Acceptance. That is how I got here to this moment, sitting in Munich, Germany at 6:30 a.m., and thinking of the best way to introduce myself to all of you. HERE and THERE will serve as a bi-monthly column, an outlet of my thoughts, experiences, and ponderings, which will cover anything and everything I am compelled to sort out. My opening salvo will be a brief re-cap of how I arrived at a point in time where I needed a website, was recording a third album, finishing a debut novel, and chasing stories and adventure. Acceptance, that is my one word answer. Not the acceptance of others. Rather, it was the acceptance of myself and a lurking suspicion that became a swarming truth. Acceptance was the first, maybe the largest, obstacle I encountered on my way to here and now. For a long time, I tried to encapsulate my work as a writer and a musician within a box labeled: HOBBY. It would be a side interest, a side-kick to whatever career I'd choose. But, whether it was the luck of several bouts of misfortune, a few cases of failure, the patience of loved ones, an incessant itch to explore, a chronic unwillingness to quit until the choice was no longer my own, or a mind that finally opened entirely, I accepted the work I needed to pursue. I was a writer. I was a musician. I joined the family business. It has been one hell of a ride so far. I look forward to every stomach flipping turn and body-shifting drop to come.
Boundaries of distance, culture, sexual identity, political affiliation, and many other communal markers are fraying. The world grows closer. We are finding our way into the substantive grey area, the border lands where intersections take place. Within this space there is a mutual possibility of both fear and hopeful opportunity. I find comfort in such places where I follow trails of humanity, thoughtful reflection, and an instinct for the action. I will deliver to you, from the nether-lands: Happenings, people's stories, the plight of victims, the agendas of villains, and the milestones of our time.
I can fulfill my promised delivery of stories, in part, because of the home my parents raised me in and because of the meld of experiences I have had so far. You see, I was raised by artists, philosophers, teachers, storytellers, and other creatives entering and exiting the periphery of my existence. Art and creation transcended my world. I learned music from the many greats sounding off through speakers in my childhood home. A song book of Neil Young's, now yellowed, expanded my view on songwriting. Veracious reading habits marinated my mind in the balance needed to structure a story upon the page. Art shows were a common occurrence. I wandered around talking to people, watching people, and considering the art on display when I was not sampling the tables adorned with snacks. I happily participated in the game, "What is your favorite painting?" a neat way to engage a young person's mind with the art they are confronted with. Regardless of the quality of the artwork and the mastery of the craft, it has always been people I was most interested in. I've always seen people as people, an outlook I am sure was learned. And, I know Kermit The Frog offered similar words, but it was a mantra growing up. Look someone in the eye, listen, and when it is time to speak, speak who you are and interesting things can happen. It is one of the principles I focus upon when creating and living. Tricky things can come to pass when a person forgets to be real.
In retrospect, I am amazed there was so much confusion regarding the path my life would take. Photos, memories, and stories scream to me now, with merciless energy, the answer I spent so many years looking for. Why were they muted back then? On the darker days, I think I spent all of that time running from what I knew I needed to confront. I kept the truth clamped down. I tried to hide behind academics, work, financial practicality, and a long list of other veils. You see, I knew how hard the life of an artist can be. I knew that the work of an artist, stripped of romanticism and drenched in reality, is often unrelenting, challenging, and exposing. I knew the extreme commitment art requires and deserves and how far it is from the often perceived work of "slackers." It was not a flippant decision, but a decision of great consideration and acceptance of consequence. But, courage was summoned and desperation pushed me across the line and into one of the great scraps of my life. To win, in most conflicts, fear must be put aside and a willingness to confront the great joust embraced. This time, instead of a physical foe, I battled the ghosts and the doubt. I emerged ready to duke it out with whatever scourge of injustice crossed my path. There are many.
Birds can be heard outside the window, a reminder of spring's arrival. This introduction has run long enough. It is time to wrap it up. I'll have more to say soon. But, before I pick up my trusted guitar resting beside me, know this: Whomever you are and whomever you may be, I have been in and out of the border-lands for a long time. A part of me has always been there. And, now, this will be my space, my current platform sharing my trinity of creative output: The Writer, The Musician, and The Reporter. Whatever exits were taken, doors opened, or paths followed, we ended up both here and there. I've ridden on the ragged edge, stared down at the roaring abyss, and I now accept my life's work. I am a poet warrior traveling and working my way from town to town. I am not the nameless man, a fleeting shadow. I am Dylan Laurion. And, these are my words.
Post-Script: People have always lamented the lack of job security in the arts. I've always been inclined to agree. I've witnessed a great many creatives struggling to make ends meet. But, why the hell is that the case? There should be good job security as an artist, especially if one of your principle aims is to give the world scope. There is a great need for that. And, if hampering and reigning in the bastards and sons-of-bitches, of which there are many, is a part of your work, there should never be a slow day. That is that. Tit for tat.
April 17, 2015