I was in Belfast and Dublin for the weekend to visit Chris (who probably hates this photo of him in a café in Belfast with bras hanging from the ceiling). He's smart, driven and I'm quite sure he's destined to end up in far more awesome situations than I'd even know how to describe.
On the way back, I dug into a copy of Wired UK magazine and tried to enjoy the article about Dark Matter, despite it wibbling into the occasional lazy metaphor and, to my surprise, I succeeded. Mostly because of a sense of schadenfreude at the difficulties and sense of futility that the scientists were expressing at trying to prove that nothingness doesn't exist, or that nothingness exists, or at least that nothingness has matter. Add to that the desperation of the people from NASA whose quest to send people to other planets is starting to sound more and more like it's becoming just a theme park for wealthy people to pretend they're weightless for a little while, and I'm left with an impression of people piling their entire lives into utterly useless endeavours.
If they can waste 0.5% of the US's financial resources on toys like that, then why on earth shouldn't I devote my time, energy and intellect to similarly useless goals like getting to see the Bronchioles in a syndicated strip somewhere, or Tweaker Mum appearing in Butt Magazine? Why should I feel like it's not a meaningful pursuit to crave an income from drawing and writing however I can get it?
There was another article in there about how there are two fundamental problems you can have in life: You can know what you want but not how to get it, or you can not know what you want. I think that for a long time I didn't really know what I wanted, only what I wanted to run away from - an office job, a sense of feeling beholden to anyone, mice, post-traumatic stress and watered down soup. Now, I'm not a victim of any of those particularly (and I don't like my miso soup that strong anyway) so I need to be defining my goals in positive terms rather than in looking only at what they're not and trying to infer what they might be. Oh, it's so symbolic of the quest for dark matter, isn't it? The search for gravity in the void? Meh, I know what I want.
I'd like a regular income from drawing. I want to get a strip in a magazine or two by the time I finish my MA. I want to write and draw a graphic novel that someone else prints, markets and distributes by the time I'm 35 (or 40 if I'm busy with other fun things). I want to exhibit and sell drawings and paintings. I want Badger to break some more hearts. I want a puppy and a little space where I can grow carrots. I want money enough to be able to comfortably afford the trip to Burning Man, or another means of getting there each year. I want to be actively engaged in ways of making society a little bit happier.
There are so many life goals I've achieved - I've travelled, I've been on TV in comical ways, I've rotted half my brain cells with drugs, I've overcome depression, I've got a very solid group of friends around me and love on terms that I love. I don't feel like I'm living out someone else's script for how my life should be.
So, it's manifesto time. I know what I want, and perhaps it's time to try to bring some of this focus to bear and avoid getting side-tracked into things that I end up doing because I can't think of what I'd rather be doing. Like Chris and his mission to perform and direct, like Jonathan's mission to travel and find adventure while owning most of London, I think I can finally start to look past the pain and injuries that have defined so much of my life to date and start to look at the things I want to plant, rather than the things I want to bury. My hands may always be weak and my arm scarred, but I'm going to let that line on my arm be a reminder that I can't get drawing into being all things to all people if it's going to tear me into confetti trying to be seven things at once.
So, Wired magazine, in a year or two, you'll be writing about me and there'll be photos of me sat on a rooftop garden with a row of carrots, some home-made lemonade, a puppy at my feet and the biggest grin you've ever seen on my face.
Well, perhaps after I've finished reading Bizarre and wanting to sleep with girls with facial tattoos. Hmm, maybe that will go on my to-do list, too. Oh, and possibly a good night's sleep.
Naah, tattoo sex it is.