Thursday, June 12, 2014

WDYDWYD Part 1

Photo courtesy of Kyle Harmon
I've never been to Burning Man. It was one of these phenomenon that arrived a little too late in my life for me to truly appreciate. Were I a younger man with literally thousands of dollars, weeks of time, and an abundance of unused brain cells at my disposal, I would make that yearly pilgrimage to the middle of the desert not giving a flying cuss as to my motivations for doing so. Sure, I would have gone. But, I'm not that younger man anymore. The older man is failing to see the appeal in it.

I didn't have Burning Man when I was growing up. We had The Grateful Dead when Uncle Jerry was still alive. Back then, it was different. Back then, it was all about freedom and love...and...music and...expressing yourself...and...oh, never mind.

Honestly, the much-hyped festival has hardly crossed my mind in years. That is, until recently when I was reminded of one the movement's rallying cries: WDYDWYD? I'm sure there are one or two of you out there that are nodding in recognition, but the rest of you are all like, "Does he know he printed a typo... in all caps?" Stick with me, explanations in the form of long winded posts are coming.

~***~

Got knocked down again last week.

Strange feeling, this. This feeling that all of your progress gets swept from underneath you. Perhaps it's some psychic payback from some botched employment from years ago. Perhaps it's the universe letting me know that this is how it's going to be when I strike out on my own. I'm hoping that all the bad stuff is getting out of the way early so the rest of my endeavor would provide smoother sailing.

Here's to hoping.

I took some time off. Partially because I needed to regroup. I needed to regroup because I spent a lot of time on some t-shirt designs that I thought were at least slightly unique, only to be told that all my hours of planning and constructing and publishing that I needed a note from a live author and a dead author in order to continue using a concept; I wrote a Stephen King quote in Quenya. Granted, I should have researched further to find out that the quote I used was in The Shawshank Redemption, but it didn't matter because the quote was written in a fictional language. It didn't matter because at the end of the day, nobody cares!

Nobody cares.

You can read this? Man, you're good!
In today's world, the most anyone is able to do is just catch a quick glance at what you're wearing, like it, dislike it, acknowledge it, and move on before they get accused of staring at someone's chest. I honestly don't think that people will stop someone on the street who is wearing my shirt and say, "HEEEEEYYYY!....Hold on a minute!...is that a Stephen King quote?" For a while, I was thinking that it might have been better if I left a few things out of the description of the product. Maybe I shouldn't have name-dropped and played dumb, "Uhhh, I made this. I don't know what it is...anybody want it?"

The rules stipulate that I can't use a quote for monetary gain if the author is still alive and the only quotes I could use are the ones in the public domain, or if the author has been dead for at least 70 years. If the author is still alive, you need to ask permission. Fine. I made a mistake. I don't think I should have been censored for it, though. I didn't see what the problem was and I told this company so, which also turned out to be final correspondence as I yanked all my designs from the site and shut down my store.You could say I threw a tantrum. I did. I'll admit it. I picked up my football and went home. Not because I felt I was unjustly scrutinized...well...not entirely, anyway. I did this because several other designers on several other websites (including the one I just left) are doing and have been doing the exact same thing, but on a grander, perhaps more professional scale, and no one bats an eyelid. I contribute my ideas, and I'm told that I'm breaking the law. How can other people do it with impunity, and I get crushed?

All of a sudden, I'm back at my grade/middle/high schools where I'm getting beat up because the color of my skin was a threat. All of a sudden, I'm making a point about the First Amendment and expression at a previous job, only to be
told I was being ridiculous. All of a sudden, I'm told by the woman that I wanted to spend the rest of my life with that the business plan that we both came up with was a bad idea and it's all my fault that it didn't work, and that was the reason she was leaving me.

All of a sudden, I'm left with nothing but great ideas and good intentions of which no one cares. Just like always.

I took some time off.

"Chewie, is that you?"
I'm a freshly minted father. I'm an old father with a fresh coat of paint. For the passed few days, I've been sitting in front of my screen trying unsuccessfully to type with one hand while I cradle a baby and a bottle with the other. I found it more important to look into my boy's eyes and to kiss his chubby cheeks and to have little conversations about whatever's on his little baby mind then to scream into a vacuum and ultimately get nothing done anyway. Of course, these days, he takes a lot of naps and when he does look at me, he looks at me with this little disappointed look. I know, in the grand scheme of things, he's just moments old and he is still working on focusing on things that are a few inches in front of him. But I can't help but think I see my own reflection when I look at him, and it chills my bones; this disappointment feedback.

I haven't posted anything in days, and I hadn't planned on it either. I needed a break, and that involves doing a whole bunch of nothing. Take the time to breathe. Get my bearings straight. Clear my head. Start fresh when I'm ready. Before I took my sabbatical, I engaged with fellow Google plussers by inquiring if anyone knew of a place where I wouldn't be scrutinized on a daily basis and conduct my business peacefully. One of the answers came back in the form of a question. +Deborah Chezem asked:


I wanted to respond. I really, really did. I had every intention of going through my back-story one more time and probably give her all the links to my posts that pretty much say the same thing over and over again. I could have gone that route, but a memory from back in my Facebook days came back and painted the question in a different color. What are my needs? Why am I doing this? To put this another way...

Why Do You Do What You Do?

Am I doing this for the right reasons? Are my intentions correct? Is there such a thing in regards to this?

More on this later...