Closet Treasures: A Time Capsule From 13 Year Old Me

As a young lad, I would doodle on random scraps of paper in class. Later on, I became more and more obsessed with drawing. It just seemed so perfect to my developing preteen mind; it was an opportunity to make something from nothing, pure creation. There were no limitations except those in my own mind, so anything I could see in my head I could try to recreate on paper.

 

Before long I was spending my allowance on pencils and sketch pads, and my free time laying graphite on paper in a constant act of expressed creativity. In those years, my family didn’t have a hell of a lot, and the realization that by utilizing some creativity I could create something from almost nothing was transformative to how I viewed the world. It made me place an inherent value on the creative will present in all objects. Everything around us in our modern world was once just a thought, and it became a physical thing only through deliberate creation. I’ve always had a fascination with machinery and mechanical design, and now I see as much creative grace in the cogs of a playground carousel as in a beautifully choreographed ballet. Call it unromantic, but to me it all seems to boil down to a willful celebration of being human. We have the ability, and sometimes compulsion, to bring order to chaos, to arrange and control wild elements to achieve our goals, and the product is a representation of the mind behind it.

 

This is where it started for me, you may notice that any dates on these are around 1997-1998 or thereabouts. That’s because when I turned 14, I worked for my dad’s roofing company for a summer, bought my first electric guitar, and that’s been my creative passion ever since. I still draw every once in a great while to see if I can still make the lead go where I want, but for the most part this is a chapter in my life that ran its course long ago. The aspects of my character that it triggered, though, are some of the most deeply rooted beliefs I have.

 

So here is where that journey began.old art 001 old art 002 old art 003 old art 004 old art 005 old art 006 old art 007 old art 008 old art 009 old art 010 old art 011 old art 012 old art 013 old art 014 old art 015 old art 016 old art 017

 

May you all find something that you can pour yourself into!

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New Things, Familiar Feeling

A little background, when I was fourteen I spent one summer working for my dad’s roofing company. When I had finished, I had achieved three things. Enough cash to buy my first electric guitar, a killer farmer’s tan, and a healthy distaste for roofing.

I bought that guitar, and played it constantly. My parents would laugh at how often they would find me asleep on the couch, “Old Blue” clutched right beside me. Playing those six strings gave me a constant during the awkward years of high school and has been a constant for me ever since. I graduated and got my dream job at the time, apprentice luthier at a local music shop. I sold guitars, fixed guitars, talked guitars, breathed guitars, and above all played a LOT of guitars.

I met my wife at that music shop, and some of my fondest early memories of us involve music. She’d be there cheering at gigs or bringing pans of brownies to band practice. I’d often go home after a date and play for hours, sometimes until dawn, just feeling inspired. It’s something that’s always been with me during the moments I want to remember.

In the last couple years, it’s had to share that distinction with another loved activity. Since my wife and I began running it has provided me with an outlet to explore new boundaries and expand my concept of who I am, what I am capable of, and who I want to be. Running and racing ultramarathon distances is an opportunity to challenge myself in ways everyday life could never offer. It has become an integral part of who I am and how I see the world.

When we decided to first try trail running I had no idea how much it would take hold, but the air was filled with the excitement of a new spin on something I already loved. When I decided to attempt to take up a new instrument, the banjo, a similar excitement arose in my gut. A new breath of life given to something already held dear.

So when the thought struck to use my banjo head as a canvas, one thing popped into my head immediately. One of my favorite and most scenic landmarks of the Western States Endurance Run course is No Hands Bridge in Auburn. To me it represents all the work and emotions that go into training for an enormous undertaking like running that race, just as an incredible amount of practice and effort go into mastering a new instrument, or any other art, for that matter.

So here it is, in several states of progress.

Banjo 1 Banjo 2 Banjo 3 Banjo 4

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go practice….