Still, Pretty Good YearÖ

I canít believe itís been a year of these things.

To look back and think where I was a year ago, and to think where I am now, itís amazing how much has changed and how much has stayed the same.

But thatís life I suppose.

I realized a couple of days ago that it has been a year of the Reprisal silliness. I realized that there have been people who have read all these words that I have spilled out, month by month, and I have had to ask myself why? Why have I been putting these ramblings on the Internet for anonymous people to read over and digest?

Itís a great deal of fun to actually take a look at your own motivations for doing something. To really get a good clean look at it, you have to get a good clean look at yourself. If you want to know what you have really been up to, you have to be unafraid to take a look at the why of things. Why is by no means an easy question.

Why is a question that many people spend their lives asking. Itís a scary question.

When I first started writing these things, I was living in an apartment, trying desperately to get the web page up. I had what I what I thought was a near perfect life.

I was, of course, wrong.

The first Reprisal was intended to be wit. It was intended to provoke thought, but at the same time, put a smile on a face. Really, who else writes about soft core porn and teen programming without looking for a bit of a laugh?

But then life happened. As it does.

One of the reasons that I enjoy performing as much as I do is because when you are on stage, you get to say whatever it is you have to say without the fear of interruption. Not only that, but you can be completely honest, and most people wonít even notice what you are actually up to.

The Reprisals became like that.

Every month, I sit down and I write what I want. Every month I sit down and I try to write something that not only makes other people think, but something that makes me think.

The second Reprisal was the one of the ones that I actually received a great deal of e-mails over. They were evenly spilt into two camps. The first camp was those that thought that I was ripping off another story written by another musician at another time. The second camp was one that seemed to understand that it was nothing more than a story of something that happened. It was nothing more than a tribute.

Over time, the Reprisals became something even more than that. While initially the motivation for writing them came from god only knows where, they became a safe place for me to express my thoughts and tell my stories without having to worry about interruption.

Interruption is a bitch it is.

Thereís a freedom in being able to say, or at least allude to, all the things that a person would never normally say in polite conversation. The Reprisals were never about me just going off, they were about me trying to say what I wanted to say.

One thing I have learned in the writing of these things is that if you dare to say something challenging, but do it in what appears to be a tasteful way, you can actually get people to think.

Enter "Bar Tub Girls"Ö

Not my favorite Reprisal, but definitely the one that got the most response. It amazes me how many women (and in all fairness, men) validate themselves through their ability to either use or be used by other people. As a species, we have this need for validation. As a species, we have this need to distract ourselves from the things that we donít want to face about ourselves.

It seems to be hard wired.

We seem to have this need to think that something isnít good enough. We seem to have this need to think that we arenít good enough. We sell ourselves, and the thing that might really be "it", short in an attempt to see if in fact there is some idealized version of reality waiting around the corner.

"Bar Tub GirlsÖ" is about how easily we can allow fear to become the primary motivator in our lives. And when we do, what a terrible price we pay.

When we donít give something that might be real a chance, when we sacrifice "what is" for "what if", everyone pays the price.

Assuming of course that "what is", is real.

But see, we can tell that. We try to pretend we canít, but we can. We try to pretend that weíre not throwing wooden shoes into our own machines, but in truth, if we are looking at something real, most of us get scared, and so we run.

Whoops, those digression gods seem to have snuck up on me again.

Back on topic.

Sort of.

So much happens in the span of a year. So many changes. Another reason I wanted to do the whole Reprisals thing is so that I might have a record. A record, however abstract, of where I have been.

My mother asked me tonight if the Reprisals and various other projects that I am working on are self-indulgent. In a way I suppose they are. But yet, in another way, there is a large part of me that hopes that someone might be able to see some sense in my ramblings and perhaps that might serve to make their lives a little easier.

Iím not going to pretend that I donít care. I do.



So where do I go from here?

It would be amazingly arrogant of me to even try to answer that question. If there is one thing that the last year has taught me is that life is an incredibly unpredictable little best. Just when you think you have a handle on things, thatís when something happens that leaves you shaking your head and saying, "What the fuck?"

But thatís what makes things interestingÖ

If there are two messages that I would like to send forth, if there are two things that I want to say, Iíll say them here.

First of all, a person should never underestimate his or her own worth. Life conditions us to believe that we are something less than we are. Life conditions us to believe that we somehow deserve less than what we do. For the record, I believe that is absolute bullshit.

The good things in the world were not made by pragmatists. The good things in the world were not made by people who chose to hide themselves behind caution. The good things in the world were made by dreamers. A dream is the best asset that a person can have.

If there was one message that I might pass out, it is simply to dream.

The second message is that a person can indeed make a difference. The world we live in is full of compromise. We live in a world where taking a chance is easily outweighed by some idea of certainty. It doesnít matter to most of us what the cost of that certainty is. We chase after that idea. We chase after the notion that there is some sort of guarantee.

There are no guarantees.

All of my heroís are dead. All of the people that I admire are long since gone. This might be as much an issue of convenience as and issue of truth. A dead hero canít let you down. But at the same time, someone who put everything on the line for nothing more than a chance, that is in my mind one of the most beautiful and inspiring things that there can be.

One person can make a difference. For some reason we seem to feel the need to measure the magnitude of difference. Any difference that a person might make in a positive way is a good thing. Period.

Then againÖ

I might just be a dreamer.

And times are hard for dreamers.

Itís been a year.

Iím still here.

And I intend to be here a year from now.