Tuesday, December 18, 2007
Let's get moving, and leave this shit behind. Its passed now. And all that's left is a burning light at the end of another tunnel.
Going to stop dreading and dwelling and start moving and smiling again.
Sunday, December 16, 2007
This rant is the direct result of one of the worst weekends ever down here, and I didn't think that was possible. And in that spirit I may perhaps erase it soon. But I can't sleep thinking about everything, and I'm tired of it living in my head. I close my eyes and try to find solace and peace, but I just find myself getting more anxious.
Christmas is coming. The New Year is right behind it. And I look back with nothing to show for it. Nothing but shambles really. Broken spirit, my dream miles beyond sight, friends becoming acquaintances and visions of the road I took to get here fading into memory and oblivion.
Confession: A few nights ago, I asked God to take me back to this time last year; back when critical decisions were made and plans were set into motion. So maybe...just maybe...something different could have happened. I asked but there was no response. I'm not sure how I feel about that.
I hope no one reads this. But I have no one else to talk to about it.
Monday, November 26, 2007
I took for granted being with people who really did that for me before. And the miles that stretch between us now. I took for granted who I was.
I got impulsive.
I wish I was in Rome. Yes that would make things better.
Wednesday, September 26, 2007
I don’t really like to run. In fact, you can say absolutely abhor it. In fact, there is nothing more I abhor at than to up and go for a jog that unfortunately adheres to my “every day” plan all in good intention to shave off the pounds I have gained since being back in the states from
“Hola,” comes out of the darkness, of from my left. “hey, buddy,”
“Oh, you speak English,”
”yeah, pretty well, I’m from
He proceeds to explain to me that he was ditched here at this location by a driver who had claimed to go to the bathroom and get something to eat from the distinguished burger joint, but who then subsequently snuck back into his vehicle and peeled off.
And then the true merits of our meeting began to unfold with a question he had the strange audacity to ask, “do you have a girlfriend?”
With my hesitant, cautious negative response, he slowly reaches into his lightly packed knapsack to reveal a newly wrinkled napkin, clean pristine and bright. And as he tells this story, he begins to fold, bend, twist and press it into familiar forms. He tells of his wife, who died of cancer three months ago. He tells of their unforgettable years they had together before she passed and his inevitable feelings of having taken their time for granted. He tells me of his journey from
A forced smile indicated a coda in his story, a reflection of the time of night, his long journey ahead and his need to regain his bearings before he was to continue on. The tragedy of circumstance has struck this man. Endless stories of age and time and regret and memory and sadness were written in the wrinkles and flaws on David’s face. His demeanor spoke sorrowfully of the way he has approached the ghosts and strangers of his past, and the low calm but confident murmur in his voice as he spoke indicated a deep understanding of human experience. I trusted him.
Paul and Christine have broken up; my brother and Karen have broken up. Tragedies of circumstance. When the unfortunate allure of the illusion of the new or better (or in some cases old and familiar) come along, the seduction of the situation grossly outweighs our expectations of the people we held them to so strongly. Inherent to expectations are its tragic flaw: the stronger we adhere to them, the more broken we become when they are not met or are ignored. Especially by those we hold so dear and so close and whose relationships we have with were kept carefully guarded. When the caring starts, and you do exactly what you’re supposed and give your all, and expect what is expected and know full well that the consequences can be disastrous or glorious or destructive or ultimately blissful, still that's when the hurt really comes. Some people will never understand it. And some people will never want to.
I’m sorry friends. But I wish the world would pull through for you. For all of us, really. But, “life is not about waiting for the storm to pass, it is about learning to dance in the rain.” Kate & Brendan have gotten married, and so have Kristen & Rob. Joe and Hailee are not far behind. My friends from near and far, from old and new are all experiencing the trials and tribulations of heartbreak and finding their other halves. It is a fight I am too tired for at the moment. Don’t know when I’ll be able to pick up and enter into battle again. I found a note in my wallet, a relic, an epic reminder. “Don, I'll miss you. You’ll do great in H-Town.” It was a throwback to the past. It was reassurance of my decisions. It was from Bernadette. And it made me happy and it made me confident again.
And I look back at the last couple of months to pick up broken pieces and shed some light on the path I’ve taken to get where I am: Cautious. Progressive. Productive. Colder. More independent. More faithful. Less expectant of those around me. I miss the stronger Don. The one who knew where things were going and how to act in front of people. I’m not enjoying the Don that can’t sleep. Can’t eat. Feels alone.
Going back to the beginning, when things were right.
I guess perspective comes easier when you get cuffed and put in the back of a police cruiser on a fateful, answer-filled Saturday night at Sammy’s.
Current Songs: Azure Ray's Displaced Lyrics, Alicia Key's No One, Pink's Who Knew
Earth-Shattering Revelation #22: Life is not about waiting for the storm to pass, it is about learning to dance in the rain.
Saturday, August 04, 2007
The road is long between here and home. Fifteen hundred miles stretch between me and everything I knew to be my world, the promise of something new and exciting and beautiful being the only thing that pulled me from it. The miles counted down through the gentle hills and valleys of the Virginias, the greens of Tennessee and the storms of Alabama and Louisiana before the majesty of the Mississippi ushered me into the homestretch of the longest journey I had ever taken alone; emotions of wonder and excitement rushing the adrenaline into every part of my being, making the miles and minutes shorter and sooner to pass. On the road the promise of the move was…well, promising. I was comfortable with every facet of it. I felt triumphant over this amazing plan I had for myself. The storms could have been an omen. Or maybe the bugs on the bumper. Or the constant delays on my trip. Or maybe even the quiver in a voice that I should have heard months before…I don’t know. So many people have thought me crazy, and I know it, for making this move. But instead of giving me the courtesy of being honest with me [and I mean everyone] all I received was resounding support which I did not evaluate but rather just exploited to backup my own unrelenting conviction in my decisions and actions. And so I moved.
Paul has helped me so much through this transition, being my company here in
The living and working part came next. And this is I think the source of my deep sadness. Because see even though I understand things aren’t always great at the beginning and surprises spring up and fuck up things you’ve planned for so long, these are two lessons I didn’t need to be reminded of all in the same rush right at the beginning. An old fucker at the IATSE office [who was self-admittedly a scenic artist in his youth] smugly declared to me the difficulties in pursuing that career, almost as if to assume that I was just some arrogant upstart instead of a good worker and possibly a gifted artist. I really hate bitter old people who never fulfilled their potential and let the world know about it. And so I work at Texas Art Supply, Co. Honestly, there are people younger than me who have the 401k and investment portfolios and salaries and company games and all of the normalcy that comes with the well-paying respectable job, and I am stocking shelves at an art supply store full-time so that I can get a discount on a drafting and design table and supplies until my opportunity comes, an opportunity some locals think may never come. But I am ok with it. Because everything will be ok in the end, right?
My family here remains my saving grace, but of course their lives need to take precedence and so I cannot rely on their constant presence in mine. But Tito Edwin has helped me a lot and the cousins are all really well and good and it makes me happy to see them; it gives me a sense of home to see them.
What hit me the hardest though is the last thing I mention and yet the one thing I don’t want to write about because it makes me sad. But I hope that writing about it frees it from my head and so then the thoughts no longer live with me and I can be liberated from them. Almost a year ago we had a plan that I would come down here and [maybe maybe] see what opportunities
And so I sit here in this room, still clinging to a promise of opportunity not whispered by the silence that fills my apartment that I inhabit alone, but rather by the cursory images of past dreams that used to push me forward. I sit in my room, listening to some good music, with a glass of wine at in the morning waiting to see if that push will come again. And in consolation, I give myself a gentle pat on the back, another sweet sip of grigot I so proudly bought to celebrate my own housewarming and sit back to the sounds of the roommate that sings me to sleep every night, Norah.
I miss my family, my dog. I miss my friends and I miss knowing everything. I wish I didn’t feel more alone than I ever have before, and I wish I couldn’t cry.
But tomorrows are always good. And yesterdays will always make me sad. But todays, I hope, will ALWAYS hold for me, a promise. Welcome to Houston, Don. Hope you find what you’re looking for.
Wednesday, July 18, 2007
Wednesday, June 06, 2007
This was yesterday, en route by air to
And one day, the words will come to me that are adequate to describe the sadness of watching these people drive back into the sunset, feeling the Pennsylvania summer knowing it would be my last there, seeing Baxter walk in and out of rooms seeking the people who once occupied them, packing away my belongings in preparation for relocating, and in cooking and eating dinners with the last of the crew in state college, attempting to recreate days gone by.
Goodbye is such a normal word. But it never loses its power and ironically, no word ever needed to be invented to take its place. Goodbye to childhood. Sun-beaten summers rolling around in the grass, only to get scraped and the subsequent run home to show mom the new injury. Lunches dad brought home when he visited from work. Mom and dad’s cooking. Long arduous family roadtrips to visit people we’ve never met. Seeing things in new ways everytime I saw them because I hadn’t learned about them yet. Goodbye school. Projects upon projects and endless nights struggling for the grade, setting high hopes when normal regular ones would do, disappointments and joys of taking your life by the reigns, with no serious repercussions for failures and discovering new emotional states as the only ways of manifesting your reactions to new challenges the world throws at you. I guess life is a series of such challenges, perhaps one of the most trite, clichéd statements I never wanted to repeat. But the truth in it is indisputable. In our experiences and our disappointments and our celebrations throughout our lifetimes, we have always learned, we have always grown, we have always broken down and built ourselves back up again. We have always been recreated reevaluated and renewed. This has always happened.
I didn’t know graduation was going to feel so… normal.
Soundtrack: Matchbox 20 –Closing Time
Earth Shattering Revelation #21: Welcome it all with open arms. Look back once in a while but never forget.
Sunday, May 13, 2007
The homestretch goes a little something like this: Boy goes through hell putting everything aside for this one huge thing which turns out to be amazing and fun and worth the universe and was everything he can possibly hope for, travels to all these amazing places to be with all of these incredible people, gets the girl, has no money but hardly cares, comes back to the mess that has become of his academics in hopes of repairing the damage and begins the search for the grand outlook. The big picture.
The big picture involves the birthday, barrio, the breakup, the being broke and the belligerence that comes with college drinking, before the big thesis and the big break.
My birthday, in conjunction with my last Barrio Fiesta was, as it always is overshadowed by events before and after it, uneventful. I guess I shot my wad 23 years ago and after that, the birthday just meant a very significant section of my life has passed, and so much more is going on, and that is that. Something about that was really comfortable; though everyone did come to my house to shove cupcakes in my face. I loved it. Funny funny people doing funny funny things makes me happy. Barrio was of course absolutely amazing as always. I am going to miss the rush of performance. I am going to miss the families and friends who come and celebrate all of the work put into the show. I am going to miss the practices and the time together that has nothing to do with the show but rather has everything to do with being together, doing what we love. I am going to miss the people.
Ben & Jerry’s went under, and so did my bank account, suffering its most devastating loss of funds since the late 90’s. RIP ice cream. RIP to the place we always hung out at. RIP to the place where everyone knew your name and where you expected people to be. Just might be the best job I will ever have.
Our art show, Rocket Surgery was an absolute success! The food was great, the people all came and saw what Digo and I had worked so hard and so long for and the reception went further into the night than I had expected. The models could not have found better light to bask in, and the 2D work has never looked so good; there is a blissful release in showing exactly what I was made of to the people that mattered the most. Great way to end my art career here at
The thesis was absolutely mind-fuckingly annoying. But I banged the gong. I submitted the damn thing. And I am getting my medallion. Now with my credentials, I am crossing my fingers that I get this internship with the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences in Hollywood, Los Angeles CA so that I can get my life started and to know that all of this work was not in vain. That my destiny is real. And then move on to Houston, TX to live and work and be a grown up and have a beer on a Friday night with my friend and see family and go to work and leave work behind and to know that there is something beyond school, beyond my experiences here, beyond the happiness I’ve known in happy valley for 18 years.
The end of the year socials with PSFA and AMWMA were surreal. The idea of leaving destroys me inside, evidenced by my outburst during the presentations at the PSFA social. I received what could possibly be the best present of all; I could think of no way to repay my friends for giving me a tangible set of memories to take with me wherever I go; I only wish we can all have a set of shotglasses like these. As ex-officio, my role in PSFA is one of nostalgia. To once and again restore what once was, to step back and allow what will and should be, and to constantly remind those going through it all that this family grows stronger as the years go by with the people that join it, not weaker because of the people that have to go away. The future is bright.
And now as April’s unexpected snows make way for the sweltering summer sun that May brings, graduation looms near. And I sit here, helping up dear old Katherine, a resident at my parent’s home. Very recently a widow, she still sleeps with a picture of Dennis literally by her side, swaddled in a blanket just as she is. As she wakes and repositions herself to sitting up, she gazes lovingly at his picture.“Are you hungry, Dennis?” she asks his image. She then turns to me and almost beckoning, she adds, “He’s always hungry.”
She strokes the glass of the picture frame gently with her old fingers, shaking her head longingly. “Are you cold, dear?” she asks him yet again. In response, she then pulls the blanket up over the picture and wraps it in layers of soft cotton, rising onto her walker and trudging towards the door. “I’ll be back after breakfast Dennis,” she calls out to the picture beneath the sheets, turning to me and adding, “he’s always so sad when I’m gone…”
Our grasp of our memory is a reflection of our need to belong, our need to remember the purpose of our life’s work and our need for solace in a world that picks up and leaves you behind when you finally decide to sit down and breathe. It’s a sad time for me just as it is exciting and scary. The only thing that will really get me through these next few months and perhaps the rest of this lifetime is to know I can turn to my memories. I can only hope, for all the experiences and all the hopes and dreams and disappointments these beautiful last couple of years have given me, that the memories of them ring as clear as the day you remember their words spoken and their fires burn bright.
Soundtrack: Norah Jones – Not Too Late
Wednesday, April 04, 2007
(An actual college entrance essay, for which the student was granted acceptance)
ESSAY: IN ORDER FOR THE ADMISSIONS STAFF OF OUR COLLEGE TO GET TO
KNOW YOU, THE APPLICANT, BETTER, WE ASK THAT YOU ANSWER THE FOLLOWING
QUESTION: ARE THERE ANY SIGNIFICANT EXPERIENCES YOU HAVE HAD, OR
ACCOMPLISHMENTS YOU HAVE REALIZED, THAT HAVE HELPED TO DEFINE YOU AS A
I am a dynamic figure, often seen scaling walls and crushing ice. I
have been known to remodel train stations on my lunch breaks, making
them more efficient in the area of heat retention. I translate ethnic
slurs for Cuban refugees, I write award-winning operas, I manage time
efficiently. Occasionally, I tread water for three days in a row.
I woo women with my sensuous and godlike trombone playing, I can pilot
bicycles up severe inclines with unflagging speed, and I cook
Thirty-Minute Brownies in twenty minutes. I am an expert in stucco, a
veteran in love, and an outlaw in Peru.
Using only a hoe and a large glass of water, I once single-handedly
defended a small village in the Amazon Basin from a horde of ferocious
army ants. I play bluegrass cello, I was scouted by the Mets, I am the
subject of numerous documentaries. When I'm bored, I build large
suspension bridges in my yard. I enjoy urban hang gliding. On
Wednesdays, after school, I repair electrical appliances free of
I am an abstract artist, a concrete analyst, and a ruthless bookie.
Critics worldwide swoon over my original line of corduroy evening wear.
I don't perspire. I am a private citizen, yet I receive fan mail. I
have been caller number nine and have won the weekend passes. Last
summer I toured New Jersey with a traveling centrifugal-force
demonstration. I bat .400. My deft floral arrangements have earned me
fame in international botany circles. Children trust me.
I can hurl tennis rackets at small moving objects with deadly accuracy.
I once read Paradise Lost, Moby Dick, and David Copperfield in one day
and still had time to refurbish an entire dining room that evening. I
know the exact location of every food item in the supermarket. I have
performed several covert operations for the CIA. I sleep once a week;
when I do sleep, I sleep in a chair. While on vacation in Canada, I
successfully negotiated with a group of terrorists who had seized a
small bakery. The laws of physics do not apply to me.
I balance, I weave, I dodge, I frolic, and my bills are all paid. On
weekends, to let off steam, I participate in full-contact origami.
Years ago I discovered the meaning of life but forgot to write it down.
I have made extraordinary four course meals using only a mouli and a
toaster oven. I breed prizewinning clams. I have won bullfights in San
Juan, cliff-diving competitions in Sri Lanka, and spelling bees at the
Kremlin. I have played Hamlet, I have performed open-heart surgery, and
I have spoken with Elvis.
But I have not yet gone to college.
Sunday, January 14, 2007
Lately, I’ve been trying to find my windows again. Views of the world from a height or a distance or some other expanse that allowed me to step back and see what was shielded or hidden before; the remaining words to a shard of song lyrics, the final items on a long-forgotten to do list. I guess I’ve been searching for my windows more lately because I’ve been losing sleep. I’ve been anxious. I’ve even left alone or forgotten and that is a kind of sad I am not willing to tolerate. And all these sentiments throw me into confusion and sometimes, I sit up in my inability to fall into my subconscious yet again wondering things like who do other people pray for when they go to sleep at night, or what good am I if can’t be broken, or… other things. I’ve been looking at my fortune cookies for comfort, but the trivial nature of poetic idealism has grown tired, and I’m no longer looking to the oblivion of fabricated, deluded happiness. But wait, when I think about it, I know exactly what is making me feel this way…but there is nothing I can do about it.
I love my dog. Yesterday, he walked into the room, sniffed around at my coat and my bag after I had trudged in at the end of the day and then looked me in the eyes, his frayed, blue bandana draped so facilely around his neck. I knew he was at his window before. He always looked out that window. Out at a world he couldn’t run around to freely in, but one that he wouldn’t survive in. It was his comfort too, that window. His station. But today, he abandoned it to come and see me again.
He never smiles. I get that; this concerned, sagely, gaze always graced his face, even at the sweet age of six months. I felt so tired, so in need of solace. He came over to me, made a complete 180 and plopped down in front of me, facing the other direction, as if to protect me from the world. He turned his head and looked at me again, as if to say, “its ok. I got you. I understand.”
I threw my arms around him and waited for the sleep that would never come...but its ok, because he knows it. He knows it all.