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This year has been an interesting one...

January 19
My niece, Elektra was born. The date is significant because it is Edgar Allan Poe's birthday. Anyone who knows me, knows that I am a huge Poe fan. Two years ago, I created a Poe web site and this year it has become the most popular Poe site on the net -> www.poestories.com

February 15
My birthday was uneventful and a little sad. Jen, one of my best friends, moved to Portland, and another girl who claimed to be a friend, discarded our friendship for her new psycho jealous boyfriend.

March 30
I had a very successful gallery show in Fort Lauderdale. It was a solo show and I  made a time lapse film of the opening night -> youtube.com/watch?v=TpDA8uovTM…

May 2
My close friend Amanda, died of a heroin overdose. She had recently moved to San Francisco to pursue a career in web design. She was an amazing artist, photographer, model, and philosopher. I had just talked to her the week before. She said she missed me and wanted me to come visit her. I wish I had. She was 26. Her myspace -> www.myspace.com/girlbeatnick

July 13
While on my annual road trip from FL to NY, I spent the day with the most amazing person I have ever met. She is a singer songwriter poet dancer photographer gypsy hacker magician. Oh, and she loves Edgar Allan Poe. One day we shall meet again.

September 4
Kiewit, one of the biggest construction companies in the world did a Google search for a time lapse photographer in Florida and found my gallery show time lapse from earlier this year. After meeting with them, they hired to me to do a time lapse film of a huge bridge construction project in Miami. It was hugely successful. I'll have it online at some point.

November 22
My mom and I brought my dad home after he nearly died from going to the hospital for a voluntary knee surgery. After the operation, he was pumped full of painkillers and put in a room with someone who was very ill. My dad caught pneumonia and had to be moved to ICU. Stay away from hospitals- they kill people. Don't believe me? look it up.
  • Listening to: Front242
  • Watching: tempus fugit
  • Eating: organic trail mix
As an artist, I want to be a positive influence on other creative people.

What does this mean? It certainly does not mean I should act like some parent and scold them or tell them what they should or should not do. It doesn't mean I should be condescending or sanctimonious either. On the contrary, the fact that I have experienced many ups and downs; the fact that I have not been the model citizen; the fact that I have always been rebellious; the fact that I am indeed an artist in all respects, gives me valuable insight into the lives of those who I can have a positive influence on.

I don't deal well with everything. I am moody and self absorbed. I have many thoughts and images in my mind that will not go away. Frequently they prevent me from sleeping at night. Still, I don't believe in medicating myself into a stupor. Sure, I could stifle these visions and lead a "normal" life, work 9 to 5, and have 2.5 kids, but that's not for me. That's not the life a true artist is meant to live. An artist is meant to struggle. Look at any of the great, dead painters, writers, sculptors, philosophers, and inventors that we still talk about and admire today. They all had issues.

Before you go pointing out execeptions, realize that I'm not talking about those people. Don't mistake success for happiness, or even sanity.  

Am I suggesting that its okay for you to be an alcoholic or a morphine addict if you're the creative type? No. I'm pointing out that I understand the need for the artist to escape from his or her own reality. I do not pretend to have the skills of my favorite author, Edgar Allan Poe, but I can fully relate to his need to drink! With the kind of visions that poured out of his mind, who wouldn't need to  numb their senses on a regular basis? Notice I didn't say he needed to drink because of all the tragedy and hardship that surrounded him. No, I believe it was the unrelenting deluge of dark prose that poured from his imagination. Poe's hardships in life merely provided the fertile ground in which his creative genius took root. Show me people who are not artists and I'll show you people who do just fine when the world around them is falling apart.

So what should you do? Should you drink? Should you smoke pot? Should you try heroin? There is no answer I can give you other than they can each contribute to your demise, especially the last one. My good friend Amanda, who I loved dearly, died this year from a heroin overdose. She was both beautiful and brilliant, a painter, photographer, web designer, and philosopher. She would constantly quote Nietzsche and Shakespeare. We would have little debates about whose thoughts were more disturbing. Every now and then I'd win. What's my point? Anything done to excess will put an end to your artistic career and some things are safer than others.

I find it ridiculous that marijuana is illegal while people can drink themselves into oblivion, jump in their cars, and kill people. I'm not implying that alcohol should be illegal either. Doesn't anyone learn anything from history? I could go on but that's a different topic.

Find your balance. Yes, I realize "artist" and "balance" are seemingly contradictory terms but you can still try. I believe its possible for an artist to find balance in their life but it will be different for each of us. If you're like Poe and you need a stiff drink to subdue your demons, remember that you need those demons. Give them free reign when it comes to your creative efforts. Realize that life is a struggle because you're an artist, not the other way around.

Sometimes I think the only thing that helps me stay balanced is having a couple of highly creative and intelligent friends to talk to. Amanda was one of those people and I miss her terribly. She had recently moved out to California, didn't know anyone out there, and made friends with some people who were probably not the best influence. She slipped back into old habits and made one fatal mistake.

Talk to other artists. Discuss your experiences, your triumphs, and tragedies with people who can relate to those things. Realize that sanity is relative. When the majority of the world claims to be sane and labels you as an outcast, realize that outcasts are responsible for many of the greatest achievements in art and science. Finally, look for that special person who understands you on a deeper level and love them forever.
  • Listening to: my heartbeat