Have you ever had something inside of you that keeps you up at night, tossing and turning, begging to be let out? A yearning to be released so desperately, you begin to sweat thinking about it? The sweet muse of art calls to us all, I believe. If we choose to accept her call, it will fill a void deep in our being that we didn’t even know existed. Art, via the written word, music, painting, dance or acting are all human created. I can’t stress that point enough, human created. Answering the call of art is what makes us truly human. It’s one of the many things that separate us from our primate cousins. Every human on the planet, no matter race, creed, religion or country has the ability to create art. No matter what people think about each other, we’re all united under the banner of art.
It started early in life for me, listening to The Police on my father’s record player, singing Roxanne at the top of my 3 year old lungs. Music always had a strong effect on me, even now as I write this story music is playing in the background. My teenage years were spent sitting in my room delving deep into Wilco and Ryan Adams, hanging out downtown at the local indie bar watching band after band. It didn’t even matter if the bands were really any good or not, just being one with the “music scene” inspired me greatly and moulded me into the man I’ve become today. I was lucky enough to have understanding parents that allowed me the opportunity to stay at home after high school (rather than embark on the post secondary life many of my friends were starting) and tour Canada with my band. Travel is also highly recommended for you inspiration seekers. There is nothing like playing in a city you’ve never set foot in before, and being invited into complete stranger’s lives that open their homes to touring artists. I got to see the best of people during my touring days. Even the most dreary of times seemed like constant sunshine knowing that at some point we got to make music for people and even have them enjoy it.
Touring as a young man was a wonderful experience, however in the real world, it didn’t pay jack shit. My touring days came to an end and my professional career began. I fell in love, started a trade, worked, bought a house and had children. I consider myself a man who is very fortunate and I thank my lucky stars in many ways on a daily basis. Life, on the other hand can run away from you very quickly as you get caught up in all the little things that only seem to build resentment and self pity. Do I really want to do this unfulfilling job every day until I retire? Is our reason for being on this planet to work for someone else and hope to goodness we can retire and spend a few years not working before we die? Children do put things into perspective. Watching my two boys being born changed something deep inside me. I want so much more out of life. I want my children to look at their father see a man who loves them and loves life. I want them growing up believing that they can do whatever their hearts desire. When they look at themselves in the mirror, that they are proud of what looks back at them. I wasn’t that man at first. I was terrified and anxious all the time. I would sleep away days, constantly on edge when I was awake. My family was suffering because I was suffering. It wasn’t fair to them and it certainly was not their fault that their father was lost. I needed an outlet. The muse was calling for me again, but I could no longer pack up and run around city to city playing songs and drinking beers.
The job I had was taking a heavy emotional toll on me. It didn’t work the creative side of my mind in any why and I began to slowly give up on ever being truly happy. As hard as it is for me to admit, coming home from work and looking at my newborn son couldn’t get me out of the funk I was in. Lucky for me my beautiful wife saw very early the direction I was moving toward and did everything in her power to help get me back on track. I began working out, changing my eating habits, talking my issues out and most importantly, meditating. I went from a man who could care less about the outside world, to the man that sits here now, typing away after sending an email to Arianna Huffington letting her know that her story inspired me greatly. I heard Arianna first on The Tim Ferriss podcast. I have begun listening to many podcast to keep my mind working during the monotonous hours at the 9 to 5 I work to keep food on the table. I am well aware that there are many people out there that need a job and yet here I am complaining about it being “boring” for lack of a better term. I am thankful for what I have, however, artistically I needed an outlet. Music is still a deep love of mine; regardless the thought of constant band practices and touring in shit smelling vans has lost its allure. So, I took to writing. I’d say in the past 10 years of my life I began reading every day. From Goosebumps to 1984, I started to slowly open my mind to new books and writers. The written word really started to change for me with two specific books, As I lay dying by William Faulkner and Blood Meridian by Cormac McCarthy. The sense of loss and despair that Faulkner describes in his book hit me like a ton of bricks and I would be left disoriented and hollow in between reads. The brutality that McCarthy describes with such detail would actually make me sick to my stomach where at points; I would have to put the book down. I was beginning to feel the true power of the written word. Finally I began to write in a daily journal, when I woke and before bed. My reading continued but it began to spread from novels to comics, my truest of loves. My mother would take me to the comic book store after my visits to the doctor when I was 4. I was a nervous boy and these trips to the doctor took a lot out of me, so I needed to be bribed. It all started there, holding my first comic which was probably a story about Wolverine. Like everything in my teenage years, I followed whatever was cool at the time and my comic book love took a backseat to high school dances and smoking way too much weed.
One day, sitting with a good friend and his girlfriend having a drink, he turns to me and asks me if I’ve ever read The Underwater Welder. It was with that question that the new life gestating within me was about to be born. The Underwater Welder was a graphic novel written by a fellow Canadian Jeff Lemire. I read it, rather quickly, then I moved on to Essex County, then Trillium and finally everything he ever released. This one book (The Underwater Welder) snowballed a series of graphic novels and writers like Neil Gaiman and he’s haunting story The Sandman, Garth Ennis and is brutal detail of God in Preacher, Brian K Vaughan’s Y The Last Man, Warren Ellis’s Transmetropolitan, and the list goes on and on. I was taken far away by these wonderful stories. That was it, I was hooked. I needed to write something in vein of these books, these amazing graphic novels. So, I contacted local artists and writers, meet a few face to face, exchanged emails and got more educated in the world of writing. Then I began to write, non-stop script after script. With a few short stories complete, I contacted an artist who was on the same page as me and my journey continues to this day. I haven’t published anything yet but I know deep down that day is still ahead of me. If I don’t make a single penny from my stories, I can live with that. The feeling I get every time I finish a script and send it off to my artist and see it transformed into a beautifully illustrated comic strip is more euphoric than any pay cheque. I am filling my artistic void every day, and I am a better father, husband and human being because of it.
Never give up on your dreams, because they are very important. They make us human, and bring us the songs, painting and stories that shape our lives for the better. Be inspired by the small things and be blown away but the larger. Live every second.
“Eternity is in love with the productions of time.” William Blake