secondly, I don't think anyone who knew/knows me would have believed I'd make it that far. I was on a path of self destruction though, as hard as I tried, I never really mastered.
I got to this point and look at all the goals I'd set for myself and pretty much realized them, though it was through luck, hard work and a whole lot of sacrifice, and I remembered that first time I had something published it was like: That's it? I kind of believed there would be some kind of musical soundtrack playing or something.
I began to discover it was never about reaching the goal but the journey that's important. My journey, the worlds, yours and everyone else...We have our eyes set on some mythical destination, some feeling, some goal and we forget to look around at all that's happening while we're out there getting the spiritual (Sometimes actual) crap beat out of us. I didn't have a lot of people who believed I'd ever make it in the arts, family and the like, but I did have friends who somehow kept me going when I really thought about becoming a plumber or working in the heat or, most likely, looking at the world through iron bars and wondering what the hell happened?
Most people end up in jail because of a bad decision and I have a semi full of those in my past. There were so many ways my life could have (And probably should have) gone with a lot less of freedom and actual living. Maybe it's just luck or providence or just aimless musing of a fictional deity, but in the end I have the memories, lots of scars and all the things that go with getting up in years. There's this question we all get and that's 'If you had to do it all over again...' It's a stupid question because we can't and most of us, given those few precious moments we can cling to and say life was worth it, and wouldn't if it were possible.
We all make a difference in someone's life...Good or bad or just stupid we've touched someone who either learned from our mistakes and went on and didn't follow our example or we can actually go to sleep at night and not care if we wake up in the morning because it was worth it.
All of it.
I've spent most of my life at a drafting table or working on a canvas, the smell of linseed oil seeped into my DNA and my fingertips forever stained with all the ink I've used over the years. When I wasn't creating art, I was trying to understand the spiritual side of life and when not there, well, the flesh has its memories as well. I can pretty much tell you what song I was listening to when I started or finished most drawings though yesterday is pretty much a mystery to me these days.
I once wanted to write the 'Great American Novel' and illustrate it with black and white drawings but, thankfully, I gave up trying because every writer puts themselves in their works and that would no longer be fair to anyone this or that character might resemble...And they would be someone I knew or know or wished I knew...Getting older kind of makes one ramble here and there.
Memories are great and having dreams are wonderful things to have, but dreams are something you're meant to wake up from and the real world is still waiting for you. I had my ambitions, my dreams, and I'm fortunate to have been able to wake up and see that they happened in the real world. Now it's a new world, a world of pixels and numbers and instant access to everything and anything and all of the things I and my peers have done are really just paper memories.
We had our fifteen minutes back when it was difficult to get an art directors attention or convince an editor to give you a chance. We used typewriters in the beginning of my career, then came word processors (A gift from the Gods and no more money spent on 'White Out' or carbon papers) and now computers make it easy for anyone to be an artist or writer or photographer and it only takes a heartbeat of electrical outage to take away all of that and leave us with hard drives we can't access, memories we put into those electronic brains because ours seem to be fading. How many artists out there can say they made a drawing pen out of a feather? Made their own ink or mixed their own colors? Been able to stand in a gallery and see your work hanging with others and realize that maybe, just maybe, you're a real artist.
Don't worry about getting an ego because there are those friends who kept your old art and will be glad to show the world how far you've really come and make you question just what was it that made me think I could do this?
Like I said...I'm lucky. Blessed, perhaps. Good friends to talk with, memories that still make me shudder and blush and smile that stupid little smile of a kid who just got away with taking some cookies from the kitchen without mom catching us...Although she always knew. She just let us get away with it once in a while.
In the end, the meaning of life really is 42. Makes more sense than fairy tales and contradictory 'Scriptures' and rules...And who's to say it's not 42.
So, like the porpoises in Adams' book said just before they disappeared I want to be able to look back and say 'Goodbye and thanks for all the fish' and not worry about what happens next. Whatever it is, it'll be an adventure.
And I'm certain I'll somehow fuck it up as much as I have this one.
But, damn! It was worth it!