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Last week:

Monday and Tuesday were a race to get things done before my scheduled time off. The first two weeks of May are "Cleanup Week" in the area, so actually "Cleanup Fortnight" I guess, and as we've done for years I take time off so we can participate. It used to be for driving around and picking up other people's garbage to clean and fix it and either resell or use ourselves, but starting last year we began throwing out more than we picked up, trying to gain space in the garage and storage units. Each day so far we've made a couple trips to the storage unit, filled up one or more vehicles and left it on our curb, where the pile then slowly disappears like snow in spring, as strangers drive by and take our garbage to clean and fix, and then use or resell, and so goes the Circle Of Life.

Aside from this, the past week was also Participation Week. In deciding to go back to school, I've been forced to reflect on what I did wrong the first time I was in higher education. One of the things I failed to do was Participate. In theatre, someone was always performing somewhere, or there was an extracurricular event of some sort, and I never went, never supported my fellow students unless I was part of the event itself.

So, at MSUM, there were two things on the calendar: One, the film-watching club had a screening of The Shining, which I went to as my inaugural attendance, which was just watching a movie, but I hadn't seen The Shining before so that was good. The screening was poorly attended presumably because of the second event of the week: Friday was the "Capstone" screening of all the film production seniors' final projects. This was fun, technical problems aside - although a pretentious film critic might say that you should be able to watch a film without sound and still hit the emotional beats, but I don't think that's the goal here. On arriving your were confronted with a sign next to a table of cupcakes and cookies saying "DON'T TOUCH, WATCH THE MOVIES FIRST" but while the sound playback problems were resolved the faculty graciously let the attendees eat cookies early. There were five projects, three live action and two animated, with a Q&A with the creators after each; the energy of people showing off something they created doing something they love is infectious and I'm looking forward to my own Capstone in about three years.

Next Week:

I'll still be off Monday and Tuesday for Cleanup Fortnight, and then back to work Wednesday to do a week's worth of work in three days, but then Saturday could be fun: a local comic shop is having an anniversary event, which coincides with Free Comic Book Day, and this confluence will also include an appearance by comic book writer Chris Claremont. Back in the eighties, I was a big fan of the comic The New Mutants: me, a geeky teenager, reading a comic about teenagers discovering their superpowers, what was appealing about that? Claremont is one of the creators of this comic, and by acquiring my brother's comic book collection when he passed and combining it with my own I believe I have a complete set of New Mutants, including two copies of issue #1, one of which I plan on getting autographed during the event. I believe I'll be going with my daughter Allie, a rare event for just the both of us, in one of our common hobbies. Aside from that, our house's actual Cleanup Week is the 2nd week, so we get an extra weekend of piling things on our curb, if D and my bodies can handle that much lifting, carrying, and moving.

There's a little pilot light in me; it's to kick off the Creative Writing bug. In the past seven years or so, I've barely written anything, a few lengthy things on Facebook or responses to threads on Reddit or Metafilter, but nothing really substantial. But, either that pilot light has been too weak to fire things up, or it's glowing its brightest and I let my fuel tank go empty, but either way I'm a couple years deep into writer's block.

And, really, my writing outlets had been drying up - I did have a sweet gig with Prairie Public but ran out of stories; other places had dried up, and that's mostly due to how the internet works. I like to blame social media, my writing began to shrink around 2010 when that began to grow, and I've tried sharing things on social media, but the reach isn't very far, it hits maybe friends and family and a few fans, but that's about it. I'm not really a clickbait or listicle writer, so stringing words together for nobody to see in the shortest, easiest to ingest way, hasn't been feeding that creative furnace in me.

I feel that pilot light glowing, and it's been pointed out that when I'm doing creative things it shows up in my demeanor. I need creative outlets to feel good, just succeeding at my job - which doesn't really feed my creative bug even though it's programming, which should in theory meet the need - doesn't light that fire. I need the job to pay the bills, but I need to look around for ways to keep the pilot light burning.

A few months ago I enrolled in college: after dropping out once, and being unable to afford it the first time I returned to school, this time it should work out better. Today, I bring some maturity to the endeavor, plus stability, plus money, and I think I can make it happen, reassembling the courses I took for a BfA in Theatre Production in the 90s into a Film Production BfA in the 2020s.

Even my employer has dropped hinted at wondering if this means a career change; it's not so much to change careers, which I'll do without much thought if it continues the stability and money I currently enjoy, but mostly it's about a change in creativity.

Looking at a couple years of schooling in a creative field has really gotten the pilot light glowing, but nothing's burning yet.

So, leveraging what I've got, I'm restarting my old blog - now...24 years old? After a 11 year gap in posting. Hopefully this isn't hubris, resulting in this post sitting at the top of the page for another 11 years, but it's a start. I intend to return to the personal-diary format that it started out as waaaayyyy back when this site got my first media mention for my internet activities (boy, I was really hard on the Fargo Forum back then), without concern for who might be reading this still. In fact, I'm not even sure if this blogging software - which I wrote myself, decades ago - still even works. Well, let's see, here we go, light that pilot light and turn on the gas...

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