Monthly Archives: January 2014

Everything was better before.

Maybe once a week somebody will tell me that my work was way better a few years ago. And then I think back a few years, when somebody else was telling me that my work was better a few years ago. That leaves me with three possible explanations.

First: I’m getting progressively worse, but my initial work was so amazing that, even after years of denigration, it’s still drawing in new fans who think this watered down crap is the best thing they’ve ever seen. The first column I ever wrote was about how science hates your penis. I don’t think this is the correct answer.

Second: Evolution and growth can sometimes be alienating. People’s tastes slowly change, and what appealed to them once will not appeal to them forever. It’s why you don’t still play with your Cowboys of Moo Mesa action figures. Plus, all creators will (hopefully) develop over time. What they do next year may not appeal to last year’s fans. If it was otherwise, they would just be endlessly repeating themselves. And what’s the point of that?

It’s one of the sadder aspects of reality, but you may not always love the things you love now. When that time comes, you shouldn’t flip the table and scream yourself bloody, accusing everything around you of turning into bullshit. You don’t need to smash all your toys with a hammer when you outgrow them. You can just gracefully move on to what does make you happy, and try to remember all the value that thing once gave you. You can get into music, or cars, or girls, and forget all about those childish things that used to mean the world to you. Maybe one day, when you’re older, you’ll be up in a dusty attic somewhere and you’ll open a box. And you’ll say with a smile: “There you are Marshal Moo Montana – I wondered what happened to you.”

Third: You’re an asshole.

A Blinking Cursor

A blank page. An empty canvas. A blinking cursor in a brand new Word doc.

I sit here staring at it.

I spend a large chunk of my life, just staring at that intermittent line. Hating it. Cursing it. Somehow — and don’t ask me to explain any further because I know it’s wholly irrational — but somehow, that cursor blinks at the exact frequency of mockery.

Fuck. Blink. You. Blink. Fuck. Blink. You. Blink.

I know how to overcome it. I do it professionally, I beat the cursor for a living. But that doesn’t mean the feeling goes away. It’s the infinite terror of potential. Opportunity is the scariest thing in the world.

Ever try to figure out a restaurant with your significant other, only to wind up in an argument? It’s so easy, so trivial – we could go anywhere, everywhere – what do you feel like ingesting right now so that your body will continue to work for another day or two, you son of a bitch?! Tell me! But you don’t have a suggestion. Neither do they.

That’s the only reason Applebee’s exists.

What do you want for your birthday? Easy answer, when you’re a kid. Your experience is limited, so your desires are limited. You understand candy and Legos, so you ask for candy and Legos and hopefully you get either candy or Legos….unless your parents hate you and buy you socks.

But now you’re an adult. Your experience is wide, your desires are vast. And somebody asks you: What do you want for your birthday?

You freeze up.

You can visit anywhere in the world. Right now. Where do you go first? You answered that one quickly. But then, you don’t travel as much as you’d like, and you’ve been waiting for this moment. Now, what’s your second destination? Hey, that was pretty fast, too. Your third choice? What about your twentieth? If you could visit any of the millions of locations on this planet, what is the thirty-fifth place you’d go? It’s such a big world, and thirty-five isn’t that great a number. Surely, you haven’t run out of ideas yet…

But you know what was nice? Paris. Let’s go back.

I can’t think of a restaurant. Let’s just do Applebee’s again.

It’s easier to be a tourist than a local. Give us limitless choice, and we are paralyzed by potentiality. This is the problem with being a creator: A painter, a musician, a writer – it doesn’t matter what the medium is — If you make something, you always start with nothing. You begin with empty hands. You’re staring at a billion potential paths, each one a twisting line rendered in a different color. Do you follow the blue? The green? The pink looks pretty today. But there are so many colors, so many paths, and they wander so wildly. Look how they overlap: The lines criss and cross and back again and you realize that every color taken together leaves you with white.

A blank page. An empty canvas. A blinking cursor in a brand new Word doc.

That bastard cursor, and its bastard blinking.