Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Four Decades...

So I went to the weight loss boot camp and actually gained weight, a hornet stung me on the elbow and it swelled up, my computer has been slowly wheezing and dying and my brakes went out, and the dash went dead in my daughter's car, and speaking of her I went to watch her cross-country meet last evening and she went into the trees destined to finish strong and after a long while came out being carried by her coach, having slipped and severely twisted her ankle, and I woke up this morning and damn but I'm forty years old.

I drove to work and just surfed the radio channels. Bob and Tom are still on and sound the same as they did when I was a kid, how old are those dudes now? They came to a big outdoor frat party at Ball State years ago when I was either still in high school or maybe first in college and too young to do more than sort of peek around the place and they were more or less starting out after camping on an outdoor billboard to get the morning FM radio job and I was just starting out learning my job by shooting Super-8 and by learning how to type instead of write longhand. I hear Loverboy and I think about my brother and I taking long summer trips in the back of my dad's Econoline van and playing that tape over and over on our little cassette player. I hear The Police and I remember my high school sweetheart giving me "Synchronicity" for my record player. It was the first album somebody gave me. A friend named Todd had given me "King Tut" on 45 because he had two copies. At home I played that and my mom's 45s like "Come and Go With Me." Later I bought for myself "Dark Side of the Moon" and "Jimi Hendryx Smash Hits" from a rummage sale across the street. My first 8 track was "Styx Crystal Ball" but I played "Wings Greatest Hits" and The Fifth Dimension and Carole King's "Tapestry" until they wore out. "Boys of Summer" plays and I remember when I met my wife on a blind date. I was wearing a Western-style shirt with bone buttons and the army coat from the Vietnam vet next door. Within ten months we were married. "Thunder Island," of all things, plays and I remember a skinny girl with straight blond hair I used to have a crush on that lived around the corner growing up. Then played "You Sexy Thing" and I remembered being a kid and going to a dance at the elementary school where my dad taught and hearing this song and "Black Betty" back to back, and thinking I was at the coolest party ever. A lot of memories crowd in so I finally pop in Michael Buble to chill out. Michael Buble! The balder, fatter me looks down that long dusty hallway to the shaggy-haired, skinnier me in that Who t-shirt and shrugs. Time marches on.

On my 34th birthday I decided I would spend one year trying to break into freelancing. It was also the year 2000, kind of an apocalyptic vibe. So that year I did okay and decided I would try one more year. And every year I stop on my birthday and evaluate if I am going to keep on. I know that sounds arbitrary but it works for me. Now six years have gone by and I have a lot to think about this year. I think I have worked on around fifteen projects in the last six years. Five or six now can be seen on festival screens or at the video stores or on cable TV. Not a bad batting average, all told. Some personal setbacks as well as a positive job change over the last twelve months caused me to be in somewhat of a self-imposed exile at times from freelancing in 2005. Despite that SEX MACHINE and THE DA VINCI CURSE came out this last year and have done pretty well, and I'm proud of my parts in both. Since Microcinema Fest I have had a bit of a recharge, and suddenly have some new projects on the horizon which are very promising and will hopefully be revealed here in the near future. I still have some thinking about where I have been and where I am going that might take longer than just this one day; but I will keep on cooking and see what happens. As I tell my daughter during basketball season, you miss all of the shots you don't take.

Give me a shout at johnoakdalton@hotmail.com.

3 comments:

Tom said...

Good post, John! Happy Belated Birthday!

Jason Santo said...

We were thinking about you out here in Dover, NH. You're one of the best, Johnny D, and we love ya out here. I hope it was a great b-day, Sir.

Pete Bauer said...

I'm nine months ahead of you. When I turned 40 I went into an unexpected depression asking the age-old questions like "is this what I'm going to be doing for the rest of my life?"

Things got better.

I've come to realize that you don't really even understand how the world works and how to live in it until you reach 40.

Happy birthday John! Have a great year.