I’ve confirmed what I suspected about myself long ago: the party train is no longer for me.
My friends had tickets to see Dashboard Confessional (well-known for Stolen, among other songs) and invited me along, and since I haven’t seen my friends in quite some time, I thought it would be fun to hang out again and catch up on life events. So, off we went via Lyft to the Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas. While the Chelsea was a great venue, the acoustics decent, and the view from just about anywhere pretty good (save for the 7ft tall dude who kept standing in front of my 5’2″ frame), the scene simply does not play into what I envision as an ideal evening out. People packed in everywhere, overpriced drinks, inability to carry on a normal conversation due to the noise level- you know, typical concert spectacle. Plus, the show wasn’t over until sometime around 12:30 am, after which the young folks line up to hit the clubs.
We did not hit the clubs.
By 12:30 am, I am toast. Unless I’m having lively conversations with close friends and listening to the jukebox at a dive bar, wrapping up a late movie and grown-up time at home, or checking out a celestial event in the skies above, the only thing I want to see at that hour is the back of my eyelids. I prefer to rise early and kick ass for the day rather than feel like I’ve been whacked upside the head with a cinder block.
No, I’d say the party train departed this station a long time ago and I have zero desire to board once again. I gladly leave the fun to the youngsters and party people of the world.
I’ve been out of commission for a while. Not as in a my-organs-were-removed/repaired-and-I’m-recuperating sort of way, but in an I’ve-lost-all-drive-to-write sort of way. Personally, the former would be easier for me to deal with. I have a pretty high pain tolerance and not all organs are necessary for survival. Just ask Slim Goodbody.
You know you want it.
I attempted to pinpoint when the creative breakdown was conceived, but I failed to locate that nefarious moment. I’ve no recent traumatizing situations to speak of, save for my friend’s Christmas party where she kept dumping out my drink in order to wash my glass. I would set down my glass to talk to someone and then turn back around to take a sip of wine only to discover it sprouted legs and trotted away. (I must warn you that one has to watch their plate around her, too. It’s a compulsion she’s…
Let me clarify: By lazy, I don’t mean that I refused to work, collected unemployment benefits, and used food stamps to purchase an abundant supply of the Northwest’s finest IPA. To the contrary, I worked my tail off at a stressful job in order to enjoy those hoppy, bitter beverages.
The laziness to which I refer is in creative terms. Well, creative and physical fitness terms. Admittedly, I did gain an average of 1.56 lbs per month- yes, an astounding 25 pounds during my 16-month stay in Portland. The majority of the weight crept on during those cozy fall and winter seasons when I would wrap myself in a thick blanket, sink into my sofa, and lose myself in Rushdie while listening to the rain bounce against the window panes.
When I first moved to Oregon, I mistakenly assumed I would feel inspired to pen myriad screenplays and complete my novel while frolicking in paradise. I mean, who wouldn’t feel creative stirrings within when you have views like these every single day?
I’m well aware that inspiration is not so much “inspiration” as it is commitment: strapping yourself to your chair and getting black on white. However, I frequently fell into a dreamy state when my fingers tapped the keyboard. I began my session focused and determined, my creative plan in motion, but at some point my eyes shifted to the misty world outside my patio doors and daydreams would seize control of my brain. The muted tones of life lulled me into complacency, and I often allowed myself to settle, to think “tomorrow, I’ll do it tomorrow.” After numerous attempts to self-motivate, I did manage a creative reset of sorts in February when I wrote nearly every day, and since then I write on (more or less) a regular basis. Terrible prose, sometimes only a simple paragraph or two, but what am I to expect after taking an extended leave of absence?
Now here I sit and write as I roast in the desert once again. I think I am one of the many victims of the brutal rent increase in Portland (my rent in a suburb of Portland increased nearly $300/month during my stay). Although this return to Nevada wasn’t in my life plan, I can’t help but to feel there’s some reason beyond my understanding as to why I’m here once again.
Or maybe that feeling is a mere coping mechanism. I’m not yet sure.
I do know that I left not but two weeks ago and I already find myself wanting to write and actually sitting every single day to get it done. I’m in the process of developing a new blog platform for myself and restructuring creative projects. And I’ve dropped some weight. Mostly because it’s too freaking hot here to want to eat anything and I have zero immediate access to excellent grub and brews.
As in our favorite cozy spot, a terrific gathering place (as you will see) with great happy hour food and craft beer, just a mere two and a half blocks from our home:
Portland was my paradise and in a few ways my ruination. I didn’t accomplish much this past year, but I met and befriended incredible people: coworkers who became my close friends, musicians, artists, writers, a vintner, brewers, friends who took us boating and (!) crabbing on the coast, and a professor at Reed- the dearest of all. I had fantastic, hilarious, and some downright crappy experiences that I’ll share in time along with many more pictures.
While I no longer have paradise at my fingertips, I once again have something infinitely more valuable: a fire within.