Wednesday, August 19, 2009

In a fog bank...

Until I found my faith in God, I really didn't know what I wanted to do with my life. I remember in junior high I was looking at being a helicopter pilot. Sounded interesting. Seemed like everyone in my family wanted me to do "something with computers", whatever that meant, and so of course that's exactly what I didn't want to do. Once Faith became a part of my life, it wasn't long when I found a direction, the Calling.

At the time I interpreted that to be a Lutheran minister, and to be more specific, a missionary to Mormons. Ah, young and infantile faith... so judgmental. Well when Wisdom finally made clear that I was being a judgmental douchebag with that line of "mission", I pursued what it meant to be a "person of faith". That quest turned out to be much nobler, and guess what? I made a lot more friends that way too. And all through college, I had it easy. I was going to just go to seminary after I get my BA... and so I might as well study something that will put me leagues ahead of other seminarians when it comes to Biblical translation and Classical contexts: I would major in Classical Languages.

While I was studying Ancient Greek and Latin, that "ham" part of me came out again. What? Did I forget to mention that apparently I love to be the center of attention? Let me digress a bit: Goes back to when I was a little tyke, always smiling for the camera, hogging the limelight. I even would simulate playing in a rock band with cardboard instruments. I even filmed it. In high school, I discovered what I could do with a camcorder, shooting stuff and editing with 2 VCRs connected with RCA cables. In college I got a job with the TV services department, shooting plays and editing school events. I found myself in a group of friends who were actors, writers, creative thinkers, and mostly Lutheran. It was GREAT! I even decided to take a course called "Acting for the non-actor", which is pretty much me. The professor said I had a natural talent and I should try out for the next play. I got in! And it was so much fun.

I found myself totally enamored with acting, directing, putting stuff together... my friends and I even made a little video together when we had the time. I even got to be in front of the camera.

But this wasn't always the creative outlet I had. I used to draw. I wasn't too shabby with charcoal pencils. I used to play the clarinet, and a little bit of the sax...

But I've digressed long enough...

I started out talking about at one point I didn't know what to do with my life. Then I found something. I think I've ended that journey and I'm back feeling like I did in junior high. Why not ministry? What happened with that?
- When I was graduating college, the Church basically told me I couldn't go to seminary until I had less debt. THAT was NOT in the plans. Once that came to a screeching halt, and I had to figure out what to do next, Dead Gentlemen Productions gave me a purpose. I would strive to be a filmmaker. We proceeded to do some great stuff together. I accomplished some things I am very personally proud of. I did good. Also during that time, my home church pastor essentially got booted out of his congregation because the congregation just didn't get along or didn't agree with him... whatever it was, it was lame. Then, the pastor Cindy and I got attached to when we were living in Bellingham also basically got the boot, and I don't care what anyone says, her being a strong woman had a lot to do with it. She really inspired me, and to see the congregation turn on her like that really soured me. When Cindy left seminary to come and start our lives together, she brought with her another thing I hadn't really given much thought to: She left her path of becoming a Lutheran Pastor because she didn't want to be married to me and the church at the same time. That REALLY resonated with me, and still does.

Why not be a filmmaker? Afterall, I am living in Los Angeles now...
-Right now I have no personal inspiration. It's a bit like after I had directed Demon Hunters: Dead Camper Lake, and then had to move back to Idaho, and the guys went on to make The Gamers without me... It's a bit like that now. Not that I take it personally, I just don't have anything I'm inspired to do. Matt's all inspired now with his next awesome project.. which again feels like it did with The Gamers... meaning it's the next hit, the next project that's really going to propel him and anyone along with him, and there's really not a place for me. Not right now. It's not a "poor me" statement. I'm a car salesman. I work 6 days a week. I sleep on my day off...

Back up in the Pacific NorthWest, Ben is getting his big project off the ground too. Which is awesome and will be successful because there's so much positive energy behind it. I again don't really have the capacity to participate. So here I am supporting in the sidelines.

Again, this is all fine, but to turn myself around, I would need a project of my own to be inspired to do. When I moved back from Idaho to Tacoma, I had Revamping Doyle. Right now, I got nothing. And besides, having been down here, and seeing what it takes to be a filmmaker professionally, I don't really think it's what I want as a career. But I do love being in the director's chair, I do love coordinating and collaborating with a great crew and actors, hell I even like at times being the producer/"bossman" type on a project I really believe in, like The Gamers: Dorkness Rising. But I had time to do all that then.

The difference between then and now is that now I don't really have a project I'm personally inspired to do... Starting to feel pretty out of touch with the entertainment industry.

So I've built up my strengths through a variety of roles, jobs, and even career paths. They all culminate to this point. And as I look out into the landscape ahead of me, all I see is fog. All my friends seem far away. My family IS far away. I don't know which direction I'm going. And I don't yet have a reason to take a step forward... and by reason I mean a sense of purpose. A goal. An inspiration. I can always do a job to pay the bills. But I want to work to live, not live to work.

I used to write stanzas, I used to draw. I used to play an instrument. I used to act. I used to create videos. I used to have a radio show (forgot to mention that part). I used to game regularly. Ultimately I know I'm lacking a creative outlet.

Recently I had a conversation with one of my classics professors from college. He suggested I consider the foreign service or the CIA... seriously. It is an interesting time right now, and the idea of eventually becoming a diplomat sounds kind of inspiring. But I'm not quite in touch with what all this means yet, so I'm still doing my homework on this.

Either way, I feel a little isolated by my circumstances, and therefore I also feel like whatever direction I'm drifting towards, it might mean away from the people I've been so close to. That's more than terrifying, and a lot depressing.

I just try and remain open, and trust God to lead me. Send some positive energy my way, and maybe pray for me for some clarity and some inspiration. Thanks.


HarleyBigDog said...

Hey bud, I feel your pain. I know where you are, and I know that only good things await you. When I was going through the "fog bank" period, I was newly divorced, didn't really have but 2 friends where I was living, and a dead end job I hated, Home Depot. I walked in, gave my 2 weeks notice with nothing to fall back on.

Risky, and I had never done that before. I just said, I give myself to the "beyond" and will release control of my life. I then got my great job at HP, which then brought me to PIH in Tacoma, back to acting and improv, then the small stage, then the big stage, and then a little film project called Gamers 2. And the rest as they say, is history.

When everyone moved away, I felt a sense of loss. That my "film" days were over. And to date, they are pretty much. But I know that if I get out of my own way, pay attention to the signs, and take those leaps of faith, they have always served me well.

I think you are in a place of transition, and trying to force it will only prolong you getting on the right path. I have faith in you Don, and in your future. I know you are a good man, and good things will happen for you. I don't know how, when, where or why, I just know.

I miss you, and wish you were closer. I miss our chats, cigars, Scotch and fraternity. One day I will get down to see you, but till then, I am always here for you. You are a good and true friend, one of a very few. Know I am here for you, and that you WILL find your path. Just be patient, and wait for it to reveal itself, and then follow it with abandon.

EDN said...

Don't give up, bud. I gave you the ideas not necessarily because that's what you should do (although maybe that's a possibility), but because there are often things that lie just beyond the fog bank. When we're in a fog bank we often focus too close, and miss what might be coming, or could be coming, ahead.

Don Early said...

Not giving up guys. And thank you so much. Eric, your ideas were inspiring because it was something I'd never thought about, and that's what I'm looking for. It might not be what I end up doing, but I'm just at a standstill and I need ideas, I need recommendations, suggestions, etc.

Thanks for all this. I welcome more. I know I'm not alone, but just don't know what to aspire for. Your ideas help a lot.

Mary said...

Really insightful blog Don. I recall feeling this way too in my early 30s. I too was talented in many diff. areas when I was growing up and did well in school. I dreamed of all the things I could become-then didn't become any of them. I eventually "fell" into teaching as my calling and every now and then still wonder if I should have done something else.

Point is-you aren't alone-we've all felt this way. And even though I don't see you often-and I'm certainly not part of the NW click you hang with-I visit Cindy's and your blog often to see how you are doing and my thoughts and prayers are with you during this foggy time in your life.

Now, Ben and I just had our first child a month ago-so that kinda snapped us outta the fog so to speak. Suddenly, our life purpose became VERY clear.