Keep the Spirit Alive

We are creatives in a world where it can be difficult to keep the creative spirit alive.  I think we are more sensitive–more in tune with what’s happening around us–and that puts us in the strongest currents of emotional fatigue’s maelstrom.

I almost quit my day job as a veterinary technician. There are many reasons that I won’t divulge here (though I may soon do a rant post) but it had become overwhelmingly obvious that I had hit a wall.

Stress was the main reason–chaotic, non-productive stress.  I can’t write when I am stressed like that.  It fuddles my brain, turns it into a toxic soup, poison for the soul. Usually, I can rely on music to pull me out of such a state but even that didn’t have very lasting effects.  On top of direct stress from my job, there’s the stress of the world, from politics to natural disasters, another mass shooting.  More chaos.  And it turned me to introspection.  Which led to retrospection.

I thought about my childhood, it was a real struggle at times.  My world was much smaller then but my younger brother and I relied on our shared humor to cope.  Dry, sarcastic, witty–our babysitter was often none other than Monty Python on TV.  Despite our sometimes harsh reality, our creativity flourished.  Him as an artist and me as a musician and writer. It made me realize yet again that laughter is often the best medicine (except for treating diarrhea).  While not everything can be turned into a joke and shouldn’t be–there is humor to be found in a lot of little situations that occur throughout the day.  Situations that if allowed, could easily ruin a day.  Nearly two decades ago, one night as the family fell apart around us, we retreated to the TV.  Not to watch it–at least, not conventionally. We turned the volume down and performed our own impromptu voiceovers.  Our favorites were Japanese Anime (Speed Racer and whatever else played in the wee hours on Cartoon Network–before Adult Swim) and infomercials.  Today, my brother and I still share our own brand of off-kilter humor–part of it has even taken its own form in a comic that he mainly works on.  Throughout my high school days, he often left his illustrations all over the house.  Pieces of plain white paper with ink or pencil sketchings.  I began to illustrate a pterodactyl pooping on his creations. He later drew a robot punting my pterodactyl or squeezing it in a vice-like grip and this manifested into Bartok & Roboman, something I hope to see my brother unveil to the world one day.

(original sketches of Bartok & Roboman done by my brother many, many years ago)

Roboman and Bartok with PJ signature  (Roboman riding Bartok in a time-rift series he’s currently working on–the squirrels are a running joke) 

So to quote Victor Borge:

Humor - Victor Borge

And so maybe it is the ability to laugh, even at the bleakest times, that keeps the spirit alive.

Like the time a girl got all road-ragey on me and literally f***ed my car.  No, she did not f*** up my car, like damage it, she actually got out of her car while we were stuck at a traffic light and f***ed my car.  Oh man, I saw too much but did I ever laugh.  Los Angeles, have mercy.

Find the laughter, my friends.

Advertisements

Life is Strange

It is ironic and sadistic and twisted and somehow beautiful.  It is a struggle  and a different struggle for different people.  I often wonder how people do it all.  Or don’t.  But regardless, life is strange.

I have been working hard trying to get a literary agent.  My query has been through so many revisions, I have lost count.  One agent requested my material but sadly my opening pages didn’t draw her in.  They should have.  So I am back at the drawing board there.  She did say that I have good prose.  I at least have that going for me.  Then one day I get an unexpected email from an agency that wants to represent, distribute and promote my  music.  Ha.  Once upon a time I had a Myspace page for my music under the alias Vienna Gulbransen.  That was my composer name and unless you hung out in Portland, Oregon from 2003-2007 and were involved in some obscure indie film projects then I wouldn’t expect you to know me.  Anyway, the Myspace page apparently still exists out there and that is how the agency found me.  I immediately deleted the email as I am 99.95% certain that it is nothing more than a scam.

According to the agent there has been a “resurgence of interest” in my music.  So that being said, I posted quite a few of my live piano recordings on Soundcloud and will eventually post rejected cues from my brief stint as a film composer.  The cue that supposedly garnered attention was my synthesizer experiment called “Clocks.”

And here it is:

I hope you enjoyed that 🙂

Whatever you’re doing out there, keep at it.  You’ll get there.  Endure the struggle, put up the fight.  Let the fire forge you.  Pull yourself through the mire, climb out of the pit, don’t stay down too long.  And be wary of the unscrupulous.