In Response To The Critic

The Critic had its say.  He’s a harsh one, that guy.  Still, I’ve been tumbling with him my whole life.  I know his game.

The Critic made it’s case.  But I get to reply:

Well, hello, old friend.

As I sit here in my small apartment, around the corner from my retail job and not far from the town in which I was raised, I can see your angle. Perhaps on paper, it does look as if I’ve not amounted to much in this life.

But that only holds up through the introduction. Take a moment. Get deeper. You’ll see what we (and yes, I include your contribution) have done. The life we have lived. The way we’ve fulfilled (and continue to fulfill) the mandate we long ago set before ourselves…that life is an adventure, a movie, a grand tale and that we must always live it that way.

I was never sure where to point myself, so I just stepped.

Ten years ago, I, a scrawny punk of a kid who hated gym class and loathed all involving athletics, stepped into a room at a local community college. Unknown to me at the time, those steps were the first in my becoming an athlete and extreme adventurer. Those steps would take me to rock walls in Wisconsin & West Virginia. Hikes throughout the country and the world, from the floor of the Grand Canyon to the highlands of Scotland. Floating on waterways from the Keys to Lake Superior and to the rapids of the Gauley. On hands and knees and stomach in the caves of Kentucky. Running road and trail races and beating my body in obstacle adventures. And that doesn’t even scratch at the nightlife we had on those trips. I’ve made stories.

I was never sure where to point myself, so I took what I could to pay the bills.

I’ve had jobs from janitor to office monkey to bartender. I’ve directed auditoriums and sat as an artist’s model. Assembly lines, sales floors and taxes. Construction, painting, landscaping and even phone book delivery. Just about anything one can do in an eating establishment. Not to mention getting paid to run around shooting videos and somehow convincing others to let me teach a class on how to do the same. I’ve lived lives.

I was never sure how to make art, so I trapped myself into figuring it out.

I once ran a series of open mics and I remember my envy of those on stage performing. One night, I underbooked the time slot and stuffed my notepad in my back pocket. When the acts were quickly running through, I had no choice but to put down my MC mic and stand before the crowd filling the time reading my own work.

With no script and no plan, I recruited an actor and crewman to make my first movie. I just started telling people about it. “Suddenly I had a cast and crew and a ton of other people around me waiting for my movie.” I had no choice but to figure it out.

On paper, I suppose we all look pretty mundane. But I’ve lived adventure and made stories, most of the time alongside people who have desks and families and yard work back home. We’re living, creating, and adventuring.

Seems pretty damn cool to me.

So you keep doing what you do and I’ll keep doing what I do.

Thanks for the motivation.