Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Note to Self

Sometimes you have to jump on opportunity. You can make every excuse you can possibly think of. And it will work. You can weave in and out of the truth for as long as YOU deem necessary. There isn't always some epic epiphany or catastrophic happening. The plot to your movie-life doesn't always culminate into some cinematic climax or rising action.
Sometimes you just ease your way into change, many times without even realizing.

Maybe you're given this clarity in your life so you can see the truth more clearly. Maybe you are supposed to act, shake things UP at a point when you are content. Put the clarity to good use. Contention only lasts so long.


Ok, I'm going to jump. Here I go. I'm going. Ok one more second. One more day of freestanding faith. One more day of not having to make decisions.
I see it, in front of me. I have to act this time. I can't pass it up again or I'll only be confronted once more at a later date.
See you on the other side.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Beauty.

This photo literally took my breath away for a moment.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Merry Christmas

Christmas came and went.

And I barely caught it's warm breath against my foggy window.

But I had a few moments of clarity when I realized how many beautiful people I've been blessed with in my life.
My grandma sat taking in all the grandkids ripping apart their Christmas gifts, a wide toothy smile spread across her wise face. The laugh lines peaked at the corners of her grin and she looked at all of us with a genuine appreciation and love.
My grandpa walked around with a gentle smile and picked up the pieces of shredded wrapping paper.

On Christmas morning, I felt out of place. For the first time in as long as I can remember, it didn't feel like Christmas. The warm rain pattering against my windshield didn't help either as I drove my sister to church. I walked past a man offering passing families a "Merry Christmas!" and I didn't stop to acknowledge the kindness and joy of the man. I walked into the magnificence of Mother of God Church and didn't bother taking in all the beautiful decorations and floor to ceiling stained glass I had seen so many Christmas's before. The amazing chorus of voices and the full accompanying band did nothing for me. These things I had always taken a moment to appreciate and attribute to the beauty of Christmas.
I was not mad, I simply dwelled on this thought that it didn't feel like Christmas and I closed my eyes to all of the grace of Christmas.

The service proceeded like normal. Like every other Christmas service I'd been to here since I was a small child.
The homily came around.

The opening words were, "God does not reveal himself in fireworks, in grand phenomenons and epic occurrences. He comes to us in the form of a baby. Of a small child. That is how God makes himself known."

I was humbled. I didn't have some grand epiphany. I sat back and listened. I listened and I heard. And that was the most beautiful part of my Christmas.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

My mind's racing

I wake up in a room of sleeping faces. They all pull the covers closer to their faces as I stare. I'm aware of the risk I'm taking, staring at someone's sleeping face. There is the chance they could wake up and we'd never look at each other the same again. But I'm drawn to that passive contention across their face. I'm fascinated by the slow rise and fall of their chest.

The snow lightly falls and my feet are picking up the leftovers. My bare hand holds a glass of orange juice. My hair hangs under my Alpaca hat, dampened by the wet snow. Bird narrates the morning commute to work and I let the music magnify the beauty of the falling snow.
Hoards of people walk paces behind me. I quickly glance and see dozens of faces and a murmur of voices. It's graduation day for winter semester grads.

Graduation day.

I've never been scared by the thought. I'm sure it will hit a little closer to home when I actually find myself waking up early in the morning to walk across a stage dressed as a wizard just to grab a piece of paper filled with scrawled calligraphy.
________________

Last night, I heard God in the voice of a wild six year old as she whistle-toned to "Get Back" on Beatles Rockband. I heard audible love in her giggle from the other room.
It reset any doubts I ever had about life, love, and faith.
I hope you realize I never get tired of writing things like this. I hope it never stops. It's not a chore. It's a pleasure.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Maptastic

I love my wall map...so much. Sometimes I just stand and stare at the infinite amount of city names and mountain peaks. Seriously, it's like the best thing to distract from writing papers. Because you don't feel bad doing it, because it's knowledge right? If I stand here 5 more minutes, I'll retain that much more geographic knowledge.
If I hadn't procrastinated on my paper, who knows how long it would have been before I learned that the Lualaba River is a tributary of the Congo River! Right?!



Why am I still awake? Sure, I don't have class tomorrow...but this is ridiculous.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Letter

Dear _________,


I'll admit, I feel kind of stupid writing this. But it felt necessary.

I was watching a video (putting off homework obviously) and found myself appreciating the way the music and video played off of each other. It created a beautiful portrait of emotion. And I was overcome with this appreciation for being alive. To think I was able to get that much gratification out of such a simple banal occurrence. I don't know how to explain it.

Life is so big and grandiose. Even the small intricacies are fascinating.

And at that moment in time, I just felt so small in this world. And it was a good feeling. I felt so powerless and so out of control. And it was freeing.
Freeing to know everything is in someone else's hands. Freeing to know that no matter where we find ourselves, we can get in touch with our humanity.

Open your heart ________.

There is SO much beauty in this world.

Please don't ever let yourself get too wrapped up in things to forget that.


Your Friend,

Monday, December 14, 2009

Races



She holds the program with rigid hands
The wind dog-earing its ends
She is not reading the odds
Her eyes a glaze over the numbers

The white behind the words offers a solace
She lets the focus slip
Her eyes cloud with warm tears
The page now twisted by shaky unsteadiness
A single drop falls
Causing War Admirals numbers to run

The wind tousles her loose curls
And the spring warmth hovers against her ears
A heavy exhale is stuttered by a soft sob

The starter pistol sounds
She wipes the single tear complacent on her chin
Slowly, she lifts her head to the sun
Its rays beat upon her damp eye lids
The program is folded neatly and placed under arm
She regains her composure
The horses turn for the last leg
Their hooves pounding the soft earth

Saturday, December 12, 2009

7:48 AM

I was up before my alarm, my eyes half-open slits that focused on nothing in particular. I pulled the blankets closer to my chin and anxiously awaited the clamorous pulsing when the clock hits 8.

7:49 AM

I traced my eyes along the chipped walls of the room. The blackout curtain swayed a bit with the steady breeze from the window that would not close completely. The daylight crept through the ends it didn't quite cover, the light dancing on the ceiling. I watched the dance for quite some time, my mind blank, eyes flickering back and forth capturing the intricate designs of the shadows and the ballet of the sun rays. Thoughts detached from my dreamlike state suddenly passed through my mind at a slow but steady pace. Reality.
Something I wasn't prepared to face before the alarm sounded. I unwillingly gave my thoughts over to its seductive powers:
7:55 AM
How are you going to make thisworkout. You really need to startonthatproject. Howmuchlonger are you going to putitoff. Ifitsmeanttohappenitwillhappenthingswillworkoutyouonlyhavea
fewmoredaystogetalythatgameshewantedyouneedto
emailjenniferaboutintegrativestudiesifitsmeantto
happenitwillhappen.
7:57 AM
I clamp my eyes closed and try to block the thoughts out...
7:58 AM
Don'tseemsoneedyitdbenicetomakeashortwithalainanandalywhen
yourehomewhenareyougoinghomeshessuchabeautifulsoulandsolovelyand
genuineineedtofinishthetakehomeexambeforemondayandthenturnitin
rememberhesaidtodoitbyemail

7:somethingitscloseyouneedtogetupearlieryouregetting
toclassalittlelateeachdayijustlikebeingaroundherthisblanketistoobigand

BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP


I throw the covers off and promptly turn the alarm off. I bring my hands to my face and push my fingers through my hair. Slumped forward, I sit, my mind a swirl of thoughts. The illumination slowly catches the furthest corner of my eye and look up to see a strobe of sun rays flickering against my curtain. The light flickers constantly, the ballet on my ceiling now replaced with a fast-paced mambo.
I jump out of bed and slowly pull the curtain away from the window. A burst of light blinds me momentarily and slowly a beautiful site comes into focus.

Hundreds of birds float past my window. The masses created an intricate filter for the sun to pass through. The light flickered against my unflinching eyes. The flow never ceased, there seemed to be an infinite amount of these birds. All thought was lost and I stood still. And suddenly they were gone. I was struck by the beauty of the moment. I opened the window and let the cold winter air touch my face. My body and mind were still and I was able to think clearly. I thanked God for the moment. Reassurance flooded my heart.

8:04 AM

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

He Needs Me

He Needs Me from Austin Dressman on Vimeo.

Untitled

"Grandpa, what is your earliest memory?"

He takes a moment to consider the question.

"Afternoon naps in the summertime with the cool breeze blowing in the window..."

He answers with a smile.



And it was easy to close my eyes
finding myself at that window
The curtains floating against the constant summer breeze
The sound of Great Grandma playing the piano
"but only the black keys"

Saturday, December 5, 2009

"I'm bustin' baby...BUSTIN'"

Preface: Every so often, throughout the year, I get into a major Frank Sinatra kick. I listen to his whole discography on repeat. It happen like, maybe...4-5 times a year? And it lasts for about a week.


I always forget how beautiful Sinatra's "Stardust" is.

"And now the purple dusk of twilight time...steals across the meadows of my heart"

I don't care how corny it sounds out of context...when Frankie sings it with an accompanying orchestral swell, I have not a care in the world.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Overheard at Work.

-Part of an ongoing series-

There's this guy that I work with. His desk is around the corner. He's a nice enough guy, we say hi and talk for a few minutes when he passes my desk.
But he says some of the most obnoxious ignorant things...

Directed at the Palestinian guy: "It's stupid. Why can't the Shiite's and the "Sunny's" just give it a rest. They're really blowing things out of proportion."

Also heard earlier, "So wait. How do you say it? Ramadan? When was it? And...you guys just like...don't eat? Like...don't you get hungry? When I get hungry, I eat."

I love Holiday Breaks

Thanksgiving Break from Austin Dressman on Vimeo.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Dear Ms. Giaofrano

"IT Solutions Center, can I get your name and NKU ID?"


Dear Ms. Giaofrano,

When I picked up the phone today at work and heard your voice, I knew this would be a long call. You greeted me with a screeching "OH! Finally! A human voice!" and I knew your problem would not easily be resolved. I begrudgingly minimized the article I was reading before you called and listened to you mindlessly babble on about how computers are out to get you for the next 5 minutes.

Ms. Giaofrano, I want to help you with your problem once you stop talking.
Please, Ms. Giaofrano...
...
Ok...
...
Ok? Now what seems to be the problem?

Uh huh.
Ok.
Sure, I can help you with that once I just get the...
No Ms. Giaofrano, I do not have a "degree in computers".
Ms. Giaofrano, when you yell at your dogs, can you please take the receiver away from your mouth?

Joe, the guy at work with one arm,
What? I mean he openly talks about it, it's ok.
Ok, so Joe walks by pushing a cart with a huge load of printer paper, nearly touching the ceiling. He's trying to compensate for that arm. No, I'm not trying to be mean, I'm just stating the facts. I'm the omniscient narrator here, that's what he's thinking when he decides to push a cart with far too many boxes of paper.
Anyways, without thinking much about it, I notice out of the corner of my eye that the cart is wobbling quite a bit. Too much in fact. Because one of the 40 lb boxes falls off onto my head as he's passing.

After frantic apologies, Joe leaves with the cart, still wobbling along. I wince as I rub the back of my head. Ms. Giaofrano's high-pitched voice still ringing inside the walls of my brain.
No.
She's still on the line. And she's still talking about how when she was at NKU for undergrad, it was much easier to register for classes. "No computers necessary. Just cawl the numba. Then they set ya up with what you want."
Ms. Giaofrano, what you need is to open the internet. It's that little blue icon on your desktop. No Ms. Giaofrano, its the desktop on your computer. Then go to the NKU homepage and click the register for classes link.
You haven't actually applied to NKU yet?

Ms. Giaofrano, listen. You're obviously going back to school at the ripe age of what? 55? 60? because that 20/20 special on the Recession "scared some sense in to ya". You're scared that the new manager at the florist is going to get rid of the old faces to replace them with all of the bright energetic college students out job-hunting.

...
*sigh*
...

I know you're scared Ms. Giaofrano, I'm kind of scared myself. This new era is daunting. It's as scary for me as it is for you. We both worry about getting lost among the sea of faces, of not expanding to our full potential. You worry about understanding computers, I worry about understanding age.
Ms. Giaofrano, how much do things change? Do you lose your childhood dreams with each new year? I don't want to grow to be jaded Ms. Giaofrano.
I know Joe made it this far. And look at him, he still find some way to try to compensate for that arm he doesn't have. I always ask him if he needs help, but he always says, "Ah, yeah, well you know I can probably get this. Thanks though!"
The next 5 minutes he spends half squatting, half walking, bent back trying to hold all of the files at once, beads of sweat forming at his temples.
As unnecessary as it is, I kinda admire that about him. He's always pushing himself like that. Taking unnecessary risks.
Hm, I never realized that before...

Oh no, I'm still here Ms. Giaofrano.
Has the software finished downloading yet?
Not yet? ah gotcha. Ok, we'll wait.

You know, I also know that you're scared about finding that certain someone. That nice man who used to come in to get flowers for when he visited his ill mother used to come in all the time, and you used to have the nicest chats with him.
But now he never comes in anymore.
I know, I'm worried myself. I can never seem to set my sights on the one that ends up working out. And in a weird way, it's comforting to know that this stuff isn't always resolved in our younger years. I'll have that many more years to gain wisdom from the different women I encounter. A patchwork of different encounters, faces I know on that level.
No Ms. Giaofrano, I'm not advocating sleeping around!
I...
Ok well...
...
Yeah but...
You're right Ms. Giaofrano. I can't get too content in thinking that way or I'll never settle for just one.

It's done downloading?
Ah ok great, now click the "Finish" key.
No, that doesn't mean we're finished completely...
Well we...
I still have to have you...
...

Ms. Giaofrano, I think we'll be just fine.


I know you're scared Ms. Giaofrano, but computers aren't so hard once you get the hang of them.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

NEW

New stuff doods!

http://vimeo.com/austindressman
http://flickr.com/austindressman


Friday, November 27, 2009

"I shall never finish up..i'll make myself no man"

I dreamt of her again. Nothing happens. She just stands there as the dream goes on. Things are happening all around me, different scenarios, and she is simply a witness, never playing a part, never commenting. She just stares.

9:20am
My sister excitedly runs downstairs to the head of the pull-out bed sofa I was sleeping on,
"The parade is on!!!!"

Thanksgiving 2009 has begun.

Our family Thanksgivings are always pretty standard. It's that traditional imagery of tons of food, family, football, and little kids running around. And I love it. It really is great. My family is a such a beautiful group of people and I am so blessed to have them in my life.

One thing that has taken root in the most recent few family gatherings has been these long in depth discussions between my dad and my uncle and I. It usually starts as a political rant and slowly everyone but us seems to leave the room, assuming that we're arguing. My aunt always shakes her head disapprovingly and says that we "shouldn't be talking like this on Thanksgiving, on a family get-together."
I always try to tell her we are simply talking but she always shakes her head and goes to start the Thanksgiving cleanup.

I always appreciate these talks. We compare ideas and politics we feel strongly about. We never usually come to a resounding agreement, but we play devils advocate, respecting each others opinions and trying to understand the other side of things.
Tonight, something a bit unsettling eventually came up. My uncle claimed that when I "grow up" I'll become jaded.

My dad soon left and it was just my uncle and I. We walked outside and took in the cold night air. He said he finds it hard to find beauty in the world sometimes...more often than not. And this scared me. Because I countered with a notion that no matter what I go through, I can always find some beauty, some goodness in the situation at hand. Its something I attribute to my relationship with God. At any point, I can look up at night and see the binding connection between man and God...the sky. That big blanket of stars. That serene gaze looking back into my unsettled mind. I told him all of this.
My uncle said that he worries about raising his daughters so much, what decisions to make, how to suppress this fear he carries. He worries about finances and career to an alarming degree. "It never used to be like this. It's just been these past few years. I used to see 'the stars'" His views of the world were so jaded. I love my uncle. He's an amazing man who does so much for his family and community. But his overall perception of the world was that it was all for nothing. He didn't say this. But by the way he was talking, it seemed like he was only looking forward to getting by. To making his best attempt at life. Which isn't wrong. But what about the beauty! What about the amazing things that have happened in his lifetime? The sky! The sunrises, the roadtrips, the smiles on his little girls faces?

Its good that he was getting this all out. Our family doesn't talk openly like this a whole lot. He seemed much more relieved when I assured him that his daughters were beautiful girls who were so mature and well behaved. He was doing an amazing job. He wasn't emotional about it all. He was stern and wise. Simply telling me how things are.
I hope this opens his mind more to that beauty you can always seem to find in good times and bad, if you look at life the right way. And to never become too content in your surroundings. There a whole wide world out there.

I'm thankful for my uncle, and the beauty God has put in front of our eyes if we choose to see it

I hope I can look back on this and still agree with myself.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

G'Night

I learn so much about myself with each and every new day.


Oh, and finding those small instances of beauty in day to day life is essential to happiness...more so than taking in the monumental moments of beauty.

Ok goodnight for real this time.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Marion Dressma...I mean Cotillard

I'm not usually one to be starstruck. But really? This is just unfair...



Find a flaw. Seriously, it's not possible.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Notes on a Thought

I don't want to sound redundant.

But what I'm essentially writing is the overused phrase, "music is my life!".

You see it all over facebooks and myspaces and internet profiles. What usually follows is a list of artists like Nickleback or Taylor Swift. When I see it, my mind defaults to passing it off with this elitist attitude. Anyone who could write something like that must be musically ignorant.
And moments after I chastise myself for thinking such thoughts. Who am I to say what is good and what is not? Why am I so quick to judge someone? I will never stop having those thoughts though. The music I listen to is SO obviously superior to anyone else's, right? That filter my ears and mind use so often is flawless. Only good comes through it. Obviously, I'm being sarcastic, but my mind subconsciously believes this until I tell myself to be less critical and more open minded.
I find it so fascinating how we possess music as our own. We listen to a song that so perfectly captures the mood we want to feel or the words we want to sing. And just like that the song is ours. It's a flag we proudly wave above our heads or a secret we hold in the back of our mind. If someone else likes it, we get excited that someone else has "good/similar taste" or we feel this intrusion.

This doesn't happen for each and every song I listen to...but it happens more often than not. And when it does it's a thing of beauty:
Music is the soft shade of grey my fingertip sounds as I flip through my iPod library. The tap against the touch-sensitive screen prompts the music to flow through the off-white wires plugging my ears. A melodious string of musical notes start one after another within the song. It's a live recording and I hear the slight inhale of the lead singer before he breathes lyrics into the microphone. The audience chatter dies down suddenly and I can hear their necks craning to face the silhouette in the spotlight. The voice, carrying a piece of the artists' heart, travels through the hanging speakers on either side of the stage. Those in the audience with a mind at ease soon click into the tune.
These sounds forming as one into a song on my iPod. A piece of beauty I can open at any given moment. The world is a beautiful place.
At the quiet moments, I hear my feet shuffling, each foot to pavement landing a sonic boom against the soft vibrations flowing through my brain. Other times, as I sit or lie in place, all is still. The tap of the screen, the notes flowing through the pieces of plastic in my ears. I close my eyes and I give my whole self over to the sound. The orchestration begins its steady build up to the musical equivalent of an orgasm. It's a slow but steady rise that seems to tenderly synchronize my heart beat with the tempo. I am in tune with the song and the life around me. Images pass through my mind against the insides of my eyelids - normally mundane visuals from the day that are now somehow placed in this heightened filter. And in some instances, its just a comforting pitch black image of sound. The melody replacing any need for images of every day life, girls, beauty, God.

And when the music begins its steady descent or its abrupt stop, there is silence. And the silence has a beat of its own.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Consumerism

Today, I walked past a woman sitting in her car.

She was cradling, yes cradling, a brand new still-in-the-box Snuggie.

That's all.

Bye.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Dance



I am not a dancer, I never have been. But I've always admired it. I've always found it amazing to watch someone transcend that thin line between stillness and motion.

Dancing gives life this ethereal quality. It's not just a physical motion, it's a way of thinking, the whimsical pattern your mind can snap in to when prompted with a certain sight or thought. I find myself able to relate to that fluid motion when I see it. I am standing completely still, yet I am dancing.
My mind dances when I hear that unquestionable melody. My heartbeat, a series of grand jetés. It's a way rolling with the motions life places in front of you.

I guess I am a bit of a dancer.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Reverie #5

"I wanted so many times while driving to flip, to skid and flip and fall from the car and have something happen. I wanted to land on my head and lose half of it, or land on my legs and lose one or both. I wanted something to happen so my choices would be fewer, so my map would have a route straight through, in red. I wanted limitations, boundaries, to ease the burden; because the agony, Jack, when we were up there in the dark, was in the silence! All I ever wanted was to know what to do. In these last months I've had no clue, I've been paralyzed by the quiet, and for a moment something spoke to me, and we came here, or came to Africa, and intermittently there were answers, intermittently there was a chorus and they sang to us and pointing, and were watching and approving, but just as often there was silence, and we stood blinking under the sun, or under the black sky, and we had to think of what to do next."

-You Shall Know Our Velocity - Dave Eggers



I think this is perfect. It so perfectly captures the thoughts my mind have been thinking lately.

Lately, I've been standing against guardrails thinking of nothing. I've been reading books and not dwelling on them. I've been eating and not tasting.

Despite popular belief, running is a refuge. Running doesn't have to mean cowardice. Running into temporary comfort is a much-needed antidote every once in a while. Our society tells us it is wrong to run, wrong to flee from the scene. But it feel so nice to abandon it all and be a solitary individual walking home.

to let my mind fall flat
in the back of my head
underneath the unkempt mess
a deflated soccer ball
a remnant of my thoughts
outlines of the past
i want for nothing

This isn't meant to be an unhappy post. I'm content. Life goes on and I admire it as it passes. This thought pattern I'm in will soon break , as things tend to do.
I really do feel like it's impossible for me to have anything less than a sunny disposition at all times. I have my moments of sadness and grief but they never stay in tact. My mind always flips a reset button and I'm looking at tomorrow.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Ah well, you know...

I need a girl, dammit.

I've always been one of those people that has been completely fine with being single. Really, I love it. There is so much clarity and self-discovery that comes along with it. But at this exact moment, I want nothing else in the world more than to find someone.

You know, and I even recognize that it won't change things all that much. It's not like "my life is meaningless without a significant other to share it with!"
I just simply want to appease my mind. I want to give in to that petty feeling I get every once and a while.

As a matter of fact, I'm sure I'll look back on this entry tomorrow and chastise myself for giving in to writing it.

Note to future self: "Ok yeah. I get it. Sorry, it won't happen again...(yes it will)"
Note to future girl: "Disregard this post please."

Saturday, October 31, 2009

10/29/09 - 10/31/09

Grandma passed away/funeral
-Check
Totaled car
-Check
Missed concert of one of my favorite bands
-Check
Lost girl
-Check


They say "bad things always happen in 3's." Well, yes, and sometimes they happen in 4's. The past few days...hm...well they've sucked. A lot. Last night, I couldn't help but laugh at the whole thing. It seemed like the plot of some overly dramatic indie movie.

A while ago, on this very blog, I pointed out that "Our beautiful world is injected with negativity on a daily basis. I feel the need to fill it with as much bliss and positivity as possible." (February 28, 2009)
So since then, I've made it a point to write about all of the beauty in the world.
It's turned into a way of life, a way of seeing and interpreting things on a daily basis. If I had feathered graying hair and a cheesy headshot, I could write a motivational book on it. It's been that life-altering.

10/29/09-10/31/09 really put this idea to the test.

But I found myself looking at the light in each situation. I prayed months, weeks, days for my grandma to have "peace as she lived out her last days". It was answered directly as she passed away in her sleep early Thursday morning. I prayed for "peace and understanding" as I had to say goodbye to chances of a relationship with the girl I had been interested in for nearly half a year. While driving to Louisville this notion finally set in. I didn't want to accept it. I still had hope. But before I knew it tears were unwillingly welling up in my eyes. I let myself have this moment. My disposition changed when I saw the beautiful clear night sky above me. There was something, someone else present. I felt a hand on my shoulder encouraging me to breathe. My weary overly analytical mind was turned off and I was able to see the beauty outside the window.
"Some day
Some happy day
Some day I'll find
The one with eyes that say those words I cannot find" (A. Bird)...
I sung to myself.

Louisville offered a chance to get away from it all. I was at the mercy of the changing leaves of the city's towering autumn trees and the company of my best friend. We took drives through winding roads that were veiled with falling red and gold ember. The leaves floated past our outstretched arms and brushed against our wind-blown hair. In spite of all the mess and the broken-ness, my mind was at rest.
Front row tickets to the Avett Brothers had been arranged when we bought our tickets late this past summer. This would make the week all worthwhile. That night, the rain made the roads slick. On our way to the Avett Brothers show, someone ahead of us stopped abruptly and I went into the back of my friends car. Leaving nothing but a small dent on her car. My car was totaled, it's insides sandwiched together in a heap of metal. It was such a strange sight. Next to no damage on her car and the now unrepairable my vehicle had become. This all happened while only going about 25-30 mph.
Roger, our wide-eyed tow truck driver offered us advice and cigarettes. Through clenched teeth and a country twang he made the accident seem minute and manageable. I junked the car I was still paying off for $250 and called it a night. My mom said she was on her way to pick me up, the funeral was tomorrow morning at 8am.

The finality of it all had set in. I lost my grandma. I lost my girl. I lost my car. I lost my concert ticket.

My friends skipped the show, despite my request, and stayed back with me. They ordered us a pizza and we shouted and danced to Avett Brothers songs the rest of the night until mom came. Once again, I was struck with the beauty of the situation. Sure, I had lost it all. But at the moment, dancing to "Will You Return" was a pressing matter. Shouting lyrics until my voice was hoarse seemed like the solution to it all. Standing in the corner silent, smile across my face, taking in all the love in the room, I thanked God for the day.
The "peace and understanding" I asked for still stands.

The funeral is beautiful, and I'm given the chance to reconnect with many old relatives and friends. I expect to see my grandma sitting at the head of the table at the reception. When she's not there, I take comfort in the fact that the whole family is together, happy, celebrating her life.

Now I sit here at home. The doorbell rings every so often with trick-or-treaters. My dad jumps up with excitement, scurrying to the door like a small child. He gives them a hard time, "they must EARN their candy". My sister laughs and makes fun of him after they leave. The fall leaves blow across the yard and lull me to sleep through the half open window.
I am content.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Reverie #4 - Mother

Hastily spoken words exude from her lips. A flow of speech infused with the passion and intensity of her voice. She is reminding me of something a mother would remind her son of. Some mundane reminder of something she knows I'll put off until the last minute. Reminders like this sometimes annoy me, I have a to do list, I have reminders set up in my phone, I'll leave it to the last minute but I'll take care of it. I just want to read this paper of far more exotic speech, of human struggle in far away places, of social change down the street, while I eat my soggy cereal and drink my orange juice.
But I stop myself.

I look up from the paper.
I see a beautiful creation. I see her beautiful laugh lines and the way she talks with her hands. She smells like hairspray and home. A smell that when in context, is one of the best smells in the world. She smiles and I know things will get better. I want to tell her everything, she can solve all of life's problems. She could broker a treaty of peace in the Middle East. She could fix global warming and send a man to Mars. She could listen to me complain about a rough day. She could buy me groceries for my barren college kitchen. I remember her embrace. This familiar warmth that stays with me long after we have parted. I see her passion for life in her weary eyes, used to working overtime. She's the most beautiful woman I've seen.

My mind is put at ease, that in such a world, she can exist.


"So you think you can have that done by Friday?" she says finally.
Thanks Mom, yeah I can.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Life

Written by my friend Louis in a facebook note;

"I want to be a part of a revolution. I want it to be going on all around me. I want to get out there and do something great. I want this generation to stop being so lazy. I can wish as hard as I want that I would have been born into another time and been a part of all the great things that went on in the 60's. But the only realistic option is to start and/ or participate in a new revolution. In this day an age a young person can not say, "we all want to change the world." So many people just don't care. I guess it has really always been like this though. So maybe I'm wrong. Maybe I can sing that. Maybe I can sing whatever I want to sing. Maybe it will start some movement in this generation of people. One can only hope. At least I know I want to change something. Being in the area of the country I am in, it is hard to surround my self with like minded people. Every "revolution" this country has seen seems to happen somewhere on the coast. When is it the midwest's turn? Will people ever flock to southern Ohio for a fulfilling experience? I don't want to have to follow in the footsteps of other revolutionary people to create something that has already been done. I want to shoot off my own path. What is a revolution? A turn of a wheel. The wheel keeps turning. Over and over. So do I really want a revolution? Maybe not. Maybe I want to change the wheel completely. A fresh tread. Are there other people around that feel like I do? It's an odd feeling. I'm not even sure what type of "revolution" I'm looking for here. Musical? Artistic? Maybe. I'm all for peace and love, but from what I've seen, and from what I know about people, I don't expect it. There will always be cynics. Its natural for people to disagree. Some people have attempted to start something by living as simple as possible. Just getting by and using little resources. It seems to me like we should be taking advantage of the technology that we have. I'm sitting here now typing this on my cell phone. Many of you who know me also know that I am the first person to spend money on something old and obsolete. I do my best to re use things that have not met their full potential. I am a huge fan of the past. I want it to continue, and live on, but I want future generations to be able to look back on us and think the same thing. When you really think about it, we have just been recreating things that already existed. Yeah, they continue to get better, and more convenient, but they're not completely new. Are people having new ideas? Am I having new ideas even? Are we all doomed to relive the past? Has there ever been a future?"

Here are the responses:

Anne L.
People want to feel important--change the world, as you say. I hear everyone say that. Would I like to make an important contribution? Of course! I'm only human, and we humans want to feel like we are serving a purpose. However, we can help all the people we want, and still strangely not be satisfied. There will always be things to fix. I think the... Read More most important thing is relationships. Maybe, along the way, we will all gradually change aspects of our modern lives in a large sense, but in the meantime, we really need to work on our morality and treatment of others. I feel that a lot of people do things to fulfill their own self-righteousness, rather than doing something with humility and grace. That's a big one.

This won't come as a surprise to you, but I, too, am a mega fan of the past (same decades as you I'm sure). However, I don't know if I would have wanted to be part of the whole hippie movement. I don't like some of the things they did. I'm glad they cared, but I'm not entirely convinced that they were all genuine in their beliefs. We are stll living with that generation, and I'm not sure that they are the cream of the crop when it comes to the 20th century. What I like about the past decades is the prevalence of manners, respect, and class (although I don't like how less accepting they appeared to be). I think we could learn a lot if we could remain open-minded while maintaining strong values.

Bryce R.
just hang on. as the years go by, this feeling will be squashed out entirely. patience laddie.

---------------------

After reading this, I couldn't help but say, "That's sad!", out loud to myself.
To live knowing that you're compromising your ideals? To live knowing that that feeling you "used to have" has been "squashed out"? To think that no matter how much you help people you will be "strangely unsatisfied"?

That is no way to think. Don't let yourself fall in to that path of thinking. I'd rather live on the other side of thinking. If you believe you can change the world and yet you only end up changing one person, you've done more than had you sat back and repeated those mantras others have previously mentioned.
I don't think the world will EVER change. I think we live in a world where there will ALWAYS be bad. But I feel like it is everyone's duty as a human being to go out there and try to show love. To show goodwill and selflessness. I feel like THAT is the way you will achieve what you want in this life.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Preview



Originally uploaded by AustinDressman
Part off an ongoing project on pinup girls...coming soon...

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Theresa Dressman

Her wrinkled eye lids flicker against the warm light flowing in through the window. Muffled voices surround her. She cranes her neck in each direction hoping to pick up a part of their conversations. There is a soft glaze over her eyes that makes us think she can't hear, that she's near sleep, that her hearing is nearly gone. But just as these thoughts cross my mind, she perks up and we meet eyes. Her old now unflinching eyes stare at me with unfamiliarity. I now hear the muffled voices. The others stop and stare, as if expecting her to spout out her feelings about the illness. She says nothing and slowly closes her weary eyes. Her tumor-ridden stomach rises and falls with each exhausting congested breath. Her fingers flinch when she exhales. The hands which once held me as a small child are frail branches entwined across her chest.

Each time she turns to me I smile. She looks through me at the head of the rocking chair. I'm not ever sure if she see's me or not. I remind myself that she's not in pain as she used to be. She is merely living out the last stages of her life. I can only pray she is sent comfort and peace as her frail body attempts to hold in her untamable spirit...The same big-hearted spirit she always had in cooking elaborate holiday dinners for a family of more than 70, for raising 12 children through half a century, for always remembering my birthday even as I was one of 50-so grandchildren. They continue to talk and she continues to slip in and out of sleep.

"For the kingdom and the power and the glory are Yours now and forever. Amen," escapes from her lips. And I sigh a heavy sigh. We all turn and stare at her clenched eyes, closed, basking against the warm light from the window as she licks her lips and a feeling of yearning falls across her face. She mumbles more prayers. We are silent. Saying our own internal prayers while absorbing her presence.

My father sits, head bowed, eyes closed.
"You taking a nap?!", she says jokingly, suddenly pulling herself up in her wheelchair. A wide smile reaches across my father's face. For a moment I see the old sparkle in her eyes.
I say my goodbyes. I bend down to hug her and she manages to bring one of her arms up to my side. An old comforting familiarity settles in as she mumbles "goodbye" into my ear.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

This is beauty

"...Pillow'd upon my fair love's ripening breast,
To feel for ever its soft fall and swell,
Awake for ever in a sweet unrest,
Still, still to hear her tender-taken breath,
And so live ever--or else swoon to death."

-John Keats
from "Bright Star"

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Epilogue

Today I found myself dipping back into the memory
of jagged mountains and beautiful people.

I traced the outline of the mountain horizon along the narrow roads of my mind.
I taunted the peeking sun behind the peak with an exuberant cackle.
I closed my eyes and the images of dramatically lit skies and beautiful nothingness was projected against my pupils.
I danced along the Columbia River with the persistence of a snare.
I saw the smiles and heard the laughter.
My heart jumped when I saw a whimsical redhead with a grin like a starlet and an eye like a lens.

My legs grew weak when I danced with a movie-loving linguist from Texas.

I embraced a dear friend I had missed.

We catapulted ourselves through red deserts and rolling green hills.

I stopped at a sight that made me undoubtedly reaffirm my humanity...

This was written while observing from the window:

"I am speechless.
Words cannot describe what I have just seen. The pictures and video do not do it justice. I just witnessed one of the most beautiful memories I will ever retain.
I Saw all the colors of the rainbow used on a Colorado plain. The rainbow itself was even present. It mocked the ominous funnel cloud attempting to form on the other side of the road. The image was perfectly drawn down the middle. Bright sunny green fields harbored the fully-shaped rainbow while dead neutral ground was looked upon by tornado clouds and neon lightning.
I saw two worlds collide at once. The rainbow quickly overtook the darkness making a leap across the highway. It shown brighter than ever against a glorious sunrise of golds and purples. But the storm slowly dissipated the arch of colors and begun to cry tears of anger as it threw blue electric down from the heavens on both sides of the road.
Just then, the two forces threw offensive punches in unison. The sun showered the clouds with brilliant embers while the storm met head on with the deafening rain and rolling thunder.
A beautiful array of calm formed across the spacious sky.
The face of God."

Pictures really don't do it justice. Trust me.
















I will always be able to reenter this memory of Alex, of Mercedes, of Kelsie, of comforting mountains, of red deserts, of calm rivers, of the beating sun, of empty roads...of God in the form of people and places.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Untitled



Originally uploaded by AustinDressman
The solution to uncertainty is following your bliss.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

4.39 PM

I love when a single song can pull you into another state of thinking...just like that. You can be hanging from the vines of a thought you've found yourself tangled up in. You think so hard. You're mind is inconclusive. And then a melody carries you. You are hovering above the foilage, peeking through the tree tops, far from the bottom.

A single note
A single melody
Replaces a heavy mind
And a heavy heart

"Whatever will be will be"

Friday, September 11, 2009

Liberty Heights

Cue a loop of that melody from the Beach Boys "Wouldn't It Be Nice"...you know, the part where it kind of sounds like a harp but it's probably just a really high cord on the guitar. The looped beginning of that song entered my subconscious at some point in the early morning of my sleep last night. I remember hearing it playing on a car radio. I wasn't driving the car, I was stowed in the back seat and I had the feeling the driver and other passengers did not know I was there. I peered out the window and saw a beautiful park, the trees were as tall as the sky and their branches dipped down into the saturated grass like a Weeping Willow. The sky was a perfect mixture of cloud and blue and the sun's golden rays were reflected off of all the foliage. The road we were traveling on looped and curved around the massive trunks of the trees. Eventually it bridged over a serene pond.
I turned around in my seat and was suddenly standing outside of the car, which was now parked beside one of the Willows. An old stone structure that used to be a church but was now converted into some sort of park facility stood under the willow. A sign reading "LIBERTY HEIGHTS Park" was firmly planted in front of the building.
I turned to the left and saw that a house sit a ways down the road from the building. It too rested under these monstrous willows. I began to walk down the red dirt road, appreciating the sunlight that peeked through the branches. As I got closer to the house, I saw that from all the cars parked outside there was a party going on.
I faded out of the dream and opened my eyes enough to see my bedroom ceiling. I rolled over and saw that it was 4-something AM.
I easily slipped back in to Liberty Heights and assumed I was now at the party. A pool took up a large part of what was actually a very small backyard. Young adults were milling around with drinks and conversation. I walked around, not knowing anyone for some time. She crept up behind me, the way she would, and placed her hands over my eyes. Without guessing, I turned around and we hugged, like friends who hadn't seen each other in years. I was at home. I was content.
That moment lasted for what seemed, the rest of the night. The only other parts I remember are short instances of my time spent with her. At one point we were laughing at the waspy party-goers who were trying too hard to make good impressions. There were orange-tan women and shirtless men with their Oakley sunglasses. At one point I can remember her taking my hand as we ran to some empty room in the house to be away from everyone else. At one point we kissed......It was just a small peck on the lips but it meant more to me than any kiss I can ever remember sharing.

I woke up and instantly tried to relive the moments leading up to the kiss. The whole scene lost it's dreamlike essence when I tried to recollect it. It seemed petty and desperate. I felt stupid. But my heart still pounded in unison to her steady walk up the winding staircase, her hand in mine.
The girl is someone I know, some fling that never was. On a normal day, I'd even tell you I was over her. But that youthful spirit of "love" entered my head at or around 4 am last night and didn't let go until my alarm sounded. It made me nostalgic for something that hasn't even happened.

And I still don't know what Liberty Heights means, but at least I didn't end this post with some terrible line like,
"Maybe some day I'll find Liberty Heights."


(whoops, I just did)

Saturday, September 5, 2009

In My Head

I came home from work and my dorm was empty. Everyone was off campus. The old buildings sat wavering against the fall sky, the ghosts of its inhabitants an after-thought.

I used to come home from school every day and shoot basketball outside for hours on end. I would shoot every shot until I made it twice in a row. On countless occasions, I would make these unbelievable shots that no one ever saw. I would get more satisfaction out of knowing I was the only one who had seen it than I would if the whole neighborhood had come out to watch.

Today as I came home to that empty dorm, I felt compelled to pick up a basketball and play, just like old times. So I did just that.
I'm not as good as I used to be. I used to be able to make 5 three's in a row...three of them nothing but net. Now I shoot and go 2 for 10.

The combination of the secluded outdoor basketball court, the empty campus, and the cool fall weather made me reminisce about those days after school. Those days, I would push myself until it hurt. I had this persistence to out-do any shot I had shot before and I shot until Mom called for dinner.
I want to reclaim that spirit. At this point in my life, I feel like I make a lot of promises to myself that I don't always keep, or do right away. I want to always try to out-do the previous shot. I want to make the full court shot while no one is watching.

Fall puts me back in my place as another day of bronze leaves and temperate skies send comfort through all my senses.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

I don't even know...

The ribs and the rhymes of the passing prospects
ebb past me with a smooth consistency
I am in my head for such long passages of time
flowing with the tide, denying my denial

I float through the landscapes
of present and future
I look for the girl
and see her passing everywhere
Up close she seems even farther away
Dwelling not until after the time has passed
yet I glance over my shoulder
to see if she's still there

There is no comfort in the thought
but only in the experience
Throw that cover over your face
and the light will still shine through

Is it so bad to be of these times?

Do I act off blind feeling
or quiet contemplation
Do I jump or am I pushed
"It's like this" said my shadow
but the clouds were too dense in the sky

Wading through stagnant warm water
is contention in manageable doses

Friday, August 14, 2009

8/13/09

I hit the lawn mower today.
I kicked, pounded, pummeled with all available limbs. Beads of sweat streaked down the face of a red-cheeked 19 year old. Muffled exhales of breath escaped with violent ferocity. The quiet whisper of "She's A Rainbow" could be heard from the iPod ear-buds holding on to my ears for dear life. Luckily, no real damage was done...I don't think...

What a sight it was.

I've come to realize that on occasion, I completely lose my cool on inanimate objects. Let me dispel any hint that I would do this to anything other than an inanimate object. I could never do what I did to the lawnmower to any human being or animal.
It happens maybe once a month, if that. I just get frustrated with something so I shake it until it clicks, hit it until it lights up, kick it until it starts. I can remember doing this even at a very young age, a lot more often then. Currently, it's more out of habit. I was bullied through my childhood, yada yada, I don't want anyone's pity. It wasn't that bad. But it would still cause me to come in and every once and a while, hit a pillow or a piece of furniture or whatever was giving me a hard time. It was nothing drastic. It was me hitting a sofa cushion until I realized what I was doing. I always felt ashamed after, like I had stooped to the level of the bully.

And so here I am, kicking the side of the lawn mower, stopping occasionally to try to start the engine again, Rolling Stones playing adding a soundtrack to the occasion. But today I came to a realization.
After checking the gas, about to wail on it again, I stopped. I looked up into the sky and felt the calm. There was something else there, something keeping me from my frustration. I gazed at the low-hanging clouds against a blue saturated sky. The swaying limbs of the trees pulled my attention to the leaves reaching out in all directions. A quick prayer of thanks...I drooped my head down and let the sun beat down upon my neck, a wry smile on my face. I closed my eyes and took it all in.

Then I drenched the lawn mower in gasoline, lit it on fire, and pushed it down the big hill leading away from my street. It was a beautiful sight. It slowly hobbled down the road, its squeaky uneven wheel causing a limp. Slowly, people began poking their heads out from behind the faded doors. The kids on War Admiral Rd. dropped their bats and balls. Arrcaro Ln. let go of their bikes and scooters. The neighborhood bully stopped in mid-abuse, the victim making a run for the trees as the torch made its way past the suburban sprawl.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Zeitoun

An excerpt from Dave Eggers, Zeitoun:

"He had been on a tanker once, maybe twenty years earlier, navigating through the Philippines. It was late, after midnight, and Zeitoun was keeping the captain company on the bridge.

To stay awake and alert, the captain, a Greek man of middle age, liked to take up provocative subjects. He knew that Zeitoun was a Muslim and a thoughtful man, so he sparked a debate about the existence of God. The captain began by expressing his utter conviction that there was no God, no deity in the sky watching over the human world.

Zeitoun had been on the bridge with the captain for an hour at that point, watching him pilot the ship through the many islands, avoiding high shelves and sandbars, other ships and countless unseen dangers. The Philippines, with over seven thousand islands but only five hundred lighthouses, was known for its frequency of maritime accidents.

"What would happen," Zeitoun asked the captain, "if you and I went below the deck, and just went to our bedrooms and went to sleep?"

The captain gave him a quizzical look and answered that the ship would most certainly hit something-would run aground or into a reef. In any event, disaster.

"So without a captain, the ship cannot navigate."
"Yes," the captain said, "Whats's your point?"

Zeitoun smiled. "Look above you, at the stars and the moon. How do the stars keep their place in the sky, how does the moon rotate around the earth, the earth around the sun? Who's navigating?"

The captain smiled at Zeitoun. He'd been led into a trap.
"Without someone guiding us," Zeitoun finished, "wouldn't the stars and moon fall to earth, wouldn't the oceans overrun the land? Any vessel, any carrier of humans, needs a captain, yes?"
The captain was taken with the beauty of the metaphor, and let his silence imply surrender."

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

I

I feel helpless.

I know I can't change everything.
I want to paint large, noticeable strokes.
Or be in the small details that complete the big picture. Or both.
In the end, both are one in the same.

I'm ready.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Peace

Sometimes words just don't get the job done.


Watch this with the Full Screen option, trust me.

Kuroshio Sea - 2nd largest aquarium tank in the world - (song is Please don't go by Barcelona) from Jon Rawlinson on Vimeo.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Restless

Silent chaos pushed against every inch of my body. I winced at a pain that was not there. In a daze I found my running clothes and shoes.

Restlessness pummeled my stagnant blue veins with the ferocity of a champion heavyweight. The souls* of my feet left the pavement anxiously. Fresh exhaust from lawn mowers and minivans overtook the heat waves jumping into my nostrils. Trim lawns and the smell of fresh cut grass left a bitter taste in my mouth. I wanted out. It wasn't some cry into the night, "I need to find a road out of the suburbs!". No, this was an unrelenting bar fighter in his drunken state, battering the inner walls of my stomach, building calluses for the next fight.

In my subconscious, I was not tired of my life. I have a strong love for both my family and friends. I do not have a stressful job. I did not hate the streets I lived on. I love to live with a passion that makes me appreciate all that I have. I hold some undeserved God-given knack for finding beauty in any context. I still saw beauty in the 5 sunflowers that managed to break through worn out soil in my backyard. I still saw beauty in the children running in uncontrolled bliss from house to house. I still saw the beauty in the old couples walking at dusk.
But that bar fighter continues his turbulent blows. And I am left wanting to continue running on that path, right on out past the other developments, past the gas stations and trucks stops, past the interstates and rest stops.

I have a reoccurring thought...Where ever I end up, the people and the places will all eventually be the same. It shows up in one part of my mind. This thought does not scare me. In fact, it propels me. It only increases that curious drive inside of me. Another half of me expects everything to be refreshingly different. I have faith in my self that I will never let myself get too comfortable in my surroundings. I have only been idle for two days and already I am ready to jump back in, camera in hand, beads of sweat on my brow.

I push myself harder. My legs take me to a big hill on the road and I begin to run faster. My mind shifts from the pavement to the sky. Abba, Father, God, make me dismiss thoughts of stopping at the halfway point, make me run far past the top of the hill. Be in my aching joints, my restless mind, my nervous fingertips, my stagnant blue veins.

I hope that bar fighter never leaves.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Abandoned Summer

The clear plastic "G" sat in the passenger seat next to me. "Try Our 3 New Angus Choices" was now "Try Our 3 New Anus Choices". We sped away from the McDonalds like idiot teenagers on a midnight ride.
Something was in the air that night. Youth, if that's what you want to call it, was running in the gutters. The angst we thought we had all lost came rushing back like a shot in the night.

I struggled to hear the conversation Brian and Alex were having in the front of the car. The melodic music of someone I had never heard was absorbed by the back of my head. I gave up on trying to enter the conversation and instead sat back and looked out the window. We passed streets I had passed many times and old back-roads I seldom turned down. I saw flashes of memories that once controlled my mind. Incidents and people who now seemed foreign...something my mind tends to do with the past. The sounds of the car and the music and the voices seemed to twine together as one in a beautiful symphony of life. The dark marks on my shorts continued on to the top of the tan line on my knee. I was reminded of what took place earlier that night and smiled to myself...I let myself slip into the fresh memory...

Brian and I jumped out the car, me fumbling with my shoes on the way out. Alex sped the car up and we both darted towards the sudden red neon. Brian jumped on the front hood and I climbed on the back windshield, my hands finding their way through the open window to the interior handles in the roof of the car, locked in anxious excitement. I looked around nervously, the newly finished residential road spotted with a few homes under construction. Movement pushed my body against the car. Dirt from the back of the car left streaks on my leg and pants. Alex hastily turned up the soundtrack to the escapade and sped down the road.
I had the better end of the car, Brian slid around the hood laughing and screaming until Alex sprayed windshield wiper fluid in his face. Then there was mostly screaming. I leaned my stomach against the back, lifting my hands free into the wind. I shouted into the sky, closing my eyes and wishing the wind would lift me into the the stratosphere. The car lurched and I was pushed to the roof of the car. I questioned our childish actions for a moment but let myself fall back into youth. I rested my head on the roof and stared at the blur of houses and streetlights. Life is so simple in moments like this. It was all clear, set out before me. It happened again, it hadn't happened in a long time...In the rush of the wind and music and laughing I saw the face of God. Then the car stopped and it was my turn to ride the front.

...I managed to hear talk of some girl Brian was interested in through the symphony of sounds. He needed a good girl. If anyone deserved one it was Brian. I wanted one too.
I finished off the rest of the Mexican Coca-Cola we bought and watched my shadow dance against the opposing car door fabric. I noticed my silhouette and saw myself in a way no mirror had ever reflected. I saw my wants, I saw my desires, I saw my friends, I saw my faith, I saw my family, I saw love. Gratitude trickled down my spine, collecting at my fingertips, numbing my mind. I closed my eyes.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Hard-Hat

I've been putting off editing the rest of the pictures from our cross-country roadtrip because I kind of want to relive them later. I feel like too often, I edit right away, the feeling from the adventure still tugging at my mood. Which isn't a bad thing, but it leaves after I'm all finished. I also want to edit them all at once - I get into a better creative flow and the photos tend to maintain more consistency (good thing sometimes, bad other times).

I experienced so much on the trip. I really believe it changed me forever-for the better. And I'm not quite ready to let go of that feeling. There is this adrenaline, sense of adventure that I still have. However, I do feel like if it has stuck with me this long, it's probably going to be there for a while. Eventually I want to write a series of blogs using photos and long descriptions of everything.

I really like this construction job. First off, I get to wear a hard-hat. Which makes me feel pretty cool. I wore it while walking down the street on my way back to the apartments we're working on. I either looked really B.A. or really disoriented because I was wearing a hard-hat while walking through a rich Cincinnati neighborhood.
It really is a fulfilling job. I earn the money I get at the end of the day. And it feels good to work hard in such a setting. You feel part of something. You're helping to build a home for someone. It's a rewarding feeling.

I came home from work today and there was a family of rabbits in our yard, a mother and her recently born...

(see my flickr for better quality)
http://www.flickr.com/photos/austindressman

Monday, June 29, 2009

Doubts

*Preface: It's late, and I'm thinking in rapid succession, probably because I'm tired. So please excuse the quality of writing and thought.


For a while now I've had this whole detached spirituality. I was raised Catholic but whenever I felt I truly experienced God, it was on my own or outside of the church. I attribute almost all that I know spiritually to being raised a Catholic. It is just hard to feel any sort of attachment to the church for me. The Catholic church has many beautiful traditions that carry on into their church services, but I am not truely feeling God through it. It feels like a place I can go to stay content, not moving backwards or forward. It's comfortable but stagnant, something that begins to take its toll after a while.
I relied on spiritual moments from a day to day basis. I would recognize God in people and places and sunsets and words and images and silence. I love these moments more than anything in the world. I feel like I come face to face with God.

Why is it that as I type these words I feel as if I'm typing cliche after cliche? Or am I just viewing these things through societies biased filter? Should I even be talking this way on here? Is it self-aggrandizing? Am I really meaning what I say?
I am, I know I am. I feel foolish when I write things like this. But it is true. I know there is a higher power because of the moments I speak of and the feelings I have felt.

After visiting Utah, I saw faith in action as I had never seen before. The Mormon faith is pretty beautiful. The people are so unbelievably devoted, and it's inspiring. The social behavior is refreshing compared to a secular society that practices excess in just about every aspect. The girls dress and act respectively, but not in an over-the-top evangelist conservative way. They don't feel the need to show skin, or make sensual advances towards the opposite sex. When the people interact with each other, they are genuinely interested in knowing more about the other. This results in natural, sincere relationships that last. Mormons refrain from alcohol and addictive substances because they believe in being aware at all times. Always available for one of those beautiful spiritual moments.
I'm not necessarily shooting down the secular society. I don't think alcohol is the devil! or anything extreme like that. I do like to drink every once and a while. It's just a matter of showing the other side of the spectrum and how inspiring it was. And yes, I realize this is a very one-sided, basic view of the Mormon faith, but it's the part the stood out to me the most. I wish my description was a better written more complete thought on the faith. But hey...it's 4:30am.
These ways of living and thinking are not repressive in any way, if anything they are freeing.

The word that sticks the most is "genuine". Mormons are genuine people. They do more than wear their hearts on their sleeve. They are completely out in the open, their purity refreshing, not creepy or phony. They are simply trying to be the best human beings they can be. I know I have been collectively grouping ALL Mormons together. But I guess I do this because these are the guidelines the religion sets, and most are pretty faithful to them. It really is refreshing to see.

I don't know if this means I'm meant to be a Mormon or if it means I'm going to reconnect with my Catholic roots or something. But one thing I am sure of is that I have forever been influenced by the Mormon religion and way of life. I will take the things I have experienced and attempt to apply them to my life in one way or another. You don't even have to be religious in any way to respect, understand, practice social Mormonism.

There still are big issues that hold me back from completely handing myself over to a religion. I feel like there are so many paths to God. Why is it that our form of worship of God is any better than the worship by Buddhists? or Muslims? Ok, yes, Jesus Christ. But if you are raised Muslim why shouldn't you practice and believe it? Muslims experience God too. They feel the same way Christians feel about their God. I just don't understand how one religion can say they are the one true way. There are also other things like the acceptance of the gay lifestyle or the acceptance of the death penalty. The fact that most all Christian denominations, including Mormons believe gay people to be second class human beings (ok, so maybe this is taking things out of context, but if they can't have the same rights as straight humans what does that make them?) I just see many contradictions with church teachings and our society. I get sucked into that whole "religion is man-made" hole that I know is mostly wrong but sometimes right. I don't think God has let religion fall completely out of grace.
I DO believe religion is essentially good, a positive force on earth. It's just the things I mentioned above that make me curious as to what I should do for myself and God. I try not to think TOO much about it. For now, I'll enjoy these beautiful moments and continue to thank the Creator.


God, show me the way...and I'll follow. (the clear way, free of my own doubts and fears)


This song has been a source of inspiration for numerous thoughts lately. It's a video, but just listen to the song itself...

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Notes from an Airport

Airports are beautiful.
I've always been attracted to them. I think it's because of the commotion and excitement of it all. There are so many different kinds of people going so many different places. And I'll never get over the marvel of a plane lifting off into the sky. It's perfect, the weightlessness of the tires leaving the cracked runway.
Sitting in an airport terminal is a privilege. Not anyone can just walk into its glass barricades and sit in one of the many cheap pleather seats at each gate. You have to have a ticket. And with a buddy pass, you never know when you'll have the privilege of not making it on a flight, forced to sit in the tranquility of the busy terminal to people-watch.


The old airport attendants sit in abandoned wheelchairs talking sports and politics. Their graying hair compliments their formal navy blue vests and dress shirt uniform.
I go into the restroom and one of them follows me. He is humming loudly, occasionally voicing a few lyrics as he relieves himself. He's happy.
To spend my days in an airport terminal amongst the hustle and bustle and quiet interludes between flights. To see the faces and hear the voices of such a diverse array of people everyday.
I think the attendant is a lucky man.

Bukowski keeps me company. His terse prose shoves the truth down my throat as I sit among the blue collared works he speaks of while they're on the lunch breaks in the back of the terminal cafeteria. They sit in thinly padded seats, their neon uniforms as colorful as their language.

I'm slowly but surely becoming familiar with the faces of this place. As the janitors make their rounds, they notice me, also making my rounds. There is a moment of understanding. He knows I'm not just one of the others billowing past, blackberry attached to ear, lips sputtering words, eyes ignoring the multifarious enchantment of the passing travelers.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Notes from a Drive Home

And all at once, the world became this beautifully methodical sequence of events.
The neon of the gas signs were bokeh city lights and the tire treads on the roadside shook like red autumn leaves as cars swiftly passed. A sparrow flew in sync with my car gliding with the warm summer breeze. A line of cars made their way towards me in the opposite lane, their headlights dim lanterns in the evening horizon.
Horse girl rode her bike along the path. Horse girl was a small girl about the age of my sister who always rides her bike up to the pasture to feed the horses baby carrots. Every time I see her, she waits patiently at the gate, the horses ignoring her off in the distance. This time she rode with satisfaction spread across her face, a crumpled baggie bunched in her fist. The horses had been close enough to feed this time.
I saw the face of God in the deep oranges and purples of a particularly well defined cloud. The golden rays gushed into the off-set blues and greys. Heaven had made itself evident tonight.

The world was putting on a show. A revival of sorts. The scenes and characters were all the same - all too familiar episodes of life I pass on a daily basis without taking a second glance. But today, it was being revisioned. I was watching a masterpiece. It was cinema in its purest form. The discolored fabric car seat and cool air conditioning my theatre, the windshield my silver screen.



http://www.flickr.com/photos/austindressman

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Untitled Thought

Enter Thick gray party cloudy sky
Enter Under-maintenanced state highway
Enter Music
Enter Cool artificial air
Enter 2000 Mitsubishi Mirage
Enter Figure 1

His vision is darkened by the too-tinted aviator sunglasses that lopsidedly sit on his face. The tan Honda Odyssey in front of him displays a small indentation carefully filled with caulking paste. He stares at the impression and his eyelids droop slightly, sleep accessible without having to try too hard. He remembers the time a rock found its way into the side of his Dad's car and how he couldn't talk himself into believing the rock had left his palm. His Dad wasn't angry. He merely asked him to bring the small metal box he kept his allowance money in to the kitchen. Crying hysterically, he took each step one at a time, the metal box weighing heavy in his hands.
The music becomes background as his mind lackadaisically slips into a narrow and familiar way of thinking. His thinking process is tired. By default, his mind slips into thoughts of romanticism. The sudden reduction in speed of the Odyssey forces his eyelids back and he punches the brake.
Tire treads line the passing lane shoulder. They look like...what's an expressive way of phrasing it? They look like...well tire treads, passing in rapid succession. His vision slips out of focus, the smudges and bug parts splayed across the windshield pushing the road into the blurry foreground. When will he be able to share these exclusive thoughts with someone. An intimate someone. A girl.
Richwood, his exit looms in the near distance. He is met by a traffic light at the bottom of the exit ramp. The McDonalds. Not exactly a place he frequented in his childhood, but it held a few memories.
Suddenly he is thrown into the past.
He wakes up early one summer morning on his own. He contemplates the books that line the back of his headboard. Excitement washes over his face when he realizes he has a coupon for a free McDonalds breakfast sandwich. But the McDonalds is at least 5 miles away, across the busy morning highway. Mom would disapprove. So would the babysitter. Slipping past the babysitter, he makes his way around the house to the garage. He walks his bike to the corner cursing its clinking chain. The damp morning air billows through his clothing as he takes the first hill. The sun in the cloudless sky blares down on his back. There are no thoughts of anything. Girls, work, school never cross his mind. A sausage egg biscuit and a tall orange juice propel the wheels forward. He barely stops for the highway, instead joining the tire treads on the side of the road. The McDonalds looms nearer and soon he is dismounting his bike in a safe place.

Flash forward and Figure 1 is smiling contently like a little kid who just remembered he had a McDonalds coupon on an early summer morning, thankful for the beautiful nostalgia.
The Odyssey inches forward and he sees what looks like a mother and 2 kids. He assumes that the preteen boy sitting in the backseat is the reason for the caulking. Maybe a rock was involved...

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Reverie - a Retrospective

Is it possible to find love in everything else but love?

I have all of this built up "love" inside of me, I feel, due to the amount of time I've gone "solo".
I'm not trying to evoke any sort of pity, just posing a very real question within me.
Through taking pictures and writing these "reverie" blogs, can I outlet my zealous need to love?
I feel like it does to a certain degree. By noticing little pieces of beauty in my day to day life, I'm able to release my built up passion.

Ah, but here's the rub...mental and physical intimacy with another human being is unparalleled to anything in this world. It's a variation of this broad intimacy I feel with humanity when I take pictures or write reveries.
But it adds this new formula of two people attempting to sync with one another.
I love this Before Sunrise quote:
"I believe if there's any kind of God it wouldn't be in any of us, not you or me but just this little space in between. If there's any kind of magic in this world it must be in the attempt of understanding someone sharing something. I know, it's almost impossible to succeed but who cares really? The answer must be in the attempt."

I've used that quote before. I just think its such a clear answer to what that thing it's describing is.

I'll find her some day. For now, I'll enjoy the attempt(s).


http://www.flickr.com/photos/austindressman

Summer so Far...

Pulsing Bernard Hermann scores push the flow of words from my fingers. Writing a paper about Nietzschian trends in Alfred Hitchcock films has become much more vehement than I had anticipated.
I love this summer class. Waking up at 8am and sitting in a really uncomfortable chair for 3 hours is not my favorite aspect of the course. BUT I'm not complaining. The torrential downpour of Hitchcock I get during that class has been invigorating. Even outside of class I rewatch old favorites we don't have time to cover over the 3 weeks.

Uncle Charlie inches towards young Charlie, his secret about to burst from her naive lips. She knows too much. Uncle Charlie slowly turns around and walks back up the staircase, a threatening ferocity in his eyes as he turns around to see her still standing.
I slowly divert my eyes from the screen to notice a girl sitting on the opposite side of the room, her glance completely transfixed on this classic Hitchcock climax. As the music began to pulse she smiled with awe, utterly taken by the scene. My heart begins to beat faster and I let the scene take me as she has, the suspense pushing me towards the edge.
I notice these instances throughout the films we watch. The Hitchcock climax starts its slow descent. Grace Kelly breaks into the house of the suspect, Mr. Thorwald, to grab the evidence only to be met by the man himself. Jimmy Stewart, restricted to a wheelchair can only watch through the window as Thorwald violently grabs her and throws her across the room.
I see a man sitting in the front row, discontent tugging at the edges of his face. He winces when Thorwald begins to shake Kelly, there is nothing he can do either but watch helplessly.

I love this.
Never have I noticed more audience identification with whats transpiring on screen than I have in a room full of people watching a Hitchcock film.
Film is so beautiful. Everything about it. Its power to control emotions, persuade, among other human qualities is so sincere.

It helps when you have a master like Hitchcock at the reigns too.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Reverie #3

The moment you let go of the handle bars life is set in slow motion.

String-instruments swoon and slowly falling leaves float past my face. The sunset peers through the foliage. The clicking of the wheels synchronizes with the sound of the life around me. A car passes on the opposite side of the road and I see a mid age woman with long stringy hair, a smile hostage to her face. Our eyes met in the crossfire of speed and the glare of the sun. I figured her name was Joan, and she was a dental assistant with a hidden passion for salsa dancing. She sees disheartening reports of the economy on the news and wonders why she isn't more worried about things. I shifted my focus back on the road and a billowing wave of cold damp air pushed past my face. A shiver climbed up my spine just as the range of vocals reached their climax. Time was then forced back to reality and I was flying down a hill, I must have been going 127 miles per hour at the rate of pavement I was covering. I looked to the side and saw nothing but green blur. The sun's rays flickered like a strobe through the branches. I clenched my teeth and moved my body to the right at the anticipation of the bend in the road. A car broke through the corner and honked just as I was passing. My heart attempted to jump through my ribcage and the strobe light was making me dizzy, my breathing a forced heaving whisper. I peddled faster down the next stretch and let go of the handle bars.

The moment you let go of the handle bars life is set in slow motion.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Call it a guilty pleasure...

Okay, so here's the game, if your tagged just write where you'd want to wake up tomorrow. No rules anywhere, any place anytime. And don't just say, Florida, or, the beach, describe it. Why there? What makes it so special. OKAY GO !


I must preface this with the fact that I know this will be extremely over-the-top, but after reading Landan's, I was inspired.

I want to wake up in a huge bed. And the excess space doesn't matter because "the girl" and I are entwined together in one corner. It's the middle of the day, and we are napping. And I don't like napping, but I have a feeling I will after this day. The room is any room, messy or clean, old or new. There's just one window, a big window that looks out over a landscape. The sun gently falls across the hardwood floor. I wake up because her hair tickles my nose. She shifts, closer, her head nestled under my chin. There are no sounds or smells, just the sound of her breathing, the smell of her hair. A wave of contention comes across my mind with the endless possibilities of the day.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Reverie #2

I watch my silhouette against the pale sidewalk. The wind distrupts the floating limbs above me. Through an intricate map of branches, rays of sun dissipate the burdens I carry on my shoulders.
I am comforted by something bigger than me.
I don't speak, or think.
I simply bask in beauty.
And all is well.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Reverie

It begins on the cusp of a dream.
I am running from something, through an open field on a paisley carpet. I am not scared, I just know that I must run. I am in an empty hallway illuminated by incandescent lights on a sterile tile floor and I dissolve through to the floor below, my father and I watching an HBO TV show in a modest looking hotel room.
I wake up suddenly, in a daze, feeling for the alarm on the other side of the room. It's placed there to insure that I wake up fully as I stumble across the length of the room.
My conscious mind flashes on like a strobe and an image of her is instantly projected on to my eyelids, like a shot, nervous elation filling my stomach.
I snap out of the trance, realizing I must begin the day.
I place my keys by the cracked open window, change into my shorts, lace up my shoes, grab my iPod, and head out the door to the nearest treadmill.
Running is the middle ground between the daze of sleep and the surge of reality.
I am free to think childish selfish thoughts, unfiltered by my half-awake mind. My imagination is running rampant. I fantasize about short film ideas that I excitedly write down once the elapsed time hits 22:02.

As I shower, my mind is finally in its normal state. The disposition of the day has finally began to weigh down on me. I go through the mindless routine of getting ready.

The slam of the door behind me as I leave my room lets me know the day has begun.
Walking from class to class is a transitional period my mind takes full advantage of. Thoughts weave through my brain at blurred speeds. My body merely a vessel for this overbearing wave of rational and irrational thought.

Other times, my mind sits in silence.
The music flowing through my ears suppressing any sort of thought. My eyes are lenses, my mind a camera. I am a documentarian filming day to day life with hopes of capturing something beautiful and real.
I focus in on two people standing to the side a way ahead of me. They are dressed head to toe in black, the cuffs of their pants lay like abandoned parachutes on the cracked pavement. Slipknot on one shirt, black stripes overtaking white stripes on the other.
Before my mind passes some harsh undeserved judgment on both, one of them erupts in laughter.
And at that moment, I realize that we are one in the same person. I am reminded of their humanity by this outburst of human emotion. I couldn't help but smile to myself, sharing in her joy and realizing my foolishness.