artist - musician - craftsman
and furniture maker
[June 27, 2021]
simply revland: if only for today (1993)
Living a few blocks from a park like Fargo’s Oak Grove certainly has its perks. Century-old towering oak trees, a frisbee golf course, and perfectly blacktopped walking trails ... all surrounded by an expansive, meandering bend in the Red River of the north ... certainly an ideal smorgasbord for someone pursuing a diet consisting of purposeful isolation (like I did as a child 30 years earlier). I needed no tee time to play a round of golf, and there were zero green fees. Just me and my $6 frisbee.
If the circumstance would ever present itself, I was what they called a cheap date. But since I wasn’t looking for such a thing, I wasn’t about to hold my breath. After two years of sobriety, I was still being awkwardly introduced to the world of manliness and a somewhat civilized society, all the while recognizing I was still emotionally trapped in my early twenties, methodically lodged inside a 40-year-old body. Ironically, the age I thought I’d never be witness to.
My classic driver.
Oak Grove Frisbee Golf Links.
Today, as I artfully bend my plastic-coated flying disk between two trees to its intended target, I hungered for just a whiff of clarity and acceptance, as the majority of friends I had invested in for 20 years were gone, missing in action, like I was somehow contagious. I soon realized how few friends I really had, as being the former life of the party as well as ringleader, I just wasn’t fun anymore. Pretty sobering.
At the same time ― and I knew this to be gospel ― I could potentially obtain, and deservedly so, my much maligned mojo, something I misplaced two years ago. I desperately yearned for my time-honored ancestral career as an artist, something that might take me into my golden years ... as this is really all I have, in a professional context, my one and only God-given skill. Frightening as this all seemed, I now take solace in the soothing sights and sounds of morning doves, cumulus clouds, and pollen-seeking bumble bees. All things I took for granted for years. I have for once located peace in the valley, and my soul has ultimately found its rightful owner.
1940 model mom-and-pop grocery store; present day (2021); our current home.
Back in 1987, I was fortunate to have the opportunity to purchase an old 1940 model flat-roofed mom-and-pop grocery store, on the corner of Elm and South Terrace. I happened to pay more for my 1972 Volkswagen Super Beetle, so the funds derived from my California projects afforded me the luxury to complete this transaction.
This had been my home for my furniture-making studio, but now, I was forced to carve out a 200-square-foot section for an apartment, as my financial situation was untenable. Now, 200 square feet might seem a bit tight ― which it was ― but I was confident my current situation was provisional, as each day the future seemed a bit more illuminated.
World's smallest apartment (1993).
Morning coffee in my underwear (1993).
To sum things up, personally, I seemed to be making progress, through the help of therapy and Alcoholics Anonymous, often utilizing my new slogan “one day at a time.” Seeing as I was living my life as a hermit, by choice, this slogan only seemed embedded into my own conscience, as I don’t recall actually professing it to anyone. I was very private about my sobriety, never wanting to wear it on my sleeve, hoping someday to somehow magically emerge like the Wizard of Oz, when the curtain is ceremoniously drawn.
Professionally, on the other hand, I was taking baby steps. I had finally proceeded to build a large china cabinet for some understanding friends in Grand Forks. For almost a year, the wood sat stagnantly in a pile, covered by a tarp, so I wouldn’t have to look at it as I walked by. The stack had become a symbolic reminder of my ineptness and thorough disregard for uniformity. My twenty previous years as a craftsman appeared to be nothing more than a fraudulent illusion. I had little memory of any of it, as the entire dance was choreographed while I was under the influence. But now, the tarp has come off, and my tools are again utilizing electricity. Quite frankly ― and it took awhile to wrap my head around this ― I had come to one conclusion: for now, all I had was today ...
More to come.