August 31, 2010

Remembering August

By Daniel

Rumors of my demise are greatly exaggerated.

This month has been the best, busiest and most life-changing month I’ve ever experienced. Let me bring you up to speed.

Back in early August, Diana and I moved in together, which involved moving out of our respective cities and into a new town. We knew where we wanted to be, but even now as I sit here, looking out the window to see the sunset casting the Sandia Mountains red, it’s hard to believe that the hard work and determination paid off and we’re really here: Albuquerque, New Mexico.

The drive out here was an experience in itself, the first day was a long drive much like any other I’ve been on. The second, however, took us through the wind farms and hills of Western Oklahoma, the stark, desolate panhandle of Texas, devoid of life save for Amarillo, which seems to pop up from nothing and leaves you back on God’s definition of the flatlands just as quickly. After Texas was two hundred miles of New Mexico, and it included the most breathtaking driving of my life, through canyons and overlooking mesas and mountain ridges in the distance that evoked a thought I’d never had before, the thought that the landscape of where you call home could truly make you happy or sad, and maybe people are happier out here just because they get little flashes of the truly awesome in their day-to-day life. The fact that Diana and I still find breathtaking new views seemingly every week is confirmation in itself that we picked the right home, and in many ways I feel like I was always meant to end up here.

After moving quickly came work, four days after moving to a town where we knew nobody and had nary a box unpacked. I transferred with Best Buy to the store out here, about a ten minute drive which was great, but I was also moved into a new department, which was less great. Even though I’ve been with the company longer than a good chunk of the people here, there’s always that strange outsider feeling that comes with moving to a new store, with a new way of doing things. I floundered in my new department until two days ago when my department transfer went through, and that in itself has made a huge difference.

Perhaps more importantly wasn’t my job situation but her’s, as she couldn’t transfer store-to-store. But a little providence, maybe a sign that we’re finally getting some reward for our persistence, and she picked up a job two and a half weeks after we moved in. She starts tomorrow and it’s going to be the start of something wonderful, there’s enough artistic connections with this coffee shop that she may be able to make some contacts and friends in the local scene.

The one thing that I was both most and least excited about was the opportunity to go back to college, a real college. Most excited because it’s going to lead to a career more fulfilling than this, least excited because I’ve let myself down with regards to school and grades in the past. I decided to just take one class this semester, a professional writing class, as I’m going to be working 30-35 hour weeks all the way into the holiday season. My first day of class today, and it wasn’t until I was leaving class, walking through this busy campus with students everywhere, strangers to a man, that I realized I’m really back in school. It was an unusual feeling, something resonating that this was what I was aiming for, and for a long time, it’s been four years since I was at a real college, some of my friends from high school probably have their degrees already. It’s maybe not the cut-and-dried path that so many get to follow, but this path is slowly becoming clearer.

Finally, what may well end up being the most momentous thing to happen to us so far happened not six hours ago, at a restaurant across the street from UNM called Frontier. Diana met me there after class for a celebratory meal and she was keeping herself occupied in the meantime by writing about some of the artwork displayed at the restaurant, which is probably 250 feet long and 30 or 40 feet deep, split into five rooms, and there’s artwork displayed on every wall, if I had to hazard a count as to individual pieces I’d say between 70 to 100, mostly paintings but also a few sculptures in various media, tapestries and native blankets, and other little gems and treasures throughout the place. She and I were discussing two paintings displayed one above the other on the wall, and comparing and contrasting the two, and we got to talking about her career goals and that they’re fairly hazy right now. She enjoys analyzing the works, and writing about them, and I suggested she write about every piece in Frontier, and ask the owner if he had a list of which is which and by whom. She ended up talking to him that day, that hour, and as it turns out nobody has really asked him anything like this before. He’s setting her up to talk to some of the artists, get to know them, maybe some interview opportunities, and I didn’t mention it at the time but it seems like if the quality is there, there may be a possibility of publishing the whole thing, a Frontier art book. The possibilities are vast and the ball’s in her court right now, but the fact that the owner’s not only willing but quite interested in helping her may really get her somewhere she wants to be professionally, it’s connections like these that do more even than a prestigious degree. I’m going to be helping her with it, I can handle the photography if nothing else, and it’s exciting for the both of us.

It’s also good to know that I can still sit every now and then and write, and push out 1000+ words with no real trouble, the goal’s been an Education degree in my head for a year or two now but I can’t really rule out writing, in any of it’s forms. This is something that I’ll be picking up again almost by necessity, working in different styles again and just getting back in the proverbial saddle. The next piece is probably going to be a review of the new album by 10 Years, with a new criteria and scoring system much like how wines are rated, it’s a system I like and I’m gonna give it a shot. So, here’s a blanket apology for my recent lapses in writing, but this is also probably the best promise to myself I could make, to treat this whole experience in New Mexico for the adventure that it is, and write accordingly.

See you in September.